Tag Archives: illness

Goodbye, Pumpkin


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.

Pumpkin the cat
Pumpkin
cat pumpkin on my lap
cat pumpkin on my lap

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.

More Health Issues for Chris


Chris will be ten in a few months and up until recently, he never went to the vet for a health issue. I think the first time was from an eye infection that Floki passed on to Frankie and Chris when we adopted Floki a couple of years ago. The next visit was a couple of weeks ago after The Catfight of the Century. Last week I reported that Chris had a cold. By the end of the week the sneezing and sniffling had mostly ended but then the vomiting started. All weekend Chris ate very little but threw up a lot. I called the vet first thing Monday morning and made an appointment for him that afternoon.

When we arrived there was a women there with a small dog that looked somewhat like a Pomeranian but not exactly. This dog was a major barker. She barked at me when we came in and then she discovered Chris in his carrier and started barking at him. I was annoyed so I can imagine how Chris felt. She did bring the dog outside for a couple of minutes but then brought her back in and the barking continued. Thankfully, we got ushered into an exam room before too long.

I immediately opened the door and let Chris out.

The vet tech then came in and asked several questions about Chris and then weighed him. He weighed 17.3 pounds. Down from 18 pounds two weeks ago.

The vet came in and asked several of the same questions and examined Chris. He couldn’t immediately tell what was causing the vomiting but he did point out that Chris’s teeth were inflamed and he would need to have his teeth cleaned and probably some would need to be extracted. He also said he had an ear infection. This was a different vet than the last one who also saw the problem with Chris’s ears. That vet cleaned his ears but she didn’t offer a plan to get rid of the problem.

I vaguely remember shortly after we adopted Chris a vet told us some cats are prone to these ear polyps and indicated there wasn’t much that could be done about them but gave us a cleaner for them. Since then we have been cleaning Chris’s ears periodically. I told the vet that the other vet said that it couldn’t be cured but this vet said that wasn’t true. I did just look it up and the first thing I read said it could only be cured with surgery so perhaps Chris has something different.

The vet wanted to do the same blood test over again and a couple of other tests along with a test on his ear bugs. I didn’t understand everything he was saying but I do remember one test was related to his pancreas. He left the room to work up a plan, so we waited.

After a while someone came in with a plan and I decided against paying for more blood tests that we just took. I did agree to the other tests and I said it was okay to give him a shot for nausea but I did not want to bring home pills for that. I have personally experienced cats going downhill after starting medication so I like to keep that to what is absolutely necessary. I did get a medication for Chris’s ears. If the vet is right and this could cure him then I think it is worth a try.

I asked if they could clean his ears and give him the first round of ear drops while they were doing their tests and they agreed. They took Chris away and it wasn’t long before I heard loud sounds of a cat in distress coming from the other room. The tech came back in with Chris a minute or two later and said they were only able to clean one ear and didn’t put in the medication because Chris was resisting too much. They sad they would clean his ears when he came in for the teeth cleaning.

We waited around for a little longer, for what, I don’t know.

We were then cleared to send the vet’s kids to college pay our bill. I did that and brought Chris home. I forgot to make an appointment for his teeth so I called and made it for next Wednesday.

When I got home I let Chris out of his carrier outside. I figured I would do something good for him after what he went through.

Rose was upset that I didn’t make an appointment for his teeth this week but the vet wanted to give him time to feel better. Plus all the test results are not back yet. Despite that, Chris has eaten almost nothing since returning yesterday so Rose called the vet to try to get him in as soon as possible. We are waiting for a call back from the vet who is probably in surgery this morning.

Rose’s sister, Felice, works for a vet and the two of them talked about Chris last night. Felice said that at ten years old Chris would be considered a geriatric cat and these teeth issues are quite common in older cats. I thought it was not uncommon for cats to live fifteen years or more so geriatric seems a bit premature to me. At least I hope it is. I do understand why these teeth issues are common though.

Some people believe that dry food is good for a cat’s teeth. Even the vet said so when I said I would need to try harder to get Chris off the dry food after his teeth are gone. He said dry food is good for their teeth. I don’t believe that. I think what is good for a cat’s teeth is what nature intended, chewing on bone. Unfortunately, since our cats don’t eat live mice, their opportunity to chew on bones is virtually non-existent. I suppose I could give them raw chicken wings (cooked bones are dangerous) but they have become such dainty eaters that I don’t think they could handle it.

I won’t lie, I am worried about Chris. I know anytime you give someone anesthesia there is a risk. I also know he will be given antibiotics which will kill off his good bacteria and cause problems down the road. I did order probiotics for cats so hopefully that will help when the time comes. In the meantime, I will try to look on the bright side and hope this is the beginning of Chris getting better, not worse.

The Cycle of Sickness


Our cats have been sick since we introduced Floki to the group. He didn’t show signs of being sick when we got him but I guess that is one lesson we learned the hard way.

I can’t blame Floki for everything though. There are two separate illnesses going around. One is an eye infection, which I think is Pink Eye. That is probably from Floki, but the other is sneezing, which Frankie had before we met Floki.

It started with Frankie getting an eye infection while Floki caught the sneezes. The eye trouble then spread to Puck who had it in both eyes but was spared the sneezing. Chris then had a slight case of the sniffles but he never got very sick.

