What a Week

What a week!

Hoo boy, Zoo Keeping is a full time job! And indeed, it has been a zoo around here lately.  This post is going to be quite long probably, and eventually I will probably edit it into smaller bites within the relevant timeline, but for now, going to sit and type it all out just to have something up here.

Highlights / Lowlights:

Newt’s still  been peeing / spraying / marking / oh boy.  Tests ruled out UTI, so we’re pretty sure it’s behavioral and not health-related. Finally managed to get a urine sample from Mr Suddenly Shy Boy.  After all these months of leaping into the box when it’s being cleaned so he can do his business at the same time, he turned shy. And sneaky. 

A determined (and lucky) Cat Daddy managed to snag a sample while  I scrambled to locate the previously ever present specimen cup.  Cat Daddy is quite resourceful.  Let’s just say it involved a squirmy kitty and an old brass bell, and leave it at that, for the sake of Cat Daddy’s dignity, shall we? 

Speaking of Cat Daddy’s dignity, Newt’s marking has reached epic status.  We discovered that *someone* had peed on my accordion (no musical jokes, please!) which had been sitting on a chair, wedged against a desk, minding its own business. Nothing in the world smells *quite* like old accordion liberally doused with cat urine.

The next day, Cat Daddy was sitting down to a much deserved rest and treat of steamed shrimp.  He’s been working practically around the clock, and finally caught a chance to watch TV and nosh on some of his favorite treats.  Ahem.  No rest for the weary when wayward whizzers wander.

Newt leapt upon the end table and proceeded to let fly a stream, hitting the couch, the table, the floor, and the unamused Cat Daddy, but fortunately missing the longed-for lunch.  So much for peace and quiet.

Gads, that man has the patience of a saint!  While I, not being terribly fond of steamed shrimpies, happen to share Newt’s commentary on their aroma, still, that was just …. rude! And don’t even get me started on the interesting things upon which one stumbles whilst searching for ways to remove urine from musical instruments.  Okay, well maybe a later post might be added, found some REALLY funny stuff, but at the mo, Cat Daddy was not in the mood for amusement

Aluminum Foils Cats? HA!
Taking a tip to prevent repeat offenses in the same area, I layered one particularly favorite location with aluminum foil, having read that keeps cats away as they don’t like it.

Laugh with me now, we’re not talking about normal cats, we’re talking about NEWT.  A new, bright and shiney blanky!  He wiggled, he writhed, he cleaned and preened upon it.  He rolled, he tumbled, he chased his bell toy and vigorously played soccer on this vast expanse of shimmery new playing field.  He slept peacefully upon it.

Fortunately, he did NOT pee upon it.

At least for the next twelve hours.

Immediately after posting this, caught him scratching the tin foil, and whizzing away. 

Scratch plastering the house in aluminum as a foil to feline folly.


Black Light Failure or Neurotic Pee Cleaning Dynamo?:
OK I know I’ve been neurotic about cleaning the evidence, but either I’m a far better pee removal specialist than I ever thought, or our non-toxic, natural ingredients for urine removal (white vinegar, baking soda, peroxide, microfiber cloths) work better than I could have hoped, or, we have a defective black light.

Ever skeptical, my vote is on the defective black light. 

Finally brave enough to hunt for residue, even after repeated, ongoing, deep cleaning attempts – I KNOW there’s something there; I can SMELL it – I crept round the whole house in the witching hour of midnight, with my handy dandy pocket flashlight / blacklight combo.

Not a single urine spot ANYWHERE!

I can’t believe it.  Oh, the black light is working: the whites in the laundry glowed an eerie glow; tiny, random particles of kitty litter sparkled a path throughout the house (note to self, “must switch focus from intensive pee cleaning to improved litter sweeping”); and, Newt’s innocent little white footie paws glowed mockingly at me, as together we hunted for evidence of his transgressions.

But not one single spot of urine?!?!? Anywhere?  Is this some sort of cruel cosmic joke?  Old house, pets (and owner!) with bladder and kidney issues dating back even before our menagerie arrived.  Surely you jest, there must be some residue somewhere.

Nope.  Zip, zilch, zero, nada, nothing.  Kein urin.  Well, from whence comes this fragrant aroma?

