Flashback: Kittens

Here’s a flashback from six years ago! Meredith had her kittens on March 26th, 2010. Kittens Day 8 (A)

Meredith was so good to them. She had to have emergency surgery during labor, and they were pretty sure she wasn’t going to nurse the kittens. She started nursing them again a few hours after surgery.

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We had only planned to keep one, but we couldn’t decide which one…so we kept them all.

 

 

Cat Tales: Oh, Miles!

I wanted to share with you a few moments that happened recently that are representative of life with Miles (affectionately nicknamed chicken nugget due to his cowardice).

Sadly, I have no photos of these incidents, as I wasn’t prepared for them, so please just enjoy some random photos of his cuteness.

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Miles & the Air Mattress

Many weeks ago, I began sleeping in the living room to be closer to Harold. Since our house lacks a living room couch at the moment, this meant sleeping on the air mattress. 

Miles decided the air mattress was a monster when I first turned on the air pump to blow it up. As you know, cats aren’t fond of loud noises. While the other cats viewed this as an inconvenience, or even a slightly terrifying singular event, Miles decided this meant the entire air mattress was to be feared for all time.

Within minutes of me blowing the mattress up, Melody was already exploring it. Dixee wasn’t far behind, and within a few days all the cats were enjoying this new giant cat bed in the middle of the living room.

Except for poor Miles. He watched his siblings in horror. He gave wide berth to the mattress whenever he needed to walk by it. Anytime it was accidentally bumped (by humans or by other cats), Miles would hiss at it, back away slowly, and eventually when he felt he was out of immediate danger, run away. 

We tried our best to avoid stressing him out. While it was funny as it was happening, I was also concerned for his mental health. Fortunately for him, Miles moves on from events like this easily. He recovered within mere seconds of being away from the mattress, and was his usual friendly self.

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Miles & the Xbox

We have an Xbox 360 that we hardly ever use. We got it free with my laptop (the primary gaming machine at the moment) a few years ago. Anyway, it’s sitting on the floor in the living room (in case we want to watch a DVD), but it doesn’t get enough activity for the cats to be familiar with the noises it makes. 

If you are familiar with the console, you know that you don’t really need to touch it for it to power up, it senses you if you hold your finger close enough to the button. 

Miles managed to walk too close to the console and turned it on. His subsequent jumping at the noise resulted in the Xbox disk drawer opening. Miles interpreted that as a clear sign of aggression.

He hissed at it and backed away a bit. He then stared at it for the next 30 minutes.

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Miles & The Domino Effect

Just this weekend, I looked up to see Miles moving backwards at a fast pace, as a small fleece Christmas blanket chased him. The blanket was caught on his nail. 

Before I had a chance to move in for assistance, he had crossed the living room floor startling Meredith on the scratching post. The sudden movement of Meredith awoke the Miss Melody. Melody, being startled and confused by the situation, leaped hastily from the scratching post to the bedroom bureau that is still in our living room (ahh, moving). 

Miss Melody’s landing knock over the cardboard snowman filled with mints. The subsequent loud crash caused the rest of the cats to scamper, and Fred to hide under the bed.

Oh, Miles!

Getting a Sick Kitty to Eat

Maybe your cat has a terminal illness that reduces their appetite (my experience), or your kitty has a temporary condition that is making them extra picky (like a reaction to a medication), either way, this post has some tips on getting your kitty to eat more.

First, make sure your cat is checked out by your veterinarian and that the causes of the lack of eating are being treated properly.

Second, make sure you are following your veterinarian’s recommendations for diet. If your cat is on a prescription diet, consult with your vet before trying anything new. These recommendations are meant for when your veterinarian okays the “anything he will eat” approach.

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  • Frequent Feedings- Try feeding your cat multiple times a day. You may need to get them to eat more often than usual to keep up an appropriate calorie intake.
  • Minimize distractions- Keep other cats away and make sure the noise level as low. Cats that don’t feel well are distracted easily by noise and movement (checking for threats).
  • Try new flavors and new brands- Buy lots of individual cans from a variety of different companies with a variety of different flavors. Try new textures. Buy small bags of wet food.
  • Eating is more important than receiving the ideal nutrition, so try the cheap junk food brands too. Don’t be snobby. You can get them back on track after the are eating again. When you are sick sometimes it’s okay to eat nothing but ice cream, ginger ale and crackers. 😉
  • Try multiple textures with in a single feeding. Sometimes they may want dry food, sometimes they may want wet food, and sometimes a liquid will be the only thing they will eat.
  • Try different temperatures- from the fridge, room temperature, or microwaved a little.
  • Human Foods- It’s okay to try some deli meat (I recommend turkey) or canned tuna. If you cat is a fan of cantaloupe or another safe-to-eat food, try that too.
  • Treats- Try different kinds of treats.
  • Classic/Pate Texture- If you are worried about caloric intake, mainly get the pate (also called classic) style food. This means the cat won’t spend all its time/energy licking the gravy, and will be getting nutrition with each bite

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Products that worked for Harold:

  • Fancy Feast, Classic, Chopped Grill
  • Fancy Feast, Classic, Beef & Chicken
  • Fancy Feast, Classic, Tender Beef Feast
  • Purina Smart Blend Beef

Harree was never a fan of beef until the acid/toxins gave him the stinky drool and presumably made things taste differently. I think the strong beef flavor increased the desirability.

  • Fancy Feast Broths- These were great for giving powdered medication
  • GNC Pets High Calorie Booster- This tube of goop can be licked by a cat if they like the flavor (Lefty does) or you can force feed them a bit. It’s densely packed with nutrients and calories to help compensate.

If you are currently need to make use of this advice, I wish you the best of luck. Keep trying!

