Wednesday, August 21, 2019


We received good news today from the Internal Medicine Specialist at Tufts. We've been sending her Nahum's blood glucose numbers and today she declared that Nahum is officially in remission for his diabetes! Yah!!!!

He still gets the nasty OM weight management food that he hates. He needs to drop some weight which will also help with the diabetes. Meanwhile, he got his sporty Freestyle Libre continuous glucose monitor applied today. I was worried he might scratch at it and be annoyed by it but he acts like he doesn't even notice it's there!

It makes getting his numbers really easy, I just wave the reader over the sensor and get an instant number. We are collecting as much data as we can so we can tweak treatment if needed. The data from the reader gets transferred to software that makes nice charts and graphs.

No more insulin! No more blood glucose testing pokes!

The sensor last for 14-days. Our vet who applied it had never done one of these before but she was happy to learn. She seems worried about it staying in place, but with Nahum not bothering it, I think it will be fine. The IM Specialist said even if we only get a few days worth of data, it will be worth it. 

Hanging out with Pierre under the bed while the thunderstorm rolls through
I'm so happy that Nahum has responded so well to treatment! His personality has completely returned to his normal self! Go Nahums!!!

Theo prefers a blanket fort to wait out the thunderstorm

We learned that Theo has heart disease. We are waiting until he gets off a medication so we can test his blood pressure, that should happen next week. Once we have that information we'll have a better idea of treatment. 

Saturday, August 10, 2019

life happens now

These past few years have been some of the most stressful I have ever experienced. Many months before our move to New England in early 2018, we began earnestly house hunting for our new home in Vermont. We thought it might take maybe a few months to find a place. Two years later, after making formal purchase attempts on three different properties, each of which fell through, we decided to suspend our house search and sign another year-long lease in our tiny apartment.

We never thought it would take long to find and buy a place. We took this apartment, sight unseen, thinking it would be very temporary, so we could endure the cramped space. Our focus was on finding a place to settle into. As the search rolled on, what we found was that we were not living life - life was on hold. We were waiting to live.

In the midst of this past year, the cats have done fairly well. It took some time for them to settle but they did. 600 square feet is small space for 6 cats. The layout has a small hallway space that connects the four rooms. This poses a challenge for Oliver when Theo or Nahum are camped out in the hallway. Since Theo and Nahum both harass Oliver, he's afraid of trying to get by them when they're in the hallway. Even with such challenges, I noticed the cats were making due with what was available, they were not waiting to live but were living in the now. The cats were settled and doing ok, I was the one living in an unfulfilled future, leaving me intensely depressed and anxious.

The stress load kept increasing between Marvin's health problems, financial challenges, mom's worsening dementia, nearly non-existent family relationships, work burn-out, etc. I realized at one point that I could not change the things that were adding so much stress to my life, so instead, I needed to add something into my life that was relaxing, life giving, something that would breathe life into my soul to counterbalance the drain from the stress.

I bought a small, cheap kayak. I wanted something that would fit inside my mini-van and thus make using it super easy. The idea of a roof tie-down situation was more than my overwhelmed brain could handle. Once I had the kayak, life jacket, and paddle all I needed was to find a spot. I first tried a small lake that was too developed for my taste and too big. And then I found Grafton Pond, in Grafton, NH. This place is incredible. 300+ acre pond that is nearly entirely undeveloped. It's all in a preserved land reservation and thus gas powered motors are not allowed.

I've only explored a small fraction of the pond so far. The bottom left little section keeps drawing me back, maybe someday I'll venture out and explore other parts.

Kayak fits perfectly in the back of the van.

I've been visiting most Sunday mornings, early before many others get there. 

I love loons and this pond has many. One day I saw about 10 loons congregated together - loon fest! Floating around among the loons is so peaceful and soul refreshing. The loon sounds connects deep within my soul. If you are not familiar with the Common Loon, you can learn more at the Audubon Common Loon page. You can listen to the loon sounds on that page too, my favorite is the wail:

and the Tremelo call:

The adults both share the parenting duties including laying on the eggs in the nest and fishing. The parents use these various sounds to communicate with each other over distance, helping them find each other if they get out of sight. 

