Things are not so bad right now in Kittonland. Isis is continuing to regain weight, which means that her meds and foods are helping deal with the lymphoma. She and Reeses now have a quiet space to hang out, look out the windows, sleep and not have Malik eat all their toys during the day. They look forward to us coming home from work so that they can get social time, but are pretty much ready to go back to the private suite at bedtime. I initially had great guilt about setting up the house like this, but they actually seem to prefer it, so all is well.
Siada had her two-week post-op check up last week. She is doing great, and everything is healing up well. She now gets to take 2 five minute walks a day (under strict supervision) and gets cuddle time with Papa. I think that is the thing that makes her most happy!
And then there is the knuckle head brigade. Malik and Layla pretty much act like little furry hurricanes that barrel through the house at random intervals. They knock over furniture, steal potatoes and crackers, and generally drive me nuts, but I love them. Layla Squashin, as you can see below, is still a very real event in our house, and even Isis gets her turn at the Squashin (I think she likes it less than Layla does, lol).
I am delighted to find out that my Savannah Scams page on this site has really taken off. I have now gotten several emails from folks regarding it, and how it helped them avoid scams (or emailing me to see if I think something is a scam). I will be posting more updates there this week.
I hope everyone is having a good 2019 so far!
Well, despite some unwelcome issues with our geriatric feline friends, the holiday season was mostly peaceful.
Reeses had a few out-of-litterbox incidents, which I initially thought was progression of her kidney disease (she is stage 3 CKD), but it turns out it was a UTI. We got her treated and she is back to being her excellent self (and is still holding her own against the CKD).
Isis, as I mentioned last month, has been dropping weight, barfing more than usual and has been exploding in the litterbox multiple times a day. She was referred from our regular vet to a specialist (who fortunately was also Nimar's doc), and is now being treated for small-cell Lymphoma. She is on special food and some medications and in just three weeks has gained a half pound! I am so very happy about that. Also, no more barfing and all else is also now functioning normally. For a 16+ year old lady, this is really good news. Her appetite and energy are great and she can even jump on the bed again without using the cat stairs. I have to count all of this as a blessing.
On the Kitton Front, Siada went in this morning for surgery on her other knee. The first one has healed fantastically, but the left knee is now much worse than it was on initial diagnosis (it slips out regularly), so we are getting that taken care of now. Of course, that means I am a total stress case today, but she is a Champion, and should be fully recovered in time for camping season.
And what about the rest of the crew? Well, I can say that the Kittons had a great holiday playing with their new Ripple Rug that Santa brought them. This thing is probably the best $40 I ever spent on a cat toy. The three Savannah's love darting in and out of it, rolling in it, and beating each other up on it. I think Layla even declared it the BEST DAY EVER when they unwrapped it!
One of the funny things about forums online is that, over time, you really feel as though you get to know the other participants on those groups, or at least you get to know their pets. There are a number of Savannah cat groups the I regularly check and so many cats that I love seeing photos of or hearing of their antics. I laugh at the silliness and mourn the loss of those whom I have adored for years.
One of my favorites is Luna, the Savannah who survived FIP. For those who are fortunate to have not been touched by this disease and who might now know about it, Cornell University describes Feline Infectious Peritonitis as a condition caused by the feline coronavirus. A small percentage of cats with this virus will progress to FIP where the body's own white blood cells transmit the virus through out the system. This causes inflammation in the affected areas that is almost always fatal. It is a horrible illness which progresses very quickly. (Yeah, there is more too it than that, but you can read the full explanation in the Cornell link.)
Luna had the typical FIP swollen belly and was not feeling at all well, but she was actually very lucky. She was lucky to be diagnosed when she was, and even more lucky to be in the perfect position to begin a drug trial to see if they could halt this devastating disease. And best of all, the drug worked and Luna won the battle. She has been free of the disease for 19 months. This sweet Savannah is living the life she was meant to live, traveling and hiking and even now has a Savannah brother and sister!
If you want to read the full story of her miraculous recovery (I highly recommend it) as well as the team who got her there and the hope for the future in the battle against FIP I please check out the links below:
If you would like to assist the fight against FIP, you can donate directly to the research efforts at UC Davis. The funds will go towards research, treatment and prevention of this disease: https://give.ucdavis.edu/Donate/YourGift/V483516
Several people have asked me how Siada is doing, so I thought I would give the lengthy answer here.
