Aby-a-Day – 4 June: Kamikaze kitten (Almost Medical Monday)

Lorelai had a very busy Saturday. First thing in the morning, I called her and she didn’t come. She always comes when I call her. So we looked all over for her, and finally I wondered…did she discover the gap in the balcony windows…and actually jump down?

rorydangerC05752

The balcony’s 2½ metres up from the ground (about 8 feet). It took Jacoby a couple of months to work up the nerve to try it when we first moved here. And, sure enough…I went outside and stood under the balcony and called her…and Rory came running. She jumped. Off. The balcony! And there was a guy with an off-leash bulldog across the lawn. Not good.

rorydangerC05756

So after we brought her back inside, she attempted her next death-defying act.

rorydangerC05759

I was doing some laundry, putting clothes in the dryer. But we don’t have the usual tumble dryer like we had in the States. We have a drying closet. Clothes hang in there and dry. I didn’t even know Rory was in the laundry room with me, let alone that she’d gotten into the drying closet.

rorydangerC05741

I realised she was missing fairly quickly, and got her out of there. But I don’t know how long she was in the dryer, which was set to 60° C. Not too long, thank goodness…but I don’t even want to think about what could have happened. As it was, I instantly doused her with cold water, just in case.

freddyrorydangerC05726

Alfred was first to check on how she was after her dunking.

freddyrorydangerC05728

Freddy is such a good big brother.

rorydangerC05735

rorydangerC05736

rorydangerC05737

Rory didn’t enjoy her cold shower. Hopefully she’ll remember it and avoid the drying closet.

rorydangerC05748

It was a harrowing Saturday morning. But it goes to show you: No matter how much experience you have with cats and kittens, they can still surprise you. I would never have thought Rory would try to jump off the balcony, and I had no idea she’d gotten into the dryer. Without eternal vigilance, the unspeakable can happen.

Aby-a-Day – 28 May: Nothing butt the truth (Medical Monday)

Today’s post is…I’m not going to lie. Today’s post is kind of nasty.

Today’s post is about cats’ anal glands. Now, 99.9% of cat owners don’t even know their cats have anal glands. But if you completely ignore them, it’s (pardon the expression) a complete pain in the ass.

jakefaceC02957

It started with Jacoby, who has had a history of soft poops, which means that his anal glands don’t get expressed natually when he poops. When he started smelling “whiffy,” I would have my vet express them…but it was happening too often to make that a regular thing. He was young and trusting, and I used to have to do this with my old Siamese Harri, so I started expressing Jake’s anal glands the same way I used to do Harri’s. He let me…and now it’s routine. But almost every other week, I’m justified.

I know this is a completely disgusting topic. The stuff in your cat’s anal glands is related to the stuff that skunks spray when they feel threatened. There are two methods used to empty the anal gland sacs; I use the “squeezing a zit” method as opposed to the more invasive, “grab the rubber gloves and the lube” method. It works, and I can sleep at night.

freddyfaceC05007

If you haven’t had the pleasure of dealing with cats’ anal glands.…well, it’s about as pleasant as the words “anal” and “glands” in the same sentence might lead you to believe. Tessie had a problem with hers that ultimately required an anaesthetised procedure, and when I helped my vet to hold her while she looked at the problem, Tessie nearly ripped my throat out. So it pays to get your kittens used to having their bums squoze before it becomes a problem.

roryfaceC04999

Because Jake needed his glands expressed on a regular basis, when we added Alfred and Logan, and later Lorelai, to our family I added “checking the bum” to the bi-weekly grooming routine of weighing, clipping claws, cleaning ears, scraping and brushing teeth (except Angel) and combing and rubbing with Bay Rum and a chamois cloth. I think it helps; at least, it should prevent any horrific issues.

The reason for this post is due to the fact that, this past weekend for the first time ever, I was able to express Angel’s glands. And believe me, she needed it done. It’s a not-so-nice aspect of cat parenting…but it’s an important one. As our friends at Cats Herd You say, why don’t we cat owners talk about these sorts of things more?

Edit: Our friend Summer suggested I post a tutorial on how to do this. Turns out there’s a Japanese YouTube video featuring an Abyssinian that shows pretty much how I do it (but not exactly). For more information on how I express the cats’ glands, read my reply to Summer in comments.

Aby-a-Day 30 April: Jacoby’s mood swings (Medical Monday)

Last week, Jacoby and I went to the vet to check out his sudden shift in attitude.

jakevetIMG_3102

Now, those of you who have followed Jacoby’s career know that he is fine in any situation.

jakevetIMG_3104

And, most of the time I have known him, he has been bulletproof. He’s been through some stuff with me, and he survived it. But lately, he’s been pacing and yowling and growling, and also lashing out at Alfred and Angel. When I clipped his claws, he growled at me the entire time. He never growls when I clip his claws!

jakevetIMG_3107

But the last time we went to the vet, he needed to wear this almost-muzzle just to draw a blood sample!

jakevetIMG_3105

Jake growled and hissed throughout a completely normal examination. His growling and hissing is so…wrong. The vet palpated his body, and she decided he has some soreness, but his bloodwork was completely normal. She has him on Metacam for 20 days, so we’ll see if that helps.

This angriness in Jake is so unlike him…I hope he gets over it.

