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.

Aby-a-Day 30 April: Jacoby’s mood swings (Medical Monday)

Last week, Jacoby and I went to the vet to check out his sudden shift in attitude.

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Now, those of you who have followed Jacoby’s career know that he is fine in any situation.

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And, most of the time I have known him, he has been bulletproof. He’s been through some stuff with me, and he survived it. But lately, he’s been pacing and yowling and growling, and also lashing out at Alfred and Angel. When I clipped his claws, he growled at me the entire time. He never growls when I clip his claws!

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But the last time we went to the vet, he needed to wear this almost-muzzle just to draw a blood sample!

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Jake growled and hissed throughout a completely normal examination. His growling and hissing is so…wrong. The vet palpated his body, and she decided he has some soreness, but his bloodwork was completely normal. She has him on Metacam for 20 days, so we’ll see if that helps.

This angriness in Jake is so unlike him…I hope he gets over it.

Aby-a-Day – 22 April: The Watch that Ends the Night

Alfred was so lonely after Logan went to the Djursjukhuset in Jönköping.

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I got a call from the vet in Jönköping on Friday the 13th, of all days, that Logan was going to die. He had a surgical biopsy of his mesenteric lymph nodes. In his belly, they found gelled fluid indicative of FIP. After Pyret, and the way all the cats paid their respects to her, I knew I couldn’t let Logan die without saying good-bye to his brother from another mother.

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So I bundled Freddy up and took him with me to Jönköping to say good-bye to our Logan.

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We had to wait in the cats-only waiting area first, where there were lots of certificates announcing how cat-friendly the hospital is.

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They also had this awesome poster showing Cats of the World. The Abys were much better than on the last poster I saw in a vet’s office…and there is a Singapura on it, too!

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Eventually, we were taken to a room. Not a hospital room, but an office-type room, with computers and a comfy leather sofa.

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The vet tech brought Logan in, and Freddy was right there to greet him.

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Then I cradled my baby and cried over him.

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Being on his back was uncomfortable for him, so I held him turned over. I wore my Porg T-shirt because Logan was my little Porg.

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Freddy didn’t care that Logan was wearing the Cone of Shame. He was just happy to see his brother from another mother.

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Logan struggling to get into the carrier with Freddy after the vet tech took off the Cone of Shame. I have no words to express how much I miss his love of Freddy. And his funny facea.

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We had to wait a while before it was out turn. We didn’t mind.

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Logan was so weak and tired. He had had surgery, blood tests and so much else done to him those last few days. But still he hung on.

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He was happy to be with Freddy.

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Finally, the vet tech came back with all the syringes. Because the doctor was tied up with an emergency, she was going to administer the drugs.

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She flushed out his port with saline before starting the euthanasia procedure. I didn’t take photos of that. I wouldn’t normally have taken as many photos of all this as I did, but Björn was away that weekend on his Hemvärnet exercises, and he couldn’t be there to see Logan that last time. So I took these for him, and also for Lisa, his breeder.

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All clear.

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He started receiving the sedatives first. While they started to work and make Logan drowsy, Freddy was right there with him.

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Brothers to the end.

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Finally the last needle was given, and Logan left us. They gave us a blue towel to wrap him in, and Freddy said his last goodbye.

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I hated to leave him alone in that empty room, so I left one of his favourite fishes with him. It’s been just a little over a week since he died, and Freddy and I are so lost. He was our little dude, and we miss him.

Aby-a-Day – 21 April: Last Train to Jönköping

On Wednesday, 11 April, Logan left home for the last time.

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We took a 15:55 train from Skövde to Jönköping to see the Djursjukhuset. Logan loved to look out the window on the train.

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But he loved sitting in my lap even more.

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in Jönköping, there’s even a bus stop named for the animal hospital…how cool is that?

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When we got to the hospital, they showed us into a room. Logan was weighed and had his temperature taken, and he was given a little bed to sit in. This hospital has a colour scheme to rank urgency: Red is life or death; Yellow is not quite life or death, but the nest best thing; Green is well…it might be serious, and it’s good you came in when you did; and Blue is you can come back tomorrow, you’re not dying. They told me that Logan was between Yellow and Green

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They had excellent Cat TV in the room we were in. This nuthatch was one of the actors.

