Thursday, 16 March 2017

Impulse Buying

It wasn't part of the short term plan. What I was planning to do was to save some money. Pad the kitty account. Recover from the financial cost of Tanner's illness.

I went to Petsmart to buy a new cat bed for the girls. One of those little cave style padded getups where they can nap in soft dim warmth. I bought the cat bed. And an occupant.

I adopted a 10 week old kitten.

The pet stores here are only allowed to have rescue pets for sale (cats and dogs). They have pretty much shut out the puppy and kitten mills in the province from using pet stores as sales venues. So when I went to Petsmart (and I had never been in this particular location), I was immediately drawn to the adoption kennels conveniently located right next to the cash registers. How can one not be?

There were two adult cats peering at me. And a little white ball, sound asleep and oblivious. One of the women working there asked if I wanted to see one of the cats. I asked about the sleeping kitten. She said he had been in the store for about an hour, having just been brought over from the Humane Society.

We go into the cage area, and she opens the kennel. Up pops his head and two ice blue eyes squinted at me, followed by big purrs and little chirrups. I picked him up and he climbed right into my arms and rubbed against my chin. The woman told he he was super friendly. Understatement there. He crawled all over me, onto her and then jumped onto a little table next to her. She told me what she knew of him (from his HS folder). I asked about adopting him. She told me a woman had called about him three times already but wasn't able to come see him until after work, but that adoptions are one a first come, first served basis, and cash only. The adoption fee does not go through the store till, as they turn the money over directly to the Humane Society.

So, long story short, I did a big cash advance at the till with the purchase of the cat bed, and brought home a kitten.

I love his gorgeous blue eyes, how much white he has, the 'eyeliner' by only one eye... and his brown tail! And being the Viking woman that I am, I wanted to find a name that would do his ice blue eyes justice while evoking a bit of that Scandinavian heritage. But it also had to be one or two syllables, roll of the tongue easily, and be different enough from the girls' names to avoid confusion. I used Google Translate for all kinds of words. Snowy, ice, icy, snowball, snowman, things like that. My brother even not so very helpfully suggested "snjotrodara" which, while not Icelandic (it is Latvian), does translate as "snowcat". However... not exactly trippin' off the tongue! So after much deliberation, I settled on "Frosti". Old Norse for frost. He doesn't answer to it yet, but he's only been here for a week, and he's got the attention span of a gnat at this point in his short little life.

The girls were at first rather taken aback, although Pips, while very growly, was also very curious. Lila did her growl-huff thing, where she starts a growl and then exhales sharply, so she sounds like a bloody dog. And while there are still occasional growls and hisses now, they are both playing with him a bit (to his great delight!) and there have been some baby baths happening as well. He did try to nuzzle Pips' belly while she was licking his head the other evening and that ended with him getting a sharp "not the mama!" hiss and a foot firmly planted on his side. He looked suitably chastised. I had a good laugh!

He is very entertaining, as kittens are wont to be, and spends nights and time when I am not home locked away in the spare bedroom. I don't need Lila getting even heftier chowing down on kitten food while he starves. He has food, water, a litter box, toys, and that new cat bed at his disposal. He has gained a quarter of a kilo in a week (he was a bit scrawny) and got lots of loving (and deworming) at the vet's today.

I think Frosti is a lovely addition to the family... and here he is!

Friday, 20 January 2017

Much too short a time

It is with a very heavy and broken heart that I tell you my sweet little Tanner, the newest addition to my kitty cavalcade, was put to sleep today after a brief but very intense battle with cancer. He was a mere 11 months old.

Tanner came from a no kill shelter and I brought him home the end of May 2016. I had been sitting on the bench in their kitten room, being assaulted from all sides by tiny furry fiends flinging themselves joyfully willy nilly with nary a thought to safety. They climbed and jumped and I stroked and petted as they wandered past. After a few minutes, this little orange and white kitten climbed onto my lap and plopped himself down. I started petting him; he started purring. He did jump off to play, and eat a snack, but came back several times to again plop down and purr. I figured that must be a good sign, and decided since he had obviously chosen me, I must adopt him.

Tanner had been part of a litter of stray kittens. They has been found when quite new so they had a rough idea of how old they were. But the history of mum and dad was, of course, not know. Vaccination status of mum was probably nonexistent. This, unfortunately, is probably the reason for Tanner's untimely demise. All the kittens and cats that come into the shelter are tested for various viruses. Tanner was negative for everything and when old enough, started on his vaccination regimen.

My vet, after diagnosing Tanner with lymphoma, a type of cancer that causes rogue white blood cells (lymphocytes) to run amok through various parts of the body, told me that some cats can actually have a certain virus in their DNA, from infected cats breeding and giving birth before they themselves actually get sick. I guess Tanner came from that kind of a situation because although he again tested negative for the feline leukemia virus (which would be the cause of the lymphoma), if it was in his DNA, it would only show up in that test if he was actively shedding the virus. They could have done a more specialized (and expensive) test on his DNA but there was no point.

My poor wee kitty had lymphoma in his kidneys, liver and bone marrow. He became severely anemic and also jaundiced. I'd never seen a jaundiced cat before but he was glowing yellow. And it all happened very quickly.

On Dec. 22nd, he had some tummy issues and had diarrhea and was off his food a bit. So a trip to the vet for special food, medication and some probiotic powder and he seemed to get over that within a week. But his energy level never came back. He remained rather listless and was not playing much at all. But I figured it would just take a while for him to get back up to snuff as he'd been feeling pretty crappy.

