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Thank you all for your kind words and thoughts regarding Harry. I miss him a lot, but to be honest I started to feel a lot of relief almost right away. He was very sick the last day, and knowing that I could relieve his suffering gave me a little comfort.

Sam seems to be handling things well. He's run around the house a couple of times looking under things and looking in Harry's usual sports, but he doesn't seem distressed yet. I don't know how he'll be as time passes and Harry doesn't come home. To my knowledge, he's never been alone before. And he's pretty attention-needy.

Sam


It's very sad and strange to only have one little furry critter waiting at the door for me when I come home. I haven't had only one cat since 1990 (except for one month after Xing died and before I got the boys). Growing up I always had multiple cats, too. Mom is completely against getting another cat, so I think it's just me and Sam for a while.
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You don't know, you're not sure, you don't think so, then suddenly you know, you're sure, and it's time.

Glam Shot Harry

Boys

Awwww


Other pictures of Harry.
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Harry's taken a turn for the worse. He had bloodwork done yesterday and his BUN and creatinine levels are very very bad [Creatinine: should be between 0.6 and 2.4, and he's at 5.3. BUN is supposed to be between 14 and 38, and he's at 138.] His phosphorus is also really high, 14.6; I can't remember where that's supposed to be, but it's a lot higher than it should be. I tried to get a phosphorus binder at the pharmacy today and yet again they didn't have something in stock and would have to order it. Apparently it's available over the counter, but they simply don't have it. And I didn't go to pick it up until 8, which was too late to go to the funky small pharmacy that might have it. I tried all the other chain pharmacies near me, but no luck.

So I asked Dr. Death how long he'd have left, and she told me she'd be surprised if he lasted a month. Which means I need to determine how much he's suffering and then make the call. 

I hate my life. GreyKitty died one year ago this week.

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Oh boy, back on the cat health roller coaster. Harry just got diagnosed with renal failure and anemia. He has to begin the classic kidney regimen of Pepcid, a special diet, and daily fluids. It's Xing all over again, and with an added dollop of GreyKitty (the anemia). He's got to get started the anemia medication, too (erythropoietin), although we're waiting a couple of weeks to start that. Since he's already on twice daily thyroid meds that's a lot of stuff he'll have to deal with. Poor guy.

I'm sad, of course, but I'm also pissed off. There was no indication of any kidney issues at his last blood test. My vet said that his thyroid meds weren't keeping up, so she increased the dose (not a lot, but some). He was fine for a while, but now this — and one of the things she wants me to do is lower his thyroid med dose back to where it was three months ago. So as I sit here I think — did the increased thyroid meds screw up his kidneys? I probably should have done the radiation therapy last year when the thyroid thing first happened. I am no fan of medications that you are on for life — they seem like a bad idea. If we'd done the radiation therapy he wouldn't have had to take the daily meds. Ugh.

So when Xing started on her kidney regimen she had a few good months, then faded pretty quick. Beginning to end, six months. Here's hoping Harry responds well and bounces back. He lost two pounds in the last three months, though, bringing him down to 9 pounds (from a high a few years ago of 14 pounds). That doesn't leave him a lot of reserves.
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What's that? you exclaim, A cat that hates the vet?! Unbelievable!!

Harry, who is generally the better of my two beasts, had to be muzzled at the vet today. I guess he's finally reached his limit of what he'll put up with.

Naturally he was displeased before we got there. I got him a new carrier, you'd think he'd be grateful. But no.

I will kill you for this...


After they stole his blood, pee, and dignity it was back into the carrier. He had a lot to say about the whole process.

Can we go HOME now?

Cat Update

Jun. 23rd, 2006 11:12 pm
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Well, things feline have improved quite a bit around here since last time.

GreyKitty Outside!


Greykitty: It's been two months since her hospitalization for pancreatitis, and currently she's getting two shots of insulin a day and getting to eat as much as she wants to, and she seems to be doing pretty well. Alert, affectionate, active -- all the good A words. Not growing back her fur where she was shaved, which is a little disturbing, but otherwise much better than I could have hoped!

JungleHarry


Harry: Cancer free! Came through his lump removal and dentistry surgery with flying colors, is all healed up and growing back his fur. They only had to remove one tooth. Not wearing the lampshade anymore, even. He's still getting his twice daily thyroid medication, but otherwise he's pretty happy and healthy. I haven't decided whether or not to do the radioactive iodine therapy for him, but the idea is starting to grow on me.

