sick cat

Yggdrasil

This is my first baby. His name is Yggdrasil. He’s been known as Fat Kitty here on the blog. I wanted to share his story and tell you guys what’s been going on in our world the last few weeks.

I got him as a kitten 15 years ago. I’d never had a pet before and when I moved out on my own after a bad breakup, I decided I wanted a cat. This was before the internet was really a big thing and I went through the newspaper ad section for people giving away kittens. I picked up the phone and started calling.

It was probably the fourth ad I called. No one else picked up the phone, or the kittens were given away already. The fourth person I called said they had a kitten named Gizmo they were giving away. I drove out to their apartment to meet him.

I had no intention of getting a cat yet. I wanted to meet him and see how I felt. So as a result, I had nothing–no litter box, no travel carrier, no food, nothing.

I met “Gizmo” and immediately fell in love. He was this tiny little kitten with so much spunk and energy:

The woman giving him away had rescued him. He was homeless on the street and saw some kids abusing him with rocks and sticks. She rescued him but couldn’t keep him. I knew immediately that he was my cat.

I took him home after just a few minutes of meeting him. I put him in the car and he ran around smelling and looking at everything. He loved the car and actually got up and looked out the windows like a dog.

On the way home I stopped at Target and bought litter, a litter box, toys, food, a carrier, and a scratching post. Then we went home to get acquainted.

His new name was Yggdrasil. (Drazzle)

Our first night together was rough. In the middle of the night he managed to knock over a giant (and very heavy) planter of lilies I had on a bookcase. It broke and shattered everywhere. I decided to put him in the bathroom with his litter box for the night because I thought it would be safer.

I got up to use the bathroom early that morning to find that he had managed to escape out the window in the bathroom! He had pushed the screen and slithered out! I was SO DISTRAUGHT! I panicked. I went outside in the dark and searched everywhere for him with a flashlight.

I was sobbing. I couldn’t believe he was gone! I imagined him lost and scared or hurt. I lived right by a freeway and a really busy street and I knew that was dangerous.

I left the front door open and put a bowl of cat food just inside the door hoping he’d come back. I laid down on my bed and cried. All of a sudden I felt a little wet nose on my hand. He had come back! And jumped on the bed and gave me little kitten kisses. I was so overjoyed that he was ok!

That was our first day/night together.

The next few months were great. Yggdrasil was the most playful, active, sweet kitten I’d ever met. He loved me fiercely and I loved him back. The only problem? While I was at work he destroyed my apartment. He got into everything! He was probably bored, or lonely, and just destroyed stuff. I’d come home to all my books on the floor, the garbage overturned…you name it.

I realized he needed a playmate.

A coworker’s cat had kittens recently and I decided a playmate was exactly what Yggdrasil needed. I met the kittens and picked the runt of the litter. I brought her home (a little too early, I think) at 7 weeks old and introduced Maya to Yggdrasil.

The first two weeks were brutal. He was not happy. I honestly thought he might kill her. 🙁 So much growling and hissing! I have a scar on my leg from their first meeting! I kept them separated for about a week. I wasn’t quite sure I’d be able to keep Maya.

But one day I came home from work to find them snuggled up together on my chair, grooming each other. And it was sealed. They loved each other. I was so happy! They kept each other company, they cuddled, they played, Yggdrasil stopped destroying my apartment…. 🙂 And he got really fat because he ate all of Maya’s kitten food!

This is how I used to read books:

He always helped. 🙂

And whenever I’d come home from work or the gym, he’d be waiting for me in the window:

These two are always together:

When we brought Bella home a few years ago, Yggdrasil wasn’t too happy. It was a very long road before he finally got over it. And then last year when I was pregnant it was like these two bonded over it and they even started sleeping next to each other and cuddling a little bit:

I was glad he got over the new addition(s) because at 14 years old he was finally no longer a kitten (he acted like one until last year) and was kind of turning into a grumpy old man.

Yggdrasil was always a little plump. Several times the vet told me he needed to lose some weight and I tried a lot of different things, nothing really worked. I did get a special feeder a few years ago that did work well and we’ve been using it since.

The last few years Yggdrasil has had some health issues, but nothing major. His kidney levels were a little elevated, so I got special prescription food that helped that. He’s also had issues for most of his life with throwing up. Part of that is that he’s always been a binge eater. I think it stems from being homeless as a kitten and not knowing if he’d have food. He just never shook that fear, I think. So he scarfs down his food and it upsets his stomach so he throws up.

