27 December, 2009
Yes, yes I know: Thinking Out Loud was sorely neglected in 2009. I'm going to try to change that in the New Decade. Specifically, I intend to keep up my Simon Sunday posts, since I know there are some of you out there who have missed his antics. To kick things off again for Simon Sunday, here's a photo of him dressed as the most adorable reindeer ever!
Simon has been doing well since his pancreatitis attack earlier this year. He remains on a very strict diet of Prescription i/d (dry and canned), with a very occasional tiny bite of cheese or bread (shhhhh! Do NOT tell his vet, plskthx). I'm still amazed that he and Billie will devour canned food now when less than a year ago they would give me the hairy eyeball if I ever tried to serve it to them. I'm glad that their diet is better balanced between the two, since having good, quality wet food can help to ward off UTIs and kidney issues (fingers crossed).
We have a new addition to the household. After hemming and hawing for a year or so, I finally upgraded my 1984 Quasar to a new Samsung television. One of the first things we watched was the Cat Sitter DVD and was Simon ever bewitched and beguiled! I parked his scratch post (with a top platform) near the front of the TV and he couldn't get enough of all the critters frolicking on the TV. I decided to go with the 26" model and, after viewing the DVD I'm glad I did: Had he been suddenly confronted by a 42" rat, I'm afraid Simon would have crapped his bloomers! I took some photos from his DVD extravaganza that I'll post once I download them from he camera.
Sadly, we've lost some buddies the last quarter of 2009. Simon's darling (ex) girlfriend Samantha got ill and passed away at the beginning of September and, just days later, her brother, Baby was hit and killed by a car. Thankfully, their sister Simone is still with us, though she rarely comes outside since her brother and sister died so suddenly. The Elder Statesmen of our complex, Mr. Floyd and Mr. Marlowe (who I never could get a decent photo of because he preferred nosing the camera to posing for he) recently moved away to a new home and, while Simon and Billie tend to be anti-social with other kitties and remain ambivalent, I miss all of them terribly.
26 July, 2009
So last Wednesday Simon had a follow-up appointment to have his eye re-checked and it was a good thing he did. He experienced a setback on Saturday when, after I had taken the e-collar off so he could groom and get a decent nap, his eye became irritated again and teared up. By the time he finished his supper he was really trying to dig at that eye with his paw, so I had to shove the e-collar back on him. It did not come off again until he went into the carrier before his appointment.
He seemed to steadily improve for the next few days, though he whimpered a couple of times when I tried to pick him up. Since both times were just prior to putting ointment in his eye, it was hard to tell if he was in pain or if he was dreading another eye-gooping. When we got up Wednesday morning, outside of the pre-treatment whimper, everything seemed fine until he barfed up his breakfast. I felt so horrible for him and was trying to not show how worried and dismayed I was. I had given him a little bit of Prescription i/d canned food (about 1 tsp. Monday night and another tsp. Tuesday night). It was supposed to be easy on his stomach, though. I couldn't believe that small amount would upset his system like that! I went to work and proceeded to worry all day long.
When I came home from work I did my now daily Barf Check. I found that, after I left for work, Simon had horked up a hairball. A very very HUGE hairball.
"OH MY GOD, YOU ATE BILLIE!" I cried. But then she meowed behind me, so I knew she was safe and wholly intact. I reckoned that that hairball was the likely culprit for this morning's mess and felt quite relieved. A few minutes later we were off to the vet's office, Simon singing a tragic opera aria in his carrier in the back seat. (Damn, that cat can hold a note!)
I reported the recent events to the vet and she agreed with me that it must have been the hairball that triggered the morning's Barf-O-Rama and she said to go ahead and continue feeding him the canned i/d. She then took him in the other room so she could examine his eye. While they were in the back, I remembered he was getting low on kibble so I got a bag, wondering if it would really be terribly uncouth to request some sort of Frequent Buyer plan where I could get a packet of Advantage or a free visit for every $1,000 I spend there (I think we're at $1,500 for this year already).
A few minutes later the vet brought him out and said his eye was completely healed (much to MY relief) and that we didn't have to have any more ointment or e-collar (much to SIMON'S relief). Then they tallied the bill. They only charged me for the bag of food, so I got that free office visit after all! WIN!
Simon is pretty much back to his old self, now. He's been having his nightly cat crazies, he'll randomly walk over and slap Billie and he's back into full swing with his Wake-Up-Routine, even using an old favorite tactic of his (brushing the hair from my face with his paw then grabbing a chunk in his mouth and yanking on it).
So, at least for today, Simon is healthy, Billie is eating well (in fact, as I write this, she is yelling at me for more food!), and I'm feeling more human and less dizzy. May this last for a very very long time.
19 July, 2009
What a freakin' horrible week!
Last Monday morning, Simon woke up barfy. It happens once in a while and the culprit is usually an impressively-sized hairball, so I didn't think too much of it at the time. But, a few minutes later when he was bumping my alarm clock (which he does when he wants me to get up), he cried out a little when I picked him up and moved him. That started my Spider Sense tingling.
We got up and went through the morning routine, but I noticed that Simon was especially quiet. I tried to pick him up again and again he cried out. I picked up the phone and called his vet's office (they weren't open yet, so I asked them to phone me if I could get him in that morning). I only fed Simon 1/2 of his breakfast, which he ate, though not with nearly the vigor and passion that he usually attacks his food bowl. While he ate, I got his carrier out of the closet and quietly unlatched the top hatch. I wrote an email to my co-workers saying I'd be in if/when I could and left to get my shot.
While I was en route to Kaiser, the vet's office phoned to say I could bring him in at 9:30. That would be cutting things pretty close with the allergy shot, since they expect patients to hang around for 30 minutes afterward. When I got to the clinic, I explained my situation to the receptionist and she basically told me that they won't even give me the shot if I can't/won't wait the FULL 30 minutes, and besides that, the nurses who were supposed to be there at 8:30 to give shots weren't going to be there until at least 8:45. (My displeasure with Kaiser is a much longer post for another day...). So I schlepped back home and sat quietly with Simon and Billie for a few minutes before I gingerly lifted Simon and put him in the carrier. As bad as he was feeling, his lungs worked really well! He howled the whole trip (which, thankfully, is only about 10 minutes).
