Aby-a-Day – 13 Februari: Like human, like cat (Thursday Things)

Last week, I heard a cat let out a loud YOWL, and when I went to see who it was and what was going on, I discovered Alfred collapsed in our bedroom doorway.

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I found him collapsed and floppy, drooling and gasping for breath with his eyes locked in a thousand yard stare.

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It may seem silly, but one of the first things I did was make a short video of him. I sent it to Meg, Molly and Anne, and also to Freddy’s breeder, to see if they had any idea what could be causing it. I also rang our local vet (and was lucky to speak to our regular vet, because this happened at 16:16 and they close at 17:00) and also the emergency vet in Jönköping.

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The emergency vet was prepared for us if we decided to drive there that evening (Björn didn’t get home until 19:00), and I made an appointment for Freddy for the next day at Min Vetrinär.

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I didn’t know what to do apart from just being with him.

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After a little while, I got him to sit up again.

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I made a box for Freddy so I could move him – and take him to the emergency vet if necessary. Of course, Izaak jumped right in with him.

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When Björn got home, Freddy was doing a bit better, so we decided he’d be okay until the local vet appointment (those are the photos you saw yesterday). We kept an eye on him all night, and this is how he looked in the morning. When we got to the clinic, they tested Freddy’s blood, and we took chest Xrays (Unfortunately, I was unable to get photos of those). Turns out, the video I made was very useful for the vet to see. She diagnosed him with pneumonia and prescribed Amoxycillin. Which is ironic…since I was also diagnosed with pneumonia and prescribed Amoxycillin. We even started our meds on the same day, and we have the same schedule, one pill three times a day. It’s actually kind of great having a medicine buddy: It helps me remember when to take my pill, and when to give Freddy his – because it’s the same time!

Happy Christmas and a Merry New Year (and watch out for the Jólakötturinn!)

Hey there…remember us? Sorry it’s been a while…after we brought Dashiell home from Finland, I came down with, of all things, walking pneumonia! Björn and Kalle were sick with coughing, too…but of course, mine had to turn into pneumonia.

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After that, we had a couple of little veterinary issues with some of the cats. Nothing major…Dash had an ear infection, Lorelai had a runny eye, and Alfred had an odd coughing spell. All of them are fine…but it was a lot to deal with all at once. I also had some other health issues in that space of time – nothing major, but between me and the cats, it was mentally and physically exhausting. Oh, and I also got a new iPhone 11 Pro, and getting the hang of the fancy camera took some practice (it’s awesome, by the way, better even than my DSLR).

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Then, of course, we had some cat shows, including one in Turku, Finland. We had entered Dash, but the entry cut-off was in October, and I wasn’t sure his ear would be completely recovered in time. Also, the show didn’t really count for him, and I didn’t want to risk the round-trip ferry ride to cause a relapse. So it was just Izaak and Rory. But they both earned their International Championship titles, and Zak was Nominated on the first day, so it was an excellent show. The very next weekend, we had the mini-show at our DjurMagazinet on Saturday with Zak, Rory and Zak, and then another of the photo shoots on Sunday with everyone. That was a five-ring circus!

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One thing that came of spending all day at a pet shop was that Zak picked out his very own new favourite mousie – a Christmas one that jingles!

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This is the best shot I could get of him fetching it. Sorry. I’m actually sick again right now with a staph infection, on antibiotics that make me nauseous…GREAT fun at Christmas! Oh, well…at least I won’t gain much holiday weight. The cute thing is that Zak’s been bringing his mousie to me over and over to distract me from the nausea.

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Because of all that, Christmas really kind of snuck up on us. We put up our Swedish window candles, and our wreath on the front door, but it wasn’t until Monday night that we put up the stockings.

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Not having Jacoby here had a bigger impact on my holiday cheer than I ever expected. He was always such a big part of my Christmases…even the one I spent away from him, in Sweden. I just couldn’t summon the energy to put up the tree and all our decorations. Yes, we have Angel, and Freddy, and Zak, and Rory and wonderful, wonderful Dash (who is friends with everyone)…but Christmas without Jake seems…strange. I’m sure it will be better next year.

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Which is not to say our Christmas is sad – not at all! After we put all the presents in the stockings, Freddy noticed that some of them had treats in them, and tried to get them down! Click on the unfortunate black square above to see the video in a new tab…sorry for the vertical orientation, but it was a sort of vertical situation. Also be warned that there is some rather bad language in the background; Channel Six was showing Die Hard for Jul, and they don’t censor movies on TV here.

I’ll be back next week, and, hopefully, The Daily Abyssinian with actually be daily again!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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).

Aby-a-Day – April 27: Ears the thing…

Sometime in the past year or so, I’ve noticed Jacoby has these spots on his ears.

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I’m not sure when they first appeared; just one day I noticed they were there. And they’re only on his ears, no where else on his body. Just the ears.

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Jake does have a chronic yeast infection issue inside his ears which crops up every few months and is treated with Tresaderm, but this doesn’t seem to be related to that.

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I thought it might be, at first, though. I thought they were bald spots, so I thought that perhaps they were caused by him scratching or shaking his ears. But the spots aren’t actually hairless.

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If you look very closely, you can see that the spots do have hair on them. Well, as much hair as the parts of his ears without the spots. They seem to be more depigmented than they are hairless, sort of like reverse freckles. Curious, I did a Google search for bald spots on cats’ ears, and I found this article on The Cat Site about a 4 year old Aby boy with the exact same problem!

Look at this photo of his ears! They look just like Jake’s ears!

Unfortunately, this person hasn’t got any more answers than I have. The best advice I’ve had so far about how to take care of these depigmentation spots?

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A brown eyeliner pencil to cover up the pale spots! This won’t cure it, of course…but I’ll try it next weekend at the cat show.

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)!

Aby-a-Day – November 15: You can lead a cat to water…

Ever since Jacoby had his second Urinary Crystal Incident, I have wanted to get a cat water fountain for the cats.

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The last time we went to Petco, the very fountain I wanted, the Pioneer Pet Stainless Steel Fountain, just happened to be on sale!

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I set it up just outside the kitchen, where we currently have one of their two watering stations set up. Then, I waited to see what would happen.

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In a completely shocking turn of events, Jacoby was the first to investigate (What a surprise, I know).

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Jake’s a huge fan of drinking out of the bathroom faucet, so I was very interested to see what he would do with the fountain. At first, he examined it thoroughly, but didn’t drink.

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He was very interested in the little waterfall section.

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Or, he was interested in his reflection on the shiny stainless steel. It was kind of hard to tell.

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I was surprised he didn’t stick his hands in the water. He didn’t actually drink out of it during his preliminary reconnaissance mission; I think in part he wasn’t quite sure which side he was meant to drink from!