Such cuteness, I can hardly handle it! I hope it lasts.
I took Mr. Sunshine, in the middle, to a quick trip to the urgent care vet and the news was not entirely good: two bilateral masses on his abdomen that might be inflamed lymph glands, and hypertension. Blood tests showed everything in completely normal ranges, including white blood cell count, except calcium was a little low. The veterinarian had wanted to check for hyperthyroid disease as a possible cause for the hypertension, but that wasn’t the case so it’s heart disease. The test also indicated that he had a high number on the fPLI pancreatitis test. These things indicate renal issues and pancreatitis, but it’s not typically the results of a cat with cancer, so I’m hopeful.
They will be 15 in July. My regular veterinarian retired in October 2020, and I love the veterinarian I took Mimi to last year. I have been saving and planning for senior panels for the four of them, in part because with four of them heading into geriatric territory together I want to see where things are at this point, and aside from rabies vaccines in 2020 they haven’t seen a veterinarian in a few years. I also wanted to catch up and have our new veterinarian get to know them before problems start, or get worse, depending on what we have.
Mr. Sunshine’s symptoms
Just in the past couple months Mr. Sunshine hadn’t been finishing his food, which is fine since his three siblings don’t either, so I hold it and offer it again a few hours later. They just can’t eat as much at one sitting anymore, and I’ve done this with all my older cats. They’ll be 15 in July, and I’ve been anticipating this. But a couple weeks ago Mr. Sunshine started sort of crouching/hunching after dinner, as if he had some discomfort with digestion, I’d also seen he hadn’t gotten himself up onto surfaces he normally did for the past few days.
But he was acting like normal Sunshine, as you’ve seen in photos, and you’ve also seen him on plenty of surfaces too. He’s been sleeping in one or another of the baskets on my desk, sometimes napping on the cloud bed in the basement, and nearly always sleeps with me at night so he’s right there to bite my fingers in the morning when I reach to pet him.
Last week’s acute condition
Thursday night last week I saw some rough breathing when he was crouching, though he was very responsive when I walked over to pet him. He went down the stairs, slowly, performed both litter box tasks normally, scratched a few things, and headed for the stairs. They seemed to be a challenge for him. I took him to the bathroom and took his temperature, 103.5, often what I’ll see if there is pain or stress. I was ready to run him somewhere but since he was still responsive and eating treats, I decided to let him chill in the bathroom while I got more work done. About an hour later he was relaxing on his side on the floor and stood up and put his tail up when I opened the door. I’d be up for a while longer, and he seemed okay enough to hang out overnight, and that’s what we did.
Breakfast was about the same as supper the night before, so I planned to take him to the Pet Well Clinic we’ve used a couple of times recently. I knew the veterinarian there would give him a good assessment and possibly treatment. They are walk-in only and less than a mile away.
Going to the urgent care vet
He found the masses on Sunshine’s belly right away. I’d noticed them, Mr. Sunshine always had a good pouch there on his lower belly, and those shapes had seemed like weight gain a few weeks ago. As his siblings weren’t finishing their meals last summer, he was finishing the food for them, and he had gained some weight, or possibly it was the initial inflammation. The veterinarian looked at his eyes and said that wasn’t cataracts as I had been told, it was a cardiac issue, and his blood pressure was high, about 200. He took blood for the test and I took Mr. Sunshine home. I requested a reiki treatment from Ingrid King, and went out to get some foods he really liked so that I could get him to eat a little more.
Some slow improvement
He improved later in the day after the reiki treatment, and Saturday morning was a little more mobile than Friday. I had a photo event at the library for a few hours so I let him hang out and he was fine when I stopped back. I’d missed the vet’s phone call but his message said there was no sign of hyperthyroidism, his kidney values looked good, so he’d sent a referral to oncology at the animal specialty hospital and they could make recommendations based on the test results.
It was Saturday, and it can take a long time to hear from the specialists. Hypertension is one disease I am very familiar with in my family history and myself, and I felt medication was necessary ASAP if it was that high, so I decided to swing past there and talk to him. He gave me a prescription for the medication and the results of the blood tests. I told him I planned to find imaging somewhere even prior to oncology, I didn’t want to wait that long to know more about what was happening with him.
Also, Sunday was the Homeless Cat spaghetti dinner and I could talk to all my connections to veterinary services around the city. Mr. Sunshine, and all else, enjoyed their special food on Saturday night, and even Sunday’s breakfast was good. I put him in the bathroom because I’d be gone for at least six hours, and the day was hot. He was still having troubles with steps, and he’d have a litterbox and food and water in there. Of course, it was about 86 degrees that day so I dug out the window screen and set it up. He was pretty pleased with it all.
Sunday night when I got back he actually managed to get himself up on to the cabinet, the table and leap over onto the cabinet in front of the window to drink from the fountain and look out the window. So he seemed to be recovering somewhat from where he’d been on Thursday night, and that continued through Monday, still not eating a whole lot but showing up for meals and loving his treats, enjoying the food puzzles with bits of dry food in them, and still napping on my desk in his favorite basket. This morning he wasn’t in the basket or on the cloud bed in the basement, but had come upstairs and was under my bed. I have a portable sewing machine next to my bed that Mewsette uses as a step, so we’ll see if he figures that out.
