My Sweet Misty Sue

Yesterday, my sweet dog Misty made her way to the Rainbow Bridge.  My heart is broken into a million pieces.  Even with the 6 cats, the house feels empty.  I so miss feeling her energy.  The house is quiet.  The cats know something is wrong as they watch me shed tear after tear.  This is the most horrible feeling.

Misty had been having rear leg weakness for many months.  At first it was attributed to her age (she was 13) and she was a large dog.  The first signs were walking on slippery floors such a s laminate, tile and wood.  We had placed many throw rugs around the house to assist her.  Next, she was having trouble getting up when sleeping on the slippery floors.  We often had to pick her up to help her.  I tried toe grips and some stick on grippers to see if they would help.  I do believe both products work.  I wish I had tried them for her sooner.

She was receiving twice weekly laser treatments.  This meant a 50 minute car ride there and back.  She was such the trooper.  After each session, she seemed a tiny bit better.  Morning was the worst for her.  She was so stiff.  It took so much energy for her to go outside for potty.  Her zest for eating had greatly diminished too.  Although she continued eating to the end.  Many days she rebounded in the afternoon and evening.

It is believed that she had disc disease.  She was having issues in both her rear legs and also in her neck.  The neck just started less than 2 weeks ago.  Previously she had survived two bouts of cancer.  She was diagnosed in 2013 with Transitional Cell Carcinoma of the urethra.  Then last year she had a sarcoma on her back end.  Yet both cancers went into remission.  When she was being seen by the oncologists, they said the goal was for Misty to die of something other than cancer.  She died of her body just giving out on her.

My sweet girl was with me for 13 years.  She was my velcro dog.  Her life was never settled unless I was with her. It feels like a piece of me is missing.  She was rarely out of my sight when I was home.  Walking around the house, the sadness hangs in the air.  She was so loved by my husband and son as well.  She had a special connection with each of them.

Grieving is a process.  I know in time the empty feeling will lessen.

Rest in Peace my sweet sweet girl.  I love you so much.  Look down on us and keep us safe.  Run free without fear or worry.  Play with Gracie and Cameron.  You will always remain in my heart.

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6 Months!!!!

Today marks the 6th month anniversary of moving Shadow, Stellar and Hampton inside the house.  I cannot believe how quickly the time has passed.  Not only did they move inside the house, but they also moved to a new house.  There have been ups and downs along the way, but I would like to think that right now we are mainly on the up swing!

Last week, I decided on a whim to leave the cat room door open at night.  My resident inside cats (Jake, Marvin and Cisco) usually sleep upstairs.  I have a few wireless ip cameras set up around the house so I knew I could check on them.  All 3 were so happy to be out and about.  The basement was the favorite spot.  It appeared they would all run down the basement and then run back to their room.  They did this over and over all night.  The next day was met with 3 very tired kitties!

Shadow has decided to spend much more time out of the cat room than in the cat room.  He has found a bed in the living room and he also often just shows up in the kitchen.  When I am preparing their meals, Hampton and Shadow both appear to watch.  Shadow is even eating some of his meals in the kitchen area.  Stellar has not ventured out for meal time, but he does explore quite a bit at night.  I am so happy to see them out and about and exploring the house.

Marvin and Cisco are doing just fine with Shadow, Stellar and Hampton being out and about more.  Jake is still having issues.  He has never liked Shadow and now even chases Hampton some of the time.  He does not want to fight, but instead he wants to remind them that he is king of the house.  I am using Composure liquid max on him as well as Bully Remedy by Jackson Galaxy.  I do believe they continue to take the edge off.

I have been delighted to see Marvin and Shadow doing so well together.  Five years ago, I brought Marvin into the house as a last resort.  He was fighting with Shadow outside on the deck and even chased him off the deck.  Poor Shadow lived on my front porch and behind some bushes for almost a month.  Marvin truly softened when he learned to be an inside only kitty.  He is now one of the sweetest cats.  Watching he and Shadow head butt each other is something I never thought I would see.

Here are a few pictures of the boys out and about.

Shadow in the cat cabana in our living room.

Shadow and Hampton eating a meal in our dinette.

Hampton, Shadow and Stellar exploring the basement.

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Catching Up

In my last post I wrote about Shadow, Stellar and Hampton all being sick.  It was not a fun experience.  Thankfully with some good probiotics, they all seemed to recover.  Of course the illness caused a set back in their progress.  While sick, they all would hide behind the red couch and huddle together.  Once they were better, the hiding behind the couch continued.  For awhile I really felt I was going to need to move the couch out into the middle of the room.  After thinking about it, I realized they would probably just find something else to get behind.  I did pull the couch out enough that I could walk behind.

