juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (I should have been born a cat)
Vet visit for Dare yesterday. She had a worm a few months ago, probably the result of a flea tracked in by Odi (although there were no other signs of fleas in the house). She was dewormed and everyone was flea treated. But the hair loss on her spine persisted, and then she developed bald patches on the back of her legs. Because the hair loss is the result of barbering, she's overgrooming in easy to reach places and the skin itself is healthy (all signs that the trigger isn't physiological), and she's a high-strung, high energy cat, the vet suspects what we suspected: she began over-grooming when she had the worm, but now it's just a habit and preoccupation.

We're putting her on Zylkene, a bovine-sourced hydrolyzed milk protein which treats anxiety, isn't prescription, and doesn't interact with any food or medication. Prescription mood medication is always a possibility, but the vet wanted to start with the safest, easiest option, especially since she doesn't have any signs of stress. She's just a tightly-wound cat keeping herself occupied in her downtime. The vet was appropriately skeptical of magic milk protein, but gave us some studies as well as anecdotal evidence to back it up.

Bad habits aside, Dare is in perfect health and behaved great in a "blind cat, vaguely terrified" way. Because she has a possibly-congenital defect, it's particularly comforting to know she's in good health and this issue is probably unrelated.

This being vet visit approx. 23482942 for our menagerie, we continue to have superb experiences with North Portland Veterinary Hospital. I love them so much.

Vet visits with a blind cat are can be hit-and-miss on an interpersonal level, as some vets are prone to inspiration porn; this one, refreshingly, wasn't. She took us at our word when we talked about Dare's abilities and limitations, and never ever used the word inspiring. (Dare has developed a lot of skills to help her work around her disability! There's some surprising things she can do, and some things she does better than other cats, because she has to. It's really neat to see. There's also some things she can't do. And she's not a human being, and her disability and coping mechanisms aren't equivalent to human experience. Those things are obvious to me, but we still get vets who tell us about how animals are so much more adaptable than people and are such inspirations etc. and it's gross.)

This vet was also lovely in an ego-patting way—so relieved to learn that not just the blind cat but all the cats are indoor-only, complimenting us for intentionally taking in "lemon"/defective cats, pleasantly surprised when I asked for a spare soft e-collar (to use if Dare's over-grooming becomes skin-damaging) because no one had ever asked for one in advance before, impressed by preventative measures we take re: her open eye socket, generally telling us that this particular special-needs cat had the perfect care and home. We put effort into being good pet owners, and it's just about my only productive contribution to the universe, so an authority confirming that we're doing good is flattering and rewarding. There were just good feels all around; now we wait and see how the magic cow powder works.

When we came home, everyone sniffed the carrier a lot and August sat in it for a while because of course.
juushika: A black and white photo of an ink pen. (Writing)
So tired.

August has gone from: rejecting bland wet food and reluctantly eating increasing quantities of bland dry food > rejecting bland dry food and eating increasing quantities of normal dry food > rejecting bland dry food, also rejecting normal dry food, and eating increasing quantities of bland wet food. She's still not up to normal intake even with these aspects combined, but is no longer having issues vomit or diarrhea problems. She will sometimes eat more if I sit with her or hold her in my lap. Otherwise, she looks and acts entirely normal. The dry/wet preference seems indicative of recurring periodontal disease, but the vet checked for that and ruled it ongoing, tooth cleaning sometime, but shouldn't be causing issues now, and her blood tests/symptoms did indicate some sort of minor gut upset. Maybe teeth coincided with gut upset, and the vet underestimated how bad they were? The vet said things would be fine if they continued to improve/didn't get worse; they're not getting worse, they're technically slowly improving, but in weird and out of character ways that seem to indicate ongoing problems.

The labor that is feeding August is complicated by the fact that Gillian is a problem eater (needs to be locked in with his food to keep from wandering off and forgetting to eat it, but hates being locked away; yells until I come sit with him while he eats dinner, which is spoons I just don't have) and that Dare is so far the opposite as to become a problem (eats fast enough to make herself vomit, so I have to take her food away 2-3 times per meal to make her slow down) and also needs her open eye socket cleaned around food-time because that's when it gets goopy. So I spend two 1.5h blocks/day hopping between cats to multitask their food intake—

—while trying to figure out, always in the background, what to do about August. (switch to other wet food semi-permanently? revisit vet? can either/both be budgeted? I am intentionally uninvolved with finances and money is my foremost anxiety trigger, so I find it difficult to account for that aspect of these decisions).

