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

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

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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!)

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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.

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

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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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This is an adult Savannah named Jordache.

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He and his human were wearing coordinated outfits!

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

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But last weekend, I got to see two!

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

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She was adorable!

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There were also two ruddy Championship Abyssinians in the show.

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And this incredible Silver Cinnamon Somali.

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He was so gorgeous.

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And good-natured!

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This Siamese was actually a Household Pet.

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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.

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

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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!

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!”

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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!

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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!