Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Hershey's 6-month Gotcha Day!

We got back home last Thursday afternoon and I've been trying to get settled back into the usual routines while also starting a huge remodeling project on the house. This project is consuming all my time as it is rather extensive, certainly the biggest house project I have ever taken on. Even though the project doesn't directly involve the cats, I'm sure I'll be able to connect it somehow! Anyway, I haven't had time to report about our trip or the conference I had the pleasure to attend. Stay tuned, someday I will get to that!

Meanwhile, I learned from Mike, Hershey's human that today is Hershey's 6-month Gotcha Day!! Here's the update from Mike:

I just wanted to drop you a line and send you a few Hershey photos.

July 30 is the six-month anniversary of Hershey coming to live with me. We're still having a blast with each other. Hershey is as playful as always although in six months he's become more bold and demanding. He still loves Da Bird toy although since it's summer he's spending a lot of times in the windows staring at the real birds. He's gone from a shy to a quick eater and he's always trying to steal my dinner even though he gets fed first. If he wants something he speaks up and lets me know! He also likes to take over new spaces, in one of the photos you can see I had a card table out and he took over the top!

It sure seems like Hershey's living the good life! Yea for him and Mike, and yea for 6 great months of gotchadom! Here's to the next 6!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


It's been ten days now since I've been able to touch a cat. I haven't even really seen any either, except for about two seconds of the backend of one moving quickly out of sight and lots of pictures! If all goes well we will be home Thursday evening and reunited with all my delightful furry friends!! I can't wait!!

Meanwhile, my friend Jana has been looking after the needs of all the cats. She has graciously been sending pictures every so often, which has been wonderful. Here are a few:

photo courtesy of Jana S.

photo courtesy of Jana S.

photo courtesy of Jana S.

photo courtesy of Jana S.

photo courtesy of Jana S.
We have been tent camping on our road trip. Tent camping is fun, although sleeping on the ground is getting less comfortable the older I get! I think the earth is getting harder every year, maybe that's tied to global warming?!

Last night, we were camping in Belvidere, South Dakota. All day we had clear skies and when we set up camp the weather was very pleasant.

As you can see, the blue tent is setup next to the "Willow-car", our little VW Golf, which reminds me a lot of Willow. It's cute, small and silver, just like Willow! The little diesel engine purrs just like my Willow too!

After we were settled into the tent for the night, the campground manager came by and said a very severe thunderstorm might be coming our way. Yikes, I hopped online and read this:

The part that stood out to me was the "golf ball size hail and 70 MPH wind gusts" and the statement: "People and animals outdoors will be injured." Notice they don't say "might" be injured it said "will" - double yikes! The radar showed this:

This nasty red blob of severe weather was heading right for us! The campground manager highly recommended we pull up our tent, so we did. We upgraded from a tent site to one of their little camping cabins. I was really worried about the Willow-car, as golf ball size hail would do significant damage. We pulled the car as close to the cabin as possible in hopes it would shield it from some damage. Then it was just a matter of settling into the cabin and praying.

The lightening really lit up the sky. This is lightening over our cabin, you can see the Willow-car in the bottom right corner. In the end, the storm was slightly off to the side, so we only caught the edge of it. That meant no hail, just heavy rain and wind. About 2am, I awoke with another storm passing right over us, it socked us with more lightening, heavy winds and rain but again, thankfully no hail.

In the morning, we packed up the Willow-car and continued our trip toward home. I'm very grateful for Greg and Betty, the very helpful managers of Belvidere KOA Campground. They didn't have to warn us, but they did and they were very helpful in making sure all the campers were safe as possible for the storms.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Buddy and the crazy horse

I decided to make an appointment at the speciality vet clinic since Buddy was doing so poorly and guess what? That did the trick! As soon as the appointment was made, he immediately perked up and stopped horking! He was back to usual self - lounging in the sun, playing with Nahum, wanting to eat and eat! 

When Max was dealing with his CRF, there were many bad days followed by the occasional good day where I started feeling hopeful, and then there were many more bad days. Not wanting to risk that this was a momentary good day for Buddy, he went to see the internist vet this morning even though he was looking good. After a thorough exam, they wanted to take a look at his innards and so recommended an ultrasound.

Buddy, chilling in his carrier bag while at the vet's office

The results from the ultrasound were good, they didn't find any extra innards (things that aren't supposed to be there.) They did notice the stomach lining and intestines were "thickened", which she figured might be due to inflammation - not a surprise considering his symptoms. I'm quite pleased with these results! The treatment plan is to change his diet to easily digested food so his innards don't have to work as hard - the kitty version of chicken noodle soup!

I go to retrieve him from the vet soon - yea! This is another moment when I'm glad to have my cats insured. It allows me to do whatever diagnostic work needs to be done without regard to the cost. I'm also thankful to have a large speciality clinic so close by - it's one of the VCA Veterinary Speciality Centers, which is like a huge medical center for animals, where they have all the typical speciality departments you would find at a human hospital.

