Aby-a-Day – 1 Maj: Wordless Wednesday (Last train to Skövde)

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Aby-a-Day – 25 April: Ashes to ashes (Thursday Things)

So, I got a phone call today from Anicura.

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Jacoby’s ashes are ready for me to pick up.

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We’re going to go pick him up on Tuesday, because Björn has the day off. But I did find the perfect urn to put him in…and some of his ashes will be sent back to Boston to be snuck into and scattered in Fenway Park.

Aby-a-Day – 15 April: ” He was my North, my South, my East and West, my working week and my Sunday rest…” (Medical Monday)

Warning: photos of Jacoby’s body to follow…

I was already planning to go to Jönköping last Friday before Jake so suddenly died whilst the vet was on the phone with me. I still went to visit him last Friday…Just not quite the way I intended…or wanted.

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They took me back into the same room I was in when Alfred and I said goodbye to Logan. Philippa, the same vet tech who was there with Logan, brought in his little white box.

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He didn’t look dead…just asleep.

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As if any second he would start that purr of his and snore his cute little happy snores.

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But he was so cold. I petted him all over, telling him that he missed getting his dirty dirty ears cleaned because this weekend was meant to be claw-clipping weekend. I flexed his little toes…he loved it when I massaged his paws. It was so surreal…he looked so alive. He felt like himself. He felt like my Jakey. Except he wasn’t warm and he didn’t push back when I petted him.

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I was surprised his shaved stomach looked so good. I couldn’t see any stitches at all.

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message ‘He is Dead’.
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

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When we left him at the hospital that Saturday night…I didn’t know it would be the last time I would see him alive. It was supposed to be “see you in a few days,” not “Goodbye forever.” Had I known, I would have held him, cuddled him, hugged him, memorised every inch of him. But I thought he’d be coming home, so we just had a few head bonks.

I miss him…it hurts so much…oh, Jakey.

Aby-a-Day – 11 April: Why does the sun go on shining?

Why does the sea rush to shore?
Don’t they know it’s the end of the world?
‘Cause you don’t love me anymore

Why do the birds go on singing?
Why do the stars glow above?
Don’t they know it’s the end of the world?
It ended when I lost your love

I wake up in the morning and I wonder
Why everything’s the same as it was
I can’t understand, no, I can’t understand
How life goes on the way it does

Why does my heart go on beating?
Why do these eyes of mine cry?
Don’t they know it’s the end of the world?
It ended when you said goodbye

Jacoby died at 18:35 CEST today. May StarClan light his path. May he find good hunting, swift running, and shelter when he sleeps.

A vet at Anicura called me around 18:25 to tell me he was having trouble breathing and they wanted to know what to do, if they should resuscitate him or use heroic measures…and while I was on the phone with the doctor, he just…died. He was alive at the beginning of the call (which thank StarClan I didn’t miss), and gone at the end of it. Apparently, 20 minutes prior to her calling me, he was doing all right, but then he just crashed. There was no possible way I had time to get there before he was gone.

A different vet had called me earlier in the afternoon to tell me how he was doing. He was still having a lot of trouble breathing outside of the oxygen cage. He was still on the feeding tube. He was too weak for another round of chemo. She told me that the total was up to around 43,000kr in charges (which puts us over his cap; more about that later) and wanted to discuss my DNR wishes, so I knew it wasn’t going to be good. I was already bracing myself for him not celebrating his 10th birthday on Sunday.

The worst part is, when that last call came…I was sitting in a nail salon, getting my toes painted green for Jake. I heard that my soulmate cat had just died whilst having a woman put my feet under the dryer. It’s so hard to watch them die, to say “okay” and watch the vet inject the overdose of painkillers into them…but it’s a million times worse to not be there…not even be able to be there. Long distance is not the next best thing to being there.

I was planning on going to Jönköping to see him tomorrow. I still will, just not in quite the same way.

