cats


As I was telling you all last week, Cosie has been diagnosed with feline hyperthyroidism.

Her new medicine regimen has proven to be fairly easy to adapt to. For the first week, she got her pill once a day, in the evening. Then, as per doctor’s orders, on Friday I increased her dosage to twice a day. Now Cosie is taking her pill at 7:30am and 7:30pm. Or as close to those times as possible.

Her overall health seems better, as I mentioned before. She is eating normally now and has energy to play and saunter around my apartment with her prior swagger. She also isn’t throwing up as much. I’m pretty jazzed about that fact, as for several years it’s been a problem. I always assumed it was your typical senior digestion problems, but the drastic cut back in occurrences lead me to believe that in recent times it may’ve been her thyroid problem. So all of that seems good.

Her condition does pose some challenges, however. For instance, in the past, when I’ve gone out of town for a couple of days, I’ve just had my sister or a friend stop by once to check in. Now I have to coordinate someone to give Cosie her medicine. Luckily, my sister has been missing her cat, Daniel, so she volunteered to actually stay at my place for two nights last week while I went to Reno for my birthday.

I was a little nervous leaving Cosie, as she has been sick so recently. Not to mention that the day before I left she developed the sniffles (which after 8 days, she still has…). My co-worker and I had already made our reservations though, so the trip needed to go on. Plus, my 29th birthday was coming up and gambling my guts out is my favorite way to celebrate.

(I guess I’m not supposed to admit that, am I? Oops…)

 I shouldn’t have worried about ‘ole Cosie though. She apparently is well enough to handle herself.

Remember this problem? Yeah. I haven’t forgotten about it either. Despite my meticulous lock up of all dry goods and my installation of sonic mouse “shoo-ing” devices, I still had the sneaking suspicion that the little guy was still around. I hadn’t seen any more mouse droppings, nor had I ever laid eyes on the creature itself, but on Sunday night, Cosie was stalking some unknown thing in the apartment, and she looked serious.

On Thursday morning afternoon, just before I got on the road to head back to the bay area, I received the following text from my sister:

“All is well with the kids again. Cosie pilled beautifully, and ate. Unfortunately, I have to break the news to you that you have a mouse, which I have seen. So has Cosie and Daniel…Daniel is curious….Cosie wants the mouse’s arse. She has been on patrol all night, running and chasing. So, be sure to check around just in case she catches it. Sorry. I saw the bugger in your closet area, you may want to go through there…on the up side, I think that there is just one…”

 Do you know what I said in response? It really wasn’t very eloquent, but expressed my feelings very accurately:

“F*CK!!!!”

It totally killed the good mood I had been wrapped up in. All I could think about was how much I really didn’t want to see the mouse…dead or alive.

When I got back to my apartment, I didn’t even want to go in there. I felt so grossed out at just the THOUGHT of that mouse running around and the idea of the cats catching it made it twelve thousand times worse. For 1.5 days upon my return, Cosie and Daniel ran around the apartment, meowing strangely (battle calls?) and pouncing on everything they saw. I, however, was choosing to ignore the situation completely. I didn’t go through my closet and I just kept trying to pretend that none of this was happening.

My plan was working splendidly.

Until Saturday morning.

On Saturday morning I got up to feed the kitties, scoop out the litter box and then I was off to take a shower. I had work during the morning shift, so I needed to get a move on. Just after getting out of the shower, I passed through my closet (I have a walk-through closet…you walk through it to get from the bathroom to the living area of the studio) and then I saw it:

Cosie and Daniel were sitting in the middle of the living area floor…with a dead mouse between them.

O.M.G.

Let’s be honest, I could say that I reacted all cool about seeing a dead mouse while standing naked in my apartment, but that would be untruthful. I screamed and retreated to the bathroom. I realized I needed to handle this pronto, but I had never imagined it would happen while I was unclothed. I decided I would throw on some clothes so I could pick the mouse up in a bag and run it straight down to the garbage cans. Unfortunately, that wasn’t going to work. Cosie was now batting the thing across the hardwood floors…and then she picked it up in her mouth and tossed it up in the air.

Obviously I panicked and started to shriek, “AHHH! OMG! Cosie! Drop it! Drop it! Drop it!”

