Litter box investigator

I spent my vacation making sure Taco recovered both from his extraction and the drugs necessary to stop him from clawing out his mouth stitches. My husband and I both did this sick. In our entire 15 years of relationship, we’ve never been sick at the same time but we managed it this time – with a recovering Taco to boot.

Taco’s fine. Mostly. We anxiously watched him go in and out of the litter box without peeing – panicking about crystals and blockage and god forbid starting the peeing on the couch thing again (Taco has Idiopathic Urinary Cystitis which you can read alllll about). But ultimately he’s peeing normally again, he healed just fine and he’s off antibiotics, which is good, because now he has diarrhea. In fact, he’s had it all week. We’ve tried pet store probiotics but his poop is still not log-shaped.

IMG_4996
My poor baby. The vet had us start some pill yesterday which amazingly we got down his gullet TWICE! Without losing fingers! And a vet-approved antibiotic. Also pumpkin. As of this morning it hadn’t all worked yet but I have high hopes for the next BM.

When did this become my life? Tracking litter boxes?

Side note, Taco’s bottom tooth gets stuck on his upper lip sometimes now which unfortunately caused a sore. The vet says he’ll get a callus – but aside from removing the bottom tooth (hell no) there’s no cure for the dumdum face he makes when it gets stuck. Can I still love him? We’ll see.

IMG_5006

Advertisements

Overprotective cat mom.

IMG_4893
I only write a blog when I have interesting cat things. Since for the most part, I’ve already written about everything the cats have done, there’s been a lack of subject info. Also, I’ve been back in school full time and working full time. That’s a lot. In case you wondered.

So right now what I’m doing is staring at a very drugged up Taco, making sure that he doesn’t vomit up all the food I shouldn’t have given him (I read everything carefully except that part – there was a lot to remember!)

Right. So. Taco is drugged up why?

It starts with an aborted biting of his brother when his jaw got stuck open for a few seconds. Then a coughing fit a few days later. While I AM an overprotective cat mom (as the title says), normally these two things wouldn’t send me running straight to the vet. What did, though, is information that Taco’s biological brother died recently after a sudden onset of respiratory illness.

This started a very expensive process that results in where we are now, drunk AF Taco.

Turns out that his brother probably died from heart failure. There’s essentially no way to predict it, but you can go through various tests to see if it’s something else, like asthma or heartworm. Or, in Taco’s case, you never cough again and therefore spike everyone’s blood pressure to find… a heart murmur and an abscessed canine tooth.

But because of the tooth he needed a dental cleaning and extraction. And because of the murmur he needed an echocardiogram to make sure he could handle the anesthesia. Did I mention is hasn’t coughed once since the fit that launched this?

Many, many dollars later, Taco is drunk and has two teeth less than he started with. I fed him too much when I got him home, which I didn’t realize until I had to call the vet to ask if it was ok that he wouldn’t stop licking his paws – I mentioned “fed lots of food” and got a “Whaaa didn’t we tell you only a small meal?”

Oops.

I was listening to every instruction. The important parts were “he was overly active even after the pain shot and pawing at his stitches so we gave him an extra drug – he’s going to be super hammered about an hour after you get home and make sure you take off the bandage on his arm.” I didn’t remember an emphasis on small meal although they did go over the paper they gave me line by line – I was too caught up in the rest of the things to worry about.

He needed the dose she gives obese cats. That’s my Taco! Who, may I add, is the BAD DRUNK. The one that keeps getting up even after you put them to bed to wander around drunkenly and leaves you constantly fearing for their safety.

IMG_4895
So now I’m being a worrywort mommy trying to make sure a) he doesn’t choke while vomiting up the too-much food I gave him and b) he doesn’t fall off of things.

Oh, and as for the reason I called the vet in the first place, the licking the paw thing? Yeah, he stopped that while I was on hold. Dick.

Cats, Chemistry and Coping

I haven’t written in this blog in what is probably literally years…

It’s funny, too, because I started the blog when I was trying to alleviate some emotion about my sick kitty, and found it incredibly cathartic and fun all the way through. But then, when the worst thing ever to happen to me in my life happened, I didn’t write. It was just too raw. My dad died in February. I know this is a natural path of life — parents are supposed to die before their kids. But I was NOT ready. And for all intents and purposes, I shouldn’t have had to be. It was sudden, it was unexpected, and it hit me like a pile of shit and bricks and anvils. I also get that people have way worse things happen to them. But it’s my DAD. I only had one.

So this is what I did instead — I went back to school. I’m a 35-year-old married cat mother of 2 co-ed. It was one of the last things I talked to my dad about. Literally the day before. And then, against all historical evidence and past actions, I actually followed through on something I talked about. Not sure why my dad’s death shocked me into doing something. It’s not like my dad would be any less proud of me from beyond the grave. He thought everything I did was wonderful.