Jake was such a special boy. He was born to be my kitten. He bonded with me instantly, and slept by my side within a day of joining our family. He was smart, friendly, and bulletproof. His name was decided twelve days after he was born, when Jacoby Ellsbury stole home against the Yankees at Fenway Park; I didn’t name Jake after the player, but rather the awesome thing he did that time on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball at Fenway against our most hated rivals. I was right about that, considering that Ellsbury eventually ended up going to play for those pinstriped goons.

Jake was a therapy cat, and he loved riding in his stroller when we walked to our visits at the psych wards at facilities along Harrison and Albany Streets in the South End. He loved people, especially children. He loved going on shopping errands with me and I would take him along if I was shopping anywhere that didn’t involve food. He even went to restaurants with me, as long as there was outside seating.

He was also a minor celebrity in Boston, known as Strollercat. He appeared on the cover of the Boston Herald during a newsweek consisting of Hurricane Sandy, the Patriots playing at Wembly Stadium in London, Halloween, and a Presidential election involving a former Massachusetts governor. He got a two-page spread in Your Cat, the UK’s biggest cat magazine, and there was an article about him and his travels in CFA’s Cat Talk. He was a celebrity cat guest at the first ever Somerville Cat Film Festival. And, perhaps most amazing of all, he was named Cat of the Year by the Westchester Cat Club and honoured with the Scarlett Award for his therapy work with first responders after the Boston Marathon bombings.

He was a show cat, but he didn’t start his show career until he was two years old, partly because of this therapy training, and partly because he got his foot caught in the top of the escalator at Broadway T Station when he was a year and a half old. He did well, the judges exclaiming over his rich ruddy coat, and his decidedly non-Abylike behaviour on the judging table. One judge called him a “poseable action figure,” and another said he was “a Persian in an Aby suit.” He became a Grand Premier in a nailbiter of a show, needing only one final to have enough points and not getting it until his last ring on Sunday. One year, he was in the top ten Abys in Premiership in all of CFA, only to get bumped to #11 on the last weekend of the season. Ironically, in the 2015 season, he was 8th best Aby in Premiership without even trying…and then in 2016, he was 10th best after having gone to only two CFA shows! He also managed to crack the top 25 Best Cats in Premiership in the Northeast Region in 2015, earning a regional win and placing 21st…again, without really trying. The year we went to the World Show in Philadelphia, he was the Best Abyssinian Premier in the Red Group. The only thing he failed at in cat shows was agility. He preferred to pose on the obstacles rather than run through them. He was also a Double Grand Champion Alter in TICA.

After we moved to Sweden, he registered in FIFe, where he earned Nominations, a Best in Variety, and a Best in Show in Altered Males, Category 4, along with several Best in Shows in the Senior class. He ended up with the title of International Grand Premier before deciding he didn’t like FIFe’s style of showing.

He did like dressing up for NEMO’s costume contests, though. Except for wearing pants.

Born in Canada, he lived in Boston and visited New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York and Pennsylvania in the States and then Göteborg, Stockholm, Helsinki and Tallinn (and Reykjavik’s airport) in Europe. He’s ridden on almost every form of transport imaginable: Car, bus, subway, train, ferry, airplane…and of course, stroller.

As I said above, the insurance cap has been reached so I won’t close the GoFundMe campaign for his chemo just yet as we don’t know what his final total bill will be. Also, the insurance won’t cover his cremation. An anonymous donor made an extremely generous donation, so I am confident there’ll be something left over for New England Abyssinian Rescue. I will close it down on Jake’s birthday, 14 April.

My heart has joined the Thousand, for my friend has stopped running today. Sleep well in Tuonela, my beloved Jakey Bakey.

Aby-a-Day – 10 April: Wordy Wednesday (Update on Jacoby)

Jacoby spent last night in an oxygen cage because his red blood cell count was low and he wasn’t oxygenating properly. He’s still in the ICU, probably for another night at least. I am not sure when he will be able to come home. If he needs chemo next week, depending on when they do it, he may stay until then to save him two round trips on the train. He has got pretty good insurance, but it looks like his ongoing treatment and rounds of chemotherapy will outpace what the insurance will pay, especially if he needs to stay in the ICU. The photo above is Jake and Dr. Cecilia. He has a feeding tube in his nose to get nutrients into him.

