Tag Archives: cat

Floki Versus the Turbo Scratcher


I think the one cat toy in our house that has really stood the test of time is the Turbo Scratcher. The one we have now is one of two that we bought well over fifteen years ago (I don’t know what happened to the other one). It has not only lasted for years, it has also remained one of the most played with toys in the house.

Not all of our cats have been interested in it. Some have ignored it completely while others played with it occasionally, but there has always been one cat that goes back to it again and again. When Chris was young, he was the one. Then it was Puck and now Floki loves the Turbo Scratcher.

I often hear the sound of Floki playing with it but I never have a camera around. When I do go and get my camera or phone, as soon as I come back he is done playing. I was lucky to get the above video before Christmas and then promply forgot I had it until now.

Do you have any pet toys that have stood the test of time? I would love to hear about them.

More Tests for Chris


Chris was back at the vet on Monday to get the blood test that he did not let them get when we were there last. This time my wife went with me to make sure I didn’t let them charge me $700 like the last vet did.

It was not easy getting him into the cat carrier and I felt bad doing it to him again.

There is a scale near the reception desk so I put Chris on it. After deducting the weight of the carrier I came up with 17.2 pounds, about three pounds less than a couple of months ago. I was both glad and concerned that he lost weight.

After they took him in the back, we waited for a very long time and then we heard the blood curdling screams. It was very distressing knowing that Chris was going through such a terrible trauma while we sat and listened. I know having a little blood taken is not that bad, but Chris was a confused cat being held down by strangers while someone poked him with something sharp. I can only imagine what was going through his mind. I wish they would have let me go back and help hold him. That might have been a little less stressful for both of us.

The vet offered anti-diarrhea medication which my wife, who was there to prevent me from overspending, gladly accepted. I was reluctant because I had just ordered probiotics from Amazon and preferred to try to correct the problem naturally and without drugs. We were able to get one of those pills down Chris’s throat once and then we gave up.

They also gave a a poop-kit. I have been instructed to collect Chris’s poop and bring it in. Since we have three cats, I need to see him poop and by now, Thursday morning, that has not happened yet.

I got a call from the vet on Tuesday. She said Chris’s bloodwork was mostly normal. She mentioned two or three of tests that were a little high but she also said the vomiting and stress might have caused the tests to be high and not the other way around. In a nutshell, it is unknown what caused the vomiting but it seems, at least from the bloodwork, that Chris is okay.

We were happy to hear that Chris is okay and hope we won’t have to bring him back anytime soon.

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.

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.

Cat Left Behind with no Food or Water


My wife is vice president for a company that owns several apartment communities in Florida, Virginia and West Virginia. A small, 20-unit apartment in Tampa used to be part of a group of three apartment complexes but two of them sold last month leaving it with no full-time staff to watch over it. Instead, a resident helps out by keeping it clean and by doing light maintenance when needed and the manager comes by once a week to check on it.

While the manager was there on Thursday morning, she checked on an apartment that someone had recently moved out of and found a cat left behind with no food or water. It is scary to think what would have happened if she didn’t show up until Monday.

The resident that helps out said he recognized the cat and knew his name was Patches. He agreed to keep him in his apartment until they could figure out what to do with him.

His finances were tight and couldn’t really afford to keep a pet but agreed to do that after Rose told him she would keep him supplied with food and litter. This would come from her, not the company.

So as we were out for breakfast Thursday morning, Rose got online and ordered wet and dry food, treats, litter, a litter box, a scoop and some catnip toys, which all arrived the next day except for the toys.

It seems like Patches’ new guardian has become exited about having Patches as a companion and I think Patches has found a better home then the one he left. Anyone who is coldhearted enough to leave a cat behind like that must be horrible to live with.

That brings me to a question I have been wondering for a long time. Why do people who care so little about animals get pets? Why would someone just abandon a pet that has been part of the family? Why do people get dogs and then leave them tied up in the back yard? Or beat them for behaving like a dog?

Shortly after Rose placed that order for Patches, we left the restaurant and drove through the parking lot until we reached Petsmart where Rose stopped to let people walk by. I turned away for a second but my attention was brought back to the front when Rose beeped the horn. “Did you see that!?” she yelled. “What the hell is wrong with people?”

All I saw was a young man walking a small dog and two other people. As we drove by Rose opened my window and yelled some words at the man that I won’t repeat here. He then yelled unrepeatable words back. When I asked what happened, Rose told me the guy was pulling the dog’s leash so hard that the dog was flying through the air. Again, why get a pet if you care so little about animals?

Sometimes I am embarrassed to be human. My hope is that scientists will find out that these people belong to some subspecies of humans so I don’t have to be related to them.

Another Vet Visit for Chris


Tuesday was not a great day for medical visits. I went to the dentist that morning and found out I need a root canal. I then found out my crappy dental insurance does not cover specialists.

