Friday, October 30, 2009

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A BED FINALLY!

I've gotten used to the student life. The money issues, the food issues, the party issues, but for about 3 years I've been sleeping on a mattress on the floor. Today Steph and I got our fabulous wooden bed custom made and stained in Ontario from this great store in Ottawa called "New Mornings Futons and Furniture."

Steph slaved away to set it up (such a great boyfriend), but the
end result was worth it!

Its gorgeous and it feels totally different to sleep at an elevation! Hendrix was liking it too hehe.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Indroducing a Kitten

Oh how I underestimated how much of a hassle it would be to introduce a new kitten into our home! I must say that adopting Hendrix was very unplanned. Looking back I know now that this was not the way to go. We should have been much more prepared by researching ways to make things easier on Joplin, as well as a step by step explanation of how to properly introduce the two of them. In reality we stopped by our favorite pet store Pet Circus for some treats, and we found 3 adorable kittens. Hendrix was the oldest of them, the women working told us that they had not been able to find him a home and that it might be because he was poly dactyl. We stood there for a while and pet him through the cage, we were enamored with him. Then Steph made the first move, he asked if we could pick him up. They opened the cage and I picked him up and instantly fell asleep in my arms, and that was it. We payed for him and brought him home.

What we did:
  1. Got Hendrix in the door and instantly let him run around everywhere.
  2. Made separate litter and food areas but did not separate living areas
  3. Allowed Hendrix to start taking over the entire house, Joplin's only area was the bathroom basket
Joplin was miserable at this point, she wouldn't come near us and she hissed and batted at Hendrix whenever he was in the same room.

Hendrix on the other hand chased Joplin all the time and was quickly realizing how easy it was to be the alpha-cat

Of course this had to change and so I turned to MC for help. She explained that putting in the effort at first will really pay off in the end. At this point it had only been 3 days since we brought Hendrix home.

How we fixed it:
  1. We separated the cats. Wow was this a hassle! I should mention that the only door in the apartment is the bathroom door. So we had to fashion one out of a mirror and miscellaneous musical instruments
  2. Kept them separate for a full 2 days
  3. On day 3 let Hendrix out for a run for 30 min in the apartment, did this twice a day for 3 days
  4. On day 6 let him out for the whole day while we were home so that we could watch but kept him in the bedroom at night, did this for 2 days
  5. On day 8 let him out the whole day alone with Joplin, stayed out that night as well
After this Joplin started to really warm up to him and now they're inseparable. The best part is that Hendrix has adopted alot of Joplins good mannerisms.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My Cat Guru!

I suppose everyone has that one person that they tuned, or turn, to in times of kitty need. For me it is my boss and good friend MC.

MC has 5 cats, one boyfriend, one giant cat tower, and one beautiful house. She's an amazing owner who has a vast knowledge of both home-remedies and vet info is such a wonderful help!

Some of the best tips that I've gotten from here in the past:
  1. Wet food and dry food must be separated!
  2. Pine pellets are the best litter possible, also the cheapest
  3. Hard work at the beginning of introducing a new cat will pay off in the end
Its hard to explain how amazing she has been, so I think I'm going to dub Mondays as "MC Mondays"

Monday, October 26, 2009

Fatty Liver Disease (aka Feline Hepatic Lipidosis)

It was about 6 months ago that Joplin got Fatty Live Disease (FLD). When I noticed such a huge change in her mannerisms I took her to the vet. Now, I am a biology student and I believe in science and modern medicine. I assumed that taking an animal to the vet meant that you were taking them to someone who was in it for the love of animals, NOT to guilt financially strapped university students into paying hug sums of money for unnecessary care. This was not the case at the Glebe Pet Hospital. I am unsure whether or not I can give names so I'm not going to mention any but I will say that it was a women and that she was awful.

I thought going in that all Joplin had was a hairball that she couldn't pass. The vet was gentle with her examination, did a thorough job, then turned to me and said that
she was really sure that she had FLD. I asked what could be done and she told me the following:
1. That she needed multiple tests that needed to be done
2. That she needed to be checked into their "hospital"
3. That it was going to cost upwards of $1500

4. That she only had a 50% chance of living even with the treatment
5. That if it was her cat SHE would do everything she could to help it get better.
6. That she would most likely die if I tried to take care of her at home

As I'm sure you can guess I ended up in tears assuming that m
y cat was going to die because there was no way I could afford such a large sum of money. I had the tests done to make sure ( it was all I could afford and it cost $170) and I took Joplin home.

I was inconsolable and told Steph what the vet had said. I took her word as absolute truth. Steph, being the wonderful man that he is, flew into action searching for hours on the web to check stats, home remedies and symptoms. As it turns out FLD is pretty common among cats and that THERE IS HOME TREATMENT THAT CAN BE VERY SUCCESSFUL IF CAUGHT EARLY ENOUGH, 90% successful in fact.

Using all of this information we created our own at home remedy. I've put all the info below to help anyone who is going through the same thing. One thing I will say is that this remedy requires quite a bit of time and persistence, but obviously it is worth it in the end.

