Those who know me will know that I love my Furminator. I know where it’s kept – a drawer in the bedroom which I also know how to open – and regularly demand a “scratchering” with it. I invented the word “scratchering” by the way. It means that lovely feeling as the comb of the Furminator moves across or along my skin (whether across or along depends on which way I’m looking at it). It’s not scratching or irritating but a lovely sort of “scratchering”. If you’re a cat, you’ll know what I mean.
Staff and I have this daily ritual. First I get “rollered”. This involves a sticky roller which staff rolls along my back and flanks to take off the long thick hairs. Then out comes the Furminator. I know the drill. I stand up while my back and tail are done, then roll on one side and then the other and finally onto my back for the tummy-tickle as I call it. Finally I get a good brushing with, you guessed it, a brush.
The brushing is important to get my fur lying just like that, the way I like it.
Normally I’ve finished my heavy start-of-summer moult by the end of June but, for some reason, this year I’m still shedding lots of floof (which I don’t mind as I get two Furmination sessions each day).
I’ve just had my evening Furmination and boy, was it fun!
If you know the Furminator, you’ll know that after it’s collected a pile of that loose, itchy floof, your attendant can hold it over a bin and press the big blue button to eject that pile of floof from the comb. The fur then falls into the bin.
This evening was different, though. The floof had a mind of its own!
As soon as staff pressed the button, instead of falling into the bin, the floof flew across and attached itself to staff’s clothes. Staff now tried to grap the wads of floof and transfer them to the bin into which they should have dutifully fallen in the first place. But all he succeeded in doing was splitting the floof so now instead of large wads, he had lots of little wads all over his clothes and stuck to his hands. And some of the more adventurous flying floof flew up and stuck to his face and his hair.
I was trying to work out if staff now had more floof on him than I did!
Being the intelligent type, I knew that the cause was “static”. The opposite of static is “moving” and I figured that if staff moved the floof would fall off. But getting him to move involves way too much effort!
So I let staff carry on trying to defloof himself (he didn’t think of using the Furminator!) for a while before gently resting a paw on the sticky roller thingy. Bowing thankfully to my superior intellect, staff sticky-rollered himself until all the floof had been trapped.
And what thanks did I get for showing staff the solution to his problem?
It’s discrimination I tell you! Discrimination of the worst kind – international! And I shall have some very strong words to say to the people who make Dreamies here in the UK just as soon as I can get my paws on them.
If your staff buys you a packet or twenty of Dreamies here in the UKofGB, the feeding instructions on each packet say “Feed up to 20 pieces per day” and there’s also a little footnote that indicates an average feeding occasion is eight Dreamies. Yes eight! I suppose an “average feeding occasion” is supposed to mean the number of Dreamies that staff puts onto my pawsonal Dreamies feeding tray in one go. Well I can tell you that staff puts five onto my tray at a time in four equal instalments, added as soon as I’ve finished scoffing the previous “feeding occasion”. So I get 20 in one go.
And sometimes I take advantage of staff’s forgetfulness to obtain a second lot of 20 in one day. I just have to ask for the first lot early in the morning and the second lot late in the evening.
But I digress!
In my last post I mentioned that a friend in the USofA had sent me a present and, in case that present got hungry on the way from the USofA to the UKofGB, he’d put two packs of Temptations in the box. Temptations are what peeps in the USofA call Dreamies. Why they have to have a different name is one of those mysteries of life that we cats don’t concern ourselves with. All that matters to us is that the packs contain the same scrumptious little squares of crunchy goodness with the soft centres.
But I digress again!
I checked the American packets out and, do you know, there are two, yes TWO, impawtant differences between a pack of Temptations and a pack of Dreamies:
A UKofGB pack of Dreamies weighs 60g but a USofA pack of Temptations weighs 85g. That’s almost half as many more scrumptious little squares of crunchy goodness with the soft centres in each pack!
The feeding instructions on the USofA packs say that we can be fed Temptations in place of ordinary kibble food. A quarter cup of Temptations replaces a quarter cup of kibble.