The little part of the pond I visit has a pair of loons with two babies. I first saw the babies riding on one of the parent's back, it was so cute! 

You can see why I want the telephoto camera option!

This is my favorite part of the pond, this little protected space. It's very quiet and sheltered, perfect place to float and soak in the serenity. Hanging out in such surroundings quiets my heart and feeds my soul.

Playing with taking pictures underwater.

Perfect place for morning coffee and journal writing.

The parent loons catch little fish and then deliver the meal to their babies.

Life is meant to be lived now!

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Nahum's Tufts adventure

Nahum had a big adventure today! Road trip to Tufts Small Animal Hospital! An exciting 2.5 hour drive each way. He had some sedatives for the way down, so he was pretty stoned. On the return trip, he talked the whole way!

Tufts veterinary hospital is massive!! The small animal hospital was the largest veterinary place I've ever seen. They also have a number of adjacent buildings dedicated to large animal and farm animal veterinary services, as well as a behavioral clinic, spay/neuter clinic, and wildlife clinic on the same campus. One stop shopping for animal wellness!

A special cats only waiting room section was very nice! The regular waiting room was filled with dogs of every size you can imagine and even some birds. Nahum didn't care much for the dog sounds, the birds were a different story! Too bad they didn't have a bird only waiting section next to the cat only section! 

Nahum did great, as always! The internal medicine vets enjoyed him and were generous with compliments of how beautiful and well behaved he is. 

I was very impressed with the vets, Kenny, a 4th year veterinary student, and Dr. Burns, a resident internist. Both had thoroughly read Nahum's medical history in advance, which was awesome. Dr. Burns did a great job explaining what she thought was going on and her rationale for ruling out other possible conditions. We met with them for well over an hour and never felt rushed.

Windows at cat height!
The news was good. She ruled out Cushing's Disease and Acromegaly. Also said it would be improbable for him to have a brain tumor causing this. Both of his adrenal glands showed up on the ultrasound as enlarged, however she noted, a cat of his size, it's hard to know if they are just larger than normal because he's a larger than normal cat. She said there could also be a connection with the hyperthyroidism he's experienced. In the end she thinks it's just run of the mill diabetes and she believes there is very good chance we can get it in remission with weight loss and proper treatment.

She was not concerned by the all over the place blood glucose numbers. Our plan is to switch his diet to a weight loss food, so he can trim down. She also recommended we try the FreeStyle Libre - which is a temporary sensor that gets attached to him and allows for continuous glucose monitoring for 14-days, without drawing blood (no more ear pricks!) The sensor is the size of two US quarters stacked on top of each other and it wirelessly transmits the information to a reader or smart phone app. The idea is to collect a lot more data about his blood sugar levels, that way we will know exactly how he responds to food and to insulin. With that data, she can more accurately fine tune his treatment.  She seems pretty confident that we can get the diabetes in remission!

The GI tract concerns that showed up on the ultrasound have not really been showing symptoms, so we are gonna wait and see on that. Treat the diabetes and keep watching for GI upset.

let's go home now!
We are feeling a lot of relief and more hopeful after this visit. Time and money well spent.
Go Nahums!!!

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Mr. Pierre up close

Back in the good old days I had a nice Canon DSLR camera for taking cat pictures. But sadly, in the summer of 2017 there was an unfortunate canoe mishap and the camera went for a swim in Lake Superior waters. It didn't fare so well. After the nice camera died, you may have noticed I posted less often on my blog. It's harder to get nice kitty photos using just a camera phone, but it's all I've had since then. And sometime after that I had some computer problems which made it even more challenging to to blog.