Later I brought Chris to the vet to have his ears reexamined. You may recall his regular vet recommended surgery for his ear polyps but when we tried to make an appointment for the procedure we were told the surgery was too complex for that office and were referred to another vet. That vet wanted to remove Chris’s ear canals and make him deaf but after I resisted they gave him medication and an appointment to their dermatologist, who we saw Tuesday.

Chris was fascinated by the cat carrier his first nine years with us but now he sees it and runs the other way. When I do get him inside he doesn’t want to get out when we get to the vet. That is also something new because he used to love to explore the vet’s office.

The vet seemed very nice. He took ear swabs and then talked to me about ear polyps. He said there are two types, cancerous and benign. He said he needed to take a biopsy to find out which type Chris has. He said if they are cancerous then he would have to refer me back to the surgeons but if they are benign then there are treatment option. One he mentioned, if my memory is correct, involved freezing them off. He said they show up all the way through the ear canal so he couldn’t get them all but he could get most and then treat with antibiotics when needed.

They took Chris in the back room for the biopsy and returned him 12 days later. Well, maybe not that long but that’s what it seemed like. We then went back to the waiting room to wait for more of the same medication that we got for him last time. A medication that actually seemed to do some good for Chris.

When they called me up to check out I was expecting it to be fairly expensive. My wife was originally going to go with me but backed out so I knew if it was expensive she would blame me. As I waited for the bill I kept thinking “Please be less than $300. Please be less that $300 . . .”

“Your total today is seven hundred and one dollars and ninety cents.”

“What!? Holy crap! Is this a joke?”

It wasn’t a joke and I had to call my wife so she could transfer money to our checking account. I wasn’t looking forward to that call.

She took the news about the same as I did except louder. She also had the luxury of someone to blame. I didn’t have that privledge.

So now I have to wait two weeks for the test result but it seems now that they bled us dry there will be nothing left for Chris’s ears. The frustrating thing is, the original surgery estimate was around $500. Now we have spent almost $1000 and nothing has been done yet.

Frankie the Red-Nosed Bad Cat


The day after my post about Frankie’s notoriety for being an escape artist was published, he escaped again. Monday morning, as my wife was about to leave for work, she realized it was cool outside and popped her head in the door and asked me to get her jacket. I did not see Frankie anywhere near the door so I handed the jacket out to her but at the same time Frankie ran out the door.

He disappeared for quite awhile. I started by setting a timer for ten minutes. When it went off I would go outside to see if I could see him. I would then come back into the house and set the timer for another ten minutes. Fortunately I was working from home on Monday because it was about an hour or so before Frankie showed up with a dirty, red nose.

I don’t know what happened but I tried to clean the blood off his nose but he would not let me. It must have hurt him. I had to settle for dabbing a little bit of antibacterial cream on it.

I thought getting hurt outside would dampen his desire to get out for awhile but that was not the case. We were going out for dinner with my mother that same day and Frankie got out again. Since we had reservations we couldn’t wait for Frankie to come home on his schedule so I asked my wife to help round him up.

He led us on quite a chase and I hurt my finger trying to grab him. I missed him but caught a brick wall. We finally caught up to him when he hid under a pickup truck. I have been hesitant in the past to pull him out from under vehicals because he cut me pretty bad the first time I tried that but this time I was done playing his game and reached under the truck, grabbed him by the scruff and pulled him out.

I think he knew he was in trouble because he did not resist when I pulled him out and he did not try to jump out of my arms the entire walk home. Normally, if I pick him up during our walks he gives me a very hard time.

Hopefully he will think twice about hiding under cars next time he gets out.

Our Notorious Cat


Frankie has developed quite the reputation in our neighborhood for being the escape artist cat. He has escaped many times lately and people are beginning to notice.

The other day, my wife was outside when the mailman came and he asked her, “Are you looking for Frankie again?” She told me the mailman helped her catch Frankie one day. She also said the UPS driver knocks on the door when delivering a package and says “Watch out for Frankie!” when she opens the door.

Frankie escaped last week and disappeared for an hour and a half. I searched the area for him three times without success. On one of those searches, my next door neighbor saw me and asked, “Did Frankie get out again?”

He escaped on Thanksgiving when company arrived. He waited across the street until I got close enough and then bolted across the field like a cheetah until he reached the neighborhood sales office. There he hopped up onto a tree just low enough for me to grab him and carry him home.

My mother is in town so we decided to go out to breakfast with her yesterday, among other things, but Frankie slipped out and disappeared. We waited for him for a while and then ended up eating breakfast at home. He did come back once and I let Chris out hoping that would distract him enough for me to catch him. It didn’t. He again disappeared for about 45 minutes. When he finally returned he walked in the house when I opened the door like nothing had happened.

Frankie reminds me a lot of Chris in his heyday. The main difference is Chris almost always stayed close to home while Frankie goes off to who knows where. My biggest concerns are people that drive like idiots and coyotes. I keep hoping he will slow down like Chris did but there are no signs of that.