Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Six weeks



Six weeks ago today, Connor broke his hip, which I chronicled here. He had the surgery for the femoral capital physeal fracture the next day, and he has been recovering ever since.

Any time Connor was out of the crate over the last six weeks, we have had to monitor him closely to make sure he didn’t jump, run, or make any explosive movements. 

Gradually, over the last week or so, we’ve been giving him more freedom from the crate and from our constant surveillance. I think he’s glad we’re not following him everywhere in the house.


Every night since he came home on April 13, he has spent the night in the crate. Last night was his last night in the crate. Also, each weekday before I left for work, I would put him back in the crate after breakfast .Today at work, I received the following text from Larry:






We’ll leave the crates in the den for a few more days in case we need to give him a rest or if he needs what he may now see as a safe refuge.

Connor still has healing to do. The vet said he will get stronger over the next six months or so as his muscles holding the femur in place grow stronger. 

But he’s feeling more like his old self. He is again trying to conduct experiments with the picture hanging in the living room. *How much can I make it swing back and forth?*

Thank you all for your prayers and support over the last six weeks. You have helped to make this an easier time for us.


Friday, May 19, 2017

Friendly Fill-Ins Blog Hop: with Natasha

Happy Friday! We’re participating in the Friendly Fill-Ins Blog Hop, presented by 15 and Meowing and McGuffy’s Reader. This week Natasha is helping me.


1. I have googled __________________.

2. I have_____________________ on Ebay.

3. I think ___________________.

4. _______________thinks _______________.







1. I have googled every known symptom of illnesses in cats when my cats have been sick. (Natasha: I have googled the very best toys that Mama should buy for us.)

2. I have never bought anything on Ebay. (Natasha: I have seen some things I’d like to buy on Ebay, but I don’t have my own magic plastic buying card.)

3. I think all people and animals are connected. (Natasha: I think humans can learn a lot from cats.)

4. Natasha thinks she should be able to invite the squirrels to lunch. (Natasha: Mama thinks that’s a bad idea.)







Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Stubborn Squirrel: A Story in Pictures

Introduction: The squirrels seemed to be eating more of the bird seed in the bird feeders than seemed fair. So Larry got baffles to put on some of the poles. 

Does this squirrel understand the purpose of a baffle?














Friday, May 12, 2017

Connor Update



It has been four weeks since Connor had the FHO surgery, and he is doing well. He is still in a “controlled” environment: he is in the crate all night (I’m still sleeping in the den with him) and when we can’t monitor him closely. He jumps up on the bench to watch the birds and squirrels and up on armchairs and sofas to snooze. His appetite is good. He wants to run and play with his sisters, which usually involves a chase, but we try to keep that to a minimum. 

But Larry and I were concerned with his walk because we didn’t know how much of a limp was normal. So I made a very amateur video of him walking and emailed it to the surgeon. He responded that the way Connor was walking four weeks after surgery was how he would expect. 

He said that “cats are never normal after this procedure. They don't have a hip joint after all. He will always walk with a bit of a limp and not have quite the range of motion as before. He will have steady improvement over the next 6 months or so as the muscles get stronger to help support the leg. For me, the success of the surgery is more determined by the animals pain/activity level - he seems pretty darn happy in the video! That tells me that the lameness is more "functional" and less painful. 
Overall, he looks like he's right on track for this point post-op.”

So if Connor is feeling good and is happy, then we’re happy.

If you’d like to see the video, you can check it out on YouTube.


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

What are those kitties looking at?









Bird and Squirrel TV! They are looking at the bird feeders in the back yard. Since the pictures of the feeders were taken, we have added more feeders for the birds and one for the squirrels. 

Those squirrels will be another story. 









Friday, May 5, 2017

Happy Birthday, Connor!






Happy 2nd Birthday to Connor Romeo! We are so glad he's part of our family.

Love you forever, sweet boy!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Flynn

We are so sorry to learn that Flynn of Two Devon Cats has made his journey to the Rainbow Bridge. He had a long and good life, but it's never long enough.

He is with his brother Eric now. Bless you boys as you start the next life!

