Thursday, August 9, 2018

he eats!

Marvs spent a few hours in the morning sleeping on his all time favorite spot (on top of Laura). That felt like a huge positive sign. This morning he lined up with the other cats for breakfast. He only ate two tiny bites but it was movement in a positive direction.

Laura and I both came home during the day at various times to offer food to him and he refused each time and appeared to regress into stiff, uncomfortable movements. It was so disheartening after the progress he made. I returned to work feeling quite discouraged.

Marvin went back to the vet for his daily sub-q fluids, he was more vocal this time around, so that's a good sign. The vet found a new kind of appetite stimulant for us to try called Entyce. So Marvin got that this time. By the time I came home from work, he was chowing down his dinner! He's eaten most of a small can of wet food! Go Marvs!!


He's been sleeping a lot, which feels like a good thing, to give his body chance to heal.

I leave tomorrow for a week of working in Tennessee. I'm worried about leaving him in his current tenuous condition. It would be awful if Laura had to let him go by herself. I'm still hoping and praying for a strong rally. 

In other news, we just put an offer on a house. It's not where we wanted to live, but it's a pretty amazing house and with a delightful history. Our offer is considerably lower than the asking price, so it feels like a long shot, but it doesn't hurt to ask. The place does need a lot of work. 

I can't stop thinking about how Willow died on the day we listed our prior house and now we are facing another possible loss as we begin the process of buying our new house. I'm not sure what that is about, but it feels cruel. I'm going to do my best to not worry about all that and instead choose once again to trust God's process.

Thank you everyone for your kind support - it's been a huge blessing to know that many others have experienced this roller coaster too - and therefore we are not alone. I'll do my best to update you on Marvin's condition from afar, but it will be more challenging to do so.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Marvs update 1

I'm exhausted - the energy drain that happens when holding so much heavy grief-laden emotion is enormous. The chronic kidney failure emotional roller coaster is racing down the tracks.

I didn't post anything yesterday, partly because I was too exhausted and mainly because Marvin was doing so poorly, I was afraid to face that fact by writing about it. It still feels like just yesterday that we lost Willow and I'm not ready to lose another member of the family. But sometimes it doesn't matter how ready one is. We thought today's vet visit might be the end of the line the roller coaster. Yesterday, he looked vacant, miserable, in pain. He spent much of his time hunched in his bed, eyes open, starring off into the nothingness. Occasional he would hobble out to the water bowls and drink a small lake's worth of water. He started camping out at the water bowl with his head just above the water. He looked awful. And he had no interest in food.

He's been going in for fluids every day this week. They've given him some anti-nausea medicine as well. This morning he didn't seem much better, so the fear and dread hung over the day like a heavy blanket. I came home from work for lunch to check up on the guy. As I climbed the stairs to the apartment, I steeled myself for what I might see upon entering. To my delight he seemed a bit more perky. He was still going for the water but he was more present and more aware of my presence.

I hung out with him and saw his personality return.

He even stopped to sniff me as he walked by.

He spent time in the windows, soaking up the sun - a very normal Marvin behavior and something that's been absent all week.

Seeing him this way gave me a little hope, although I'll admit, I'm afraid of hope right now. One of the high peaks on the kidney failure roller coaster is called hope and it's always followed by an intense crash.

There was a moment when he was up on the sunny window perch, when he looked me in the eye and I heard him say, "please don't give up on me." Marvs, if there's an option to get you comfortable and feeling good again, we're doing it. I keep watching him closely, looking for that moment when he tells me it's time - but thankfully, that is not this day.

Marvin did well at the vet. He looked like his typical self. He's lost a lot of weight though from not eating and he doesn't have much extra weight to spare. He got more fluids and a bit of appetite stimulant, which sadly didn't have the desired effect.

He's pretty much slept since returning home from the vet, with the occasional trip to the water dish. On his last round, I gave him the chance for some ultra-yummy, not-on-the-kidney-diet-Friskies and he actually sniffed it. I set it by his bed and he sniffed it again and then looked away, then he returned to it, got close and sniffed it once more. He didn't eat anything, but it felt like progress in that direction.  I'm going to try again tonight and get up a few times through out the night to give him more opportunity to eat - hopefully he does.

Still hoping for the rally - go Marvs!

4 am update...

Around midnight Marvin ate two bites of Friskies! Then again at 3:30 this morning he ate another couple of bites and then settled in up on Laura's lap (his favorite spot). Yah! 

