Sunday, July 27, 2014

Why My 19 Year Old Cat Runs Around Like a Kitten






When people see my Spike they are always shocked to discover that he is 19 years old.  His fur looks and feels great, his weight is good, eyes clear and he runs around like a kitten!
How does he do it?
"Good clean living" I always say. 
First of all, Spike has always been an indoor only cat.  He remains safe from other critters, cars, viruses, bacteria, children, meanies and other evils of the outdoor world. One friend used to always comment on how clean and pink his paw pads are.  
Spike eats a very high quality species appropriate diet which includes organic and human grade ingredients.  I won't get into much detail or endorse specific products here.  If you are interested in feeding the best foods to your cat and providing the healthiest holistic environment and care, do what I did and consult Holistic Healthy Pets by Jodi Z.  She taught us how to make and feed nutritious meals for all our cats which include raw foods plus she taught us a ton about environmental toxins and what options we have for our clowder (including where to find what we need).
But what else keeps Spike running around like a crazy kitten (especially in the early AM when I'm trying to sleep of course)?  Subcutaneous fluids, for one.  Many cats of Spikes general age benefit from the extra hydration of Sodium Chloride or Lactated Ringers fluids.  Like many cats who have been fed dry food for so long (Spike used to eat this garbage before I became enlightened), Spike is starting to show the beginnings of kidney issues in his bloodwork.  Rather than wait until he has full-blown kidney problems, our wonderful holistic vet Dr. Larry Bernstein showed me how to administer the fluids, via IV at home a couple times a week.  This helps him pee healthily, keep food down and generally feel like the crazy kitten he once was.  I highly suggest people look into this for cats over a certain age (no I wont give a number!  You know if your cat is acting "OLD").  Talk to your vet. 
Some other things I do for Spike to keep him full of life: include probiotics and enzymes in his meals, provide lots of fresh filtered or spring water and add a couple of other natural supplements to his diet to help balance blood levels and keep his joints feeling good.  Again, I don't want to name exact products here but encourage you to do some thorough sleuthing to find the right combo for your critter.
And by the way, 19 isn't OLD!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

I Saw Scooter!

And so did Amy, Emily, Simon and Lindsay!!!  
We all arrived late to her condo for the Bowl party (kitten, puppy and super). When we came in she remained IN CLEAR VIEW on the landing of the stairs.  I couldn't believe it. She stayed there for a long time. I petted her and she head butted me a bunch then I fed her on the landing. She let people watch her eat. Who is this cat?  When she lived at Casa Marro my husband (one of only 2 humans living in the house) barely ever saw her. Visitors - even week long company - never had a sighting. 
Even more amazing was that after us yelling and making all sortsof ruckus    watching the tv and eating and drinking all evening she actually CAME DOWNSTAIRS!  IN FRONT OF PEOPLE. ON THE SAME FLOOR IN THE SAME ROOM AS her two moms and visitors. Omg!  I was so proud of her. Life in Stuart with her new mommy seems to be agreeing with her highness. 
Thank Buddha!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Christmas Jealousy

For the first time we decided to take silly pictures of our cats for a holiday photo card.  Though I don't normally condone dressing up cats, I made an exception with the winter scarves.  Yes, we bought three so we could take a family portrait of all the boys together.  And we actually took many pix of the three of them together on the crazy new electric recliner couch (which we all love).  But...Spike was blurry in every shot.  So we are resorting to Photoshopping in solo portraits.  Just today I dressed up Spike again for a retake.  He posed well and I think we got a shot we can use.  However...Inky was not happy about this!  In the above pic you can see INKY sniffing Spike and checking him out.  Why is SPIKE wearing the scarf?  Inky is curious.  Well, of course this curiosity lead to animosity.  Inky was tailing poor Spike.  Next thing I know Spike was hissing at Inky.  Even after  I took the scarf off of Spike, Inky was following him around the house and upsetting him.  Inky is certainly a sensitive kitty!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Lack of Prozac!