Our prayers and condolences to Flynn's family. 

We love you forever, Flynn.


Friday, April 28, 2017

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Getting closer to normal

We are slowly but surely getting closer to normal around here. This is a photo of all three cats hanging out together one evening late last week. It was so good to have them all in the same room.





Connor is still crated when we are not able to watch him closely. But sometimes while he’s out of the crate, he decides to take a nap. Here he is in one of his favorite spots, my reading chair.




And we got a package in the mail yesterday. Ellen of 15 and Meowing sent Connor some of her crocheted toys. They are so cute! I know that he—and the girls, too—will enjoy playing with these. Thank you so much for your thoughtfulness, Ellen.



Friday, April 21, 2017

Happy Birthday and Gotcha Day, Abbey!




Yesterday was Abbey’s 3rd Birthday and her 2nd Gotcha Day. She is such a blessing to our family, and we are so glad she is part of it.

I haven’t written about Abbey’s health issues lately. She is still having throwing up/regurgitating episodes. Her vet wants to try her on prednisolone for a month and see if that helps. Even though there was only slight inflammation in her small intestine, there was a bit. The medicine has to be compounded, so the vet ordered it through an online pharmacy she uses. We should receive it in the mail early next week. 

It doesn’t seem to make a difference if Abbey eats the D/D food or not. I am worried and frustrated, but I am hoping the medicine will help. If it doesn’t, then the vet will look into other things. 

Have a good weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Progress

All 3 kitties hung out together on Saturday. The girls watched the outside bird
action from the bench. Connor wished he could join them.


Connor is getting better each day, but he still has a ways to go in the healing process. 

We have celebrated the milestones after surgery: the first time he drank water, the first time he ate, the first time he used the litter box, the first time he pooped. Pet parents will understand our delight in these small signs of healing.

Connor still has to be confined most of the time. We bought a second crate so we could expand his confinement area. He is allowed walks around the house, but Larry or I follow him and try to keep him from jumping or running. It’s not easy keeping a young cat quiet.

I am still sleeping in the den near his crate each night. I want to make sure I hear him if he needs me. Unfortunately, the longest piece of furniture to sleep on is a love seat, shorter than my five feet eight inches. I have sore knees and back. But the little boy in the crate is going through a lot more, and he is worth the soreness.

Thank you all for your kind words and your thoughts and prayers. They mean a lot.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Connor has surgery

It has been a tough week for Connor. He broke his hip and had to have surgery. He’s home now and is doing well, but he still has to go through the healing process.

Connor enjoying late afternoon sunshine at home on Thursday.
You can't see the incision in this picture, but it's about 2 inches long.
 


Tuesday evening at around 6:15, Connor came into the bedroom where I was. It looked like he was dragging his back end, but quickly lay down on the floor. Larry called him so that he got up again, and we could see he was holding up his back left leg. When we tried to pick him up or when we touched his leg, he cried out.

We left for the emergency hospital. It only took us about 40 minutes to get there, but it seemed forever because he was obviously in pain and upset, and there was little I could do to comfort him.

At the hospital, the vet gave him two pain medications right away so he could be examined. Even then, Connor cried out in pain when the vet moved his leg. So they gave him more pain medication.

Once x-rays could be done, the vet told us he had broken his hip. We were horrified, and we couldn’t understand how we could have missed the major traumatic event that must have caused it.

Turns out it was the kind of break that needs no trauma to happen. It was a femoral neck/capital physis fracture. It can happen in cats and dogs. With cats, it mostly occurs in large neutered males.

The surgeon told us the theory is that when neutering occurs in young cats, the drop in testosterone can delay the closure of growth plates, and in some cats, this can result in this type of fracture. If it happens on one side, there is a 25 percent chance of it happening on the other side. (Note: Please don’t take this as a caution against having your cats neutered.)

Connor had a femoral head ostectomy (FHO), where the head and neck of the femur are removed. The bone is held in place by scar tissue and other tissues and muscle. It sounds impossible, but most cats and small dogs can run and jump afterwards, though they may have a limp and may be limited in jumping ability as compared to before the surgery.

