Teddy went out a full-fluffed cat but came home missing both his flank fuzz.
We subscribe to the belief that beyond the age of 8, home cats – especially strictly indoors only cats, being geriatic, should not get jabs (source) anymore, due to the attendant risks.
However, annual checkups are still necessary. Because Teddy had bladder stones when he was three, and in 2007 was diagnosed with internal bladder wall bleeding and 2 kidney stones, we were concerned about possible complications. So today, an ultrasound and bloodwork was done on him. He now spots new fashion and it is confirmed that while there are (miraculously) no stones in his bladder and kidneys, that his left kidney and bladder looks ok, his right kidney is in stage 2 CRF. Analysis on his urine will return in a few days’ time, which will determine if he needs medication for any related infection. Thereafter, he will be put on a fortekor schedule, just like Bam Bam.
Bam Bam’s been to the vet 3 times in as many months. For him, he’s in a better situation than his brother. Because of the positive outcome from his first review 3 months ago, he’s been on a fortekor reduction schedule. From being on 0.5 fortekor since 2007, he’s gone to 0.25 pill per day and now 0.25 pill every other day. However, that seems to be the limit for him. His next review is in 3 months’ time.
As the vet recommended, we will start them both on k/d. As they both hate k/d, we’re not sure how long we can keep them on it. Luckily, the vet has offered an alternative should k/d not be accepted this time either – phosphate binding agents as the maximum recommended phosphate content should be no more than 0.04% of the diet. But we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.
Next up, Joey and Rheilly’s turn at the vet in 2 weeks’ time. As for Philly, we haven’t forgotten the goofy one and will blog about his situation separately.
Remember Booties and Timmi? This is an appeal for help – advice and suggestions needed from anyone who has gone through a situation where a pet cat starts behaving badly after the stork deposits da package. Please reply or write to us at sephycat at gmail dot com.
The two dames have a 3-month old human addition to the home now.
Booties is handling the change well.
But Timmi, unfortunately, isn’t.
In the words of their mum, PC:
I’m having difficulty managing Timmi lately and I was wondering if I could get your advice.
We recently had a baby daughter, she’s now 3 months old. Both T & I barely spent time with them in the 1st one and half months .
The cats have been more needy and I think the baby’s crying drives them berserk, well it nearly drove us to tears!!
We expected that the cats will be confused and more needy with the baby and changes in the routine at home- they used to be able to go into our spare bedroom (now the baby’s room) but they can’t now. So we let them go into the study when they previously couldn’t. They are not allowed in our master bedroom at all.
Timmi is driving me insane with her needy behaviour, she was stalking me everywhere I go and even when I’m on the couch breastfeeding my baby. I try to give some attention to both the cats in the mornings when the baby’s asleep. Timmi has now resorted to negative behaviour to get our attention, she blatantly goes into the master bedroom even when she knows that I can see her doing it! She didn’t show much interest in our room before the baby came along, I used to leave the door open the entire day and she wouldnt bother to go in, now she’s doing it almost everyday. She knows that she will get punished( I scuff her, hiss and beat her butt) for it but she does it anyway. T thinks she’s doing it to get attention even if it is negative – so I ignore her and let her bad behaviour slide.. I really don’t want to punish her everyday, its unhealthy for both of us but her behaviour has gone from bad to worse. The thing is, we really can’t give her as much attention as we used to, T has since change jobs, he works longer hours and his job requires him to travel a fair bit as well. I’ve quit my job to become a stay at home mom. I have to manage the baby, household chores and cats alone most of the time.
Booties is doing okay but unfortunately she cant sit on my lap for the time being, can’t hve fur on me when I carry the baby.
We had a chat about the situation. It’s not the absolute pits yet, but PC would dearly love to get further away from those. She is nearly the end of her tether about coping with Timmi. While her sister has offered to take Timmi, PC considers it the very last resort and hopes very much to keep the family intact.
I did a search online; there’s quite some references about preparing kitties for the arrival of a new baby, but I was not able to find anything about managing the situation if a situation develops after the baby arrives.