Now here I am, working a full time job and going to school full time, too. At first I just wanted to follow up my AA with a Bachelors (in Legal Studies, if you’re wondering) but now that I’ve discovered how much better school is when you’re old enough to appreciate it, I’m looking at law school. Why the hell not? But for now, I’m keeping my options open, which brings me to chemistry. Why chem, you may ask? That’s not exactly a law-y thing. And you would be incorrect. Patents are filed by patent attorneys and patent agents, and to even take the test to become one of those, you have to have a BS in an approved science. Now, I’m a smart girl. But math doesn’t come easy to me, so I avoid it. I think I got a D in chem however many years ago my sophmore year of high school was. But to get pretty much any degree in science, you gotta chem. So I’m chem-in’. Which brings me to cats (yes, I haven’t forgotten the cats). As I was preparing by reading for next week’s class (dude, I am SO adult about this – ME, preparing! I probably would have given my dad a heart attack if he was still alive), I learned that a positively charged ion is called a CATION. So now I’ll forever remember that a cation is a happy kitty.

you-must-be-a-cation-because-youre-pawwwsitively-attractive

What’s the moral of this story? Associate every term with cats and graduate summa cum laude. Also, appreciate the people and furballs you love EVERY single day because one day some shitty dumbfuck blood clot can pop in and kill them in a matter of seconds. You don’t always get a tomorrow or even a goodbye.

Never a better kitty did this world see.

To anyone who has ever had to make the decision to put an animal to sleep (and seriously, couldn’t someone have come up with a better term?), you have my heartfelt empathy.

The rationale makes sense. It’s humane to spare them suffering. We spare them suffering because they can’t talk. They can’t tell us how bad they really feel. On the other side of that shit coin is they can’t tell us how UN-BAD they really feel. So in addition to the heartwrenching grief of losing your beloved furry friend, you also get to wrestle with the guilt.

It just seems like it went so fast. Did we panic and make the decision too quickly? I know he wasn’t going to get better but maybe he would have rallied a bit and been around longer. This is all in hindsight, of course, because the thought process before was “holy crap, what if we wait too long?” So there’s never a right time. I have been told that “you’ll just know” but to be frank, that’s a bunch of crap. You don’t know. You guess. You question every meow, every look, every action wondering “is he trying to tell me something?”

My mom and I loved that little (big) guy so much. Our worlds are a little emptier today and it sucks. I thought I remembered how much it hurt when we had to make the decision with Jager but I think my brain blocked out the true depth of the soul-destroying numbness I felt. I appreciate that, brain. This is not a feeling I can carry around on a day to day basis.

Here’s something nice to end this horribly depressing blog… my mom and I drove around all day because we didn’t know what else to do. When we got back to her house, I was petting Little, Fatty’s anti-social lil bro, while looking out the front window. What I saw, lazing on her front walkway, was a very comfortable all-black cat. messenger catHe was by no means Fatty, but it’s rare to see a stray in her neighborhood at all, let alone a black minion laying in her yard like he owns the place. We just watched him for awhile, and then he got up, looked at me, trotted towards the window, then under it and out of sight. My mom’s friend told her Fatty would send a message that we did the right thing. I am not the kind of person who believes in signs. But I am taking this as the kitty world telling us we did the right thing. And while it barely makes a dent in the hurt, it is a comfort.

RIP Chaos (yeah, that was his real name until we discovered his love of food, no one has called him that in probably 16 years)/Big Guy/Fatty

Love. Pure love.

Love. Pure love.

3/1/98–3/13/15

What the cancer cat wants, the cancer cat gets.

Even if it results in my contracting malaria or some other nature-related death. At some point I enjoyed the outside world, and to an extent, I still do. I love going the beach. I love soaking up the sun. I greatly appreciate varieties of foliage and the carbon-reducing part they play in this world of ours. The greenery I appreciate from afar. One, I don’t want to kill it, as my black thumb is wont to do. Two, there are bugs and animals and THINGS in there.

So today, as I took my shift as cat-watcher while Fatty sat contentedly amongst the vast foliage my mom has decorating her lawn (she is a firm believer in foliage), I was eaten alive by mosquitoes, had a minor heart attack when a snake slithered out suddenly in my direction and very close to me (to be clear, I am not afraid of snakes, and having lived in FL my whole life, I know what black racers look like and that they are not harmless and that they are more scared of me than I am of them, but having one appear suddenly when you are not expecting them…), dodged bees flitting about collecting nectar (I AM afraid of bees, though…I will make every effort not to kill one as I know they are much more helpful to the world than they are harmful but I do not extend the same courtesy to wasps, also, there was a giant super-sized bee that apparently is a bumblebee but in 33 years of life I have never seen one), witnessed some weird leaf bug and admired (from afar) giant caterpillar.