During the month of May, progress was very slow.  Stellar would come out of the room and wander, but usually ended up under the guest room bed.  Fortunately he would come out on his own at meal time.  He has also discovered the basement and has truly explored most every inch.  Shadow will occasionally go down as well.  I knew the basement would be a great spot for them as it is a walk out basement with lots of windows and light.  Hampton on the other hand rarely ventures out of the room. One day this week, Stellar ventured upstairs and ended up on my bed for a bit.  Here is Stellar on my bed.

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The introductions between Shadow, Stellar and Hampton to Jake, Marvin and Cisco has had its ups and downs.  The process was going well right before Shadow, Stellar and Hampton got sick.  While sick I kept them all separated.  Once recovered, all of them seemed quite grouchy with each other.  I decided to back off and just focus on playing with them and getting them out from behind the couch.

This past week has brought some progress.  Stellar has been venturing all over and Shadow has been coming out of the room too.  Most of the day, I have the door to their room open with a gate that has a small pet door at the bottom.  The cats can come and go through the door, but our large dog cannot get in!  She still finds the litter boxes too appealing!!  Jake, Marvin and Cisco are allowed in the room throughout the day except at meal time.  Jake was the one causing most of the problems the past few weeks.  He was on a mission to make Shadow miserable.  Of course Shadow is afraid of everything so he would quickly run whenever he saw Jake.  This is exactly what Jake wanted too.  I started trying to play with any cat that was in the room.  Sometimes it was just 2, but a few times I had all 6!  This has proved to be the winner.  I give them each a turn with a wand toy or even just hiding the end of the toy under a blanket and moving it all around.  At the end of the play session, they all receive treats.  So far there have been 4 or more successful play sessions. I only wish I had 6 hands!  Here is me with all of the cats!  You can hardly see Shadow!

All 6 #2

 

I started giving Jake liquid Composure Max about a week ago.  This has really helped him to mellow out a bit.  I am also using the flower essence by Spirit Essences ( Now called Jackson Galaxy Solutions) called Bully Remedy.  I am hopeful that these good interactions will continue.

I must give some amazing credit to my wonderful husband who has been going in to see Shadow, Stellar and Hampton each evening.  He calls it “Daddy Fun Time”!  Hampton is incredible with him.  After a day of hiding, this is the only thing that brings Hampton out of his shell.  He goes absolutely crazy playing.  He is even allowing a few pets and brushings!  Stellar participates some of the time, but Shadow usually only watches until I come into the room.  Hampton loves this special time and the two of them are really building a special bond!

 

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The Sick House

Hampton’s UTI really took him for a long up and down ride.  He was a poor boy for over a week.  While the urinating settled down in a few days, he was still lethargic, not wanting to eat much and hiding.  This worried me.  Also Shadow and Stellar were hiding too and soon they too weren’t eating much.  At first I thought they were just reacting to Hampton not feeling well.  Yet after a day or so, the real reason reared its head.

On Wednesday I awoke to find that one of the cats had vomited.  It was all over the place.  I was able to look at the camera footage and discover that it was Shadow.  He was not feeling well at all.  He refused to eat all day and was huddled behind the couch or on the lower level of the apartment.  Most of the time he was huddled with Hampton.  I did manage to get him to eat a bit of baby food that evening.  He was still urinating and drinking water so I wasn’t too worried about dehydration.

Thursday morning, there was more vomit.  It wasn’t as much, but it was still happening.  He once again spent the day hiding behind the couch with Stellar and Hampton and did not want to eat.  Later in the afternoon, he ate a few treats, but he refused the baby food and wet food.  Over night he did eat a bit of dry food.  By this time, Stellar was eating next to nothing as well and Hampton was still not eating up to speed either.

Friday morning, there was no vomit.  I was excited and hopeful.  Yet I found diarrhea in the box.  I had no idea if it was Shadow, Stellar or Hampton. Shadow ate a bit of dry food and a tiny bit of wet.  Stellar ate next to nothing.  Hampton was eating small amounts.  All were still hiding behind the couch.  I was so worried and really wanted to avoid the vet.  I knew that another traumatic event would be so difficult for them.  I decided to watch and wait.  Shadow was a bit perkier by evening and there was still urine being produced in near normal amounts.