On the first phot-shoot on 1 Jan 2009 for Brina’s family, we met this cat for the first time.
He just came running
… presented his tummy and started luxuriating in a good ground squirm
A large tabby white with a bushy tail stump, he was gangly with dense mid-length fur. Obviously he has pedigree somewhere in his lineage. He was also sterilised though his ear was untipped.
This boy was so affectionate and yet so calm, so genteel otherwise, we half-expected him to start strolling with a nice cane and a monocle. As he did seemed to be on the further side of geriatric, we decided to call him Jerry.
Jerry was ravenous, and yet very measured even in his hunger
He was totally trusting, and yet even such a social cat as him took care to watch over his back while eating, which was rather unusual for a cat like him.
Two mornings later, we met a boy while out looking for Brina’s family, and he told us this big boy has been around for quite a while, always sitting in the same spot, and that his leg was injured, though he did not specify which leg. We did not notice any limping or distress during our earlier meetings with Jerry, so we observed him while he ate. At about this time, the boy approached. Though Jerry appeared engrossed in his food, he immediately scooted off into the bushes and stayed absolutely still upon hearing the boy. That indicated to us he has had unpleasant experiences with children.
That night we went out again. A couple was feeding him and told us he’s been there at least 2 months, and they also said he’s always sitting in the same spot. He appeared with a bloody forelimb but would not allow anyone to treat it. We also related Jerry’s behaviour of running into the bush that morning. The couple told us they would sometimes observe from the corridor of their flat on a higher floor, and catch schoolkids trying to bully Jerry. As soon as they shout, the cowardly beasts would run off.
Now his contrarian behaviours of trust and wariness made sense.
The next morning, we tried to get a good look at the wound he was supposed to have. Though it has healed, the bigger mystery is that it was a surgical site. He kept squirming, so I took a vid instead to get a clear look at it.
Vid: Surgical site. Wound looks clean but thread still intact.
Since the couple confirmed that they had been feeding him every single night since he appeared, and that they had not sent him for treatment, Jerry must have appeared with the surgical wound already on him.
What happened to Jerry? How was his life like? Why was he treated and then abandoned to fend for himself, with a bleeding surgical wound?
We will never know what happened to this sweet boy before he appeared in Area2. However, we do know he will need to go to the vet’s, to have the surgical site checked. Also, the surgical thread was probably non-dissolvable, which means it has to be removed as well. And since he was sterilised, we want to get his ear tipped, so that if there are complaints in the area, the TC would hopefully call us rather than activate pest control.
The plan was for Jerry to go to the vet’s together with Brina’s family. Meantime, we hoped he and Brina would stay away from each other as they were on opposite sides of the same block, living cheek by jowl in homeless kitty terms. We wouldn’t want either him nor Brina and her brood to sustain injuries or be driven away. But we needn’t have worried. Brina and Jerry knew and tolerated each other. In fact, Jerry often shared his bush home with her babies. Brayden especially, seemed to like chilling with Uncle Jerry.
On that fateful night, we found Brina’s family but Jerry was not home for the first time. As soon as Brina and her kittens were secured, btmao went looking for Jerry and found him in Benji’s territory. The auntie who lived there helped to lure him back (with Benji tagging along).
Given Jerry’s trusting nature, we thought it would be a simple matter to push him into a carrier. So while V was busy with getting Brielle, we got a carrier from his van and started pushing Jerry in. Surprisingly, he resisted frantically and ran a little away. We tried 2 more times and decided to get V.
Though he was obviously affected and didn’t want to be near the carrier, Jerry kept accepting head scritches from the auntie, So while he was preoccupied, V managed to push him into a carrier. Jerry cried and desperately tried to get out. This was the first time we hear him vocalise beyond his usual (and rare) single meow greeting. He had a coarse small voice. But he was crying at the top of it. Obviously, the carrier evoked unpleasant memories for him.
Like Brina’s family, Jerry was back on Chinese New Year’s Eve.
