Life Is Better With A Cat

It’s absolutely true except when they weave between your feet while you’re trying to put groceries away! One of these days I’m going to fall and as if that’s not bad enough in my condition, I just might land on one of them. That would absolutely kill me.

Another exception is when you have a floor scattered with grocery bags and they’re screaming at you to feed them because you’re an hour and a half late to feed them dinner. God knows they are starving to death with only a partial bowl of kibble left!

I suppose there are other reasons that cats (or any pet) can be a pain in the butt but we love them all the same. You know what makes it all better? The lovins. The purrs. The slow-blink stares. The moments you just get lucky enough to catch on video, like this silly moment of Jack chasing his tail. He stopped for a minute and I didn’t think he would do it anymore since I grabbed my phone but he did for just a second. It’s really hard to get them doing cute or funny things on video. It’s always easy to get photos of them being cute and innocent while they’re sleeping though.

Another Ordeal

It’s been quite an emotional weekend for me. On Friday, Jack got sick. He was coughing and his breathing was strained. His respirations were higher than they should be and his breathing was odd. By Saturday, I didn’t know if he would make it. I cried most of the day. By Sunday, I was preparing myself to say goodbye. I didn’t know if he would make it to the vet on Monday if I could even get him in that day. I didn’t know if I would get him help in time to save him or if I would be too late and be forced to put him down. There was another obstacle, too. The road conditions weren’t very good in many places. Our vet is 30 miles away and they had some severe ice accumulation. Would the roads be so bad I wouldn’t be able to take him? My heart was breaking.

Now a little history on Jack. He was a stray and of course, I rescued him. I have a soft spot for cats. I can’t help it. Based on the fact that he didn’t mark his territory inside or outside, I figured his age to be no more than 6 months old. I quickly had him neutered.

Within the first year, we noticed Jack had this dry, hacking cough (but not very often) as if he were trying to hack up a hairball, with no results. Then my Dad noticed that his breathing was different than the other cats. His chest would rise with each breath but then his abdomen would rise quickly behind, as his chest fell. It was odd and I had never seen this before.

Our vet (at that time) didn’t seem concerned, stating he “probably just had allergies” because after all “cats can have allergies, too” she told me. I know that, but I have never seen allergies do this to a cat and I’ve had so many cats in my lifetime it would make your head spin. Jack had episodes before (much like this current episode) but they were always short lived. He always snapped out of it quickly but I was always worried.

When he was in that catfight just before Christmas, he was put on antibiotics. The entire course of the antibiotics he had no coughing fits. His breathing seemed very close to normal. I realized this at nearly the end of the treatment. Within 2 days of treatment’s end, he was coughing again and then this episode followed a few days later.

So, now my head was spinning with thoughts I couldn’t stop. Fear, worry, sadness, and GRIEF set in. Unimaginable grief to have to put down yet another beloved cat! I did some research. Based on Jack’s symptoms, I surmised he had what is called a diaphragmatic hernia. I was almost certain. Surgery to repair such a hernia can range anywhere from $1,200 – $2,000, depending on the area. How the hell am I supposed to come up with that kind of money? I would have to open a Go Fund Me page without a doubt. I would have to plead with my friends and family to donate, and if they couldn’t donate then to please share on social media. I needed to save Jack’s life. I needed to have a plan.

Monday morning, I called the vet 20 minutes before they even opened for business. They had no appointments open. I was crushed. The gal on the phone was sweet and told me to bring Jack in at the end of the day, about 4p. Of course, I jumped on that idea and although I was unhappy Jack would have to wait for a little longer, at least he was going to be seen! About an hour later, our 4p appointment got bumped up to 11a. I was so happy!

Upon arrival, they took us into an exam room and it wasn’t long before Dr. Missy came in. I explained the situation and Jack’s symptoms. I even showed her a video of Jack’s coughing attack and another clip of his breathing. She said that I was right to be concerned about a diaphragmatic hernia based on those symptoms but she said from last month’s x-rays, she didn’t see evidence of that. To make sure she didn’t miss anything, she took a couple more x-rays.

I am elated to report that I was wrong about my diagnosis! All of Jack’s internal organs were exactly where they should be. There was no evidence of any kind of hernia. His lungs were a different story. They were spotted and inflamed, and Dr. Missy said it looked like this was putting pressure against his windpipe, which was causing the cough. She also said we can’t rule out allergies, as our previous vet had suggested but whatever the allergen was had triggered a major reaction/infection in the lungs.

Jack got a fast-acting antibiotic injection, along with oral antibiotics and a steroid to follow up for 10 days at home. I noticed Jack feeling much better as soon as we got home! His breathing had stabilized and his cough subsided…for longer periods of time in between anyway.

We will have to go back in 2 weeks to recheck his lungs and we may have to continue the steroids off and on for the rest of his life, depending on whether this “thing” goes completely away or not. He’s had this going on for most of his life and had gone untreated because our previous vet didn’t think it was serious. So, now it’s a waiting game.

Jack has become such a mama’s boy since we got him. Of course, he won’t be too happy with me when he learns he will never step foot outside again. For two reasons: I want to protect him from that mean ol’ stray puddy tat and he has cost us over $500, not counting the bill for recheck in two weeks! He’s too expensive a cat to let outside! He will have to be happy with the catio!