Connor came home yesterday and is doing well. We have to try to keep him as quiet as possible for at least two weeks for the incision to heal. But the vet said it’s important that he build up the muscles in that hip. So he is allowed short walks already. 

He doesn’t like being in a crate most of the time, but we are looking for ways to make it more manageable for him. He threw out all of the litter in the small litter box we put in the crate, and sat in the box. So we let him out periodically, and he uses the regular litter boxes. 

Since Connor was diagnosed with a broken hip, it seems like people have come out of the woodwork on Facebook to tell me that they have had pets who had the FHO surgery and did fine. Abbey’s vet, the internal specialist, works in the same clinic as the surgeon and talked with us about it. One of her cats had to have the surgery on both hips. And our regular vet says that it’s a common procedure. 

We are glad that Connor did well with the surgery and is at home. The next couple of weeks especially will be challenging for him, but he is a brave and spunky boy. We believe he will be just fine.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Rainbow Memorial Bracelet and Toys

These are not the greatest pictures, but I wanted to share some things that my friend Carolyn is making.

This is a Rainbow Memorial Bracelet that she made. As you can see, it honors our Chase Bird, who went to the Rainbow Bridge in 2015.





Carolyn makes a variety of these bracelets using different kinds of beads and charms. And she makes a variety of other jewelry.

She also makes catnip toys, including nip knots. Here’s our resident nip head Abbey saying hello to one of them.




Carolyn is selling her creations on her Facebook page Buhbee’s Baubles and Catnip Toyz, and soon she will have an Etsy store. 

She often donates items to auctions raising money for pets in need.

To see more of what she makes (with better pictures), visit her page.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Good job, Dad!

Larry brought home a new bird feeder this week and placed it in good view of one of the cats’ favorite windows.

Natasha, who is Chief Supervisor of All Work Done Around the House, watched from the window to make sure her Dad set up the feeder correctly.

She gave her approval. 



Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Respecting your cats


Natasha, one of the "feline masterpieces" in our home.


We missed the official National Respect Your Cat Day—it was March 28. But we’ve been thinking about how we can respect our cats and any other pets we have and thought we would go ahead and post about it even though we’re late.

Here are some ways that we came up with to show respect to our cats:


  • Admire them. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day care of our pets, so much so that we forget to take time and just look at our cats. Notice the way they walk, the movement of their ears, the way their eyes change with mood, the way they look when they jump from one surface to another. We agree with Leonardo da Vinci: “The smallest feline is a masterpiece.”

  • Accept that they are not little humans. Sure, we write stories about our cats and imagine them doing things like humans. But even then, we recognize that these creatures in our care are not human. They are a different part of our animal kingdom, but no less special. 

  • Accept each individual cat for who he or she is. Not every cat is a lap cat, no matter how much you want him to be. Your cat will not enjoy every new toy you bring into the house. Your cat may prefer to watch you from afar rather than hang out close by. And all of this is fine. We need to let our cats be who they are. My Thunder Cat, Waddles, and Sam were never lap cats. They did like to sit close by though. Chase Bird was a lap cat. We had loving relationships with all of them—just in different ways.

  • Treat your cat like family. To us, cats are not like family. They ARE family. We do our best to provide a calm, safe, and happy environment for them. When they walk into a room, we greet them. We tell them goodbye when we leave the house and hello when we return. We play with them, give them good food, and talk to them. We hope they feel our love!



What have we missed? What are some other ways we can show respect to our cats or any of our pets?

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Natasha is fuming




Oh, the indignity! Natasha here, still fuming about Saturday.

It started out like the usual Saturday. We got fed at the usual time, Mama went back to bed, then took her time with breakfast. She and Dad stood under that water thing and took baths (cats do it so much more efficiently) and dressed in their Saturday casual clothes. I did notice that Mama seemed nervous, but nothing too unusual.

Then suddenly, Mama snatched me from the top of my comfortable sleeping spot on top of the cat tree and put me in that box. You know, that plastic thing with bars on the door. Bars!

Then she put me in the backseat of Dad’s truck. And who else was in the backseat? Connor! Yes, my annoying little brother was right there in another plastic box. 

