This was the scene shortly after I got home from work. I got one of the two Bio tests I have to take done yesterday, still have one Bio test and one Math test to take. I was going to do the math test tonight but was wiped by work as you can see.
Roo is home! Again! He is snuffly and sneezy from a feline herpes flare-up, but being obnoxious about food and wanting attention and having to be contained while Daniel cooks. I am so happy.
When Daniel went to pick him up, he took Sid along to get his weight for curiosity’s sake. 72.2lbs. He weighs about the same thing Zille does (I swear she weighs 75lbs but Daniel says the last weight we got on her was 72lbs). He’s slightly taller than she is. Zille is going on 3 years old, Sid is 9.5 months old. I think he’s gonna be a big, big boy.
He came home yesterday evening, yelled for dinner, sucked it down, came to bed and snuggled with us after demanding attention all over the place.
This morning, he was back to being lethargic and refusing to eat.
We took him to the vet for a weekend of fluids/meds/testing and … he snuggled everyone, yelled for attention, and when they offered him food he inhaled it.
WHAT GIVES, ROO?
And he is hungry, and wants to snuggle, and needs to investigate EVERYTHING. Glory, hallelujah.
Daniel took him back to the vet yesterday, where they poked and prodded and as best they can figure out, he has an infection that is resulting in some systemic inflammation. They wanted him to stay overnight, and around 1300 stuck him on IV fluids, steroids, and antibiotics.
Apparently after about half an hour on fluids, he was feeling so much better that he pitched a fit about his unjust incarceration and started demanding to see his lawyer. Loudly. Very, very loudly. He was working himself up into such a fit that it was endangering his IV line, so they gave him a sedative.
When I stopped in to see him after work, he was stoned out of his little kitty gourd, but more bright-eyed and “with it” than he has been for days, drugs notwithstanding. I sat in the “Comfort Room” and cuddled him and he clearly knew who I was, and did his quiet Roopurr for me, and you could tell that if he wasn’t stoned he would have been up and investigating things.
Then he curled up in my lap, so I gave him a kitty massage and sang his favorite song to him, “Hey Roo” by the Beatles. …what? It’s “Hey Jude”? Pfffft. It isn’t. It’s “Hey Roo” and goes like this:
Hey, Roo, don’t be so sad
You’re a sick cat, but you’ll get better.
Remember to listen to your vet
Then you can start to get better.
Hey, Roo, don’t be afraid,
You can come home when you get better.
Remember to start to eat some noms
Then you’ll get strong, and you’ll get better.
And any time that you’re in pain,
Hey Roo, remain, you carry my heart upon your shoulders
For don’t you know that I’m a fool
In love with you
Without you my world is so much colder
Na na na na na na na na naaaaaaaa
Hey, Roo, don’t let me down
Ellen found you, and you got better
The minute you listen to your vet
Once again, you’ll get better.
You’re curly and you’re full of win, hey Roo, begin,
To whine for breakfast and for dinner
I know you know that I love you, hey Roo, you’ll do,
Just pretty please don’t get any thinner.
Hey, Roo, don’t be so sad,
You are a sick cat, but you’ll get better
Remember to listen to your vet
Then you can start to get better.
He fell asleep somewhere around the third verse and I cuddled him while he napped and then came home. Dr. Andi thinks he’ll have turned the corner by this morning and will probably be ready to come home today. Fingers crossed!
As I write this on Monday, Roo is unwell. He got vetted and got a shot of antibiotics, but since he hadn’t eaten for 24 hours he’s pretty miserable with nausea from an empty stomach. I’m hoping he turns around, if he’s not doing better soon I don’t know what I’ll do. I love that little cat so hard — well, I love all of them, but Roo is special.
So anyway, I stopped off on the way home from work to pick up a Cornish game hen for Soup for Sick Kitties. It’s a long way from a complete diet, but it’s a pretty palatable way to get some calories into a kitty who isn’t eating. Roo’s had 10ccs, carefully dribbled into his mouth about two-tenths of a cc at a time.
One cornish game hen
Kitten Milk Replacer powder
Cut the hen into quarters and drop in a pot. Boil until cooked. Reserve the broth and keep your burner warm. When the chicken is cooked through, pull it out and strip the skin off and discard (too much fat). Pick the meat from the bones and drop the bones back in the pot and simmer them for a while to get some more micronutrients into the broth. Shred the meat as much as you need to for your blender to handle it, then drop the meat and enough broth to make it liquid into the blender. Liquify the chicken and let cool. This is your soup base.
When ready to feed the sick kitty, pull out however much of a serving you need of liquid chicken. Add the yolk of one egg, no white. Blend vigorously with a fork. When it’s all one smooth, homogenous mixture again, get out your KMR powder. Add a generous scoop of KMR to the mixture and beat with a fork.
Add more broth as necessary. If you need to dribble it into a kitty’s mouth with a syringe, you will need it pretty dang liquid. If you have a sick kitty who will eat on his own, you can leave it more of a wet food consistency. Feed the kitty by whatever method works.
Hopefully before this posts I will be able to come back and edit it to tell you that Roo is his usual obnoxious self about food again.
Tuesday evening: Roo perked up enough to have some water on his own today, but still won’t eat. I just got 24cc’s of Soup for Sick Kitties down him, somewhat faster this time as I gave up coaxing and went for Maximum Calories before he started fighting it. Tomorrow he’ll go back to the vet.
There is nothing worse than wrapping your cat in a towel and squirting food down his throat to force him to live while he glares hate-daggers at you for the indignity.