We waited in an exam room for what felt like an eternity, Simon curled up on my lap, hidden under his blanket. His vet came in and checked him. She didn't feel anything wrong in his abdomen and she wanted me to leave him for at least a couple of hours so they could take blood and urine samples and watch him. I figured I should go into the office, so I asked if it would be OK if I left him until 5:00 or 5:30. The vet said it may be better as she'd have more time to watch him. So I flew back across the island to the ferry dock and caught the 10:50 boat. Obviously, I was a wreck the whole day and tried to dive into work to take my mind off of my little Schmoopie and wishing I had just taken the whole damn day off so I could have just brought him home after a couple of hours.
Around 4:30, the vet left me a voice mail, asking if I had noticed anything wrong with one of his eyes, because his left eye had suddenly teared up and was bothering him and she noticed an abrasion on his cornea. I phoned her back from the ferry (with a boat full of very rude tourists) and told her I had not noticed anything like that before. She was baffled as to how he might have hurt his eyes, as he only had his blanket, a towel a food and water bowl (with smooth edges) and a litter tray. There didn't seem to be anything in there that he could have scratched his eye on. The only thing I could think of was, the vet mentioned that Simon had been hiding in the litter tray and he may have kicked up a piece of litter in his eye. At any rate, when I got there to take him home, we brought a container of ointment with us that I have to put in his eye three times a day. She mentioned I may need to come back and get an Elizabethan collar for him if he tries to scratch his eye, though he hadn't tried to worry it while he was at the vet's office.
I don't know why I didn't get an e-collar on the spot: About a minute after Simon came out of his carrier at home, he started rubbing his eye. So I drove BACK across the island to the vet's office and plunked down another $23 for a small e-collar.
Then, we waited for results. And waited. And waited. I was a complete wreck, even though Simon was steadily improving (per the vet's instructions, he now ONLY eats Prescription Diet i/d and gets Petromalt for hairball relief). He didn't really seem like himself until Thursday night (and his eye was still blinky and I had to fight to get the ointment in his eye). I hadn't slept much and was feeling like crap anyway and by Friday the not-knowing had made me very, very over-sensitive. By mid-morning Friday, I was convinced I should never be responsible for any living thing. I had a front stoop full of dead plants, I nearly let Billie waste away to nothing and now Simon was sick and I didn't know why and there wasn't anything I could DO about it.
The vet phoned around 12:30 p.m. The blood panel she ordered included a pancreatitis test and that was what held things up (and she also wanted to talk to the lab tech). Thankfully, his kidney functions were normal (since his misadventures with eating toxic-to-kidney things last year), no sign of diabetes, urine concentrated (which was good in this case), no parasites...all good. It turned out he had an attack of pancreatitis. The vet said it could be brought on by irritable bowel syndrome (which is why Simon got Prescription i/d in the first place, though his diet had strayed away from it over the years) or liver disease, and an attack is usually triggered by high-fat foods, though that tends to happen more in humans and dogs than in cats. I pointed out that I had fed Simon a pouch of Wellness Chicken & Salmon Sunday night and we agree that there is a possibility that that may have triggered the attack. (This is not to say that there is anything wrong with Wellness food! Billie eats it all the time and she's doing really well with it. It's very good food and I recommend it if you want your cat to eat a good grain-free diet with human-grade ingredients!). So Simon has been on a VERY STRICT diet of Prescription i/d and Petromalt and he seems to be almost back to normal.
His eye is still a concern. I think he let me believe he was going to leave his eye alone on Friday before I left for work so I'd leave the e-collar off, then bothered it while I was gone: It was a bit winky when I got home. We've continued the ointment treatment and I left the e-collar on all day Saturday and most of today. I finally took it off for a while this afternoon so that he could groom himself and take a decent nap without that damn thing getting in the way. He tried to wash his face, but stopped when I'd catch him wiping around his eye. He took a good, long nap and ate his "tea" (I gave him a little canned i/d as a treat) and his eye seemed to be doing very well. It was nearly fully open and he wasn't worrying it. Then at some point, something happened with it. A couple of hours ago, it was slightly teary and after he ate the rest of the wet food, he suddenly started trying to rub the eye hard. I immediately grabbed him and got the e-collar back on him and he hasn't tried to get at it since. I don't know if he somehow got food in it or what might have happened to have it suddenly bother him so much. He's resting now (on my pillow, just like in the photo above, except with the e-collar on now) and he's opening his eye again, though not all the way. He's due for another ointment treatment in a couple of hours and goes back for a re-check on the eye on Wednesday (unless he has another eye issue like today's).
I just wish the furkids and I could finally all be healthy. Yeesh!
12 July, 2009
I know, I know...things have gone pretty quiet around here lately. Lots of things going on in my life right now and it's not leaving me much time or energy to post regularly.
Since we last checked in, Simon has turned eight years old. EIGHT! And, unlike last year, we managed to get through the birthday celebrations without an emergency trip to the V-E-T so yay!
One of the things we've been dealing with over the last few months is Miss Billie's weight loss. She was down to five pounds! We did x-rays, blood tests and an ultrasound (which the tech let me attend, so that was really cool) but couldn't really find anything wrong that would explain why she was so thin. So the vet prescribed an anti-depressant to stimulate her appetite and boy howdy did that do the trick! I even got Billie to eat canned food (after 7-1/2 years of trying)! And the best part of her eating canned food was that Simon still didn't like it. Therefore, I could leave it out for her to eat whenever she wanted it during the day.
