Archive | April 2014

The Kitty Update

The mobile vet decided she really didn’t need to come last night given the cats were starting to eat.  I could have insisted but I thought they could do with a day off from all those needles and stress.  The pain meds injection was fast but the injection of fluids takes time and isn’t very comfortable.  Being on the head-holding end of 3 cats on Sunday afternoon, I know exactly what they thought of it.  Not much!!

My own vet was back today.  I talked with her just after 8am to find out if she wanted me to bring the cats in.  She decided to leave them well enough alone for now.  I went up to have a chat about what to expect and what to feed them.

For pancreatitis in dogs and people, they have a pretty good idea of what causes it.  In cats – not so much.  It could be any number of things – or none of them.  Even when all of my kitties came down with it simultaneously, the vets still aren’t willing to blame it on food.  They say it could be stress… could be environmental… could be a virus……it could be etc. etc. etc.

I have decided to change their food and my vet agreed with this strategy… now I have to find something that they can safely eat and that I can afford.  The former will be easier than the latter.  At the moment, they are thoroughly enjoying Fancy Feast – a mere .69 per 3 oz can.  Blaze alone would need 3 cans per day to meet feeding guidelines. Right now, I just have to get them to eat – but it will be a challenge getting them back onto something more reasonable.  The vet also suggested a dry food with digestive enzymes in it – normally used for cats with diabetes. That one is $36 per bag…..small bag.  I’m to change their intake from 80% dry/20% wet to the reverse.  That should also help Blaze’s weight problem.

When I asked will this happen again?  No idea.  If it happens again next year at this time, somebody would decide it is seasonal and therefore environmental.  They just don’t know.

Blaze and Herbie are eating whatever is put in front of them – wet (as long as it is Fancy Feast) and dry food.  Olivia is still very tentative although she is eating.  She is the oldest, and the smallest – so it makes sense that she is taking longer to recover.  I have 8 days before my planned trip to New Orleans.  I have a cat-sitter moving in – but I don’t want to leave her with sick cats that need treatment.  Hopefully the worst is over and things will continue to improve from here on.

This has been a horrible and very stressful week for all of us….one I hope we never have to repeat.  Just imagine having 3 small kids who can’t yet talk all getting very sick at the same time – and you are alone.  Thank goodness for caring friends, family and neighbours!

Sue, Olivia, Herbie and Blaze


Another Feline Update

Back to the vet this morning with all 3  – my friend & neighbour Doris came again to help me get them corralled and loaded up – for their injection of fluids and pain medication.  To my surprise, the bill had already been paid.  My good friend Kris (who is also one of the realtors I work for) had found my vet and pre-paid the bill.  There really are special people in this world!!  What a lovely and thoughtful surprise.  Needless to say, I had a good weep over that.

They suggested I try real flaked tuna in water to get them to eat – anything……so – tuna it was when we returned home.  Blaze and Herbie ate every bite of the small amount I offered them.  Olivia sniffed and walked away.  Very worrisome.  She is my oldest kitty – 13.

Off to the grocery store to pick up some new dry food (junk that tastes good) and some fancy feast – which they used to get as a treat until I thought better of it and switched them to a more healthy morning treat.  Halleluljah (or however you spell it)!  Olivia ate some of it. It is what she used to get at the breeders before I got her so I guess it is her comfort food.  All 3 had a small nibble of the new dry food.  Maybe we have turned the corner.  I have my fingers crossed.

My counters are covered with different types of canned and samples of dry cat food, syringes and cat bowls….and, I have thought of something brand new that they were offered about 2 weeks ago as a treat – hairball prevention treats.  That is the only thing new to their diet.  They each had 3 or 4 of the little treats.  Could that have done it?  They are now in the garbage just in case and I will talk to the Global Pet Food folks about that.  If they are at the bottom of this, they must be powerfully nasty to have 3 or 4 treats make my cats this sick.  I’m grasping at straws!!

Let’s hope tomorrow is a new day and that I have 3 cats who are anxious for their breakfast.



