Friday, April 20, 2012

Erupting Cats

Three of them!

Since Monday night, everyone's been having digestive problems at one or both ends. It began with Possum, who reacted badly — or so I thought — to a new brand of food, AvoDerm. My vet recommended it because her fussy cat likes it and it's a high-end, "healthier" brand. So I bought a few cans without a second thought, even though it sounds more like a skincare product than cat food.  No one liked it, and I think Possum was the only to try it instead of taking one sniff and walking away.

 After he began having problems, I investigated and learned that AvoDerm contains avocado oil, which is toxic to cats and dogs. The company has some explanation for why their avocado oil is not toxic; all I know is that Possum was unwell for days, and is still throwing up occasionally, although he's much better. On Monday night, he sat in a corner in a stiff crouch with a sad look on his face that showed how miserable he was. Now he's back to his affectionate, hungry, sprawling self.

AvoDerm doesn't explain Wendy and Snalbert's problems, though. Theirs are mostly from the back end, and being longhaired, fluffy cats... well, you can imagine. Bertie had a half bath a couple of days ago, after an unspeakable disaster in the middle of the night, which was only discovered in the morning. And Wendy needs a bath this morning, but my husband isn't here to help. I had a battle with her just now over cleaning her up. I stalked her all over the apartment as she stayed several feet ahead of me, complaining in her pitiful little voice. Then she raced into the litter box, a favorite hiding place. It's built in to our bathroom cabinets and covered, so it's some work for us to pry anyone out. I sat on the floor at a distance and talked to her for several minutes; she eventually emerged, but ran back in as soon as I tried to touch her.

Wendy is having a day, and she's also having an iPad.

I needed a better scissors; as I opened the bathroom door to get one, she made a desperate escape under the sofa. I blocked up the litter box entrance, and peeled Wendy out; her claws digging deeply into the carpet. She never attacks, she passively resists, and it's effective. When we finally can hold her, we get the "Ball of Wendy" phenomenon, where she tucks herself into a sphere like a hedgehog or furry medicine ball. I got us both back to the bathroom, put my ball on the floor, and petted it until it began to purr and unroll. I think she was purring to comfort herself, not because she was having a nice time. As she purred away, I kept petting, and slowly she let me gently trim some mess from her legs. I didn't make as much progress as I'd have liked, but I still consider this a triumph. 

Five days of this is enough. I'm cleaning a lot, finding little "gifts" everywhere in various colors and degrees of stench. There was a notable dark green pool under my husband's desk yesterday... let's change the subject.

I wonder if they plotted this as a way of distracting us from thinking about Snicky? They're keeping us busy, and it's working well.

I'm so glad I have a big box of wet Swiffer cloths left over from the Ringworm Epidemic. These days are starting to feel like those days, although there is no comparison: this ailment will not force me to vacuum walls and ceilings on a regular basis, and the cats won't need weekly dips in a solution that smells like gunpowder and turns them yellow. We will not have to live like refugees without comforters, curtains, and carpets. Those were the days. I haven't even dug out the Indian bedspread collection to protect the furniture, although I probably should.

I called the vet for Possum on Tuesday, and got their usual advice: feed him all-meat baby food. No one will touch that stuff. I've been sticking to our usual brands of canned food, thinking they need all the familiarity and moisture they can get. But today's call to the vet provided different advice: stick to dry food and try a little of Snicky's leftover anti-nausea medication on anyone who seems to need it (except me). Since everyone's sick, they say this must be bacterial or viral, although bad food could have triggered it first in Possum, who spread it. If everyone isn't well by tomorrow, I'll need to start giving antibiotics and possibly hydration.

Pilling Wendy? I can't imagine. I'll worry about that tomorrow, if I have to.

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