Sunday, May 18, 2008

Charlie's Obsessions

My cat has many obsessions. Sometimes these obsessions only occur in phases and seem to fade. But then there are the obsessions that always linger...

#1 Obsession has to be the Bathroom .........

Charlie loves to meow outside the bathroom door. We keep the door closed because he'll lick the tub clean if we don't. So you see, because the room is closed he needs to get in to see it, as often as he can. Cats always think there is something extra special in those off limit areas. When we come home, he'll eagerly gallop along side us down the hall to the door in order to let us know that he'd like to visit the room. He will often spend precious early morning minutes, staring up at the door knob for as long as it takes, incessantly meowing and meowing and meowing... telling us to get up and let him in now... Even once we let him in, he'll be back for more within minutes.

Some days, he'll merely trot by the room, as if he could care less. But most days, he can't go by without some face time in the mirror. When we finally let him in he goes straight to his favorite spot, which is the top of the toilet to rub his face against the mirror edge and look to us for a back scratch. Second favorite spot is the tub edge, especially when the shower is running. He loves to watch the water drops streaming down the curtain lining and the feel of the water spray on his furry face, even though he squints his little eyes. When ever he sneaks past us, he jumps down off the edge into the tub bottom, to frantically drink the water puddles. Silly cat... If only those simple pleasures could keep us so happy (not that I'd be up for licking the tub bottom anytime soon)...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Charlie and the new camera

Poor Charlie... we got a new camera over the weekend and Charlie is our longstanding model. And why not? Many poses and he honestly doesn't seem to mind. This one was taken when I caught him up on the dining table. It is a no-no, but I had to take a few shots while he was there. Now, since I've allowed it, every time after a snack, he is right back up there. I think that spot is Charlie's new vantage point to view the outside world. The dining table is surrounded by windows and this way he can look out multiple windows at one time. He's a pretty cool cat, don't you think?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Charlie in his 'hepper' bed

Charlie is doing better these days. He finished up most of his antibiotic a couple weeks ago, however toward the end of the 21 day course, he started having a bad reaction to the medicine. We stopped it and over a period of a week he got back to his usual self. The unfortunate part was after retesting Charlie for the bacteria, the little nasty bug was still hanging on. His symptoms have subsided so we will just have to wait and see. We won't re-medicate him until we really need to. For now, he seems as if he is back to normal... eating, sleeping, playing and incessantly meowing to get into bathroom. Yeah, our Charlie is back.

As a treat, Charlie received an upgrade in sleeping quarters. See the first post photo, which showed that he had taken a liking to a big box with crinkly paper we were about to throw away. To soothe his disappointment since we were going to have to dispose of it, we thought we'd try for something more stylish. Though I must say, I think he preferred the cheap box we had, which for us was starting to take up too much space and become a major eye sore. Anyway, check it out. It is on the small side, but cats really have a way of curling into a tight ball. He is starting to like it but might prefer something more cushy, as the Hepper is pretty low to the ground and has only one nice layer of soft stuff. You see he liked the high stack of crinkly brown papers in the box we had. Maybe we'll have to add some to the Hepper...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

You think you're putting 'that' in my mouth?

Writing this all down will be my stress reliever for the day as the saga continues for me and my cat. I'm not sure why this affects me so much, but it does. I keep trying to tell myself that he is only a cat... only a 'cat'. But he is a living and breathing creature and I want to make sure that he is ok. Makes sense, right?

