March 11th 2010 3:24 pm
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Mom has tried. She really has. If they ever leave, she separates me from Sara & Baby Cat, and I even get the run of the rest of the house.
But they left for a weekend and had a pet sitter come. The sitter did a fine job taking care of us even though I wouldn't come out from behind the sofa. But they didn't listen for the click on Baby Cat's door, and I knew it. So I busted in there and when Mom & Dad came home hours later, Baby was under the bed, panting with huge eyes and I was laying on her hope chest, looking quite smug.
Then next day Baby went to the vet. I had hurt her. Her ACL (or feline equivolent) has been torn. She will be fine, as long as she doesn't get arthritis in her other legs. If I can sneak in there, I immediately go for Baby's hidey hole.
I've been chasing Sara all over, and attacking her. Poor Sara lives in the master bathroom now.
Mickey is terrified of me because I'll jump out at him and bite his Achilles tendon. Jenny just gives me kisses, even though I usually bite her.
Mom decided 2 weeks ago to start me on kitty Prozac. At first, I seemed sedated, but that only lasted about 4 days. Now I'm back to the same Wally... bullying any fur-face that comes my way.
Mom says that even though she loves me, I'm not a happy cat, and none of the other pets in the house are happy. She thinks it would be best if I find a new home where I can be the only cat. Maybe even the only pet.
Mom has spent a long time (years) thinking this over. This is not the best solution, but for all our sakes, we think its the only option.
If you like big orange cats that kiss your mouth like a dad-gum dog does, please contact Mom. But know that your house is gonna be checked and she will be looking back in on me to be sure I'm being taken care of. Also, you have to agree that if I don't work out, you give me back to her, not to someone else or to the shelter.
Please, give me a home to call my OWN?
September 12th 2008 6:15 pm
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Saturday, Sep. 06, 2008
Pet Talk: Prevent kidney disease in cats
Prevent kidney disease in cats
By: Dr. Jon Klingborg
Cats may have nine lives, but they do have one weak spot -- their kidneys. Not all cats develop kidney problems later in life, but enough of them do that it is worth identifying the signs before kidney disease becomes kidney failure.
Just like us, cats have two kidneys. The kidneys perform a number of key jobs -- they filter and remove toxins from the blood, they signal the bone marrow when the blood is becoming too thin (i.e. anemia), and they help to regulate blood pressure.
To cats, it is protein that tastes good, which makes sense since they are obligate carnivores (they must eat meat to be healthy). Protein is both good and bad -- good because it provides the body with energy and the building blocks it needs for muscle and other tissues; bad because the main byproduct of protein digestion is the highly toxic molecule ammonia.
The liver tries to neutralize this poisonous ammonia by converting it into a slightly less harmful chemical called urea. The kidneys eliminate this urea, and as you might have guessed, "urine" was named because it is high in urea.
When the kidneys start to have trouble, they still filter the blood and they still produce urine. Many people mistakenly think that an animal that is urinating cannot have kidney problems. In fact, the opposite is true. Many animals in the early to middle stages of kidney disease actually produce extra urine -- in the laboratory we find that this urine is less concentrated because the kidneys haven't filtered the toxins out of the blood.
As the kidneys struggle to do their job, toxins will slowly start to build up the blood. There are a number of chemicals that veterinarians measure to check on the kidneys, but the main one is called the "blood urea nitrogen" or BUN. As the BUN increases, it starts to have a "depressing" effect on the cat.
Cats with an increased BUN become slower and less energetic. Their grooming behavior often decreases and their appetite is suppressed. In many cases, owners will see these changes in behavior and conclude that the cat is "just getting old." It's true, most cats with kidney problems are older, with an average range between 10 to 14 years of age when kidney disease becomes an issue.
However, once identified and treated, cats with kidney problems can return to their energetic, social and well-groomed selves. Evaluating a cat's kidneys is often accomplished with blood work and a urinalysis -- at a total cost that is less than $200.
Some cats are so good at hiding health issues that they are in kidney "failure" before alerting the owner that there is a problem. These cats need aggressive intravenous fluid therapy to dilute and remove the toxins in the blood and (hopefully) give the kidneys the help they need to start working again.
Long term treatment for a cat with kidney problems usually involves a diet change to lower protein diets (less protein produces less BUN) and increased fluid intake. If anemia or high blood pressure is an issue, there are excellent and effective treatments available.