Am I, in my ongoing battle with the Urinator, experiencing Piss Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms consisting of olfactory hallucinations after smelling the battlefield littered with desecrated musical instruments and innocent crustaceans?

Emergency Room Visit
Newt’s One True Love ended up in the ER. 

I originally thought it was a complication of her kidney disease (CRF) but tests ruled that out, and the sudden onset and symptoms seem to point to possible food poisoning.  Don’t worry, she’s fine now, but we had quite a scare for a while.  Haven’t seen any crickets, and hunting is beneath her dignified status as the Exhalted Elderly Queen Ruler of Our Domain, but that seems to be a likely culprit.  

Of course this all happened right before my appearance at Mighty Healthy Pet to provide free demonstrations on energy work and holistic health care for animals, so it was pretty hairy for a bit. Nothing jolts the holistic practitioner’s ego quite like a frantic phone call explaining to the very patient store manager that you are going to be late because your cat has a problem for which you need to rush to the vet!  ::smile::  Seriously, it was a prime example of why I ardently believe that an integrative approach and a good relationship with traditional vets is SO important.  It should not be an “us against them” mentality; that is something I continually fight to explain. After all, we’re all in this for the same goal, that of improving the health and quality of life for animals, right? 

Fortunately, our ER vet, while traditional, has some experience with homeopathy and Ayuverdic medicine, so he understood why we do not have “One True Love” on a prescription diet, but rather a holistic one, especially once I pointed out the by-products in the suggested prescription food, and cited sources pertaining to meat by-products and corn as components in cat nutrition, particularly in those with compromised digestive systems.

So, a horribly frightening experience ended up with a very  positive exchange and teaching moment, and while it did not occur at the venue originally planned, nonetheless it was a discussion on holistic options for care. And the event, while later than planned, seemed very well received and attended.  So all worked out well in the end, just not according to my plan.

Interesting observation – One True Love was not at all receptive to Reiki during the episode.  Afterward, she quickly reverted back to being the total reiki sponge that she is, but in the crisis, nada. Same thing for Newt, in spite of all the stress and excitement of the past couple of weeks, he has not been very interested in reiki, either.  Have switched to more massage instead for now.

Six Vet Trips in Eight Days?
Gotta check the calendar, but I seem to recall: one house call for Jake’s flea allergy (I hate fleas); two urine tests; one behavior visit and weigh, one blood test, and one ER visit.  Bonus visit to specialist to discuss process for pre-op questions on “Newtering.”

No wonder they recognize my voice on the phone!

Attack of the Swarming Horde of Angry Yellow Jackets, Part Deux:
My fault, totally. Second attack this year. First time, they swarmed and chased me into the house.  I was more worried about keeping them away from Newt and Cat Daddy than I was about flashing the neighbors in my haste to disrobe and get the angry buggers out of my clothes.  

First onslaught caused naught but a bunch of stings, about a dozen angry red, itching and sore welts.  Second attack fewer stings but more impressive after effects. Sprouted a third … ahem … bosom.  Anyone who knows me, knows I have no desire for, nor need of, additional bosoms.   

Not as many stings, but first time to show reactivity (impressive swelling!).  baking soda to the rescue.  Applied a poultice and by morning, bonus boobage banished (poor Cat Daddy, don’t be greedy!).  Minimal post-attack pain and suffering. 


The Great Goo Rush
Was almost out of Newt’s Famous Secret Sauce, aka “Goo.”

No problem, our friendly Bone Collector had delivered a nice stash of frozen chicken and turkey bones.  Carrots and other leftover frozen veggies were obtained, bones thawed, time to bring the bigass crock pot from over the top of the cupboard and get to Brewin’ Goo.

Did I ask Cat Daddy for help? Nooooooooo.  Did I pull out the ever present step stool, specifically designed to prevent stubborn short people like me who want to believe that they are taller than they think they are from having uneccessary kitchen accidents? 

All together now, “Nooooooooooooooo.”

Over-reached, tilted the thing toward me for a better grip, and got whopped on the head by the bigass crockpot’s equally bigass, heavy glass lid crashing down


Well, at least my head cushioned its fall well enough that it didn’t break.