This summer I started kayaking around a little pond not far from the apartment. It's given me opportunity to watch a loon family from a distance - (awesome!!) When I was out kayaking last weekend, I wondered if it might be possible to resurrect my old Canon so I could use the telephoto and get some nice loon photos. That set me out on doing some reattach about how to take apart the lens and do thorough cleanings. Today, I did that deep cleaning and then did some testing. Some of the features of the camera don't seem to work anymore, but others still do. And it looks like the right features work that may allow it to come back to life! Yahoo!! There are some big spots on the telephoto lens that won't come off, but my guess is those will just add a little haze to the photos, hopefully not enough to be a problem for what I'm looking to do. I've got nothing to lose by taking it out in the kayak and seeing what happens!

So for testing the camera, I needed a test subject. Mr. Pierre showed up for that job. We never get to see him up close and the absence of telephoto lens meant not being able to get good up close photos of him.

I love his little sweet face!

As I started to look at the pictures I had taken, I noticed something.

He has a red spot in his right eye.

I left most of these photos in their original size, 
so you can biggify if you wish to take closer look.

So now I'm worried about Pierre! I've not noticed him having any eye problems since he's been indoor cat. Back when he was an outside cat he would sometimes hold one of his eyes closed and had some clear weepy eye. It usually passed and he would open it again after short time.

I've never seen this before in a cat. It looks like blood vessels in one spot being all red. You can see blood vessels along the edge of his left eye too. Anyway know anything about what this could be? I'm going to email my vet to see if we should bring him in. With him being semi-feral, bringing him to the vet is not an easy undertaking and will require sedation. Which also means treatment may be impossible, especially if it requires regular eye drops.

Pierre is our youngest cat, at about 7.5 years old. At his last annual vet visit this past winter (spring?) no problems were found. Hopefully this won't be a big deal - the last thing we need right now is another cat with health problems!

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Marvin sound

Marvin was a unique cat. He had a very special sound, it was intense! Click on the arrow below to hear Marvin Sound!

When he was at my office he loved nothing more than to play fetch. He wouldn't stop! This little guy was filled with many surprises.

It was also only at my office where he loved having his belly rubbed. His working persona was quite different than his home one. Oh Marvin, I miss you.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

never a dull moment

Every day Nahum seems more like his usual fluffy self. He's eating well and no longer has excessive thirst. However, his blood sugar numbers continue to be all over the place, so that's not good. I'm taking comfort in that he is more himself, as prior to when we started treating him he was quite lethargic and withdrawn. I'm grateful he's feeling better. 

We are still trying to figure out what is going on with him. Our vet did a special 8-hour test (Low-Dose Dexamethasone Suppression Test) on Monday to determine if he has Cushing's Disease. The results came back not Cushing's Disease, so that raises more questions than we have answers. Hopefully the internal medicine specialist at Tufts can shed light on what's going on. 

Greeter kitty is back on duty!!
Meanwhile, my Thursday didn't go as I planned. Thursday morning, I saw Theo go in and out of the litter box at least three times in about an hour. The last time was just when I was about to walk out the door to head to work, instead I watched him pee. He didn't seem to be straining, but he only had a tiny output. Fearing crystals, I scooped him up and rushed him to the vet, where he spent the day.

Vet didn't find any crystals or urinary blockage (thankfully) but she did find he has a very inflamed bladder and blood in his urine. He has Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD) or Feline Idiopathic Cystitis (FIC). I believe she is running some more tests, but meanwhile we have a bunch of meds to be giving him as well as a special diet. 

Since returning home, he's been in and out the litter box all night. I keep an eye on the output, apparently he's at higher risk for blockage with this condition - cue my stress and fear. Suddenly we have another cat with a significant health problem.

The information the vet provided about FIC says that emotionally sensitive cats are more prone to get these bladder problems. That's really interesting because Theo is certainly our most emotionally sensitive cat. He's a feeler. Apparently, stress can cause this condition to flare up, which makes me wonder if the signifcant stress he's felt from Nahum's condition did a number on his body.

Everyone at the vet LOVED Theo! Tonya, the front desk person (and our cat sitter), adores him and wants to abduct him. It's understandable because he's so lovable and personable. His large stature also adds a special dynamic to his presence.

mostly in the blanket fort