Mercury Rising 鳯女

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Friday Cat Blogging

Posted by MEC on November 16, 2012

“What does ‘make the bed’ mean?”

Friday Cat Blogging

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30 Responses to “Friday Cat Blogging”

  1. Charles II said

    Caption: You poor thing. Can I help you fix that hair?

    (inspired by Alex’s absolutely perfect grooming)

  2. Stormcrow said

    Don’t think he’s doing a “sit-in” on the bedspread.

    When mine do that, they don’t sit up the way Alex is doing. Instead, they spread into a vaguely cat-shaped semifluid blob that’s harder to move than the same volume of pure neutronium.

    • MEC said

      Oh, he’s definitely doing a sit-in on the bed (on the sheets — he got there before I’d finished making the bed). Sometimes he does a sprawl, sometimes he does a croissant, but he must get onto the bed when I’m changing the sheets.

      I’m actually glad he’s back to hindering the bed-making. He’d stopped doing it after he got sick, so seeing him hindering is reassurance that he’s back to normal.

      • Stormcrow said

        I know how that works.

        I just brought Sweety Girl home from a trip to the vet. A trip that was enforced by the “whatever it is” that’s wrong with her. High water intake, dehydration, weight loss, and other things a layman won’t see.

        Won’t learn the results of the blood work until tomorrow at earliest. But the vet was worried, so I am.

        But the really scary thing was the absence of fight she displayed about the cat carrier. She didn’t like it, but OTOH, I’m not a candidate for a transfusion myself. If she were anything close to healthy, I’d give odds I would be. She just walked in.

        And when I got her home, the very first things she did after exit were to run her tail up to full mast, purr faintly, and start head-bumping me.

      • Charles II said

        Here’s wishing for good news, Stormcrow.

      • Oh, poor Sweety Girl! (And poor human of Sweety Girl!)

    • He’s doing a “why are you making the bed when you could be holding me?” pose. Note how easy he’s making it for the catstaff to scoop him up and give him snuggles, or even drape him over the shoulder whilst making the bed.

  3. Stormcrow said

    Something, most likely a recent and highly aggressive infection, has hammered both of her kidneys.

    She’s at the veterinary hospital now, and will be for at least 3 days. They’re trying to halt the infection. Even if this succeeds, her kidney function cannot be expected to return to status quo ante. What’s already lost will stay lost. The best possible result will be that she’ll emerge stable, and will retain what kidney function she has now.

    Given the fact that I’ve been through kidney problems before with previous cats, my layman’s guess is that her chances of getting past this crisis alive are less than 50/50.

  4. Stormcrow said

    Got the news from the vet yesterday, after the results of Friday morning’s blood work came back.

    The vet was hoping it was merely a kidney infection, and as such, largely recoverable, but no such luck. It’s CRF.

    Brought Sweety Girl home home about half an hour ago. She’ll be on 3 prescription meds, but the big open question is: will she tolerate subcutaneous rehydration?

    That’s the first, best treatment option, but it needs to be done multiple times per week; it won’t fly in clinic-based care. It has to be done at home, by laymen.

    Voyager coped with this well once I found a procedure that wouldn’t cause him to lose control, but his head was wired differently from hers. They both understand medical pain. I now have some clear-cut evidence that Sweety Girl does; in several situations, and is capable of self-control. The real question is, can I figure out a protocol that’ll stay within her threshold of self-control throughout the procedure?

    Cats, like humans, have a threshold of self-control. If the applied stress exceeds that threshold, they’ll freak out sure as hell, just like a chain will snap if you load it past its structural strength. But it’s different for different individuals, and it’s also largely situational. Change the environment and you change that threshold.

    If I can dose her with 150 cc of saline under her skin three times a week, there’s a good chance that whatever eventually kills her won’t be CRF. CRF usually kills by dehydration, like cholera does. If you can keep that under control, the cat will be in a holding pattern.

    Voyager went through more than 2 years of subcutaneous rehydration. He eventually succumbed to a progressive anemia whose root cause we never did manage to nail down. But his kidney disease wasn’t implicated.

    • Charles II said

      You have enormous compassion to be able to do this, Stormcrow.

      Prayers for peace and self-control for Sweety Girl.