They also sent this text. Isn’t it sweet?

Now, on a serious note…I always hate to be “that person,” but I also hate the thought of losing Jake so young (he’s only turning ten on Sunday the 14th), so I set up a Gofundme page for him.

Any leftover funds will be donated to NEAR (Northeast Abyssinian Rescue).

Aby-a-Day – 9 April: Update on Jacoby

This morning, I had a message on my phone from Dr. Cecilia. Jacoby was moved to the ICU because his blood pressure had dropped. He’s still on fluids, plus pain medication. At the time she left the message, they thought he might have leakage in his abdomen from the biopsies, but when I called her back, they discovered that was not the case. They had gotten his blood pressure stabilised. His albumin is also slightly elevated. He also has some fluid in his thorax, but it isn’t affecting his breathing or his heart.

Later this afternoon she called again. He’s still in the ICU, and he is now on a feeding tube. He cooperated well with that, and she let me talk to him on the phone. He heard my voice, but he was so very tired he didn’t react much. Dr. Cecilia told me she had been discussing treatment options with the oncologist, and they think he is stable enough to start reduced-dose chemotherapy today. Apparently, it’s a delicate balance between starting as soon as possible vs waiting until he’s stronger and giving him bigger doses of the chemo cocktail.

That’s all we know so far. I’ll get another call from Dr. Cecilia tomorrow.

Aby-a-Day – 8 April: “Cancer is a fight to the death. Either you kill it, or it will kill you. Get ready to brawl.” (Medical Monday)

Cutting to the chase, the vets think Jacoby has Lymphoma.

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On Friday, Jake and I repeated the trip we took back in August when we went to Djursjukhuset in Jönköping to try to find out what was the matter with him.

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They have the best cubbies for cat carriers in the cat waiting room.

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When they called us back, they put us in a really nice, sunny room. Anicura puts birdfeeders outside the windows of the cat exam rooms. Birds came to the window whilst we were there…but not when I could take a photo of any of them.

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The first thing they did was weigh him. As you can see, 4.35kg (9.6lbs). On 3 March, he was up to 4.9kg (10.8lbs). When I weighed him on the 31st, just under a month later, this is what he weighed. I called the vet the next day.

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After the nurse took some blood samples, he went back to the sunny windowsill.

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The vet felt something when she palpated his abdomen, so she ordered an another ultrasound, which they managed to squeeze in that same afternoon. They sent me off for a couple of hours, and when I came back…the news was not great.

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They suspected Lymphoma, and scheduled another exploratory surgery for this morning. I was meant to bring him back on Sunday afternoon.

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It was a pretty long day, and Jake was exhausted. He didn’t even get out of his carrier on the train ride back.

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On Saturday, Jake was worse than ever. He spiraled in the 24 hours after our visit the day before.

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He wasn’t eating or drinking, just lying on the kitchen floor. I tried putting him in comfortable places, but he kept going back to the floor. I knew he needed to go back to Jönköping, but I wasn’t sure that the train would get me there fast enough. Björn got home from work at 5, and I asked him if we could borrow one of our neighbours’ cars. He did, and we drove to Jönköping.

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We saw a majestik møøse on the way to the vet!

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When we got there, we were put into the same exam room we’d been in on Friday.

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You can see how much worse he looked than the last time we were in that room.

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Despite having no appetite, Jake was still interested in the treat jar.

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When the nurse came in, she gave him a few…and he ate them!

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Then there was some paperwork to fill out…

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…farewells to be said…

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…and then he needed to go into the hospital transport cage.

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At first, he didn’t want to lie down so she could close the carrier.

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Finally, he cooperated, and they rolled him away.

One of my favourite things about Anicura is that they send good morning texts with a photo of your cat. This was this morning’s text, after being on fluids for a day, before his surgery.

They called me after his surgery was finished and he’d woken up. He was doing well, and the samples from the biopsy were sent to the lab but from what they observed when they had him open was that they were fairly certain that Jake does have Lymphoma, and they are going to start the chemotherapy as soon as they can without waiting for the results.