Some would say it was wrong to yell at her and rain on the proudest moment of her life. I, of course, realize that Cosie is hard of hearing and had no idea I was saying anything other than, “Nice kitty! Good job! Disembowel it!”

The scene looked a lot like Kitty Christmas:


Except, you know…with a real mouse.

I quickly ran into the kitchen, grabbed a plastic bag, picked up the mouse (before Cosie could take it off somewhere I couldn’t find it) and shoved it in my kitchen trash can. Then I dressed faster than I ever had before so I could take the garbage outside. So. Fricken’. Gross.

Cosie seemed kind of depressed after that. She tried in vain to play with a toy, but it just wasn’t the same. I had taken away the best toy she had ever had in her entire life.

Unlike Cosie, I was quite relieved to have the mouse removed. I figured the worst was over.

Then I remembered…it was only 7:20am. I was going to have to feed mouse breath over there her morning dose of felimazole. Well happy belated birthday to me.


I washed my hands a bazillion times afterward. As a matter of fact, I think I may go wash them again. Just to be sure.

I had a difficult week last week, which is unfortunate, but that is the way life goes.

The first problem I had was on Tuesday morning. I was in bed with my laptop. I had only been awake for a little bit and I hadn’t even had my coffee yet. All of a sudden, it seemed like the sound of rain falling had gotten louder. In fact, it sounded almost as if it were raining inside of my apartment.

It was raining inside of my apartment.

I have a small storage area next to my bed in which I keep a lot of things that I don’t use every  day. The space is very strange..sort of sunk into the wall. We believe it may’ve been the site of a trundle-bed back when the building was originally built. I live in an old Victorian, and it was really common for Victorians to have murphy beds. We believe that in my studio’s case, it may’ve been a trundle. Anyway, there is no bed in there these days. Just my junk.

My next-door neighbor moved out at the beginning of May, so the landlord had some cleaning  people coming to spruce up the place. I share a wall with the next apartment’s bathroom. In their zealous cleaning attempt, they caused the great flood of 2011. When I realized what was going on, I leaped out of bed and ran next door, barefoot and in pajamas to tell them to stop. They didn’t speak English. I sort of half ass understand Spanish, but my ability to construct a sentence, especially in times of crisis is greatly limited. I just kept gesturing and saying “STOP!!!” a lot. Finally the lady I was talking to got one of her co-workers to come over who kind of spoke English and she apologized. I thanked her and went back to my apartment. I was in here for 5 minutes before it started AGAIN. I ran back over and repeated the same scene.

When the water finally stopped flowing, I assessed the damage:

Awesome.

Not.

Luckily most things that I keep in that area are stored in plastic crates and were protected. There were a few casualties though. I had stashed some Cooking Light magazines and a few instruction manuals under there. Also the Wii box got pretty wet (don’t worry..the Wii was on the other side of the room at the time). The items that took the most abuse where my spare external HDs. The one on the right side had been in that box, which essentially disintegrated when I attempted to open it. The one on the left didn’t even have a box. I’m not sure if either of them work anymore. I plan on checking, but I wanted to give them the opportunity to dry out.

Aside from my own property damage, there was also some damage to my unit:

Even after I cleaned the walls and floor, there was still staining. You can essentially see where my storage boxes had been sitting. Going to have to make sure to send this picture off to the landlord so I don’t get charged upon moving out..

After that drama was over and I had my first cup of coffee, my next problem began.

I noticed that my cat, Cosie, was acting strangely. She wasn’t eating for starters. Secondly, she kept pacing in and out of the litter box. She would pee, and then leave, then go back and strain. I was concerned about her, so I tried to feed her a little human food (chicken salad). She ate a couple of bites, but wasn’t too interested. She was spending a lot more time than usual lying around and her eyes didn’t look very good. I was concerned, but I decided to watch her for another day.

When Wednesday came around and she still refused to eat and the litter box behavior continued, I got scared. I went to the pet store and got some senior cat nutrition supplement (kind of like Ensure, but for cats). She drank a few sips, and then sat back down. The only time she really seemed to get active was to go pace around the litter box, or to lick her behind. You see, she was licking a lot more than usual…when paired with the other symptoms, I did not feel good about Cosie’s state at all. That evening I called a 24 hour vet, explained the symptoms and asked if she should come in. They said I could bring her in right away if I wanted to, but it was a very busy night. I decided to make a 9am urgent care appointment, and hope that she would start eating again in the morning on her own and she wouldn’t have to go in.

