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Age Is in the Mind

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Thyroid all good.

July 2nd 2010 8:49 pm
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The thyroid test came back normal. I have stumped the vet. The pink monkeys made an appointment for Tuesday to get an ultrasound. I had one of those about a year ago, when the vets were checking out the kidney function, and it showed that I had perfectly normal insides. Everything where it should be, no unexpected thickenings or masses or strictures or whatever the heck they were looking for.

Mom says if this is inconclusive, she's taking me to the specialist veterinary hospital. She figures that at my age, I don't have time for dilly-dallying about what's wrong with me. And she wants to figure it out while I still feel good.

Which I do.

Has anybody around here noticed that my food dish has been empty for at least 15 minutes? This used to be a 5-star joint, but the service is definitely slipping.


My vet is puzzled

June 30th 2010 8:59 pm
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Another visit to the sawbones, and still no good answers. The Clavamox seemed to shrink the swollen lymph glands behind the knees, but didn't eliminate them, and now, after ending the antibiotics, they're enlarged again. The vet drew more blood, and said the white blood cell counts are only mildly elevated, as are the eosinophils. Kidney functions holding steady, creatinine still normal.

We're waiting for the results of the more sensitive thyroid test. I still eat, and eat, and eat, and gain no weight. Well, actually I gained an ounce. Nine pounds, 15 ounces now. I think I have a future as a fashion model, but Mom thinks my waist is TOO pronounced.

And now there's a new symptom. I have a reddish rash on my lower abdomen and inside my thighs. I lick it a lot and the hair is getting quite thin there. Egad! I don't need thinning hair. Fashion models can't have thinning hair! Wait, I could get extensions.

Allergies? Unlikely but maybe, the vet says. Tonight, Mom slipped a quarter of a Claritin tablet into a pill pocket and gave it to me. I ate it, of course. I'm HUNGRY!!!!

Then she did some more research and learned that as many as a third of cats with untreated hyperthyroidism also get skin rashes.

Hoping to get answers soon.


Reflections on my birthday

June 12th 2010 1:18 pm
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So, I'm 15 years old today. If I were a human girl, I could be celebrating my QuinceaƱera, in a fancy dress at a big party with a bunch of squealing teenagers and some thumping rock music.

Boy, am I glad I'm not a human girl.

Fifteen. My, my. It seems like only yesterday that some hands reached down into the box where I was enjoying a nap with my mama (I had her all to myself, since my siblings had been taken away by other humans), and picked me up. I looked into the face of this smiling woman, who said "Isn't he a handsome boy!" It was the first time, but hardly the last, that she showed a talent for stating the obvious.

Fifteen years later, she's still doing it. "You're SUCH a good cat, Jasper." "Hi, gorgeous." "Jazzie, you're so smart!" I know, I KNOW already.

Sometimes I feel my years. Vicki and Bear will blow by me on a tear through the house, and practically knock me over. I look after them wistfully, remembering when I used to run so fast Mom called me The Streak.

One day when I was about two years old, I startled Mom by meowing down at her from the top of the kitchen hutch, a straight-up leap of almost six feet. It became one of my favorite napping spots. Now I have to gauge the distance from floor to countertop very carefully, and once in a while I don't make it on the first try.

I used to awaken her at dawn with a purr and a headbump, followed by some energetic kneading. Now I'd be happy to sleep in with her as long as she wanted (except that Vicki and Bear insist that we get up). Seems like it takes me a lot longer to rest up than it used to take me to get tired.

Still, my life is good. I have many soft places to nap. If I act the slightest bit hungry, someone hastens to offer me something delicious to eat. I lost my best friend Patch a few years ago, but I still have my good buddies Onyx and Severian, and I am growing quite fond of the newbies. And I have many wonderful friends on Catster.

I am happy. I still take the stairs at a trot, and I like to play, though I don't jump after the feather wand the way I used to. I am grateful for my good home and my loving parents.

I don't regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many.


Mystery to vet, not to me.

June 7th 2010 9:39 pm
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Thanks, my friends, for all your purrs and well wishes for my health. I actually feel just fine, eating like a lion and grudgingly taking my medicine. But the doc and the pink monkeys are still stewing over my health.

I still have swollen lymph nodes, but the chief doc told Mom that the fluid aspirated from them did NOT indicate cancer. He said that the lab always puts that CYA boilerplate at the bottom about these results "not ruling out cancer." He also said that he would do the more sensitive thyroid test if she wanted, but that my thyroid results on the standard test were square in the middle, not borderline. (She's gonna have it done anyway.) He also said that my creatinine was normal (second time in a row -- maybe those kidneys are good after all!).

I purr, I play, I sleep, I meow for attention. All perfectly normal behavior. Been doing it for many years. O.K., I'm losing weight. Pretty soon I'll be able to sign up as a fashion model. The good news is that the doc says I can have as much food as I want, whenever I want. Wouldn't my sisters love to get that prescription!

I have to take Clavamox for another week. If there's no reduction in lymph nodes, I get an ultrasound and another thyroid test. Sheesh.


