Thursday, September 23, 2010

Update on Critters

Anna from Random Thoughts of a Stay at Home Mom popped by and asked how Castor is doing. She read about him a while back when I made him his sweater. I'd given a link to the sweater post to the original designer's blog and Anna has just made a sweater for her kitty, Flake. If you've got the time check out the sweater on it's adorable model.

It occurred to me that I've been not only neglecting the blog, but in my sporadic posts I've only hinted at how the animals are doing. So since I find myself with some time today, I'm going to remedy the situation. Here we go:

First a look at Pollux. As you can see he's completely relaxed. Besides that his last checkup labeled him with fantastic dental health and great body condition. There have been no flare ups of either his irritable bowel disease or the sterile bladder infections that have plagued him in the past.

He has slowed down a bit, but he's 11 and we've had odd weather for a few weeks. If I'm starting to creak around he's got to be creaking around too. His favorite place to sleep is the cat condo next to the door to the deck. Sunlight streams in those windows all day.

The mice did not cooperate with a recent picture. Ada is starting to look like an old mouse, but she is still doing well. Alana keeps her warm and makes sure she eats, so life is good for two ladies who were in danger of becoming snake food.

Tempie and 'Bert are doing much better now.'Bert has recovered beautifully from the sudden episode of gut stasis/skin infection last week. He's back to eating normally and running around the family room, kicking up his heels. His round of antibiotics fir the skin infection will be done next Tuesday.

Tempie's mouth has healed from her dental-work. She's giving us more ammunition in thinking she's a carnivore in bunny clothes by wolfing down her food every night. Since she can't get to the cats' food anymore, she makes due with obliterating hers... and 'Bert's if she can reach it.

Finally Castor has put some weight back on thanks to a combination of steroids and probiotics. However he started having seizures about a month ago. He's on medication for them and it appears to be working. Other than having no memory of his favorite game/toy, fetch with a paper ball (which was his favorite for eleven years), the two seizures we can verify did not do any major damage.

We think the seizures may be related to some developmental issues he showed as a kitten due to complications during birth. [I adopted him from friends of a friend who owned his parents. When his mother was giving birth he was stuck in the birth canal for a bit. It took about a month after I brought him home for him to walk normally and he's always been both a klutz and a little dumb.]

The vet suggested an MRI, which I'd really like to get, but FH and I had to weigh the options and costs. For the price of the MRI we can get him all the medicines he needs for at least five years. That includes the steroids, the probiotics (which aren't cheap), and the cans of tuna and wet food we mix the probiotics in. Given the news in the next paragraph, you'll know why we decided to skip the MRI.

The steroids did in fact stop helping his guts behave normally (or rather as normal as they ever got), and therefore the vets and I are fairly certain he is developing bowel cancer. But the drugs make him hungry, so we're keeping him on them for the time being. If this was just a bad flare up of his irritable bowel disease the steroids would have worked and kept working. FH, the vets, and I agree that we do not want to put an 11 year old cat through a biopsy of his intestines so we're just going to ride things out. It may be a year, maybe two. More if we're lucky, less if we're not.

Recent blood tests (within the last month) show his numbers look good, so I'm hoping that we're in the extremely early stages. We also know that his teeth are still in fantastic shape (which will help with his overall health) and he's developed arthritis in his hips. These last few mornings have been stiff ones for him, but he solves that problem by sleeping in sunbeams on the window seat in my sewing room.

Castor is still extremely vocal with his demands to go out onto the sun porch and to get my attention while I'm working on something. At night he comes and cuddles with us on the couch and tries to nose his way into our dinner dishes. So other than a mess (understatement) around the litter boxes and him forgetting what paper balls are for, he's the same spoiled, lovable, sweet kitty that looks like he's been helping with one too many projects involving white paint and glue.

Speaking of projects, I've got a in the works currently, and one if them is of the miniature variety (finally!) and I hope to start posting again with more regularity.


jes said...

The lack of interest in paper ball may have more to do with the arthritis than general seizure-induced amnesia. One of our prior cats stopped playing with bouncing toys as she got older (though she would still happily shred a 'nip mouse given the opportunity)

Kathi said...

Nice to hear everyone is doing well.
Love the updates on them. Can't wait to see what minis you are making. :D

MiniKat said...

Jes, thanks for the thought, but I don't think the arthritis has anything to do with the lack of playing. We had a long game of fetch the evening before the first seizure. And since then he's still doing other active things, except for playing with the ball.

Anna said...

I'm sorry Castor isn't completely healthy. I was hoping he'd be in better shape, but at least you still have him and he seems pretty happy. Good luck with all that, and thanks tons for linking my page on your post! I didn't think anyone would ever find/read my blog, and now that I have had a little exposure I'm even more excited to continue it! Have a great day!

jess (new keyboard) said...

odd... poor guy! Maybe he associates the ball with the distress. Glad to hear everyone is doing overall pretty well, though!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the updates as I was wondering how they all were doing. We let our cats out this summer which was a big mistake. Rusty got sprayed by a skunk and Misty has gotten very skinny and her fur is very lank and thin. We think she picked up something out there that did not agree with her and we no longer let the cats out.

Rusty used to play the paper ball game too but it no longer interests him so I think it is just a case of him growing out of that game.

Rachel said...

Caster is a beautiful cat i hope you will have him for a long time yet.