Aby-a-Day – 19 Juli: Another trip to the veternarian (Medical Hipstamatic Monday)

Today, Angel had a follow-up visit to the vet to check on her eye

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This is Angel at the bus stop. It’s a two-bus, half hour trip to the vet…sigh. If I was still in Boston, my vet would be on the first floor. But I digress.

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Angel’s a pretty good traveler, except she tends to yell a lot.

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When we got to the exam room. Angel was not sure she wanted to leave her carrier.

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Angel had some spicy commentary about having to be at the vet at all.

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Still, overall, Angel was pretty calm. Until Dr. Brigetta came in. Then stuff got real.

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First, Angel got some eyedrops.

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Angel had had ENOUGH long before Dr. Brigitta was finished examining her. Angel got several eyetests, including one that measured how many tears she produced in a measured time period. That one was actually pretty cool.

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She still has vascularisation in her eye and will need another course of eyedrops. Awesome. Wow.

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When the examination was finished, Angel got treatos.

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Angel got all the treatos.

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Then, we were homeward bound.

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This is on the bus ride home.

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Angel walked part of the way home, but she kept wanting to go into the bushes.

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I am glad she was on a leash…Extracting cats from bushes is a pain.

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At the end of the day, Angel was more than ready to go home. And yes, she also knows where she lives.

Aby-a-Day – 10 Juni: Another trip to Min Veterinär (Thursday Things)

If you are a regular follower, you know the story behind Angel’s eye. You may also remember we took Angel to Angell Hospital to see an Dr. Biros, an opthalmology specialist.

Back then she was diagnosed with open chronic inactive keratitis with corneal scarring, a result of her early Feline Herpesvirus that took her left eye as a kitten.

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So, this morning Angel and I took the long bus ride to Min Veterinär.

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“Wait, what? I was just here yesterday!”

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She waited in her carrier for the doctor and her assistant to come in.

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First they put some drops in her eye to dilate her pupil.

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Then the lights were dimmed.

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And the doctor shone a light into Angel’s eye to examine the cornea.

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Then we decided to check her blood to see if there was anything systemic going on.

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First, of course, we had to shave her leg.

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Tomorrow is her 14th birthday, and I don’t think she’s ever had her blood tested. Even without any eye problems, it’s a good idea to see if there’s anything else we need to worry about.

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And then we were done.

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She was a very good patient.

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Then, we had to wait for the bus back home.

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We had just missed one bus, so we had a 14 minute wait for the next one. I let Angel out to get some air.

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She was good, and went back into her carrier when she was finished exploring (not that there’s much to explore at that bus stop).

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When we got off the bus at home, I let her out again. She walked part of the way…

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…and rode part of the way.

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After two trips to the vet in two days, we were both happy to get home.

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Apparently, her previous open chronic inactive keratitis has been activated. The doctor prescribed Dexmethasone drops, so hopefully that will deactivate her keratitis.

Aby-a-Day – 21 September: Arrrrrrgh! It be Talk Like a Pirate Day! (Friday Fashion Flashback)

Wednesday was Talk Like a Pirate Day. But as you know, Angel has always been our pirate.

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She has had her pirate dress, hat and eyepatch for over five years now!

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That’s kind of mind-boggling to me. It feels like we just got everything yesterday!

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But in fact, last year I had to replace the feathers on Angel’s hat because they were just starting to disintegrate.

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However, I think the new feathers look a lot better than the old ones! Feathers are a big part of the Swedish Easter celebration; they are used to make Påskris, birch twigs decorated with colourful feathers. So every spring I will be able to easily find replacement feathers for Angel…

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…as long as I can remember in October where I put them when I bought them in April!

Aby-a-Day – 6 January: “The eyes are the windows of your face”

Those of you who remember the last time I posted on a Saturday may recall that I was a participant in the Saturday Photo Hunt. Each week bloggers would be given a word to portray with a photo. It was a fun little challenge, but, sadly, the last word was Saturday, 31 December…2016.

So. There goes my easy Saturday topic! I am working on a series of posts about our flight to Sweden, but it’s going to take me some time; that will start next Saturday.

So…let’s have Silly Saturday today, shall we? I saw the above meme posted on Facebook somewhere and I absolutely cracked up, for obvious reasons. So as soon as I could, I found me some googly eyes. Yellow, of course.