I mostly eat “wet” food but there are bowls of dry food – kibble – around the house in case I want a snack at some time. At my main feeding station the bowls of wet and dry are side by side and I like to mix them up a bit – it’s good for my teeth you know. But if I arrange for Temptations to be shipped over from the USofA, then all those little bowls of kibble can be replaced with bowls of Temptations.
On the other hand, given that Dreamies and Temptations are the same, why should I have to resort to importation?
So come on Mars Petcare UK! Get the instructions on the UKofGB packets right please.
Otherwise I’ll just have to get staff to buy packs of all the different flavours at the same time. As each pack says “feed up to 20….” I’ll get 20 chicken, 20 turkey, 20 duck, 20 cheese, 20 beef. Come to think of it, don’t waste time changing the packs. My solution will be much better all round.
I’m a cat that doesn’t usually like playing with toys; I prefer to get outside and play with the real things – mouses, ratties, moleses, squirrelses and rabbitses. Then there are the more occasional finds like shrewses, slow wormses and other pesky little creatures. They’re all fun cos they take a bit of finding and catching.
But cat toys just don’t do it for me. Those little fake mouses, ball things, red dots and so on are boring after the first few seconds. Staff buys things on strings but one chomp and the things on strings aren’t on strings any more and fall into the same group as fake mouses, ball things ……..
All this was, though, until a parcel arrived. Inside was a present from a friend in America – a purple rat. Or, rather, a hand crocheted from hand spun mohair yarn, marinated in nip and valerian juice, filled with fleece (also marinated in nip and valerian juice) bits, bundled up with lots of love and dyed purple (my favourite colour), rat named Lumpy. And I can’t get enough of him!
And another thing: I usually rip critters apart and devour them. Often cat toys that staff buys disintegrate as a result of my appreciative ministrations long before I tire of them (yep – destroyed in seconds!). But Lumpy’s a goer. He’s already survived my initial three-hour (yes, that’s 3!) play session, getting pulled out of his hiding place for through-the-night games on staff’s bed, being cuddled when I nap and licked and sucked to death when I’ve run out of energy to play with him!
So I can’t call him a “toy”. He qualifies as a friend, like the friend who sent him to me. He has a name (given by that friend).
The box he arrived in also contained some Temptations (the American equivalent of Dreamies) which staff is keeping safe until I finish my current stock of Dreamies. I’m trying to sneak a peek at the instructions on the packets though. I have my suspicions.
Next post to the blog will be about the results of my investigations!
As you may know, I’m not well at the moment. I have spent a lot of time at my vet and also a couple of days as an in-patient at a specialist pet hospital. Staff has been trying to keep all my furiends up-to-date on my condition but it’s getting hard cos of all the different emews and tweets he’s been getting. So this blog post is going to be kept up to date with my latest news at the top (immediately below this introduction). Fanx yoo for reading and for caring. (Times are UK ones and are when I started typing the update).
Sunday 5 January 10.15 am
Well I think I can now pronounce PC healed. Whilst there is a little way to go in getting him to eat his normal daily quantity, he’s managed his usual breakfast today though has shown no interest in a mid-morning snack.
Indeed, after a few of his usual night-time “false alarms”, just to make sure I was paying attention, he got up properly at about 8.15, chomped his way through a full breakfast of tuna and was ceremonially let out to patrol freely. He usually has two circular patrols each day but, perhaps because he hadn’t covered them for over a week, he did both in one go, starting from the back garden, appearing in the front garden at the end of that circle but immediately strolling off in the opposite direction to complete circle two.
He reappeared, quite happily, at 10.00 and went back to bed.
What I won’t be doing for a while yet is letting him out at night when, I know, he patrols the farm next door for hours and usually comes home carrying a dead rat or squirrel. I don’t think he’s up to fighting properly yet!
But that’s the end of these updates. Thanks for reading them and thanks for all the get well messages. I guess that PC will want to say something himself very soon!
Saturday 4 January 7.30 pm
What a day!