Cat management is my only responsibility and real contribution to the universe and it's comparably limited in scope, but I am nonetheless not coping well and perpetually exhausted and prone to taking long walks, which is an outlet, which gets me away from here; right now, away is all I want.
juushika: Photograph of the torso and legs of a female-bodied figure with a teddy bear. (Bear)
That massive depressive episode that began with my sister's cancer diagnosis finally died a lingering death (I gave up tracking its length by the end, it started in July 2014 and lasted until ~June 2015, so it was basically a year of my life), but a ~month later I had a resurgence of my normal month-long (I think, I hope, but I'm not measuring; I'm too tired for real records these days, I'm just trying to wait things out) episodes, so: I have been absent-ish from social spaces/friendships because I'm not feeling great; it's not a severe episode, but I was just beginning to feel hopeful about recovery when it began so it's bitter and gently spirit-crushing. You know, more than depressive episodes usually are.

- - - - -

May-June back pain episode did resolve a few days on Tramadol.

- - - - -

Dare is settling in well! When you adopt a pet, but especially a cat, you make an (informed, one hopes) gamble: they are their own people, so, while they do adapt, their underlying personality will shine through. We gambled well with Dare—her outgoing nature counterbalances her blindness, and makes her a good fit into the house's preexisting social structures. What amazes me most is how bright she is, how proactively engaged with her environment; she's more aware than anyone in the household, nevermind not having eyes.

- - - - -

Made a brief visit back home: my sister got a puppy, a Red Merle Australian Shepherd named Tiber who is currently 3 months old. She's still living at my family's home, so Jamie (who is now far into Old Lady territory) has to deal with him. He's ... well, he's a puppy, engaged and bright but overflowing with energy. They're doing pretty well by him training-wise; Jamie isn't pleased with the new dog.
juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (Default)
Hello, internet! We have a new cat.

It's been long enough since Mama's passing that it finally feels like the right time. Dee's been watching the humane society's website for cats with special needs but affordable upkeep, and when Daredevil showed up see seemed like a good fit. She's blind due to a congenital defect, but well-adjusted, outgoing, and highly affectionate. She's also so teeny-tiny.

Medical details and her history. )

She came to us at two years old-ish and 6.5 pounds which, if you were counting, is super teeny omg. She's nearly half August's size. She makes tiny-man Gilly look big. She's a short-haired tortoiseshell.

Dare takes a little bit of time to adjust to new spaces and stimuli, but is proactively engaged with her environment; she's bright and observant, and has already conquered the bathroom and is eager to get out to the rest of the house. Disability isn't inspiration porn, even in cats, but the degree to which this cat is engaged with her environment is amazing. She tracks sound so well it seems like she's making eye contact with what she's "looking" at; she's a great example of how much cats use their whiskers to explore and navigate their environment. Being blind from birth probably helps, since she's unaware of what she's missing; it probably also helps that she's bold and friendly. She's refined the tools she has to engage with her environment, and damn but does she use them. She makes my cats look like lazy slackers.

She has a teeny little meow, and is moderately vocal (a good bit of meowing for attention, but so far no yowling for the pure pleasure of making atrocious noises), purrs persistently, and kneeds a lot—that last is winding down a touch as she gets a little less frantic for human interaction, but I'll still be maintaining the hell out of her claw trimmings. She's quite playful, and absolutely able to bat and chase cat toys. It will be interesting to see how her behaviors change as she adapts to living her and to plenty of human interaction—Gillian, for example, was very needy when he first came here and now is happy to take his humans for granted.

And she is so wildly different from Mama that there's no hidden regret or sense of betrayal. Dare is her own unique cat, not a replacement.

Juu, who cares, show us pictures.

(From the humane society's adoption page.)

(Taken by me, on her first day home.)

(Taken by Dee.)

(Taken by Dee.)

I do dumb liveblogging/picspamming on my tumblr (cat tag) these days, just fyi.


juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (Default)

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