Chris's Unresolved Medical Problems


Chris has always been our healthiest cat. Sure, he did have minor issues, but we never had to bring him to the vet for an illness until he was about seven and a half years old and he got an eye infection that really wasn’t his fault. Both he and Frankie caught it from Floki when we adopted Floki. Then, a couple of years later, the flood gates opened.

First it was an infection in his mouth about a year ago that resulted in the loss of eight teeth. Then in June his ear polyps, which he had since he was a kitten, worsened and became infected. You can read that story here. The vet gave us a price of almost $600 to remove the polyps but when we were ready to proceed he changed his mind and said it was too complicated to do in their office and recommeded a specialist.

We went to the specialist twice (here and here). The first visit I talked to a surgeon who wanted to remove his ear canals and make him deaf. I didn’t want to do that and asked for other options. She consulted the dermatologist who had them test the infection and then they compounded a medication for it with instructions to see the dermatologist when the medicine was gone.

A few weeks later we saw the dermatologist who said they needed to take a biopsy to make sure it wasn’t cancer. He said it would be about two weeks to get the results. They also gave me more medicine. That visit cost me $701. The first visit was about $250. This is all before a treatment plan.

While I was waiting for the results, Chris started puking so I had to bring him back to his regular vet (read about it here). By now he is very weary and does not want to cooperate. The vet gave him a shot for nausea but Chris struggled too much and they were not able to get a blood test to determine what was wrong.

He seemed to get better and we went to St. Augustine for a few days for my wife’s birthday at the end of December. When we returned he still seemed okay so I assumed he was better.

Last week the dermatologist called and said Chris’s results came back, finally, but they were inconclusive. He wanted to do the test again, at no charge, and try to dig out a deeper sample but I did not want to put Chris through any more trauma. I tried to talk to him about it but the connection was very bad and lost him. He didn’t call back so I called the office and was diverted to an answering machine. I left a message saying I was cut off but never got a return call. I put it out of my mind but then called them back last week and talked to someone in the office.

I asked the person on the phone, “What’s the worst that could happen if we assume it is not cancer?” I told her he had polyps his whole life and if they were cancerous we would have known by now.

She agreed that it was unlikely but possible so I asked what would happen if it was cancer? “They would probably remove his ear canals but that would not guarantee that it would not spread,” she said.

I said, “If we assume that it is not cancer what would you do?”

“Well, with the polyps as extensive as they are in Chris’s ears, they would need to be cut out with a laser,” she said, “and that is an expensive procedure and only a few places around here, like universities, have lasers.

“So why am I wasting my time and money with you if you can’t do anything?” I didn’t say that but I thought it.

At about the same time I talked to that vet, Chris started puking again. It also became very obvious that he has diarrhea too. I called his regular vet on Friday and asked if I could bring him in for the blood test that they couldn’t take last time but they couldn’t get me in until late this coming Monday.

In the meantime, I am watching him closely. He is puking two to three times a day and as I was writing about his diarrhea, I was also witnessing it first hand.

Frankie pukes almost every day but I don’t worry too much about him because that is what he does. Chris, on the other hand, is not a puker so I do worry about him.

I have noticed some interesting differences between Chris and Frankie. Frankie seems to seek out carpets or other hard to clean places before he pukes but Chris tries to puke in the litter box. I would say at least half of all his pukes are contained in the litter box. This morning he missed the boxed but puked just outside of it. He then reached in the box and pulled out enough litter to bury it.

Another thing Chris does lately is lie in the litter box. I don’t know if he feels like he has to puke and wants to be ready, or if he is just getting weird in his old age.

I let Chris out on Friday to eat some grass. Cats eat grass when they are sick so we thought that might help him.

Normally, Frankie goes out on a leash first and then Chris goes out, but this time Chris went out first and Frankie was not happy about it.

When I brought Chris inside, I planned on getting Frankie’s harness but Frankie had other ideas and bolted out the door. He then hid under a car where I couldn’t catch him.