Until a week or so ago, that is. While I have to admit, even I think the Wellness CORE smells pretty damn tasty, Simon turned his nose up at it at first. Then, one day I came home from work and looked at Billie's dish and it was spotless. Even with dry food, Billie never leaves a dish spotless. Evidently, while I was at work, Simon tried Billie's food and decided he loves canned food after all. So now I'm back to pleading with her to eat her breakfast in the 20-30 minutes I can give her in the morning and evening, then leaving the rest out for her when Simon and I go to bed.
But the best news is that, as of my last weigh-in (by standing on the scale holding her, then stand on it without her), she was up to around seven pounds!
So now we've worked canned food into both of their diets. Twice a week, I split one of these pouches between them. Billie LOVES gravy, but not so much the chunks, so she gets most of the gravy and Simon gets most of the meat and they're both happy. And, as long as she continues to gain weight (and Simon doesn't gain too much), I'm happy!
22 February, 2009
As I mentioned in an earlier post, Simon is now on Twitter and he already has more than twice as many followers as I have! I find that it's quite time consuming keeping up with his virtual social life.
Simon has some anipals on Twitter that we want to give a meow-out to today:
Romeo the Cat and his human are donating $.05 to the Humane Society for each follower he gets on Twitter (he's also looking for like-minded kitties and their humans to match his donation). His goal is to raise $2,500 by March 15. He's a very beautiful, witty and generous kitty and is fast becoming a celebrity. Go follow him now!
The next meow-out goes to Brewskie Butt. Another gorgeous and witty feline whose human is a very talented artist. Brewskie has commissioned his human to do a portrait of a favorite anipal of lots of Twitter Critters, Oscar the Cat, who has recently become ill with a serious kidney condition. Brewskie has posted a Get Well Soon card for Oscar. If you've got a moment, go give Oscar your best wishes.
On the subject of Oscar, he and his brother Henry have started a blog called Cats Who Twitter (though they have opened it up to all manner of critters, including dogs, hamsters and ferrets). Simon was one of the featured furkids on Oscar's Follow Five Friday this week.
16 February, 2009
11 January, 2009
(edited to add: I made this here: obamiconme.pastemagazine.com/)
04 January, 2009
I wanted to play around with some photos of my cute new turquoise lamps from Ikea, so of course Simon finished his nap and decided HE had to be front and center. As usual, it turned out that this one with him is my favorite shot of the bunch!
28 December, 2008
21 December, 2008
I thought it might be fun to dress Simon and Billie up in holiday gear for a quick photo session. Simon thought I was trying to murder him, either by having the hat strap squish his brains out or strangle him, or by making him die of embarrassment.
As for Billie, she wishes you all a very happy holiday season! However, she wishes I would fall into a vat of cat shit and die:
I count myself fortunate that they are both pretty resilient. Simon was over his trauma when the catnip came out, and Billie hasn't revenge peed at all!
14 December, 2008
07 December, 2008
Simon doesn't usually like it when I put something over him but last night I made him into a warm laundry and kitteh sammich and he was as happy as could be. I took this shot just before he fell asleep: He took a 25-minute nap inside his sammich.
30 November, 2008
16 November, 2008
Simon isn't much of a flag waver, so I'm not sure what prompted him to remove this specific item from my desk a while ago when there were so many of his other favourite "toys" to choose from (i.e., my sunglasses, my iMac remote control, my USB thumb drive, a few pens and pencils, etc.) Now, before anyone gets pushed out of shape, Simon wouldn't attack the American flag out of protest because politics do not interest him in the least. Simon tries to disembowel everything he gets his paws on. It's how he rolls.
A programming note: You can now follow Simon on Twitter! If you're not on Twitter, you can keep up with him via the Twitter badge in the right-hand bar.
02 November, 2008
Simon did not share my appreciation for "falling back" from Daylight Savings Time to Standard Time this morning. It meant his breakfast was an hour "late" and no amount of explaining that, for all these months, he was actually having his breakfast an hour early cut no ice with him. So I tried to make the transition a little easier on the poor guy by giving him half of his breakfast at 6:30 and the rest at his regular time, 7:00 a.m.
And, I've put fresh, warm laundry out for him to snooze on and fur up.
24 August, 2008
Probably dreaming of goat cheese. He insisted that I give him a bite of blue cheese while I was making my salad, despite my reminding him that he doesn't really like blue cheese. So I gave him a bite of it and he promptly spit it out. When he realized I was not going to switch and put proper chevre on my salad, he went back and ate the blue cheese, staring at me as if this was the only morsel of food he has ever been offered in his life and, even though he didn't like it, he'd eat it anyway.
Which reminds me: I'd better get that last vanilla macaroon from my trip to Miette out of my camera bag before Felis Cookie Thiefus sniffs it..
10 August, 2008
Nothing new, really, to report on the Felis Sconeus Thiefus. He's pretty much stayed out of trouble lately and the food stealing has been minimized since I instituted my new Open Food Container Policy where I collect a fully-refundable $300 deposit from anyone who brings food into the apartment. It is refundable if/when the food is consumed or removed from the apartment and Simon has NOT consumed toxic quantities of it.
OK I'm joking about the deposit, mostly. I did give it some serious consideration, though. I am still considering hiring a nanny for him, however, because I think his Guardian Angels have gone on permanent disability due to the stress of trying to keep him out of trouble.
20 July, 2008
Raisins. Yes, I said raisins. Grapes, grape juice and wine are bad, too, but for this post we'll just focus on the raisins, shall we?
And how did I come by this pearl of knowledge, you ask? Because someone got into the (very tasty) raisin scones my good friend made and brought over for us HUMANS to enjoy. Wirehead and I had some with a cup of tea before we headed to the navy base for a shoot last weekend. When I returned home, I discovered a trail of scone crumbs and there were teeth scrapes on the two remaining scones in the container. As I was vacuuming up the crumbs from the floor, I wondered about the raisins. How many might he have eaten? Did it matter? They're just raisins. They can't be bad for cats. Can they? I exchanged a few worried text messages with wirehead, who told me how many he used in the entire recipe and I tried to calculate how many Simon may have eaten. I guessed he ate 10 raisins.