Cats age about six "human years" for every year of their life. So, I suggest that older cats have blood work performed every year or two to evaluate their kidney function (as well as liver, pancreas, thyroid, etc.) and establish a baseline. Like most problems in life, kidneys disease is easier to resolve when it is a little problem. To paraphrase Ben Franklin, "A test in time may save one of your cat's nine" (lives, that is).
Dr. Jon Klingborg is our veterinarian associated with Valley Animal Hospital in Merced. He may be contacted at email@example.com.
September 12th 2008 8:25 am
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Feral mama cat uses corncobs to track kittens
By CAROL REITER
This is a yarn about corncobs, two nice women, a weird way of counting and a mama cat.
She lived under an overpass, not 20 feet from a busy freeway. She scrounged for food and hid from people. Then she got pregnant. And she got skinny. That's when Linda Tiller and Melanie Sanchez stepped in.
The pregnant overpass dweller was a cat. She was skin and bones, and Tiller, the owner of Franklin Pet Cemetery in Merced, wanted to catch the little cat and feed her and try to get her healthy.
But unknown to Tiller and her employee, Sanchez, the cat had more important things to do. She had kittens to take care of.
"My mom and dad live on the property, and the cat was coming from under the freeway a couple of times a day to eat," Tiller said.
Although the cat would eat, no one could get near her. Then one day, Sanchez noticed something.
"Near one of our sheds, I saw three kittens," Sanchez said. And that day, three dried-up corncobs with teeth marks on them were laid next to the shed.
Sanchez and Tiller noticed the corncobs, but didn't think anything about them. They worked at trying to catch the kittens, and soon there were more.
"In three days, there were five kittens under that shed," Sanchez said.
And there were five, dried-up corncobs with teeth marks on them laid out in front of the shed.
"We couldn't figure out the corncobs," Tiller said. "We thought maybe that's how she kept count of her kittens."
The kittens were about five weeks old at that time, and Tiller and Sanchez set about to try to tame them. But they couldn't get near them. So they borrowed a trap, first caught two kittens, then two more. They brought the mama cat inside the office with her kittens, and she nursed her four babies, then ran back out.
The next day, four corncobs were in front of the office door. But the wildest of the kittens, a little black one, was missing. And when Tiller and Sanchez went out early in the morning, they saw the mother cat walking toward the freeway -- with a corncob in her mouth.
"She had moved four of the corncobs to the office door, and we knew where that last kitten was," said Tiller. "She had moved it back under the freeway."
For a couple of days, the mama cat came to the office, nursed her kittens, then headed back to her lone black kitten under the freeway. Then it got hot.
"It was one of those 107-degree days," said Sanchez. "I saw her come walking toward me with something in her mouth."
It was the last kitten. When the cat got near Sanchez, she dropped the kitten in front of the woman. When Sanchez reached for the baby, it took off. The mother cat grabbed it again and held it while Sanchez got a firm hold on it.
"We got that kitten inside, and the next morning, all five corncobs were laid out in front of the office door," Tiller said.
Tiller and Sanchez think that the mama cat was keeping track of where her kittens were by using the corncobs. There was no food value to them, and they never saw the kittens, or the cat, playing with the dried-up cobs.
All five kittens are now two-and-a-half months old, and they were spayed and neutered and received their shots this week. The mother cat has also been spayed and has moved into the mobile home with another stray cat that Tiller had taken in a couple of years ago, Handsome.
"We called him Handsome because he was so skinny and so ugly," Tiller said.
Tiller and Sanchez are fairly sure that someone dumped both the mother cat and Handsome. Neither cat could truly fend for itself and would've starved to death if not for the two women.
"The one thing that people need to do is spay and neuter," Tiller said. "They can make such a dramatic impact if they would just do that. Even if it's a neighborhood cat that no one owns."
Tiller wants to find good homes for the kittens, but the kittens must be indoor cats. Plus, there's one major requirement Tiller is demanding from anyone interested in adopting the kittens.
"They have to be loving," she said. "These kittens have been through so much."
Oh, and the corncobs? They're lined up in a row, outside the door of the office where the kittens are living.
Five of them.
On a personal note: Mommy was the lady that lent the cat trap to Ms. Linda. She is a super sweet lady that helped Mommy with her losses of her beloved sons. Mom saw these corn cobs and watched as the story unfolded. These ladies are the sweetest in the world!