Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Animal Rescue Site

You can help feed hungry animals! Just click on the link below -- it will take you to the Animal Rescue Site. All you have to do is visit their website and click -- and you will help donate food to cats, dogs and other animals in need. I've copied below information from the Animal Rescue Site.

The Animal Rescue Site
www.The AnimalRescueSite.com

The Animal Rescue Site focuses the power of the Internet on a specific need — providing food for some of the 27 million unwanted animals given to shelters in the U.S. every year. Over 10 million animals are put to death every year in the U.S. alone because they are abandoned and unwanted.

Mitt in a Snit

Back from Taos, New Mexico, where I attended Natalie Goldberg's writing workshop based on her new book, "An Old Friend from Far Away." Even though I was only gone 3 and 1/2 days, Mittens acted pissy when I came home. I had a good neighbor -- a cat lover and fitness instructor who lives next door -- come by every day to feed, medicate and give Mittens a bit of companionship. The neighbor reported that Mittens had diarrhea on Saturday. She's never suffered from that condition before so I'm thinking that it might be a case of nerves. Maybe she's not prepared to give a talk to real estate investors after all. I don't blame her.

Many cats seem to be unhappy with their owners after being left alone for more than a day. They probably get bored and lonely.

When I called out to Mittens, she seemed both pissed and pleased. I had to pin her down to pat, caress and stroke her. It took a long time before she started to purr. Even after all that, she continued to ignore me throughout th day.

When I stretched out on my bed to watch Eckhart Tolle's "The New Earth" (a free webcast hosted by Oprah.com -- Oprah interviews spiritual teacher Tolle about his new book, "The New Earth"), Mittens refused to drape herself across my lap like she usually does. Tolle says that animals are "Guardians of Being" -- because, unlike humans, they can just "be." They grace us with their presence; they are present in the moment. Some guardian Mittens has turned out to be!

She was still in a snit today. Normally whenever I try to take a nap (the operative word being "try"), Mittens will pad over and sit on my chest. She then kneads and purrs. Oddly enough, she usually leaves me alone when I lie down to sleep at night. Somehow, the prospect of my being horizontal in the middle of the day excites her. Something out of the ordinary, I guess. It pleases Little Mitt.

Finally, this afternoon, she got over her tiff. When I lied down on the floor to do my back exercise, she spotted me from afar (at least several feet away, came over and plopped herself down on my chest, slowly kneading on my belly (yeow!), purring. The corners of her mouth were turned up. She was smiling. Very pleased. As if she were greeting a friend from far away.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

World’s Greatest Cat

World’s Greatest Cat

Yes, of course, your cat is the greatest. Every cat guardian feels that way. But perhaps some cats are more equally great than others.

Certainly, some cats are rather unusual. Like Zibby Wilder’s Siamese cat, as featured in an article in the San Jose Mercury News. Knowing how cat crazy I am, friend showed the article to me.

Zibby’s Siamese cat Bo, loves cantaloupe. He’ll do almost anything to get some. Zibby says that the first night Bo came to live with her, she noticed that she hadn’t seen him for about an hour – an hour after she ate half a cantaloupe for dessert.

She called for him, and he responded immediately. But his cries were very faint. She followed the cries and thought that he had somehow crawled into the walls through an opening in an old heating unit.

After another hour and a half later and a frantic call to the landlord alerting him that she was going to take a sledgehammer to a wall in the basement apartment to rescue the cat—she opened the refrigerator door for a drink of water.

And she found the cat. Bo. He was shivering, his entire head stained orange. And sitting next to the remains of the other half of the cantaloupe that Zibby had put away into the refrigerator.

But that’s not all. Zibby has another pretty weird cat. Hopper the Gorilla Yeti. Hopper is about 5 years old and weighs 27 pounds.

Zibby, being a former shelter director, has seen a lot of different cats but Hopper is the largest that she has ever seen – and one of the most hilarious.

This big boy has a unique way of getting attention from his guardian. It’s a trick that Zibby has dubbed “Timber!”

Basically, the game of "Timber" involves Hopper either physically cutting off the target person (whoever that might be) and getting the person’s attention by making direct eye contact with the person or making a racket. Then, once he’s got the person’s attention, he suddenly swoons, falling belly up to the ground, with a very discernible “OOMPH!” Just like a tree falling. Hence the name “Timber.”

The game can happen anywhere, anytime. You could be walking down the hall, you could be watching TV, you could be reading in bed – and all of a sudden, right in front of you, on the coffee table, or maybe in the closet (knocking down shoes) – you’ll hear “OOMPH!” and see the giant cat fall.

I've said it once, and I'll say it again: Cats are strange creatures.

The Trials and Tribulations of Giving Your Cat Medicine

If you own a cat long enough, you’ll be faced with the task of medicating the cat. It’s not an easy matter, as many cat owners will attest.

I learned the best way to medicate cats when I had to care for Pixie’s cat, Mittens.