After meeting holistic pet-god Dr. Larry Bernstein earlier this year, we took JP off his Prozac. That went pretty well, but we weren't ready to take Inky off his Prozac. Finally this month I felt lucky. We started weening him off slowly like we had done with JP. Apparently the timing was not right. Inky started getting rambunctious. He wanted to play all the time. I obliged as much as I could but the other boys weren't interested in his games or his shenanigans. There were a few scary attacks on Spike (cat). Poor kitty was hiding under the bed even!
And then there was pee. Again. Sigh. Been there done that. Strange thing is, I think JP was doing the peeing, not Inky. After several days of cat-hell I called dr b to let him know we needed to put the monster back on the drugs. 
I'm happy to say that things have returned to normal. Well, normal for us. There's no more fighting or peeing or general insanity. I don't love the thought of my cat being on drugs but if he's not we all will need to be!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

It's About Time

It has been a long time since CC went to the vet. I think the last time was in 2009 when I brought her down to Kendall for an abscess (no doubt created by an Inky attack!). 
Since then she has been living alone in her own private suite. She's much happier there. She doesn't have to defend her territory or deal with her pesky brothers. CC still gets the best food in town and we spend time with her every day. She even goes out for walkies occasionally (on a harness with her Mamma and sometimes Papa too). 
I've been noticing lately that she doesn't finish her meals. I checked her teeth and they looked pretty bad to me, so today I brought her in to see good ole Dr. Yao. He's nearby and very nice and honest. We like his staff too. 
Today at the vet CC weighed just over 12 lbs and the doctor said she looked great for a 15 year old cat. I sat and stared at her in the streaming sunlight (that office is much sunnier than our house) and marveled at her beauty. I'm so thankful that she lives with ME!!!
CC behaved very well and everyone at the clinic fell in love with her too. 
Teeth.  Yes.  Teeth. She needs her toofers cleaned!   Teeth cleaning for cats and dogs is considered surgery.  I will have to bring her back for this another day. She will have to fast the night before and they will do a complete blood panel then administer anesthesia before beginning the cleaning process. Also, I was warned that she may need to have some teeth extracted. I remember Scooter had that a couple years ago and maybe JP did too. 
So...I will post about the actual cleaning once it is over. 
One more thing...I may have her hips X-rayed while she is under because she has been walking "funny" for years and we think there may be something going on. 
Ramble ramble ramble. Stay tuned... 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Hematoma!!

Much has transpired since my last post in October 2012.  Let's start with the hematoma. One Sunday AM late in November I noticed a huge blister on JP's right ear.  I thought it was an abscess.  I was freaking out, of course.  After consulting some friends in the cat biz...I managed to hold my horses until the next AM and brought him in to see Dr. Yao.  Yao diagnosed JP with a hematoma - basically a blood filled blister.  Generally caused by trauma.  Uhhhh...yeah, JP and INKY in particular play BiteEachothersEars on a daily basis.  Also, Yao thought that perhaps JP had scratched it himself.  He didn't have ear mites, but a tooth on that side of his face looked a little infected.  Maybe he was scratching at the tooth pain...Anyhoo...Yao said the hematoma would resorb on its own and didn't want to do any surgery to lance and drain it etc.  Whew!  But he put JP on an anti-biotic.  Of course.  Vet's always seem to do that.  But I was OK with the anti-biotic this time because we decided JP should come back soon for his first dental cleaning and he would need to be on anti-biotics for that regardless.
Well...when he went back for his tooth cleaning the vet tech called me and said Dr. Yao wanted to do surgery on the ear while he was under for his teeth.  I knew that would happen!  I asked her to describe the surgery: they lance and drain the hematoma then sew up the entire ear flap like a quilt so it cannot fill with blood again.  WTF!??  And Yao had told me before that a hematoma might pop up in the other ear too.  UUUUUUuuugggghhhh!  What to do??!!??
So I called Dr. Bernstein who I had just happened to meet that weekend after hearing about him for years.  He is an AMAZING holistic vet who lives and works right in North Miami Beach.  Long story short (I will write more about him in my next post)...I decided to refuse the ear surgery and let Dr. B work his magic on JP in a non-invasive way.  Good choice. 
Stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

