Over the weekend Aaron and I noticed that there was a little discharge out of Mau’s left eye and that he looked like he kept winking at us. We hadn’t noticed him rubbing at it but we suspected that it was an eye infection of some sort. On Sunday Mau’s eye was looking red, and we noticed that Mau was more yammery than usual that afternoon. This morning we started to see him pawing at his face. We didn’t want it to get worse so I called the vet and scheduled an appointment for him.
Mau was decidedly not happy by this turn of events and protested when we put him in the carrier. While he was at the vet’s office, Charlie and Garrus were seemingly confused and wandered around the house, mewing as they searched for their buddy. They trotted into my office and looked at me expectantly. All I could give them were pets and scritches.
When Aaron returned with Mau and prescribed eye drops, Mau scampered off to hide under the bed, apparently upset about his experience. Garrus and Charlie immediately went to greet and check on him. Eventually, though, Mau forgave us for subjecting him to the indignity of the carrier and taking him to the vet. Such is life with cats. Let’s see if Mau will assume his scheduled yammering hours and snuggle session.
Aaron brought Charlie home from the vet…and we realized that he had urinated in the carrier AFTER we let him out. We didn’t want him tracking urine all over the house so we had to deal with that right way. Sullen and stressed out from being at the vet’s office, he was decidedly NOT happy about being picked up and brought into the bathroom. Up until now, we had not needed to bath either Garrus or Charlie, so we were not sure if Charlie would submit kindly to this or if we would lose blood.
Time for a second bath!
Charlie made several rather churlish sounds and tried to hide beneath the cabinets or the bathtub, but to no avail – Aaron bathed him. After the water ran for a bit and Charlie got thoroughly wet, he stopped complaining and resigned himself to his fate. Once out of the tub, he was happier and didn’t fuss at all as we dried him. We toweled him off as best we could and agreed that he would not likely tolerate being blow-dried off, so we let him go. He’s still cleaning himself off but he has allowed us to approach him without glaring at us suspiciously. Garrus, for his part, is quite happy to have his buddy back.
Charlie needed to get his annual shots, so we made an appointment and planned to wrangle a distressed cat. We know that putting a towel over his head makes him less stressed out, so we had that ready. We closed doors to all the rooms. But he freaked out and refused to move out of the cubby in the cat tower. After much wrangling, coaxing, and the strategic placement of a towel around him, we ended up with…a most unhappy burrito.
Don’t worry – Charlie can breathe just fine under the towel.
After Aaron left with Charlie, Garrus emerged from under the bed and – shock! – started squeak-meowing! I’m pretty sure he was looking for his buddy. He came into my office and gave me an accusatory look. I reassured him with pets but Garrus didn’t look completely convinced. I expect that when Charlie returns from the vet, there will be a reunion snuggle.
Garrus is hanging out in my office, looking sad and asking for pets.
After Mau had his surgery, we noticed he had loose stool. At first we thought it might have simply been from all the medications he was given from his surgery and/or as a side effect from the two rounds of antibiotics he had been on prior to his surgery. But it didn’t go away and progressed to diarrhea. It’s no fun for anyone to wake up at 5am every day to a cat having loud-squirting diarrhea. Then one or both of us would have to get up to make sure there wasn’t a mess to clean up. Losing sleep due to cat-related reasons is par for the course but still. Sometimes he vomited as well.
We suspected that the diarrhea was due to the antibiotics and perhaps compounded by Mau essentially transitioning himself from wet to dry food. We added Fortiflora probiotics into his food. That helped a wee bit but he continued to leave sad stools in the Cat Genie. Fortunately his appetite was undiminished and he acted normally, so there were no changes in his behavior or apparent weight loss. But we were concerned and notified APA. Last Friday, Aaron took him to the vet while I stayed at home and worked on homework. Apparently the techs were amazed that Mau hadn’t been adopted yet and fawned over our handsome boy.
Results: Mau gained 1 lb (yay!) and the vet suspected that he might have inflammatory bowel disease, the same thing Boudicca had. We’re treating him with steroids, to which he is responding. We’ll see if his diarrhea stops. If he really has IBD, his owner will need to know and formulate a plan of treatment with a vet so Mau’s quality of life remains consistent. I’m happy to learn that he gained a little weight – he know weighs slightly over 10 lbs. His hips are still bony so he needs to fill out more. When at a healthy weight and filled out, Mau will be a big boy! He’s taller than Garrus and has a generally bigger frame than either of our tabbies do, so with that splendid tail, he’ll be a sight to behold.