Cats respond differently to the treatment, and can live for three or four months to three or four years. We just don’t know how he will respond. According to this article I found, “Feline lymphoma cases currently appear to fall into three groups from a prognostic point of view. There are some that fail to show a good response to any chemotherapy offered. For these patients, their lymphoma is unfortunately fairly rapidly progressive. Patients in the middle group tend to show a degree of response to the treatment but never achieve complete normality and for these patients there is an average life expectancy of approximately 4 months. The third group achieve complete remission from their lymphoma and their life expectancy is measured in years.” We just need to wait and see which group Jake falls into.

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I wish I knew what else to say. I mean, his 10th birthday is next Sunday. I can’t imagine not having him with me.

Aby-a-Day – 1 April: Looks like we’re going back to Jönköping (Medical Monday Mystery)

Siiiiggghhh… And we had been doing so well, too. Jacoby has been on his treatment plan for several weeks, and he had been gaining weight nicely. But in the past week or so, he’s been…not himself. Less eager and excited about food, sleeping in unusual places (like the radiator bed, which I don’t think I have ever seen him in before), and just…not being himself. Most concerning, the last time I weighed Jake on 16 March, he was up to 4.8 kilos…and yesterday, he weighed 4.3 kilos.

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So…I called Min Veterinär this morning to leave a message, and then, completely by coincidence, Anicura called me an hour or so later. I made an appointment with them, just in case…and, when Min Vet called me back, we discussed it and decided it would be better to take Jake back to Anicura since they have all his recent treatment records. So it looks like Jake and I will be riding the rails to Jönköping this Friday.

Aby-a-Day – 16 August: “Scars are simply modern battle wounds. Sometimes the enemy happens to be inside us.”

As you saw from yesterday’s post, Jacoby came home from his exploratory surgery with no problems.

When I came to collect him, the first thing that happened was that I was handed a folder with Jake’s aftercare instructions.

They were detailed, but completely manageable.

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However, as you saw yesterday, AniCura sent him home with a hard plastic “Cone of Shame*.” Nobody wants to wear that, least of all our Jake. So on our way back to the bus stop, we stopped off at a conveniently located pet shop, but they didn’t have any soft cones, so I ended up buying him a Trixie Surgery Suit. We dressed him at the shop, but, sadly, I didn’t take any photos when we tried the onesie on Jake.

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But, as you saw yesterday, Jake had zero issues with wearing his onesie. In fact, he probably had fewer issues with it than he would have had with the hard cone!

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This morning, I woke up to…this. Jake was in a cuddle puddle on our bed with Alfred and Izaak!

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I think Jake was as surprised about that as I was. I blame his (prescribed) post-op opioid painkillers.

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But it wasn’t just Freddy and Zak. Angel was on the bed, too!

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She didn’t join the boys’ cuddle puddle, but she clearly approved of it.

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Okay, Angel. Back off…

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Meanwhile, on my stomach…we had Lorelai. Which means all five cats were on our bed at the same time!

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It may be Jake’s medication, but I’m taking it as a solid win!

* Or “Cone of Courage,” as one friend called it.

Aby-a-Day – 15 August: Wordless Wednesday (Home again, home again, jiggity jig)

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Good morning from the Cone of Shame

Here’s this morning’s greeting from Jacoby in hospital. I’m taking the train later today to collect him and bring him home. I hope he won’t have to wear the cone for very long…and I’m sure he does, too!

Update on Jacoby

The vet just called me with a post-surgery update. Jacoby did well and I can pick him up tomorrow, most likely. They didn’t SEE anything wrong with him inside (ie, no visible tumours, enlarged organs or infection), so hopefully the samples they took will tell us what’s wrong with him. We’ll find out in a couple of weeks when they get the results back from the lab.

One thing I really love about Anicura is that they send you morning texts with a photo so you can see how your cat is doing. They did this with Logan, too. It’s just so thoughtful of them.

Aby-a-Day – 13 August: Exploratory surgery (Medical Monday)

Today I had to do the second hardest thing a cat parent has to do. Today I took Jacoby to Jönköping…and left him at the djursjukhuset there.

