Tag Archives: arthritis

Slowly Improving

My wife works from home most days but sometimes she does what she calls a “site visit.” It is when she spends the day at one of her properties to make sure everything is being done correctly and to help out. She did a site visit at the property here in town the other day and asked me to drive her so I could have the truck if I needed to go anywhere.

While she was gone Frankie and Floki were enjoying the beautiful day on the catio while Chris was upstairs on the bed. I felt bad that he was missing out and since he has been having trouble going up and down the stairs I carried him down.

When Rose was ready to be picked up I didn’t want to leave with the cats out on the catio so I brought them in. When we got home Rose pointed out that Frankie was watching us from the window upstairs .

When we got inside we saw Frankie and Floki but no Chris. I went upstairs and found Chris on the perch looking out the window. So it was Chris and not Frankie up there.

I have still carried Chris up and down since then but he has also surprised me several times but going up and down on his own. My wife decided to watch one of her girly shows Friday evening so I left Chris on the sofa with Rose and came upstairs to write this post. A few minutes later Chris joined me on the bed.

I did receive the joint support Chews the other day but he was already improving before then. I did have my doubts about his problem being arthritis because of the suddenness of it and now I think maybe he injured his paw.

Of course it could be a little of both. With his old age and added weight jumping down could be hard on him. I don’t know. I’m just glad he is a little better.

Chris’s New Health Challenge

When we first brought our cats to our new West Virginia home last November, I was concerned that Chris’s age and weight would be a problem when going up and down the stairs but, to our surprise, he was the first one to investigate the upstairs. During that stay he would not hesitate to go up and down the stairs.

Fast forward to a month ago when we returned and Chris would still go up and down the stairs but he seemed to spend more time upstairs and would come down later in the day or evening when Rose and I were both downstairs. Several days ago I noticed Floki and Frankie were spending time on the catio without Chris. I started to pay attention and noticed Chris stopped coming downstairs.

I also noticed that sometimes when Chris gets off my lap, he doesn’t land gracefully like a cat but seems to stumble. I am concerned that maybe he is getting arthritis or is in pain for another reason. My concern is that he just all of a sudden stopped coming down the stairs. That tells me that something got worse pretty quickly.

I will say that since we have been back he has rarely come downstairs for breakfast. Usually he waits in the bedroom or at the top of the stairs. Since he cares about dry food more than wet food I consider it to be at least partly because of apathy.

Once downstairs I and open a can of wet food and put it on three plates. By then Frankie is on the counter eating off one of the plates before I can put it down. After I put his plate down I head up with Chris and Floki’s plates. I learned that if I put Floki’s plate down too he will eat until I leave with Chris’s food then he will follow me. So now I just take both plates and Floki follows me up the stairs, talking to me the whole way up.

The last couple of evenings I picked up Chris and carried him downstairs and then carried him back up again. On the way up I put him down on the landing and let him walk up the last three or four steps, which he seems to do okay.

I want to take him in and have him looked at but there is no vet in this town. This town of 3800 people has three auto parts stores and two hardware stores but no veterinarian. I hope this is not a reflection of the priorities of the people in this town.

He seems okay otherwise so I guess I will just carry him around for the next month and then see his vet in Florida whenwe return.

Ear Polyps, Arthritis, and 19 Pounds

What does ear polyps, arthritis, and 19 pounds have in common? If you guessed Chris then you would be right.

Chris has been shaking his head a lot lately indicating the problem with his ears has become bad again. We had to clean and medicate his ears last time he had that problem and he did not make that easy for us. I even brought him to the vet a month ago so they could clean his ears. I heard him in the other room screaming like he was being tortured. The first (or second) time I brought him in for that problem was when they discovered he needed some teeth extracted. I asked if they could start me off by cleaning his ears but Chris gave them such a hard time that they decided to wait until he was under anesthesia for his teeth.

The other issue with Chris started about a month ago. He stopped jumping on my lap while I was sitting at my desk. Instead he would claw at my legs and I would have to pick him up. After that I noticed him limping slightly. It was time to make an appointment for him at the vet.

I brought him in on Friday. The vet tech brought us into an exam room where she tried to get Chris out of his carrier so she could weigh him but Chris was not budging. I tried to help by tipping the carrier at an angle but he managed to hold on. She suggested taking the top off but the carrier I used had about fifteen screws and I said it was too much work to take it apart and put it back together. I asked if she could weigh him in the carrier and then weigh the carrier later and subtract. She thought that was a good idea and put him on the scale, carrier and all. I don’t remember the total weight but I do remember saying, “I sure hope this carrier weighs more than ten pounds.”

She left us in the room and I put Chris up on the table and opened the carrier door. He just stayed there. I tried to coax him out but he was staying put.

This is unusual behavior for Chris. In the past, he loved to get out and explore the exam room. A stubborn stationary cat was not his style. As recently as last December he was exploring the vet’s exam room.

After a while the tech came back in and we decided to remove the top of the carrier. She started removing screws on one side and I did the other. When we had him out I gave her the carrier to weigh. She came back with a weight of 19.6 pounds for Chris. Holy crap. The last time he was weighed he was 17.9 pounds and I thought that was bad.

I have been trying to get Chris’s weight down for a while now but it keeps going up. For years I have been gradually reducing the amount of dry food he is allowed to eat. I make a homemade food for them that consists mostly of organic chicken along with a high quality supplement blend. I want Chris to eat more of that but he rarely eats more than a few bites before walking away. Sometimes I find myself hand feeding it to him just to get him to eat some of it. Frankie and Floki have no trouble finishing their plates.

Because he doesn’t eat enough homemade food I do supplement with dry food. I have tried not giving him anything else but that does not get him to eat more of the good food, he just annoys everyone with his pathetic crying. I believe the dry food is largely responsible for his weight gain and these last couple of days I have restricted the dry food even more. Now, whenever he is not sleeping, he holds a vigil at the food bowl, talking to anyone that will listen to his sad story.

Anyway, getting back to the story, The vet examined his ears and talked about the polyps that we already knew about. He said they were bad and restricted airflow which promoted bacteria growth and infection. He said he was going to give me more ear cleaner and medicine. The ear cleaner needed to be used every other day and the medicine every day.

He also recommended that they surgically remove the polyps. I asked if they might return after the surgery and he said that they could. I asked how much the surgery would cost and he didn’t know. They would have to get back to me on that.

He then checked his paws and legs for any sign of injury but could find none. I told them he had a slight limp but didn’t know what foot seemed to be the problem. We put him down to watch him walk but he didn’t show a sign of limping at that time. I wished I had thought of videoing him walking at home but I didn’t.

The vet said that he could have some arthritis. He said it was even more likely because Chris was overweight. He recommended I buy Cosequin for him but they didn’t have any in stock. The vet tech gave me a card and said I could order it from their online store but I had no desire to pay double retail because it was coming from the vet so when I got home I looked on Amazon instead. I found Cosequin capsules and Cosequin chews. I wasn’t sure which would be better or easier. The chews seemed easier but if he didn’t like them they would be worthless. The capsules sprinkle on their food but since I have three cats it’s hard to know who is getting how much. I decided to by both and see which I like better.

Back at the vet we waited for quite a while.

Cat Chris at Vet

Finally the vet tech came back with the medicine but they still did not have a surgery estimate so I paid the $150 bill and went home.

That email with the estimate came Saturday afternoon. For $588.43 Chris can be free of polyps for an undetermined amount of time. For now, we will give him the medication. If that works, the surgery might not be necessary at this time. If it doesn’t work, we will probably have to have it done.