Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Marvin's Gotcha-day!

I'm remembering Marvin today on his gotcha-day. Such a small little guy, but I sure miss him.

I thought it would be fun to reflect back on his first gotcha day by revisiting the first post about him on my TNR blog (now defunct).

Travel back in time to 2015...


I haven’t posted much in a while because I haven’t done much TNR in quite some time. After I TNR’ed Bert last year, I pretty much just spent time on him and teaching my monthly TNR class.
And then the other day I got an email requesting help with a skinny cat that had showed up outside someone’s place. I popped over with my trap.

They started feeding it but could tell it needed more help than they could provide, so they reached out for help. So, I stopped over, set a trap and about five minutes later, had my boy.

He’s friendly, a non-microchipped Siamese neutered boy, who’s scared and way to skinny. I’ve started feeding him and working on getting him to trust me more. Soon he’ll be getting looked over by the vet and vaccinated.

 I love his gorgeous brown color!

For now, I’m calling him Marvin! Let’s hope he’s virus free and doesn’t have any major health issues!

Marvin quickly wormed his way into my heart. It didn't take long before I had got him the needed medical care and then he moved into the house for recuperation and love. He was small in stature but he sure did have a set of lungs, that boy could make some noise! I have an audio recording of his sound that I want to figure out how to share sometime, I also have a movie of him playing fetch which is adorable. I'll get to work on figuring out how to share those here - stay tuned.

Some classic Marvin pictures to close with.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

weekend roundup

Nahum did relatively well this weekend considering the week. Our vet graciously has been corresponding with us over the weekend about blood sugar levels and insulin, helping us figure out proper dosage. We still don't seem to have a steady pattern with the glucose and insulin. His numbers have ranged between 490 and 53. We've significantly cut back on the dose size of insulin. Saturday morning he was at 109, by dinner he was 338, so I have him a quarter of a unit of insulin after dinner. Sunday morning he was at 338, so I gave him half a unit and by dinner he was at 53. I get the feeling his dose will need to be quarter unit, which is a small dose, smaller than the syringe is intended for. A little insulin goes a long way with Nahum.

Nahum's not pounding down the water like he was, so that's good. He's still asking for food and it's torturous not to be able to slip him a treat when he so politely asks.

We scheduled an appointment at Tufts, but it's not until August 7th, which feels like a long ways away. I'm still nervous about leaving him unattended during the day when we are gone working. I spent some time this weekend setting up the kitty cams that I used back in our old house to keep an eye on Oliver. I can check those to keep eye on him but will probably try to pop home when I get the chance.

I've not gone far this weekend, wanting to be home to keep eye on the Nahum. I was planning to attend Loon Fest, to learn more about one of my favorite animals, but I didn't want Nahum to be unattended incase his numbers kept going down. Theo has loved the extra home-time, cuz home-time means Theo-time!


Theo never was into tummy rubs, but years ago he kept watching Buddy get and enjoy tummy rubs. Then one day he decided to try it himself, he liked it!  He's not the tummy rub monster that Buddy was, but he does like a good tummy rub. Maybe when he gets to Buddy's age, he'll be a tummy rub monster!

There was time for Nahum loves too. He's been more affectionate again now that he's feeling better! He even slept with me on the bed all of Friday night.

He loves his box!

Weekend was hot! But Theo can't resist a blanket fort regardless of the temperature!

Thank you everyone for the purrs and prayers. It's so helpful to not be alone in this.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Nahum - update 2

I picked Nahum up from the emergency vet on Wednesday morning and brought him to our regular vet for him to spend the day there. They did some more diagnostics, including x-rays and discovered some areas of concern. We talked about getting an ultrasound and thankfully, the traveling ultrasound vet happened to have an open slot for Thursday morning.

I came home for lunch on Wednesday to this scene:

Poor Theo has been so anxious with Nahum gone and unwell. He counter surfed, made a big mess and tried to get into the double wrapped gluten free bread. Theo, like the humans in the family, are stress eaters. He loves bread and uses food for comfort - he fits right in here. His obsessive eating behaviors have actually tamed down over the years, but when he gets stressed, they resurface.