Cat Photos: March Update

Here’s some recent cat photos from the Clowder….

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Miles watching deer.

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Fred: “Okay, mom, stop working and play a game already!”

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Enjoying the sunshine.

Comforting snuggles from his siblings the day before his passing.

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Unusual snuggle partners.

 

 

I’m running out of media storage space. You can help me upgrade my site so I can continue posting cat photos (and videos!) by donating to my Patreon. Thanks!

 

In Memory of Harree

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Haree Davidson

5/1/2004 to 3/17/2016

We lost our beloved Harold yesterday. Eight years ago, Harree was diagnosed with Chronic Kidney Disease, discovered when his potassium fell too low and he lost muscle strength. He wasn’t expected to survive the experience. The cause of the disease is unknown, though the diagnosing veterinarian suspected it  was a condition he had had since birth which only began manifesting when he had fully grown. It was a challenging time, and Harree and I grew very close during the experience. Despite his diagnosis, he recovered. For seven years, his CKD was managed with a specialized diet and extra love and care (and annual blood work at the vet). Kidneys aside, he was a very healthy cat. He was seldom ill, had great teeth, and was always given a very good bill of health at his checkups. I think his physical strength and constitution played a huge role in his fight against CKD. Last May, before Jimmy moved to Virginia, Harree went into his second kidney crisis. He was given a three month life expectancy. As usual, he blew that expectation out of the water. Since May, his health declined steadily. He was put medications, increasing amounts of home administered subcutaneous fluids, and we visited the vet often. During the last couple of months, my life centered around my Harold. His decreased appetite meant we fed him 10 to 12 times a day with lots of different kinds of food. He received fluids twice a day. And I made sure to take him outside whenever I could. We saw some improvement last week when we finally got ride of the mouth sores he had been struggling with, but a couple of days ago he took a dramatic downturn. The vet said there was nothing left we could do. He died quickly while in my lap.

The house, our hospice center, is covered in things that remind me of him. The upcoming week will be heartbreaking as I take down the air mattress (up until last night, I hadn’t slept in my own bed for weeks), pack up the extra litter boxes, remove his medications from the kitchen cabinet, clean out the several cans of half-eaten cat food from the fridge, retire his dry food bowl, dispose of the needles, donate the extra fluids, etc…Everything in the house reminds me of my boy. In a couple weeks, his ashes will be returned to us. We opted for the box that has a spot for a picture (thanks to our good friend Mike for so many fabulous pictures to choose from).

Harree loved deli turkey, cantaloupe and spinach. He enjoyed sunshine, fresh air and feathered toys. He adored sitting on his father’s lap during evening TV time.

Harree was loyal and protective. He threatened any cat who hissed at me (such as when trying to medicate Lefty). He defended Lefty and Dixee from Fred’s terrorizing. He snuggled with poor old Lefty often to keep him safe.

Harree was cooperative, well-behaved and trusting. Harree seldom got into trouble. He didn’t pick on the weaker cats (for a long time he was the strongest in the house). He always used the litterbox (even the day before his passing!). He let us administer fluids, medications, check his mouth, anything…never lifting a paw to retaliate.

Harree had a sense of humor, or at least liked to entertain. One time, I was laughing at him (for some reason I cannot recall), and he smacked me on the cheek with his paw (nails retracted, so no harm caused or intended). This made me laugh even more…and then he did it AGAIN. I was in hysterics after that.

Harree was charismatic. Everyone liked Harold. The staff at the vet all adored him. He was friendly, warm and marvelously handsome.

Harree was affectionate. He cleaned my face, gave me kisses, and nuzzled me with his head all the time. Unlike some other cats, when he sat in front of me while I was trying to do something (usually playing/working on my laptop), he wasn’t sitting there demanding pets and affection…he was *giving* affection…kiss and cuddles…no expectation or demand in his demeanor, only love.

He was just so, so good. I can’t express properly what he meant to me, or just how much I am going to miss him.

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February Update on Harree

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Harree’s health has been in a rapid state of decline for the last couple weeks. After a couple trips to the vet including a full day of IV-fluids produced no improvement (in fact made him worse due the stress of the experience), we are now in the end stage. We are just doing everything we can to ensure he is well-nourished and loved until we reach that time. Given the rate of decline, I’m guessing we are down to days, maybe weeks.

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Eating is becoming increasingly more of a challenge for Harree. The excess of what has to be horrible-tasting saliva (based on the smell) has made locating his food, chewing his food and swallowing food difficult, and likely unappetizing. Last week, we were doing varieties plates like the one above with wet food, cantaloupe, dried chicken treats, kibble and hard treats. The vet has instructed me to feed him anything he will eat regardless of how bad it is for the kidneys. At this stage, eating at all is more important.

This week has been worse, and we moved on to a variety of wet food options, tuna broth and then a nutritional paste I try shoving in his mouth.

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This is what the top of my cat-cabinet looks like. The fancy feast box belongs to the rest of the kitties, but everything else is Harold’s. I got a bit of everything to try and there’s often more than one can open in the fridge at a time.

I’m so thankful I don’t have a job right at this moment. I’m free to feed him 10+ times a day, carry him outside for “walks” (he loves the wind and sunshine), turn on the sink when he needs it, watch to make sure he doesn’t get bullied by the other kitties, catch him when he falls, etc… I feel guilty when I need to leave him for more than a couple hours.

He LOVES our “walks”…he gets very affectionate when we stand on the porch together. Yesterday was sunny, so we stood on the stairs in the warm sunshine, and he titled his head back and closed his eyes. I let him nibble on a dried leaf too (his favorite outdoor activity).

We have good days and bad days. Some days he refuses to eat, and some days I cry. But yesterday was a good day.

This post has been emotionally exhausting, and I can’t write anymore.

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