Aby-a-Day – 21 Januari: Tritrichomonas Foetus (Medical Monday)

You may recall that Jacoby has been having some sort of vague mysterious ailment. We spent much of the summer shuttling to the djursjukhuset in Jönköping to try to figure out what the problem was. But we have finally gotten to the bottom of it. It took a while because I needed three separate fecal samples from Jake…and I was having a devil of a time catching him in the act! But finally the first week of September I got that third sample, and a week later Dr. Cecilia emailed me with the result: “Today I’ve finally recieved Jacoby’s fecal sample results. We have significant findings that may well explain his weight loss and (quite possibly) also his change in behavior. He has the parasite Tritrichomonas foetus that in chronic cases may induce chronic intestinal inflammations. He also has toxin-producing Clostridia in overgrowth.”

jakeminvetC05988

TriTrich is a protozoan parasite that can infest multi-cat households. But it’s good news, right? At least we know what the problem is. I mean, we have already dealt with Giardia, which is a huge problem to deal with, and we managed to survive that…so TriTrich is at least better than that, right?

jakeminvetC05986

Well, yes and no. Whilst Giardia is harder to kill in the house because the protozoa are shed encased in cysts which are hard to destroy, the medication is readily available in any Apotek. The TriTrich protozoa have no such protective “shells,” but the problem with treating TriTrich is that the medication for it, Ronidazole, is toxic. Like, wear rubber gloves when giving the pills (for four days), and also wear a face mask when cleaning the litterbox during medication and three days after the last pill has been given. Dr. Cecelia had to get specific licenses from Läkemedelsverket (the Swedish bureau that deals with prescription medication) for each cat based on their weight. This was delayed a bit because, as usual with Swedish government agencies, the instructions on the paperwork weren’t entirely clear, and there was an error on the original paperwork so it needed to be redone…and Läkemedelsverket only sends the denial notifications by snail mail.

But we finally got ahold of this highly-regulated, super-toxic medication, which I had to give to five cats once a day for fourteen days…yeah, good times. The exact written instructions were as follows: “All cats are treated with 1 capsule per day for 14 days. They are prescribed and will be sent directly home to you. The drug is toxic and is excreted through feces and urine. Therefore, you need to use disposable gloves and masks when you’re cleaning the litter boxes. The most common side effects (still uncommon), are neurological. Contact us immediately if any of the cats show any neurological abnormalities or other symptoms.” Now, that’s not at all daunting, is it? At least I’m not the only person who’s been through this! And hey, this time I didn’t get bitten, either!

I also had to bathe all the cats. I wasn’t sure when during the medication timeline I should bathe them all, so I emailed some researchers at North Carolina State University for advice, and was pleasantly surprised at their quick and helpful response! They told me: “To my knowledge, no one has looked at the optimal time for performing a disinfection during treatment for T. foetus (ie. at what point during the treatment, on average, is T. foetus no longer being shed by the cat). The good news is, the T. foetus organism is not particularly robust once outside the host. We have observed the organisms in feces are no longer viable 24hrs after being voided into a litter pan, in the absence of litter; the presence of litter likely speeds the process up via desiccation of the feces.” So, towards the end of the dosage period, we cleaned one room, washed all the cats, locked the cats up in the clean room and then cleaned the rest of the house. We used liberal amounts of Virkon (which is actually better than bleach for sanitizing – and without the smell and turning things white).

cleanlitterboxesC03312

Another importan part of eradicating TriTrich is to thoroughly clean all the litterboxes, since it is mainly transmitted in feces.

litterboxes_5164

litterboxes_5165

It wasn’t easy, cleaning six litterboxes, but between the two bathrooms, I managed to wash them all.

cleanlitterboxesC03322

cleanlitterboxesC03327

cleanlitterboxesC03333

We got all the freshly cleaned boxes back in their places…

cleanlitterboxesC03335

…and filled them up with clean, fresh litter. We use two types, PeeWee pine pellets, which are wonderful, and Cat’s Best Öko, which is a plant-based wood fibre clumping litter. Both of these make collecting fecal samples very easy – much easier than clay litter.