Fatty minds none of this. He just settles himself amongst it all and gets cozy. He’s happy there. My discomfort is worth that. I certainly wouldn’t brave that for a human.

I don't know how any creature can be happy with ants up his butt.

I don’t know how any creature can be happy with ants up his butt.

Lettin’ the old man run wild.

My mom and I took Fatty to my vet yesterday, because I love my vet for very important reasons. She never acts as if wanting to have all the information is annoying, she explains everything, she gives options, and she really spends the time with you. She is a great cat vet but even better as a cat mom counselor. We didn’t really know what to expect with Fatty’s cancer diagnosis.

Now we know. She found a mass, so it’s progressing pretty quickly. We have a questionnaire to help us figure out when is the right time, before he suffers. It’s going to be a lot earlier than we thought.

So he is getting everything his little heart desires. Tuna, trips outside, KFC.

Why would a cat that’s spent 17 years inside have any desire to go outside? LEMME TELL YA. When he was younger (and when I was, too), his favorite thing in the world and my LEAST favorite thing in the world was to haul ass out the front door at 5am when I opened it to get the paper, sans shoes or glasses. Yeah, I got to chase after him barefoot and blind, around the house into the backyard, where he would suddenly stop, reverse course and haul ass back the way he came and into the house. Super fun. I especially enjoyed stepping on slugs. At 5am. He’s been too fat and old to pull that kinda crap for quite awhile, but it seems his affinity for outside still stands. My mom took him out and let him roam today.

Kitty in the wild.

Kitty in the wild.

He’s not running anymore, he just sits down and watches things go on. When I visited earlier today, he nestled himself under a cabana of elephant ear leaves (I have no idea what plant it was, I’m sure my mom will give me an earful about why I should know, whatever it is, it’s Florida native because that’s all my mom will plant).

What Fatty wants, Fatty gets.

17 years isn’t enough for this cat.

I started this blog years ago when I was sitting with my sick “firstborn” (he wasn’t my first cat ever, but he is the first that I alone chose at the age of 16). He recovered, as he always did, from the anemia that time, the pancreatitis before, the blocked urinary tract before that. Now here I sit again with my firstborn on my lap, my baby, my chunkalunk, the one I cried over for weeks when I moved out of my mom’s house. But this time there’s no recovery. His birthday is a day before mine, March 1st. He just turned 17. And he went from feeling a bit bonier than usual on Monday to a cancer diagnosis on Wednesday. These little a-holes hide everything until it’s really bad. His normal girth didn’t change, apparently because it’s not filled with fluid, and didn’t even have any interest in the one true love of his life – food. So I’m here visiting, as I will do every day that I can until he tells us it’s time.

He will happily sit here for hours. My butt might not be ok with that, but I am.

He will happily sit here for hours. My butt might not be ok with that, but I am.

I know 17 is a long life for a cat, but I suppose somehow I expected him to be around forever. It’s life, I know, but when he’s sitting here on my lap (which was a rare privilege for him to bestow before), my heart breaks. It feels more like he’s trying to comfort ME. When my legs go numb eventually and I am going to have to move him off my lap, he will fight to get back on it. He’s just sitting and purring and occasionally looking up at me with his big eyes and his fu manchu whiskers (both reasons I fell in love with him at the shelter in the first place).

This is the life of an animal parent, we take on these furry babies and hopefully give them the best life they can have knowing fully that we will, almost certainly, outlive them.

I apologize for being a downer. A blog about a dying kitty (especially after so many months of not posting anything) is not exactly uplifting material. But, well, this blog is about being a crazy cat lady, and crazy cat ladies all have to deal with this at some point.

So many things have changed since I was 16, but Fatty has always been my kitty. This sucks.

Why are my cats pussies? (pardon the pun)

I can understand that cats identify with smell, which SUPPOSEDLY accounts for why they smoosh their heads into our faces, legs, arms, etc. (although I maintain that MY kitties do it simply because they love me, even though that completely goes against my undying trust in science).

This does not account for why the mere opening of the front door to greet a human that they do not encounter on a regular basis sends my boys into panicked blurs of fur, not to be seen again until several hours after the offending “alien” has left.

Judging from my own experiences at fellow cat-owners’ homes, I’m not alone. I’m also not UN-alone, because some people have cats do not run like their tails are on fire when I walk in. This is not to say that I am necessarily ACCEPTED by these cats; my friend’s cat, whom I have known since kittenhood, will meow at me like I’m killing him and swat at me (but also still allow me to pet as he wishes).