She is doing well. The 2 week follow-up went great. We had some concerns about a small bump about a centimeter from the incision, and the surgeon said that it was tissue over one of the pins. He said she is exactly where she should be in her recovery process. She walks with a heavy limp, but is finally putting a little weight on that limb. It is pretty crazy, actually, how quick she can still scoot around the room.
So the good thing is that she is going very well, but the bad is that we still have 6 more weeks of crating. She is allowed out twice a day for 5-10 minutes to walk around but otherwise, it's in the crate. We are doing our best to make sure that she doesn't left out, bored, lonely or sad over this. We have the stroller I mentioned previously at our house and use it to take her from room to room with us in the evenings. This allows her to sit with us while we play computer games or when I do the dishes or other work. She seems to enjoy it. The stroller is perfectly serviceable for our needs, but Papa decided that it was not sturdy enough for outside walks and for use while camping, so he ordered a more heavy duty one to take camping.
I bought the travel kit on a total whim and am so very glad I did. The crate is essentially a pop-up tent. It weighs nothing and folds completely flat. It is not super sturdy, but has so far survived a couple of wrestling matches between Malik and Layla (both on, or in, it). All of the accessories were a bonus (it has a tarp lined litter pan, a mat that has a vinyl side and an absorbent side, a collapsible water dish, toys and a carrying bag for the accessories. This would also be fantastic for a long road trip with a cat.
And because the world needs more cat pics, here are two of Malik and Layla playing in the camper and one of Siada getting some quality time sitting on Papa (which I am sure is helping with her recovery). Also, please note that yesterday was the Reeses-aversary! On October 24, 2004, she was adopted from Rude Ranch at the local Pet Smart. Alas, she preferred to nap on her holiday so the image at the far left below was the best I could get of her scrumpy little self.
'Siada had her surgery without complications last week. It was terrible not having her home that night (but they needed to make sure things were going well before releasing her into our care). For the first couple days she was very groggy and quite drugged. She had a hard time moving around (would not put any weight on the corrected knee) so she had a few spills in her confinement area, but nothing serious. I gave her lots of attention, special stinky cat food to get her to eat more (was worried about dehydration until she got more mobile), and I crawled into her Kitton Prison with her and watched many episodes of the Walking Dead this weekend while keeping her company. She gets up a few times a night and fusses/stresses and I get up to make sure she didn't empty the litter box into her cage (because she did once) or to make sure she wasn't standing on her back legs trying to jailbreak.
One of the major issues we are having is that she keeps taking the dang cone off. Even the cute little lion cone is getting removed with regularity (sigh). It is supposed to be on for 2 weeks when she is unsupervised, but she has removed it a number of times. She hasn't damaged her sutures though, which is good. She is mostly just interested in grooming her princessy butt. I am trying to rig a pair of infant leggings into a one legged hosen type thing to see if she will wear that rather than the cone. Will be testing out that theory tonight.
One of the good things though is that I have to say that the purchase of the stroller was rather brilliant on our part. It enables us to take her anywhere in the house with us, which allows her to get more social time and to be less bored (bored Savannahs are destructive Savannahs, lol). She is already trying to jail break (and actually made it past me and out of confinement once, but I nabbed her quickly and recontained her royal rump). Of course, her Papa decided that her stroller, while perfectly serviceable in the house, is not sturdy enough for walks at campgrounds or around the Cabin), so he ordered one with more substantial tires and more heft to it. When it comes in I will do a full comparison of the two here.
The stroller is also allowing the other cats to remember that she is still here, and to reacquaint themselves with her smells. And it provided the sweetest moment last night when Layla finally got over her fear of the new apparatus and gave her "sister" kisses.
Tomorrow will mark the beginning of the second week of recovery. The whole span is 8 weeks, and it will be a very long (sleepless) 8 weeks in my world!
Siada does in fact need knee surgery, on both legs. The first will be next week. I am stressed out and worried about how sad she will be being confined for 8 weeks. Fortunately, her containment area will actually be larger than I expected (I was guessing it would be a small crate, but instead we can use the Kitton Prisons we already have, which are octagonal and 52X52 inches).
The surgery has a 90% success rate, and the surgeon told us that even for the other 10% that they still tend to be better off before, with less of the knee slipping out of place. Hopefully once this is all over we can have the Princess streaking around the house and ruling once again with her iron paw!