    • Sweety Girl, what your human’s about to start doing to you will seem strange and nasty, but if you pay close attention you will notice that after he does it, you will immediately feel better and stay that way for a couple of days. When you start to feel bad again, he’ll do the strange thing again and you’ll feel better. ((((purrrrr))))

  5. Stormcrow said

    Took her to the vet again. when her appetite seemed to tank. Experience has taught me that’s a big red flag for an old cat or a known-sick cat.

    Different vet, the one who treated Sweety Girl is out sick herself. The stand-in struck me as very smart.

    SG’s diagnosis, from last week’s blood work alone, is grave enough for some vets to advise immediate euthanasia. But the difference between individual cats is the “error bar”, and it overwhelms the “data” of the blood work.

    She probably won’t be here this time next year. But she could be.

    But she didn’t seem in nearly as bad a shape as her blood work implied, to the vet I saw this evening. Her body weight is so close to stable that the difference is swamped by normal fluctuations. Her gums aren’t abscessed, which usually accompanies a ‘fourth stage kidney disease’ diagnosis . In fact, they’re reasonably healthy. And she’s mentally alert.

    The weight stability tends to give the lie to a “zero appetite” hypothesis. If she’s filching from Graymouse’s dry food after I leave for work or sack out … And that behavior would not surprise me if she was healthy. Graymouse doesn’t eat as much because he spends 95% of his time zonked unconscious on his chair. He’s overweight as it is. While a healthy Sweety Girl practically bounces off walls, and is more than aggressive enough to eat out of Graymouse’s bowl when he’s not there.

    Meanwhile, SG is doing things like walking into the cat carrier for a trip we both know will stress her out sure as hell. And I watched while she stood for 150 CCs of saline under her scruff. Like Voyager, she’d have preferred to be doing something else. But she coped.

    That wasn’t administered by a layman. But the more I observe, the more reason I think there is for some cautious short-term optimism.

    • MEC said

      I’m thinking good thoughts for you and Sweety Girl. I hope your cautious short-term optimism stretches into long-term reason for optimism.

  6. Stormcrow said

    The last week has been a real no-fooling adventure.

    Adventure. Heh. Excitement. Heh. A Jedi craves not these things.

    I’m still not having any real success getting the meds into her. I don’t know how that’s going to resolve.

    I grappled with the issue of subcutaneous fluids Monday. It got ugly. Bottom line: Sweety Girl won’t tolerate this voluntarily, period, end of sentence.

    So I took her in to the vet again, Tuesday, and got two items:

    (1) A careful demonstration of how an experienced vet tech does this. Two hands: one for the line and the other for the cat. Hold the cat by the scruff, high up, right behind her head. The idea is, she won’t have enough room to be able to get her head around and snap at you. The other hand sticks in the needle, then starts and stops the line. This made sense, but I don’t like to underestimate a novice’s ability to screw up, either.

    (2) So the second item was one of those plastic conical collars. It’s small enough so Sweety Girl can wear it inside the carrier, but long enough to significantly restrict her options when she tries to bolt or bite.

    I now know I can administer 150 cc of saline myself, without possibility of available aid.

    Sweety Girl isn’t cooperating, to put it mildly. But the jobs gets done nonetheless. Albeit with application of some pure brute force. Takes about 5-10 minutes.

    30 seconds out of the cat carrier and she’s purring. Any other cat would be hotter than a 2 dollar pistol for the next two hours. Go figure.

    Still working on the issue of the meds. *sigh*

    • Charles II said

      Prayers for you and your Sweety Girl, Stormcrow.

    • If we could only do a mind-meld with your kitty, Stormie: “See Sweety, this is to help you! Notice how good you feel when it’s done?”

    • MEC said

      Catloaves for you and Sweety Girl. I live in dread that someday I’ll have to try to administer subQ fluids. A quick injection is surprisingly easy (I gave Lightfoot weekly vitamin B shots), but if I ever have to hold Alex still long enough to get fluids into him, it’s going to be an ordeal for both of us. So you have all my sympathy, and my admiration for managing to do it.

      • Stormcrow said

        If worst comes to worst, put him in a cat carrier with an openable top, That way, “holding him still” can drop down in your list of priorities, to somewhere near bottom.

        This has worked with two of my cats to date: Voyager, and Sweety Girl. Although Voyager was much more of a gentleman about the whole business.

        Sweety Girl crouches back, towards the back of the carrier, when she figures out that bolting gets her nowhere. But it neither changes the angle of the needle enough to matter, nor does it slow the inexorable flow of fluids into the volume beneath her scruff.

