Saturday, July 30, 2011

Musings from the Junque Pile

It's been interesting here at the micro-mini ranch. For the last month or so, we've been dealing with a very sick kitty. Boston is 14, and probably the most "interesting" of the herd. When you hear me complaining about being woken up at 4:30 by yowling Boston is the culprit.

He'd been loosing weight lately, which was strange because he was eating and drinking normally. The yowling was not contained to just early morning, but that was when it was the most prevalent. Then his nose got super congested. I didn't worry about a cold so much as the weight loss and constant agitation that he seemed to be in. But his nose never cleared up, and finally we decided he should go to the vet.

In recent years, he has decided that he does NOT like the vet, and gets very growly and hissy, so they have taken to knocking him out when he goes for his visits.

Xrays showed that this lungs were not congested (thankfully no pneumonia), and his other organs looked OK. Blood tests showed his liver is fine (thank God - one of my most beloved pets, Molly, died of some sort of liver disease almost 3 years ago, and it was heartbreaking). His glucose was fine, but that his thyroid was out of kilter. So the doctor sent Boston home with some pills. He was to take 1/2 of one twice a day, and they'd recheck in a month. The doctor didn't seem overly concerned about the nose congestion.

Giving a cat a pill is never a fun experience. I'm sure you've all read the old email forwards. Almost as funny as giving a cat a bath. However, we were told that it was ok to crush the pills and hide it in his food. I've been crushing the pills up and putting the powder in milk, and he's been drinking it like the treat that it is. My main problem is keeping the "special" milk away from the other cats, who are quite put out that Boston is getting a special treat, and they can't have any!

So after a month or so, Boston's stuffy nose was getting worse. He can barely eat or drink without snuffling and sneezing. He was contantly streaming goo, and has taken to running from me whenever he sees a kleenex in my hand. I even went so far as grab a baby's snot sucker in an attempt to relieve his nose of some of the crap in there. HE REALLY REALLY DOES NOT LIKE THIS! heh. I am such a mean kitty-mommy.

But then he started to run a fever. And he started hanging out in the bathroom. All the time. We could take him out of the bathroom, but he'd always go back in there. He wasn't hiding, which is a good thing, but he was not coming out of the bathroom, and he started not coming out for meals. And I became really concerned. I moved a litter box into the bathroom, along with some food and water. He appeared to be eating and using the litter box, but the fever was really bothering me.

His follow up with the doctor was a week away, but I convinced DaHubster to call and move up the appointment. They went, they knocked him out again, took more blood. The doctor was convinced that the drippy nose is a virus, and therefore antibiotics would be inefficient. He gave us a supplement in treat form that should boost his immune system to help him kick the virus.  We got his bloodwork results a day later, and his thyroid is much improved. So is the yowling. Apparently hyperthyroidism creates high blood pressure, with makes cats very agitated which results in yowling, super needy attention seeking, and the dramatic weight loss. He went from being a hefty 16 pound tomcat to being an 11 lb frail old man in a very short time.

So the pills were working, he was putting back on some weight (I am now not feeling every vertebrae when I pet him), he wasn't yowling constantly, but he's still hanging out in the bathroom, but now coming out for attention occasionally. I moved the litter box and the food out of there in an effort to get him to come out more, and it's working, but he still spends the majority of the time hanging out on the lip of the bathtub.

However, something else has happened during all this that wasn't noticed immediately. Boston has lost his hearing. Whether it was the virus, or the thyroid, or what. He is now stone deaf, and I feel awful about it. I guess I figured it out when he was coming out for meals anymore - opening a can of cat food usually brings the herd a-runnin'. But more times than not, I would have to pick him up and carry him to the kitchen. He didn't come when I called him. And he didn't turn around if I came up behind him. Again, I'm heartbroken, and I feel like a bad kitty momma. What could I have done differently? Probably nothing, but still.

I guess there's one silver lining in all of this. Boston has always been one of the more ornery cats. As he's aged he's mellowed. Now he's the sweetest. And now that he's not so needy of attention, he's more pleasant to be around. He seems to be accepting of his own hearing loss, more so than I am anyway.


  1. it's hard to see our furbabies get older. I know. You're a good kitteh-momma! Don't you forget it.