Monday, April 13, 2009

Grace is Doing Well Now

I think she's out of the woods, at least for now. We have found a solution that works. A year ago when Grace had her physical, they found that she had a thyroid condition. They gave us a prescription of pills and as you know, it is no picnic giving a cat a pill. I tried putting it in cheese balls etc., but it was always iffy. In fact, she would take in the pill, then spit it out later. So smart!

Then, she started vomiting all the time. Several times a day she would vomit. Not good when she was already underweight. I called the vet and they said to stop the pills. Trusting the doctors, I figured that she didn't really need the pills, but they had just given it a try. You know, they do the same with people. It's like they really don't know the answer - so they say, "well, let's try this."

A year goes by and Grace is getting thinner and thinner. She's 13 years old so I just figured this was a normal part of aging. Then a couple of months ago, things shifted. She got really fussy with food (more than usual) and she seemed to lose her sense of smell (which can be a sign of kidney failure). I really started watching her closely. She stopped grooming, her breath got foul and I was really nervous. I have been through the kidney failure thing with other cats and it is really hard.

Also, my finances are strained and I was avoiding the vet (just as I have stopped going to the doctor myself). I also feared what the vet would say. I know, this is terrible to admit, but it's like - if you don't go to the vet, you don't know the truth - that your baby girl, your precious kitty, is dying and there's nothing you can do. So I avoided the vet.

Finally, one day, she was really in distress. Breathing heavily - her whole body heaving because her heart was beating so hard. I called the vet and a friend to go with me - to drive and for moral support.

The doctor did not seem very concerned and said she was having a 'thyroid storm'. Again the prescription of meds. I said last time all she did was vomit, so they lowered the dosage. I asked if there was another way to deliver the medication and she said she could put it into a beef-flavored syrup which also contained vitamins. Grace would also need baby aspirin twice a week, which they also made into a liquid.

In 24 hours, there was already a change. Now, a month later, my beautiful, happy, and active cat is back! She loves the meds and licks it off her paws if any spills. Her heart is calm, her breathing normal and she is putting weight on. She grooms. She eats normally, including dry food. She sleeps normally rather than being hyper-vigilant.

It's like Grace has gotten years younger. She looks good and she is so happy. She does need meds twice a day every day for the rest of her life.

How is it that our pets have taken on the illnesses of humans? Or is it that they always had them, but just went off to die without human 'parent's watching their every move and rushing them off to the doctor?

I think the animals are being affected by the processed foods too. When Grace was really sick, the only thing she would eat was raw chicken liver. The doctor said it was good for her because it was all meat, not filled up with grains like cat food. Cats are meat-eaters by nature, not vegetarians. We have forced that on them.

Next time you get a prescription of pills for your cat, ask the vet if they will liquify them. It really helps. If they won't you can do it yourself. Grind in a mortar, add broth or water. Keep in the refrigerator.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Ooooo Yucky

Grace has taken to sleeping in a box on the porch. Day and night. Despite the fact that it has been going down to zero around here this winter. Then the other day, she changed boxes. Just would not go into her regular box. So.... I looked inside and... ooooo yucky! The torso, back legs and tail of a RAT! This thing was huge! The tail was 6 inches long and big around as a pencil. She had eaten his head off and his arms. Now tell me that this poor three-legged cat is old or rickety. Here I have been so worried about her. Staying outside, not eating much, getting thin. Huh, she still has enough get-up-and-go to catch and kill a rat that big.

Now some of you are probably totally grossed out at this point, but I have to say that I live in the woods and there are loads of critters here. It has nothing to do with cleanliness or hygiene. You can't escape it. The only thing that might make a difference would be if I had dogs. Cats can't keep things away, but they can kill them. Even dogs can't keep everything away.

I don't worry about my cats getting hurt by a raccoon or sprayed by a skunk - even though they are here too. Because the animals seem to naturally respect each other. Keep out of each other's way. The mice and the rats are somehow dumb. They don't realize they can be killed easily by cats. Easily? Well... cats do love tossing them around a bit before they dispatch them. "Kill the mousies, eat they little heads." And cats know that eating the spleen is poisonous, so they leave it alone.

Now has all that made your day?

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Cat Tea on the Menu for this Week

Went to see Matthew Wood at Rosemary's Garden in Sebastopol Friday night and he recommended Melissa, also known as lemon balm, for thyroid issues in cats. Not tincture, since cats won't take anything with alcohol (they are smarter than their humans). Make a strong tea then "get them to drink it." I usually do this with a plastic eye dropper in the side of the mouth towards the back. I have never found a better way that works to get cats to take liquid medicines. If you know of one, let me know.

Since Grace has thyroid problems, I plan to try it this week. She was on medication, but it made her vomit constantly and since she is so thin already, I want her to keep whatever food she has eaten. I have found that one of her favorite things is raw chicken liver. It is a little more expensive than cat food, but I don't have to keep throwing it out.

You know I keep telling both Grace and Melody (two formerly feral cats) that they eat better than most people in the world, but they still turn their noses up at most cat food. Very challenging sometimes.