Tag Archives: Health

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.

One Small Poop for Cat, One Giant Leap for Cat Health


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.

Finally, go to the website listed on your card to register your test kit.

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?

Turning the Cat Feeding Rule on its Head


The following post in my unprofessional opinion and should not be considered advice.

I know the rule. When changing your cat’s food you should introduce it slowly while gradually reducing their current food. Everyone knows that a sudden change in diet will cause intestinal problems for your cat that include vomiting, diarrhea and possibly other problems.

That rule always seemed wrong to me. I learned long ago that for humans, variety is healthy and necessary, as long as the various food is not junk food. Cats, too, do not always eat the same food in the wild. A wild or feral cat might eat a mouse for breakfast, a bird for lunch, and a lizard for dinner. They might even have a bug or two for a snack. Why don’t they get upset stomachs?

Maybe eating the same food day in and day out, over and over, may be the cause of the problem and not the solution. It could be like a drug addiction and change could induce withdrawal symptoms. I’m just guessing and I have no evidence but logic tells me eating the same thing all the time is not what nature intended for cats.

I have gradually moved our cats from sameness to variety with no abdominal distress except for Frankie who has been a puker since we adopted him. I think he just eats way too fast and then pukes it up.

Currently, I feed them high quality, grain-free canned cat food as well as homemade raw cat food. I also give them dry kibble but I limit that to a small amount per day in an attempt to break Chris’s addiction to dry food.

I had been feeding them the same canned food and homemade raw food but I would buy a different dry food. I always chose a high-quality food but bought what was on sale at the time. Recently, I started changing the canned food as well because the Earthborn Chicken Catitorrie suddenly became less desirable to our cats. Perhaps they became bored with the same flavor.

I chose several different brands and varieties and decided to do a test to see which ones they liked and which ones they didn’t like.

canned cat food

Our boys seemed to prefer the two b.f.f. varieties shown above. The chicken and lamb and the chicken and turkey were a big hit even though they seemed quite watery to me. They liked the Dave’s almost as much but they left the Tender and True almost untouched. The other foods fell somewhere in the middle.

The important point here is that during this trial none of our cats got sick. In fact, I don’t recall Frankie puking at all during this period.

So my feeding routine now starts with a can of B.F.F. in the morning but since one of the pet food stores I shop at doesn’t carry it, that will change from time to time. Next, after they digest their food a little and start looking for more, I dish them out some of my homemade raw cat food. This is usually made from chicken thighs or chicken breasts and it does not change because they won’t eat it if I use beef or turkey.

During the late morning, if I am home, I try to avoid going in the kitchen because I have to listen to Chris’s pathetic cries for kibble. Sometimes I feel bad for him and give him some and other times I wait but they always get a small amount of kibble between meals. If I go to work, I give them a small amount of kibble when I leave. I do this because Chris does not eat as much wet food as Frankie and Floki do. For dinner it’s the same thing; Canned food and then raw food. Then it is a little more kibble before bedtime but not too much.

This is my experience with my cats but this probably won’t work for all cats. I am curious, though, if anyone else feeds their cats a variety and how do they do with it?

Chris is Still a Bad Cat… Fortunately


I started this post last night and saved it to finish this morning. Before I did I read Sammy’s post from One Spoiled Cat. In it, I got the feeling that Sammy would not be with us much longer. I was feeling bad about that when I found out that Easy from Easy Blog suddenly died. It is a sad news day and I hope that Easy’s parents as well as Sammy’s parents will be okay.


Chris has seemed to mellow out lately and has not been getting into as much trouble as usual. At first I attributed that to his age and his weight but I noticed he seemed to be more cautious when jumping down from  the bed or whatever else he is on. He also sometimes sits while momentarily holding his paw off the ground. It got me thinking he might be developing arthritis, but at seven and a half years old, he seems to young for that.

It should go without saying that I am very concerned about Chris’s health, as well as the health of all of our cats. Between 2010 and 2013 we lost four cats, Flash, Abbey, Alex and Tigger. Flash was less than five years old and the other three were around eight or younger. It is terrible knowing that you have given your beloved pet only half the life that they were capable of.