So now all we can do is wait for Monday and hope the blood test is okay. As far as his ears go, I think we will just try to keep the infection under control for now and we will see what happens.

Photo Friday: Curl Up With a Good Cat


I think I will just let this photo speak for itself.

On another note, Chris is puking again and now he has dierea. Another vet visit may be in order if he isn’t better soon. It was very traumatic for him last time and I hate to subject it to him again. I also have news about his ears but it is to long of a story for this post.

Why Do Cats Love Boxes?


We bought a new Keurig and our boys have been enjoying the box so when I happened upon this blog post from 2014 I thought it would be good to share for Throwback Thursday.

Bad Cat Chris

Everyone who is owned by a cat knows what happens when you bring a new box into the house. It is like Kitty Christmas. The first thing they have to do is get inside like a child with a new playhouse. But why are cats so fascinated by a simple empty box? I suppose there are a number of things at “play” here.

I think the main reason is that cats love to play. The reason that they have an instinct for play is probably because it helps them practice for survival. Attacking their housemates, assuming it is not for reasons of dominance or territory, is practice for the hunt. Playing in a box is just an extension of that.

A box offers something a wild cat is looking for: stealth. Nevermind that they are not wild cats, they don’t know that. From inside a box a cat can see…

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Chris Goes Back to the Vet Again


Early this week, perhaps Sunday, my wife and I came home and saw puke all over the kitchen table. There was a mixed bouquet of flowers on the table and I saw some green specs in the puke so I assumed someone was chewing on the flowers and got sick. I immediatly threw away the flowers but I probably should have photographed them first to determine if any were toxic to cats.

It wasn’t long before we realized it was Chris who was puking because he continued to puke bile the rest of the day. He seemed otherwise okay and he was eating and drinking so I decided to just keep an eye on him.

Throughout the week he would give me cause for concern but then he would be extremely annoying which made me happy because that was normal behavior for him. By Friday he was still puking occasionally and I was concerned because we are leaving for St. Augustine this morning for a few days for my wife’s birthday and I didn’t want to have to worry about him while I was away, so I called the vet and scheduled an appointment for Friday afternoon.

When we got to the vet, the vet tech took him into the other room to weigh him. He was still a student and had a lot to learn about handling cats. When he brought him back he told me he weighed 19.5 pounds which is one pound less then his last vet visit.

When the vet came it to check on Chris, he resisted and had a death grip on the edge of the table. The vet tech could not move his paws away so I had to step in to help. The tech then tried to hold him down after the vet was done checking his stomach, which I didn’t understand. I stepped in and said, “Hold on!” I then looked at the vet and said, “Can I take him?” With a nod from the vet I picked him up and put him on my lap.

The story of the flowers came up and the vet said toxic plants could have affected his kidney and liver. I asked if it would still affect him so many days later and he said it could. He wanted to get a blood test to be sure and so they took Chris back in the other room for a very long time.

When they returned, the vet said they were able to give him a shot for nausea but were not able to get a blood sample because Chris was being extremely uncooperative. So we left without knowing anything for sure.

I was told to keep an eye on him for loss of appetite and lethargy. So far he seems okay. We talked about him with our neighbor who will be watching the cats while we are away. We also gave her a credit card and emergency vet information just in case. Hopefully nothing will happen while we are gone, or even after we return. I don’t like worrying about Chris and it is especially hard knowing we will be away during a troubling time.

Patches Has a New Name


On my last post I talked about Patches who was abandoned at one of my wife’s apartment complexes and then taken in by a resident who helps out there. I visited them yesterday and learned that he is doing very well and they both seem happy with each other.

I tried to get a good photo of Patches but he was too busy playing. I should also remember to call him by his new name “Patch” because “Patches” does not sound manly enough.

Whatever name he goes by I am just glad he is doing well. His new gaurdian calls him “respectful.” I’m not entirely clear what that means but I think it is a way of calling him a good boy.