Posts Tagged ‘arthritis’

My blog isn’t much of a blog anymore, but I can’t let it sit out in cyber space without formal notice of my newest addition, Miss Minnie Mooch (formerly known as “Mooch”).


It’s been just Dixie Doodle Dog and I since 2014. We’re happy with each other and our little family, but we moved (again) in July of 2016. This time, to a little rental house with a fenced backyard for Dixie and I to play in together. Our new landlord is lovely, and when I told him I was considering adopting a second dog or a cat he said that was fine and they had no breed or size restrictions, just a one-time pet fee.

I thought about it for a long time. A playmate for Dixie would be lovely, but she is really particular about other dogs, and really reluctant to share me or my time with another dog. I had a lot of discussions with my trainer about it.  I knew it was possible I’d have to arrange separate walks, at least temporarily. It might be work to introduce them and have them get along.

I looked at so many adoptable pets online. My trainer agreed to meet me at a local rescue and look at some adoptable dogs to help me narrow down the field. I went early and looked at some cats. Then the trainer arrived and we looked at the dogs, and chose one to meet. He was very cute and very vocal.  He was very stressed.  It was heartbreaking. I was so nervous. Despite living with Dixie for over two years, I’m still not a “natural” with dogs.  I can’t really read their body language and am uncertain how to approach them or interact with them. I stood talking to the adoptable dog and he barked back at me. It was uncomfortable and awkward.

I thought about it that night, but decided a cat was probably a better fit for both of us. Dixie’s never shown much interest in the cats we’ve seen, which is pretty much ideal from my perspective.  Not overly interested, no dislike, just “there is a cat”.  She has shown interest in a rabbit or cat if it moved/ran/jumped suddenly. So a quiet calm cat would be best. I would prefer a senior as I’ve always had a soft spot for seniors. But could we find a senior cat that was comfortable around dogs?  Seemed like a tall order.

However, I did see one online. A diabetic senior cat that was fine with dogs and calm.  Perfect fit!  I was just going to wait for a huge project at work to calm down and then I’d apply to adopt this cat.  I called the rescue and spoke to them about the cat.  They seemed concerned I didn’t know what I was getting into, with a diabetic cat.  I tried to reassure them that I’d adopted several diabetics in the past. Moving from Chicago has its disadvantages – they don’t know me here, and they’re right to wonder whether I know what is involved.

I called back the next week, certain we were ready to adopt the cat.  He was no longer available.  A veterinary clinic had taken him to be their office cat.  I was so disappointed.  I’d never met this little kitty, but he’d stolen my heart already. I lamented my loss to my friends and resigned myself that perhaps it just wasn’t meant to be.

However, a few weeks later, I got a message from a friend.  She wanted me to look at a senior cat available online – same rescue. I told her I was resigned to not adopting, since I didn’t want to put a senior cat through the stress of adapting to life with a dog.  She insisted again that I needed to look. The description said the cat was fine with dogs!

I was hopeful again.  “Mooch” seemed a great fit.  She’s calm and quiet.  She had a history of megacolon and arthritis. I don’t have experience with megacolon, but I knew something about it and felt confident we could figure it out. This time, I didn’t delay.  I called the rescue right away. I arranged an introductory meeting.

I went to the rescue to meet Mooch.  (Dixie was not allowed.)  She was adorable.  So tiny and SO sweet.  The rescue let me review her medical records, and seemed reassured by my questions and comments that I was not making a rash decision.  I applied for her adoption.

The rescue checked my references and later let me know I was approved. They brought Mooch to us. Dixie was definitely curious about the little kitty taking up residence in our laundry room behind a baby gate, but not too concerned.

Introductions went well, overall.  As anticipated, Dixie does exhibit some “resource guarding” behavior.  She’s not very happy to share the pet beds with Mooch, though she’s improving constantly. She didn’t like Mooch to be on the love seat with me. It’s gotten better, but Mooch has also decided it’s not really worth it to be on the love seat. Mooch has decided it’s worth it to join us in bed at night.  Dixie was upset at first, but got over it quickly and for the most part we all have our “spots” in bed now.

Mooch is a delight.  We have stolen cuddle sessions, usually in the bathroom when Dixie isn’t looking. She purrs and we butt heads lightly. She’s probably the most laid-back cat I’ve ever had the fortune to know. She’s not thrilled if I’m late with her breakfast or dinner and will give me a loud meow to know it, but overall is just happy to have a comfy warm place to sleep.  Lately she’s taken up Dixie’s “guarding spot” sometimes, in front of the large picture window, to check out the neighborhood activities. She seems less interested in watching the back yard, though I took her out in a harness a couple times to investigate.  (It’s fenced and Mooch isn’t able to run fast, climb, or jump… but I don’t her venturing off where I can’t see her.)