So these days we’re up to four dogs and five cats. This can make it a little bit tricky to make sure everyone’s needs are getting met, and leads to some creative management processes.
Cats have been the biggest area of concern. Rooney Lee has to be kept from eating kibble as it makes him projectile vomit, Braxton Bragg (aka Braximus Maximus Caesar) and the tabby girls (Noodlehead and Emmaline) must be kept from getting fat, and Aida the Small Angry Siamese must be kept from getting too thin. This is all quite an adventure as you might imagine.
The original method was to lock Roo in my room with his food and leave food for the other cats down while I was at work. The advent of Daniel meant that the cat kibble was getting picked up earlier because there is only so much desolate howling from Roo that Daniel can take. But under these methods, Aida kept just barely enough weight on to stay alive, while Braximus Maximus Caesar put on a small squishy gut.
The current method involves locking Roo in the crate we purchased for Juniper, which is still set up in the living room, with his ground raw food. Aida gets her very own bowl of kibble and another bowl with wet food in it and is locked into my room. Brax and the tabby girls get their own bowls of kibble in Daniel’s room, which can be picked up when Roo wakes from his post-breakfast nap and begins to whine to get out of the crate. Aida has been gaining weight at a steady, healthy pace since we started giving her “spa days” by herself, and is licking both bowls clean on a regular basis. Huzzah!
Meanwhile Roo’s food has been an adventure in itself, we recently upped him to 50 grams per meal (100 grams per day) because 45 grams per meal of rabbit made him whine obnoxiously from hunger for hours on end. We’ve also rotated, in the natural course of things, to duck for his food, and on the duck his coat has grown super-soft and extra-wavy. His ears and toes are also cleaner. So we’re thinking that the best thing to do is to eliminate the rabbit, which leaves Roo on a diet of chicken, turkey, pheasant, duck, and goose.
In dog news, it’s a struggle to get Sid to eat for some reason. He’s just not enthused about his food, and it worries me since he’s a growing boy. We’ve tried switching brands, garnishing the food with everything from water to an egg, feeding him in a crate, out of a crate, in a different crate, feeding him by hand. We’ve tried four different brands of food to date. Nothing reliably gets the boy to eat, and it drives me absolutely nuts.
Yesterday was Rooney Lee’s Gotcha Day. He’s been with me for three lovely years now! I left him in the capable hands of Daniel, who snuggled him and fed him leftover cooked chicken and otherwise spoiled him rotten while I was at work. It’s hard to believe that Roo will be six come July.
Three years ago when I met him, he was in pain from bad teeth ( before knowing about the best Advanced Dentistry services) and bad toes, but still strutted around the hotel room where I met Ellen like he owned the place. Ellen had spotted him while working at TAILS Humane Society in Illinois and tagged him as a possible candidate for the open cat slot in my house. He had intractable litter box issues and was occasionally a shit to Ellen while she fostered him, prying open her linen closet to pee on her towels and blankets, but she managed to get him mostly kinda rehabbed and dangled him in front of me like bait. I bit on it as expected and agreed to meet her in Ohio to do the exchange.
That night, after Ellen and I had pizza, I took the dogs for a potty outing and walked Ellen to her car. When I came back in, Roo was hiding behind the bed frame but came right out when I called his new name. I sat down at my computer, and he got in my lap and fell asleep, and I was in deep, deep smit. That night he crawled under the covers with me and I slept for the first time with his warm little body pressed against my chest. I stroked his head while he purred and I made him a deal: if he would only pee in his litter boxes, I would let him sleep under the covers any time. It’s a bargain we’ve kept.
I know you’re reading this, Ellen, so thanks yet again for my little curly boy! He’s the bestest cat in the whole world, bar none.
When we took Sid in for his first vet appointment, he was a skinny thing with not much muscle tone and weighed in at 58.5 pounds, which is right at or below where Tink tends to ride in terms of weight these days. He went in Friday for his lepto and Lyme boosters, and weighed in at 63.5 pounds, officially making Tink the smallest dog in the house again in terms of weight.
“Smallest dog in the house” seems like an odd moniker to apply to a dog who is 28″ at the shoulder. Tink is very oversized for a Doberman bitch, much as Beowulf is way too tall for a Doberman dog. The contrast between builds with Dobes and Shedders is pretty interesting, too. Sid and Zille are about the same height, around 24″ at the shoulder, but Zille weighs in around 70lbs and she is pretty much nothing but muscle. This is, for the record, about the same thing Beowulf weighs, and he’s 7″ taller than Zillekins. Siddy’s 5 pound weight gain has been entirely muscle; I’m keeping him on the lean side of a healthy weight to minimize stress on his joints as he grows, but his shoulders, haunches, and back have filled out with healthy (and strong!) muscle that is giving him the start of looking like the adult dog he’s going to be.
Meanwhile, back at the Manor, I’ve established that a few pieces of cheese will not cause Roo to vomit uncontrollably, so I’m thinking of taking up clicker training with him. I’m kind of on a training kick. I’m working with Sid because, well, he’s got a lot of work to do before he can be my Mobile Cane and Hairy Crutch, I’m periodically working with Tink because she thinks it is deeply unfair that the puppy should get all the cheese, and I think it would be hilarious to have Roo doing things like jumping through hoops and otherwise performing for his food.
 MOSTLY I JUST FEED HER CHEESE FOR BEING CUTE, BECAUSE SHE’S TINK. THERE’S A WHOLE POST IN “WHY I HAVE NOT TRAINED TINKERBELLE BEYOND THE BASICS”.
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