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.”

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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?

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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).

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

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

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

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…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…

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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.

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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!

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

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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.

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So here.

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Enjoy some photos of wet pussies.

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(Not exactly sure what was going on here…)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Jake was all for a little shopping excursion.

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

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

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I think he saw something he really liked!

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

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For a boycat, Jake is a very good shopper.

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He waits so patiently in the cart.

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And he advises us on our selections.

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He really does enjoy going out and helping us shop.

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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.

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

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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!

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

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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.

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

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

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

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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.

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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.