Then I had to listen to Connor sing the song of his people. He sang so badly, I joined in to try to help. And the whole time, Mama was saying things like, “It will be all right. We’re not going to leave you.” Well, it things were going to all right, why was I in the backseat of the truck with Connor?

We ended up at the vettie. There were DOGS there. They looked at me like they wanted to be friends, but I said, no way. I’m not making friends with anyone unless I’m at home.

Then Mama and Dad took me and Connor to a tiny little room. They took me out of the plastic box. The vettie and two other ladies came in. I hadn’t even had time to do my morning grooming, so I must have looked a mess. But all three ladies talked about how pretty I was. 

The vettie shined a light in my eyes, dared to look at my teeth, put a cold thing on my chest, and then squeezed me all over like she was trying to find hidden treasure deep inside me. Then she pronounced me healthy.

I thought things were over. But no, needles came out, and I got two shots! In my booty! 

Then I had to wait while Connor went through the same ordeal. Then we got put back into the truck. Mama kept saying, “We’re almost home!” Dad seemed to drive really slowly. I bet I could have gone a lot faster if he had let me drive.

I got home and tried to relax by playing. And then Mama had to pull the camera out and take a picture of me. Like all was well. I don’t think so. Yes, I am still fuming.

*Mama’s note: Natasha and Connor had their annual exam and shots, and they are both healthy. This time around, Abbey got to stay home. She was glad she wasn’t the one who had to go to the vet.*

Friday, March 24, 2017

Friendly Fill-Ins Blog Hop: with Abbey

Happy Friday! We’re participating in the Friendly Fill-Ins Blog Hop, presented by 15 and Meowing and McGuffy’s Reader. This week Abbey is helping me.


1. In the Spring, I look forward to ______________________________.

2. I would love to have a ___________________________ party.

3. Few know this about me, but ________________.

4. No one ______________________.



Larry sent this photo to me while I was at work last week: Abbey sleeping on his lap.



1. In the Spring, I look forward to hearing the birds singing to start the day. (Abbey: In the Spring, I look forward to seeing more birds out the windows.)

2. I would love to have a retirement party. But that won’t be for years. (Abbey: I would love to have a Catnip Party and invite all the town’s cats.)

3. Few know this about me, but the inside of my car is usually messy. I drive my husband crazy because I often have water bottles and Diet Pepsi cans in the floor board. *hides face in shame* (Abbey: Few know this about me, but *whispers* I don’t really like treats.)

4. No one can be just like me, and no one can be just like you. So be you! (Abbey: No one could ever love me as much as Mama and Dad do.)




Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Who’s in my seat?

We have many comfortable places in the house for the cats to sit or nap.

On top of the sofa, with a good view out of the window into the backyard.

On the bench their dad built them.


Abbey


On a window seat.


Natasha


On a cat tree.

We have cat beds galore, soft throws in just the right places. What more could a cat want in seating choices?

Apparently, Mama’s seat.

When I read, I normally sit in a comfortable chair in the living room beside a good lamp. Sometimes Connor sits at my feet. Isn’t that sweet? 

Sometimes, even when I’m in the middle of a good book, I get up to get some water or a snack or go to the bathroom.

Lately, when I return to read, I find this. 


Connor


Hmmm. Was he just waiting for me to get up all along?

I pat him on the head, pick up my book, and move to another place. After all, whose chair is it really? 

So if you hear, “Who’s in my seat?” in my house, it might be Connor asking the question.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! And good news!





The vet emailed me last night with Abbey’s endoscopy biopsy results. Her stomach is normal and though there was slight inflammation in her small intestine, the lab said it could be called insignificant. So good news!

We still don’t know what is causing Abbey’s vomiting, but the vet thinks it’s a food allergy or sensitivity. She is going to come up with a strategy and be back in touch on Monday.

Meanwhile, Abbey has not had any vomiting episodes this week. But since the endoscopy on Monday, she has not been eating very much. We took her back to the vet yesterday to make sure she was all right. An ultrasound showed no problems, she didn’t appear to have abdominal pain, and her vitals were normal. Sometimes the endoscopy can irritate the throat. So they gave her an injection of pain medicine. The vet also said sometimes anesthesia can affect cats for longer than expected. She is eating more normally now and getting back to her normal self. 

Thank you for your prayers and good thoughts for Abbey!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Abbey has the endoscopy


Abbey back on bird watch duty Tuesday morning.


Abbey had an endoscopy yesterday to try to determine the cause of her chronic vomiting. It was a long day for her. The procedure got started late, so we were at the vet’s office for most of the day. 

Dr. Rios said she did well during the procedure. Her stomach looked “beautiful,” she said. Her small intestine looked a little different, but she can’t say for sure anything is wrong there. She took plenty of biopsies, which we should hear back on at the end of the week.

Dr. Rios thinks it is probably inflammatory bowel disease, but the biopsies could show something else, including cancer. She doesn’t really think it’s cancer, but it is a possibility, she said. 

Abbey was feeling the effects of the anesthesia last night, but today she seems like herself. Apparently we were both exhausted last night. I slept like a log, and Larry said Abbey barely moved all night.

Thank you for all the warm thoughts and prayers sent for Abbey. 

Friday, March 10, 2017

Boomer

We were sad to learn of the passing of Boomer of Trout Talkin Tabbies. He is at Rainbow Bridge with friends and family and St. Francis. 

Butter Lover Boomer O Cat
May 1, 1998 - March 7, 2017

From Trout Talkin Tabbies' website.


We want the Food Service Girl and Tuna and Daisy and all of Boomer’s family to know that we are praying for your comfort and peace. We know the pain of losing a loved one is hard to bear. May it help you to know that Boomer’s many friends are thinking of you and sending love.

The kitties have a message for Boomer:

Dear Boomer,

We are going to miss you, dood. We are glad you had a long and good life. We asked our brothers and sisters, Thunder Cat, Chase Bird, Waddles, and Sam, to come find you and get to know you. We love you forever and will see you some day.

Your friends,
Natasha, Abbey, and Connor

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

How do you give a struggling, anxious cat a pill?




I wish this were a post where I could give you the answer to that question: how do you give a struggling, anxious cat a pill? 

But I am turning to you for suggestions and help.

Larry and I have given medicine to cats for years. But now we have three young cats, and it’s a different experience giving medicine. Or we have lost any skills we had.

The Cerenia that the vet ordered for Abbey seems to help her. For about a month, we were told to give it to her every day. Leading up to her endoscopy, which is scheduled for Monday, March 13, we have been trying to give it to her at least every other day.

Larry holds her and I give her the pill with a pill popper. 

But Abbey has become very upset during the process. We’ve tried it with Larry holding her to his side. We’ve tried it with her wrapped in a towel. I try to move as quickly as I can to get the pill in. But she struggles against us so hard, we’re afraid we’re going to hurt her. So we let her go and she doesn’t get the medicine.

I bought some pill pockets and gave her one with no pill in it to see if she would eat it. She wouldn’t. She rarely eats any kind of treat.

I mashed it and put it in some gravy from soft food she likes. Evidently, she smelled the pill because she wouldn’t touch the food.

Do you have any suggestions or advice? We appreciate it!

Friday, March 3, 2017

Friendly Fill-Ins Blog Hop: with Natasha

Happy Friday! We’re participating in the Friendly Fill-Ins Blog Hop, presented by 15 and Meowing and McGuffy’s Reader. This week Natasha is helping me.



1. My favorite herb or spice is ________________.

2. An herb/spice I dislike is ________________.

3. Lately, I have been working on _______________.

4. This Winter was _______________.



Natasha teaching Larry to play tower toy.






1. My favorite herb or spice is cinnamon. (Natasha: My favorite herb or spice is chicken.)

2. An herb/spice I dislike is sage, though I don’t really dislike it. It’s just one of my least favorite. (Natasha: An herb/spice I dislike is shrimp.)

3. Lately, I have been working on picture book manuscripts. (Natasha: Lately, I have been working on my paw moves with the tower toy.)

4. This Winter was too warm! (Natasha: This Winter was without very much snow. And I like watching snow.)