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Unfortunately, even the largest ones I was able to find were still too small. And, well, there wasn’t a really good way to keep it on her face. I tried Scotch tape, and then duct tape, but neither one worked. I was barely able to keep it on long enough to snap this photo.

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So I had to resort to my good old friend Photoshop. Much better.

Aby-a-Day – October 27: Behind the scenes of a cartoon (Cartoon Tuesday)

While I was looking for something else, I came across a couple of “idea sketches” I did for a pair of my holiday cartoons last year. I thought it was kind of interesting, so I figured I’d share them with you to show my process for cartooning.

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I often quickly sketch out an idea while I’m at work. I simply grab a sheet of copy paper and a pencil and draw the idea out of my head. In this case, it was an idea about Jacoby wearing an ugly Christmas sweater. And, of course, a joke about Angel’s eye.

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I happened to refine this sketch a bit on my iPad using an app called Paper. The wording for the joke itself was tweaked a bit from the original sketch.

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And here’s the final version. The sweater was actually created by taking several of the worst sweaters I could find in a Google Image search and compositing them together in Photoshop. I was trying to make the worst Christmas sweater EVER.

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This one changed a lot from the original sketch to the final cartoon. Originally, my idea of catnip eggnog had Jake a lot more goofy.

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But in the final version, Angel wins the day. I’m not sure why I decided to add a slam on football…other than I absolutely loathe it and hate what it does to Sundays (and Mondays, and Thursdays) for a quarter of the year in the United States.

Aby-a-Day – March 1: “Boogie” (Saturday Photo Hunt)

This week’s Photo Hunt subject is “Boogie.”

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Angel gets a lot of eye boogies in her good eye (it’s a side effect of the eye infection she had as a kitten). I usually Photoshop them out of the photo, but sometimes I miss one.

Aby-a-Day – November 4: Dona Nobis Pacem (Hipstamatic Monday)

“If there were to be a universal sound depicting peace, I would surely vote for the purr” ~ Barbara L. Diamond

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Here’s how you can participate in the annual blog blast for peace.

Aby-a-Day – October 14: The Eye Has It

It occurred to me that I have a lot of new readers, and a lot of you don’t know the story behind Angel’s eye.

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It’s always been missing, as long as I have known her. She lost it when she was about 4 months old, I think.

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This is her story, as I was told it by Purebreds Plus, her rescue:

The story behind Angel’s eye and foster situation is sad; The breeder had a couple of tough years with her mother who was sick and dying and in the midst of this her pregnant females in December of 2006 – January 2007 were getting sick. Almost 75% of the kittens born were dead or died shortly after birth. She had never had this problem before and only when the pet food information came did she begin to put things together as she was feeding some of the recalled foods. When she bred her females (and a couple of the kittens born to them), health problems showed up in the lines – Herpes infections like none seen before with ulcerated eyes and very sick cats. Not being as careful as usual, her numbers increased and unhealthy cats increased.

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I met the breeder at a cat show in October 2007 and we talked about me taking some of her cats. I knew nothing about the situation. A week before Christmas she called me and we set January 1 as the day I would take 5 of her cats. The very next day she took 4 other cats to the Humane Society and asked that 3 be put down and the other (Angel) be put up for adoption. Two days later the Humane Society paid a visit and found a house with over 60 cats, spotlessly clean. She gave up the sickest cats and others, totaling 18 cats. The Humane Society called us, and on Friday December 20th, we spent 3 hours there bathing cats’/kittens’ eyes that were horribly stuck together and gave meds. They could only allow us to take the original 4 as there is a 72 hour rule in California. Sunday the 23rd we went back and took the other 16 (2 had died). Then at the breeder’s house we took 5 more cats – a total of 14 kittens and 11 others between 5 months and 14 months. We separated the kittens by illness levels and 9 of the healthiest kittens went to Southern California Aby Rescue. Unfortunately 5 of those died. Of the 5 that we kept, 2 died over the next 3 months, both of FIP. The other 3 were adopted. Of the other Abys 2 of the younger ones died and the others were adopted except Angel, who had many problems over the months finally with an eye ulcerating in April. She has been healthy since.