So the pilling was a 'no go' for me and my husband. I called our vet requesting help via a vet tech (for a fee of course, similar to a pet sitting service). At the same time, we also ordered up some flavored liquid (tuna) just in case that might be a better option , even though in the past it has been a catastrophe. In the meantime waiting for the liquid, we had the tech stop by. Now, this was amazing to watch. This woman was so competent and didn't futz around. She was almost like an animal trainer in that she really knew how to manage an unruly animal. (Thank god!) Our hope was that after a couple times with her help, we'd learn and get the hang of this necessary pilling skill. We had her come for 3 days, morning and night (12 hours apart). Preparations were always required prior to the ring of the buzzer. Close all the doors to rooms where he could hide (such as under the bed in the bedroom), remove his food ahead so he wouldn't have a full stomach while being wrestled and mentally prepare myself. (The thought of the pilling stresses me out). When she'd come in, I'd chase the cat down the hall, scoop him up and hide his face in my armpit. I'd set him on the kitchen counter and he would bolt no matter how much I tried to hold him down. Do you know how strong a cat can be? After using the gentle method once through, the tech would gingerly talk to him while grabbing him by the scruff and wrangle that cat up on the counter. In the other hand she'd take the pill popper and agressively get the pill in the back of his throat and close his mouth shut. She was excellent and so quick and able to do this as a one woman act. I tried it twice with her help, but always managed to take too long and the cat would freak out and become unmanagable. The longer you spend thinking about doing it, the more the cat just won't have it. He doesn't want anything jammed down his throat (nor would I, so I completely understand).

After 3 days and $75 later, we decided we had better figure something else out since we had 18 days to go. Pilling was not in our future, so we attempted the liquid medicine. This actually went better than we thought it would. I was so happy the first time through. Only a small amount of foaming and running about. Now, I must say since the first time it is getting harder to do this each time. He knows what is coming and struggles so. My husband does his best to hold him but a cat's body is so flexible. He always manages to manuever himself away, spirting some of the medicine into the air. But once he hits the ground, I think he actually ingests most of it and maybe even likes it better than he makes it out to be... After all, he is licking his chops sometimes afterward.

Cats are funny. Once you do this horrible thing to them, they love you again each and everytime. Rub up against your legs and want to be petted, meow softly (or loudly in our case) for food. They are so forgiving and look up to you to be their entertainment, master chef and caretaker. They need us to help them stay in good shape for their next sneak attack and maybe secretly know that we're only medicating them for their own good. I suppose we humans need to look at life that way too - sometimes what seems bad is really only for our own good. Until next time...

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Give a cat a pill?

Today was an eventful day for Charlie. We were trying to 'pill' our cat for the first time. Our cat has been fairly healthy up until Thanksgiving of last year, when he started having some ' bathroom problems'. Since then we have been trying to figure out the cause and the cure. Last week the vet informed us that our cat has a intestional bacterial infection and that we would need to give our cat an antibiotic for several weeks.... in the form of a pill... twice a day. You have to be kidding me, right? This is crazy... Our cat is not the easiest to work into a corner and medicate.

Two events in the past have required us to medicate the cat (unsuccessfully). Once our cat had a vaccine reaction and we were told to give our cat liquid benadryl (the kind you pick up at the drugstore). Was that a joke. Pink cherry flavored liquid for a cat? Not happening. Of course we tried, but our cat smartly foamed and spit it out of his mouth. The second time we attempted to give our cat medication was also in the form of a liquid. This time it was for sneezing and was cleverly disguised by attractive liver flavoring. We thought this would go over better than the cherry benadryl but no, it was actually worse. For 30 minutes our cat foamed at the mouth running to and fro. He had a permanent frown the whole time. If you've ever seen a cat with a frown, you'll recognize it. Slightly downturned mouth and angry upset eyes, continuously glaring at you for making him so miserable.

So this time around when the vet indicated it was either the liquid or a pill.. we did not have much of a choice. The real obstacle of course with the pill Why? Perhaps fear and terror that we'll choke our cat. It may seem easier to understand if you know that I have never learned to swallow pills for fear of choking. So how could I manage to give my cat a pill?

Ok... so we had the vet demo yesterady and took it all in step by step (force their mouth open, tilt the head up etc.)... but when it came down to it, neither I or my husband had the will to stick the pill popper (tool that the vet provides to place the pill in the cat's throat) into the back of our cats mouth. We did try of course, but each time the cat snapped and wound his tongue in a twither. After 3 tries throughout the day, we gave in to our inadequacy to complete this task. Charlie is relieved of course that its over for now. He is sleeping wistfully in his new favorite cozy spot, a box that came last week with lots of crinkly brown paper. Ahh.... he escaped for the time being and is in kitty dreamland.