Sam


Sam: No news -- which is good news! Although he's still fat. Going to the vet next week to get his blood work done. Assuming that he's fine, he'll have his dentistry work done soon. And hopefully that will be all!

Note: My kitties are indoor kitties, photo evidence to the contrary. Once every few weeks during the temperate months I bring them into our enclosed back yard for an hour or so. After that they become hyper and irritable until the next time I bring them out, or until they forget again that out exists.

Vet Update

May. 2nd, 2006 04:40 pm
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OK, so in the last few weeks I've spent a LOT of time at the vet. And, as one would assume, a LOT of money.

GreyKitty (15): After her initial diagnosis of diabetes, she had a follow-up visit a week later to see how the insulin was working on her. She wasn't eating enough, was weak, listless, and dehydrated again. My vet recommended getting an ultra$ound to make sure that there were no tumors (he couldn't tell from the $x-ray) so we had to go to Mass Vet Referral Hospital, which is a referral and emergencies only pet hospital. Meaning, expensive. Harry had his eye removed there, so I was pretty familiar with the place. After determining that GreyKitty was tumor-free, they told me that they wanted to hospitalize her and try to get her kidneys, hydration, and insulin all stabilized. Ok. She went in Friday April 21 and came home late Monday April 24. And it only cost me $2,000!

She was a lot better when she got out, and we've now added daily subcutaneous fluids to our insulin ritual. Despite being a pincushion, she's gained back a little weight and her eyes and coat are much healthier looking, but she's still not eating enough. We went in again yesterday for kidney function and blood glucose tests, and everything is pretty good except her potassium levels. This means it's now supplement time! My vet has to order some. Oh boy! Now it's $20 per month for the insulin and needles, $75 per month or so for the fluids (if they have to continue) and who knows how much for the supplement!

Harry (14?): My vet called me back after Harry's bloodwork came back and said "Now I know why Harry only gained one pound to Sam's five! Because he has hyperthyroidism!" Hyperthyroidism has sort of fun symptoms: Constant hunger but no weight gain, lots of vocalizing (Harry is VERY chatty), very little sleep, lots of activity. We never would have guessed he was sick, since he seemed so happy and healthy. But no. Medication time! $40 per month. Then, once his thyroid calms down, he gets to have dental surgery and a lumpectomy (his jaw has a lump). $700! If I want the thyroid "cured" I'd need to do a very expensive radiation treatment. And I couldn't hold him for a week, since he'd be radioactive! Interesting, but scary.

Sam (14?): Sam is fat fat fat. Sam needs his teeth done. Sam hasn't had his bloodwork done yet, because they decided Harry's teeth were bad enough that he had to be done first, and they like to do the bloodwork right before the surgery. But he'll need at least $200 worth of dental work and about $200 for the urinalysis and bloodwork. I dread the bloodwork -- it'll be such fun to find out which condition Sam has, and how much it will cost.

Lesson to be learned: Do not have cats who are all around the same age. Stagger them by several years -- otherwise they all hit their sell-by date at the same time, make you sad, and cost you a small fortune. And get pet insurance. Which you can't afford when your pets are already elderly. Sigh.

I need a third job!
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Feh!

Sam, my beautiful lump of fur, has gained FIVE POUNDS IN ONE YEAR! He weighs 18 pounds now! Eighteen!

This is only partially my fault, I swear! They were pretty hefty when I adopted them, and I never put them on a diet to change that (although I really should have). But their weight was pretty stable for the first five years I owned them.

And then I moved in with Mom...

My mother's idea of feeding the cats is basically give them whatever they want, whenever they want it. I have asked her repeatedly to stop, but she's stubborn, and she's the one home with them all day. I brought both Sam and Harry to the vet today (such a fun way to spend my vacation, seriously) and my nice vet told me she'd never seen such a gain in one year! Ever!

Sam's healthy otherwise, but needs dental work. Harry has gained one pound over the same year (he weighs 14 pounds, now) and needs dental work, too. I have giant enormous fat fat cats! Even GreyKitty is 9 pounds.

So Mom and I are going to have a little talk today...


Sam, last summer, before being stuffed like a Thanksgiving turkey
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Harry the one-eyed

So pretty, my one-eyed boy!
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My Harry now:

smooove

I like how smooth and photoshopped his face looks ...

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