For a while there, what’s wrong with Mittens? became the rallying cry.

It seemed quite likely that she had cancer, lymphoma is probably the most likely one, the vet said.

If so, we can only give her palliative care. She would need radiation and chemotherapy, but that runs into thousands of dollars, and Pixie is in no situation to be able to pay that sort of medical bill. Then the best we could do her is give her prednisone.

Therefore, it was decided that she’d receive prednisone in tablet form.

I’d agreed to take care of Mittens so the job of medicating her fell on me.

After Mittens took prednisone for several weeks, she stopped eating altogether. The vet suspected ulcers so we had her on ulcer medication in addition to appetite stimulants. For a while there I was medicating Mittens 5 times a day!

The vet’s assistant gave me an impromptu lesson in how to wrap a cat tightly with a towel. This renders the cat immobile. Then, using your fingers like pincers you press the cat’s jaws open. That’s the theory, at least. In practice, it never worked for me.

We had to switch Mittens from prednisone in tab form to liquid because I was having the worst problem medicating her. For a cat so scrawny and scraggly, she was amazingly strong and frighteningly ferocious when she resisted. She was also extremely slippery -- her escape acts rivaled those of Houdini. Fortunately, I was unscathed but Pixie received a huge gash in her hand when pilling Mittens. My friend John, who is not allergic to cats, somehow ended up with an allergy-like respiratory attack that ended in a doctor's visit. His medical records to date list that he came in due to a respiratory distress from "wrestling a cat."

The vet agreed that some cats are almost impossible to pill. Like one of her cats. Even though she and her husband are both vets, they have to work in tandem to get the pill down the cat's throat -- and even then, they barely succeed.

John bought a syringe-like pill popper used for medicating cats and dogs, but I didn't have to resort to that after all once we switched to liquid medication. As to the ulcer meds, I just ground them up and drew the powder into the syringe when I gave Mittens her liquid prednisone.

Pixie discovered a somewhat pricey, freeze-dried chicken treats that Mittens loved from a posh pet store in an upscale neighborhood. (This cat is definitely costing megabucks.) The idea was that I would give Mittens this treat as soon as I medicated her. It worked. Since then, Mittens has been quite subdued, almost cooperative. Now, when I pull up the towel, she merely cringes a bit – maybe emits a resigned meow – and flattens herself. But she lets me wrap the towel around her neck like a bib and remain still while I insert the syringe into her mouth.

Easy breezy.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Temp Cat

So I have a temp cat now, Mittens. My friend Pixie, who is her real owner, had to sell her house and move. Plus a lot of other things happened to her and it became rather difficult to take care of a sick cat when she already has two other cats. So I volunteered to take care of Mittens. Now that Pixie has moved into her new place, she can look after Mittens, but there's no real urgency to so I've kept Mittens with me. Besides, the cat has to be medicated twice a day and it's just easier for me to do that since I have no other cats. It's really great to have a cat again.

Pixie doesn't have her cats wear collars but if Mittens is going to be with me, I prefer that she wear one in case she goes missing or something. I got her a really cool looking collar that brings out the dark brown in her fur very nicely. I also had her microchipped. I have her registered with HomeAgain.

On their web site, HomeAgain claims to be the only service that sends out a lost pet alert to vet clinics and shelters when a pet is lost, and allows for immediate access to the pet's medical information. Mittens is enrolled in this particular service, mainly because that's what she got when I took her to a local shelter to get chipped.

I doubt that Mittens will ever go missing (she's an indoor cat), however, it's my belief that it's better to err on the side of caution. You never know what can happen.

If you've got a pet, you have to be responsible for its well-being. Even if it happens to be a temp cat, a loaner kitty here to get nurtured back to health.

The Cats are Back!

It's been a really long time since I last updated this blog. Life happened, and I forgot to take back control of the helm. Illness, family death, an intercontinental move and turmoil in general just kind of got to me. But I'm back on track -- and now I've got my own temp cat. Mittens, a 13-year-old chocolate point, bi-color Siamese. I got her from my friend Pixie because she (Mittens, not Pixie) has been sick. And just like me, Mittens is well on her way to recovery.

Mittens has a rare illness for a cat -- fungal infection of the sinuses. Actually, that was great news because the vet had originally suspected cancer. I'll write more about Mittens' and other feline diseases in a later post.

Suffice it to say that Mittens got a very good recommendation from her vet when she first went in for her biopsy to determine if she had a tumor or not. I've copied the typed statement from her vet:


She is a good girl.

She did well under anesthesia.

I found a mass in her retropharyngeal region -- we biopsied the mass and the results will be back by Tuesday.

Please continue the meds you are currently using.

Prednisone twice a day and cyproheptadine once a day.

So, biopsy results show that Mittens is a bona fide good girl. Perhaps her cells graduated from "Good Kitty U."

Now, how many kitties get to be certified "a good girl"? Mittens is still resting on her laurels. Well, just resting. She's a cat, what can I say?