The next morning came and she still looked pretty bad and eating still wasn’t on her to-do list. I packed her up in her carrier (her least favorite thing ever) and had Peter, my co-worker, drop me off at the vet on his way to work.

To be honest, I think I reacted to taking Cosie to the vet worse than she reacted to being crated. Historically, whenever we have had older animals who have gotten sick and had to be taken into the vet, the result has always been the same: They got put down. So the immediate thought that came to me when I realized I was going to have to take my 14-year-old cat to the vet was that she wasn’t coming home with me. As irrational as it was, I cried for half of Wednesday. I had hoped that my early tears would spare me from acting like an idiot at the vet, but no such luck. As soon as I sat down to fill out the paperwork I started sobbing again. Then I got better. Then we went into an exam room and it started again:

Vet: “Hi. I’m Dr. ____”

Alexa: *shakes hand, starts hysterically crying* “I don’t do well with pet illness….”

Vet: “Okay…”

As the appointment went on, I improved. The vet examined Cosie and said that off the back he couldn’t figure out what exactly was wrong. He said there were a few ways we could go about testing her for a diagnosis. Having heard me explain that Cosie hadn’t been to the vet since she ripped her paw open and needed stitches about 10 years ago, he suggested that he go get print outs of the two plans so I would understand the cost involved. When he returned, he presented me with a $321 plan and a $730 plan. We discussed the options and decided to go with the $321 plan, with the understanding that we could add-on additional tests if needed.

So for $321, Cosie got her annual exam, a senior wellness exam (blood panels, urine tests, etc.), a shot of anti-nausea medication (to hopefully induce hunger) and some IV fluids to rehydrate her. Then we went home to wait, as the results wouldn’t be ready until Friday. On the bright side, once home, Cosie dove into some food I put down and seemed a little better. Still sick, for sure, but more herself.

On Friday at work, I received the news. Cosie has feline hyperthyroidism. He cautioned me that though he could see no other problems, the hyperthyroidism could be masking issues. So the plan is to medicate Cosie, then have her come back in after 3-4 weeks and check her levels to see how she is doing. He also still wasn’t sure about why she was licking so much, so he asked me to bring her back in (for free) when I came to pick up the pills. He said he didn’t see something he normally checks in his notes, so he wanted to check her anal glands (yeah, I know. ick.) before we start running other tests at additional cost to me.

So after butt poking and pill popping, Cosie seems much more herself. Eating plenty, using the litter box the normal amount and licking far less than she was earlier in the week. I have to give her a pill once a day for the first week, and then every 12 hours from then on. My sister is totally lucking out. She’s going to be staying at my place, cat sitting while I am in Reno celebrating my birthday this week…she only has to administer one pill! Trust me, the fewer the better…Cosie does NOT like pills!

While I am not excited about the new expense or the idea of trying to get Cosie to take her medicine, I am glad that she is doing so much better. I realize that being 14, Cosie is probably in her last 5 years of life, and that I will have to lose her at some point, but I’m glad that point wasn’t this week. I’ve had my kitty since I was 15 years old. She is the best.

For the past week, I have had a house guest.

Meet Daniel Striped Tiger.

Daniel is here on holiday from my sister’s house until his canine brothers get properly trained up. The first few days were rocky, as Daniel was a little nervous being away from home. He spent quite some time hiding behind the tub and behind storage boxes next to my bed. Now that he’s spent some time here, he’s feeling a little better. He still is spending time sitting on top of my storage boxes though; note the room service remains in the storage area.

One individual that originally wasn’t too excited about Daniel’s visit was his cousin Cosette. Cosie, while excited by all the smells of Daniel’s carrier, wasn’t too excited to leave the life of an only child behind.

I’ve been seeing this face a lot lately.

 

The last day or so has been pretty exciting around here though. The “kids” have finally started to get along. They’ve spent some quality napping time together, chased each other round and round my tiny studio apartment and then they shared some catnip. Good times were had by all.

Despite Cosie’s change of heart about her cousin, there have still been some tense moments:

 

 

I’m sure Cosie will get over it. How could you possibly hold anything against a face like this:

How do your animals react to forced socialization?