On Saturday, there was more vomit.  Not a lot, but it was still there.  It was Shadow again.  I was worried.  He kept licking his lips which I knew was a sign of nausea.  I had some nausea medication on hand (Cerena) and tried to get him to take it in a small piece of chicken.  The pill was so tiny.  He refused it.  I then put it into baby food.  After about an hour, he started to lick it off a spoon.  By early afternoon he had finally taken it.  I knew this might help him feel better.  Of course Stellar had diarrhea later that day.  Yet he was not acting as sickly as Shadow.

I could tell the nausea meds had helped.  That evening Shadow wanted to come out of the room.  He was happy to get out and walk around the house.  I was certain to put all of the other animals away.  By this time, I knew it was some type of bug.  I wondered if Hampton had picked up something while at the vet.  Overnight I left out dry food and Shadow really started to eat.  Stellar was eating small amounts too.

Sunday I awoke to no vomit!!!  Shadow was still not quite himself so I was able to get another dose of nausea meds down him.  This really perked him up.  Unfortunately by mid morning, Stellar had vomited quite a bit.  He also had a bout of diarrhea.  I was beside myself.  Yet, Stellar was still interested in eating and not acting sick.  By evening, everyone was acting more normal.  Everyone ate some of their dinner and they started to play.  They were behind the couch some during the day, but by evening they were all out and seemed much happier.  Shadow and Stellar came out of the room again that night and seemed much more normal! I left more dry food out over night and they finished it all!

This morning all was normal.  Everyone ate breakfast.  As the day progresses, they are out and about in the room.  They are not huddled together hiding!  Finally progress!  It was a long 10 days of illness and worry.

Of course yesterday it dawned on me that I had been using the same litter scoop for all of the cat boxes.  I have 7 litter boxes throughout the house.  The last thing I wanted to happen was for my other cats (Jake, Marvin and Cisco) to get sick.  So I went about the task of emptying, washing, sanitizing and refilling 4 of the litter boxes.  I will then need to clean the other 3 in the room with Shadow, Stellar and Hampton after I am certain they are all healthy.

Here are a few pictures of the boys while they were sick.

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Stellar, Hampton, Shadow

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Hampton and Shadow

On a different note, we have been enjoying all of the new wildlife in our yard.  Last week I had the windows open and I could hear the turkeys gobbling quite loudly.  I looked out and at first didn’t see anything.  Then I noticed that two them were on my lower patio.  I went down to the basement to get a better look.  By this time, they were at the door and one of them started to bang it’s beak against the door.  It was like it was knocking!  I wondered if it saw its reflection in the window.  Crazy!

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Hampton

Hampton has been having a rough time lately.  He spends a lot of time in the bottom of the apartment and if anything scares him, he goes behind the red couch and stays there for hours and hours.  He will come out at night and plays in the room while we are sleeping.  He is happy to see me at each meal and loves to snuggle up against me after breakfast.  He also enjoys playing with my husband in the evening.

Last Wednesday I noticed he was just not himself.  He was eating, but not finishing.  He was sleeping a lot too.  Overnight he was in the litter box more frequently.  Thursday was much of the same and I began to get a bit concerned.  On Friday morning as I watched the clips from Thursday night, it was clear Hampton was having urinary issues.  He was in and out of the box 15+ times.  This behavior continued into Friday morning.  I was a bit frantic since I had dealt with Cisco and his urinary blockage last year.  You can read about it here and here.  Cisco had a very difficult time and the thought of having to put Hampton through this was a nightmare.  The only bright spot was that he was still able to produce urine.

I had yet to completely pick out a vet since we had moved.  I am still using my vet near our previous home for our dog since she has had so many issues throughout the years.  It is too difficult to find someone new.  It is ironic that I had a few tabs open on my browser with some local vets.  I decided to call one that was relatively close and see if they could handle a feral cat.  I knew there was little to no chance that Hampton would not have to be sedated.  The local vet was able to see him in 2 hours.  They were ok with working with feral cats.  Now my task was to get him into the carrier.  I was a bit worried but had it all planned out.  He actually went in fairly easily.

Once at the vet, I was a bit unsure of how they would handle Hampton.  They wanted to see if I could get him out of the carrier and onto the exam table.  Ha!  I had him in the carrier with a towel covering him.  As soon as I lifted the towel, his ears went flat and he hissed and growled.  There was absolutely no way he was going to come out and behave.  It was decided that Hampton would be left there and they would sedate him and then retrieve urine from the bladder .  I went home to wait.

A few hours later I was called and told to come back.  Poor Hampton had a hard time.  The vet tried a sedation dosage at the moderate level.  It did nothing to him.  He was still not able to be handled. She upped the dosage to what she would have used for a neuter.  He was still not asleep, but compliant.  He had urinated twice so they were not able to get any urine from the bladder.  But they were able to do a urinalysis.  It came back positive for a UTI.  This was somewhat good news.  He was then given a Convenia injection so that I would not need to administer medication.  He was also give some sub q fluids to help continue to flush the bladder.  I also had some pain meds to give him.