The vomiting started to increase this past year. I saw the vet a few times and we tried different food. We got some liquid antacids that I give him once or twice a day to help. That helped a little bit.

At his last vet appointment in November we switched the food again because the vomiting was getting a little worse. The doctor wanted to run some blood work after a few days of trying that. I put it off. Part of the reason was scheduling, we were constantly sick and everything got put off, and the bigger part was denial. I didn’t want to know. I didn’t want to get bad news. I just couldn’t deal with it. 🙁

Recently I’ve noticed that he’s lost more weight. My Fat Kitty was no longer fat. He was noticeably skinnier and that was upsetting to me. I took him in to the vet for blood work. It came back normal, which was good I guess…It wasn’t his kidneys. But the vet said the only other thing she could think to explain his recent lack of appetite, vomiting and weight loss was cancer.

My heart split in two. Yggdrasil was my first baby. I loved him more than anything for a decade and a half. I couldn’t imagine something serious being wrong with him.

The next step was to schedule an ultrasound and x-ray to see if there was something wrong. This happened the week of my birthday. I sunk into a very deep sadness and grief, imagining the worst. It was breaking my heart and he was all I could think about.

A week later I got the news of the ultrasound and tests. Thankfully it wasn’t cancer. Unfortunately it was pancreatitis. The treatment for that is often steroids and because he has a slight heart murmur, that might not be an option.

The vet felt like his pancreatitis was “mild” enough that we could skip the steroids. She also felt like he might have inflammatory bowel disease. These two illnesses are probably going to be chronic and flare up occasionally. Having a diagnosis is good and I’m glad I spent the money on the tests to find out. It’s better than just assuming it was the worst (cancer) and not enjoying whatever time we have left together dreading the inevitable. I’m hoping that we can manage these illnesses and have a few more years together!

90 Degrees and Picnic in the Park

SUMMER!

I love summer in the NW! It’s so picturesque and usually pretty comfortable–not TOO hot (although, local Pacific NW-ers may disagree with me, seems a lot of them like the cool 60’s much better). This past weekend it was going to be clear skies, bright sunshine and hot weather. Saturday we made plans with our friends we went to Bend with in January to go for a hike and have a picnic lunch at Stubb Stewart Park. Our friends Sean and Margie had never heard of Stubb Stewart and it’s not too long of a drive from their neck of the woods, so it was nice that we could expose them to such a cool park nearby! (From where we live it’s a little less than an hours drive. From Hillsboro area it’s about 30 minutes.)

It also turned out to be National Park Day so the entrance was free! We met them at the park on Saturday morning and got started on our hike. Most of the hike was through the forest (near the horse trails and the disc golf course). It was a good little hike because the ground is nice and soft and it’s really shaded (which was good for a hot day). The day was much cooler in the trees.

We hiked around the looping trails that all connect and got a pretty decent workout in! Even though the hike isn’t super strenuous, my heart rate was at a great rate for most of it.
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Because it was such a hot day I was super aware of Bella the whole time. We stopped to rest in the shade a few times, gave her water and I poured water on her body to cool her down. She was panting but not abnormally so. For the first part of the hike she seemed to be doing pretty well and had a lot of energy.

The place was full of wildflowers blooming. I just love the wild flowers that grown in Oregon!

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Don’t you love wildflowers? I know it’s not a really interesting subject matter but I really could just take pictures of flowers for the rest of my life and be pretty happy. 🙂

After hiking for a bit we found ourselves back at the Hilltop parking lot and picnic spot so we grabbed the cooler and sat at a bench in the sunshine to have our lunches. This was the view for our picnic:

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This was my calorie burn for the hike:

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Sweet number! Lunch for us was a Subway sandwich I’d bought before we left (we were out of everything to make something at home). I got us ham sandwiches on flatbread and we had some Trader Joe’s white cheddar popcorn and sugar snap peas. It was a really nice lunch break. Bella hid under the picnic table in the shade and relaxed.

After lunch we walked a little bit longer to show Sean and Margie the cute little cabins that you can rent. I was hoping they’d be interested in renting one out with us sometime this summer and they were! How could you not? They are super cute looking. I hope we can make this happen (even though last time I checked they were pretty booked this summer).

