Wednesday, December 30, 2015

health updates

Buddy and Marvin both visited the vet on Tuesday.

I wanted to follow-up with Buddy since he was looking so miserable on Sunday. The vet said it could be a lot of things and gave me a few options of things to try. I was grateful to have somethings to try, as just seeing him look miserable and feeling helpless is hard. She thinks it could be the higher felimazole (thyroid) medication dose could be upsetting his tummy. We've been giving him Pepcid in the evenings, but will now split that dose between morning and evening. The vet didn't think Buddy was suffering from a tummy rub deficiency, so that's good.

Buddy still wanted cuddles on Sunday night even when he was feeling miserable
Buddy's been feeling better these past few days. He's eaten more than he usually does. We let him eat whenever he wants - the more he wants to eat the better. We can't free feed due to Theo, so Buddy lets us know when he wants some food and we give him a private dining experience. (Private in that no other cats are invited, he likes human company when he dines, but gets really annoyed fast if a feline tries to share his meal.)

I know his feeling better is only the upswing of the roller coster, the down swing won't be far behind. I'm enjoying the feeling better part though for as long as it lasts. He's such a delightful cat.

Marvin was one ounce shy of 8 pounds! When I rescued him, I think he was only 5 pounds. He's a little chubby at 8 pounds, but then he fits in with everyone else who lives here! And he had that long stretch of not wanting to eat, I kind of don't mind if he packs on a little excess in case he decides to go back to not eating.

Marvin went to the vet to get his chronic cough looked at. Some of you thought it might be asthma. 

Marvin's innards
Well if you said asthma, you were right! Asthma is exactly what the diagnosis is. So, some meds and hopefully it clears it up. Because of his dental problems he doesn't like his mouth being touched, so pilling is not really an option. I usually just crush the pills and put into his food and he eats them up. But, if he doesn't, I'll need to get him an inhaler - that'll be fun.

Poor Marvin, his medical problems keep pilling up - he's got chronic kidney failure, rotten teeth, and now asthma. He also has an awesome personality, is a complete cuddle-bug, and can't get enough playing fetch with his sparkle ball! He's still available for adoption, but it's going to take a very special human to want to take on a cat with so many problems. And it would be really, really hard giving him up.

Meanwhile, look at who got some inside time!  

Oliver, claiming his spot on the couch!
Mr. Gotcha Day-Theo didn't take kindly to Oliver being inside on his special day, but I made him cope, as poor Oliver rarely gets inside time. I've been giving Oliver a little more inside time lately, usually in the form of holding him, while walking around the house. I so wish he didn't urine mark, then maybe he could become an official inside kitty. I've tried lots of things to get him to stop spraying, but he's so territorial. And of course, if Oliver came inside, then Pierre would need to come inside too. Theo doesn't like having Oliver inside, I can't imagine he would like Oliver's son being inside too!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Six years of Theo!

Yikes, almost missed Theo's Gotcha day! (Sadly, I missed it the last two years too.)

Theo is quite the cat - he keeps us on our toes - he's still very fixated on food, so any unattended food gets claimed by him. Sometimes he stretches the definition of unattended to mean human food stored in the cupboards or food that's locked away in the latched and secured kibble bins. Theo still eats his meals in solitary confinement (locked away in the bathroom). When he's left out in the general population, he can't help himself and must eat Nahum's food.

He's about seven years old now, and each year he grows more and more cuddly. He loves to be held or to cuddle in a lap with his front paws perched over an arm. He's probably our most emotionally sensitive guy. He wears his emotions right out on his furs. 

Our lives would be very dull without this guy's huge personality. He's a character for sure! I'm grateful for his presence and his quirkiness, even when it drives me bonkers! Here's to six wonderful Theo-filled years!!!

Monday, December 28, 2015

perfect circle

Marvin continues to amaze me.

Marvin demonstrates the Perfect Circle position
I'm pretty convinced he's a purebred Havana Brown, so I reached out to a Havana Brown breeder and asked if they could help figure out where he came from. If he's lost from his loving home, I would want to reconnect him. I heard back from the breeder today, she checked with a number of other breeders who have sold Havana Browns to people in my general area, but no one reports one lost.

This boy cannot get enough of playing fetch! He goes and goes and goes. He only chases the sparkle ball, nothing else! Glad I just happened upon the right toy!