Feline Update

Results have come back from the blood tests done on 2 of my 3 cats (the big guy was just too heavy to carry).  They have pancreatitis.  Humans get it, dogs get it – it is, apparently, quite rare for cats to get it – nobody knows why it happens and the outlook is not pretty. As with humans, there is no treatment to “cure” it.

People just don’t eat for a couple of days, the attack passes, and then they hope it will be a long time before the next episode.  The cats aren’t eating because it is really painful for them to do so.  At 9 and 11 lbs, Olivia and Herbie don’t have much in the way of reserves.  Blaze, at 23 lbs, can withstand a few days of not eating but this is not my preferred diet, for sure.

My options:

Option 1:  Have them hospitalized and treated with IV fluids, pain medication and tube feeding for nutrients.  The cost PER CAT for a stay at one of these places is $275 – just for the 24 hr stay.  The treatments are on top of that – so I’m figuring about $1500 per day in total.  Can’t go there.

Option 2:  Try to give them the pain medication myself at home by squirting nasty tasting stuff down their throats.  I have tried this before – when Olivia had a major infection – with antibiotics – it didn’t work then, and it doesn’t work now.  I get 99% of the liquid on me and on the cat’s head – and nothing where it’s supposed to go. Then she foams at the mouth for the next 15 minutes, dripping it all over the house.  This method also doesn’t get any fluids into them. We all get very stressed. That one won’t work either.

Option 3: Take them to the vet daily for injections of fluids and pain meds.  I did that today.  One of my neighbours (Doris) came over and helped me get 3 cats into carriers and then into the car.  Cats don’t like carriers or travel so they are vocal.  It breaks my heart.  We will do the same tomorrow.  On Sunday, my vet isn’t open so I have a mobile vet coming to the house to administer the injections.  These trips (and the visit) are about $300 each (or per day).

We are into day 1 of Option 3.  They have all eaten a tiny bit (about a tsp) of wet food.  I guess that’s something.

I’m up to $1200 and change including today with a further $600 committed over the weekend with no idea how long we will have to do this or whether it will work at all.  Apparently cats often end up with other nasty side illnesses like diabetes, some sort of hepatitis and inflammatory bowel disease.  I should never have googled the subject.

It is so bizarre that all 3 cats are sick.  They have been on the same food for months and months – no change there. There is nothing I can think of in the house that they might have ingested – I don’t have any real plants.   Quite a mystery.

I hope my next update is a happier one!


The Joys (and otherwise) of Pet Ownership

As most of you know, I have 3 cats – Olivia (13 and about 9 lbs), Herbie (7 and about 11 lbs) and Blaze (7 and about 23 lbs).

Since Sunday, Olivia and Herbie have refused to eat.  Blaze is eating a bit – but isn’t his usual little piggy self, gulping down his food and then trying to steal everything else.  He eats half his own food and that’s it.

First I tried different cat foods, wondering if the food I had was somehow bad.  Nothing.

First trip to the vet was Tuesday morning……with Olivia and Herbie.  It is so difficult to lug Blaze anywhere, that I always start with the little guys.  They were both checked over to the tune of $304.00 and nothing was found that would relate to their refusal to eat.  The vet did find a problem with one of Herbie’s teeth – extraction required – estimate a further $1,000.

This morning they were all 3 waiting for me to get up, kept me company in the bathroom while I had my shower and then raced into the kitchen for breakfast.  AHA, I thought – all is back to normal.  But no.  Blaze ate a bit and the other 2 walked away from their food.

Second trip the vet at 10am this morning.  Another vet (their usual one) checked them both out and found nothing out of the ordinary.  Blood taken from both and a wide variety of tests will be run.  Today’s bill was $567.00.  I may or may not have the results before the weekend.

So, I am up to a cost of $871 with a further $1,000 needing to be done – and they still aren’t eating.  The vet suggested I take all food away and give them nothing until suppertime and then try the usual wet food that they like.  In fact most mornings there is a cacaphony of meows as I dish it out.  This is all very stressful, not to mention expensive – and expenses I wasn’t planning on.

I sent an email to my financial guy asking for more RRSP money to be cashed in.

I am scheduled to go on vacation May 9th – I do have a live-in cat sitter – but I hate to leave unless things are settled.  Hopefully the blood tests will show up something that can be treated.