My first-aid and cat care books weren't really specific about the toxicity of raisins, so I turned to Google only to find that the internets are kind of all over the place on the issue. They were pretty consistent in declaring them highly toxic for dogs, but wavered on whether they were bad for cats (because, evidently, dogs love them some People Food, but cats are such finicky eaters they don't eat stuff like scones. **SNORT**). I tried to go to bed, since by this time it was well after midnight, but Simon was hyper and my "spidey sense" was still tingling. After a few minutes, I was scrolling through the contacts list on my iPhone until I came upon Bay Area Veterinary Specialists, the 24-hour emergency hospital we had been to just a few weeks ago. The receptionist spoke to the on-duty vet for a few minutes, then came back on the line and said as far as they knew raisins are more toxic for dogs than for cats but they gave me the phone number for the ASPCA Poison Control Line. At this point, I was so completely exhausted, and Simon hadn't vomited and certainly didn't look or act sick. I thought of just going back to bed. But I just couldn't do it, so I dialed the toll-free number.
I spoke with a "Dr. Smith" there and she asked the usual questions, "How many did he eat?" "How much does he weigh?" "Has he had any vomiting, etc.?" I told her he looked and acted normal and that I thought he ate about 10 raisins, total and he weighs around 11 or 12 pounds. The words I really wanted to hear at that moment were, "OK just keep an eye on him for the next day or two and take him to his vet if he shows any signs of sickness."
Instead, she told me I should either take him to a 24-hour vet, or attempt to induce vomiting myself by giving him 2 teaspoons of hydrogen peroxide. Thank goodness I still have a bottle of peroxide on hand. I frantically tore through the kitchen drawers trying to find a suitable measuring spoon and a medicine syringe to give him the peroxide. While I was doing that, Simon was helping himself to Billie's food, which I let him do because I had read in one of my books that it helps to induce vomiting if the pet eats a little something first. I finally found a measuring spoon and an old eyedropper from a herb tincture. I rinsed the eyedropper thoroughly and brought Simon into the bathroom with me. He did fight me a little, trying to get the peroxide down him a dropper full at a time, but bless his heart, he took pretty much all of it. The ASPCA vet said it might take up to 10 minutes: He was horking after two or three. I counted nine raisins. And I STILL want to know what my prize is for guessing how many raisins were in the jar!
I phoned the ASPCA back (they charge $60 for a consultation, but you get a case number and can call back on that number as often as necessary) and explained what had happened. They said I should keep an eye on him over the next 24-48 hours and that it wouldn't be a bad idea to take him to his regular vet. So, he had a couple of follow-up blood tests with his vet, to make sure his kidney values were stable (and to give him a little "fluid flab" to help flush out his system) and I'm happy (and very very relieved) to report that he is just fine.
So, here's a list of things that Simon has gotten into and generally how freaked out you should be if your dog or cat gets into the same thing. I have also included the ASPCA Poison Control number and a link to their web page. I hope you never have to refer to them, but judging by the amount of traffic this blog gets from people wondering if gerbera daisies are toxic to their cats, it may prove useful.
06 July, 2008
I realize I haven't done a Simon Sunday post in a while. Not to worry, he is just fine and back to 100% (well, minus that one toenail he ripped off trying to jump from my head to the top of the heater)!
Despite the fact that in this photo he looks like a perfect angel (complete with a halo glowing over his head!), he has added a new bit of obnoxiousness to his palette. Now, usually starting around 5:00 a.m., he'll sigh very loudly while melodramatically flopping himself down next to me in bed, with his fuzzy arse strategically placed near my head. He then slaps my face with his tail, and, when I protest, will turn and look at me like, "Oh, is that thing hitting you? Soooooooo sorry! I just can NOT control it!" I should take and post a video of it, but that would mean subjecting the world to me just waking up and, well, they'd probably NIPSA my Flickr account if I did that.
08 June, 2008
I realize I haven't done a Simon Sunday for a while. Simon is fine and back to his old self again (just waiting for the hair to grow back on his "arm" where it was shaved off). I just haven't really been up for posting things, lately.
I'll try to get posting back on track, but make no promises.
18 May, 2008
Simon has been home for a week, after his Bogus Journey to the emergency veterinary hospital last weekend. We finished the Clavamox and Baytril prescriptions for his urinary tract infection last night, which was good because he had sort of figured out the pill pockets.
Oh yes, the pill pockets. Last Sunday I didn't have much trouble pilling Simon: the Clavamox are small and the Baytril followed immediately after when Simon was too confused to put up a fight. Monday was a completely different story. I got the Clavamox down him easily but he wanted nothing at all to do with the Baytril. I spent close to thirty minutes trying to get that stupid Baytril down him! To anyone observing, it must surely have looked like Wile E. Coyote v. the Roadrunner: No matter what clever scheme I tried (Shoving it in. Shoving it in again. Covering it in goat cheese. Covering it in Petromalt. Shoving it in again. Covering it in more Petromalt and smearing the whole thing on his face.), he outwitted me. By the time I got the last remnants of that damn pill into his mouth, it felt like I had played my guitar all night, but instead of steel strings, it had been strung with barbed wire. So, on the recommendation of the vet's office, I stopped at Petco after work on Tuesday and bought chicken flavored pill pockets.
The pill pockets worked really well, but still required preparation to keep up with Simon. I started off giving him one sans pill, then stuffed a Clavamox in one and gave it to him, which he ate quickly. The Baytril one, he tried to chew at, so I quickly grabbed one of his crunchy cat treats and offered it to him so he'd just swallow the Baytril and eat the new treat. That system has been working out fairly well, though the last couple of days Simon started trying to dissect the pocket and refusing the extra treat until he had chewed at the pill pocket some more. But, hey, no problem because we're done with meds, right?
Yeah, not so much.