August 22nd is National Take (or Bring) Your Cat to the Vet Day! I’m sure cats across the world are saying, most emphatically, “NOPE!” but please bear with me. Part of responsible pet ownership or guardianship involves ensuring your pet is healthy, up to date on shots, and given appropriate medical care, and that any health or behavior-related questions or concerns are addressed.
Side-eye alert. Garrus is never thrilled about going to the vet but he certainly appreciates being able to eat normally now that his stomatitis is under control.
Why is regular veterinary care so important? Here are a few reasons to remember:
Cats age faster than humans. A one-year-old cat is the equivalent of 15 in human years and a two-year-old is 24. After that, cats age 4 “cat years” for every calendar year. So much can happen in one year, so that is why an annual checkup at the vet is crucial.
Cats hide illness and pain. Many cats are true stoics and don’t let on that they’re sick. By taking your cat to a vet at least once a year, any problem that may crop up can be treated early.
Fat cat. According to the American Association of Feline Practitioners, over 50% of cats are overweight or obese. This extra weight can put cats at risk for diabetes, arthritis, heart, respiratory, and kidney disease, and more.
Something’s up. If your cat’s eating patterns or litter box usage suddenly changes, that can indicate a health issue. Note changes in weight, activity level, sleeping patterns, socialness, mood, etc. and share any concerns you have with your vet.
Preventative care. Having a baseline and an up-to-date medical history can help avoid medical emergencies and allow vets to detect and treat health conditions earlier rather than later.
Mau lets everyone know his name once we put him in the carrier. He does NOT like traveling in the car but he too needed to go to the vet to address his dental disease.
I took Boudicca to the vet this morning for a checkup. As usual, there was a lot of concerned meowing followed by purring and starfish paws the minute the techs and the vet petted her. In less than three minutes after returning home, Boudicca has passed out on the window seat. Obviously being intensely concerned and petted by a nice vet is quite exhausting.
Last week was a rather hectic. I was out of town for several days, and during that time Austin Pets Alive! contacted me to schedule Mau’s dental surgery. Aaron dropped him off on Thursday evening and we picked him up the following day. All things considered, Mau’s surgery went well. Due to the severity of his dental disease and multiple abscesses, all of his teeth were extracted. Now we have a toothless cat!
When we brought Mau home, we gave him some peace and quiet by putting him in Aaron’s office for a few hours so that he could get his bearings. He walked a little unsteadily and seemed subdued, which was totally understandable, so we kept an eye on him. At the same time, he was not interested in having lap time or a snuggle.
Mau insisted on claiming the cat tree cubby as his R&R spot and being a hidey cat. Charlie seemed to be thrown off by Mau being so close to “his” spot on the platform above the cubby.
Mau seems to be recovering well after his surgery (or weird alien abduction, as it must have felt like to him). We’re continuing to give him wet food but no longer with antibiotics or other foul-tasting meds, which makes him a happy boy. We think that the antibiotics caused diarrhea, so we are giving him probiotics (Fortiflora) mixed into his food to counter that. Although he’s supposed to be on wet food for the immediate future, he still beelines toward kibbles and tries to eat them whenever possible. We separate Mau from Charlie and Garrus at feeding times or else everyone attempts to eat all other food except their own!
Mau appears to be feeling better and hides less in the cubby. Now we can all adore his handsome face!
On Wednesday morning, we received an unwelcome present: cat barf. Mau had puked overnight. Sometimes cats puke and they occasionally cough up hairballs as well. It’s gross and you have to clean it up. It’s the unpleasant part of cat ownership. If it’s a one-time or occasional thing (especially with hairballs with long-haired breeds), it’s not usually anything to worry about. But Mau puked up his breakfast, and vomited three more times after that over the course of the morning. Normally he has no trouble chowing down on the wet food we give him. His stool was also looser than usual, another indicator that his tummy was unhappy. We have no idea why we became sick, especially since he’s been sequestered from Garrus and Charlie.