Last week, he went off his food again, this time much more so than the first. And he was doing absolutely nothing. I could feel the weight dropping off and his shoulder blades felt sharper, his hips bonier. I tried various kinds of canned catfood and he half heartedly nibbled at them. By Saturday, it was bad. I called my vet when I got home from work and spoke with her. She advised me to pick up some Pepcid AC from the pharmacy and give him 1/2 a tablet twice a day to help settle his stomach. She said to even try meat baby food, as sometimes cats find that appealing, and to call her Monday with an update.

Monday came and I gave him his pill in the morning, tried to get him to eat, and went off to work. I spoke to the vet during the day and she recommended I try 1/4 of a Gravol tablet, for nausea. When I came home in the evening, picked him up to give him another pill and noticed the jaundice. It had not been there in the morning. Plus I could feel a lump in his side. So I called the vet and took him in Tuesday morning. They did blood work, an abdominal ultrasound, and a biopsy of his kidney. Everything pointed to large cell lymphoma (there is small cell also, which is more responsive to treatment). Needless to say, I was devastated, and the vet was quite surprised as this is usually an older cat's disease.

They kept him overnight and started him on steroids and chemo (which is a once a week IV injection), hoping this would shrink all those giant cells down. They gave me anti-nausea medication and several kinds of canned food. I struggled to entice him to eat anything so the following day (Thursday), the vet called in a script for an appetite stimulant to my pharmacy. It didn't help. Nothing helped.

Both Wednesday and Thursday nights I kept Tanner in my bedroom, with several kinds of food, water and a litter box so that the girls wouldn't be trying to eat all his canned food. Wednesday night he ate a tiny bit... a few licks here and there of the wet, didn't touch the dry. Lapped up a bit of the water from canned tuna. Throughout all this, he kept drinking water and so was not dehydrated. Thursday night was awful. He couldn't sleep, he wasn't able to find a comfortable position to lie in, he wanted out of the bedroom and then back in (how cat of him) and of course, I didn't sleep much either.

Because of the anemia, he got very short of breath with any exertion so any walking around he did, he'd be puffing away. He seemed to like lying on the bathroom mat. But I knew he was starving, and in pain and just never going to recover, so first thing this morning, I called the vet's office to make that final appointment. She was in surgery all morning so our time was 2:20 p.m. It was an interminable morning. I'd wakened at 6:30 a.m. and so had lots of time to spend with him, lying on the bed, or sitting on the toilet (lid down) keeping him company, stroking him and talking to him. Pips and Lila also spent some time with us in the bathroom, keeping vigil. He had a pitiful little raspy meow by this time but his purr worked just fine, and whenever I'd pet him, he would purr.

My vet is a wonderfully compassionate woman whom I have been seeing for almost 14 years. She is so kind and gentle and truly loves what she does, even this difficult task. She stroked his cheeks and gave him a sedative injection. There was a lovely thick soft blanket on the exam table and I lay him carefully on his side so he would be looking at me as I sat next to the table. He settled very quickly but she gave us about 10 minutes to make sure the sedative was effective. He was very comfortable and never felt the second injection. She and I talked about various pets we'd had in the past, as we let him slip away. I knew the names of some of hers and she had cared for various of mine. She cried along with me, as she listened to his chest and heard no further beating of his tiny heart. We spoke of how unfair it is that there are some awful people in this world who keep on going and yet this little cat, this young life, was taken so so soon. I spent some time alone with him afterwards, and said more tearful goodbyes. He is being cremated and his ashes will join those of my previous cats and dogs who have been precious parts of my life.

I so miss his cheery, chirpy, silly little cat face. He was such a lovely sweet soul.




Sunday, 8 January 2017

New look for a New Year

I felt the need to include Tanner in my blog header, as he is well immersed in the family. Only fair that he get to pose at the top with the girls. This is one of the few photos I have of the three of them in the same place at the same time. They all have their favourite lounging spots, and rarely are they near each other. So I took advantage and grabbed my phone and voila!

And, because I can't leave well enough alone, I used the Prisma app and played with the texture and colours and again... voila!

Pips turned 10 on Jan. 1st. An arbitrary birthday, as I adopted her in June of 2008 and was told she was 1 1/2 years old. So New Years baby she is! She is healthy and active, and my number 1 snuggle bum.

I hope all of you are well and happy and healthy. Things are fine on my end, although the ongoing gazillion renovation related things I need to do have stalled. Now that the holiday season is ended perhaps I will get motivated to get things done. Lots of nit picky stuff before any other big projects can move forward.

Drop by when you have a chance! I will do the same.

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Merry Christmas!

Life with the cats is, well, life with cats! They tend to do their own thing. Come to think of it, so do I...

All is well here. I lurk about a bit. I know I haven't posted since August. But I'm still alive and well. Or, as we tend to say in my profession, still pink and breathing.

I am hoping to make it into the big city for the family Christmas gathering tomorrow... um, today. There is a Colorado low heading our way with the potential for high winds and 40 cm of snow between Sunday afternoon and Monday afternoon. Because of that, we are having our Christmas dinner at 2 p.m. instead of 5 or 6. If I see it is starting to get nasty outside, off home I go. I don't want to leave the cats as Tanner is on some medication for a dodgy tummy for a few more days.

So on that note, I wish each and every one of you, my friends, a most peaceful and lovely Christmas season, if that is your way. Also Happy Hanukkah, Happy Festivus, Or even Merry Nothing! Be well, stay warm, share kindness and compassion. xoxo

Monday, 1 August 2016


Tanner will be six months old in a couple weeks. Well, on the 17th-ish. Being a rescue as a baby, his exact birthdate is unknown, hence the -ish.

And he is going in on Friday to be snipped before he realizes what his man cat parts are for.

But isn't he just the handsomest little guy?