In my mind, aside from smell, I feel like we all look the same to cats. They don’t have great eyesight and they have pea brains. We should all be equal until they’re close enough to sniff.

Furthermore, no stranger has ever done anything to my cats for them to have emotional damage from (well, Moosh maybe, but oddly enough, he’s the more friendly of the two). Since all humans have EVER done to them is feed them and love them, WHY DO THEY ACT LIKE ANYONE NEW IS GOING TO KILL THEM?

Even-further-more, why am I even remotely attempting to understand my cats? These are the same assholes that will sleep in the exact same place every day and then one day, randomly decide to to change it up and sleep in a place that is so impossible for me to find that I may or may not be convinced that they got out somehow and spend an hour panicking and retracing my steps.

Denim beds are all the rage, didn't you know?

Denim beds are all the rage, didn’t you know?

It’s really just like arguing with a stupid person. I should stop.

I’m free!

I did something a lil bit crazy.

I quit my job.

Ok, so I only quit one of them, but still. I worked at UPS for almost 15 years. Only part-time, but I’ve been there since I was 18. And I quit. I should point out here that I do, in fact, have a perfectly good full-time job, one that I have been at for 9 years, that I am continuing my employment at. So I’m not, you know, jobless.

It’s a bit weird for me, as I’ve spent my entire adult life there. And although I had come to despise both the job and the lack of free time, I haven’t quite wrapped my head around the idea that I don’t HAVE to be there anymore (I say “have to” as though I could just show up when I please and tell ’em I’ll work for the day hah!). As I’m now on the husband’s Big Brown insurance, I’m really losing a paltry sum per month by not working there since I spent most of my time trying to get out early every night anyway.

So I’m free. This is my first free Monday. It was productive, except for learning I have to replace all my brakes (great timing, right?). And I get to spend time with the kitties and feed them at the time they have become accustomed to (the hubs has been at home having had surgery and just returned to work last week) and were so VERY unhappy to shake up last week (while we were both working nights and they had to deal with a 9pm vs. 7pm feeding). So they’re happy. I’m happy. Tiny bit freaked out, but happy. I don’t do change well, and I always take the safe road. Sooooo here’s to my new life as a married woman with one job (still no kids, I swear, the cats are enough).

What’s in a name?

CLINGING ON TO NORMALCY.

CLINGING ON TO NORMALCY.

If I had known how insane it is to change the name you’ve had for 32 years, I may not have changed it. I was going to hyphenate, and while researching the proper way to go about that I learned that it is somewhat difficult, causing issues with forms and credit cards and whatever. I also considered making my maiden name my middle name, but my dad gave me my middle name (it’s Amelia, my dad’s a pilot), so I asked him which of his names he thought was more important. He said that he was traditional and also that he thought having the same name made a relationship stronger — and although my new husband said “it’s up to you,” through constant questioning I finally got him to admit he rather liked the idea, so as I do with most big decisions in life, I said “fuck it” and went all in. Pardon my language, but this is my method for making big decisions. I HATE change. I mean, I REALLY hate it. I second guess everything after it’s done, so I’ve learned that the only way I can do things out of my comfort zone are to say “fuck it.” You know when the light turns yellow, and you’re right at the point where you have to decide immediately whether or not you have to slam on the brakes or gun it? I make my decisions this way. I mull over the options and then if I am not totally sure which way to go, I make a decisive decision and do it.

I have had comments from married people, both male and female, how impressed they were with how quickly I got it all done. This is ONLY because I had to preempt my natural laziness. I knew that if I let some slide, I’d never get around to it.

I was NOT, however, prepared for the identity crisis that the name change incurred. Not that I regret changing it, despite my aversion to tradition, I think my dad was correct. It makes you more of a family. But again with the aversion to change…I feel slightly lost. I am currently trying to convince people to call me by my maiden name as a nickname. Oddly enough, I have very little ties to my first name other than that my mom picked it out. But there are SO many of me. We have like, 4 Sarahs at my work alone.

I also feel like it is a LOT of BS that the woman has to give up HER last name and get CHARGED for it. New license. New registration. And my bank TRIED to charge me for my new card until I called them and ripped them a new asshole.

So I’m mostly changed everywhere, except for my bazillion online accounts. And I know this probably doesn’t matter in the least, but the cats are under my maiden name at the vet…do I have to change that too? Will THEY have an identity crisis? Probably not, since neither started life with the names that we gave them and for that matter, as I’ve written about in a previous post, they could be called any abomination of their name at any given time.

I swear, I’m not going to make this blog into a “blah blah married life” thing, because really, not much has changed. Except for my name. And various legal things.