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(Angel also had another medical problem: when they removed her ulcerated eye, the veterinarian – for a reason I can’t fathom – put a prosthetic eye into Angel’s eye socket. Her body rejected it. So she had to undergo another surgery to remove her fake eye!)

The problems:

· Upper Respiratory Infections that finally healed, then eyes ulcerated. Some eyes were saved and a couple had the eye removed. This was different than the normal herpes infections that we had seen in rescue where the conjunctiva was swollen and goopy. The eyes ulcerated seemingly overnight and it was a relentless treatment regime that could save then (if it did).

· Bordatella – took 6 weeks of Doxy to go away

· Some of the cats were vaccinated (for FIP). Of the cats that died, they all had vaccines and 3-6 weeks after got sick and then died of FIP. The breeder begged us not to vaccinate because she had the same problem.

· Ringworm – Over the 7 months we have taken 35 cats and have about 10 more coming. The ones we have seen since April have not been as ill and that is what we expect of the remaining 10.

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Really horrific! I don’t know who the breeder was, or if she was CFA or TICA, but it’s easy for things to snowball out of control like this. Not an excuse, by any means, but sometimes things coalesce into a perfect storm, and I think this was one of those times. For all my dreams of being an Aby breeder someday, I know it’s not easy, and I know breeders have these sorts of meltdowns sometimes.

I think Angel’s breeder had one of those times.

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We think Angel was born mid-June, 2007, which would make her a year and three months old when I adopted her. We decided to use June 11 as her birthday, as it is halfway between my birthday and my husband’s.

As I posted on Friday, for her first five months with us, Angel was afraid of our floor. She only felt comfortable on our sofa or our bed. Even now, she prefers these two places, although she’s added others, like the TV stand, the cat trees, the windowsills, and the bank of cat beds alongside the windows. But even today, four years later, it isn’t common to see her walking around in the middle of the floor.

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Angel is an amazing cat. Her experiences have stolen some of her Abyness…but not all of it. There are some things she does that are very, very Abyssinian. Sherry, Jacoby and Gun-Hee’s breeder, once said that Angel needed to rediscover her “inner Abyssinian,” and I think that’s a great assessment.

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Every day, Angel comes out of her shell just a little bit more. It’s fascinating to watch…and I love sharing it with all of you.

Good News for Angel and Other Cats with FHV-1!

Just in time for Angel’s birthday, look at this article that the Winn Foundation posted this morning: Treatment of feline ocular herpesvirus infection.

The Winn Foundation selects several feline research projects to fund, and this year the Feline Herpesvirus study was one of those selected.

According to the Winn Foundation’s post: Feline herpesvirus-1 (FHV-1) typically causes respiratory disease in cats. However, chronic infections can cause severe eye disease that may lead to blindness. Currently there is no effective treatment for these chronic cases. Previous Winn funding has helped the investigators design a therapeutic agent – small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) – which use the cell’s own machinery to inhibit viral replication through the targeting of essential herpesvirus genes. The investigators have developed a nanoparticle delivery vehicle composed of chitosan, a nontoxic substance, to package these siRNAs for delivery into cells. The goal of this study is to develop a hydrogel, similar to a soft contact lens, for delivery of the nanoparticles. The hydrogel can be placed directly into the cat’s eye, allowing for successful drug uptake. This method will also provide extended continuous delivery of the FHV-1 specific siRNAs into the cells of the cornea. This study will potentially lead to development of a product suitable for use in cats’ eyes for the treatment of FHV-1 infections.

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This would be a tremendous breakthrough for cats like Angel. I give her L-Lysine treats and L-Lysine powder in her food everyday, but her remaining eye is still very runny and goopy; it’s been shown that ingesting L-Lysine with food isn’t the best way to get it into a cat’s system, but she won’t eat the gels or let me give her L-Lysine pills. However, it sounds like this is even better than L-Lysine, since it actually acts as an antagonist to the Feline Herpesvirus rather than just blocking it. And the fact that it goes directly into her eye, which is the source of the problem, makes it that much more attractive.

Let’s hope that this treatment works, and gets onto the market ASAP!