JPee Update





Our house has been pee and spray free (except in the litterboxes) since April 17, 2012.  Until this week!  I am pretty upset.  JP is up to his old habit.  He was crying in the kitchen after dinner, which means he's still hungry.  So...I did what Dr. Radosta suggested and let him sit in there and cry.  So, do you know what he did?  He marched into the living room where my husband and I were watching the debate on TV, climbed up the spiral staircase and sat himself down in the bed on top and just peed away!  He showed us to ignore his cries!  He's done this before.  He eats, then goes back in the kitchen and cries until I feed him again and if I don't he sprays or pees - usually in the living room.
So why did I let him do it again?  I knew Dr. Radostas advice to ignore his cries wasn't working for us, but I had a momentary lapse of reason.  I thought to myself, maybe Dr. Radosta was right.  Also...and here's some important news...he's HUGE!  Lately I've been feeding him as much as he wants so that he doesn't fight with INKY or pee outside the box.  This routine, combined with the prozac (groan) he has been on since January has caused weight gain.  He gained 2 lbs since the beginning of August bringing him up just over 16 lbs.  Inky also weighs about 16 lbs, but he holds it better.  So, a week or 2 ago I started limiting JP's food intake a little bit.  I guess he is not happy about that.
The other development on the JP behavior front is that he and INKY scuffle on a daily basis.  They wrestle before every meal and the worst is early in the AM.  I am seriously sleep deprived.  Recently JP has started chewing on aluminum foil that I keep in the closet (a hold over from the peeing in the closet days that I really hope are ancient history because I have now removed all of the foil).  After JP is done with his meals he returns to the scene and bites INKY (occasionally Spike too) and mounts him.  He used to do this to Scooter!  This is disturbing me a bit.
So last night I contacted one of my heroes Pam Johnson-Bennett.  I asked her if this is a dominance issue or what and how to deal with it.
Pam is THE BEST!  If you have feline behavior issues you need to hire Pam!  Just do it.  Worth the money and saves a lot of time and heartache!
Pam mentioned a few interesting things:
1) it could be dominance but it could also be frustration
2) I shouldn't cut down on his food too drastically!
3) I should feed JP more often so his belly feels more full (Spike would LOVE that too!!!)
4) I should use puzzle feeders to slow him down and get him focused on working for his food - and feed him away from INKY
5) I should be sure to engage in interactive play with JP every day
Well, some of this stuff isn't new to us.  But, as always, Pam has brilliant suggestions based on her extensive knowledge and experience.
So...here's what happened at dinner tonight.
JP and INKY started wrestling so I knew it must be feeding time.  I dug up an old wand toy.  INKY never seemed to like it.  JP actually started going for it!!  A miracle.  Every day I try to engage JP with a toy and he is either not interested or INKY comes over and ruins everything.  After a while I grabbed the other toy that INKY likes and tried to engage him at the same time.  This little bit of playing with each of them seemed to work because they didn't try to beat each other up while I was preparing their meal.
Yes, I'm writing a lot.  Is anyone still reading?
The next thing that happened is rather unfortunate.  While feeding the boys, I pulled out the muffin tin to put JP's food in (closest thing I have to a puzzle feeder for wet food at the moment - yes I ordered 2 online this afternoon.  I do what Pam says!) the sound of pans knocking scared the bajeezus out of JP and he ran, kicking his prozac bowl across the kitchen.  Then he went in the other room to start eating INKY's prozac!  Nooooo!  I was quite frazzled.
By the time I got his food in the pan, he was suspicious and didn't eat much.  I ended up putting his food back in his regular bowl.  Now as I sit and write this, JP has reemerged for a second helping.  I must heed his cries immediately.  You understand?