        And when that reaches 150 CC, all the sound and the fury and the high drama becomes meaningless, because the job’s done.

  7. Stormcrow said

    More on the transcendent joy of getting 150 cc’s of saline under the fur of a frightened cat …

    Last time before this morning’s run, she managed to swipe me well enough to require a band-aid.

    But I think I may have learned enough to make it worth the spilled blood.

    This time, after I got the collar on her, I looped the plastic tubing of the venoset around her neck under the collar. With enough free tubing left on the needle end so I could loop it back towards her scruff.

    The idea was, I’d stick the needle in, and the curvature would keep the tubing out of her reach. Meanwhile I could simply let go of both cat and line, controlling the flow with the valve situated outside the cat carrier.

    I figured the less I tried to directly control her, the easier she’d take it.

    This scheme actually worked.

    This time.

    I got the whole 150 cc’s of saline into her without significant incident. She started to freak out once this was done, but by that point, all I had to do was get the needle out, and the collar off.

    I spent the next 30 minutes decompressing.

    Stay tuned for more thrilling adventures!

    “Adventure”, of course, being defined as somebody else in deep sh*t, far away.

    • Charles II said

      Thanks for telling us, Stormcrow. One never knows when this sort of information might come in handy for the life and happitude of another feline.

    • Oh, if I could only get Sweety Girl to contemplate how much better she feels once the injections are done…

      • Stormcrow said

        I’m afraid, at this point, that Sweety Girl lives in an “eternal now”. Nothing else adequately explains why I am able to type this; four heavily bandaged fingers and two similarly immobilized thumbs should have made this impossible for all practical purposes. But Sweety Girl, true to form, was head-bumping and purring 5 minutes after the ghastly ordeal was concluded.

        The flip side of this is, when she’s in the cat carrier and a needle stick is clearly pending, the entire universe has turned to shit. There’s absolutely no room left in her head for considerations of “after”.

        I miss Voyager most keenly at moments like that. He was a real no-fooling supercat.

  8. Stormcrow said

    It’s STILL working.

    Here’s the outline, just in case you find yourself with the same problem some day. After all, this is the second cat I’ve had to go through this with.

    1) Set up.

    Get the venoset plugged into the saline bag if it isn’t already. Put a needle on the venoset if this is the first run for that venoset, otherwise, change needles. Get the air bubbles out of the line.

    Lay out a band-aid or two and a paper towel, just in case. Put a piece of sticky tape on the bag to mark the level you want the water to be when you’re done, so you’ll have one less thing to think about while you’re stressed. Lay out the conical collar.

    Loop the line in an open overhand “knot”, with the “knot” opening big enough to fit over the collar when it’s on. Make sure the flow valve is high enough so it’ll be completely out of the cat carrier. Make sure there’s a long enough run of line between the “knot” and the needle so it can be turned back in a “U”, with the needle stuck in the cat’s scruff.

    The idea is, you want everything ready.

    The less time the cat has to stress out, the better for both of you.

    2) Bring in the cat carrier with the cat in it.

    3) Put the collar on her.

    4) Since this is Sweety Girl we’re talking about, wait a few minutes for her to calm down a bit.

    5) Open the carrier, and get the loop over the collar around her neck. Take up enough slack so she can’t get a paw inside the loop later on.

    6) Since this is Sweety Girl we’re talking about, wait a few minutes more for her to calm down a bit. :)

    7) Uncap the needle, get a nice fold of loose scruff fur, and stick in the needle. The idea is, this will remain in place without you having to hold either it or the cat until all the fluid is in.

    8) Start the flow – and watch to make sure the saline isn’t actually going into the cat carrier instead of the cat. Open the valve all the way, so this part gets done ASAP. That’s one point the vet stressed when she was showing me how she does it. Talk gently to the cat.

    9) If you’ve gotten this far without catastrophe, and the whole amount (150 CCs, for both Voyager and SG) is in, then shut off the flow.

    10) Unplug the needle, get the line out of the way and reasonably secured, get the damned collar off her, and you’re done.

    If the cat you’re dealing with has a kitty IQ of 180 like Voyager did, this is a much simpler procedure. For instance, the collar wasn’t even a consideration with Voyager.

    But sweet chocolate jesus, drama queen though she is, Sweety Girl actually purrs in the cat carrier, until I actually start getting the collar around her. And each time we do this, her level of maximum freakout is shorter and less intense. I think part of her is in there, pitching.

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