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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Rainbow tonight

Rainbow sleeping on my lap
My gorgeous Rainbow is sitting on my lap in a bed as I work tonight. I put her in the bed while I gave her fluids and she curled up and stayed there the rest of the night so far. She has all the other cats jealous. They usually take turns on my lap every evening as I work or watch TV. Tonight, they each approached and threatened to jump up but never did. I think they've all gone to bed now a little green with envy.

She seems pretty worn out and doesn't do much besides sleep but she did come down on her own to eat this evening. I'm encouraged when she eats but then I watch her struggle to get around and know that she is still very sick.

The dead tissue covering the abscessed area is starting to fall off now but I am unable to pull it off yet. I think it is connected just enough to cause her pain when I try to work it out. I guess I just need to watch her closely until it does finally come off unless we can come up with a safe way to remove it for her. I'll be calling her vet again in the morning to see if they have any new ideas.

Thanks for all your well wishes!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Rainbow's downturn

Rainbow, refusing to show her abscess
I am finding it hard to tell you about Rainbow’s condition this week. Last week she saw our veterinarian for a recheck and came home with bad news. Not only have her kidneys gotten worse, the abscess on her cheek has also resulted in a large patch of dead tissue covering her entire left cheek. We might consider surgically removing that tissue and trying to reconstruct her cheek but with her kidney disease she would probably never make it through anesthesia no matter how quickly we worked.

Over the weekend I upped her subcutaneous fluid administration to daily doses and she seemed to be pretty bright and alert. She ate a little and moved around well. However, early morning Monday she grew weak and listless. She doesn’t get around very much on her own right now and she doesn’t want to eat her cat food. I started offering her baby food and she’s happily eating that so far.

I am normally an optimistic person but am finding that hard right now. I guess, on the brighter side, she doesn’t yet have to face the nausea and vomiting that kidney failure can cause. I don’t believe she is in any pain and seems happy enough to just lie with me in bed. Her favorite “thing” is to be by my side and kneading me. Sometimes she gets so involved in it that she uses her back paws as well as her front.

So, as long as Rainbow is willing to keep eating and kneading and doesn’t fight her treatments then I’ll support her the best I can. I don’t know how long that will be but every moment is precious.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Hawkeye State Cat Club Show Follow-up

Judge Kathy Black & Abyssinian kitten
What a great cat show we had this past weekend. Even though I had to work hard to keep the staff refreshed with beverages and food all weekend I had so much fun. Working hospitality duty at a cat show gives me a chance to visit just a little with the staff, including the judges, clerks and stewards. Our entry numbers were down, most likely because of the economy, but the cats that did come were high quality. And our illustrious panel of judges had a difficult time choosing their finalists in nearly every class.

two Himalayans
Siamese giving love
I have to admit that I did take a little time off Saturday to listen to the ISU Cyclone men’s basketball game. I had such a hard time holding in my emotions as they blew away Texas A & M. My fist got away from me just once as I pounded the table and upset all the cats but I just couldn’t help it. I love Cyclone basketball.

This week’s Household Pet Class highlighted the show with a group of cats that kept all of us entertained. In one ring the finalists didn’t seem to want their ribbons or toy awards. They took turns knocking first their toys then their ribbons off of their cages and to the floor. Their hilarious antics had the spectators all laughing.
Maine Coon, not a HHP!

At times it seemed as if we were at the “Paddy and Drew show” because those two adorable brothers performed like professional entertainers. Paddy climbed up on the judge’s shoulders, Drew kissed every one of them and both boys played with every toy offered to them. Those two hams are the Midwest’s best.
Had to show this kissy picture
In the end, Fruitcake of Sazikatz a beautiful brown-patched tabby and white girl, took third place (she was from somewhere down south and her owner wasn’t quite prepared for our freezing temperatures). Her award, generously donated by Central Life Sciences, was a basket filled with Feliway products and promotional materials such as a T-shirt, toys and a scarf. I provided the basket in memory of my sweet Bluebird.

Second place went to Paddy, that loveable red tabby and white, so he took home a cute feline-designed ceramic bowl donated by Mary Jane Tesdall. Then Drew, who stole the show, took first place. That adorable black and white won his owners yet another trophy, this one donated by Roseann Davis.

We also held a cage-decorating contest and boy did those exhibitors compete.

Fourth place went to Linda Fisher’s pretty cage.
Lorelei Cauffman took third with her fancy decorations

Sueann Spinder and Terry Bierrie took second with the most “coordinated” outfit I’ve ever seen. Not only did their clothes match their decorations but also their camera and even the yarn they worked with!
But Sharon Schuetz once again did her best to capture the title of best-decorated cage incorporating our show's theme into the design (leaping for love, including frogs)
Our club does a wonderful job of working together to pull off a fun show making it look effortless, if I do say so myself. Next year why not add our show to your show schedule. We will be celebrating “Meowdi Gras” February 9 & 10, 2013. Hope to see you there! (I’ll bet Paddy and Drew will be there to keep us in stitches again)

I just had to show you these pictures of a cat that really loves to be groomed (sorry they are so fuzzy)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Hawkeye State Cat Club Cat Show

Paddy, 2011
Hawkeye State Cat Club, Inc. Cat Show
Over 200 Purebred and Household Pet Cats
Eight Judges
February 11-12, 2012
Palace Theatre, Adventureland Park
305—34th Ave, NW, Altoona

Selkirk Rex
10:00—5:00 Saturday
9:00— 3:00 Sunday
$5.00 Adults
$4.00 Seniors &
Children 5—12
Under 5 Free
$10.00 Family
Maine Coon

Meet the Breeds
Many “Pet Me” Cats
Representing A Variety of Breeds

Mulberry Spot
Mulberry Spot and Gooseberry

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Rainbow Update

 (Sorry, these pictures are all pre-digital so I had to scan them in, yuck!)
Rainbow is now in end-stage renal failure. She was not doing very well over the weekend, grew weaker and weaker, wobbly and spacey. Each time she ate she would have this one spot on her cheek covered with gravy and/or food that she couldn’t clean off herself so I had to help.