For reasons known only to him, Simon thought it would be a really neat idea to use my head as a springboard to try to leap on top of the heater. It didn't work out too well for him and he ended up tearing one of his toenails and if you've ever accidentally trimmed too far on your cat's (or dog's) nails, those suckers bleed like a son of a gun! Naturally, I sprung straight into Mom Mode and put his foot under the faucet to try to clean the wound and stop the bleeding. He was having none of it and tried to run away several times. He yelped and growled and bit on me (clearly not wanting to hurt me, just trying to get me to stop what I was doing) when I put the wash cloth over his foot. He yelped and bit some more when I tried to hold cotton balls on the wound to staunch the bleeding. I finally got it stopped and just let him lay on my bed by himself while I cleaned up the kitchen and got ready for bed. He groomed the foot for a while but he hasn't been favoring the foot, so it seems all is as well as can be.
The discharge instructions from the emergency vet said I had to get Simon in for a follow-up urine test within 48 hours after discontinuing his meds, so I made an appointment for this afternoon. I felt horrible when it was time to put him in the carrier and he actually piddled a little bit (not surprising since, for one, he did NOT want to go back to the vet and for two, I had made him "hold it" all day so the vet would be able to grab a sample). He yowled all the way to our regular vet's office (thankfully, the emergency vet said we could go to his regular vet for the follow up, which is a much shorter car trip). The vet who saw him said that the notes that had been faxed over from the hospital said that he wasn't to be seen for five days after discontinuing the meds. We talked about what to do and I made it very clear that I did not want to put Simon through another trip to the vet. She ordered a regular test (not the culture), so, unless they see something off in that, we should be done with vet trips for a while.
The vet and I both nearly forgot about looking at Simon's foot, so she took him back to the exam room. She showed me how the nail had torn away from the toe a bit and that he'd probably eventually pull the nail off himself. Alternatively she could sedate him and take it herself, but neither of us wanted to put him through that today. So, he's back on Clavamox for the next five days in an effort to head off any infection.
I'd better go check the supply of pill pockets.
11 May, 2008
I love to have fresh flowers in the house and every Sunday, when I make my weekly grocery shopping trip to Trader Joe's, I pick up one of their mixed bouquets. Now, because Simon likes to sample, well, everything, I make sure that the flowers are kept in a place he cannot access and I keep an eye out for wilting flowers so I can slip off the petals before they fall off. Occasionally, a lily petal will fall onto the floor, but Simon has never bothered with them.
I came home from work and noticed some orange lily petals on the floor and picked them up. I didn't think too much about it. I fed Simon and Billie their supper while I got ready to go to the SFlickr meet up. When I got home and was getting ready to crawl into bed around 10:30 p.m., I noticed that Simon had horked up part of his supper. As I picked it up and threw it in the garbage, I noticed the standard hair and a couple of bits of orange somethingorother in it. As I was cleaning off the bed spread and getting it ready to put in the laundry, it dawned on me: Those orange bits must be lily petals.
After consulting the first aid manual, I phoned Bay Area Veterinary Specialists, the emergency clinic in San Leandro, and spoke to them briefly. Part of me really wanted to think that, like the previous incidents with chocolate, Simon would just get away with nothing more than a dickey tummy. After all, he was still acting like his whacko self and was still eating. But something inside me compelled me to get dressed and take him in. So, at 11:00 p.m. we walked through the door to the emergency room at BAVS. A vet tech took him in the back while I sorted out the details at the reception desk. After a while, the veterinarian on duty spoke to me and told me that they needed to give Simon activated charcoal (which is horrible-tasting and must be force-fed) to soak up the toxins and also put him on IV fluids to flush his system. Hopefully, this all would head off any kidney damage (or failure) that can be caused by ingesting lillies. She let me go into the back to say good-night to Simon. My poor baby was absolutely terrified and as soon as I leaned over him on the table, he crawled into my neck, wanting his Mom to protect him. The vet tech had his blanket spread out on the table and said Simon was being a very good kitty and seemed to be somewhat comfortable with him, given the circumstances. At this point, I was crying, my tears soaking Simon's fuzzy little head. "I'm so sorry, baby," I kept saying.
The doctor gently told me that I needed to go to the front desk to sort out the estimate so that they can begin treating Simon, so I kissed him good night. The vet tech, instead of holding Simon on the table, pulled him gently into his lap and soothed him, which made me feel a tiny bit better about leaving him.
The estimate has a low end and a high end and I had to pay the low end as a deposit before they would begin treating him. Both estimates were in the 4-digit range. I said a quick prayer of thanks that 1) the bank had upped my credit limit a couple of weeks ago and 2) that, despite the huge hole it would blow in my savings account, I could still cover the high end of the estimate. Driving home, I nearly had to pull off of the freeway two or three times because I felt so nauseated. When I got home I pulled the rest of the bedding off of the mattress and dragged my down comforter over. I lay awake until the alarm went off at 5:40 a.m. I phoned the clinic around 7:00 and they said he was doing well and that I could call back around 10:30. I asked if I could visit him and they told me to come by any time. As you can imagine, I was an utter wreck at work. I tried hard to concentrate on TASKS, anything to get my mind off of my poor, terrified kitten who was in this situation because of my stupid need to have stupid fresh flowers all the stupid time. I got some critical tasks done and managed to get my trip to Los Angeles rescheduled from Monday to Thursday and then I called the clinic before leaving for the ferry.
I spoke to one of the vet techs (Rita, I think...I wish I had gotten *all* of their names, they all are so wonderful). They were going to send Simon's blood work out for another look-see because the doctor had seen something "a little off" in it. Also, they discovered a rather significant bacterial infection in his bladder, so they put him on antibiotics for that. That last bit of news knocked me for six: Simon had shown no indication, whatsoever, that he had any kind of urinary tract infection. Rita told me to visit Simon any time. So I headed for the 12:15 boat back to Alameda. I dug out Simon's favourite catnip bear, which he had torn a hole in and it was hemorrhaging catnip, and did a hasty repair job so I could bring it with me.