Finally, I can say I have my Jack back!

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Image Copyright Being Aunt Debbie

The Escape

Last night was an interesting night. It started off like any other night. I was crocheting as Dad and I watched the new FBI series. At one point I heard an odd noise and tilted my ear toward the back of the house. Dad asked if I heard something and I told him I had, but that I couldn’t be sure what it was. It wasn’t a worrisome noise and I didn’t hear it again, so it was forgotten.

Fast forward to around 12:40am. I was still watching tv and crocheting. It was actually more crocheting and listening to the tv. All of a sudden, I hear something jump onto the window a/c by the window where I sat. I thought, Oh crap. Another stray cat. I moved the curtain to the side slowly so not to frighten this stray cat, and lo and behold it was NOT a stray cat after all. It was Jack!

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Jack comes in at 4pm feeding time and he is not allowed to go back outside because he’s such an asshole to get back in before dark. So, he WAS inside. As I got up to let him in, I asked him, “How the hell did you get outside?” Of course, he didn’t tell me. He thought it best if I figure it out for myself!

My first thought was that he must’ve found a way out of the “catio.” Sure enough, a quick look with the flashlight showed the exact spot where he made his escape. It’s not the best enclosure but it keeps my furbabies safe at night from coyotes and other such terrifying creatures of the night. Of course, if a bear wanted a cat bad enough he could easily rip that catio plumb off its base. But by then the cats would have all scattered back into the house and under my bed.

 

So, what’s a cat-mom to do? I couldn’t do anything about it that late and in the dark so I blocked off the cat door where they couldn’t go out there at all. I didn’t want Jack to escape again as I knew he would if given the chance. I knew Kitty wouldn’t even attempt to escape as she rarely goes out on the catio, and I knew Honey couldn’t escape even if she wanted to because she’s just too damn fat to climb up to the opening. Alice is another story. I didn’t know if she would try or not. I didn’t know if she would follow Jack, and I’d never find her in the dark. (She’s black as night.) Besides, she’s the best cat I have and I would die if she got lost in the woods. So, none of them got to go out on the catio.

That didn’t go over well. Alice and Jack meowed and scratched until after 1am until they finally gave it up and went to sleep next to me. It took putting the vacuum cleaner next to the blocked opening to get their little furry butts settled down!

Oh, and that odd noise I heard earlier? I think it might have been Jack forcing his way through that opening in the wire. I checked him over pretty good to make sure he didn’t hurt himself and there was no blood or bones poking out. He got lucky. If I had gone to bed before he jumped up on the a/c, then I’d have never known he was out in the scary dark!

They are happier now that Dad repaired the hole, even though it’s raining today. They go out under the board or in the shelter and they’re good to go.

My silly (yet annoying) little furbabies, how I love them so.

Caturday Is Not For The Weak

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Well, today was Caturday! More like Catur-YAY! Mom and Grampa went out for the day and left me in charge. What do ya think of that?

So, now…ME. Alice, that’s my name. I’m the boss for the day. I don’t know why Mom makes any of us boss. What the heck does she think we’re going to do if one of us gets out of line? She’s nuts.

Anyway, I was thinking about getting some kibble but that fat cat, Honey, probably ate it all. She’s so big! I’m afraid she will sit on me! Here’s a pic of her in all of her mighty bigness:

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I didn’t take this picture… I can never figure out how to use mom’s thingie that takes pictures. I don’t even know what a picture really is!

Honey is nice to me most of the time. She gives me a bath because I don’t like to do it myself. *Snicker*

She’s so big, I’m surprised she can even get in Grampa’s chair!

When I’m in charge I never have trouble with Honey. It’s Jack that causes trouble if he’s in the house. Sometimes, Mom makes him go outside when she leaves because he picks on Honey. This morning he chased her under Mom’s bed and Mom got mad and shook a spray bottle at him! He hates that so much! He ran away like a big baby! Mom says, “I always know how to make Jack stop doing something!” Here’s Jack after Mom let him outside:

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He’s such a scaredy cat! I’m surprised he even goes outside! He’s afraid of everything! If a leaf blows in front of him, he jumps sky high! If a grasshopper lands in front of him, he jumps sky high! You should see him in the house! All Mom has to do is move her foot too quickly and he jumps sky high!

 

 

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Uh oh. I think he’s mad because I was making fun of him! He told me he’s jumpy because it’s snake season. I don’t know what a snake is, but it must be scary!

Kitty, in this next picture, sleeps all day long! Can you believe Mom leaves her in charge sometimes? I don’t know what she’s thinking when she does that!

 

 

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Kitty’s a good girl but she’s sure bitchy. I hope when I’m 12 years old like she is, I won’t be so grouchy! She’s scarier than any snake could be, I’m sure!

Mom tells Kitty all the time to “Take a chill pill” and I don’t know what that means but I don’t think Kitty’s is taking one.

 

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Today was a good day, though. I can’t complain. Everyone was good and Mom will be so proud of me. It’s hard work being in charge while Mom is away. I know there’s not much to do and I can’t punish Jack or anything because I can’t reach the spray bottle, but I have to make it look good! Caturday is not for the weak, you know!