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We walked a little more through the forest. The trail we’d done last time we were there was closed and even though it was shaded in the woods, we could tell Bella was getting hot. She was slowing down and just didn’t seem interested in hiking anymore so we called it a day.

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We went back toward the Hilltop parking lot and ended up on the park road. I could really tell that Bella was feeling the heat now. She was much slower and so we decided the hike was over and went back to the car area. When we got there Bella kept trying to hide underneath the picnic benches for some shade. 🙁 My poor baby! We probably should have called it a day after lunch. But she was a trooper and was acting pretty normal (other than being tired).

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Here is the calorie burn for the little hike we did after lunch:

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We stopped in the shade and I poured water over Bella and we tried to get her to drink. While Michael was in the shade with B, I got the car started with the AC on full blast to cool it down before we got inside. We said our goodbyes to our friends and then we were hitting the road.

Of course, we had to make a stop at Dairy Queen on the way home for the Orange Julius smoothie. I got the pina colada flavor just like last time! 😀 It was fantastic! (And less than 200 calories so on a stifling hot afternoon, it was a nice treat.)

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Total calories burned for the hike: 867 and we did just around 6 miles! We got home and I gave Bella a bath and a big dinner and she just chilled on the couch for the rest of the evening (as per usual). She seemed to be doing okay so I was glad we didn’t overdo it on the hike. When it’s that hot you never can tell.

Sunday

Sunday was NOT as great of a day.  🙁 It was that time of year to take all the beasts to the vet for their annual check-ups. Usually it’s an all-day thing (which kind of sucks because I hate how quiet and lonely the house feels without my babies) and I also hate the idea of them being stuck in cages at the vet’s awaiting their turn.

Bella was all good and just needed her exam and a refill on her monthly flea/heartworm etc meds. The kitties were getting their exams as well as dental cleaning. It’s part of their pet insurance package and while they are indoor kitties and in good health, I signed them up for the dental package because a few years ago Maya (who had a cracked tooth) ended up needing to have two teeth removed. My poor baby! That was an awful experience and I felt so bad for her. She needed antibiotics and pain meds twice a day for 10 days (imagine trying to give a skittish kitty meds twice a day…yeah!).

Anyways. There was some kind of emergency at the vet (another pet) and so that pushed all the other pets back and my kitties didn’t get their cleanings until late in the day. The hard part about the dental cleaning is that they have to put them under anesthesia in order to do it. I absolutely hate that and I shared my concerns with the vet. Last time Fat Kitty had a very negative experience to it (he became like a crazed feral cat). So this time she used a different kind of anesthesia.

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When I got them home I took them into the office where their litter box and food and stuff is and closed the door. I let Fat Kitty out and he was a like a drunk sailor–he could barely walk. He didn’t fall down but he looked like he was about to at any moment. I sat with him for awhile and monitored him. He was so high. It was really distressing. He definitely wasn’t the feral crazed cat like last time, but I might prefer that to this high-drunk-sailor-wobbly-kitty. 🙁

I let Maya out of and she was a little goofy but not too bad and she even let me pet her! And she came up and rubbed against me and wanted cuddles (coming from the cat that always hides, this was abnormal). They weren’t allowed to eat for a few hours but could have water. I tried to get them to have water but they were both too loopy.

For several hours I sat with Fat Kitty while the anesthesia wore off. He didn’t have an appetite (VERY abnormal) and wouldn’t eat the wet food or dry food I put out once it was okay to eat. He kind of sniffed it and licked it and that was it. I hated it! I was so stressed out. It’s no fun seeing our babies hurt or sick. I wish I could make them feel better.

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Despite all that the vet said they were all in good health. Fat Kitty was on the borderline when it came to his kidneys. She said it could be a combination of not eating anything since the previous night (no food/water after 8pm the night before) and the stress of being at the vet. She wants to check his kidneys and blood work again in a month to be on the safe side. She said at that time he might be put on a prescription diet for his kidneys if they weren’t better. I decided to go ahead and get the special food now and start mixing it in with the other cat food just to be safe. She said she wasn’t TOO worried yet but a little concerned. On the drive home from the vet I cried a little bit when I thought about my baby possibly being sick.

I stayed up pretty late monitoring my baby. The anesthesia was wearing off–he was walking normally by like 9:30pm and starting to eat. I stayed up to make sure he wasn’t going to vomit or anything.

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So yeah, Sunday kind of sucked.

kitties