Slip-Day 2

I know she looks sad and pathetic in this photo, but this was taken right after she arrived home from the vet’s. She is still not eating, so I have moved her into the bedroom (much to the resident cats’ dismay!) They looked at me as if to say: “But Mom, you promised us! No more kittens!” I explained that Slip (and the others when I capture them) are flukes- lovable flukes, but flukes all the same. When I get my hands on her, she leans into the pets, headbumps and wants so much more. Her incision looks good, her crummy ears are now all cleaned out and she really is a sweet, sweet, girl which gives me the hope, the others out in the yard are the same.

This morning, Tripp brought us a frog for breakfast! Thankfully not a toxic toad or salamander but a tree frog that I released back in the orchard. It appeared unhurt. I told Tripp I would pay him back in a few days with fresh turkey meat for his hunting prowness.

Slip

Slip tested negative, so she has been spayed, vaccinated and dewormed and de-flead. She is safe inside the intro cage. She got away from us in the room at the vet’s office and she tried to climb the walls, but I still maintain she is not feral. She is just scared. I will not put her up for adoption until all the holiday craziness so she will be here until after the New Year- then I’ll start my search for a tortie lover.

Here she is scared but safe:

Molly is home, she is quite sore and swollen. She has stayed very close to me most of the night- but her swelling alarms me and I am glad she has several shots on board right now.

Molly’s Overnighter :(

They are keeping her because where her wounds are, they are on her back is quite painful. They will sedate her tonight, scrub out her wounds, flush them and administer a pain shot and covenia shot. I can pick her up in the morning. She was not on her best behavior but who can blame her? Please send prayers, she has never been separated from me and she sleeps with me everynight in the crook of my arm. I knew when she bit me on Saturday we were in for it- not like her at all. Fletcher is still in isolation- he also has gone after Bentley and Slip. He doesn’t care for the confinement but at least he can’t hurt anyone else. He would be a great barn cat but does not have it in him to be someone’s beloved “pet” Whatever happened to him before he was pulled from that porn shop has had lasting impressions on him.

Praise the Lord! Slip just got captured! She is in the introduction cage in the cat enclosure. She had been sleeping in a heated cat bed-so I swapped out the bed for a heated cat carrier with a door. It was right by the gate going into the backyard and I could see her from the back patio without her knowing I could see her. Once she settled for the night, I snuck out through the gate (once being glad for traffic going by to cover my footsteps. I had left the gate unlocked, so I carefully swung it open and when the motion lights went on, I froze thinking she would bolt. She didn’t so I leaned in grabbed the door and swung it close. She bounced against it several times before she quit, so I swung the cage upwards and held it down until I locked it. She has a heated cage to sleep in, food, water litterpans and she will go to the vet in the morning to get tested, spayed, vaccinated. I already know because she is tortie that she will be extremely hard to adopt out- so she will stay here with us until I find a true tortie lover (they are rare in these parts) But at least, she will never know the stress of having kittens and having to provide for them outside- or the stress and what I call madness of being mated by toms waiting to jump her. Thank you God- You are truly magnificent!

Race Against Time

With a new female loose, I was fairly confident that even if I don’t catch her right away, there wasn’t a male around to service her that I knew of. This confidence disappeared this morning when I went out to feed and saw him. I call him Tom Tom and he is huge! He’s big long-hair grey  boy and even from a distance I can tell he’s a tom. His cheeks are so huge he looks like a chipmunk storing nuts for the winter (no pun intended).

So I have the spent the majority of the day trying to gain Slip’s trust because not only is the weather getting colder, but if this tom goes for her- he will kill her because she is so tiny. She is older than I thought- now that I have seen her in full daylight- and this afternoon, I was able to pet her back before she vanished under the house. Her and Lincoln seem to be ‘pals’ which is extraordinary to me, because Lincoln is as feral as they come. He’s been here for years- just showed up one day and although I trapped and neutered him, he has been elusive as a ghost ever since. But she has tapped into something within him and I saw him today giving her a bath and they were snuggling together. Cats are so amazing.

