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Saturday, February 29, 2020


We are once again joining the Kitties Blue at Cat On My Head for the Sunday Selfies today. Please visit the other blogs joining in on the fun, after this one, of course.

No, she doesn't want her photo taken
I’ve noticed a shift in the personalities of several of my cats since my “experience.” Glitter (19), normally calm and unflappable, has gotten noticeably nervous and panicky when visitors are present. She is blind so in her panic she forgets where she is and runs into things trying to get away from the sound of strangers in her house. Gooseberry (12) and B.W. Huckleberry (12) have gotten braver and braver about coming down to visit the strangers. B.W. even let one health care worker pet him!

She decided to hide her face
The most surprising and perhaps the most radical change I’ve noticed has been in Miss Misty Meadow (20). Meadow was born a feral kitten. I watched her grow up and have a litter of feral kittens, one of whom was Glitter. Even after I caught her and brought her inside, she maintained a feral streak, allowing me to pet her and treat her when necessary but not allowing much more.

Okay, so now she'll look up for only a second
Gradually she became more comfortable with visitors. She never did hide, choosing to stay in her cat bed in the living room. But now she is underfoot when anyone comes and even sneaks outside with them. She has also, in the last couple of days, decided that it is all right to be a lap cat! Tonight, she jumped on my lap and allowed me to cover her with a blanket as I watched the news. She even fell asleep in this position. Meadow has chosen a life of domestication in her elder years.

Time to get back to her nap
So, I guess something good has become of this whole ordeal. Now I have help in my recovery from a surprising front.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Emergencies and Change

I hadn’t yet fallen nor had I injured my hip in an accident. Even so, there I was with a broken hip and falling slowly to my office floor. Just like that, the world changed for my cats. Strangers were coming into the house leaving food and water and I was gone for three days. When I returned, I brought with me strange equipment and stranger smells.

Looking back, I see now that Two-y was suffering from kidney disease for some time before my hospitalization. His appetite had decreased, I thought he was being finicky, so I kept trying different foods. He was drinking a lot of water and urinating a lot. And he’d lost a little weight. But it wasn’t until I got back from the hospital that it hit me – he was sick. It made me sick. Had he even eaten while I was gone? Now you know, he’s gone, and I feel so guilty and lost.

As for the other cats, they tend to hide upstairs when anyone else visits. Except for Meadow. She’s tough and the downstairs is her territory. Four cats are supposed to be on special diets for various conditions but that didn’t, and couldn’t, happen for three days.

Finally, I returned and had to deal with the aftermath of my surgery and get things back to normal for the cats. I cleared away any leftover food and the feeders and started them back to their regular schedule within an hour. Not everyone showed up right away but eventually I had accounted for all of them. The rest of the cats were, thankfully, doing okay and adjusted to my equipment (crutches).

Now, I just have to get used to an absence so glaring. I have many very good, caring friends helping me through my days. I haven’t even had time to grieve, but it will come. In time. For now, I still see Two-y sleeping in his cubby hole or on the dog bed. Or I expect him to be sitting in the middle of the living room and me making my special hand gesture to let him know everything is okay. He was very insecure but when I made that gesture he relaxed and started purring. I miss that purr. That very loud, loving purr. I miss my feral boy.
We're joining The Cat On My Head for Sunday Selfies today. Please visit the following sites and join in the jump.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020


My very first picture of Two-y
I'm taking this midweek moment to announce that Two-y is gone. He became ill while I was in the hospital and really went down hill these last couple of days. His kidneys failed and he was fighting a severe infection.

I can only hang onto the knowledge that at least his last year was spent indoors, not outside fighting the elements, other cats and other creatures. He was probably 17 years old but we'll never know for sure.

I'm going to miss you buddy. Hope you are running free now. Whatever is left of my heart has broken into tiny little pieces. I love you Two-y.
My last photo of Two-y

Sunday, February 16, 2020


I’ve been in the hospital this week so I don’t have an article for you. Instead, here’s Gooseberry’s selfie for the week

He's been pretty upset by my absence and the presence of strangers in his house but he's better now that I'm home. Hopefully we'll be back to normal soon. 

We're joining the Cat On My Head for Sunday Selfies today.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Feline Infectious Peritonitis

It has been seven years since I lost my 16-year old, Cutie-Q (Question) to feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), so I thought it was a good time to write about FIP once again. Researchers have learned so much about the disease in the last seven years, enough to believe that soon it may not be a death sentence anymore.

It all starts with the feline enteric coronavirus (FECV). Hold your hats folks, I’m going to throw around a bunch of acronyms. A lot of cats have the FECV, maybe 40% or more, and rarely show any symptoms. They may, at first, have a little diarrhea but most otherwise healthy cats/kittens don’t have any other signs. FECV is easily spread between cats through communal grooming and shared litter boxes. Then, something causes the FECV to mutate into the feline infectious peritonitis virus (FIPV). Thus, the name is a misnomer for FIPV doesn’t seem to be very infectious. It could be stress of some sort, like that found in some multicat households, or an illness, or a change in their lives that causes the mutation.

In any case, FIPV develops quickly into the disease, FIP. However, there are two types of FIP, the wet form and the dry form. Most cats that develop FIPV get the wet, or effusive form. It leads to fluid accumulation in various body cavities such as the abdomen or chest cavity. The dry or non-effusive form involves severe inflammation in one or more organs. Once either form of the disease develops, the cat deteriorates quickly.