Monday, August 6, 2018


I'm overdue for an update on Marvs. He had his risky dental procedure last Wednesday and he did well. Vet extracted 6 teeth and cleaned the others. Said he did well before, during, and after the procedure. He got a pain-killer injection and he came home and slept for a few days. Then over time he became more active but still guarded his mouth, like he was in pain.

August 5, 2018
He was quite the cuddle monster over the weekend. Cuddle, cuddle, cuddle...

We noticed the furs on the back of his ears is starting to grow back! I think the reduced steroid dose has something to do with that. His furs were looking shiny, he was looking good.

August 4, 2018
Sunday, he turned a corner - not a good corner - he started going downhill. Looking miserable and not moving. Laura took him to the vet this morning and they did blood work, found his kidney levels elevated and signs of pancreatitis. He got fluids and some more pain-killer and anti-nausea meds. Now he's back home and looking miserable - that late-stage kidney failure miserable.

We take him back to the vet tomorrow for fluids and further care. I know deep down that the dreaded conversation will happen soon. He's had kidney failure for the three years we've had him and we knew doing the dental work might push him over the edge. I'm hoping and praying Marvs has at least one more rally in him. Please join with me in prayer and purring for him to rally so he can have some time to enjoy a stretch of life without the dental pain. 

Saturday, July 28, 2018


My Saturday started as most days do, I got up and went about my morning routine. But then as I was about to pop into the bathroom and get my shower something unexpected happened, Oliver got up on the bed and looked at me. Not just any look, he had a look like he wanted something, an invitational look - he wanted to cuddle. So, not being one to pass up such an invitation, I obliged.

Next thing I knew...

Then a little while later...

And then...

Theo had to come check out the cuddlefest and made himself a little fort on the other side of the bed...

What's missing in these pictures is the sound of the purrs! When Oliver's relaxed, his purr gets super loud.

And then...

Nahum came for a visit too...

Oliver never left his cuddly spot on the bed! I don't remember the last time I spent most of the day cuddling with my precious Oliver. This was certainly the first time since he became an inside cat and it was lovely to not have to worry about him jumping down and peeing on something and I'm sure he enjoyed not having to worry about when he was going to get deported.

Purrfect way to spend a caturday!!

Happy Caturday to you!

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Marvin's 3rd Gotcha Day!!

Today marks 3-years of Marvin!! That is so hard to believe considering how many times he's been near death's door. When I first rescued him from the street and was sorting through his medical problems, we all thought he might have 6-months to live - and here he is 3 years later!

His kidney failure continues to worsen each time we get the numbers checked, but he still eats fairly consistently. The Northeast air appears kinder to his asthmatic lungs, as he's been breathing easier since we moved, so we've been able to significantly cut back his steroid dose.

He LOVES this spot in the kitchen window that has the morning sun. Every morning he can be found zonked out in the warm sun. This guy likes it hot, it doesn't matter that it's 90's and crazy humid in the apartment, he wants it hotter!

Marvin recently had a health scare. He had a nose bleed, which I've never heard of in a cat before. I wasn't home at the time, but it scared Laura (understandably) so she took him to emergency. The vet thought it might be a complication from his ongoing dental infection and problems.

When I trapped Marvin he had really rotten teeth, enough so that he couldn't eat. I took him to a low cost vet and requested full dental extraction. That vet took out a few teeth but left the rest (and didn't bother to clean the remaining ones). Marvin's continued to have bad teeth but our regular vet cautioned us about doing anymore dental work because of how frail his kidneys are. Our new vet here has been encouraging us to consider taking the risk and doing the dental work, she notes that the ongoing infection will also strain the kidneys and the chronic dental pain is not good on his quality of life. So, after the nose bleed, we have made the choice to get the extractions done and any remaining teeth will be cleaned. This is very high risk for him as his blood pressure could drop to dangerous levels with the anesthetic and/or it might put his kidneys over the edge. We're going to take him in a few times before for sub-q fluids to try to flush his kidneys before the surgery, which is scheduled for next week.

He's been living free lately and enjoying lots of cuddles. He's certainly our most cuddly kitty right now. The other day when it cooled down I got out the bug toy and he went nuts with it, running around, diving in the packing papers like a kitten. It's fun to see that much energy and spunk in the old guy! He's so unsteady on his feet, but he did ok throwing his body around. Hopefully after the dental work he will be free of pain and can more fully live into life.

Happy Gotcha Day Marvs!!