I do have to say that we should have given Nimar's vet (who works at the ER/Specialist center) a heads up that we were coming in. When she saw us in the lobby I could see for a moment that she was worried that we were there for an emergency (she knew we got two new Savannahs), but we quickly told her that Siada was in the back (she rushed back to meet her) and then showed her more pictures of Layla and also of Malik. She (and all of the techs that had to deal with Nimar) were happy to hear that Malik is MUCH easier to handle.
The last month is somewhat of a blur, as I was sick for three weeks and after that it was fast-paced prep time for the camping trip this past weekend (the kittons, btw, loved being in the camper again). And overshadowing everything else is the fact that tomorrow Siada goes in for her appointment to have her knees x-rayed. She has luxating patellas on both knees (with one worse than the other). This causes her knee to slip out of alignment at times. She can pop it back in, but over time this will cause serious arthritis and we need to prevent that as best we can. The condition is congenital, but not necessarily hereditary. It is not particularly common in cats, but when it does show up it is usually lanky, leggy breeds.
The x-rays themselves are neither here nor there, it is the surgery that is stressing me. Recover is 6 weeks, and she will be crated most of that time. I feel so horrible over the very idea of having to do that. She loves to run and climb and jump and play so very much. I know this is the "right thing" but that doesn't mean it feels like it.
It is that time. Yes, I am stressing it out already, even though I completely trust my vets and know that he will be 100% just fine. It doesn't stop me from worrying though.
Yeah, I am taking Malik in in the morning to have his little kitton nuggets removed. Poor boy has no clue what is coming his way.
As is the norm in our house, I have prepared a Bitty Kitton Bag for him to take to the vet to hold all of his essentials (toys, yummy food, and a letter to the vet). I did Siada and Layla's bags to match, but opted to go a bit different for his. I hope he likes it. :-)
Using Suitical shirts for Siada and Layla helped quell their running and jumping post-spay. I am not sure there is much of anything to keep this little guy from his usual rampage. I think that is really my worry. It is not so much about whether the vets will do things well, but how well I manage post-procedure recover. (Realistically, I should be a pro at dealing with cat issues after the Nimar Years, but it doesn't stop me from worrying over it.
Wish us luck tomorrow!
I have mentioned before that ten years with my beloved Nimar taught us a lot of things. That time also taught us what things we need to enforce from the start if we ever want to make them work long term. One of these things was nail trimming.
In a decade, I managed to trim exactly ONE nail on that cat. One solitary talon-of-doom. During his illness an entire team of vet techs could manage it, especially during that last year when he just quit caring, but prior to that, it really only happened when they had him sedated for something.
Understand that he was never bad about clawing on the furniture (though there is that one part of one wooden door frame that he took serious issue with and regularly mauled, but given that that it was just one spot, we choose our battles wisely and let him have it), but you could get accidentally nailed (see what I did there?) while playing, or if he ran over your face or something on one of his mad rampages. But yeah, one nail trimmed in that whole time.
We should have been prepared for that really, as the breeder was trying to trim them when we went to pick him up (after she spent five minutes running around the house trying to catch the little bugger), and even then she could not get them all because he was spitting mad and fighting her.
We decided this time would be different. I learned very quickly that Siada sleeps HARD in the car. After about five minutes of looking out the window, she curls up on my lap in the back seat (with papa driving) and I can trim all the reachable feet (sometimes one is under her and she wont let me have it, but it is still pretty effective and definitely better than my track record with Nimar). Layla tends to follow Siada's lead and so now often sleeps well in the car too, which means I can get some Layla feet then as well. This process happens almost every week as we travel back and forth to the Cabin.
This week I saw a chart about pet nails being passed around one of the Savannah forums. I cannot, sadly, trace it to the original source, but I found it on a number of sites online and have included it and one of the sources below.
How did I NOT know about this? How did I not know that the quick could recede, thereby allowing you to trim even shorter after a few days. This is game changing information!
So last night I got brave. I decided, while in the house, that I would test this out and try to trim the nails shorter (even though I just did them last Friday).
This is a real thing! I could trim them again, shorter. But even more important, I was able to just walk up to Siada as she was sleeping on the sofa and pet and kiss her and then pick up her dainty princess feet and trim all of the nails. She barely woke up.
And to make the miracle even more impactful, I was able to do the same with a sleeping Layla. They are so used to the process, and so over their fear, curiosity, or need to bite the clippers that it was not even the most mild of annoyances as they slumbered.
I guess we will see if we can continue our training (and good luck) with our new little F1 boy whom we will be picking up in just a few days!
Savannah Caretaker who is honored to do the job.