Yesterday, the delivery from No Bowls arrived and bless her heart, the owner and inventor Dr. Liz Bales sent enough to keep all the cats in the house busy eating out of these mouse bowls. I have followed the instructions and filled them and left them in hiding places, so far no one has bothered with them, but her literature tells you this happens. It takes time and patience for the cats to figure it out. I will leave some near their food trays tonight and see how it goes. Maybe throwing some catnip into the mix might help? I don’t know..

Molly’s wound is not getting better, so tomorrow she gets to go to the vet. Every  time I try to clean out her wound, she tries to bite me (which is not like her at all) so she is quite painful and pus is still oozing from the site. It’s the strangest thing, she is so loving until she is ill and then she turns into a panther in tortie clothing! She nailed me this morning pretty good on my hand. I thought I was going to be quick and she wouldn’t get me, I was wrong. I am certain they will have to sedate her to examine her. I can’t imagine she would sit pretty for what is in store for her. It looks deep so stitches may be in order.

Slip

I saw her this morning- she was lying on one of the cat beds I stuffed under the house yesterday. This is a good sign (they are self-heating beds) My cats didn’t run her off and she is eating the food. Torties are smart and she will figure out that it is safe and soon come out of hiding to say hello. If I push her, I will lose her. But if my two Alphas Fletcher and Bentley haven’t chased her off, this means they accept her into the clowder.

Another to the Table

This morning while feeding, I kept hearing a cat cry. I did not recognize the cry nor could I find the cat/kitten in distress. I even looked up in the walnut tree because now, we have 3 suicidal squirrels and 1 kamakazee chipmunk coming in to gather the nuts. Nope, nothing, just wet leaves and walnuts.

I put all the food out in the feeders and was headed to the house, when I heard the cry again. With the early morning traffic on the highway, it is hard to locate sound but God granted a few moments of peace and that’s when I saw her under the stairs. She is probably 3 months old if I had to guess. A short-hair tortie- very unsocialized. Did someone get her for an early gift and lose her? I don’t know, I will be canvassing the neighborhood later today- but most people around me detest cats. She won’t let me close so I just put out extra food for her in another location because I know my alphas will try to hurt her if she eats before they are ready for her to. She’s a tiny slip of a thing, so that is what her name is- Slip. I just hope I can get to her quickly. This weather is turning inhospitable fast and she is a short hair not a long-hair like Molly.

Speaking of Molly, she got out of the house last week when Mike was leaving and Fletcher and her got into it right away. I ran outside and broke them up and searched her high and low for a bite wound didn’t find one (until last night) she jumped on my lap and she stank like decay! I hustled her into the bathroom and gave her a bath (which she fought tooth and nail) and found a bite wound abscessing on her back. I debrided it, shaved the hair away and started her on clinidrops. This morning, she smells better and I feel badly that I missed it the first time around- but bite wounds are hard to find on any cat- especially the long-hairs. Since Fletcher initiated the fight, he is fine. She is not a fighter, She was headed out to eat some grass and come right back in the house when he ambushed her. She will be an inside only kitty from now on.

The Slider Scare

This morning, poor Slider found herself trapped when Mike transferred from his wheelchair to his electric lift recliner. As he was lowering the chair to the floor, I heard the most heart-wrenching screams of anguish from a cat and realized one of them was under his chair. I grabbed the controller and started lifting the chair peering behind it as seeing Slider squashed on her midsection near the floor. The minute the chair eased the pressure, Slider scrambled under the bed dragging both her hind legs behind her. My first thought was oh God, she must have a spinal injury.

She was shaking and trembling and drooling and of course in the farthest corner away from me so I couldn’t reach her right away. I just laid down next to the bed and started talking to her, praying she would come over and see me once she recovered her breath. I was able to finally pick her up and looked her over up and down and sideways. I didn’t see visible injuries but I put her inside one of our cages, gave her food and water and about an hour later, she came out and ate a bit and used the pan. I didn’t see any blood being passed, but she was shaky on her back legs and hyperventilating. Right after she ate, she vomited it back up and in the next few hours she started chuffing and choking.

I called my vet and got her in and he examined her and did films. She is bruised on her tummy and her legs although not broken are tender as well. We gave her a pain shot and she has pain medication to take for the next three days. But thankfully, she did not break any bones or crack a vertebrae. No internal bleeding although she has a bit of air bubbles in her belly that the vet said she should pass on her own once they travel through her small intestine.

