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 – 7 June: Lorelai’s first professional photos

I got a delightful surprise today: Lorelai’s breeder, Eva, sent me the first professional photos she had taken of Rory and her littermates when they were 11 weeks old (and of course, that’s Rory front and center in the above photo).

The photos were done by Maria Westling and ArtPhoto, and they really capture Rory’s personality.

There was an event at our DjurMagazinet a couple of weeks ago, and I took everyone to have photos done. It was especially important to get professional photos of Alfred and Angel, since it’s much easier to get photos done at cat shows. Angel cannot be entered in a FIFe show, as cats missing parts aren’t allowed in shows, even as Household Pets. Not that Angel would like being shown at all. Freddy is FIFe-registered, and could be shown as a Abyssinian, of course, but his colour is so dark that he’d be laughed off the judging stand. He also has some barring on his front legs and his eyes are somewhat round. He’s a great Aby…he’s just not a show Aby. And that is okay.

There’ll be a post about that circus eventually (Björn had to work and Kalle was sick, so I had to wrangle all four cats on my own. Which was oh so much fun.

I wasn’t aware that Rory had done that before. She certainly didn’t act like she’d ever had profressional photos done!

She seems to have done wonderfully on this first go.

I love that she had these done! This was the week before we got her, and it’s so great to have pro photos from before we actually got her.

She seems to be a natural.

Pretty sure that’s her with the toy, though.

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.

Aby-a-Day – June 19: Layover (Flashback Friday)

When I adopted Angel from Purebreds Plus, I had to fly out to Northern California to collect her. This wasn’t a problem at all for me since, despite living in New England, I grew up in Northern California, and my mother lives in Davis…8 miles away from Purebreds Plus’ headquarters in Dixon, CA.

angel-airport1

So while it wasn’t a problem for me, I did worry about Angel’s trip home to Boston. The flight had had a layover and we had to change planes in Denver. Because Angel hadn’t ever really travelled, and she had never worn a harness, I got her a MetPet Soft-Sided Security Harness. This turned out to not be such a great idea as she managed to wrestle out of it inside her carrier.

angel-airport2

I also prepared her a makeshift litter box using a folding shirt box and a Ziploc bag full of litter. She was having none of that, either. The next time I need to take a long flight with an Aby, I think I’ll skip the litter box attempts and just make sure I have a supply of pee pads instead.

Abys are Everywhere – Dr. Elsey’s Sneezing Kitten

How cute is this little guy? I found him at the top of the Catshows.US website when I went to enter the Seacoast Cat Show the other day.

I mean, how can you not follow that link to Dr. Elsey’s litter?

Abys are Everywhere -Swiss story about litter and cats at a show in Houston

Abys are everywhere! Today, on the Swiss news site 20 Minuten, an article about litter features an Aby cuddling with his human.

Also, Abyfriend Cynthia pointed me to this excellent slide show of “25 cats trying to figure out why they are at the cat show”.

It not only features her Aby, GC RW Absolute Crawdaddy, doing agility…

But it also features this somali, named Kondwani. I’m not sure if it’s just that thing where once you have something, you notice it everywhere, but doesn’t it seem like Abys are getting more facetime in articles and advertisements lately?

Aby-a-Day – November 20: Shop therapy

After Jacoby’s assessment, we passed a Petco on the way home and decided to stop and pick up a few things since it was right there…and Jake could come inside with us.

jakepetcoC00344

Jake was all for a little shopping excursion.

jakepetcoC00409

He sat in the shopping cart’s baby seat very nicely and didn’t even try to get out and walk around.

jakepetcoC00432

He was, however, very interested in this display of dog and cat beds.

jakepetcoC00437

I think he saw something he really liked!

jakepetcoC00448

As if we don’t have enough cat napping spots in our house already – there’s more cat furniture than human furniture!

jakepetcoC00474

For a boycat, Jake is a very good shopper.

jakepetcoC00478

He waits so patiently in the cart.

jakepetcoC00527

And he advises us on our selections.

jakepetcoC00490

He really does enjoy going out and helping us shop.

jakepetcoC00510

We buy a lot of litter in one trip, especially in winter, so we are sure never to run out. Currently, we use a blend of Blue Buffalo Walnut and EverClean.

jakepetcoC00551

When we got to the canned food aisle, Jake really perked up.

jakepetcoC00566

It’s really interesting – even though cans of food have no food-like smell, he definitely recognises the cans as “food.” He even tried to get onto the shelf with the cans!

jakepetcoC00572

“Heeeyyy…why’s the bag with the Aby on it marked down?”

jakepetcoC00579

I think he’s sulking a bit here because I told him he doesn’t actually get to eat any of this food. The ProPlan is the girls’ food; Jake is, of course, on a strict UT prescription diet.

jakepetcoC00582

The least fun part of any shopping trip is checkout. But even then, Jake just sat in the cart and observed.

jakepetcoC00596

I think he was having a good time watching the clerk scan all the little cans of food.

jakepetcoC00602

I was so proud of how nicely he sat while we had our purchases rung up.

jakepetcoC00604

All the Petco salespeople were pretty impressed, too. They don’t see many cats come into the store in general, let alone one who’s so blase about shopping.

jakepetcoC00609

I was happy that Jake enjoyed the trip to Petco so much, especially after his hissing and growling at the assessment. He didn’t growl or hiss once the entire time he was in the shopping cart. He didn’t even meow very much. It really proved to me that it isn’t being away from his home – or his stroller – that upsets him, but it’s something about the actual therapy visit process. So I think the break will be a good thing.