The other day, I was walking by the upstairs office window and I caught an unusual sight out of the corner of my eye. So, I went back for a better look and this is what I saw:

Crazy Oliver, out cold on the peak of the roof!

did someone call me crazy?

who's calling me crazy?

was it you horsey?

you looking for a fight crazy horse?

you step one hoof out of line and you're done for, got it?

scared him stiff, now back to the nap

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

update on the Budster

Not much change in Buddy's condition. There were a few moments each day when he looks more comfortable as you can see in these pictures from yesterday. More often than not, he's been all hunched in looking uncomfortable, so it was nice to see him stretched out and looking more normal.

This is Buddy's all-time favorite spot by the front door

When he gets to hot, he moves to the make-shift bed I created for Oliver

Then it's time for some more sun by the front door

Buddy went back to the vet yesterday (our regular vet rather than the emergency vet who saw him last). She looked him over and thoroughly went through the prior x-rays and blood work. In the end she admitted that she's not sure what's causing Buddy's troubles but suspected it's either a tumor in his intestine or his intestine might be inflamed. She gave us two options: 1) go to a specialist for endoscopy to look for a tumor or 2) try steroids for a possible inflammation. The problem with the steroid option is that it would take time to know if it's working and if it doesn't work then it would require another few weeks post-steroid use before they could do the endoscopy. That seems like a long time to wait.

We have elected to go right to the speciality vet internist at the nearby speciality clinic to see that they can figure out. We have worked with them before with Theo and Rose and know they do good work. So, now I'm in the process of trying to schedule an appointment for sooner rather than later. Thank you everyone who has been praying and purring for Buddy, it is greatly appreciated!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


Remember this picture?

It was taken back in December of 2010, it is one of my favorite photos of Willow. She looks so content, snoozing in front of the fire on her special LL Bean cat mat. I just love this picture, so when I was approached by Printcopia to review a printed canvas, can you guess what picture I chose?

Printcopia, is an online company that specializes in photo to canvas printing, or as they state on their website, "transform your photos into stunning pieces of art." They do all sorts of prints from basic to special acrylic style and panoramic as well as canvas printing.

The process of getting my canvas printed was a breeze. The website is simple to navigate and they give you all sorts of options (but they don't inundate you with them). First you choose the size, which was easy for me because I was given the 8" x 10" to review.

The second step is to upload the image, or you can pull it from Facebook or Instagram.

Then you select the desired style for the edge and display option. I went with the black edge border as I like the look of the solid border better than the image wrap or mirror image. 

And the last step is to select any special options. 

Then it's a matter of going through the payment process and you're done! The hardest part is waiting for the finished product to be delivered. Thankfully, I didn't have long to wait as it was delivered 3 days earlier than the estimated delivery date.

First impressions are really important to me. The true first impression was the easy to navigate website. The next was the quality of the shipping carton when it arrived at my door. The box was in perfect condition, not a dent or ding. Sturdy corrugated cardboard was used and the print was packaged very well, so it arrived in perfect shape.

Take a look at the finished print!

The photo really pops off the canvas, it's so vivid! My first reaction was "WOW!" The matte finish really makes it easy to see from any angle in the room (no glossy reflections).

The black edge border is nice, as it gives the picture a bit more depth from the wall. 

Having my beautiful Willow on a canvas print is such a treasure! This is certainly an example of a photo being transformed into a stunning piece of art. She will hang on my bedroom wall, right under my Max print. Thank you Printcopia for creating such an awesome product. I love it!!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Sunday, July 7, 2013

health updates

A brief update on Oliver and Buddy.

Oliver is on the mend. Vet said the lump is just an abscess, so we are treating it with antibiotic and warm cloth. Getting him to sit still long enough for the warm cloth is a challenge!

Buddy continues to struggle. He continues to vomit a lot, and now doesn't really want to eat. Thankfully, he still nibbles on food occasionally. He's more lethargic and often looks uncomfortable. When I saw him not react to Oliver in the upstairs window, I knew he's really not feeling well. He probably lacks the energy to leap up onto the furniture to get to the window and put on a tough-kitty display for Oliver. 

Twice now he's horked while pooping in the litter box. This time he managed to get poop all over his back legs - poor guy. He got an quick bath, something he was not fond of but oddly didn't fight, another sign of his lack of energy. 

We were planning to go out of town for two weeks, leaving this coming weekend. But with Buddy as he is, I'm not sure I can do that. Hopefully, we will learn more on Tuesday, when he goes back to the vet. Please pray/purr for him.

Friday, July 5, 2013

long days

I'm not a big fan of the Fourth of July, mainly because of the people who set off fireworks in my area. The loud noises scare the cats. This year seemed worse than usual. Oliver was hunched up by the back door, all terrified. I couldn't just leave him nor could I bring him inside, so I did the next best thing. I grabbed my sleeping bag and setup camp in the mudroom.

I turned on some music and we spent the night cuddled up together on my sleeping bag. It was the best I could do for him.

In other news, Oliver is going to the vet this afternoon. He has developed a rather large lump somewhere in his chest. I noticed it earlier in the week and it just seems to be getting bigger. It feels under the skin a bit. I have no idea what it could be, but it is worrisome.

And Buddy went to the emergency vet on Wednesday night because he just keeps horking. He horked six times that day and had blood in his stool. Blood work and x-rays indicating no obvious signs of trouble, so we are left guessing. Meanwhile, he continues to hork. We're giving him Pepcid and Fortiflora, but other than that, not sure what to do now. If it continues we might return him to the vet on Saturday.