I am just grateful she is okay because it could of been so much worse. I detest that chair because of the danger it poses and although I know that Mike needs it- I’ve been stuffing the underneath parts with quilts blankets and pillows since it arrived here hoping to deter the kitties from crawling underneath. Guess I didn’t stuff it good enough though.

Adding to the vet bill- but their welfare comes before anything else. She is my pillow sleeper- neck snuggler kitty in the night and I love her bunches! Although she is 8 months old, she weighs only 5 pounds. She was the runt of 7 and is going to be a very petite kitty when she finally grows up.

The Cat Community

My email to Dr. Vicki elicited another email from her regarding a product called NoBowl. I contacted the website, explained the situation around Tripp and asked if they would be willing to exchange product for a blog review and social media mention. They were and three feeding systems are on their way here as I type!  I think my biggest challenge is going to be keeping this feeding system from Kota’s curious jaws- LOL  The cats commonly bring their toys into the living room where Kota mainly spends the majority of indoor time and I am constantly rescuing these toys from being munched by this teething black puppy. Should prove interesting- I just pray this new way of feeding Tripp will occupy him to the point he loses interest in chewing on non-food items.

Tripp Again

After witnessing yet another frantic episode of “Chase your tail till you drop” I put in a call to the vet and we discussed options of meds. I don’t want this beautiful boy to stroke out on us during his whirling dervish moments so we decided to put him on Prozac and see how that goes. He started it last night and thankfully, I did not have to take him in for another office visit, we did it all over the phone. I know the drug will not kick in right away, so we still need to keep a watchful eye out on him. This morning when I woke up, I discovered that a soft snowman decoration I had lying on the table was the very latest victim of Tripps affliction. He’s been given some canned pumpkin with his food to help move things along. The snowman was given to me years ago by a dear childhood friend who passed away two years ago. I am sad for the loss, but more concerned that I didn’t see it as a threat or something he would want to chew- it’s 4 feet tall for pity’s sake!

I love this kitten so much and wish that I could just make this all vanish and let him live a normal life, but it looks like for now, that won’t be possible. Trying to make pill taking into a game for him so he won’t learn to dislike me in the mornings when he has to take his pill. At least the pills are tiny and easy to disperse.

I also reached out to the feline specialist who often works with us here and she in turn reached out to her extensive network of experts and sent them my initial email. I am copying what they sent over as possible (not cures) but help in this situation in case someone else who surfs over here looking for information about pica or OCD issues will also have this information-

While some of these picas may be compulsive disorders, and therefore may improve with drugs such as fluoxetine, I find that most of these cases are just highly enticed to chew and never seem to learn the consequences. As Margie suggested there is nothing earth shattering – prevention in a safe confinement area when the owners are not around to supervise and providing a regular daily routine with social play toys and multiple foraging toys (instead of meal feeeding) may reduce the time spent searching out other objects. Also as Margie suggested bitter tastes or protectants on areas that might be chewed and a variety of orally stimulating chews (try some t/d or dog toys). I find that in the long run most of these cats are managed best by having a safe area when owners are not around and offering more small feedings of canned foods stuffed in toys and other orally stimulating food and toys.

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Do be sure to do a thorough medical work up as upper GI pain or oral pain can trigger pica. Keep a diary to track diet and specific enrichment and the effects. Many pica cats are very social and social enrichment can be helpful–screen for concurrent behavioral conditions such as separation related distress. Try clicker training, and other social enrichment. Hide lots of interesting things for him to find, and as long as we can be certain he gets his daily ration, feed meals in toys. 

As for dog chews, I have not had much success personally with fabric chewers liking hard chews. But to directly answer your question: Wholesome Hide makes thin rawhide chews that would be suitable. Clients may consider a raw bone (chicken wing) balancing risk of zoonotic disease and cat possibly choking with risk cat will fatally obstruct on fabric. Tough call there. 

Clomipramine or fluoxetine would usually be the drugs of choice if you decide to use medication.   