Since this morning’s update, I’ve been through a difficult morning/afternoon with you-know-who repeatedly demanding to go out (and not being allowed out alone yet) but, when we get outside, we don’t go far. I have a sneaky thought that the apparent falling over may not be weakness but, rather, stubbornness – he’s parking his butt to make me hang around and wait for him or, he hopes, give up and let him off the lead.
Then there was the gassing session. The guy really put on a show and neighbours were asked to extinguish naked lights! Hardly had the windows been closed before he decided that it was time to poop again (he’s been producing the yellow stuff nicely during walks). When I entered the room, just for a second before retreating again, he was looking rather pleased with himself. I, on the other hand, carried his litter tray outside and then, I must confess, threw up. The stench was beyond! I pity the person who has to analyse that!!!!!
But after all of this “performance” he started drinking; not a great deal but enough. Given his eating, and assuming no overnight change, tomorrow I’ll hold my heart in my hands and let him out on his own. That has risks as the vet has joked he may never return! This isn’t as daft as it sounds – he’s been confined for just over a week for the first time since emerging from his mother’s basket. He probably spends more time each day on my lap than he spent in a month on someone’s lap before relocating. He’s certainly visited his vet more often each year since then than in all his first six years put together (interestingly, his former owner approached him while we were walking today and he recoiled from her).
He’s not yet eating like his former self but he’s managed 100g of chicken and another 100g of mixed fish today – I’m deliberately varying the selection. Today was his last day of meds; he’s been taking them fine but today he resisted and I got pawed; not clawed though. This is something I’ve often wondered – there have been times when we have fun (flea treatments and worm pills being the regulars) but although he may fight, it’s always with claws retracted. Then when he has cuddles, flexing his claws is a normal sign of contentment (and sometimes painful as he’s on my lap – work it out!). I’ll never understand him! My ears, nose and fingers often get nibbled but he’s never bitten me, whatever I’ve done to him.
His first foray back into the outside world could be a long one. But it has to happen sooner or later. Maybe it will be a long journey and I’ll worry myself silly until he deigns to return home. At least all the locals whom he visits have been warned and will let me know if he tries to break in!
And the poop is good. I think enuff has now been said about that poop! So to change the subject …
His evening walk in the garden was a good one. If cat pee has any plant-enhancing qualities, one of my fuchsias is going to romp away later in the year as it’s had a pint or two by now!
As I sign off this update, my only thought is whether I will still be sane in the morning. Will I be allowed to sleep? Will he be quiet tonight? Does he understand that if he’s good he gets a chance to run free tomorrow?
My next update will be when he returns home from that run. I’m after moral support in breath-holding.
Saturday 4 January 09.30am
It hardly seems a week since all this started with my thinking suddenly “He hasn’t eaten since yesterday morning!”
I’m thinking of selling him on ebay! All through the night, at around hourly intervals, he’s gone through a routine of nuzzling my face to wake me up, demanding his favourite ear tickles for a few minutes, jumping off the bed and yowling at the bedroom door and then jumping back up onto the bed, curling up and going back to sleep. He seems far more capable of nodding off quickly than I!
Anyhows, last night, he took me for a walk, in the rain again! Back indoors, while I towelled off, he finished the remaining 50g of lamb before dashing up to bed. So that’s 200g of food he’s eaten in one day compared to a normal 4-500g. Still it’s progress. And he only bit me once while I was gently squirting water down his throat. Maybe I’d taken it from the wrong end of the pond.
This morning’s walk was better in that it wasn’t raining but he is still very unsteady on his feet so needs more building up before he can be allowed out on his own. And he rewarded me by eating a full 100g of chicken, though still not drinking. Nothing more out of the other end yet either.
So, I suppose, the overall view is that he’s stable and I’ll take that as a positive.
As we’re still getting messages, I’ll carry on with the updates morning and evening. He and I are really touched by the number of furiends and peeps/tweeps who are sending him get well messages. But I’d be grateful if you could stop sending him suggestions of ways to keep me at something or other. I’m becoming convinced he can read!
A regular question is “Do you know what’s wrong with him yet?” The answer is no and likely to remain so. He’s had so many tests, all of which were negative, that we don’t want to put him through any more, particularly as the vein in the neck needs to return to normal, the leg through which he had the IV fluids is still a bit swollen and weak and we don’t want to weaken the other front leg. As long as he responds to the treatment he’s getting we’ll carry on as we are.