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I think he knew something was going on. When I woke up, he was lying on top of me. His biopsies are tomorrow morning, but because of the train schedules, it was easier to bring him in this afternoon.

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After breakfast, he stayed close to me on the sofa. I’m sure he knew something was up…even though I tried to remain calm.

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But the truth is, Jake is having surgery tomorrow. He is having different areas of his digestive tract biopsied so we can finally know what has been bothering him since February or March. And while it’s a routine procedure and everything should be fine…it’s still surgery.

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And that’s a hard thing to think about when it’s your best friend, your feline soulmate of nine years.

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And while most of your brain knows it’s just surgery and he’ll come through it with no problems…there’s always this evil little bit in the back of cerebellum that can’t stop thinking that this train ride, this time in the waiting room, this moment where he’s in the transfer cage and going back into the depths of the hospital you almost never get to see…this might be the last time I pet that head, hear that purr, tell him I love him. The odds of that happening are low, to be sure…but we’ve all heard stories of routine surgeries going wrong. You don’t want to think that way, but you do.

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I took a couple of awkward selfies of us on the train…

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…until I remembered about Incredibooth. Selfies are much better when they look like photobooth strips.

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On our journey to Anicura, I of course let him out of his carrier whilst we were on the train.

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Jake was his usual Strollercat self, riding the rails the way he has a thousand times before.

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Before we left, I packed one of his favourite spring toys along with his beloved catnip Jackson Pollock fish. This is one of his all-time favourite toys and he was even licking it in his carrier. I hope it gives him some comfort tomorrow when he wakes up from his operation.

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I let him walk from the bus stop to the hospital.

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He’s actually starting to recognise where he’s going when we come her, which is a sign we’ve come here too many times. But there was no way he would make that trip in his carrier, and who was I not to indulge him?

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We had a bit of a wait before a nurse came to collect him, so we sat in the special cats-only waiting room.

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There are shelves on the wall for people to set the cat carriers…

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…and they have two Feliway plug-ins installed!

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There were other people in the cat waiting room when we first got there, so I kept Jake in his carrier. Once they left, however, I let him out to walk around. He seemed to like the waiting room, but of course he’s never been afraid of going to the vet.

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He was very affectionate while we waited.

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In fact, he felt so happy and comfortable in the waiting room, he flopped down and started grooming himself.

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It kind of made me sad, because I could see how much his hair had grown back from the ultrasound he’d had a month ago…and that’s going to get shaved off again tomorrow morning.

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Finally we we called back to an exam room. He was weighed (4.02 kg, better than the 3.9 kg he was on 6 August, the last time I got his weight), and we talked a little about the procedure to come and what will happen after the operation.

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I had to take off his collar, which made me a little sad, but they let him have his toys, so when he wakes up in his hospital cage he’ll have something from home to help make him feel better.

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Finally, they wheeled him off to his hospital cage, and I went along home with my empty cat carrier.

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I had an hour to kill before my train home came, so I went to O’Leary’s (a favourite quasi-Boston hangout) and played a little of my favourite slot machine game, Wild Pride, and I won 845kr (about $92 USD)! That surely must be a good omen, right?

Tomorrow is going to be a long day, waiting for the phone to ring. I will go back to pick Jake up either Wednesday or Thursday, depending on how quickly he recovers.

Aby-a-Day – 6 August: “It’s worse than a needle in a haystack. We don’t even know it’s a needle we’re looking for.” (Medical Monday)

We took Jacoby into the Anicura hospital in Jönköping almost two weeks ago to have more blood drawn for more tests to try to sort out what is going on with him. Whilst we waited for the nurses to come. we availed ourselves of the free treats.

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The first thing the nurses did was take Jake’s blood pressure. It’s a bit more involved than a human getting blood pressure tested.

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There’s a sort of doppler machine and they use headphones to listen to his blood whilst they press the button on the sphygmomanometer.

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Jake was less than impressed with the cuff on his arm (which was still bald from the last time he had blood drawn.

