Vet Check Up

Newt had his annual check up this past Tuesday. Apparently the whole clinic was cooing and ahhhing over him – not just the vets and techs, but people in the waiting room.

His blood work showed an elevation in his liver enzymes from last year. Not a huge increase, but big enough that we are going to consider milk thistle seed extract for additional hepatic support. Several other liver shunt cat parents have had very good luck with milk thistle for their PSS kitties.

We are SO lucky with our little liver shunt cat. We have progressed from the very early days where it almost seemed as if the vet clinic had a revolving door, to now, where he mostly has a yearly check up, just like a “normal” cat.

Vet was very pleased; said he looks great!  Cat Daddy explained Newt wasn’t looking quite as spiffy as usual, as he’s had mild episodes off and on the last few days (change of season, so, not out of the norm for him). So, great news that even on a not-quite normal day, he looked normal.

Bonus in that for the first time ever, really, he ACTED like a “normal” cat at the vet. (Yeah, ok fine, no such thing as “normal cat” LOL but Newt has historically been abnormally calm and unfazed through all and sundry). Apparently this time, he began using the most uncivilized language upon entering the clinic, hid under the chair in the exam room, then hid in Cat Daddy’s lap during the exam, and when they took him back to draw blood, express anal glands, etc., he continually invoked the most strident string of curse-filled feline objections ever.

::sniff:: My little boy is growing up!

Stress and Shunties

Have missed you guys!  Sorry about not posting for a while. Have been pretty vigilant about doing Newt’s daily tweets ; am hoping that habit will soon develop into more frequent blogs from him.

Alas, have been slammed again with deadlines, so no time for fun writing (aka acting as Pookie’s social secretary!). Nothing major going on with your favorite little spotted Schnookums. Relatively stable overall, with a few minor blips on the radar.

Am convinced more than ever that stress exacerbates his condition (as if I didn’t already beleive that stress can affect our companion animals!). His last bad day was, I believe, triggered by me pulling two all-nighters in a row. Silly boy insisted on staying by my side the entire time.  I know how sick *I* felt after that episode of non-existent sleep; it’s not really surprising to me that our fragile flower feline was also affected. Next time, I think he shall be safely confined away from my office – in his room with his favorite downie and his shunty toy, and forced to nap!

No huge stress going on right now, just the usual round of deadline stress and fatigue.  Combine that with the recent spell of Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr cold weather, and Newt has been acting a bit out of sorts.

No drool, but fur feeling oily, intermittently inappetent and half-crouchy, a bit wobbledy. Was demanding snuggles and Reiki yesterday, and
yet, foraging for snacks!

Am hoping that since I wrapped one of the deadlines this morning, and should finish the other tomorrow, that whatever stress *I* may be experiencing, (thus affecting him), will cease.  Yeah, yeah, students and clients, I hear you, it’s time to start practicing what I preach, and engage in some self-care, no?  But it’s so much easier for me to tell YOU what to do, than it is to do it myself!

I think that I shall take a lesson from Newt, and join him on his “tanning bed,” where he is lounging in the sunbeams … and resting comfortably.

Don’t Bite the Hand that Feeds You

Pookie is back to normal; yay!

By the way, you readers are starting to freak me out a bit

Seeing how I’m all shy, anti-social, quiet and all that – not to mention fiercely private! – it has been a bit disconcerting to see how many subscribers and readers that Newt has accumulated.  The mind, it BOGGLES! What began as a slender Hope that perhaps by posting Newt’s journey, other cat liver shunt parents might find comfort in knowing that they are not alone, has morphed into a strange hodgepodge of the mundanity that is our life. Why on earth would non-cat liver shunt people be interested in Newt? (Let alone my mis-adventures in knitting?!?)

I mean, he’s overwhelmingly adorable and all, but, seriously?  Why are you guys so interested in string and chicken, anyway? There’s tons of fab knitting and crochet blogs out there, innumerable cat blogs, a staggering amount of recipe and cooking blogs (well, okay, I’ll concede, most of them are not related to cooking for CATS, but still!),  and, blogs by holistic practitioners and “normal” writers abound.

So, why are you peeking in Newt’s windows?  And why are you emailing to ask for more info on ME?!?! I’ve never been much of a navel gazer; heck, I can’t even SEE my belly button!  (Well, maybe now that gravity has taken its toll, it IS easier than it used to be!)

Nevertheless, don’t bite the hand that feeds you

You guys are awesome!  I never imagined that random electronic scribbling about a runty, spotted, spoiled, tabby cat with a rare condition would *ever* generate so much interest. So, if rambling tidbits about holistic health care for animals, random cat-food recipes, and basic knitting and crocheting projects all bundles up with our story about little lion-hearted Newt makes you happy and helps to promote awareness of liver shunts in cats, who am I to argue?

Pookie Patrol

Hmmmmm.   After two glorious weeks of Newt being back to his old self, my Paranoiameter is back into overdrive.

Newt has seemed overall fine. Nothing tangible, but you know how those sensors go into high gear.  He was quite the little snugglebum last night, and vigorously cleaned my chin, repeatedly. Appetite is good, but he’s just … quiet.

My primary concerns are:

  • his inner canthi are definitely visible
  • his little nose is clean
  • his cute little pink nose is very pale, almost white

Added up, this really alarms me, because these are the identical things we noted immediately prior to the merry-go-round.

The only time my dirty little boy’s nose is clean is when he is episodic.  The drool burns the boogers off, I do believe.