Aby-a-Day – November 2: Urine luck (Serious Sunday)

This week, Jacoby has had another urinary tract infection flare-up.

jakeUTIpeeIMG_5891

It started with him trying to pee in first one litter box, then the other…and then the first one again. Lather, rinse, repeat. So on Thursday morning, while he was trying to pee again, I slipped a little dish under his bum to collect a urine sample. And…it wasn’t yellow, like it’s supposed to be. It was pink. And I’m sure you know what pink urine means: blood. (When you have a cat with UTI issues, it helps to have a very bonded relationship; obviously, I couldn’t collect a urine sample myself from most cats, but Jake doesn’t mind if I do something like put a small takeout container under him while he’s trying to pee!)

jakeUTIvetIMG_5895

So I called my boss to tell him I’d be late, called the vet to tell them we were on our way (they don’t open until 9am on Thursdays), and we were off to see the vet.

jakeUTIvetIMG_5896

They took a better urine sample from him (it was still bloody), and gave him his first dose of a new medication.

jakeUTIvetIMG_5897

Of course, he took it perfectly – Jake’s great at taking pills.

cerenia

The prescription that we were given was for Cerenia, which is mainly used to prevent nausea in dogs and cats, but also has an off-label use as an anti-inflammatory. We’ve never been prescribed this medication before…and I’m not entirely sure it worked. His usual UTI cocktail is Phenoxybenzamine (an antispasmodic which also increases urine flow) and Bruprenex, a pain reliever. After 24 hours on just the Cerenia, it was obvious that he was still in pain…and he was still feeling like he needed to pee when he didn’t. I went back to the vet to get his usual medications…and by the next morning he was back to his old perky self. The Phenoxybenzamine and the Buprenex work that quickly, at least with Jake!

jakeUTIvetIMG_5898

He also got an antibiotic, but that was in the form of an injection rather than pills. He’s had Convenia twice before, the first time to treat his chin acne, and then again the last time he had a UTI in April.

jakeUTIvetIMG_5900

He took that well, too. And by today, Sunday, he’s back to normal – he not finished with his medicine yet, but he’s chasing Angel, knocking stuff over, and climbing up to the top wall shelf. If he was a kid, he’d be going back to school tomorrow.

UTIs, crystals and blockages are serious business. Jake’s never had a blockage, but he does have crystals, and he eats only prescription UT canned and dry food – and mostly the former. He is also the reason we have a drinking fountain for the cats. If you notice the warning signs (trying to pee over and over again and/or peeing in the wrong place when the cat NEVER pees outside the box), do not hesitate. Drop what you’re doing and go to your vet. Not to scare you, but an Aby breeder friend of mine lost a healthy young stud male to a blockage. She had been away, and the pet sitter didn’t know the signs. He looked like he was just asleep when she found him…but he was dead. She had an autopsy done, and he had a urinary blockage. He was only about two years old.

One thing that I am considering getting is Perfect Litter. It changes colour when your cat has a UTI, so you have another warning sign to look for. And as luck would have it, right now, the company is giving away a month’s supply of litter just for the cost of shipping ($4.99) – and they give you a $5 coupon good on your next purchase. Hauspanther posted about this on Thursday, the same day Jake went to the vet – talk about perfect timing!

Aby-a-Day – March 10: The wonderful world of TICA

I also wanted to share the TICA experience. It was, as I said, different. Different breeds of cats, a slightly different style of showing, and a slightly different overall personality. Not bad, just different. Kind of like when you live in either the US or Canada and go to the other country; we speak the same language (apart from that whole “couch/chesterfield” thing), we watch the same television shows, but we use different money and do our everyday things just a little bit differently.

jakedexterN9603

I like different. I’m a Gemini; different is awesome.

jakeprovticaN9602

It was also a lot of fun to see Munchkins, Bengals, Savannahs and Toygers, since those aren’t recognised by CFA. Savannahs, in fact, on January 28th 2012, TICA accepted the Savannah as a championship breed, so this was actually one of the breed’s first “real” shows.

savannahprovticaN9590

Animal Planet has a new episode of Too Cute Kittens with Savannah kittens, and it aired for the first time on the Saturday night of the cat show. I was talking to a woman with Savannah kittens on Sunday, and it turns out that those are her kittens on the program. So now I’ve met two of the breeders who have been featured on Too Cute! Kittens, the Abyssinians who were bred by Instincts (breeders of Jacoby’s mother Catalina), and now I’ve met the Savannahs, too.