He's been feeling better these days, what's going in and going out of each end is within specs. That's good! One thing that concerns me is he gets awful coughing fits. He rarely horks up anything but often coughs and coughs. I'm trying to get a good video of such an episode to show the vet.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

roller coaster

As I was packing up getting ready to leave my office this afternoon, reality hit me like a load of emotional bricks. I realized Buddy's health is fading rapidly and he most likely will not be with us much longer. That moment of reality was accompanied by a host of tears as my heart broke. I spent the 20-minute walk home sobbing as I thought about what felt like a painful truth.

Undated photo (circa a few years ago)
Buddy's health has been up and down. Periods of not wanting to eat and looking really uncomfortable mixed in with times of being his tummy-rub demanding, super-lovey self. It's really hard seeing him so miserable, it's not the quality of life I want for him. Tonight, he's back to his perky self (I'm grateful). When I got home from my commute, he was the first to greet my sobby-self at the door with lovey meows and climbing up on me, desperate to be held (exactly what my ouchy heart needed). Seeing him be his usual self tonight is quite the contrast to last night, when he was all hunched up on the heating pad looking quite miserable.

Earlier this afternoon, I had a conversation with my vet about Buddy's health and the last blood work results. The tests basically indicated he's old (16) and his body is really starting to show that age. Organs are sometimes struggling to function properly, as they do with old age, thus times of feeling miserable. I asked if there was more non-invasive diagnostic work we could do, and she said not really. The best we can do is to keep the medicine regime, maybe start Sub-Q fluids if needed and monitor his quality of life.

The reality moment for me was realizing that there is nothing we can do to fix what ails him. Which means, me needing to accept the inevitable, as painful as that is - I'm going to need to say goodbye to my tummy-rub loving machine sometime in the near future. Damn. Meanwhile, I'm going to enjoy every moment I get with this guy.

I recently discovered a new Fancy Feast food offering. We got some free samples to try and Buddy gobbled them down with great gusto. I was excited to find a food that he'll actually eat somewhat consistently. This cat food looks like real human food, so I think Buddy might think he's getting human food which he loves.

The food is called Purely Fancy Feast. It comes in little 2 oz trays and it's pretty pricey. But I'm at that place with Buddy, that I'm willing to pay a lot of money if it means he'll eat. He's always been a picky eater and now he's taken that to the extreme. I remember with Max, near the end of his life, finding food he would eat was a huge challenge. I tried all sorts of new flavors, hoping it would entice him just to eat a little bit more. 

Continued prayers for Buddy's health and our ouchy hearts are always appreciated.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Monday Rose

What better way to start a Monday than with a precious Christmas Rose.

Happy Monday!!

And welcome to winter!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Christmas party

Friday night was the company Christmas party at my house. And since I own the company I could invite all my friends and actually have a fun party! There was plenty of hot spiced apple cider and eggnog and rum - yum!

Laura outdid herself with the yummy food offerings. Nahum had a hard time resisting the cheese ball, he made several attempts at grabbing it.

The stockings are hung anticipating the coming of santapaws.

This year's Christmas kitty is Nahum!

Theo auditioned to be Christmas kitty, but the selection committee unanimously chose Nahum.

Trouble brewing:

That oddly peaceful moment before disaster strikes.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Christmas is coming!

Our sweet friends Dezi and Lexi over at Deziz World gifted us with some special Christmas cheer! We are so grafetul!! We needed to get with the holiday times but none of us here are savvy with the know-hows to work such magic.

Nahum also wishes you a happy Christmas! He was too busy working on staying fluffy to show up for the photo shoot. It's not easy being floofy!

This last photo is precious. It's me holding dear Max, my first kitty, in the last few hours of his life. He opened my heart to the amazingness of cats, a gift that keeps on giving. I will always miss him and always be grateful for being the best cat ever. He's was my first Christmas cat!

Update on Nahum and Buddy - Nahum seems to be back to his usual healthy, fluffy self. Must of just had a few off days. He's our healthiest kitty, I don't think he's ever had to go to the vet for anything except annual pokes. Meanwhile, Buddy seems to be a bit better too. He's back to smelling good (like Buddy). His appetite is still up and down, with times of not wanting to eat and other times of eating. Overall, I think he's eating more now than he was last week. I'm still waiting to talk with my vet about the test results, hopefully we'll be able to connect soon.