It fills my heart to have a cat in my home again.  Dixie Doodle and Minnie Mooch bring me joy, and laughter, and so much love.

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One of the five million things that drive me batty is some of the dire warnings about using Metacam (meloxicam) in cats. Someone will post on an online forum that their veterinarian prescribed Metacam and get a bunch of responses scaring the bejeezus out of them. Metacam kills! Metacam causes kidney failure!

Does Metacam have risks – SURE! The fact is, cats don’t generally tolerate *any* pain medications well. Metacam is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), like aspirin, ibuprofen, etc, etc. The sad reality is cats don’t very well tolerate aspirin, or ibuprofen, or any of those handy little pain killers that get us humans through our routine headaches and muscle aches. Are there cats that have suffered severe repercussions after the use of Metacam? I’m sure there are.

The question the “Metacam kills” alarmists fail to answer, in my opinion, WHAT IS THE CAREGIVER’S OTHER OPTION? Let their cat suffer in pain?

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A few cat caregivers have posed questions regarding their cats’ arthritis recently on some online forums. My Omaha has severe arthritis. We started acupuncture in 2004 and the results were amazing! At the time we started, he was having trouble standing up. After about three weekly sessions, he was RUNNING. We continued with the treatments for some time, but honestly it was a struggle as Omaha is NOT generally able to be handled by anyone but me. (He has to be sedated for most anything, including blood draws or x-rays. During acupuncture he’d scream and thrash, pee and poop everywhere, and once when I wasn’t sufficiently careful I was bitten very badly. We generally have to muzzle him.) We tried to keep up with maintenance treatments, but the last one we got had little to no effect, so I knew I’d either have to take him more often or give up – and I’m sorry to say I just can’t bring myself to commit to more frequent treatments. To locate a veterinary acupuncturist, I suggest consulting the AHVMA website. Keep your search broad in order to get the best results. (An acupuncturist could be listed in one discipline/area, but not another.)


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It’s been one of those weeks… or months.

It’s been CRAZY busy at work.  We have a huge project going on that I’m immersed in and we’re under the gun.  So, I’ve been putting in extra hours, staying late, and doing some work from home in the evenings and on weekends.

I had the brilliant idea to schedule dentals for three of my cats:  Rumpelmintz, Omaha, and Jellybean.  Jellybean had been for a regular exam in November, and the vet noted severe tartar, etc., so she needed a cleaning.  Rumpelmintz had been acting funny around mealtime – eating a few bites, then running away from the bowl and stealing food from another cat instead – a possible indication she was having some pain eating (and thought it was caused by her particular bowl).  Omaha almost always indicates tooth pain, pawing at his mouth.  Has since before I adopted him.  Since he can’t be examined while conscious, I just schedule a dental about once a year, and they gas him down and examine and clean him all at once.

I decided that rather than take a cat for a dental once every couple weeks, I’d take all three at once.  It’d be time-effective, and I could charge the cost to my Care Credit card and pay it off over time with interest deferred.  One thing I neglected to consider in all this, is I now have THREE CATS on antibiotics and pain meds twice daily – in addition to all the usual cat medications, sub-q fluids, and insulin injections.  Jellybean and Rumpelmintz are both very difficult to pill, though I manage.  Pilling them twice daily does NOT add joy and sunshine to my mornings or evenings.

 To top it off, we got some bad news.  Omaha’s always had the mouth issues, as well as issues with arthritis and hip problems.  He had a couple surgeries on his hips  before I adopted him.  X-rays Wednesday revealed a bone chip in one hip, also that he had malformed carpas (wrists).  The vet was surprised he could walk at all.  In addition, when they went to clean his teeth, they discovered his enamel was just flaking off.  That means his teeth are very sensitive and uncomfortable.  I guess neither the hips or teeth are something new, but now I know about them and can worry about them.  My poor little man.  They gave me a referral to a dentistry/surgery specialist who he will see in early January.

 On top of that, when I got Rumpelmintz home she was falling over and her back legs didn’t work properly.  She was the last one to be gassed down, so perhaps it was just the anesthesia wearing off – but now it’s Friday and one back leg still isn’t right.  So, now I’m concerned she may have thrown a blood clot.  She’ll go back to the vet Saturday to be examined.

I don’t want to ask “what else can happen?” because I don’t want to find out.

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