Friday 3 January 12.00 midday
The patient is being very difficult! We are in the middle of a major storm and have been all day (and last night too!) but he insists on going out for walks. It’s ok for him as the walks are still from shelter spot to shelter spot. I’m sure he’s doing it on purpose to see me get soaked as punishment for what he’s been through!
The vet is pleased with progress but takes no credit for it other than, perhaps, the right guess as to what to do next. We’ll still take things slowly but the signs are mainly good.
He polished off the rest of his beef and then proceeded to demolish 50g of lamb so he’s now around what he would have eaten by now on a normal day. But we mustn’t forget he’s catching up! I’ve just given him his mid-day meds and only got slightly clawed. He’s been groomed too though only on the back and sides as I’m leaving his tummy alone for the moment. There’s another shaved patch on his neck as that’s where a lot of blood was taken and the vein there is swollen and hard so we need to let that soften and get back to normal. But his paw swelling has reduced a lot.
He still won’t drink but will have gotten some moisture from the food jelly and I’ll start squirting water down his throat later.
The final bit of good news for now is that there is a nice mound in his litter tray under which, I’m hoping, is poop. I’m deliberately not doing anything with it until he leaves the room – it’s in the bedroom and he’s now curled up on the bed.
Friday 3 January 9.00 am
Can’t wait till 11.00 as there’s some really good news.
The patient appears to have had a comfortable night, unlike his staff! PC was very unsteady on his feet last night and remains so this morning. After a third walk in pouring rain, I decided enough was enough and tried to settle him in bed. By about 9.45 he seemed to be dozing off so, in a very self-sacrificial mood, I joined him to avoid waking him later. He was curled up on top of me in no time. The only problem was that through the night (which saw the outside being battered by strong winds, pouring rain and hail – the latest storm to pass over), he wanted to go for a walk every hour. But I quickly worked out that having woken me by jumping off my chest, he yowled at the bedroom door for a few minutes before realising he wasn’t going out and jumping back on top of me to go to sleep again.
And no overnight vomiting either!
I gave in at about 8am this morning and out we went for a walk in the back garden (in pouring rain/hail). The walk comprised him moving quickly from shelter spot to shelter spot – he has a few around the place – while poor staff, too big to get into cat sized shelter spots, got beaten by the hail. But the good news is that if territorial scenting counts as having a pee, I can report about 9 seconds of highly targeted squirting.
Then after giving PC a towelling off and as I was steeling myself for the start of force-feeding, he obliged by consuming 60 grams of beef in jelly. That’s not his usual 100-150 gram breakfast but it’s a start and enough to avoid a morning battle. [Updated update – he ate another 20 grams at 8.40 am.]
And I’m surprised how he’s readily taken to the harness (or “strangulator” as his Bro Luka calls it). He is demanding, though, in expecting me to get it on, untwisted and untangled, first time, while he assumes the most awkward position he can. But having got awkward he stays perfectly still while I put it on. But he doesn’t like me taking it off, presumably because he knows that means he’s not going out for a while.
He’s now back in bed looking rather pleased with himself, even though I refused to reward his eating with another walk.
Thursday 2 January 8.15 pm
PC and I arrived home at about 6pm UK time. As soon as I opened his travel box he bounded out like nothing was wrong, took three steps and fell over! The leg which has borne the brunt of the IV treatment is weak and the paw on it is very swollen – I was told this is normal.
After about 15 minutes, a rather groggy PC trotted unsteadily to the back door and demanded to be let out. My first attempt to get him into his harness ensued. Clearly he thought my harnessing skills were not worth waiting for as after some fiddling, he pulled away and relocated to the front door, dragging the somewhat ill-fitting harness behind him. But he wasn’t objecting to the harness, merely to being confined indoors.