Goo Brewin’ commenced.

Obviously I was off my game, (lumps on head can do that, I suppose), as this batch of Goo was not quite the perfect gooey goodness I have perfected.  Oh, it smelled yummy, and had the rich color, but it didn’t set like usual.  Oh well, it should work, right?

Packaged, processed and froze, and hoped for the best.

An aside – do you have ANY idea of how many tiny little single portion serving sized freezer cups there are in this house? And how I can never seem to find one when I need it?  Oh yeah, they are all in the freezer, holding chicken or Goo!

Way to Goo, Mommy!
Newt sort of went off his feed a bit.  Obviously the latest batch of Newt’s Famous Secret Sauce (aka Goo) was not quite to his liking.  Late night run to grocery for his favorite rotisserie chicken.

Oh, no!  The only, lonely chicken left was … ::gasp:: BOURBON chicken!  The LAST thing we need to throw on his delicate liver and rampaging teenage hormones is BOOZE!

He finally relented to eating the less-than perfect Goo.  Next day, obtained the last, non-flavor enhanced, boozeless bird.  Gently drained the priceless Goo, and poured it into a container. 

Spilled it all while carefully trying to open the cover for Newt’s midnight snack. 

Goo covered the stove, the floor, the Newt, the Newt’s mommy, the dog …

Way to Goo, Mommy!

Real Time Communication Options?

Does anyone have any suggestions or advice on how we, as shunt cat owners, can communicate effectively in a timely fashion? My best advice has been to guide folks over to the Yahoo Liver Shunt and MVD Support Group. They are an experienced and amazing group of folks with lots of info, a very active group.

We’ve gotten a couple of new shunt parents, a couple of our “old timers” are having some issues, and am at a loss as to how best assist in the information sharing process.  So many of you have far more experience at this, and it would really benefit owners to be able to chat together more quickly, instead of waiting for the questions to be posted in the blog or in a NewtsLetter.

Don’t want to re-invent the wheel by trying to start another yahoo group, that would be silly, but want to help. So any suggestions or ideas would be most welcome!

Come ‘ere, You Little Pissant!

Am becoming a bit concerned about Newt.  He’s developed a new habit of … ahem … “thinking outside of the box,” if you will.

To be blunt, he has begun peeing in inappropriate locations!  Grocery bags, cardboard boxes, dog food bowl … Grrrrrrrrrr.  Poor Cat Daddy, poor Mommy,  poor Newt. Oh, and Poor Greycie, too; she’s Newt’s “One True Love” who was recently diagnosed with early stage kidney disease / Chronic Renal Failure.  We had suspected that it was she who was having issues, but then we discovered Newt’s new game when we caught him in the act.

I swear, he used up yet another of his 9+ lives when I discovered that he had not only knocked my fabulous new, bright yellow Crunchies bag onto the floor and had a whiz on it, he had also snagged my favorite scarf off of my chair and onto the bag to cover it! Fortunately for him, I had recently removed the latest knitting project out of the Crunchies bag, and it was sitting on the desk, empty. But, still! 

In addition to the peeing issue, he has been showing some serious aggression off and on the last week, went mildly symptomatic for about 10 hours on Friday, and has been a bit off his feed. 

Needless to say, I have been stalking him with a specimen cup for the last several days, trying to get a urine sample to take to the vet. But suddenly, Mr. “I’m going to leap in and pee in the box while you are cleaning it” has gotten shy.  And sneaky.

So, am a bit worried on more than one count.  Do we have a UTI? Are we seeing Struvite crystals? Has he begun ::horrified gasp:: spraying?

Because of his reactiveness to just about everything, neutering has not yet been performed. The original plan was to have him neutered at the time of his shunt surgery.  But since the Ultrasound was inconclusive, and we then decided to not pursue surgery because the vets were not sure he could survive the anaesthesia and we didn’t have a good read on his shunt anyway, well, let’s just say that Pookie’s Package is still present.

Needless to say, he’s had quite a bit of “time out” the last couple of days. And instead of me calling “here, kitty kitty,” the refrain has changed to reflect his newest nickname, compliments of the ever-witty Cat Daddy:

“Come ‘ere, you little Pissant!”