Lady Butterfly & Rainbow
This morning I watched her eat and realized that she had trouble manipulating the food in her mouth. Upon closer examination I found that the same spot that had been getting dirty at mealtimes now had an open wound on it. When I cleaned it off I realized that her entire cheek was swollen.

One of her veterinarians discovered that it was an abcess as I’d suspected but it had opened up on the inside of her mouth. Poor baby! It must be so sore. Even worse than that, when he took her temperature he found some black, tarry feces on the thermometer. Even though I’d been watching her closely I hadn’t seen any change in her bowel movements. I felt so bad.

Twygal & Hobby
So, now Rainbow is on antibiotics, antacids, fluids and an appetite stimulant. I’m trying to spend as much time with her as I can but her instinct right now is to hide.
Ozma as a baby

I was thinking back to Rainbow’s relatives and had to “Hmh” at the irony. Rainbow’s mom, Hobby died from complications from a pheochromocytoma, a really strange tumor. Her brother, Little Boy, and her aunt, Effie, both died of complications from diabetes. Mouse, her other aunt suffered from mesothelioma. Her cousin, Aztec died from cholangiohepatitis and her sister, Ozma died from multiple myeloma. I was beginning to think my cats could only get unusual diseases but now Rainbow has CRF, a growing epidemic in older cats.
Aztec & Mouse

It will be difficult to attend my club’s local cat show this weekend and celebrate Valentine’s Day all the time knowing what Rainbow is going through. I know I won’t be too terribly outgoing this time around. But at least I’ll be around people who know what I’m going through.

Please keep Rainbow in your thoughts this week.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Twygal tonight

Twygal, last fall

While I'm still trying write my next kitten entry (it's hard to write about losing them) I thought I'd share a new gimmick Twygal is developing. Watching her bounce around like she is helps me handle Rainbow's illness a little better.

She's been feeling so good lately that she's running around getting into all kinds of trouble, like a kitten would. The last couple of nights she has been going after my "pariah" cat, Meadow, but not with a lot of conviction. Tonight, however, as Meadow tried to melt into a pile of Beanies, Twygal kept jumping at her from below. She'd slap and Meadow would slap then Twygal would get down. Then they'd repeat the whole thing. Twygal really seems to be getting a kick out of this new game.

As long as no one is getting hurt, Twygal is declawed and Meadow is not, I'll let Twygal keep up the act. It's so heartening to see her enjoying life again.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Novartis Notice and drug shortages

Novartis has announced that certain pet medications may be improperly packaged. The wrong tablets may be in the wrong packaging. Here is the link.

This notice concerns Clomicalm. This comes in the wake of another announcement about a similar problem with human meds, especially opiates and common meds such aspirin and pain relievers.

On a related note you may have heard about drug shortages. For some reason many medications have been back-ordered indefinitely. You should check this link to find out if any meds you or your pet require are on the list. If they are check with your pharmacist, doctor and/or veterinarian about substitutes or other ways to protect yourself or your pet. Some of these drugs are needed for serious conditions so be proactive to protect your heath.

NOTE: This post has been corrected. Clomicalm is the only medication mentioned in the Novartis announcement.

Twygal recovering

While I continue to worry about Rainbow and her battle with kidney disease, I am happy to report that Twygal is doing much better. She battled IBD for a long time while we tried to figure out what was causing her terrible diarrhea but this week she seems to be telling me that she feels wonderful.

She was born in '94, just 6 months after Rainbow so she is my next most senior girl. She is one crazy tortie too. She can be sweet and loving one minute and down-right vicious the next but she's almost never threatened me. I say almost because one time she did bite me but that was because she'd seen a very large Siberian Husky for the first time while she was outside in a strange place. Her first instinct was "flight" but since I held her tightly she had to bite me to get away. Of course, that meant a regimen of antibiotics for me but it didn't ruin our relationship.

Twygal's most frequent affectation is redirected aggression. I was a real meany at times early on because it was so funny to see her reaction. I would pet her roughly at the base of her tail and point her in the direction of one of the other cats. When she'd had enough she would explode AT the other cat like a missile chasing him or her far away. Yes, she's also one of those who can't be petted for long without reacting.

These last couple of years, however, she has been rather solemn, not playing or even wanting attention. She sometimes slept in my bed with me but mostly just slept all day and night only getting up to eat and perform other "essential" duties. These last couple of weeks have been completely different.

Twygal is now so much like her younger self it is almost scary. She has been coming to me for attention, wanting to be petted and hugged. She talks to me, like a Siamese would, just like she did in earlier times. And she plays! She just seems so happy - and so am I. Now if we could just get Rainbow back to her former self.

New Cancer Research Benefits Pets and their People

Scientists are now developing a registry for pets, especially dogs, with various forms of cancer that will link them with research studies on that type of cancer. The thought is that by treating pets with the experimental drugs and/or treatments we will come up with new treatments sooner. Note that the safety of these drugs/treatments will still go through rigorous safety studies in research mice before they reach the stage where they are used in pets. Dog and cat responses are much closer to those of humans so researchers believe this to be a more accurate way to develop treatments for use in humans and their pets. Read more about this idea here.

What do you think of this idea? Do you think it will be beneficial? Would you be willing to participate if your pet needed a new drug or treatment for cancer? I'd like to hear what you think.