Posted in advice, cats, critters, health, real life, recommended, tagged advice, cats, critters, health, real life, recommended on February 18, 2008 |
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Plz! No paparazzi at naptime!
Our bestest buddy the Booster is doing really well and has regained much of the weight she lost this past fall, when we feared the worst. None of the tests we ran turned up anything: she was pronounced incredibly healthy for a 13.5 year old kitteh, but she was growing noticeably skinnier and I could feel more bones along her back.
I started reading the labels on the canned food, the treats, and dry food in the pet store. The dry food has 2 to 2.5 times the protein of the canned stuff, and more carbs, and the treats were similar. I wondered if the canned food was simply not providing enough protein and carbs to maintain Boo’s muscle mass and keep her warm during the colder fall/winter weather. I got some high-quality dry food and started offering them free-choice dry food again. They were all over it with great enthusiasm.
When I listen to sidewalk, I can hear ocean! … What you mean, no?
Within the week, Boo stopped losing muscle mass. Her hind legs, which were getting so thin that I could feel the tendons near her paws, plumped up again. She’s regained all her muscle mass, though not much fat, and her neck and back are noticeably more muscular. I’m really shocked that high-end canned food made with good ingredients is not enough to keep her healthy. I am very glad that she is fine again, and kind of shocked and scared that I could have been accidentally starving her! OK, not *starving*, the vet said that she was a far cry from that, but it was a startling change in Boo that I picked up on pretty quickly.
All’s well now, but I wanted to post about it in case other folks’ aging kittehs are starting to get bony. Don’t just chalk it up to the aging process. See if different or better food, or combinations of food, will work. Feed high-energy treats like Greenies, bits of cheese, etc, to help your fuzzball build up strength. And don’t give up! I look forward to many more happy years with the Booster Bunny. They don’t stay with us forever, but we want them with us as long as possible, as long as they are still enjoying being here. She’s back to her sassy self!
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Boo is 13 now, and will be 14 in June. She’s been losing weight noticeably. We had blood work done, and it came back with all ok– not thyroid, liver function, or diabetes, any of which can cause weight loss in older cats. Meanwhile, her coat is still thick and glossy and soft, and when she was in for her annual in September, the vet and the techs all said she seemed like a much younger cat than her age.
I took Boo in for an x-ray today. She’d lost another quarter-pound, in just 2 weeks, but nothing obviously wrong on the x-ray. The doctor will call me tomorrow (her regular doctor wasn’t in).
The vet-tech said that she is not bony; she sees really emaciated cats and Boo is nowhere near there. Boo was 13+ pounds over a year ago, and her weight has been slowly and steadily coming down since we took them off dry food entirely after the big pet-food recall. It may just be that she’s been doing the equivalent of South Beach or Atkins for cats for close to a year now.
No need to panic unless the doctor comes up with a reason tomorrow. We need to remember that Boo is not a huge cat, at least as far as bone structure. Snark’s fairly muscular weight is still just around 8 pounds. Boo is currently at 9 pounds, 12 ounces.
The vet-tech did suggest fewer treats so that Boo would eat her normal food better. That will take care of itself when I am working offsite daily, I suspect. In the meantime, I will only ‘treat’ a couple times a day, and give only 2 or 3 Greenies instead of 5 or 6.
I know they can’t stay with us forever. Boo and Snark came to me as kittens in October and December of 1994. Someday they will pass on, and it’s likely to be within the next few years. Lots of domestic housecats who are primarily indoor cats live to be 16, 18, even 20 is not uncommon anymore. We’ll just be extra-good to them and hope for the best.
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My garden and a book project have been keeping me way too busy, but the book project is finally put to bed and I am going to give myself a mini-vacation for a week or three! I celebrated by going out this morning while it was still cool, but not damp, and snipping a big basket of herbs to dry. They looked so good that I thought, hey, I should send this to Weekend Herb Blogging! From left to right, marjoram, variegated sage, greek oregano (spicy!), and variegated oregano. A couple of young garlic that I pulled as well are laying across the basket.
The herbs I will separate and dry on a plate, indoors on the bookshelf or armoir top, out of any direct sun. The young garlic I snipped up like scallions or chives, and put in the freezer. I don’t pre-wash it, so it freezes up nicely without ice all over it. Put it in soups, stews, or drop in a roasting pan with veggie end-snips (which I also freeze), spray with oil, and pan-roast as the base for a rich veggie stock.
I don’t pre-wash most veggies, since I don’t use any sprays or pesticides in my garden, other than point-treating any stubborn aphids with Safer Soap. This year, knock on wood, no real aphid problems other than some Gray Plague in my broccoli when it got too hot for a week, and I took the floating row cover off (doh). I’ve been letting various weeds stand as attractants to the aphids, and sure enough, the ‘phids go there instead of on my tender beans and peas, at least so far. When they have frighteningly infested the attractant weeds, I carefully snip those off and get them the heck out of the garden (carefully! so none will fall off!). Seems to be working so far.
Oh, my usual Garden Help does not care for garlic, but was coaxed into happiness with a treat and a kind word. Here is her little smiling face for all my fellow kitteh lovers out there.
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