I spent about an hour and a half with Simon Friday afternoon. At one point, he had crawled behind me on the bench and then suddenly reached over and yanked on his catheter, spraying a bit of blood on the wall and dripping some on me as I carried him into the treatment area to tell them what happened. When the techs tried to look at the catheter, Simon got really frightened and peed on me. I cleaned myself off while they replaced the catheter and wrapped the works in the orange smiley face bandage you see in the photo. They brought him back into the room with me for a little while longer and I settled him into his favourite polar fleece jacket where he finally slept comfortably (that's the photo at the top of the post). It was time for him to go back on his fluids, so I left. I came back later in the evening to say good-night and to bring a bag of his food to see if he would eat (he wasn't eating for the vet, which wasn't surprising considering how frightened he was). I didn't have any luck getting him to eat, but he did at least sniff at the kibble I brought, which was encouraging. The tech said he was doing really well and answered my question about the blood work (the vet had noted a low platelet count and that's why it was sent out for another look). Simon didn't really look or act like a sick cat. Scared, but not sick. However, with kidney problems, it can take a while for the symptoms to manifest, so they wanted to keep him hospitalized. Again, I kissed him good-night and headed home to watch Battlestar Galactica, a diversion I so desperately needed along with having my friend Stephanie here.
Saturday, I went straight from my chiropractor appointment to the clinic. When I phoned earlier, they said his blood work came back "unremarkable", which I took as good news, and that he was keeping hidden in his bed (the tech Friday had mentioned that he had been too frightened to come out of his bed to use the litter pan and was peeing in the bed). When they gave him to me, I noticed that his stomach and hindquarters were, uh, damp. I just wanted to cry: my poor little boo was so scared he was peeing himself! This is the same cat who is the litter box champion! He had never, ever, in his life eliminated anywhere BUT the litter box. I was just sick that he was so distressed that he wouldn't leave his bed to pee. I scooped him up in the towels they brought in and tried to clean him off a little. He took over and I just let him sit on the floor and groom for a bit. Then I pulled out the baggie with some of his kibble in it to see if I could get him to eat. He actually ate several bites before some loud children in the neighbouring exam room put him off. I spent a couple of hours with him and he got progressively more relaxed, and even started being the Cheeky Monkey, jumping up on the sink counter, even after I told him he was not allowed up there!
When the vet came in to speak to me, I leaned pretty heavily on her to let him come home. However, she said that, while his blood work was really looking good and he seemed to be doing very well, they really needed to keep him one more night and do one or two more blood tests to make sure his kidney values were stable and to keep flushing his system with fluids. I snuggled with him for a few more minutes before handing him to the tech and promising to come by to say good night.
I returned about 8:00 p.m. but had to wait a while before the visiting room was available, so I didn't see Simon until 8:30. This time the lines were attached to Simon's catheter which was kind of a shock for me to see and it drove Simon nuts to be dragging them around whenever he tried to walk anywhere. But we dealt with it and I just let him do his thing. He groomed for a while, then I put his dish of kibble down and he went at it, which made me so unbelievably happy!
He groomed for a few minutes before deciding that he really wanted me to sit on the floor with the polar fleece jacket so he could climb inside and rest. While we were down there, the vet on duty, Dr. Jones, I think, came in. While I was impressed with everyone I met at the clinic, this vet totally won me over. He not only answered all of my questions (and was very happy to see that I got Simon to eat), but, rather than towering over us while we talked, he crouched, then sat, on that cold, tile floor next to us. When he got up to leave, he said, "Stay as long as you like. He's obviously way happier where he is right now!" About an hour later, the vet tech came in and said it was time for Simon's antibiotic treatment and he should go back on his fluids. I kissed his head and told him we just needed to tough it out for a few more hours and then he'd come home.
On the way to the car, the migraine that had begun percolating hit me with full force. By the time I got home I was feeling very ill and, in desperation, took one of the Vicodin that I got when my back went out last October. I had also gotten a call from my friend who was in the area and figured I could use a hug. So he came over and sat with me and we talked about photography and cats and work while I waited (and waited) for the Vicodin to at least take the edge off of my raging headache. I fueled my friend up with tea for his drive back to the South Bay and, by the time we said good-night, my head was finally clearing up. The Vicodin also helped me to sleep for the first time in a couple of days. In fact, I was still really groggy this morning when I forced myself to roll out of bed so I could call the clinic at 8:40 a.m. to see when I could come get Simon.
"He's ready to go!" said Simone, at the clinic. I tried very hard to not SQUEE with delight, in her ear.
I hurriedly showered and dressed and stopped to get an Americano at the Starbucks inside Safeway and flew down I-880. I now know the way to BAVS like I know how to get to my own apartment! I settled the final bill and waited while they tried to find his carrier and blanket. It turns out the blanket ended up in their laundry, so they sent him home with a sheepskin and promised to call when they found his blanket (which they did, this afternoon).
As soon as Simon came home, I got him to eat some more food and then he wandered over to Billie's dish and made a half-hearted attempt to steal some of her food. But his appetite isn't what it was before his ordeal. Since he does eat (and hasn't horked any of it back up, so far), I'm not too concerned that he no longer inhales food. If his appetite drops off significantly, then I'll worry.
We spent a long Sunday afternoon with Simon napping on my lap while I watched a movie and snoozed. At one point Simon and I got a card and some toy mice from another one of our amazingly wonderful friends. I got him to eat some more supper and discovered he has a new hiding place--inside the box springs of my bed! He's slowly settling back into his home and feeling secure again. I have to give him antibiotics twice a day for a while and he's got some shaved spots on his legs where the catheter was and where they took blood and I'm trying to get him to not worry them so much that I have to bandage them up again. I pray that the only lingering effect of this ordeal is the one on my bank account and that Simon gets back to his regular crazy mouse self fairly soon. I'm still bewildered about the UTI and how I had no clue about it (I always know when Billie gets one because she is a major Drama Queen about it). And as awful as it was that he ate highly toxic flowers, I wonder if, somehow, that action might have saved his life?