I emailed the Austin Pets Alive clinic, described the symptoms, and asked if we should bring him in for an appointment. The answer was yes, although Mau was not happy about this decision. That afternoon we put him in the carrier without much trouble but once inside he started crying. He has a most pitiful mew. In the clinic lobby he wanted everyone to know his name most emphatically. In the exam room Mau received intravenous fluids, since he was dehydrated from vomiting, and an injection of Cerenia to him less nauseated and hopefully stop the vomiting. We were sent home with a regimen. We’ll keep a close eye on Mr. Mau to check his progress.
A few hours after we returned home, Mau appeared to have decompressed enough to come out and ask for cuddles. He climbed into Aaron’s ask and was positively delighted to be brushed. There was much showing off of his tail, licking, and air biscuits.
On Sunday Aaron and I took Mau to his vet appointment. He walked right into the carrier but once he realized Aaron shut the door behind him, Mau was decidedly upset about it. He complained a bit when carried and in the car but became quiet in the waiting room.
One of the vets looked him over and diagnosed him with severe gingivitis and multiple abscessed teeth. It is likely that he will have most, if not all, of his teeth removed. Because his teeth are rotting, that is why his breath smells like death. We just have to wait for a slot to open up so Mau can have his surgery. Also, judging from the age and condition of his teeth, it looks like Mau is older than I initially thought. Rather than being 10, he’s 15 years old! He is a sweet old man and a good houseguest.
He hid and slept under the desk after we brought him back from the vet. Poor guy.
On the bright side, Mau is eating wet food well. Both he and Garrus eat about 1-1.5 cans a day! It appears that since Mau was surrendered to the shelter in May, he has gained about half a pound of weight. We spend time with him every day, brushing him frequently and providing comfy laps and scritches. He is most grateful for any and all types of attention and responds by being most affectionate.
I also recently learned that Mau and his housemates came from a hoarding situation, which shed light as to why all three had significant dental problems. The oldest of the three went into foster care and recently passed away in his sleep. The female, also older than Mau, has one eye, if I recall correctly, and chronic bronchitis. When I gave the shelter director an update on Mau, she thought that he was lucky to be in our house. Aaron and I genuinely hope that we can help him get healthy and find a loving home in which he can live out the rest of his life, preferably most of it in someone’s lap and purring.
We think that Mau may be a Himalayan or possibly a Balinese cat! Look at that sweet face!
Mau did not want me to read my book (pictured on the desk) and instead wanted me to devote all my attention to him. After all, he takes lap time most seriously, even more so than Boudicca did!
Earlier this week Garrus had his follow-up to check his response to his steroid therapy. Dr. R was very pleased to report that his stomatitis had significantly decreased and only a very small amount of inflammation remained in the back right side of his mouth. Dr R wants to keep him on a low dose of steroids every other day for the next few weeks to continue treating his stomatitis.
“Excuse me. Could you please let me out?” Garrus was exceptionally well-behaved in the carrier to and from the vet.
He gained 0.6 lbs in three weeks and needs to gain 0.5-1 lb to be at a healthy weight. We’ve been able to give him, on average, at least one can of wet food a day. If he’s a particularly hungry Garrus, he will eat up to two cans in a day. Like Boudicca, he’s a little persnickety about how his food is presented (because it’s easier to eat): he likes it well chopped, fluffed, and room temperature. We indulge him because we want him to eat, be healthy, and be a happy cat.
For the last month we also gave a dose of Zylkene in his food. We had suspected that he had developed food anxiety as a result of being bullied for food by his previous housemates, and dealing with dental pain from stomatitis exacerbated this. We noticed that the boys acted a bit uneasy after Boudicca passed away, and Dr R explained that this was due to the social hierarchical dynamic shifting. By nature, Garrus tends to be a submissive cat; Charlie, while not a dominant (“bossy”) cat per se, is the most intense cat in the household now. Dr R suggested that we try Zylkene for a month or so to help both cats settle and relax. In our experience, it helped. Garrus in particular became more affectionate and faffed about less at meal times.
Garrus enjoys claiming Aaron’s pants as a bed and gives me side-eye when I take a photo.
Wherever Garrus is, Charlie often follows, sometimes bringing a toy with him. Here he claimed a towel as his lounging spot and slow-blinked at me, purring.