Once I’d mastered the contraption and attached the lead, we went out for a walk. About an hour later, we returned from the walk (and I have some idea of his patrol route albeit that trespassing on gardens wasn’t allowed). Returning home, once inside the front door I took the lead off but before I could remove the harness, PC was sitting at the back door. Another half-hour in pouring rain patrolling the back garden. On the plus side, he went through the motions of scenting his territory which, I think, counts as having a pee.
The return trip to the front door was too much for me so I left him there, having removed the harness. Once he realised he wasn’t going out again, he took care of some serious grooming (to be honest, he does smell a bit) before making his way up to his secret observatory (aka front bedroom window sill) where he spent the best part of half an hour before jumping onto his (my) bed and going to sleep. And that’s where he is now.
I’ll leave him for the night (though I’ll be joining him in MY bed later). Tomorrow morning there’s a bout of feeding if he hasn’t fed himself and then a chat with the vet. We don’t expect any solids out of the rear for a couple of days but we want the yellow stuff and we want him to start feeding himself. Those are the key signs we’re waiting for. And something we don’t want is any overnight vomiting.
I’ll try to get some pics sorted when I can so you can convince yourselves he’s ok.
And, because many are asking, no, we don’t know what is wrong with him. We’re working on guesses, hoping and praying.
Next update around 11.00 tomorrow morning.
Thursday 2 January 1.00 pm
Good news, maybe!
PC’s vet and I have had a long chat. He’s now had x-rays to check for everything an x-ray can possibly look for (with the addition of dye as well). He’s had every blood, fluid and gunk test for everything from simple stuff to things like feline AIDS. Everything is negative.
Some more in-depth tests for pancreatitis (which can hide itself from blood tests) were also negative.
Any form of surgery remains off the cards for the moment.
But we still don’t know what is wrong. So the next guess is that it was some sort of virus that he carried hidden through Christmas but which then caused some breakdown in the stomach or intestinal wall. The viral bit cannot be treated but the “breakdown” will respond to the antibiotics he’s been getting. So we wait and see – the guess at least offers hope, which is better than the “other option”.
But compared to Monday, he has perked up a bit and is now getting feisty and trying to bite his favourite veterinary nurse when he gets close. So we have a good sign.
Oh the other hand, he still won’t eat or drink but the vet and I have a cunning plan. Meanwhile, he’s on a simple fluid drip to continue the rehydration/nutrition until the current bag is empty. All other drugs were withdrawn while he was at the hospital and will stay withdrawn. We now wait and see whether he starts vomiting again (which could change the plan).
That plan is he will come home again tonight to try getting him to eat/drink in familiar surroundings. Just in case, I’ll be armed with some sort of something with which I can shoot some prepared nutritious gunk down his throat to sort of force-feed him.
And he’s gonna get a harness and “lead” – he can’t patrol freely but maybe we can persuade him to produce something from “the other end” with gentle exercise around the garden (so far it’s been a manual draining process).
So as long as he holds in there through the afternoon, we move forward and see what he’s like tomorrow. And we take things one day at a time.
Next news around 5.00 pm.
Thursday 2 January 11.20 am
Just been told he’s left the hospital – later than expected cos ambulance was needed for emergency collections of other anipals. It’ll take a while to make the journey back to his vet so I guess another hour or so before I know anything.
So far, I do know he has still not eaten nor drunk anything. So this makes no solids for 96 hours and only IV fluids in that time. But he is no longer vomiting everything up again (he’s been given anti-vomiting drugs) so the fluids are staying in and he’s rehydrating and getting some nourishment that way. Oh, and so far nothing’s come out the other end since Monday!
Thursday 2 January 9.30 am
PC’s being discharged from hospital and will be returned to his usual vet by ambulance. The hospital said they have run the poor guy through a battery of tests but all have come back negative; there is nothing left to test him for and so there is nothing they can do. But after getting over the initial shock of this news last night, I’ve decided not to give up until PC says enough. There is definitely something wrong so there is something that they have not tested for. Maybe there isn’t a test for it yet so we’ll invent one.
I have a list of things I’d like the vet to consider. At the moment we’re waiting for him to arrive and once he’s back, he’ll get a check over and we’ll review the detailed notes and decide what to do next.