Aby-a-Day – February 23: The one-eyed cat is queen

Yesterday’s Wordless Wednesday photo was an accident; I didn’t mean to take that photo with the flash on. And, whenever I can, I touch the eye reflections up in Photoshop. But this photo shows the “scars” on Angel’s good eye so well, I left it the way it was.

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I’m not sure if it’s because of the eye infection she had as a kitten, but most of the time when you look at Angel’s eye, it’s dilated and dark. Only in certain light does it look like a regular cat’s eye.

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And I’m not even sure what the “perfect” conditions are for her pupil to turn into a typical cat-like slit. It’s not just bright sunlight. It seems to need to be the right kind of bright sunlight.

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I find it interesting when her eye looks “normal.”

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So when I see it, I tend to take a lot of photos of her.

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And as long as I remember to turn off the flash, Angel’s totally fine with that :-)!

Aby-a-Day – February 22: Wordless Wednesday (Angel’s good eye)

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Aby-a-Day – September 22: Unadoptable is in the eye of the beholder

This week is “Adopt a Less Adoptable Pet Week”, into which category Angel inexplicably falls. For some reason, people just don’t want to adopt one-eyed kitties, even when they’re purebred Abyssinians. As her foster mom told me, “People are funny about (missing) eyes. Either it doesn’t bother them, or they just can’t handle it.”

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Angel is a rescue, and because of her history she does have some quirks (like occasionally peeing on piles of fabric left on the floor) and idiosyncrasies that perhaps some cat owners wouldn’t want to deal with, but let me assure you, the fact that she has only one eye has nothing to do with her being a good kittypet.

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And even though Jacoby tends to hog the spotlight around here, Angel would like to remind all of our readers that she is alive and well. She just doesn’t do these cat show thingies, and she’s perfectly happy staying home. Besides, let’s face it, Jake can be a bit of a drama king.

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Let it never be said that Angel is not talented: here is her impression of Wayne Gretzky on the ice when an enforcer is heading his way and the referee happens to be looking in his direction. Pretty good, eh?

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So don’t worry about Angel…she is just spending some quality time with Tessie while Jake and Kylie go to the shows.

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Well…okay, maybe Angel’s not completely thrilled about that last one.

Abys in Need – Update on Ali

You may recall that back in May I posted about Ali the Red Aby, who was being fostered by Angel’s rescue, Purebreds Plus. Well, it turns out she shares Angel’s eye troubles, as this story is currently on their home page:

Please Help Us With Ali’s Medical Costs
Ali is a lovely 5½ year old Red Abyssinian female. She came into rescue in April. Her foster mom noticed that she had very watery eyes and started her on L-Lysine. But Ali was a very nervous girl and upset by the changes in her life and in June her eyes flared up. A trip to the eye vet diagnosed 6 ulcers on one eye and an older ulcer on the other. It was obvious that she had flareups prior to being surrended to us but they were not medically managed and that is why her eyes are not the normal Abyssinian oval shape. We do know she has the feline herpes virus. Ali needs sponsorship for a PCR test, her medicines and medical appointments which are scheduled every 2-3 weeks. Even on the medicines her ulcers are not under control and she continues to have problems. It is estimated that her treatment over time will run about $1200. Ali will be in rescue for a long while yet and she appreciates any help you can give her.

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Poor girl! She’s just a bit older than Angel, and as I said before, I would not be at all surprised if she and Angel aren’t related – they certainly do look alike! I am quite familiar with Feline Herpes Virus flare-ups; even with daily doses of L-Lysine, Angel’s remaining eye is still quite runny, and we have to watch it closely to make sure she doesn’t have any complications as she gets older.

If you want to help, there’s a Paypal link on Purebreds Plus’ home page.

Aby-a-Day – April 26: Yo ho ho and a barrel of catnip!

Thanks to Etsy artist Cat Atelier, I finally have the one thing Angel’s always needed: A pirate eye patch!

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It’s made of leather, in her signature purple. And it’s not the first one that she’s made, either; evidently Angel isn’t the only pirate kitty out there.

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Angel was about as thrilled as you might expect about her new accessory.

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I suppose I’m lucky to have gotten any photos of her wearing it at all!

Aby-a-Day – January 23: Window dressing

Because of Angel’s missing eye, she has somewhat faulty depth perception. Where Jacoby leaps onto the windowsill without a second thought, Angel has to strategise.