Thank you everyone who offered ideas and suggestions about Buddy. He's been getting Pepcid for about a year or so. It helped. Along with CRF and hyperthyroidism, he also has IBD. He gets daily steroid pill that does wonders for the IBD. He also gets a morning and evening compliment of tummy rubs, which he always tells me is not enough. When I pop home for lunch he corners me and demands midday tummy rubs too. Tummy rubs are endless with him.

I'm grateful for the kitty insurance - Buddy's 16 years old and costs about $85 a month to insure (we use PetPlan). That covers $14,000 in veterinary costs per year with only a $50-deductible per illness and reimbursement of 100% of costs. So, that means when things come up for him, I can do all sorts of diagnostics and it won't cost me any more than $50. Expenses like medications and sub-q fluids are all covered too. Even dentals are covered if the vet says they are needed. Most years with Buddy, we've received way more in reimbursed vet expenses than we've paid for his premium. And best of all, I don't have to stress about making medical choices based on cost.  I stress enough over the cat's health, so removing the financial stress out of the mix sure helps me sleep at night. Ok, commercial over - back to the normal programming. (By the way, I don't receive any kickback from PetPlan for sharing my opinions about their services.)

Tuesday, December 15, 2015


Just when I thought I knew my rescue cat, I learned something new about Mr. Marvin today.

He plays fetch!

And he LOVES it!

This is so fun!! I had no idea this was even an option with cats!

Monday, December 14, 2015

feeling off

Buddy could use some purrs. He's been feeling a little off lately. He acts like he wants food, but not the food we're serving. I've opened countless cans of Friskies hoping one would appeal to him. Sometimes he'll eat a few bites and other times he'll down about quarter of a can. He's also been letting his grooming go, which has resulted in quite a few mats and looking a bit grungy. Sadly, he doesn't smell like Buddy either.

On Saturday I took him to see the vet.

Waiting at the vet's office
He's lost about 0.75 of a pound since last visit (in the Spring.) The vet was concerned about the weight loss, because he doesn't have the weight to lose. Temperature was normal.

His purr motor and meow are working just fine.

tummy rubs while waiting
After a thorough inspection, the vet wasn't sure what's going on. She also noticed his smell was odd. In the absence of anything obvious, we ordered some comprehensive blood tests in hope they would provide more diagnostic info.  My vet arranged for Sunday emergency vet to call me with the results just in case something needed immediate attention. The test results showed a few things that were slightly off but nothing massively out of whack. I was pleased with the absence of horrible results. The vet thought it would be best to have my regular vet call me when she returns and then we could decide the course of treatment.

For now, I'll keep trying different foods to try to entice him to eat more. Buddy's not the only one feeling bad, Nahum's been more subdued, and has decreased interest in food, which is highly unusual. In the six years I've had Nahum, I don't think he's ever been ill. If you have some spare purrs, we would appreciate sending some Buddy and Nahum's way. Thanks.

Friday, December 11, 2015

therapy cat is in session

Many years now have I dreamt of this day!

Marvin's first day on the job
Marvin just completed his first therapy session! For those that don't know, I work as a counselor in private practice and for quite a number of years I have wanted a therapy cat. And today that dream came true!

It took Marvin some time to settle, he spent most of the hour pacing around the office. His roaming involved several trips on and off of the client's lap and up on the back of their chair. Thankfully, the client was gracious, even when Marvin stuck his tail in their face! Eventually, Marvin settled into my lap and snoozed.

Working with a kitty in my lap - purrfect!!

Friday, December 4, 2015

a centerpiece of Rose

Makeshift kitty bed as centerpiece on dining room table...

Yep, I'm proudly waving the crazy cat-guy flag!

It's lovely to see Rose laying out in such an open space, she usually prefers a more human-proof space. Maybe in another zillion years, she'll trust humans! Or maybe I'll be abducted by aliens.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

gratitude abounds

I've been away from blogville for some time due to ten days of travel and time on each end of the travel preparing and then adjusting back into regular life. One challenge is that I keep having incredible experiences that open my heart and stretch me in becoming a more fulfilled, alive person. So, returning is not a matter of just re-engaging regular life as it was before I left. This challenge is one I embrace, as it indicates how much I'm growing more into life.

Today being Thanksgiving in the US, it's a day of reflection and noting my gratitudes. There have been many, it's been quite an amazing year.

