Sep. 20th, 2006 01:41 pm
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Thanks to everyone who sent condolences about's greatly appreciated. Considering what a little tiny kitty she was, she's left a pretty big hole in our lives.
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GreyKitty died today. She took a turn for the worse last night, so I had her admitted to the local veterinary hospital. They did a blood transfusion (she was exceedingly anemic) but she did not respond as we hoped; I made the decision that she had been through enough this afternoon.

She started life as an abandoned kitty, living with her kitty siblings behind a farm house in Amherst. I moved into that farm house and over the course of a few months managed to tame her enough to bring her inside. She was very practical, and after spending her first year sleeping in a trash shed she found sleeping on my down comforter much preferable and adapted quickly to pampered house pet.

Other than desperately wanting to eat my pet rabbit, Grey was a very good cat. She moved with me many times in her 15 years and dealt with each move very easily. When Xing died six years ago, she quickly adjusted to being the solo cat, and when I brought the two boys home the next month, she adjusted to being Alpha cat to our new brood.

She was demanding and pushy; she was loving and sweet. I will miss her terribly.


Jul. 18th, 2006 03:14 pm
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Cat update the millionth:

Sam and GreyKitty both took a trip to the vet again yesterday; Sam finally had his bloodwork done so we can see if he's healthy enough to have his teeth cleaned, and GreyKitty needed a follow-up to see how her treatment is going. The results are in!

Sam: 100% healthy! No elevated anything. Healthy! Scheduled for teeth cleaning for next Tuesday.

GreyKitty: No longer diabetic! I seriously have been suspecting this for at least a couple of weeks now. She had pancreatitis, and diabetes is caused by a poorly-functioning pancreas, so when her pancreas got better, her diabetes disappeared. The vet pronounced her "a completely different cat" when he saw her, and was very excited to see that she'd added over a pound back. Her kidney levels are the tiniest bit elevated, but they have been for more than a year. He wants to see her in about a month for another check, but...Woo-hoo! No more insulin injections! No medications at all! Yay, GreyKitty!

I have three almost entirely healthy cats! Life is good.

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!


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: 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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I had reason yesterday to walk into my Mom's room and say "You'd better watch your back, old woman!" To which she naturally replied "And why would that be?"

I ticked them off on my fingers. "First me. Then Dad. And now GreyKitty! I am Diabetes Mary, spreading the fun all around. All that's left is you! I'm telling you, watch your back!"

This weekend GreyKitty got diagnosed with diabetes. She's 15 years old and starting to slow down a bit, but other than her scary zipper operation last spring to remove a cyst, was in decent health. The vet had noticed a slight kidney problem the last time we were there, but he said we'd just monitor it and see how it went. My first cat, Xing, had chronic renal failure that she died from, so I was pretty familiar with the progression of kidney failure over time. GreyKitty lately has had a lot of kidney-type symptoms — drinking a lot, peeing a lot, peeing in bad places (other than the box), etc. I figured it was about time to get her to the vet, so I scheduled an appointment for this coming week, while I'm on vacation. But Thursday night she looked really bad. Lethargic, listless, not interested in eating, dehydrated, all the bad kitty stuff.

I got her in to the vet the next morning, and he ran all the usual tests — bloodwork, urine, etc. He gave her subcutaneous fluids and sent us home, telling me he'd call me the next day with the results. The phone rang and I was so steeled to hear "renal failure" that I almost tap-danced when he said diabetes.

Because of course cats can live with diabetes (or "the beedies", as Rob calls it) for years and years. With renal failure they generally last six months (even with sub-q fluids). So that's very good.

What's minorly bad is that now I am tied to a 12-hour cycle. I have to get her on a food / insulin schedule that we can both live with, and closely watch her all the time for symptoms, and generally hover. I don't pay that close attention to my OWN diabetes, so maybe this will be good for both of us...?

There's a ton of info out there about feline diabetes. However, I'm interested if anyone has any first-hand experience with long-term pet diabetes and insulin and feeding? Do you do glucose monitoring at home? Do you allow food grazing, or stick to specific meals only? Any comments greatly appreciated!

I've already given her her first two insulin shots with no problem. Many more to go, I'm hoping!

GreyKitty in healthier times:

— And [ profile] cicadabug, we were just really really really not meant to go to New Mexico this time. Sheesh!
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Sam and GreyKitty, naptime.
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GreyKitty is such a comfort junkie. I swear she remembers her humble beginnings as a homeless kitty. Now she spends her days wrapped in my new throw, and sprawled on my down comforter.



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