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When they were trying to look at the blizzard the other day, it was really interesting to watch Angel. She really wanted to jump up on that windowsill…

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…but she just wasn’t sure she could make it.

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Finally, she decided that she could see the snow just fine from where she was, thank you.

Aby-a-Day – Day 322 of 365

Angel sleeping on top of the cat tree. She looks like a pumpkin!

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I love to get close-ups of her “bad” eye, and while she’s asleep is the best time to take them.

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It looks like a normal, closed eye…but at the same time, it doesn’t.

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I often wonder what she would look like if she hadn’t rejected her prosthetic eye.

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Would she be able to close it? Or would she have been sleeping with one eye open?

Aby-a-Day – Day 264 of 365

I don’t know exactly why, but Angel’s remaining eye is usually dilated. It’s hardly ever a catlike slit except in the brightest of bright sunshine.

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So, of course I find this endlessly fascinating.

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Because she has some spots on her cornea, it’s not easy to tell what colour Angel’s eye is. I think that her eye is gold, a little less orange than Jake’s are.

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Her eye is large compared to her facial structure and cheekbones. Sometimes I think that if she did still have both eyes, she’d look like an owl with more eyes than face!

Aby-a-Day – Day 202 of 365

As I’ve posted earlier, tomorrow we have an appointment for Angel to see an opthalmologist at Angell Hospital because our regular vet found “deposits” on Angel’s eye during her annual exam.

She lost her left eye to complications from an upper respiratory infection and Feline Herpesvirus when she was still a kitten, and since then her right eye has always been a little cloudy; here’s an accidental close-up photo I took last year that shows the cloudiness on her good eye really well.

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This is a more recent photo which also shows her good eye; to me, the spots look about the same as they did last year. Apparently Dr. Waggener saw something new and referred us to a specialist. So, to prepare for the visit, I did what any 21st century person would do: I Googled “feline cornea deposits.”

First I found this overview of Feline Opthamology with great illustrative photographs on the website of a San Francisco Bay Area veterinary office – fitting since Angel is from Northern California. I also found an article on Feline Eosinophilic Keratitis from the University of Georgia goes into quite a lot of detail. And then there’s this article from the 2001 Small Animal Opthamology Symposium which has a clear description of Feline Herpesvirus-related eye problems, including Eosinophilic Keratitis.

From our vet’s description and what I’ve read, it doesn’t seem to be Progressive Retinal Atrophy, which is a genetic condition frequently found in Abyssinians. It’s so common, in fact, that it was one of the reasons that an Abyssinian was used to sequence the feline genome.

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The spots are much more visible when you get the reflection from the tapetum lucidium, but here is what her eye looks like under natural light.

Of course, until tomorrow morning, we have no way of knowing just what is going on with Angel’s eye, and even after we see the opthalmologist we still may not have an answer. I just hope that it is something that can be managed.

Aby-a-Day – Day 196 of 365

As I posted ealier, our visit to the veterinarian was fairly uneventful; the one major concern was that our vet found “deposits” on Angel’s remaining eye and referred us to an opthamology specialist at Angell Medical Center. She has an appointment to see Dr. Biros next week. Hopefully it’s nothing. For her to lose her remaining eye would be devestating. She loves her vision, and she treasures it more than the other cats.

One quirk of Angel’s is that she is not fond of being restrained or medicated. She doesn’t get violent, she doesn’t bite or scratch…but she’s really strong and she can push your hands – and arms – away. I actually got one of those kitty straight jackets to medicate her when we first adopted her. She tore out the zipper. Right now, she’s on Gentamicin, two drops a day, and putting it in her eye is about as fun as you might imagine; not only do I have to hold her firmly (this generally requires three limbs), but I have to get her to keep her eye open so the drops actually go into her eye and not just onto her cheek. I also have to palm the bottle because if she sees it in my hand, she’ll hide.

At the vet, we have to keep a really good grip on Angel, especially during the shots…

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Aby-a-Day – Day 124 of 365

It doesn’t happen very often, but every once in a while, Angel will come to say good morning when she hears that I’m awake.

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One thing about this photo is, you can see the blemish on her good eye. It’s scarring from the upper respiratory infection that took her other eye. It doesn’t seem to impair her vision at all, though.