Confused by the vet

June 4th 2010 5:21 pm
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Back to the vet this week. You'd think I'm on Medicare or something. Mom and Dad are convinced that there is something going on with me that is not explained by early chronic kidney disease. I have a HUGE appetite, but I'm losing weight. Also, while my BUN is still slightly elevated, my creatinine has dropped into the normal range. Doesn't seem to match the disease profile.

Dad did a bunch of Internet research, and decided that my thyroid function should be tested. Never been done on me, although I think it's standard for older cats. A day before my appointment, Mom discovered swollen lymph glands behind my back knees. No swollen glands in the neck, though.

Today we got two messages from the vet. The first two were from the chief doc. One was about my blood results. He said that all was normal except for slightly elevated BUN and slightly elevated white blood cell count. No evidence of thyroid problems. The second message from him was about the fluid they aspirated from my swollen lymph glands. He said there was no sign of cancer, but we should talk about what to do next. Mom & Dad weren't home for those messages and got them on the answering machine.

They had just arrived home when a third call came from another vet, who said the aspiration test showed hyperplasia and mast cells, and might indicate cancer. She said we should do an ultrasound and look for a primary tumor, but that the chief doc thinks we should try antibiotics first.

So I'm taking Clavamox, and Dad is researching again. He thinks I need a more sensitive thyroid test. Mom agrees, but she's perplexed by the different readings of the aspiration test. What do you suppose is up?

Whatever, I'd sure appreciate a purr or two from my friends.


Our Grammy has passed on

April 18th 2010 2:27 pm
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We are very sad that our Dad's mama was summoned home last night.

But I've noticed something quite interesting about humans. When our brother Patch went to the bridge several years ago, the pink monkeys were very sad. But sometimes they'd remember something about him and laugh. Like Dad would mention the way he'd lick Mom's nose in the morning to wake her up and then sneeze right in her face. And they'd both laugh. And then they'd be sad for awhile. And then Mom would remember the time Patch yacked a giganto hair ball right on Dad's VERY important (and just completed) paperwork. And they'd both laugh.

You know, they're doing the same thing now with Grammy. Cry. Laugh. Cry. Laugh.

Humans. Go figure.


Lovin' this day

April 10th 2010 2:08 pm
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Not much happening, no major chores to supervise. No vacuum running today. Laundry room is quiet, too. Dad is taking a nap on the sofa. The sun is coming in the windows.

I'm on the back of the sofa, with my paws curled under my chest and my eyes almost closed. I feel the urge to purr -- a small, soft purr. Doesn't take much to make this cat happy. I love my life.


Don't push it, Mom

March 21st 2010 2:03 pm
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OK, I'll admit that I've grown a little bit curmudgeonly in my golden years, but generally I'm pretty mellow. Except when it comes to trimming toenails. Mom didn't do that to me when I was a kitten. Once a year, when I went to the vet, I got my nails trimmed. And I earned a bright red "Caution" sticker on my chart, too, you betcha.

But then Onyx got an ingrown nail, which got infected and had to be treated, and Mom got the guilts. She trims the kittens' nails regularly and wants to cut us older cats' nails, too. I'll let the sibs speak for themselves, but I do NOT want my nails trimmed. Didn't like it as a kitten, don't like it now.

So today, when Mom hauled out the clippers and started picking up my feet, I protested. She ignored my squirms and clipped the nails on one paw. Then she started on the other and I yowled. When she ignored that, I BIT her. OK, I didn't draw blood, and she just looked surprised, but STILL!

I may sleep more than usual, but I haven't become a doddering oldster. I have fight in me yet. Leave my toenails alone, Mom.


Mousie, murdered

March 19th 2010 9:37 pm
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For at least 10 years, Mousie has been my favorite toy. It is furry and gray, and its little velcro belly can be filled with catnip. I love to rabbit kick it, and sling it across the floor, and most of all, I love to come trotting up the stairs or down the hall with it in my mouth when the peeps least expect it.

Mom always lifts her head and listens to my "Mmmrpfhfh" in the distance, and says "He has Mousie." And sure enough, I shortly enter the room and drop mousie in front of the nearest parental unit.

Sometimes mousie got lost for extended periods. Months, even. But sooner or later, Mom would find it behind a bureau or under the fridge. She would comb all the dust bunnies off it, put in fresh catnip and we were off to the races again!

But last week, she decided to WASH mousie. After a decade! Like, what's wrong with the patina of age?

It came out of the dryer all clean and fluffy. She put in fresh catnip and closed the velcro strip and put mousie in front of me with a little shake to release the catnip scent. I was not interested. The soul of mousie has gone. Why are people so ignorant?


My flower child brother

March 4th 2010 8:25 pm
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Either Severian has turned over a new leaf, or he's setting us up. Ever since his dramatic loss to Bear for top cat of the household, he has been like a different cat. He is pleasant. He doesn't swat any of us as we walk past him. He plays with the catnip mice and chases Vicki around the house and acts, well, normal.

Mom is puzzling over this. Just when she thinks she has one of us figured out, we throw her a knuckle ball.

I think Sev is setting her up to try rugs again. Don't do it!

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Jasper, Angel Dreamboat #49a


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