The only thing that is different in the house is my switch from a hot water tank to a tankless hot water system – and that took place late in March.  I have asked Reliance Holmes Heating to come and do an air quality test and to double-check the installation.  I have no idea what that will cost.

I absolutely have to find something to rave about soon – I’m over my rant quota for the month!!



Being Single

I usually try to add a rave or two before I rant again – but this one just has to be vented.

There are a great many financial benefits for being part of a couple……even more if you are part of a senior couple.

  • two incomes to share the costs of accommodation (housing, maintenance, utilities, insurance, property taxes) – or rent for that matter
  • two incomes to share the costs of owning a car (having two cars is a choice)
  • income splitting at income tax time
  • it’s always less expensive to feed more than one on a per capita basis
  • spousal RRSPs

Where, oh where, is some sort of dispensation for being single?  Benefits for married folk have changed over the years – but they have been around since long before my time.  Anyone who lives alone will tell you it is very expensive and there is nobody to share the basic costs of living.  Does nobody care?  Are we not standing up for ourselves?

Have you ever tried to travel anywhere by yourself?  They slap a whopping “single supplement” onto an already large sum of money because you are “alone”.  If it’s a cruise, it’s as much as another 50% of the total package cost.

One thing worse than being single is being a single senior – one pension (maybe one), one OAS, one CPP……so I  might, grudgingly, even settle for some special dispensation for being a senior – reduce our property taxes, reduce our utilities – we no longer have kids in school and goodness knows – we’ve paid for the infrastructure many times over.

There are a great many people talking about how difficult it is becoming to keep your financial nose above water these days.  There is talk about helping those with the lowest incomes.  I don’t have a problem with that.  However – I would truly like to hear some talk about helping single income households.  It is long overdue.


Public Sector is in my Sights Today!

My first rant goes to my municipal folks.  That water “service post” thing that most of us have somewhere in our lawn is, in my case, smack in the middle of my driveway.  The spring thaw usually causes it to pop up out of the ground a couple of inches and then it eventually goes back down.  This year it has heaved the asphalt so I now have a little mound around it – and cracks in the pavement.  Enter the city.

In response to my concern, they sent an email giving me explicit instructions on how I should cover the service post with a block of wood and then bash it down with a sledge hammer (one of those tools I don’t have) – or they could do it for me at a cost to me of $140.  They will, however send out a team to look at the damage to my pavement – just look, not bash – while they were here.  It figures.

My second rant goes to public sector unions who have decided to “sign a pact of mutual support” in defence of what they call a war on labour by our current premier.   I don’t usually have too many (if any) good things to say about her but I have even less positive to say about whiney public servants who make very good money, have to-die for pensions and benefits that most of us could only dream  of.

One of these days unions are going to be the death of themselves.  I only hope I am around to see it happen.



The starting point of  a fun evening last night was a leisurely dinner at Baan Thai – if you haven’t been there – give it a try – it is extremely good (on Centrepointe Drive in a small plaza).  There were 7 of us for dinner.  You do need reservations – it’s a small, cozy place.  The most difficult part of dining there is making a choice from the menu.  Thank goodness there are appetizer portions of some of the options.

From there we went to the theatre to see The Bee Gees and ABBAmania, and were joined by 3 more friends, making our group 10.  The first half of the concert  (Bee Gees) had the entire audience (most of us with grey or covered-up grey hair) on its feet – some even dancing in the aisle at the front.  The group was very good.  They didn’t necessarily look like the originals – but they had the sound down pat. There was lots of opportunity to sing along and they invited us to do so no matter what it all sounded like.  The second half was a group (3 from Ontario cottage country and 1 from Texas) called ABBAmania.  They, too, sounded very much like the originals.  I guess ABBA music isn’t quite as conducive to sing-a-longs and dancing – and they did more songs from Mama Mia than anything else (missing, in my opinion, some great ABBA tunes) – but it was also great entertainment.

Our next Centrepointe outing will be to an Elvis extravaganza in June.  Now THAT will be fabulous.  Does anyone know where I can find a pair of saddleshoes, a reversible pleated skirt and a kitten cardigan (worn backwards, of course) ???