After her beloved cat, Pumpkin, died, my mother-in-law decided to open her home to another cat in need. This is Finnegan.
He is another ginger boy like Pumpkin but he is also not like Pumpkin. Just like all cats, he has his own personality.
I expected him to be shy around strangers and thought I would have to go look for him under the bed but I didn’t. Instead he came out to greet us. He is a very sociable cat but he is not a lap cat, at least not now. Perhaps when he is more comfortable he will be.
We visited twice since she adopted him. The second time I found him napping on the bed so he certainly feels right at home.
He is also not shy about blocking the doorway.
We brought him one of Floki’s mice to play with. I bought a bag of ten mice and still had a few left so we thought he might want one. He was mildly interested for about five seconds and then not so much.
Finnegan, or Finn for short, got his name because he looks like an Irish redhead. He is about three years old and was once a stray that was brought in after someone alerted the organization that he appeared injured or “beat up.” I don’t know all the details but he is far too friendly to be feral.
Another interesting thing is that he has no white on him anywhere. The tip of his tail is very light but not quite white. I don’t recall seeing a ginger cat with no white. I wonder how common that is? What do you think about Finn or about ginger cats with no white?
Chris is unique. That is why I started this blog about him. Many cats like attention but not many cats demand it as much as Chris does. And no cat that I have ever seen, other that Chris, wants to be hugged.
Maybe I’m wrong. Does your cat ever want to be hugged?
By the way, pay no attention to my disheveled hair and ugly glasses. I actually clean up nicer than that when I go out.
My wife and I visited my mother-in-law about a week and a half ago. We sat down in her Florida room and she picked up her cat, Pumpkin, and put him on my lap.
Pumpkin has always been a friendly cat and would often sit next to me while I petted him but he was never much of a lap cat. I put him on my lap a few times but he would usually get down after less than five minutes, usually sooner. This time he stayed on my lap for a long time.
During that time we talked about how he wasn’t doing very well. My mother-in-law knew his time was coming to an end. She faced a difficult decision. One we have all faced before and can understand well. How long do we wait? How bad does it need to be before we are ready to let go? It is a decision everyone hopes they will never have to make.
She mentioned that Pumpkin was acting erratically, like he was disoriented, and thought he might be getting dementia. I thought of my father. During his last two days his mind became increasingly confused, but that was not dementia.
After a while Pumpkin got off my lap and went into the house. On the way in he bumped his head on the door frame. Later we noticed he was lying between the wall and the living room sofa, like he was hiding. Animals do that when they are sick. My dog Tasha did that before she died.
Yesterday I got word that Pumpkin’s time here on Earth was over. It was very sad, only comforted by the thought that ten of his twelve years were spent in a loving home.
The vet said that Pumpkin had become blind, which explains why he bumped into the door. Loss of vision might also explain some of his erratic behavior as well.
To tell the story of Pumpkin it helps to go back to Tigger and Flash. in 2006, my mother-in-law adopted Tigger but the shelter called the next day wanting him back because his brother, Flash, was in great distress without him. She didn’t want two cats at the time and we didn’t want to send him back to the shelter so we adopted both of them.
Shortly after that, Rose’s mom adopted a Maine Coon cat and named him Monkey.
A few years later, about ten years ago, she was ready for another cat so she adopted Pumpkin, who was about two years old at the time. Monkey and Pumpkin did not always get along but they did have their moments.
A few years later Monkey died and it was just Pumpkin along with several strays that came around.
The last two pictures make me wonder if I was wrong about him not being a lap cat.
Pumpkin was a very lovable cat and will be missed.
This was supposed to be last week’s post but I just realized I accidently published it as a page instead of a post. Oops.
I used to write about How Chris would manage to get up into almost impossible locations in our house (see here and here and here). Now he is more than ten years old and a few pounds heavier than he used to be. He also seems to have developed a bit of arthritis. Lately, I have to help him onto my lap sometimes.
Chris may be somewhat grounded but Frankie hasn’t lost a step. He is now going places that only Chris would have gone before.
Here he is on top of our cabinet. The height of the jump isn’t as impressive as the accuracy needed since it is a very narrow space and it seems like it would be easy to bang your head on the ceiling.
Recently I recieved microbiome test kits for pets from a company called NonNomNow. The test kits are called “Insights” and I got them at no cost to me in exchange for an honest review. You can read about why I think testing the microbiome is important on my previous post about this product here.
The kits arrived about ten days ago but it took that long for me to actually witness a cat pooping. Finally, this morning I saw Chris in the box. I wanted to retrieve his poop before he buried it but I was two seconds too slow.
The kit comes with two swabs and two vials. I was momentarily confused by that but then I assumed there were extras in case of mistakes. After reading the directions I saw that this was the case. The kit also comes with a small resealable bag to put the sample in and a pre-labeled return envelope. It also comes with a card that has the registration number on it and a place to write your pet’s name in case you have more than one pet like I do.
Once you have acquired the poop, the next step is to insert the cotton swab into it and rotate. If needed you can use it as a scoop to get about a pea-size piece.
Then place the tip of the swab in the vial, which contains a small amount of liquid, and then push down on the top of the swab. This will eject the tip.
The next step is to screw on the lid and shake. Then put the vial in the enclosed resealable bag.
At this point the directions say to apply the barcode sticker to the bag but the sticker came pre-applied. This concerned me a little but I assumed the directions were written at a time when the label came separate. The next step is to place the bag in the supplied envelope and seal it.
Once registered the only thing left to do is drop off your test kit at the post office and wait for the results, which should take two to five weeks. When the results come back I will share them with you as well as my thoughts about it.
What do you think? Is this something you would be willing to try?
Floki is over three years old but he is still like a kitten when it comes to his favorite mouse. You may remember this post when I talked about Floki’s favorite mouse and my search to find a replacement. Well, I did find something similar that he likes just as much and bought a bag with a half dozen or more of them. We released about four of them into the wild and Floki plays with them quite often. Many times he will carry one onto our bed and play with it there. I have seen as many as three of his mice on our bed at the same time. In the following video, I see two of his mice.
I think it’s great that Floki plays a lot. If he is not playing with his mouse that he is playing tag with Frankie. Chris used to be a world class player but now he is more of a watcher.
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.
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.