Seeing the inner corners of his eyelids is a signal from a holistic perspective that something not quite right is going on under the surface.  And the pale nose? My first thought is anemia, or blood pressure. Hydration is good, so don’t think that is it. Need to open his little mouth or catch him mid-yawn, and check his gums.  This is the second time in about a month we’ve seen the nose change color.  Hmmmm come to think of it, I need to see if his little pink footie paws are also lighter.
Rats.  Mouth, gums and footie paws also seem significantly paler than usual.

::deep sigh::

Will see if he wants some Reiki after dinner, and maybe poke around on his liver meridian.

Phase One Recovery Process?

Busy day planned for today, but just a quick post for those of you keeping track of Newt’s current situation.
bright drop knit ribbon scarf

No drool since last night.  He was foraging on the top level of the bay window last night – first time he’s been up there in 20 days. He was quite hungry for his midnight snack, so we gave him his veggie mix.  Eyes bright and alert this morning; Lactulose continues to work, and he ate most of his breakfast.  We tried getting him back on track with his normal, Newt-ritious, home-cooked chicken /veggie mix.  A bit heavier on the chicken and lighter on the veggies than usual, but still.  He ate most of it, yay!  Napping in his box comfortably.  Liver meridian and points seem ok.

Trying to whack some more weeds this morning before heading out to see Reiki clients this afternoon.  Was very excited to see that a real knitter commented on the drop ribbon scarf I made, and said I had inspired them.  OMG how cool is that?

And a couple of folks have already scoped out my favorite project bag – my yummy yellow Crunchies re-usable shopping bag.Only USD $3 at the holistic pet food store Crunchies in Maryland.

It can carry 5 or 6 WIPs, depending on how large, not to mention a week’s supply of pet food, groceries, books, whatever you can cram into it.

Also doubles as a cat hiding place.

Huge, roomy, lightweight, yet sturdy. And looooove that bright yellow!

The owner is Newt’s honorary auntie, so if you go see her, or order one, tell her that Newt sent you.

Day 13 – A, Roller Coaster of Rapid Cycling HE Symptoms

It has been 13.5 days now since Newt hopped on the HE roller coaster.  Actually, probably a bit longer, as we noticed pre-episodic symptoms a couple of days prior.  But the drooling commenced at 6PM on 28 Feb.

Overview, to date:
The only way we can describe it has been that he is rapid cycling between HE symptoms associated with his liver shunt (drooling, lethargic, inappetance, clumsy, agitated, crouchy, purring) to almost back to normal. Mild to moderately symptomatic for an average of 12 – 18 hours, then almost normal for 12 – 18 hours. 

Not once full blown crisis as in the early days, (with major drool, dehydration, masssive lethargy, violent agitation, complete disinterest in food) and yet, not fully back to the normal Newt of the past glorious and wonderful year.

All possible triggers, however remote the probability, have been analyzed and discarded.

We’re staying the course with increased Lactulose, have offered him the holistic, low protein canned food in addition to his normal, home-cooked meals, hydration is still good.  In fact, he was drinking like a camel last night (in and of itself a bit alarming). Finally caught him urinating today, huge relief there. 

Working all points anywhere around the liver meridian, stomach points, liver points, heck am just massaging / acupressure anywhere I can get my hands on him in hopes of stimulating something to help him over the hurdle. He’s accepting Reiki periodically, but not drawing heavily.  Only a couple of times did he want massive quantities, and then, only for a short duration.

This morning, he was drooling, but showed much interest in the canned food, only to eat a mere US Tablespoon of it.  Turned up his nose at the creme fraiche. A bit of the wobbles, and a bit clumsy, but landed neatly on the counter to help me wash dishes.  Also helped me clean the litter pans, sweep and mop, and initiated play with the Lactulose dropper. Once again napping with his One True Love on his bed.

Am headed out to teach a Reiki for Animals class this afternoon.  Cat Daddy is on duty until he leaves for his gig, so at most, Newt will be unmonitored for an hour.

His awesome vet has called in a new Rx; going to try another antibiotic. 

Many thanks to all for their continued encouragement and support. I can’t stress enough that he’s so far, not critical – not even nearly as episodic as we’ve seen him before.  This is just so puzzling, to be bouncing up and down, mid-range, for so long.

Newt’s First Experience with Reiki

The ACO on duty had tried to give the dirty, scrawny, hungry kitten to another cat who had recently weaned her litter.

She was not very accommodating.

He was then placed in the cage with a different cat, Belle, who had delivered one stillborn kitten a week earlier.  She was VERY accommodating, fervently cleaning him, snuggling and loving him, guiding him to her nipples, all the while making little meeps of joy.

But she was not producing milk.

The ACO called me, as at that time I happened to also be working as an ACO, and asked me to come give Reiki to Belle to make her start producing milk.  I explained that this was NOT how Reiki worked, but I would be very happy to try and share Reiki with the kitten and the surrogate, for the greatest good.

Upon arrival at the shelter, I saw for the first time this little scrap of cat.  He was nothing fancy, a mangy little alley cat with dirty, ruffled tabby fur and pleading eyes.

Upon reaching into the cage to say hello to the little fellow, he promptly bit me, attacking my thumb with little snarls and growls, chewing and gnawing hungrily.

I was smitten.

I began performing Reiki on the pair of them, all the while explaining that Reiki was not some sort of on-demand, vending machine, but that at minimum, it would help to calm and relax the pair of them.  Imagine my shock and surprise when Belle’s milk began flowing. 

The kitten quickly switched his biting, chomping, snarling ,growling focus from my thumb to her nipple, and had his first meal in who knows how long.

He was still not expected to survive.