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After getting his BP, it was time to draw some vials of Jake’s blood. I hid his eyes because I don’t like to watch when they take my blood for a test!

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I have no problem watching someone else get their blood drawn, though.

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But before they were done drawing all the blood they needed, Jake broke loose from my grasp and dislodged the needle.

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His pulling away like that caused a haematoma (bruise) on that arm, so they had to shave his other arm to get the rest of the blood.

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Again, I covered his eyes so he couldn’t watch the blood coming out of him.

I just got a call from Dr. Cecilia with the test results, and…I’m going to have to take him in next Monday afternoon. Tuesday the 14th he is going to get biopsies done on his intestinal tract.

We still need the parathyroid test confirmed, because Dr. Cecilia needs to call the lab again; the results don’t make sense to her and she wants to verify them. But he has increased antibodies and decreased albumin in his blood and he seems to be “leaking” protein in his digestive tract, but it’s not coming out in his urine, so we need to figure out why that’s happening. His calcium levels are fairly normal, though, so that helps rule out a few things.

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I will have to take him in Monday, and he’ll stay overnight. Then they’ll do the surgery Tuesday morning and keep him for observation. They may do an ultrasound Wednesday, and then I pick him up Wednesday afternoon or perhaps later depending on how they feel he’s doing. The biopsies do leave small holes in the tested organs which are sutured, and in 5%-10% of cats there can be complications due to these holes. Hopefully we won’t have any of that. The alternative to the surgical biopsies is to try giving him corticosteroids such as prednisone, but the problem with that (as anyone who’s ever watched House MD knows), is that because we don’t know what is causing his pain and weight loss, the steroids might just mask the problem, without helping to cure it. Or they could be contraindicated for whatever his condition actually is and make everything worse. Or, when we do get the diagnosis, having had cortisone treatments might mean we can’t go ahead with the new treatment because of drug interactions.

Luckily, it does not look like FIP, and the protein levels don’t indicate that it’s anything like FIP, which is good, but it could be lymphoma (which is what we thought Logan might have had before FIP was confirmed). It could also be a lot of other things: pancreatitis, chronic inflammatory bowel disease, intestinal ulcers…it’s really hard to say.

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The bill is going to be around 20,000kr…so glad we have insurance and that this is not a pre-existing condition!

Aby-a-Day – 17 July: Cats of the World (Cartoon Tuesday)

Okay, technically not a cartoon, but you may remember when I took Alfred to Anicura to say goodbye to Logan, I mentioned the “Cats of the World” poster hanging in the cat waiting room.

Here’s the Abyssinian…he looks grumpy, like Jacoby. The ears seem a bit small, though.

They illustrated the red Abyssinian separately. Again, the eyes and ears seem small. They didn’t include the other Aby colours.

The Somalis were included on the poster together. Again, they don’t look quite like Somalis, do they?

Last but not least, we have the mighty Singapura! Of all the drawings, I think they caught the Singa best of all.

Aby-a-Day – 16 July: “No guts, no glory” (Medical Monday)

(This post was written by Björn, as I was so busy helping the doctors I wasn’t as able to record what was going on.)

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Jacoby has been really grumpy for the past few months now. He’s been hissing and growling, lashing out at the kittens (but not hurting them, thankfully) as well as attacking Alfred and Angel. He’s been barfing more than usual, and on top of that, he’s lost a significant amount weight over the past seven months, going from 4.9 kilos in January to 4.1 kilos the first weekend in July (10.8 lbs vs 9.4, or a sixth of his weight). We’ve been mystified by this change, which is so unlike Jake. He used to be a sweet, stable cat, and his current grumpiness has to be an indication that something’s physically wrong with him. He’s been to our local vet a few times; a blood test done in April showed no abnormalities and we tried amitriptylin, Metacam, Feliway, calming collars…everything we and the vets could think of, but nothing helped. While at the cat show a couple of weeks ago, we were talking to our neighbor about cats (of course), and she mentioned a cat of hers that had had similar symptoms because of plastic he had eaten that had stuck in his digestive tract. That set off bells – Jake has always been a plastic eater, to the point where we have to tuck the plastic garbage can liner in carefully so he doesn’t eat the bits hanging out; we just had never made the connection between that and his sudden personality change. We had an ultrasound appointment with our regular vet, but as it’s vacation time right now, the ultrasound technician wouldn’t be back until 24 July. We didn’t want to wait that long now that we had the idea about plastic, so Koshka called the AniCura animal hospital in Jönköping, some 100 km (60 miles) away. They are the same people who took care of poor Logan in his final days, and we know that they are a professional outfit.