savannahprovticaN9592

This is Janet with one of her kittens. As I’ve been telling the Pouponette’s Number 1, my camera has been having issues lately…the good photo I took of her wasn’t saved by the camera, unfortunately, so this is the best I have.

jordacheprovticaN9588

This is an adult Savannah named Jordache.

jordacheprovticaN9589

He and his human were wearing coordinated outfits!

toygerprovticaN9582

This is one of the Toygers that was at the show. I’d never seen a Toyger in person before.

toygerprovticaN9586

But last weekend, I got to see two!

bengalfawnabyprovticaN9548

I never saw a Bengal in person, either. This was a Champion Bengal next to a really pretty little fawn Aby girl.

fawnabyprovticaN9537

She was adorable!

champabysprovticaN9539

There were also two ruddy Championship Abyssinians in the show.

somaliprovticaN9574

And this incredible Silver Cinnamon Somali.

somaliprovticaN9557

He was so gorgeous.

somaliprovticaN9575

And good-natured!

siameseHHPprovticaN9578

This Siamese was actually a Household Pet.

japbobprovticaN9581

Every time I saw this little Japanese Bobtail, I was reminded of Eyebrow Kitteh. His people actually hadn’t seen Eyebrow Kitteh…I’m sure they thought I was strange.

abytattooprovticaN9444

Dexter’s person had the most spectacular tattoo of her red/sorrel Aby…it’s certainly gotten me to thinking!

eurpburmprovtica

And we also saw this little lilac European Burmese. It was funny, because Jacoby saw her first and he just kind of stared at her. I’m sure he thought she was Tessie at first, and he was just fascinated with her. It was really funny.

As I said yesterday, there was also a Pet Expo going on (the cat show was a part of the larger Expo), and we had a lot of spectators coming through both days. Everyone was really well-mannered, for the most part; people asked sensible questions and the children were polite. Sometimes when there are a lot of what we used to call “Mundanes” when I was in the SCA walking around, I get nervous for my belongings; the more people who pass by your encampment, the more likely it is that something of yours may evolve legs and walk away. But I didn’t hear of any missing belongings either of the two days, which is wonderful!

jakeprovticaN9410

We had a lot of attention around Jake’s house, because we were benched next to the only Sphynx at the show, and the kids all loved Sally.

sallyprovticaN9593

Her people, Laurie and Michael, let the kids touch her so they would know what a hairless cat felt like.

sallyprovticaN9594

I actually had to take her up to a ring while they were at lunch! I’ve petted Sphynxes before, but I’d never shown one…that was an interesting experience. I said it was like driving someone else’s car; I was familiar with the process, but everything was just slightly off.

jordacheprovticaN9589

I like having little kids (and older girls) come by to see Jake. I always talk to them and let them pet a real live show cat; I was just like them when I was their age, and I would have been over the moon if I’d have been allowed to touch a real show Aby when I was 12. I would have been too shy to even ask, so I really enjoy talking to kids about the cat show, Jake, and the whole show experience because I see myself in those kids. I found an article for cat show exhibitors on a Persian and Exotic breeder’s website which, personally, says everything I want to say and more; it’s a brilliant essay.

jakeprovticaN9408

I also have Jake’s TokiPoki cards, and tiny “rock band buttons” with his name and photo on them that I give away to the really good cat-crazy kids. Those are very popular; sometimes the parents want one, too! A lot of the cat people at shows can be a little preoccupied and a lot of us deal better with cats than with people (myself included), so I always try to remember what I felt like when I just came to look at cat shows, before I was actually involved with them.

abybroidery

The Expo itself had a lot of booths with all sorts of pet-related products. I bought a totebag with “I Love My Abyssinian” on it (and it had green handles, too!) from Klondike Stuff embroidery, and the owner came over to me and said, “Thank you for buying a totebag.” I grinned and said, “Thank you for having a totebag with an Aby on it!”

abytowelIMG_6912

I also got this little grey hand towel from her. It’s supposed to be a “Yoga Cat,” but I think she looks like a fawn Aby.

Another cool thing about Expos like this is that you get introduced to new products, like the new walnut-shell litter that Blue just came out with. The Northeast sales rep himself (I think his name is Greg) came around to all of us exhibitors and extolled the virtues of this new litter – and also gave us a bag to try out!

I haven’t tried it yet, but apparently nut shells in general, and especially walnut shells, have amazing ammonia gas and odor-neutralising properties. During WWI, they were used in gas masks because walnut shells were super-effective against mustard gas. According to Greg, this was discovered by accident when gas masks were stored in a shed that was broken into by squirrels, who stored walnuts inside the gas masks. When they were testing the gas masks for effectiveness against mustard gas, the men who had gas masks with walnuts in them were fine, but those without the walnuts passed out. And, as anyone who’s ever read a label on a bottle of bleach or ammonia knows, mustard gas is ammonia-based, just like cat urine. So it should work really well on cat box odor, and I’m very interested to try it!

litterbiteN3605

I’m sure Jake is, too. I just hope he doesn’t try to eat it like he did the corn-based World’s Best Litter!