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Logan liked the bed the vets made him…

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…but still…

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…no bed is as good as mummy’s lap.

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Then they came to take some blood samples and put in a catheter port.

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We got some…but poor Logan wasn’t happy about it.

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They put a red bandage on his arm.

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After some more waiting, the transport cage came to take Logan to his hospital enclosure.

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Logan was skeptical, to say the least.

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Poor Logan…all he wanted was the bandage off his arm…if he only knew…

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Eventually, Logan got into the transport cage.

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While Logan was in hospital, the vet staff texted me photos of Logan every morning. This was Thursday morning…

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…And this was Saturday morning, after his biopsy surgery on Friday.

Aby-a-Day – 16 April: Beginning of the end…

Vide. It means “pussywillow” in Swedish and “empty” in French. Ironically appropriate.

Also appropriate: the British meaning of the word “gutted” for this feeling I have right now.

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Logan was losing weight, but I fed him kitten food, Hill’s A/D, Royal Canin Convelescence, and Aptus Reconvalescent Paste.

I called the vet on Tuesday, and the first appointment available was Friday. We took it.

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Logan was thin, but he didn’t look sick.

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He definitely didn’t have the swollen, fluid-filled belly.

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Logan needed an ultrasound of his belly, but there was another patient in that room, so we had to wait.

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We finally went in. I don’t have any photos of him getting his ultrasound because I was busy helping to hold him.

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After the ultrasound, they took samples of Logan’s blood for testing.

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He did not like that.

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Although I think he was more upset about having to have a bandage on his arm than the actual blood draw.

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“Can we please go home now, mom?”

And when we did, all we could do was wait for the test results. It was a very long weekend.

Aby-a-Day – 2 April: Cat Scan (Medical Monday)

Last month, I posted about Jacoby’s only urinary incident since we moved to Sweden. At that time, I could not find the photos of our first trip to the vet when he got an ultrasound. Well, guess what? I was looking in the wrong folder!

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Like most vets, there is are separate waiting rooms for cats and dogs. They had this poster in the cat waiting area.

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Not too sure about this Abyssinian, though…

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This was our first trip to what became our regular vet hospital. We came here because the place Björn used to go to wasn’t able to fit Jake in for an emergency when he started showing signs of bladder distress. This place was able to see us that day…and I was so impressed, they became our regular vet.

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As usual, Jake calmly explored both the waiting room and the exam room…Uh, Jake? I think the doctor’s meant to sit there, not you.

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As we hadn’t been seen here before, Jake needed to be weighed.

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4.36 kilos. Not bad, that’s a little over 9½ US pounds.

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After they checked him out, they decided he needed an ultrasound to see what was going on with his bladder. Normally, they shave the belly, but since we had a cat show in Finland coming up in a couple of weeks, they very kindly did the scan with all his fur on.

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It just made him a little messy from the gel.

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Then the lights were turned off and he got scanned.

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Turns out, it wasn’t crystals this time at all! He had a little polyp in his bladder.

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In case you can’t see what is going on in the scan, the vet made me a little sketch to describe the polyp.

He didn’t even need antibiotics; they just gave him Buprenex and Metacam. He recovered perfectly, and when we went back for a recheck and second scan, the polyp had resolved itself. I wonder if it’s the better quality food that’s fended off his UT problems?

Aby-a-Day – 19 March: Angel at the vet (Medical Monday)

The first time we took Jacoby and Angel to the vet was in September 2016. We went to introduce ourselves (which turned out to be pointless since we ended up going to the other vet in in town), to get a refill of Angel’s Amitriptyline prescription, and to get both Jake and Angel their EU Passports (about which more in an upcoming post).

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Angel can be a little skittish and fearful at home, but she loves to explore when we’re at the vet.

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She’s so cute when she’s curious.

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Before the passport can be issued, the vet needs to scan her microchip to make certain she is really herself and not an imposter. Microchips are much more important in Europe than they are in the States. Besides being listed as the cat’s version of a social security number, they are also required for pet insurance, and every cat’s microchip is scanned when you check in at a cat show.

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Yep, Angel is Angel!

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Jake is happy to just chill on a chair while Angel explores.

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Angel watches as Björn takes Pyret out of her carrier.

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While the vet and Björn attempt to have Pyret examined, Angel checks out the floor again.

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Abys are so different from other cats at the vet.