Once back home he was so very unsettled he paced in circles for hours, stopping to use the litter box every 20 minutes or so.  He ate a small amount of dinner, but would not rest.  I figured he would sleep all night from this major ordeal.  Instead, he paced and was in and out of the litter box all night.  He must have been in there 25x or more.  I figured the antibiotic would take about 24 hours to work so he still had time.  As the day went on he was finally able to rest and stopped using the litter box so frequently.  He ate some of his dinner.

On Sunday, he was not himself at all.  He hid all day and never used the litter box.  I was getting worried.  He would not come out from behind the couch all day.  He finally came out for dinner and he seemed hungry.  He ate all his dinner and wanted some more.  He snuggled up against me for awhile, but was still very skittish.  My husband went into to see him later that evening and Hampton played a bit with him.  He seemed a bit more perky.  This was good to see.  Then just before I went to bed, he peed!!  I was so happy.  He also peed again over night.  I was relieved that he was not blocked.

Today, April 30, 2018 he is once again off and on.  He was happy to see me this morning, but did not eat all his breakfast.  I brought a small snack in around lunch time and he did not eat this either.  He has been hiding all day in the apartment or behind the couch.  Stellar has been his buddy throughout this.  They have been snuggling together behind the couch and when Hampton does come out, Stellar comes to be near him.

So while he is still urinating, something still feels a bit off.  It may very well be just that his ordeal was so hard on him.  For now I will wait and see.  I don’t want to take him back to the vet unless absolutely necessary.  He may just need to rest or he may need a medication change.  Fingers crossed he perks up again tonight and tomorrow is a better day.

Here is a picture of Hampton and Stellar snuggling behind the couch.

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Stellar taking care of Hampton

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Where is Spring?

Today is April 17, 2018 and it is snowing outside.  Our deck has a thin layer of snow.  The wind is blowing too.  The temperature is 30 but the windchill is 22.  Of course at the end of last week it was near 80.  Here is a look out my backyard.  My poor pansies!

April 17 snow.

Every day I am so thankful that I do not have to make the trek outside numerous times to feed Shadow, Stellar and Hampton.  I do not have to watch as Hampton would sit at my sliding door wanting to come inside.  Now they are warm and safe and I am working on them being happy!

I continue with introductions, but hit a few road blocks along the way.  “King” Jake decided that he was going to show his true colors.  He didn’t like something that Shadow did and decided to jump on top of him.  Of course he did this in front of “Copy Cat” Cisco!  Later that same day, Cisco who had been so docile and chill with the cats took off after Shadow.  He chased him, and then knocked him to the floor.  Poor Shadow.  He is always the one who is picked on.  These interactions scared Stellar and Hampton and all 3 spent quite a bit of time hiding behind the couch.  Of course Marvin did not want to be left out.  He decided that he would just jump the gate.  It is a low gate, but Marvin was not at all who I expected to jump the gate.  He just jumped it, went inside and looked around.  Stellar decided to say hello, but Marvin hissed and swatted.  I then put the accordion taller gate back up.  Marvin once again jumped this one.  Now I am using the low baby gate in the door way and my tall wire shelving barrier that is 4′ tall. It keeps the cats from jumping over. Here is the set up.

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I love using this wire shelving barrier.  My husband put it together last year when I was working with getting Cisco adjusted to Jake and Marvin.  You can purchase 12′ wire shelving at Home Depot or Lowes and ask them to cut it in either 4′ or 6′ lengths.  I chose to use the 4′ so that would only need one 12′ piece.  You then zip tie them together.  If you  have a cat that can really jump, you might need to have them cut to 6′.  Here is a link with more info  https://pethelpful.com/cats/Build-a-free-standing-cat-dog-pet-gate-with-virtually-no-tools

I am still trying to allow Shadow, Stellar and Hampton time outside of the room each day.  Hampton has not come out in well over a week.  Shadow and Stellar will venture out, but only if most of the others are put away.  The run ins with Jake and Cisco really spooked them.  For now it’s time to take a step back and work slowly.

I wanted to share a few pictures of some of the new wildlife at my home.  We have lots and lots of birds, wild turkey and lots of deer.  We love seeing the turkeys numerous times each day.  We hear them gobbling in the morning.  We also see the pileated  woodpecker which is just an amazing sight.