Monday, July 9, 2018

portable carpet cleaner

Now that we are living in an apartment with carpet everywhere it made sense to get a carpet cleaner, especially now that we've been feeding the cats wet food. (Wet food hork is a completely different deal than dry food hork! Yikes!!) We were going through bottles of the spray carpet stain remover and rolls of paper towels. I decided to go with a portable one rather than an upright, because it seemed more versatile, like being able to clean the cat trees, human furniture, etc. I also wanted something that I could easily grab and go at the sound of hork.

I did a little research and decided on the Bissell SpotClean™ Pro Portable Carpet Cleaner 3624. I bought it directly from for $109.00 and free shipping (the list price is $129 and I took advantage of a sale of $20 off). On, it's also $129 and free shipping with Prime.

It's a relatively small unit when all closed up.

It has the clean water tank up front and the dirty tank in the back. In the clean tank you put in a capful of the cleaner mix with the clean hot water. (It comes with a small bottle of cleaner). There are some carpet cleaners that will heat the cleaning solution for you, that seemed silly to me (another part to break or wear out), why not just use hot water to start with?! On this unit, I like that the clean water tank is designed to sit flat on a surface when upside down and being filled - the human factor engineer  who designed that gets a gold star. 

It's not very heavy too, which is nice.

I used it to spot clean some work-stains on the rug in Oliver's room and to clean the cat tree, that has been in desperate need for a cleaning for some time. But, before you can use the carpet cleaner, you have to use the traditional suck-monster to get all the furs and other stuff up first.

Many reviewers complain that the debris gets caught in the clear plastic piece on the cleaning tools and there is no way to really clean it without using something to fish out the yuck. Those reviewers are very much correct, as well engineered as this device is, this bit is just plain stupid. If you are not going to make it cleanable, then why have it clear plastic so we can see how gross it is in there?! (Design engineer just lost their gold star.) 

The cleaner did a fantastic job on cleaning the carpet stains and the cat tree. 

Some reviewers complained about the noise of this machine. I didn't experience it to be any louder than a regular vacuum. The cats didn't get scared of it like they do a real life suck-monster.
Top of the dirty tank.
Another annoying design shortcoming is cleaning the debris from the top of the dirty water tank. There is a small filter on there to help separate out the chunks (cat fur), which makes sense. What doesn't make sense is that they didn't make it easy to get the debris out of there. Again, needing to poke with a tool - it's not a huge deal, just annoying. Once that stuff was out, it's pretty easy to dump the dirty water and rinse out the top and bottom parts. 

In the picture above, you'll notice on the top left, the nasty gray dirty water. All that nasty was on the rug and the cat tree - yuck! 

Oliver enjoying the freshly cleaned cat tree!
I had one problem when using it, the sprayer part leaked quite a bit when I wasn't activating the sprayer. It only did so for maybe half the job and then stopped, not sure what that was about, definitely something I'll keep an eye on. Many reviewers mention that the hose eventually breaks just on the base of the tool handle. Seeing how this is designed, I can easily see how this will happen, especially as the unit ages and the hose gets more brittle. Even knowing that in advance, I thought this was still the device to get. It comes with a 2-year limited warranty, so I can see how Bissell responds to the hose breaking and/or engineer my own fix when that time comes.

I am very, very pleased with how this device gets the carpets clean. It has a lot of amazing suck-power, so it gets up a lot of the water after cleaning. The cat tree is just like new and the ancient nasty carpet stains are no more thanks to the Bissell SpotClean™ Pro!  I'll keep using it and will post an updated review if my opinion changes - for now, it's a winner!  Yah for clean carpets and clean kitty furniture!!!

Gotta try out all the clean kitty tree perches

Camped out in it's sleeping spot (closet).
One more little thing to note - the unit comes with two tools, a Stain Tool and a 6" Stair Tool. I only used the smaller stain tool. One little annoying thing is that there is no on-board storage for the extra tool. I decided to play it safe and banished the stair tool to live in a different part of the closet for fear it would cavort with the stain tool and come after me in the night. 

Theo could care less about carpet cleaners
* There is no disclaimer regarding this review because I purchased it with my hard earned money with no assistance from anyone associated with the manufacturer, their agents, family, friends, or non-friends.

Saturday, July 7, 2018


I've been amazed at Pierre. He keeps his distance from the humans, yet he feels so relaxed with the other cats. It's just a matter of time before he's playing like crazy with Nahum.

We installed these cushy window perches in all the apartment windows and he's really taken to them.

Pierre and Theo enjoying the view together
He has no fear of sharing space with the other cats. I've seen him affectionately brush up against Rose and Theo, just like he does with Oliver. Rose and Theo weren't quite sure what to do with it but they accepted it just fine.
Nahum up top, Theo and Pierre in the window