Happy to be home
The vet had removed the surgical stitches (which were indeed non-dissolvable), confirmed he was already sterilised and tipped his ear. The surgical site was deemed to be healed and ok, needing no further follow-up. We were relieved. Jerry’s tip… on the right ear.
The next morning, Chinese New Year’s Day, we went out to check on Brina’s family and Jerry.
Jerry doing well, his newly tipped ear a stylish statement.
His appetite and his affection unaffected by his ordeal
Jerry’s sides are full, and this was not unexpected, since he’s getting quite a few meals everyday it seems.
On the evening of 27th Jan, the second night of the new year, we met D who was out walking her nine-year old dog, Browny, with her husband. We got to talking and discovered Browny and Jerry are friends – Jerry nose-kisses Browny and doesn’t always recognise D and her husband if Browny is not with them.
D doesn’t feed Jerry but brings along treats. As she and her husband are dog people who had no prior experience with cats, the first time Jerry came running to them, they thought he was attacking. As time went by, they realised all he wanted was some attention. It was nice and very tolerant of them to let Jerry be though he scared them initally, given the general intolerance of residents in Area2.
Jerry’s friendliness with dogs and his tolerance of Brina and her kittens indicated he may have come from a multi-cat and dog environment. It also got us worried for his safety since there are dog packs in the area, in addition to his tendency to do running approaches at people.
We don’t know who dumped Jerry nor why, but if we can, we will find him a new home… as soon as we can get him into foster care. Unfortunately, Foster Mum’s is full now. We’ll wait and hope.
As we walked out to Area 2, who should we spot but a new young male cat, probably a yearling, lounging in front of the late Charlotte‘s home. A new member to Ian’s gang, btmao had seen the very friendly boy a few times, once sauntering out the family’s front door. We briefly discussed our options as we walked along the school buttressing Area 1.
Who should we see but Stanley swaggering his way in parallel on the other side of the fence! I shadowed him while btmao went to meet V and direct him over.
When V and btmao met up with me, Stanley was in between blocks of Area 1, As V set up the cat trap, an Indian grandpa and his two young granddaughters watched a little distance away. Though language was rather the barrier, I managed to explain to the granddad what we were up to, and he considerately pulled his young charges a little further away.
Stanley showed no interest in stepping inside the trap, so V went to get his net. While V was away, Stanley went into gladiator mode, as another tom, a young (we estimate 2 years old) Tabby Tuxedo male crossed his path. It was pure happenstance, but as concentrated on posturing as Stanley was, V was able nab him without incident. At last, our second enfant terrible was in the carrier!
V quickly brought Stanley back to his van, and then came back to work on the other male. When he showed no interest in food and was thus not going into the trap either, V went ot get another carrier.
Jut as V was walking to his van, who should come walking up but Brenda, another newbie female who resembles Freda. She was first spotted only on 12 Dec 08. A skinny, famished cat with some balding parts on her rump, she was scared and wary at out first meeting, but who last week, allowed btmao to touch her upon their first meeting. She was a bit malnutritioned then, but has since fattened up a bit. V simply picked her up and brought her to the van.
To cut a long story short, the tabby tuxedo boy got away.
So we decided it was time to go over to Area 2 and try for Saba and BambiBaby.
We spread out in different directions.
Saba was nowhere to found.
As for BambiBaby, btmao found him in his usual hiding place behind the eatery. Since our last report, he has learnt that hearing btmao means dinner but that she’s not to be trusted so much. btmao has to put the food down among the bushes, and step back at least 3 metres before he will cautiously approach the dinner “plate”, check out the coast in an elaborate 5 to 10m minute ritual before he starts eating, gingerly.
By the time I joined btmao and V, I could see BambiBaby cautiously sniffing outside the trap and calling as loudly as ever.
An audience was also gathering. There was a gazebo nearby, and some among the usual evening gaggle of men who gathered there tried to sabotage the operation by distracting BambiBaby with catcalls of their own. One of them even stamped his feet loudly just as BambiBaby took his first step into the trap. V tried to explain to the group but the saboteur started posturing. Fortunately, he had open-minded companions who were more receptive and managed to keep things calm.