Wild Turkey

Pileated Woodpecker

I so miss my deer family from my other home.  It was a very tearful good bye for me to leave my most special deer, Gimpy.  When I left, I told her to give me a sign that she was doing ok.  Of course I had to set out my surveillance cameras to see what was going on in my yard after dark.  After being here a few nights I went through the pictures the next morning.  I was so stunned at what I saw.  Coming out of the woods was a hobbling deer.  The same injury as my Gimpy girl and in the same exact place.  I knew that was my sign from Gimpy.  This poor deer is unable to bear any weight on the leg.  Gimpy was able to hobble on hers.  Then a few days later, I saw another hobbling deer.  This time it was the left front leg.  Who would have imagined that there would be two!  Both are males.  For now I am calling them Righty and Lefty!

Righty

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Meetings and Greetings

We have now been in our home for 4 weeks.  The transition has been trying at times, but each day seems to get a bit easier.  We are finally feeling more settled and the boxes have greatly diminished.  The animals are starting to settle as well.

One of the greatest surprises of our move was our dog Misty and cat Jake.  They were the two oldest and both had only ever lived in our other home.  Misty had been coming with us each weekend to our new house when we were doing work.  I  was certain she would do well.  She is 13 but the move was very hard on her.  She seemed disoriented and was pooping in the house.  Whenever I left the house she seemed frantic.  I started giving her Composure Pro 2x a day.  It helped, but not enough.  I switched her to Zylkene which seems to be working better.

I knew Jake might be a bit scared at first, but he went from scared to mad!    Jake took to getting on the counters and getting into whatever he could find.  It was not a fun couple of weeks with them.  I started Jake on Composure liquid max in his food.  This helped him.  Of course with the stress, Jake’s herpes ( in the form of a runny eye) returned.  I caught it early and gave extra DMG and l lysine.  Fortunately the DMG, l lysine and Composure helped and he is now pretty much normal.

The feral boys have been doing so well.  I have been opening up the door to their room and using a gate to keep the others out.  I have the door open almost all day.  This has helped them get used to voices and noises of the house.  Last week I started taking Cisco into the room.  He is my most relaxed cat and he also had lived with them outside for a few months.  He was much more interested in any leftover food than the cats.  Yet he allowed them to sniff him and he was very chill.  I then got brave and allowed Marvin and Jake in for short visits.  Marvin only wanted the cat grass and Jake just wanted to show that he was king by getting up high on the cat condo!

After a few days of allowing Jake, Marvin and Cisco to visit, I decided that I needed to allow Shadow, Stellar and Hampton some time outside of their room.  I extended their “base camp” by taking some of their blankets, toys and scratchers out into the main part of the house.  The other cats and Misty went down the basement with my husband and son.  I opened the door and Stellar was first to come out.  He was so ready.  Shadow was much more cautious, but did come out.  Stellar was all over.  I had forgotten to place a gate at the front stairs and Stellar went right up to the bedrooms.  Hampton was much for afraid and refused to come out.  On the 3rd night, I tried to carry him out.  He was so afraid that his anal glands expelled.  Ugh.  Poor kitty.  I learned not to push him.

Over the weekend, I decided to allow more interactions.  This time I did not put the other animals away.  All were napping so I gave it a try.  Shadow was very brave and came out to explore most of the first floor.  Misty was sound asleep and didn’t even know they were out.  Jake and Marvin were asleep too.  Cisco came to greet them.  Later that day, Hampton ventured out!  He didn’t go far and didn’t last long, but it was a start.

We worked hard on organizing the basement this weekend.  I had been keeping the door closed as I didn’t want Shadow, Stellar or Hampton going down there.  Now it is in much better shape and they can finally go down!  We will see who gets brave first!

We also replaced the large folding gate with a regular pet gate with a pass through.  I had bought enough gates throughout the years to have plenty of extensions.  Now I can easily get in and out and leave the pass through at the bottom open or closed.  When I am home I am leaving it open.  This keeps Misty out but allows the cats to come and go if they please.  This morning, all 6 cats were in the room.  We have had a few hisses and a few swats, but nothing else.  I am very happy with how they are all progressing.

Here are some pictures

Jake and Stellar meeting

Stellar coming out of the room.

Shadow exploring

King Jake, Cisco, Stellar on the condo and Hampton on the bottom of the apartment.

Misty in the room visiting.

All 6! Hampton on the blanket, Shadow in the apartment, Jake, Stellar ( on the couch), Marvin and Cisco.

Shadow, Stellar and Hampton after a meet and greet with Jake, Marvin and Cisco!

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