About two weeks ago we were driving out of our neighborhood when we noticed an old couple outside with a couple of pet stairs that they labeled “free.” I stopped and mentioned that I had an older cat that might benefit from them. She said that she had them for her cat. I assumed the cat died but I didn’t pursue it.
I have been unsure about Chris’s capabilities lately. When I am sitting at my computer he scratches at my legs to get me to pick him up. He used to just jump on my lap but that ship sailed over a year ago. He also scratches at my legs or cries at me when I am sitting on the sofa, even though I know he can jump onto the sofa when I am not there.
In the bedroom, he jumps onto the footboard and then continues up from there. It is usually one fluid motion but lately, he seems to struggle to get onto the bed. He looks like someone who has slid off a cliff and is trying to pull himself back up.
I thought the stairs would be a big help so I put one in the bedroom and one in the living room next to the sofa. He didn’t use it at first and I had to put him on it a couple of times but he soon got the hang of it. I originally had it in front of my nightstand but my wife feared I would trip over it at night so she pushed the nightstand over and put it where it is now in the photo.
Having it this way does make more sense. It also means that Chris has to stop at the top and turn before getting on the bed but he quickly got the hang of that.
The stairs by the sofa are another story. Chris never used them and would either just jump onto the sofa or ask me to pick him up. I decided instead to put them next to my office chair. My hope was that he would climb the stairs to get on my lap.
So far he has never attempted to climb those stairs. He always just scratches my legs until I pick him up. They aren’t totally useless though. When I have to get up I sort of guide him to the stairs as I stand up. He then walks down the stairs and follows me, hoping this will be the time I will open the container of kibble.
I guess this is our reality now. Chris is not getting any younger or any lighter and I don’t expect that to change, although it would be helpful if I could get him to lose a few 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.
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.
We just returned from a week-long cruise on Saturday. We were supposed to go to the Virgin Islands but a hurricane forced us to different ports, but that is another story. By the time the cruise was over, we were more than ready to get home to see our boys.
We had no phone service for a week so we had to trust that our cats were being taken care of. Service returned Saturday morning when we arrived at Port Canaveral but we had no messages from the cat sitter. After we finally left the ship, Rose got a text from our backup cat sitter with a photo of each of the cats but no real explanation as to why she was there. At least we knew they were okay, that is all we cared about. We learned later that our cat-sitter had to go out of town that morning and just missed one visit.
When we got home Chris, Puck and Frankie were waiting for us at the door. It was like we had never left. They were happy to see us and wanted me to open a can of food for them right away. Even thought it wasn’t dinnertime, I couldn’t say no. I thought there was a small chance that at least one of them would be angry with us for leaving them but that didn’t happen.
Later I noticed that Chris had gained weight while we were gone. I have been concerned lately because he has plumped up a bit and I have tried to cut back on the dry food that I leave out. Chris does not eat enough of the wet food because he is addicted to the dry food. I have been slowly reducing his dry food in an attempt to reverse that problem, but my fear that something might happen to the cat-sitter promoted me to put out a gravity feeder in addition to their regular bowls.
Fat Cat Chris
Well, Chris seemed to take advantage of that. As I saw him lying on the floor like a beached whale, I petted his belly and said something about his weight gain. He didn’t like that. He growled and tried to bite me. I tried talking to him to calm him down but he kept growling at me so I just left him alone. Later he came and lied on my lap like nothing happened.
He also wasted no time in getting on the counter to beg for kitty treats and catnip. I guess everything is back to normal.