FATTY LIVER TREATMENT AT HOME


Joplin's Symptoms in Order of Appearance
  1. Didn't finish normal amount of food in the morning
  2. Increasing lethargy
  3. Wouldn't come greet us
  4. Completely avoided us
  5. Noticed yellowing of ears, eye membrane, and skin just in from of ear. (This can also be seen in gums)
Now I would suggest seeing a vet if you are not 100% sure, you can go for a simple check-up and move forward from there. I'm not "anti-vet" I was just really upset about how I was treated, and how she tried to take advantage of me. I should also mention that she did call once to check up on Joplin once I had told her that we were doing the home-remedy thing. She had never had a person try this before, but it really doesn't excuse her poor (for lack of a better word) bed-side manner.

Causes?

I believe that Joplin getting into the garbage was the main cause of this. Also I was starting to pack for a move, which couldn't have helped.

Its possible that by eating some rotten meat out of the garbage can she developed pancreatitis or even simple some sort of stomach issue that caused her to stop eating.

By way of evolution the domestication of cats causes them to be unable to convert fats back into energy. So when a cat stops eating their liver works overtime trying to convert fats to keep them alive and begins to fail in a sense. (This is a very general idea of what is happening)

Food Preparation
*

  1. 1 can of Wellness Brand cat food- this one is great because it is a pate which is very fine and so it will not get stuck in the syringe, also is very high quality
  2. 2.5 cat vitamins
  3. 1/4 cup warm water
Crush vitamins and mix together with cat food and warm water.

I used a wide mouth syringe that the dentist will usually give to someone when they have their wisdom teeth removed.

I separated the mix into 6 servings and served them in 2h intervals throughout the day: 8am, 10am, 12pm, 2pm, 4pm, 6pm.

Make sure to warm up the food to body temperature at each feeding. Cold or hot food with cause them to throw up.

Force Feeding

I found that putting Joplin into a pillow case from the neck down was the best way to do this since she is not declawed and I needed to keep her still. Also I put her on the kitchen counter. The diagram above helps to show how to hold the cat. Wrap your arm around them holding their body still and their legs down. Now, slide that same arm upwards once you're ready to feed. Now your arm should be fully wrapped around and your hand free, use that hand to hold their head and chin up and in place.

The best place to insert the syringe is right behind the canine , if you push very slightly there with the tip then they well open their mouth. With the mouth open squeeze a very small amount onto the back of their tongue, DO NOT PUT IN TOO MUCH AS THEY WILL CHOKE AND THROW IT UP. Let them swallow this and then repeat until full syringe is done, or until you have completed the portion.

Now this is simply what worked for me, it all depends on your cat and their temperament. If you absolutely cannot calm them down then you might have to work directly with a vet, however the first time is the hardest so give it a few tries.

After the feeding is done, clean them up a little bit and sit and pet them for a while to calm them down.

For each day as of Day 2 I'd try and coax them to eat their first portion by themselves. If they eat the full portion then try with the 2nd portion etc etc...

Joplin was eating on her own by Day 7!

I will warn people that this is a VERY messing job and you will smell like cat food for that whole time, but it gets easier each feeding.

Now I am no expert, vet or anything like that but this system worked well for me twice. If you have any questions please email me :)

* This was the correct amount for my cat who is quite small, these proportions may need to be changed depending on how much your cat eats a day.

Picture 1 taken from:
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_maBfo7TdlMA/SX0a0Rt1WMI/AAAAAAAABCw/0OKdoxXSmuc/s400/cat_teeth.jpg

Picture 2 taken from:
yikes can't find the pic, but I got it from google!




Joplin, Hendrix, Steph, and I

So where to start? Maybe with my motivations:

I have been a pet owner for about a year and a half now, so I'm pretty new at the whole game and I've found along the way that sometimes it is very difficult to get the information that your looking for. People tend to be vague and unsure which doesn't help at all. So I've decided to pass along my findings and hopefully get even more information for others

The Cats:

Joplin:

I adopted her from the Ottawa Humane Society in August 2008. She is now almost 5 years old (Birthday- Nov 4th), and surprisingly small at only ~5lbs for an adult cat. She a domestic short hair with tortoise shell pattern, her colors are gray orange and white.
She is an extremely loving cat who like attention at almost all times. She was a shock for me because I was always under the illusion that cats were slightly anti-social, but Joplin totally erased that for me. She slept with me every night, greeted me at the door and sat beside me while I worked at my desk. At the time I was living with 2 roommates who were just in much in love with Joplin as I was.

Her only oddity was that she would meow for no reason at all. We thought at first it was because she was hungry, which turned out to be wrong. To this day were not sure why she does it, maybe as a way to mark her territory.

Hendrix:

Stephane adopted him early this September from a rescue mission in Smith Falls which uses our favorite pet store Pet Circus for adoptions . He is just over 5 months old (Birthday- May 14th). He is a black and white domestic short hair, who also happens to be poly dactyl!
He is also just as loving as Joplin and will often sleep right between Steph and I. He has a massive store of energy and will often run from one end of the apartment to the other back and forth many many times. Because he has an extra "finger" on each paw he is able to climb door ways and apparently will also be able to open the fridge, cupboards etc... which I'm sure will be super fun.

The Boyfriend:

Stephane (or Steph) and I have been together 2 years. He is a wonderful and supportive person and as much as he may not like to admit it, he is just as enamoured with the cats as I am.

Background taken from:

http://www.hancockandmoore.com/images/fabric/Greenwich%20Burlap.jpg