Saturday, April 19, 2008

Krazy Kat

I know it's been forever since my last post.  The free-roaming part of my brain has been consumed with taking care of my cat, Sophie.  Roaming to possibilities, to concerns, calling vets, wondering what my cat is thinking, and now to the Adventure of the Food.  Really, my creativity has been put to good use.

Sophie developed what we now know was a calcium oxalate stone in her ureter, as we found out when the test results came back from the lab in Minnesota on Wednesday.  Last month, she had five days of fluid therapy in the hospital (bank translation: vacation to Hawaii, staying at the Four Seasons), trying to get her into UC Davis (translation: penthouse), followed by surgery (not at Davis but at the wonderful BAVS) when the stone didn't come out on its own (translation: flying first class).
Vets are awesome people, and she ultimately came through with flying colors.

By my count, she's used at least three lives.  (1) Because Hopalong and I agree she wouldn't have made it on the street, or even just as an outdoor cat, (2) because if the stone hadn't been addressed she would have died, and (3) because she's a head case and seems to have forgotten how important eating is and would not have made it if I hadn't followed her into Crazyland.

That's what brings us to today.

Calcium oxalate stones are "highly recurring" (with no definition of that), which means that Sophie could end up consuming another trip to Hawaii.  Many more trips, in fact.  Oxalates can't be prevented by all those prepared, canned cat urinary tract health diets -- that would be struvites, much easier to control.  No, my Sophie, predictably, produced the more difficult of the two kinds of stones.  The only way to even possibly prevent an oxalate stone is to somehow convince your cat to drink more water.  Dilute the urine, that's our only hope.

On the way home from the appointment when I learned all this, I stopped at the store and bought her a kitty fountain (translation: cab ride to the airport).

Sophie's a dry food cat who is under orders never to have dry food again. But she doesn't perceive wet food -- a major source of water -- as food. She licks the sauce a bit and walks away.

I've learned that cats can have food aversions. They (apparently easily) develop associations with food which makes them stop eating it. Sophie's aversing started with stone pain/hospitalization/surgery, and she came home thinking food was bad. She's on mirtazapine, an appetite stimulant (separately: the Pill Adventure), which is supposed to get her through this, but she's figured out how to resist its effect, resist me, resist her hunger pangs. In the face of all this expensive and smelly wet food! At the same time she's perfectly frisky and playful, acting as if being super cute and loving is all that matters. I end up seeming like the only crazy one here.

I document what I feed her and what she eats.  This way, I won't end up panicking that she hasn't eaten in five days when she might have actually eaten recently.  But it turns out her food aversion extends to bowls and locations, so I have to keep switching things up.  The log from the past two days goes:

Wellness turkey (in BR w/water in orange bowl)
Wellness turkey (in BR near window on plate)
Moved ducken to table
Chicken/grave on table in cruet
Wellness turkey in corner
Chicken/gravy in BR
SO on table while I eat and work on computer
SO with 5 pieces of dry
fresh chicken
fresh chicken

She didn't eat most of this, which means it's all in the garbage.  She will eat the fresh chicken, but only if it's cut into little cubes -- she can't seem to understand it's the same food if it's in shreds.  The vet said I could serve her diluted chicken broth, and that's helping ... so now she has me cooking and cutting chicken, making plain, unseasoned broth, and serving it in a variety of bowls in varying locations.  I have five options in the living room (including two on tables), two in the bedroom, and one in the kitchen.

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