Chris, dispute his weight, has never been very sick. In fact, unlike Puck and Frankie, he has never been given steroids or antibiotics, which all vets love to dish out like candy. I guess that is because Chris has never been to the vet for anything except vaccinations. Maybe that is why he doesn’t normally get sick.

Puck got better and is fine now. Frankie got a little  better but then the eye infection and sneezing came back. Now it’s Chris turn. He is not only sneezing but he has the eye infection too.

Bad Cat Chris with eye infection

Saturday, My wife was sitting on the bet with her laptop while Chris was lying next to he. Suddenly, Chris sneezed an abundance of snot her way. It got all over her and her laptop. All I heard was a lot of yelling and Rose running to the bathroom to take an “emergency” shower.

The most concerning thing happened Sunday morning. Frankie was on top of the refrigerator while I was in the kitchen doing chores.  Rose came out and noticed one of Frankie’s eyes was very dilated. That was not normal and very concerning.
20160821_Frankie-bad-eye

The first thought was to bring him to the vet but it was Sunday so that wasn’t an option. I did a little research and there are many different causes of that. We decided to give him a day to see if it got any better.

This morning it is slightly better, perhaps ten percent. Not much but it means there is hope. We will continue to monitor Frankie’s eye very closely and if it does not continue to improve, we will have to bring him to the vet.

 

Four Sick Cats


Our house has been turned upside-down lately with all the illnesses going around. I don’t know how it started. Frankie has been sneezing for several months. We even took him to the vet for it back in April but he never really got better. I thought it might be an allergy but it persisted through an entire season.

Floki had a slight eye infection when we got him and a day or two later I noticed him sneezing like Frankie. About a week or so after that, Frankie also had an eye infection, but his was worse than Floki’s ever was, at least since he has been with us. If that wasn’t bad enough, Frankie started sneezing more and had snot coming out of his nose.

We brought Frankie to the vet on Friday and they gave him antibiotics and eye medicine. The next morning he still looked bat but now he was sneezing up blood. I am not a fan of antibiotics but since that is what he got we wanted to give it a few days to see if it would start working.

Also during the weekend, Puck developed an eye infection so we started putting Frankie’s eye medication on both Puck and Flokie as well as Frankie. Chris was the only one who seemed unaffected… until yesterday.

Yesterday morning I heard Chris sneeze a couple of times. That was disappointing because Chris is our rock. He rarely gets sick, probably because he has never had antibiotics or steroids. Those things will really mess with your natural immune system.

By last night, Frankie still looked pretty bad.

20160718_Cats_2267 Frankie

My new job is working for a company that makes natural herbal health products. One of the things they sell is colloidal silver. I thought maybe I could pick up a bottle of that and it would be a good natural treatment for not only the eyes but it can also be taken internally to help treat the sneezing.

Unfortunately, things got worse overnight. Frankie spent the entire night sleeping on the rug by the side door. When we got up the next morning, the door was spattered with Frankie’s blood.

20160719_Cats_2268 blood on door

So Rose decided to call the vet when they opened at 7:30 and was able to get an 8:20 appointment. I had a chiropractor appointment so I was not able to go.

Later, Rose told me that “they just filled him with lots of drugs,” or something to that effect. She said they gave him steroids, antibiotics, antihistamine and probably anything else that was profitable for them. She did say Frankie gave them a very hard time when they tried to get a pill in him. Can you blame him?

So far this pat week Frankie has cost us $500 and they want to see both him and Floki on Friday for vaccinations. Rose’s sister says that Floki got some of his shots but not all. I don’t know what he is missing but I would very much prefer that both of them NOT get anymore shots.

When I got home from work, Rose said she was worried about Chris because he was very lethargic all day. He stayed in one spot on the cat tree, never coming down to eat, drink or use the litter box. He did come down when I got home and I tried feeding him wet food but he wasn’t interested. I decided it might do him some good to eat grass so I let him outside for awhile.

He went straight for the grass like I knew he would.

20160719_185022 Chris

I think that revived him a bit because he suddenly became adventurous and went around to the other side of the house.

20160719_190239 Chris

By this time he seemed much more perky an ventured into the neighbor’s carport. That is when I picked him up and brought him home.

By the way, I did buy the colloidal silver but things are complicated with all the medications we have. So we will put Floki’s eye medicine on Floki, Frankies’s medication on Frankie, and Caeser will get what is Caeser’s. Wait… I mean Puck will get the silver, and we shall see what happens.

 

Related Posts:

Meet Floki, Our Newest Addition

Meet Floki, Part 2

Another Vet Visit For Frankie

Frankie Update

Two Sick Cats


Bad Cat ChrisChris has been sick for almost a week now. By that I mean he has been sneezing a lot. Other than that he seems fine, which is why I thought he was having an allergic reaction to something that is in season now. I no longer think that because Puck started sneezing yesterday and, as far as I know, allergies are not contagious.

It seems Puck may be more affected by this cold (if that is what it is) than Chris is. This morning he got on the bed before I was quite finished making it and lied down where I needed to put the last pillow. I decided to leave him there and let him rest, which he did until we were almost ready to leave for work. That is when Chris jumped on the bed and started bothering him.

“Chris,” Rose scolded, “Leave Puck alone. He doesn’t feel good.” I had to remind her that Chris was sick too but she pointed out that Chris was tougher than the average cat and I couldn’t argue about that. Hopefully they will both get over this soon. I will have to keep a close eye on them and make sure they don’t get worse.

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.