The highlight of my year was my summer Montana Equine therapy experience, which forever changed me. It was certainly the most terrifying thing I've done and the most life changing. I'm amazed what happened when I leaned into my deepest fears with the support of some incredibly loving people, I came out so much stronger on the other side. Fear, take notice, I'm done running from you!

Thecatguy and his trusty mount, Harley

I'm so grateful for all my delightful kitties!!!

Buddy continues to live a healthy and tummy rub filled life! It was sometime earlier this year when the vet figured out that he has IBD and once we started treatment, his health immediately improved! I'm grateful for his continued health and his lovey personality. 

Buddy is usually affixed to me in a snuggle posture
Nahum is as fluffy and gorgeous as ever!

I've started getting Nahum acclimated to my office in hopes he'll be my therapy cat. I was thinking Marvin would make a good therapy cat, and I think he would (he has the personality for it), but two things got in the way, he started having more health problems and on his second visit to the office, he urine marked my couch, Ack!

special food speeds up the acclimation process!
Willow is still Willow, cute as ever. In this year she has gotten more snuggly which I adore. (She's actually purring up a storm in my lap right now!)

Willow gets cuter every year - how does she do that?!

Rose is still terrified that her humans might eat her alive, so she keeps her safe distance.

Silly boy Theo, remains a character. We must always be mindful of unattended food as Theo will attend to it for sure!

Over the past year, Theo has gotten more snuggly. He loves being held and just wants to be close. He doesn't really like us having foster cats as it takes attention away from him and usually takes some of his space away too. Theo very much likes his space and his peeps.

Oliver! Every interaction I have with this boy makes my heart aglow. This guy is pure love, I so adore him and so wish he could be inside kitty, but he continues to urine mark his space. So, that means I can only bring him inside under supervision or in a room that's been fully oliverized (covered with towels and things that can soak up the pee.) The other day, I brought Oliver inside and we both snoozed together in the living room with the indoor cats letting him be - it was a glorious moment! I'm hopeful for more such moments where he can be inside and not create tension with the other kitties.

Camping in the side yard with Oliver this summer was a highlight of the year for sure! We both had a wonderful time!

The saddest event of this year was MK going missing and is now assumed deceased. That was hard. Really, really hard. That happened early in the year and really set my heart into a painful place for quite a long time. Even though I never got to pet him due to his semi-feral nature, I loved him deeply. I miss him and his silly antics dearly.

Pierre has had a good year, although it's clear he misses his brother, MK. Those two were inseparable, so without MK, Pierre gets lonely. He's taken to staying pretty close to Oliver, who tolerates the closeness. Oliver gets his love needs met from me, but Pierre is still too scared of humans to trust me that much and thus tries to love on Oliver every moment he can get. 

Since MK went missing, Pierre rarely leaves the yard. Actually, that seems true for Oliver too. Both stay close to the house, which makes me happier. I occasionally see Nora come by for dinner, which makes me happy!

ever so curious Pierre

Bert, my previous foster cat, is doing amazingly well in his new home! I had the honor of housing him for about a week this summer while his forever human worked on moving to a new house. I love that he's doing so well. This boy really got a big chunk of my heart and knowing he's happy makes me happy.

And now there's Marvin, my current rescue and foster.

Somehow I thought I would guard my heart from becoming too attached to Marvin. I failed miserably. This guy is such a delight. He's little (about 7 pounds) but has tons of personality. He's become a professional snuggle champion in such a short time, he's a natural. 

His health has been up and down since his rescue. I'm super grateful that his health has been stable for the past week, but with chronic kidney failure and his other problems, his health is a roller coaster of emotional stress.

Marvin is still available for adoption if the right person comes along and wants to love on him for however long he has. And if no one comes along, he can stay here and live out his days knowing he's loved and enjoyed. I'm grateful for how sweet his personality is and he's like eye candy, a pleasure to look upon! I love his deep, luscious chocolate coloring!!

I usually get one big house project done a summer, but this year I somehow managed two!

I'm grateful for the house and for the ability and resources to get these projects done.

I'm also grateful for all the humans in my life. I've been gifted with an amazing wife and many delightful friends who I treasure. I'm also grateful for all my blogging friends - you all have gifted me in amazing ways that you are not even aware of. Thank you!

I'll close with this quote that I was introduced to on my recent trip. I feel it beautifully sums up my life journey of this past year as I come to more fully own and live into my gifts and value.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. - Marianne Williamson