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We got up early on Friday 13 July, and took the local bus to the railway station. The train ride was one hour, passing through the fields and woods of a summery western Sweden. We arrived in Jönköping around 10am, and killed half an hour before getting on the bus to the animal hospital.

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Jake visited the local tourist office where he made an impression on the staff.

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Next to the bus stop, there was a pigeon with a death wish, as it strutted about without any regard for the predator in the stroller. Good thing for the feathered fool that Jake was tethered.

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Then we got on the bus, where Jake regaled the bus with the song of his people.

The three of us arrived at the hospital some 20 minutes prior to our appointment. The animal hospital is a well-run operation, with separate waiting rooms for cats and dogs.

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Jake was called up, and it was time for his ultrasound. The ultrasound tech was a friendly Pole named Dr. Wojciech who had 20 years experience in examining animals with ultrasound. He shaved Jake’s belly (the fur would interfere with the readings otherwise),

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applied the gel,

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and began the examination.

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Jake struggled a bit, but he bravely endured the 25-30 minute examination. Dr. Wojciech pointed out the organs to us, like the intestines, kidneys, stomach and so on. It was really interesting to see Jake’s insides.

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He could tell us that there was no signs of any plastic or other foreign bodies, which blew our working theory out of the water. There were signs of some enteritis in the small intestine, but Dr. Wojciech didn’t think that was the reason for Jake’s problems.

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After the ultrasound, we were taken to another examination room while we waited to see the next vet. You may recall from when Koshka took Logan to this vet that they have excellent bird TV.

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Well, this time it was extra excellent.

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A magpie came to eat at the feeder! Jake wasn’t especially impressed, but Koshka got very excited.

Dr. Cecilia arrived, and, like Wojciech, she impressed us with her professionalism.

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She asked us about Jake’s symptoms and problems. As an optometrist, I know about how to do an anamnesis, and I thought she was very thorough.

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Dr. Cecilia ordered a full set of blood tests to be taken, and a veterinary nurse (whose name unfortunately evades me) brought syringes and the other paraphernalia needed.

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Jake got a mild sedative, was rolled into a towel, got his front leg shaved, and his blood drawn. He was very brave about it, not causing any trouble. The vet nurse bandaged his leg.

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Dr. Cecilia wanted a urine sample, which was to be drawn by Dr. Wojciech.

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Jake had to go back to the ultrasound room, where his bladder was located by ultrasound.

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By using a syringe and drawing the urine directly from the bladder, any contamination by proteins from the urinary tract was avoided. Dr. Cecilia returned, as she’d remembered one more thing she wanted to check. She palpitated the base of Jake’s neck, and confirmed a suspicion she had. She noticed that his thyroid was somewhat enlarged on the right side. Jake got a prescription of Royal Canin Sensitivity Control. This diet is to be followed until the vet calls back about the final diagnosis, but if we are lucky, there’s just a problem with his thyroid. That is easily medicated.

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The whole visit took about two hours with very little waiting time between the examinations. The vet bill was about 6000 SEK (about USD $680), but most of that should be covered by the pet insurance. We said our goodbyes to the hospital staff, and took the bus for a quick trip to IKEA.

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Even in his stroller, IKEA would not let Jake in, so we took turns shopping. And, since he had fasted from 21:00 the night before, Jake was ravenous. While I shopped, Koshka let Jake try his new food, and he polished off two packets of the wet version.

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After IKEA, we had a quick visit with my mom, brother and sister, and then, finally, dinner at a new Mexican restaurant in the center of town.

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A long day for all of us, but well worth it.