When I brought Nahum home Wednesday evening, Theo was so happy to see him! He was right there to greet him and welcome him home.

I kept a very close eye on Nahum all night. I woke many times in the night and got up to look him over to make sure he was ok. It's gonna take some time before I can leave him unattended and not be an anxious mess. The image of his comatose body laying on the floor is burned in my brain and I've been having flashbacks about that moment. When I described find him to the vet tech I broke down sobbing. I was grateful the tech was understanding and kind.

He spent Thursday at the vet again. They monitored his blood glucose and gave him insulin. He didn't drop dangerously low, but when we picked him up 8 hours later his blood glucose level was still dropping. They taught us how to use the meter, so we will be monitoring his blood glucose level at home now.

The preliminary ultrasound report indicates both adrenal glands are enlarged, nodule on the spleen, and signs of intentional disease. The working theory for the diabetic symptoms is Cushing's Disease due to a pituitary gland tumor. We will get back some other test results tomorrow that may narrow down the diagnosis. Meanwhile, the vet has referred us to an Internal Medicine Specialist and an MRI at Tufts School of Veterinary Medicine.

Of course when I hear all of this information, I immediately think of Willow. She had a very fast acting brain and nasal tumor that caused all sorts of weird symptoms and ultimately it was faster at causing problems than we could orchestrate treatment. Nahum's symptoms are different, but he's still potentially got a tumor growing around his brain, and it feels like the symptoms came on quickly. I'm trying to not jump to conclusions, but it's really hard.

Tonight we took our first glucose reading and gave him a more conservative insulin dose, per the vet's instructions. I think I'll be getting up in the middle of the night to test his blood just to be sure. He'll be returning to the vet tomorrow so they can keep an eye on him and monitor his blood sugar. Somehow, I'm going to have to figure out how to trust leaving him home alone again. After him nearly dying on Wednesday after being left alone all day, I'm not sure how I'm going to mange that.

Thank you everyone for your purrs and prayers, and for the information - it's been really helpful! I've been taking in a lot of info from, it's all a bit overwhelming. And special thank you to Connie from for the emotional support through these hard few days. She had perfect timing to text me, "how are things?" right when we arrived at the hospital and the emergency vet grabbed the unresponsive Nahum.

Continued prayers and purrs appreciated.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Nahum's diabetes update

We took Nahum to the vet on Saturday to get the urine test (lots of sugar in the urine) and to talk treatment. The vet's goal is getting the diabetes in remission - I like that goal. She instructed us on insulin dosage and administration technique as well as diet management. Taking in all of that information helped make the whole process feel less overwhelming.

We switched his food to DM over the weekend, blending it with his other food. Monday we switched completely to DM. Monday evening I gave the first insulin shot. That all went fairly well. I am pleased the insulin needles are so tiny and the dose small, so it goes quick and I don't think he even felt it.

Tuesday morning was a mess. The new food messed up his system and he had massive poopy butt which meant impromptu bath. Diarrhea + long furs = huge nasty mess. Realizing it would probably take his system more time to adjust, I ran him to the vet for a butt shave. He only ate half his breakfast, I figured because his tummy was still upset, so we halved his insulin dosage as we were instructed to do. He seemed uncomfortable, like he looked the prior evening after eating, which looked like tummy upset.

Now comes the heart wrenching part of this. We came home from work and found him completely unresponsive in a coma. In one swift motion, overwhelmed and terrified, we gathered him up ran him to the emergency vet as fast as we could. They took him back and started treatment giving him dextrose. Before we left him for the night, we visited with him and he was able to stand like a statute but wasn't moving nor acknowledging us - this was improvement from his initial condition.

The plan is for him to stay at the emergency vet overnight for stabilization and then transfer over to normal vet Wednesday morning to figure out next steps.

