Sam's Story continued
Sam and Scamper - Spring 10
Today is a beautiful spring day. The crocuses have gone by, the daffodils are out and the tulips are coming along quickly. The violets and dandelions are in blossom, and I'll take some in and put them in water on the kitchen island tonight. Scamper will eat them. Last year, it took me a while to figure out why I was finding violet stems on the floor with no blossoms on them. When I caught her with a dandelion blossom in her mouth, I had the answer! I must say, she looked very cute! Since both flowers are edible and good for her, she might as well have some fun. However, I must say I was somewhat less amused when I figured out where the blossoms on my African violets were going...
Our shy, skittish little girl has become quite the head-butt specialist! She's done it with Sam all along, much to his chagrin, but has just recently started it with me, usually first thing in the morning when I'm trying to convince her that it's actually time to get up. I find it very sweet and rewarding, very much a sign of acceptance and affection and a payoff for all the effort it took for me to be patient and not push er too soon when all I wanted was to get my hands on her!. She'll also try to play with Bill's fingers when he's lying on the floor trying to stretch out his tired muscles after a long shift in the restaurant. The floor is cat territory, after all. and apparently wherever you are if your 're flat on your back, you're not as scary as you might be when you're upright.
Scamper had her first follow-up dental cleaning on April First. Her gums were actually in better shape than last year, and only three teeth came out. One pretty much fell out in Dr. Kathy's hand and had probably been abscessed. The last surgical patient before lunch, she came through the procedure very well and was quickly wide awake, wide-eyed and terrified, so I took her right home. By the time I came back home at the end of the day, she was very clear about the fact that she hadn't had anything to eat all day and she wanted to fill up her tank NOW! With several teeth missing, she takes about one extra second chewing. It takes more than a few missing teeth to slow her down when it comes to food!
Sam came in about a week later for his annual exam and bloodwork. He's usually good if a bit grumbly for his blood draw, but his year he's weary of being poked and prodded and restrained for one thing or another and he decided not to be good at all. The result was that there was not enough blood to run the full panel we usually do, but there was enough to see that his liver and kidneys are doing fine. some values were up a little, but could be explained by the fact that he'd just had his breakfast. Others indicated he might have a mild digestive inflammation going on. Since he's likely to put his breakfast back on the floor very quickly every 10 to 14 days, this was not a surprise. Dr. Kathy started him on a Chinese herbal formula to support his spleen and warm his digestive system (warming and cooling are important factors in Traditional Chinese Medicine) to see if we can eliminate the vomiting. She wasn't sure he'd eat the herbal since it smells mildly of tangerine and cats aren't usually fond of citrus, but it didn't slow him down one bit. I'd lowed down on his raw chicken necks due to the vomiting and wondering if maybe bone was building up in his digestive system (which it's not) but his teeth are looking a bit worse, so I'll go back to giving him a piece of neck every other day. I had been giving him two pieces a day, so we'll see if this will keep his teeth clean or if I need to add more.
Sam's appointment was first thing in the morning, and Bill came to rescue him as soon as the exam was finished. At home, after his treat, he (Sam not Bill) and Scamper curled up in the big basket and snuggled for a while, then he kicked her out. Bill said she then went and found Sam's travel bag and gave it a beating, inside and out. I do have to wonder what they tell each other. By the time I got home that night, Sam was ready to grudgingly accept his eye drips so he could get some dinner. No matter how mad he may get at me, he always forgives me by after-dinner-lap-time.
Sam's clearly tired of the eye drop routine and will frequently duck under a chair when it's time. I close the bedroom door - under the bed is the one place I'd never be able to get him out of. I don't want to get into dragging him out of a hiding place unless I absolutely have to, so when he hides, I walk away and wait. In the kitchen. Where the cookies are. Eventually he comes out and submits. I have to let him think it's his idea! I've also found that if I give him a little "love-Sam" session as soon as I get home and tell him what a big, handsome, brave boy he is, he's less likely to try to hide than if I just go for the eye drops right away. We're still working on the give and take of getting the routine right. He's developed a sneezing issue with the eye drops. I try to get the drops right in the inside corner of his eye and hold his chin up until his tongue comes out, indicating he's swallowed anything that ran down the back of his throat, but he still sneezes. Unfortunately, the sneezing causes congestion that leads to more sneezing and fits of sneezing.
Both cats went for a recheck appointment with the ophthalmologist. He was very pleased with Sam's progress. His pressures are holding steady and there's no sign of inflammation, although there is a cataract on his right eye and the vision in that eye is very limited. His anti-inflammatory drops have been reduced from once a day to once every other day, and that has lessened the sneezing. I also gave him an herbal that's soothing for mucous membranes. I took it myself when I had an allergy attack with lots of sneezing and a sore nose, so I know it helps. I also give him Echinacea and sometimes a homeopathic to keep the congestion at bay.
The doctor wasn't quite as happy with Scamper's eye. It had been looking pretty good - dry and clear if not quite as wide open as the other one - until her dental. Of course, the stress of anesthesia can aggravate any existing condition. Over the next few days, she got a little squintier, and and a few days before or ophthalmologist appointment, the eye started to get weepy again, although nowhere near as badly as before she was treated. So she went back on her antibiotic and this time he added in an antiviral in case there is still an underlying feline herpes virus. The meds are compounded in a chicken flavor liquid which she gets in a little canned food so she thinks she's getting a treat. The weepiness cleared up very quickly. The antiviral is quite expensive, so I'm happy to say we're tapering that off and hopefully she won't have to stay on it. some herpes cats have to stay on an antiviral forever. Unfortunately, the canned food has become less of a special treat with twice daily use. I've even had to resort to tuna juice - fish being less than ideal for cats, especially those with any issues. Of course, Sam wants the same "treat", and the commercial food could be contributing to his sneezing issue. I'm anxious to finish Scamper's meds and see how both cats do. I have a really clear "before" photo of Scamper that I'll share as soon as I can get a good "after" one! Both cats will probably go back for a recheck in July.
Judi, Bill, Sam and Scamper are looking for a new place to live. WE're in no rush and are looking for something that will be home for the next many years, so we're taking our time looking for the right place, which will, of course have a screened porch! Packing and moving will be a whole new adventure for Sam and Scamper since it's not something they've done before.
Jennifer, who takes care of our website, tells us that Sam's Story gets the most hits of anything on the site (with the exception of the Skunk Recipe during spring and summer). Sam and Scamper want to thank everybody for their interest and their well-wishes and they say please give each of your animal companions a hug and an extra cookie!