At the dinner one of my connections said she’d call oncology and see if I could be moved up, and she’d also call my veterinarian, who also works with Pittsburgh CAT’s foster cats, to see if she could get me in sometime in the next week. I’m still waiting to find out. Mr. Sunshine is definitely feeling better and is more active, but I can tell he still has some discomfort and isn’t eating more than an ounce of food per meal with just a few treats in between.
Pancreatitis, eye issues, and toxoplasmosis
I had discovered last year that there is a connection between toxoplasmosis and pancreatitis, and it can also affect the physical eye and vision. I discovered this when the housecall vet I’d had visit in autumn 2020 suggested Mimi might have pancreatitis based on the symptoms. I looked up causes of pancreatitis and in Cornell Feline Health Center articles I found there’s a connection between the effects of toxoplasmosis on organs and pancreatitis. Mimi tested positive for a past toxo infection. Basil had tested positive for a current infection in 2020. I’ve no doubt I have a population of toxoplasmosis infected small rodents running around here and likely everyone is infected. So the abdominal and ocular issues Mr. Sunshine has could be caused by toxoplasmosis.
Of course, I’m hoping this is it, and that he doesn’t have cancer.
If you’d like to help me with his care
Hey, visit my website, www.PortraitsOfAnimals.net, and do some shopping! I have plenty of unique handmade gift items, artwork and photography there for Mothers Day and Fathers Day and any day. Also consider a portrait, or a portrait certificate. It would make me very happy to pack and ship things to you in return for money.
I know I’m always asking for money, but that’s always for cat rescue. I know that I have some expenses coming up, and I don’t want to hold back their care for lack of money. When I’ve looked into financing for pet health issues, believe it or not the bankruptcy to avoid the mortgage company’s illegal foreclosure from 2006 still comes up, even though it’s supposed to be cleared from my records. Then in the past few years, as my hip deteriorated my income decline over two years is still quite recent, though I’ve done much better after the hip replacement even during Covid. But as recently as Simba’s treatments, I was turned down for any type of financing. I am looking into some of the grants that are available, and am ready to do a GoFundMe if necessary. I research these things to keep my list current on my Resources page, and that gives me a head start!
If we are looking at cancer, I’m not going to consider surgery unless there’s a great chance everything could be removed, but I don’t mind giving chemo a try. If he has renal issues, hypertension, needs treatment for pancreatitis, any of those possibilities, I will do that. He’s a strong and healthy cat otherwise, and has a calm and confident disposition. For him, treatment would not be traumatic, and recovery likely pretty easy.
But I’m also seeing symptoms in Mewsette and Giuseppe that I’ve wanted to have examined too, and if there is a connection with toxoplasmosis and some of these symptoms, a toxoplasmosis test for one cat is $140. Vendor show season starts in earnest in July, though I have events in June set up, as well as a fairly big event in May, but that income is weeks away at best.
As always, thanks for following us, and thanks for caring! I always appreciate hearing from you, no matter how that happens.
Week before last, Simba started up his urinary issue again. He’s been trouble-free on the prescription food for six weeks. But I think he started eating Midnight Louie’s food. Even though he detested wet food, there it is, and he’s bored and a curious cat. So I took Louie to the bathroom for his meals for a few days, and now I just keep his food stashed where neither of them cat get it, and go in and offer it to him and refill Simba’s dish during the day. I also refilled Simba’s prescription and started him on it right away, and all together that seems to have cleared up the issue. I’m so glad for that, seeing what happened the following week! I had wanted to see Simba clear of the issue for about two months before looking into adoption again.
Today, as I took the photos in this post, my camera wouldn’t turn on after I’d given it a break. I’ve been holding off cleaning and service for each my camera and my sewing machine to put it toward the senior vet visits, and I hoped I wouldn’t have to get the camera serviced right now. Not only do I earn money with it, but it’s part of my self-care, that creative activity and giving myself no limit of photos, some free space for me to play in. I changed batteries three times knowing I’d planned to go and get a multi-pack of the ones that work best for this camera, and decided to just find a four-pack closer to home.
I saw a low tire pressure warning in the car, but it wasn’t until I came out of Family Dollar that I saw the front driver side tire was nearly flat! I crept down the alleys to the station that had air and refilled. It was down to six pounds, I had just topped them all off a week ago, and the others were only down two pounds. That was hours ago, and that tire is nearly flat again out there in my driveway. So there’s also a tire repair or replacement in my future. It’s how life is, and it’s always an interesting balance, especially with only one income in the house. So while I’ve been getting back on my feet after my hip replacement, I can’t say how much I appreciate your support of my business, or donations if you choose.
Send me an email: bernadette at bernadette-k dot com, or if you’d like to contribute money, you can do that by visiting www.PortraitsOfAnimals.net and purchasing one of the things I make. Also, my Paypal address is bernadette @ bernadette-k . com and my Venmo is @Bernadette-Kazmarski. And thank you for caring, whether you buy something or donate or not.
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Tuesday: Rescue Stories
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And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!