This is important, because once we were done with the medication and the bathing and the cleaning, we needed to test all five cats’ poops. Which involved catching each cat “in the act,” so to speak. Izaak and Lorelai were easy – just catch them when we’re at a cat show. Jacoby, as well, was simple: he eats in a room with a box in it, so just catch him after he’s been fed. But Alfred and Angel…it took me weeks to catch them, especially Angel! I finally managed it, though…

jakeminvetC06023

So now, we are TriTrich free…no diarrhea at all, and Jake seems happier and less growly, although he still hisses and growls at the younger cats…but I think now it’s just become a habit to be a grumpy old man towards them more than an actual medical symptom.

(And yeah, I wasn’t going to post a photo of anyone actually using a box, so have a shot of Jake having his perfect teeth checked instead.)

Aby-a-Day – 4 May: “Oy with the poodles already”

You may remember my post last Thursday, I mentioned that, before we even knew Logan was sick, we had arranged to get another Aby kitten. What happened was, at the Scandinavian Winners show, I was across the aisle from an Aby breeder from Uppsala, and she had a very cute sign on top of her cage saying she had kittens available. So I took one of her little slips of paper, which said that not only did she have kittens…but they were blue kittens!

I showed the paper to Björn, and unlike most normal, sane husbands, he did NOT say, “Are you freaking kidding me? Another cat!? No more cats without a divorce!” but instead said, “Are they show quality? And…maybe a girl kitten? She could be a show friend for Logan, and I could show her while you show Logan…”

So yeah. That happened. And then we found out Logan was sick…but tomorrow we are collecting Lorelai (Rory for short).

Now, everybody say it with me, “FIP is NOT contagious“…but I still want to be as careful as possible. So I’ve been cleaning the house, cat beds, toys, everything with Virkon. If you aren’t familiar with this miracle potion, you should be. It has no smell. You can spray it, dip things into it, mist it over the population (for example, in chicken coops). You can put it in a steam floor cleaner. You can use it as a pre-wash in the laundry. You can even use it as a shampoo on animals and livestock! So I have gotten the place as clean as I can so at least I know I did everything I possibly could.

cleanlitterboxesC03312

I also scrubbed and sanitised all the litter boxes and Litter Lockers and put in all fresh litter (That’s them all piled up outside the bathroom, where I hosed them down in our tub using the shower massage). Since moving to Sweden, we’ve gone to Pee Wee pine pellet litter (and the special boxes that go with it) in five of our six boxes. The other box contains Majstor a clumping, corn-based litter. When we got rid of clay for once and for all, Pyret refused to use the pellets, so this was a compromise she accepted. After she died, at least one cat was still using it, so we kept it on, and now I guess we’ll just keep on using at least one box of it just in case.

Both of them are brilliant, though: light, inexpensive, virtually dust-free, and almost odourless!

cleanlitterboxesC03322

cleanlitterboxesC03325

cleanlitterboxesC03327

cleanlitterboxesC03333

Here are all the shiny, clean boxes back in their places and waiting for fresh, unsullied litter.

cleanlitterboxesC03335

And here they are all filled up!

Another thing I like to do when adding a new family member is to bathe the newcomer, not only to reduce introduction of any germs unfamiliar to our household from the kitten’s home, but to make the newcomer smell less different.. But this time around, I thought not of bathing just Rory…but of bathing the resident cats here as well. Afterall, germs, and smells, can go both ways. Jacoby, Alfred and Logan all got baths shortly after they came home, and so shall Rory when she comes home tomorrow. Besides, Jake, Freddy and Angel haven’t had baths for a while, so they were due.

jakebathC03291

So here.

angelbathC03279

Enjoy some photos of wet pussies.

freddyangelbathC03284

freddyangelbathC03285

(Not exactly sure what was going on here…)

jakefreddybathC03305

freddyjakebathC03315

jakeangelbathC03341

Of course, Abys never look wet for very long.