Aby-a-Day – 9 April: Timing is everything (Part one) (Medical Monday)

As most of you, I think, know, I moved from my beloved Boston to Sweden in June 2016. But what I haven’t had a chance to explain yet is…

angelSBAH_C07422

…my beloved Boston veterinary clinic, South Boston Animal Hospital, moved from East Broadway between H and I Streets (which is now, rather disconcertingly, a nail salon so fancy it calls itself a “nail bar”) to…

jakeSBAH_C07412

…Yeah. Right. In. The. Building. I. Was. LIVING. In.

jakeangelSBAH_C07410

It’s one of the few things I really, really miss about my life back in the US. The fact that, for 15 short, precious days, my vet’s office was in the first floor of the building I lived in. I mean, literally…all we had to do was go down the elevator, go out the front door, walk a few steps outside…and yeah. You’re at the vet. The awesome vet that you love, not the sucky one you go to because you have no options.

jakeSBAH_C07378

We were lucky enough to go there three times before we left.

jakeSBAH_C07386

The opening was supposed to be on my birthday, 1 June, but it was delayed because of…reasons. We visited on 6 June and work still wasn’t quite finished. There were caution cones all over the place.

SBAH_C07389

They did have impressive wifi set up already, though!

jakeSBAH_C07376

jakeSBAH_C07361

Jacoby was eager to check everything out.

jakeangelSBAH_C07403

Angel was…rather less enthusiastic about exploring.

jakeSBAH_C07355

This was our fist visit to the new location before moving. Next week, come along with Jake and me to the SBAH grand opening party!

Aby-a-Day – 2 April: Cat Scan (Medical Monday)

Last month, I posted about Jacoby’s only urinary incident since we moved to Sweden. At that time, I could not find the photos of our first trip to the vet when he got an ultrasound. Well, guess what? I was looking in the wrong folder!

posterjakevetIMG_6484

Like most vets, there is are separate waiting rooms for cats and dogs. They had this poster in the cat waiting area.

posterjakevetIMG_6485

Not too sure about this Abyssinian, though…

jakevetIMG_6490

This was our first trip to what became our regular vet hospital. We came here because the place Björn used to go to wasn’t able to fit Jake in for an emergency when he started showing signs of bladder distress. This place was able to see us that day…and I was so impressed, they became our regular vet.

jakevetIMG_6495

As usual, Jake calmly explored both the waiting room and the exam room…Uh, Jake? I think the doctor’s meant to sit there, not you.

jakevetIMG_6504

As we hadn’t been seen here before, Jake needed to be weighed.

jakevetIMG_6505

4.36 kilos. Not bad, that’s a little over 9½ US pounds.

jakevetIMG_6502

After they checked him out, they decided he needed an ultrasound to see what was going on with his bladder. Normally, they shave the belly, but since we had a cat show in Finland coming up in a couple of weeks, they very kindly did the scan with all his fur on.

jakevetMG_6501

It just made him a little messy from the gel.

IjakevetMG_6498

Then the lights were turned off and he got scanned.

jakescanIMG_6500

Turns out, it wasn’t crystals this time at all! He had a little polyp in his bladder.

jakevet-sketchIMG_6503

In case you can’t see what is going on in the scan, the vet made me a little sketch to describe the polyp.

He didn’t even need antibiotics; they just gave him Buprenex and Metacam. He recovered perfectly, and when we went back for a recheck and second scan, the polyp had resolved itself. I wonder if it’s the better quality food that’s fended off his UT problems?

Aby-a-Day – 19 March: Angel at the vet (Medical Monday)

The first time we took Jacoby and Angel to the vet was in September 2016. We went to introduce ourselves (which turned out to be pointless since we ended up going to the other vet in in town), to get a refill of Angel’s Amitriptyline prescription, and to get both Jake and Angel their EU Passports (about which more in an upcoming post).

angelvetIMG_6408

Angel can be a little skittish and fearful at home, but she loves to explore when we’re at the vet.

angelvetIMG_6410

angelvetIMG_6416

She’s so cute when she’s curious.

angelvetscanIMG_6421

Before the passport can be issued, the vet needs to scan her microchip to make certain she is really herself and not an imposter. Microchips are much more important in Europe than they are in the States. Besides being listed as the cat’s version of a social security number, they are also required for pet insurance, and every cat’s microchip is scanned when you check in at a cat show.

angelvetIMG_6423

Yep, Angel is Angel!

pyretangeljakevetIMG_6428

Jake is happy to just chill on a chair while Angel explores.

pyretangelbjornvetIMG_6430

Angel watches as Björn takes Pyret out of her carrier.

angelvetIMG_6435

While the vet and Björn attempt to have Pyret examined, Angel checks out the floor again.

jakeangelvetIMG_6438

Abys are so different from other cats at the vet.

Aby-a-Day – 12 March: Takes a ticking and keeps on licking (Medical Monday)

Disclaimer: This post contains images of a disgusting, blood-sucking parasite…no, not the one currently occupying the White House…I am talking an actual arachnid. If you’re squeamish about creepy crawlies, you might want to scroll quickly.

jaketickC01993

The first summer we lived in Sweden, Jacoby went out on several outdoor expeditions in the tall grass on the slope near our apartment.

jaketickC01994

A day or two after one such outing, I petted Jake and felt…a lump. I inspected it more closely, and…EWWWWWWWwwwwwwwwwww!

trixC01996

It was a tick! A big, nasty, swollen, blood-engorged tick! I don’t do exoskeletal, multi-legged things (except lobsters, crabs and shrimp), but Björn grew up next to a lake in Sweden and has dealt with ticks many times. He even had the appropriate extraction tool at the ready.

jaketickC02003

Between cringing and making “ew” noises, I wasn’t much help.

jaketickC02007

So I just held Jake still and took photos.

jaketickC02008

I am so glad that Björn knows how to handle these monsters. It was hard enough just taking and editing the photos!

jaketickC02012

All I know about ticks is what I’ve read in the Warriors books, and I was fresh out of moss and mouse bile.

jaketickC02013

Of course, I could have always looked online for instructions on tick removal…but there was still that whole “I don’t do bugs” thing, so…

jaketickC02014

…it’s a good thing I have Björn.

jaketickC02017

Because…Ew! Ew-ew-ew-ew! EWWW!