The evening update from the vet: he's a lot more responsive, eating, meowing, wanting attention. That sounds like really good news.  Thank God!

Theo, our very sensitive boy, has been anxious mess since we got home from the vet. He and Nahum are best pals. I imagine Theo seeing Nahum struggle and suffer as he slipped into coma must have been very upsetting. Theo's been very unsettled, tonight, wants to be glued to a human, and even peed on the bathroom floor. Poor guy, misses his best friend. Cuddling him close - loving on him like there is no tomorrow.

Seeing him completely unresponsive was so, so scary - it totally triggered the trauma of finding Willow in that condition 15 months ago. I'm still working on settling and breathing. I'm going to be terrified leaving him unattended again- not sure how I will navigate that just yet.

Prayers and purrs appreciated.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

unpleasant surprise

A month post radioactive iodine thyroid treatment, Nahum needed a follow-up blood test to see how his thyroid is doing. He's been a lot more chill, more like his typical self, so we weren't worried about what the test might show. Although, lately we've seen him hanging out with his head over the water bowl, that's weird. He went in on Monday for that blood draw. Returning to the vets so soon after Marvin's death was painful as it stirred up the pain from Marvin's farewell. 

Greeter kitty always on duty
We received the test results today - his thyroid level is a little low, not uncommon we're told. We test again in another month, while hoping it levels out in a good place. The blood work did reveal a problem though, his blood sugar number was off the charts. Laura brought him by this afternoon for a re-check and it was also significantly elevated. Nahum has diabetes.

We're adjusting to this news. Marvin's passing gave us a well needed break from special needs kitties, a break we were hoping to enjoy for some time, but I guess that is not to be. Sigh. Now, I'm trying to learn everything I can about managing diabetes in cats. This is new territory for us. If anyone knows of any helpful resources, I would appreciate hearing about them. We follow-up with the vet on Saturday for one more test and to discuss treatment options. 

Receiving this news today felt completely overwhelming - it took my breath away. I stopped what I was doing and just focused on breathing. There is currently a lot of stress on our plate (which I'll get into in a future post), including the grief from Marvin's death. Sigh.  Deep breath.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

safe 4th

Thank you everyone for your kind words about Marvin, it was a blessing to read each of your comments. The weight of grief is heavy and I appreciate not carrying it alone. I deeply miss him, he had such a big personality in such a tiny package. I'm not sure how he fit all his kitty-stuff in there! I've been noticing his absence and also noticing the relief of no longer needing to be always on duty. The 24-hour caregiving duties added up slowly over time,  I don't think I realized the weight of the stress, worry, and around the clock caregiving requirements, until that weight was released. I hope to write up a memorial for Marvin shortly.

Today's the 4th of July - the day I always think of Oliver and his family. I remember all those years of him being outside and being all terrified by the fireworks. I did my best to give him and his family a safe place to hangout. Even with the accommodations I provided, the fireworks caused him great stress, which in turn caused me great stress.

Today, Oliver and Pierre are happily inside - chilling with no worries about fireworks or cars or any other dangers! And I no longer stay up all night worrying about them darting across a busy road after getting spooked by fireworks. Tonight, they are happily inside! Yah!!

Oliver's preferred napping position                  July 4, 2019 12:32pm

We live in an in-town apartment here in Lebanon, NH and the people around here seem to be a lot less into fireworks - which is great! I'm not a huge fan of the noise.

Pierre enjoying the view and keeping eye on the human     July 4, 19 8pm
 Pierre and Oliver - now forever inside cats!!
Oliver, snoozing safely and soundly as inside kitty!!      July 4, 19, 8pm

Pierre enjoying the sun!                           June 22, 2019

I hope all your kitties are safe and sound this evening!

Monday, July 1, 2019

farewell Mr. Marvin

It is with tremendous sadness that I report, Marvin let us know he was out of rallies and ready to go home to join Willow, Max, Buddy, and MK. 

I love you Marvs - always will. Please say hello to Willow 
when you arrive in your new forever home.