BambiBaby got spooked nonetheless and ran a little away and almost into the drains that surround the eatery, so btmao went to drop a dollop of canned food at the trap entrance.
At this time, a family walked by and obliviously gathered, less than 0.5 m from the trap. btmao asked them to move back and they did, though they continued to watch.
It was a very tense time, but after 10 minutes, BambiBaby finally did enter the trap. It took him another 10 minutes to venture deep enough to trigger the trap door. Success!
Then V took the trap one side to transfer BambiBaby to a carrier… and he promptly escaped. Looks like getting this growing scaredy cat will take more doing. The head of the spectator family then came up and started sharing clandestine info – that there were a few cats around, 1 “mother” and 3 or 4 kittens and that the mother was often there calling. We suspect he meant Saba and that he may have mistaken other kittens (as yet unsighted by us) for BambiBaby’s litter as Bambi (who is still MIA) had never been seen with any other kitten.
The peacemaker from the men gaggle also offered some insider news: there’s a family of cats whom people are feeding. We suspect he was referring to the calico cat we spotted that day. She definitely has a litter, and he confirms the whole family is being irresponsibly fed.
With the double setbacks of not finding Saba and BambiBaby’s escape, we decided to go and get Indy instead.
Strangely, he was afraid of btmao but would respond to me. As the family was home, we did a bit of stealthing: I carried Indy to the next block where V met us and I put him into the carrier with no effort at all. In fact, he purred all the way.
Frankly, I was wavering over whether to sterilise Indy or to leave him for his family, even though we are quite sure they would probably do no such thing, given their history, but years of accumulating peeve made me want to try for a game of brinksmanship with them. But Iggy came to mind. Frankly, we have more than enough kitty-sized albatrosses around the neck to deal with, so I surrendered as we did not want that to befall another beautiful cat.
We have more than enough cats in Area 2 needing de-mojoing. The calico mothercat‘s brood is 3-4 months old: 1 short-tailed and small-sized black kitten with white mittens, 2 cream-coloured tabbies, 1 torbie calico and 1 short-tailed agouti. All are scaredy and scoots readily into their drain of a home. The good thing is, they are not difficult to find though their schedule is also not fixed. All are ravenous and we hope they will stick around for another month or 2 until we can get them sterilised. Their mother, who has the most lovely large blue yellow eyes, we hope to settle sooner.
Along with the family, BambiBaby, Saba remain on the radar, so V will be back.
We are going to burn a hole in our pocket, taking on responsibility that so-called pet owners, who own their own cars I might add, at least for Indy and Saba, and most likely the escaped tabby tuxedo boy, but the alternative is not something we want to happen.
Even before our last update, Angel’s health has been on a little roller coaster ride, sometimes good, sometimes not. But on the whole, she was doing well for a cat with FiV. These two photos on 1 Oct, though not the best, are her last “good times” pictures.
Angel (1 Oct)
We don’t update on her often, mostly because it is hard to update when it is bad news and there are no dignified photos of her to show. Every time she falls sick, it gets a bit harder for her to recover, and she looks that bit more worn even when she is in the pink.
A good “bad times” photo of Angel, already on the mend.
Sometimes she just didn’t want company, and we respect that feeling under the weather as she must have been, she might be trying to work out why she got into these health swings. At such times, we leave her alone as she would have wanted to be.
btmao giving scritches to a scruffy-looking Angel
But sometimes, it’s just because she’s too tired to ask for attention. So we do try a tentative uninvited head scritch. If she doesn’t reject our advances, we know it is an invitation to continue.
We are always carefully optimistic when Angel goes on her health swing. We hope she recovers, but we know there’ll always be that one where she won’t come back from. Her health swings are a downward spiral to the end and it does get difficult, knowing the scruffy one before us used to look like this.
Now she seem to shrink every time it happened, but her alert and bright eyes, her purring and her quiet, calm, dignified demeanor seem to be her way of reassuring us that she has made it back. The last time she made it back almost fully was a year ago, in October 2007. Since then, she just seemed to lose a bit more of her vitality despite recovering each time. Though she ended up giving a little bit more ground every time, Angel remained a fighter, taking every defeat in her stride.