The real difficulty lies in the fact that it is hard to diagnose FIP in a living cat. There are no specific tests to run for a diagnosis. Your veterinarian would have to rely on symptoms to diagnose the disease. Likewise, there are no curative treatments for FIP. Some drugs may slow the disease, and some may provide relief from the symptoms but so far there is no cure.

Q, one day, decided to stop eating. That was a shock to me because he’d always had a good appetite and tried to steal food from the other cats. I thought nothing of it the first day but when it continued, I took him to the veterinarian. We ran the usual bloodwork but nothing obvious came of it. Every day he grew more despondent and his belly grew. Strange, considering he wasn’t eating. Soon, way too soon, he was no longer the Q I remembered and loved. I wasn’t admitting to myself, but I knew in my heart, that he had the wet form of FIP and was dying. It all happened in a matter of days and my Cutie-Q was gone.

Ongoing research is promising though. Researchers have discovered a specific antiviral that has worked in controlled studies but that antiviral may also work against Ebola. Because of this it may not be available for animal use. Someday we will have a cure for FIP, and cats will no longer suffer as Question did. Until that day, I pray that the researchers continue to have success with their studies.

We're joining The Cat On My Head for Sunday Selfies though we are only using old photos of Question rather than any of my present cats.

Have you had any cats with FIP? How old were they? Were you able to try any treatments? I’d like to hear what your experience(s) were.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

BW on Cold Weather

B.W. Huckleberry decided to contribute a selfie this week along with the Kitties Blue at The Cat On My Head for Sunday Selfies. He and his housemates love covering all of my registers in the winter. You’d think it was cold in here. . . it is too!

At least we are out of those frigid temps we had earlier this month. It looks like we’ll be having normal temps for the foreseeable future. And the snow has stopped after three straight days of it.
Yay! I’m thankful that Two-y is no longer outside.

I should give you a couple of updates. First, Two-y went in for his one-year check-up last week and passed muster. He was even a very good boy for his rabies vaccination. His veterinarian commented on his teeth. Because he’s still getting used to being a housecat I haven’t been brushing his teeth and they are very dirty. Guess it’s time to do that now.

Second, I’ve been delinquent in telling you all how Mulberry Spot has been doing. Well, I’m happy to report that he is doing very well. He’s been on the budesonide for quite some time now and has only had one incident of diarrhea. He’s eating very well and not vomiting. I even caught him eating some of Two-y’s food one day and spent the day waiting for him to vomit. But he never did! He’s still on his Ultamino though. I hate the thought of going back to his daily vomiting sessions.

Well, Happy Sunday Selfies!

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Second Gotcha Day

Of course we are joining The Cat On My Head for Sunday Selfies. The highlight today is on Two-y, my newest, and yet not new, family member.

Today is the first anniversary of Two-y’s second gotcha day! Last year at this time he broke my heart standing out in the frigid cold shivering and alternating holding up one paw at a time. I just had to bring him inside. But let’s go back a few years so I can tell you how it all started.

I may have told this story before so I apologize if you’ve heard it but here goes: Two-y showed up one day with three other cats. Two were obviously female because they were a calico and a tortoiseshell. The other two had male characteristics but were black and white tuxies. I could tell right away they were feral because they were extremely wary of me but also very hungry.

I started feeding them on my front porch. As a group they were my third colony. After a couple of weeks, with winter winding down, I decided I should take responsibility for them and get them all neutered. I began the TNR procedures.

I caught them all in a matter of a few days. The females were both full-term in their pregnancies so I set up two very large cages for them to deliver in. They settled in and within a week of each other delivered nine kittens between them. I took the males in to have them neutered and vaccinated. The cat, who would be Two-y, was labeled as Stray number two. After an overnight recovery in my home I released them but continued to feed them regularly.

Stray number one disappeared after a time but Two-y stuck around. There were times when he didn’t show up for food and that always worried me but he eventually returned. Finally, after 11 years, Two-y began to warm up to me. It started when he would touch his nose to my finger before I fed him. Then I started holding my hand over him without him running away. Soon I was able to pet him but I still had the feeling that he wouldn’t appreciate any more.

Then came the frigid temperatures we had last year and I just couldn’t take it anymore. He came up one day shivering violently and constantly picking up one foot after another. That had to be the day. I brought a carrier out and set it beside him with the door open. He didn’t budge so I went ahead and stroked his fur. He still didn’t budge. Something told me that it would be okay to scoot him in so I did it. I put my hand beneath him and moved him gently into the carrier and shut the door.

So once again I set up one of the cages and placed the carrier inside it. He’d already been through enough so I just removed the top of the carrier and placed a towel in the bottom. He eventually moved onto the towel and made himself at home.

We went through my routine for introducing new cats into my family. I took him in for vaccinations, FeLV/FIV testing and fecal check (for intestinal worms) then kept him isolated in the cage for 60 days. Before releasing him into the household I rechecked him for worms and FeLV/FIV. He was clear of both and I moved him into another cage in the living room. Only one of my other cats complained about him but after 60 days of smelling him the rest of them didn’t even seem to notice him.

He spent some time in that cage before I opened the door and he made his way out in his own time. We’re still working out the feeding location and Gooseberry is still not happy but otherwise Two-y is part of the family. Every day he takes another step toward being a normal domestic cat.