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?

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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

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Freddy is such a good big brother.

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

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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.

Abys are Everywhere: “Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds”

The other day I came across a Facebook post (in a Bengal group, of all places) that caught my eye for a couple of reasons: one, the Somali, of course, and two, it was a warning about Easter lilies.

As I have posted before, lilies kill cats. Easter lilies are among the worst, but it’s safest to avoid any sort of bulb plants (remember, garlic and onions are also bad for cats, and they are also members of the lily family).

An Easter Reminder: Lilies = DANGER

(Repeat post: this was originally posted on April 20, 2011)

I was just reminded of this today: Easter Lilies are poisonous to all cats. Actually, any member of the Lily family (Liliaceae are dangerous; a good rule of thumb is not to trust any bulb plant around cats. Onions, garlic and asparagus are members of this family, as well as tulips, daffodils and amaryllis. Even just a little bit of pollen on their feet, or drinking the water the lily has been in, can be dangerous.

This hits very close to home for me. Jacoby’s older brother Cypher (same parents, different litter) was staying with his owner’s mother while he and his wife were on their honeymoon, which happened to be at Easter. The mother was given a bouquet of mixed flowers, including one lily. Cy, being a playful young boy Aby, had to investigate the new flowers; no-one is sure exactly what happened, but he either played with and/or bit the lily and, not long after, started showing symptoms of renal failure. He was rushed to the vet, but it was too late. He died two or three days later, before his people were able to return home. He was only 7 months old.

All parts of the plant are dangerous, so it’s best to just not allow lilies inside (and also watch out for giving cats food containing onions or garlic). If you go on outings with your cat, avoid any bulb plants you might encounter in a park or greenway; I have to remember to keep Jake away from the many patches of tulips and daffodils along the Fort Point Channel Harborwalk this time of year.

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Roses are safe, though, and they have claws so they can defend themselves in a way cats can appreciate (Carnations are okay, too)!

Other People’s Abys – When the sun shone, the poison flower breathed cold

Deborah Feltham, of Glendoveer Abyssinians, shared this story on one of the Aby lists, reminding us of the dangers of plants in the house.

I had bought a very fancy Pointsetta that I was told is hybridized nowadays and no longer poisonous. I brought this rather costly ornamental plant and put it on my coffee table. Fortunately (I guess) I had to work most of Xmas and 2 days before I was already too tired to make it to my bedroom and fell asleep on the sofa. I woke to find Endora chewing on the plant. Thinking it was a safe plant, I made her leave it alone and fell back to sleep. I went to work that night and when I got home next morning I found Endora VERY sick. I watched her head roll to one side and she appeared to have rigors so I grabbed her (which seemed to rouse her some) and rushed her to the vet. By the time we got to the vet she was waking up but the vet felt she ‘may’ have had a seizure. She had a temp at that point and her heartrate was high. Inside her mouth her lips and gums were very red. We had a ton of bloodwork done and the vet called poison control (I had brought the plant with me to the vet).

The bloodwork showed that she was not experiencing any kidney issues, and poison control said that the plant IS irritating and likely caused the red gums, but because I got her in right away she would be okay. Long story short, Endora is now fine, the plant is adopted out to apetless home, and I will never, ever, have another. I have no idea what possessed me to bring this thing into my home anyway as it is not something I would normally do! Vet costs are incredibly high here and the bloodwork alone was $250, so you can only imagine how costly this plant was, never mind how much it ‘could’ have cost!!!

If someone tells you that the plants today are hybridized, PLEASE avoid them anyway!! While they may not kill your pet, they can definitely make them very sick 😦 Endora is going to be on antibiotics for a couple of weeks because of the irritation to her mouth and we are planning to repeat her bloodwork ‘just in case’ later on, but right now she is back to normal.

Remember, too, with spring coming up, that all members of the lily family are extremely poisonous. Some varieties, even the pollen can kill a cat – and this goes for cut flowers as well as potted, living plants. If you make any new year’s resolutions, keeping plants out of the house, for the sake of your cats, is a very good one to make.

Aby-a-Day – October 2: It’s a sin to kill a mockingbird…

Jacoby strikes a pose for me on a bench in the park.

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Of course, when does he not pose?

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The afternoon sun lights up his ruddy fur like a firebrand. This is what the cat show judges mean when they say that Abyssinians “sparkle.”

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But what is he talking about?

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And what does he see?

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A Mockingbird!

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Who’s watching Jake rather closely.

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And who’s not alone.

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Better be careful, Jake. Mockingbirds can actually hurt cats. When I was a teenager, my mom wouldn’t let us have cats in the house. One of our cats, Paul (a brown mackerel tabby) developed a huge abscess on the top of his head which was started by a deep puncture wound. The vet was pretty certain it had been caused by a bird’s beak, possibly a Scrub Jay, but most likely from an attack by one or two Mockingbirds divebombing his head. Even though they’re “just harmless songbirds,” I watch them carefully when Jake and I are outside.

An Easter Reminder: Lilies = DANGER

I was just reminded of this today: Easter Lilies are poisonous to all cats. Actually, any member of the Lily family (Liliaceae are dangerous; a good rule of thumb is not to trust any bulb plant around cats. Onions, garlic and asparagus are members of this family, as well as tulips, daffodils and amaryllis. Even just a little bit of pollen on their feet, or drinking the water the lily has been in, can be dangerous.

This hits very close to home for me. Jacoby’s older brother Cypher (same parents, different litter) was staying with his owner’s mother while he and his wife were on their honeymoon, which happened to be at Easter. The mother was given a bouquet of mixed flowers, including one lily. Cy, being a playful young boy Aby, had to investigate the new flowers; no-one is sure exactly what happened, but he either played with and/or bit the lily and, not long after, started showing symptoms of renal failure. He was rushed to the vet, but it was too late. He died two or three days later, before his people were able to return home. He was only 7 months old.

All parts of the plant are dangerous, so it’s best to just not allow lilies inside (and also watch out for giving cats food containing onions or garlic). If you go on outings with your cat, avoid any bulb plants you might encounter in a park or greenway; I have to remember to keep Jake away from the many patches of tulips and daffodils along the Fort Point Channel Harborwalk this time of year.

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Roses are safe, though, and they have claws so they can defend themselves in a way cats can appreciate (Carnations are okay, too)!