Still we always hope when that final one came, it would be a short one so that she wouldn’t have to endure prolonged discomfort and pain.
Over the past days, Angel started on that final spiral. Yesterday morning, Foster Mum called to inform us that Angel would be leaving soon. We could not visit yesterday but rushed over early this morning.
Angel looked to be in a sorry state, shrunken to half her already shrunken size. Her tired body was really just skin stretched over bones, and there were huge swathes of bald patches over her body. There were large sores over her back, and her wet paws seemed to be oozing pus. She was drooling, her nose was runny, and she was wheezing loudly through the mucus blocking her air passage way. The cage she was in was covered with highly absorbent clinical-grade materials, to soak up the discharges oozing from her body and ensure she stayed dry and comfortable. Foster Mum said that the materials had been replaced 4 times in the last hour alone. Angel’s body was truly breaking down.
Despite the state her body was in, it was her eyes that really broke our hearts. Though covered by a wet yellow discharge, she opened them when we called and touched her. In those eyes we can see that same clear alertness that told us she was still here. The alertness in her somewhat rheumy eyes was in total contradiction to the reality of her physical body. We spoke quietly to her in turn, and told her it was all right to let go if she was ready, that she didn’t have to fight it this time if she felt too tired.
She was facing the wall when we first went in to look at her. But later, when we were outside the cattery, we looked in and saw that she had adjusted herself to face the window we were peeking in from. She seemed to have anticipated us and was looking at us expectantly. Looking at her then, I couldn’t help but feel even more starkly: what a wonderful companion she would have made someone, despite the brevity of her life. My only regret is that she had not the chance to be in a home situation, though the cattery is not a bad home for a cat by any stretch of the imagination.
The only one of her sponsors to have visited her also came by to say good bye in the early afternoon.
At 4.56pm today, Foster Mum called to inform us that Angel has passed on.
Frankly, Angel has always been the retiring type, more calm and reserved than outgoing though she enjoyed head scritches. Though we do not see her all the time, we do get the sense that she knew us. This was even more apparent today. Foster Mum and her helpers have said their goodbyes of course. But she seemed to have been waiting for us, minions and her visiting sponsor, to bide goodbye too.
Now we can only take comfort in the fact that her final journey was short and a relatively uneventful one.
Rest In Peace, dear Angel.
(Out of respect for Angel and to preserve her dignity in death, we did not take any photos of her today.)
2 0752: This is my new bed. I like it a lot but many times, mummy will use my bed when I have dinner. She always say: boy, mummy will only use it for 15mins & it will be yours again. My bed will start moving after she pushes some buttons. I heard daddy asking mummy whether she like this new massage chair but…… it is a bed & the leg stand that daddy refers to, it’s my scratching post. Strangely, mum cover the scratching post with a towel. She also bought me a baby comforter & put in on the seat 🙂
Hmmm… now my little Kola boy is enjoying himself & behaving like a prince (Kobi is always the king 🙂 Yes, he decides taking my new massage chair as his bed. I can only use it when he on the chair…..otherwise, he will meow at me. He even jumped on my thigh a few days ago while I was using the chair. He likes scratching the leg stand & all other parts of the chair, therefore, I have to cover it with towels 🙂 Hopefully, he will not abuse the chair any further & allow me to use it for one to two years hahaha….
My reply to his mum on 18 Aug
hmmm, u might want to try putting scotch tape, sticky side up or double-sided tape on the places he lieks to scratch, they will make the experience unpleasant for him and maybe teach him to leave it alone =)
And his mum’s reply on 20 Aug:
Anyway, we don’t be bother to stop him from scratching la… The chair is wrapped up like a mummy now, so he can’t scratch it most of the time unless the towels came down… then let him enjoy himself for a while la 🙂 Anyway, there are many scratches on it now.