Since Flash died in 2010, I have learned more and more about cat health. I learned that dry food is bad for them and started feeding them more wet food as well as raw cat food. I now make my own raw cat food that I mix with high quality canned food but I still give them some dry food because Chris will only eat a very small amount of wet food before giving it up to one of the other cats. I make sure to only put small amounts of dry food in the bowls so that they will long be empty when wet food time rolls around, but Chris never seems hungry enough to eat the wet food until five minutes after it’s gone, then he is “starving” in front of his empty dry food bowl, giving me that desperate look. I don’t want to starve him so I give in and put a little dry food in his bowl..

Since Chris is now approaching the eight year mark, it makes me nervous to see his lack of badness. While I am still worried about him, I am relieved to see him getting into trouble recently.

A few weeks ago I pulled a box out of the closet to look for something when I heard a crash. I turned around and saw Chris on the top shelf in the closet. I then looked down and saw he knocked a bunch of greeting cards and other stuff to the ground.

mess caused by bad cat chris

The commotion got the attention of Frankie who soon joined him in the closet.

cats in closet

 

Not long after this, Chris was getting into cabinets again.

cat in cabinet

 

He started low but the next time I saw him in there he moved up a couple of shelves.

cat Chris in cabinet

 

Then he was in the cabinet above the refrigerator.

cat Chris in cabinet

I still worry about Chris but at least I feel like I can worry just a little less.

 

Loss of Bedroom Privileges


I have tried to live a relatively healthy life and, except for an occasional slight issue, I have not been sick in over ten years. My concern lately was that I would be destined for an illness due to my lack of sleep caused by Chris waking me up early every morning. That hit home on Tuesday morning when I woke up with a minor sore throat.

I was planning on riding my bike to work and I feared that would be difficult with a sore throat. Fortunately I felt better after an hour or so but all day I did not feel quite right. The next morning I felt bad again and Rose insisted that we keep Chris out of the bedroom that night, which we had not done lately because she did not want to punish Puck for Chris’s bad behavior.

I set up the plastic under the door along with the brick and candles along the edges. I described this in a earlier post where I talked about how these were necessary to keep Chris from digging a hole in the carpet. In consideration for Puck, we left the door open when we went to bed. Usually, but not always, Chris can be in the bedroom with us when we go to sleep without any problems. It is at three or four o’clock that he becomes a huge pain, which is what happened on Thursday morning. Rose was nice enough to get up and throw him out and close the door. He cried for a while, dug at the plastic and scratched the door but I was actually able to sleep until 6:30, which I had not done in ages.

We left Chris and Puck with a sitter and are enjoying a couple of days, cat free, in New Smyrna Beach where I was actually able to sleep until 6:30 again. I still feel like this illness is trying to take over but it has not got me yet. I seem to feel worse when I get up in the morning and then better once I have been up for a little while. We are going home tomorrow and I really want to be better before I have to deal with Chris again. Maybe if we throw him out when he is bad he will eventually learn to stop waking me up so early. Probably not but either way, I should finally get the sleep I need.

Bad News About Abbey


I want to break from telling Chris’s story and mention that we took Abbey to the vet on Saturday. She has lost a lot of weight in a short time and has gone from overweight to underweight.

When we first noticed it we weren’t sure if we should be concerned that she was not fat anymore. She acted perfectly healthy. She even seemed more active than she had before. We found her on the counters more often as if she was learning bad habits from Chris. But the weight loss continued and we knew something was wrong.

It took a couple of days but when the test results came back it showed that she has liver failure and the prognosis is not good.

Abbey is a very sweet cat that never causes any problems and losing her would be hard on everyone. Tigger and her lay together all the time and she treats Chris like a mother. There are times when Chris will chase her around the house, jump on her and bite her neck and then five minutes later he will lay down next to her and Abbey will wash his ears.

I bought milk thistle yesterday because I read that it is used to treat liver disease. I don’t know if it will help but I don’t want to give up on her without trying something. If anyone has any other ideas that may help please leave a comment. Thanks.

Abbey in group hug with Chris and Tigger

Abbey in group hug with Chris and Tigger.

Chris disturbing Abbey's nap

Chris disturbing Abbey’s nap.