It's a lot to think about: Instead I think I'll go snuggle up with Simon and just be so, so grateful that he and Billie are safe at home with me, this Mother's Day.
04 May, 2008
Simon turns seven years old tomorrow and as usual, he's been spoiled silly, though all of the presents he's gotten are ones that Billie can (and does) enjoy as well. He got a new cardboard scratch box (with catnip!) and an "entertainment center" (though most of you out there would refer to it as an aquarium).
I went back and forth on what fish I'd include in the aquarium, but I decided a while ago I'd use live plants instead of plastic ones this time (bought a couple of plants at Petco and my chiropractor gave me a bunch out of the aquarium in her office). As for the fish, I was thinking of having cichlids, but decided to go with guppies and in a week or so I'll add an algae-eating fish. I've never had guppies so I'll have to see if I can keep the population in check. So far, everyone is happy and the guppies have settled into their new environment.
Billie is content to watch the fish swim through the plants, occasionally patting at the glass. Simon, however, wants to take a more "paws-on" approach:
Simon is actually more interested in sampling the fish FOOD, rather than the fish themselves. As glad as I am that he doesn't want to eat his pet fish, it does add several degrees of difficulty to feeding time.
The last thing we did to celebrate Simon's birthday was to donate a bunch of cat food to the Alameda Animal Shelter. When I was in there last week to pay for Billie's license, they told me about all of the adult cats that have been dropped off in the night drop box lately. The officer nearly had me sobbing before I left and there was no way I could go back to see the cats because I already wish I could adopt every last homeless animal there is. What I could do, however, is buy an extra bag and some cans of food. So Simon and Billie and I want to ask our friends to donate a few dollars or an extra bag or can or two of food to your local shelter or rescue organization. If you're a few bob short, you can give your time and volunteer to socialize the animals and take the dogs for walks.
Finally, if you have room in your heart (and in your home), consider adopting an adult cat (or dog). There are a lot of wonderful critters out there waiting for a loving family of their own.
27 April, 2008
Poor Simon! One of our neighbour kitties, Simone, has gotten into the habit of waiting in the front courtyard for me to come home from work. She'll meet me half way along the walk and escort me to my door where we visit for a few minutes, usually with Simon and Billie poking their head out to say hi. I've been very pleasantly surprised that there hasn't been any hissing or growling from my rather territorial furkids (Simon, in particular, is given to hissing at interlopers).
So Friday afternoon Simone followed me home (with "Baby", a very shy stray-ish kitty who has sort of adopted Simone's family, tagging behind her). So I kept the door open while I put out a fresh dish of water for the outdoor cats and visited with Simone and Baby. I was on my hands and knees as I set out the water and Simon came over and poked his head out from under my chin (think of a kitten with his momma cat). Simon and Simone looked at each other for several seconds and then Simon poked his head out a little farther. Simone instantly whapped him on his nose and hissed at him. He froze for a moment with a "WTF???" look on his face before he ran off toward the bedroom while I nearly ended myself laughing and crying "Oh, poor Simon!".
Thankfully, a dish full of kibble soothed his broken heart. As long as he has his momma and plenty of kibble (and yogurt and goat cheese and tons of other treats) and his toy box, he doesn't need a girl kitteh.
20 April, 2008
As long as Billie forgets that she hates Simon's guts, they can find a way to get a long for a while. Once in a great while, Simon will attack Billie, unprovoked, but usually if he does it's because he's walked into the room and she starts hissing and growling at him.
In other new developments, it seems that, after nearly seven years, Simon has pretty much gotten over his shyness around one of my friends. Of course it helps that she brings a huge bowl of popcorn when she comes over to watch Battlestar Galactica and that, popcorn being the messy snack that it is, he manages to get quite a few bites of it. He's gone from hiding under the bed in terror to practically snuggling at her feet! He's also gotten brave enough to plot raids on the popcorn bowl, when he thinks we're not paying attention.
On the one hand, I'm glad he's finally getting past his shyness because he really is so wonderful that it's a shame people don't get to see how funny and sweet and full of mischief he is. On the other hand, I always counted on that shyness when I had company so that I could have food out and not worry about him helping himself.
We take the good with the not-as-good, I suppose.
Speaking of which, I was just in the bathroom, scrubbing out and rinsing one of the litter boxes. As I finished, I turned around to see that Simon had delivered one of his toys to the doorway of the bathroom. So that I'd be sure to take a moment for play after working so hard for him and his sister. Such a sweetheart!
13 April, 2008
This is an old video of Simon, when he had his first pets: Two goldfish, both of whom were named Fishie, IIRC.
He really loved his fish. As you can see in this video, they swam over to him and interacted with him (his next sets of fish, all betta, did that, too). He was comforted by the hum of the filter motor and he loved to warm his bum by sitting on top of the tank.
His birthday is coming up in a couple of weeks and I'm seriously considering a new aquarium and some more fish. Because, to be honest, I liked having them around as much as he did!
30 March, 2008
I got, not one, but TWO notifications from the veterinarians' office recently. It seems Simon was due for his annual check-up and Billie was due for her rabies vaccination. For some reason, when I was on the phone with the V-E-T's office, I thought it might be more efficient to bring them in at the same time. After I hung up the phone, I realized that that idea wasn't so much about efficiency as it is proof positive that I'm fucking insane.
The last time I packed two kitties off to the vet's office was when Simon and Chloe were kittens and I could put them both in the same carrier. If I were to try to put Simon and Billie in the same carrier, there would be blood spilled, most likely MINE. I got them into their carriers, eventually (Simon can really put up a good fight) and out the door. Once outside, where the neighbours could hear them, they both started complaining bitterly and LOUDLY about what was happening to them. But all in all, they were both pretty well behaved.