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We just had a presentation at the Veterinary Behavior Symposium last Friday on pica in cats and 7 of 7 had GI dz diagnosed with GI workup and biopsies. Unfortunately many had one of the -cytic (don’t have my notes so can’t remember if lymphocytic or plasmacytic or which other one) enteritis and/or gastritis so were challenging to treat. Once in a blue moon fluoxetine (0.5mg/kg) ends up being helpful, but I usually find it and other behavior meds not that helpful.

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While this may be compulsive / obsessive, or in response to stress, it may be normal but excessive exploration / oral activity, in which case drug therapy will not have an effect. However, the first consideration is that many cats with pica have underlying gastrointestinal disease. 
Evaluate the social interactions, household and environment to insure that the cats behavioral needs are being adequately addressed (indoorpet.osu.edu, catvets.com) and to identify any stressors in the social relationships or environment. Provide greater opportunities for social enrichment (chase play, reward based training), and object play and exploration in an adequately cat proofed housing area including enriched feeding with food filled toys (foodpuzzlesforcats.com), and increased opportunities to chew including dental chews, dog chews and small pieces or shreds of fruits and vegetables (increased moisure, increased fiber). Also consider diet adjustment (high protein, low carb, canned).  

If compulsive still a consideration, a trial of fluoxetine or paroxetine might be warranted. 

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A Kota Moment and Catching Up

Because Mike’s neuropathy is advancing into his hands, he tends to drop a lot of items in a given day. I have been working with Kota to retrieve these items with two commands. The item drops on the floor and in a higher voice than normal, I say “Uh oh!” He has learned to run over and start the search for the fallen item. Once he has it in his mouth, I tell him “Bring” and he brings it to me or Mike whoever is closer. It’s a learning process, and some of the items get a bit munched before arriving- but it seems to be flowing better as Kota’s brain kicks in and figures out these are not “toys” these are necessary items that need not be chewed.

Last night, unable to sleep because one of the skunks baptized the back door- I was up watching COPS till the wee hours of the morning. Kota was asleep at my feet and the episode featured a mom with a 14 year old boy high on meth destroying his bedroom. The officers were in the bedroom trying to calm the boy down and the mom was losing it on the couch in the living room. Every time her son destroyed something, the mom would say “Uh oh, there he goes again!”

Kota woke at the first “uh oh” and started his search but while he was searching, the boy went off four more times, so more “uh oh’s” were heard. Kota is looking for glasses, a phone, a remote, something that had fallen and coming up short! After I stopped giggling- I threw four items on the floor for him to bring them to me. He did immediately wagging his gorgeous tail the entire time. He loves to serve. But he kept looking at me, like Mom, what are you doing to me? When he couldn’t find any items to “bring.” Silly, smart dog!

Tripp is not responding well with the medication. It was making him aggressive (which he is not) as well as horny to his brothers which he has never been, so I took him off of it. All the drugs they would use on him come with bad side effects- so we decided to just let him live with the behavior- give him meaty bones to chew on at night and just see what happens. We still have to figure out how to pay the vet bill- that’s not going to be as easy to do now as the word has traveled throughout town that we are no longer actively rescuing. Our four donation boxes had a grand total of $3.12 in them this month. Oh well, we will figure it out.

Have the outside cats set up for the winter. We finally got an electrician in her to reverse the damage caused by george and bring electricity back to the carport. There are now heated cat beds, a heated water bowl and some heated cat homes out there for the outdoor kitties.

Mike is now being cared for by home health care workers. There are two of them that tackle him twice a week leaving me free to go out and clean up around the yard and house and straighten up the cat enclosures. It is nice to get away from the house even if it is just escaping to the backyard.

The sheriff was out  the other night when the guy next door went off again. He has a habit of nightly, just pacing along the highway. Sometimes he flips off the cars, sometimes he throws things at the car or he gestures like he is- but these are thank God imaginary items because I always look the next morning and there are no rocks, bricks or gravel in the road. All the time he is swearing and smoking cigs and in a high agitated state. When the deputies came into our drive to question me (I didn’t call them even though he was outside our home) the neighbor across the road did. I told the deputy that I don’t even call anymore unless he looks like he has a weapon. He told me I should call 911 any time the guy makes me uncomfortable! I told him, they’d be awful busy, he’s out there all the time at night. As long as I have Kota with me, I feel safe. If we didn’t have this 86 pound 9 month German Shepherd, I might call all the time!