And this one on the same day:
Yeah, don’t remind me… I have all my “kids'” pictures in office & have just replaced him with the one I have sent to you – really feel like hugging everytime I look at him 🙂 I’m glad adopting him…. he is such a wonderful pet just a pity that he can’t get along with the girls but we are all doing well now 🙂
He is so funny & naughty – he will wake me up every night once or twice asking for massage!!!! Can’t you believe it… sometimes, he really killed me – so sleepy at work!! After the massage, he will ask for foods, otherwise, he will meow non stop & my Kobi will complain…. Ah yeah, I’m like the maid to them man 🙂 He will jump on to the bed asking for food if we bring them into the room – really ah fat man… He will always follow me to the washroom!!! – just like my other two boys… my toilet is really getting too small now!! hahaha…… It is a joy to have them all! Hope this will last forever…. 🙂
I have attached two other photos, see which you like most 🙂 the bed is messy, thanks to the three boys (not ME).
And this one too:
2 Oct 08
Here is the Kola’s latest fashion 🙂
He seems to have kicked off his chewing habit – hope this will continue.
Sometime before these emails, I had a long phone conversation with Kola’s mum. She had called to update on him. Despite the removal of his tail’s inflamed portion which should have relieved him of his pain, he had continued to chew his tail stump.
His mum had been perplexed and wondered if she was not paying him enough attention given his needy nature. After a few, no doubt expensive, consultations, the vet determined that Kola probably has a bit of a psychological issue with his neediness. Besides prescribing some more medicine to calm him down, the vet also suggested that his mum give him more cuddles. This was what she had already been doing.
The vet also suggested spending more time with him. Short of bringing him along when she and his dad go on outings, they could hardly be giving him more time (as it is, they are already giving him more time than her 2 cats and 2 dogs who had been with her before Kola imposed himself). So that was what they did – they brought him along on outings whenever possible, to the market, on trips to places where kitties aren’t banned, to family gatherings. They bought different harnesses, pet prams and tried them all out, and found one for different occasions.
Kola is a big boy and getting fat, so carrying him can be back-breaking work, but his mum and dad obliged him as he seemed to enjoy being carried like a baby than being in a pram though he liked that too.
His mum mentioned that while she is not sure if she is doing enough for him, she hoped that we understand that she was doing all she can for him.
I told her that we’re extremely happy and feel he’s just one lucky little monster. In fact, we feel apologetic for all the problems he’s caused and the money they’ve spent on vet fees for him and the injuries he caused, and modifying their home to ensure his comfort and KeYuan and KeLe’s (the two younger female cats they’ve got) safety. I also told her that honestly if we had an idea about the extent of his neediness, I would have hesitated to adopt him out at all. On hindsight, the signs were there, not in flashing neon, but there were indications.
Here we both paused for a long while before Kola’s mum asked me if I thought he would have done well had he stayed at the cattery. I told her frankly, I do not think so, simply because Foster Mum and her helpers would never be able to afford the time and attention he alone needs. Similarly, he would not have done well even if we brought him home which might have been something we needed to do if he had stayed over a prolonged period in the cattery and his problem manifested itself fully. Nobody’s home in the daytime plus we have an felv/fiv positive cat (Rheilly), a somewhat needy cat (Philly), a nonchalant one who doesn’t like other cats (Joey), a kidney failure old boy (Bams) and his bleeding-bladder-wall-without-root-cause brother who dislikes all cat interactions (Teddy) all jostling for attention.
But at the same time, the problems he’s caused her would not be something we would not wish another to bear for us – after all we were the ones who decided to rescue him. Frankly, it wasn’t a comfortable place to be, given that there were no clear answers to the real and potential issues.
I just felt both he and us, btmao and me, were lucky he met her and she was willing to take him and bear the responsibility for him. She told me not to worry about it, and since she’s taken him in, he’s her responsibility for life and she would do what’s needed for him and the rest of her brood.
We ended the conversation with the mutual understanding, especially of her love and effort for him, my apologies and our absolute trust in her to do what’s right for him, and her understanding of our heartfelt gratitude on Kola’s behalf.
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