Billie has put back on some weight, so she's back into the six pound range. That was very good news because I was rather alarmed when she dropped below six pounds. Simon is still twice her size at a bit over twelve pounds. He did the kitten thing of trying to hide himself in my neck and let out his high-pitched mews when he was on the scale.
So, if nothing else, at least Billie now knows Simon's Dirty Secret: For all his bullying and blustering at her at home, he is a great big baby. Not that that made her any happier:
For all the trauma they claim to have suffered today, I think my bank account took the worst of it. But Billie and Simon are both healthy and that's the most important thing.
23 March, 2008
Simon and I seem to have a bit of a disagreement as to how I should be spending my 4-day weekend. I thought I'd spend it relaxing around the apartment and getting some work done on the computer. Simon thought I was here to do his bidding and to provide Something Big And Warm for him to snuggle with whenever he designated it Official Napping Hour.
Sometimes I get so fed up that I swear that the next time I take time off I'm going to hire a kitty sitter and go Somewhere Else for a few days of peace and quiet. But I know that I'd miss him and Billie terribly and would probably cut my vacation short so I could hear Billie chatter excitedly at me in the morning and have Simon wake me up with his kitty-paw neck massages and his nose kisses.
16 March, 2008
After much internal debate (possibly the subject for another post), I finally made a trip to the Apple Store yesterday and came home with a new iMac. Setting it up and migrating information from the old Mac to the new one was too much for Simon's curiosity to bear and I spent much of the afternoon scolding him for getting in my way while I was trying to work. He probably likes the new computer. He definitely likes the fact that there is more desk space (despite the iMac's screen being nearly double he size of the old eMac) for him to jump up on.
He's not too sure about the camera, though.
09 March, 2008
I think I took this Tuesday morning, before I packed myself off to Kaiser because my throat felt like there were 10,000,000,000 fire ants attacking it. Simon looked so gorgeous in the sunny window but I had the lensbaby on the camera and I knew there wouldn't be time to switch out lenses, so I did the best I could with it. It actually turned out pretty good, I think (I'm still getting the hang of using the lensbaby).
Thankfully, the strep test came back negative, but I've had a nasty cold all week. As always, Simon and Billie have looked after me well and Simon made sure I got plenty of bed rest (and snuggles). He has this "thing" where he'll get me to follow him to where he wants me to go, looking over his shoulder every couple of steps to make sure I hadn't gotten lost. Usually, the destination is the kitchen, but more often than not this week, he'd lead me to the bedroom. There were a few times this week where he wanted me to go back to bed but I wanted to stay at the computer for a while longer. When I'd try to adjust him on my lap, he'd nip my hand in frustration. Looking over at him now, he's crashed out in front of the window, as exhausted as I am from the all-night coughing fits and congestion and my constant shifting in bed because my throat hurt so horribly. No doubt he's also exhausted from being so disciplined all week and not taking advantage of the fact that my voice was gone-daddy-gone and I couldn't yell at him. (After a week, my voice is finally starting to come back on line, but I can only manage to squeak at the cats which brings on a new coughing fit...if they could, they'd laugh at me, I sound so ridiculous.)
To add to the chaos, we started Daylight Saving overnight. As usual, Simon just slotted right in and was ready for his breakfast at New7:00 a.m. And, as usual, I'm rather less than enthusiastic about DST (it sucks ASS). I'm just hoping Simon doesn't repeat his DST error of a few years ago when he "sprang forward" an hour every day for nearly a week. The 3:00 a.m. breakfast calls were not the least bit amusing.
02 March, 2008
There is now video evidence of how mistreated poor Simon is!
Episode Six: The Simon Sebastien Show from Victoria K on Vimeo.
(I found some old short videos I shot on my point-and-shoot digital camera and finally got around to uploading a few of them.)
24 February, 2008
I came home Friday evening to find that quite a number of Simon and Billie's toys had migrated from their toy box onto my bed. Twist ties in many sizes and colours, Crackle Turtle (partially disemboweled), Crackle Squirrel (similarly maimed), a bobble bop and the last of Simon's Favourite jingle balls. Here's me thinking he slept all day when I was at the office!
We've tried a new tack with the problem of Getting Billie To Eat. She's damned determined that she'll have her meals served "free choice," but with He Who Eats Everything on the prowl that just isn't possible unless I leave him locked in the bedroom (I can't keep her in the bedroom because then she gets pissed off and pees on the bed). In desperation last Thursday, I brought her dish out just before going to bed. I brought Simon into the bedroom with me and kept the door closed while we slept. That way she had several hours to eat her food and, since she tends to be more on the nocturnal end of the scale, she has most of the apartment to herself to run around and play in. I have now dubbed her Vampira, since she feeds primarily at night. Thankfully, Simon is being good about being kept in the bedroom so far. In the past he has tended to insist on being let loose and would pester me or knock stuff off of the dresser until I relented and let him go.
I'm hoping that we've finally hit on a feeding plan where Billie finally gains back her weight, even though this is gonna make things really tricky finding someone to sit for them when I have to be out of town. Feeding them already was a bit of a time commitment: Now it's kind of a logistic nightmare because I'm certain that this works because I'm with Simon at night. I couldn't stand the thought of him being locked in the bedroom all alone for hours.
Here's hoping I don't come to that bridge anytime soon.
17 February, 2008
10 February, 2008
03 February, 2008
27 January, 2008
This was taken a couple of weeks ago but I still catch Simon occasionally staring at the guitar for several minutes before trying to stick his paw inside the body, only to completely FREAK OUT when he brushes the strings and they make strange noises.
So convinced is Simon that this is supposed to dispense some kind of cat-approved food product that he's even tried to nibble on the strings. Yum!
My cat is Special.
20 January, 2008
13 January, 2008
06 January, 2008
I had a little fun with Hero Machine and created my superhero character.
Okay, okay. I know you really came here for SIMON, so here he is, zonked after partying a bit too hard with the catnip on New Year's Eve: