Saturday, July 25, 2009

Most recently, about Lewis

Life has been a whirlwind for me lately. To be honest, I really haven't had much time to think about Lewis! He's about the same... acts normal except he won't finish his dinner and he's still pretty thin. Ebony on the other hand has gained a ton of weight and now picking her up is like picking up a sack of bricks. I need to put her on a diet, but how does someone put one cat on a diet and encourage the other cat to eat more?? I'm sure I'll figure it out.

We did some bloodwork to test for thyroid cancer, and it came back negative. The vet also did a number of x-rays and said there were no abnormalities. His ionized calcium is still high, though, which is a sign of cancer I'm told. So we're all quite perplexed.

I got an email from the vet a few days ago, which said:

I talked with Dr. Hamilton re: Lewis and the high Calcium. Dr. Hamilton is the veterinary oncologist at Georgia Veterinary Specialists. His advice is to pursue diagnosis as long as he is showing clinical signs (decreased appetite, weight loss). He said that many cats can be "idiopathic" hypercalcemia (high calcium for no apparent reason affecting the health) but have no symptoms. Lymphoma is the most common cancer cause of the high calcium. An abdominal ultrasound would be the next step from the blood work and even endoscopy for biopsy. I do not have an ultrasound or endoscopy. I either refer these cases to the specialist, or Dr. Avgeris (internal medicine specialist) comes here with her ultrasound and endoscopy equipment. Please call me to discuss or schedule.

I'm not sure where to go from here, because in my mind "specialist" means "expensive". I'll probably write more about that later, but that's where we are now. Maybe I should look into affordable health insurance for pets... ;-)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Pet photography

I came across this link (courtesy of A Dusty Frame) and thought it might be valuable to share here. :-) From Digital Photography School, here are 9 Pet Photography Tips. It's worth a read-through, and there are more tips in the comments. Happy shutter snapping! :-)

Here are some of my favorite pictures of my pets. I look forward to incorporating some of the tips from that site in future pictures. :-) You can see all my animal pictures on my Flickr account here.

Joanna and Jera


Amy and Zoey

Zoey in Orlando



Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Wrapped around her little paw

Lewis upsidedown

When Lewis and Ebony were about 7 months old, I moved into my first apartment, and established a routine. I'd get home from work around 6pm, pet them and then feed them. Ebony would jump on the bed and roll around on her back. I would exclaim how cute she was and rub her tummy and give her attention. I noticed that she started to do that anytime she wanted something - not just at dinnertime. I guess she figured out how to get on my good side.

So when I saw this article last night, I wasn't surprised at all. An excerpt from "Cats 'exploit' humans by purring":

Cat owners may have suspected as much, but it seems our feline friends have found a way to manipulate us humans.

Researchers at the University of Sussex have discovered that cats use a "soliciting purr" to overpower their owners and garner attention and food.

Unlike regular purring, this sound incorporates a "cry", with a similar frequency to a human baby's.

The team said cats have "tapped into" a human bias - producing a sound that humans find very difficult to ignore.

According to the study, this is something kitties do on purpose to manipulate their owners.

Dr McComb said that the cry occurs at a low level in cats' normal purring. "But we think that (they) learn to dramatically exaggerate it when it proves effective in generating a response from humans."

She added that the trait seemed to most often develop in cats that have a one-on-one relationship with their owners.

"Obviously we don't know what's going on inside their minds," said Dr McComb. "But they learn how to do this, and then they do it quite deliberately."

It makes me laugh. My cats have me wrapped around their little paws; I'll admit it. But, I am a pretty strict owner who doesn't feed them early because of little purrs. So I guess their purrs don't COMPLETELY work on me. :-)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Links for today

I was going to try and write up a blog post for each of these, but I think a list is going to have to do. :-)

More airlines embracing furry travelers
More airlines are allowing people to fly with their cats and dogs inside the plane's cabin. In fact, one man talked about buying a seat for his dog and just walking on board with him! He said that the dog can check a bag and is allowed to bring "personal items" on board (blanket, dog dish). Other airlines require the animals be crated.

While I like the idea of making traveling with a pet easier, my initial response is, "What about the many people with allergies?" The airlines claim this isn't a problem usually and that they work with people who have allergies. I am surprised at this - I feel like every other person I try to invite to my house can't come due to being allergic to cats! (It's definitely much worse here in the States than in Peru, the country where I grew up.)

Fugitive Llamas Back On Farm
Okay not the most well-written article, but it was funny to read. And I like llamas.

In the market for a new cat? Consider a Certified Pre-Owned Cat!
A marketing spin put on by the Humane Society of Indianapolis: encouraging people to buy "pre-owned cats". I thought it was quite humorous and creative! From the site: "Take a quality cat home today for one low 0% APR payment ($50 - $135, depending on model) and get the following options at no extra charge!" They are "made in Indiana" (for those who prefer to buy locally) and are a good investment - "Unlike other mobile investments, your HSI cat will increase in value as soon as you drive it home." Also, for the environmentally conscious: "Small engines = low fuel costs". I enjoyed reading this and now I want to go get another kitty. From Georgia, of course - trying to buy locally. ;-)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Laser pointers

We just bought a laser pointer to play with Lewis. (Well, Ebony too, but she's not very interested.) It's so cute to watch him attack the red dot that's moving mysteriously near him...

patrick stewart
see more Lol Celebs

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Those spoiled cats

Shortly after I got my cats (over 4 years ago now), I bought a big container of cat food from Costco. It was a nice container, so I've just kept it around and been refilling it when it's empty. It latches fairly well, without being too difficult for us to open when we need it. However, occasionally the cats are able to knock over the container and get the latch open and have an all-you-can-eat buffet.

They did that the other night. My husband and I were in the bedroom and we heard the noise of the container, and my husband went out to investigate. It had taken them (or, I should say, Ebony - because she is almost always the culprit) almost no time to get the latch open.

Yesterday we were talking about it and I mentioned that the container was over 4 years old and I wonder if the latch was wearing down. And then I wondered if we should go ahead and buy a more airtight container to better keep the dry food from going stale. My husband said, "Yeah I've noticed that when they don't eat is when it's getting towards the bottom."

I said, "Interesting. I noticed that some of their eating issues started when we switched them from cheap corn food to the more higher-end food. I thought it was because they were getting used to the higher quality, but maybe it's because the cheap foods didn't stale as easily due to the preservatives and chemicals in them." Because, we all know that Twinkies last much longer than freshly baked bread!

So, we decided to get an airtight container, something that sealed and wasn't open like car grills. We walked around Target, but they didn't really have anything big enough for cat food while at the same time being airtight. Finally we decided to go check out The Container Store.

Have you ever been there? It's an awesome store - full of all the containers and organizing tools you could ever want! I like browsing around there, but their prices are a little on the high side so I don't often buy anything there.

We found exactly what we wanted there and we decided to go ahead and spend the money. They had two sizes of pet food containers, and we opted for the smaller size that holds about 20 lbs. of dry cat food. We probably could have even gone smaller, if they had had a smaller size. It's tall and narrow, so it fits well in the space we have for it.

I will be curious to see if the kitties seem to notice the air-tightness. I hope they appreciate it! Spoiled little babies. :-)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Lewis update: still waiting

We got a Pack N Play for the baby yesterday, and Lewis and Ebony have decided we actually got it for them. One of the two spent a majority of the day sleeping in it.

Lewis' new sleeping spot

I couldn't get any pictures of Lewis sleeping, because he lifted his head anytime I moved from the computer chair. (I put the doll there to demonstrate to my husband how the Pack N Play was to be used, and also how the new cloth diapers I bought worked.)

I received a call from the vet and it seems that we are still waiting for the results of Lewis' bloodwork. Apparently, they had a pathologist look at the results and they are waiting for the pathologist's report. I'm not sure what exactly this means - if it's a good sign or bad sign. I'm not even sure what is likely to happen at this point - surgery, diet change, or medication like Stimerex ES? They promised that we'll know more next week. Let's hope so!