Abys are Everywhere: Blue is the new Ruddy

Blue Abys are everywhere! As part of our move, we’re buying a new bed, and I’m looking at one on Wayfair.com.

Well, since I signed up for an account with them, I get emails telling me what goodies they have on sale. Like litter box cabinets! I had no idea Wayfair had cat furniture…but they do!

And look at the handsome blue Aby they have modelling this cabinet! We currently have two white cabinets (one in each bathroom), but if we ever want to change colour, I now know where to go.

I was also pleased to discover that they sell the Sophia box-shelves, because we were thinking of getting those…and obviously, they’re Aby-approved!

These shelves come in sets of two, and you can get either black or white. The Aby, sadly, is not included.

Surprisingly, Wayfair carries a lot of the “standard” modern cat furniture, like the Sebastian Modern Cat Tree (look who’s the model again!), the Lotus Cat Tree and the Square Cat Habitat Baobob and Acacia cat trees. They also carry cat shelves like the Refined Feline Clouds shelves and the Square Cat Habitat Buddah Perches. Who knew!?

Since we’re looking to do some catification in the new place, I went over all the blog posts about cat shelves and walkways on Hauspanther and discovered that somehow I’d missed this one from last year! How did I not see this lovely blue Aby Zidane in her San Francisco loft?

I’m seeing a lot more blue Abys in advertising lately…interesting trend!

Aby-a-Day – November 16: “Neat” (Saturday Photo Hunt)

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

jakeneatIMG_2959

Jacoby is a very neat cat.

jakeneatIMG_2960

And by “neat,” I don’t mean “cool” or “awesome,” I mean “tidy.”

jakeneatIMG_2961

Two kitties in our family, who shall remain nameless (*cough*Angel*cough*Tessie*cough*) do not bury their business after using the litter box. Then, when Jake comes along to use it, he has to clean up after them!

jakeneatIMG_2962

Both before he even goes in, and then before he can use it himself once he’s in there.

jakeneatIMG_2965

It drives him nuts, too, you can just tell by the look on his face.

jakeneatIMG_2966

“Seriously, you guys? You can’t just bury that yourselves? Really?”

jakesmessE_7098

Unfortunately, Jake’s fastidiousness doesn’t carry over into the kitchen. SOMEONE knocked over this dispenser filled with the delicious meat powder we sprinkle on the cats’ food. We don’t actually know who this SOMEONE was, but a certain boycat in our house refused to let me take his photo with the spillage…and he never refuses to let me take his photo! He was also suspiciously not hungry the rest of the day…

Aby-a-Day – May 14: Second Shift (Cartoon Tuesday)

Angel never, ever buries her business.

Actually, neither she nor Tessie do. Jacoby will go into the litterbox after one of them has been in there and you can just see his shoulders slump. You can’t see the expression on his face because it’s inside the box, but his body language is clear: “Are you frickin’ kidding me? Again!?”

abycartoon72

This is one of those things that make me glad I started Cartoon Tuesdays, because you really can’t get a good photo of it.

(Click cartoon to embiggen, or you can view all cartoons in Slideshow mode on Flickr.)

Aby-a-Day – February 5: It’s a jungle out there (Cartoon Tuesday)

Angel has a phobia about the litterbox. However, in her case, it’s justified…Tessie and Kylie like to lie in wait just outside the box while she’s in there and jump her when she comes out.

abycartoon59

To be entirely fair, though, Kylie does that to everyone in the house, humans included!

(Click cartoon to embiggen, or you can view all cartoons in Slideshow mode on Flickr.)

Aby-a-Day – April 3: Can you dig it? (Cartoon Tuesday)

Jacoby is a huge fan of clean litter. He’s always right there when I scoop the box every night, and he’ll use one, if not both, boxes as soon as they’re clean. Don’t ask me how he does that…Granted, he’s not quite as fanatical about it as his brother, Gun-Hee, but still…

abycartoon14

(Click cartoon to embiggen, or you can view all cartoons in Slideshow mode on Flickr.)