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!
And this is take two for this post because I just lost every bit of the lengthy piece I already typed up. Needless to say, this will now be much shorter and far less eloquent.
Siada blew her knee out (the one that had surgery) Sunday night. Not even sure how she did it. She was in her stroller, jumped about something and then was all wonked out after that. We gave her time to sort it out (prior to surgery she could stretch her leg and reseat it), but come Monday it was no better so off to the ER we went.
There was a steady stream of critical cases right after us that had priority (which is fine as I know Nimar was that critical case more than once and others got bumped down the list in his favor). After several hours of waiting, Siada was sitting on her Papa and leapt off. She landed wrong, which ended up "fixing" her knee. She proudly paraded (with a slight limp) around the facility after that. I guess not many people are used to seeing a princess kitton on a leash, based on the stares she got. We opted to return home rather that continue to wait at that point.
The next morning Papa called the surgeon and they said that if she was walking and the kneecap was in its proper spot that we could just wait till our appointment Friday to take her in. Yes, the girl made it almost the whole 8 weeks with zero issues and had to blow it at the very last moment!
As it was, Friday was a very exciting day for all of the kittons as they got to go visit the dentist. Not their dentist, but ours. We have seen the same dentist since before Nimar, and he knew someone at one time who had a pet serval so was always asking about Nimar and then his successors. He wanted to meet them and even blocked off time on the schedule for the kittons to visit him and staff (and his wife who came over as well to meet them). They had a wonderful time climbing all over the waiting room, eating the Christmas decor and making new friends. It was a bit of a shock though, I think, to the elderly client who arrived just as we were about to leave. I don't think he was expecting to see a giant Malik sitting there!
After that we went to the appointment with Siada's surgeon. Her x-rays were great and her luxation is reduced from a Grade 4 to Grade 1 and that might further improve once she uses the leg more and regains strength.
She gets lots of free time now, but is still heavily watched and is not allowed to do anything drastic for the next month. I don't think she was listening to any of that part because she tried to lead the Savannah 500 Friday night at the cabin. I wanted to get really cute photos of them all playing together this weekend, but, alas, they were all too excited to sit still for it and all I got was the blurry one I used with this post.
Now for the less pleasant news. The old gals, Isis and Reeses, had their senior appointment this past Wednesday. For having Stage 3 kidney failure, Reeses is still doing pretty good. Her numbers are up a little and she had a UTI (which has since been treated) but for a 16 year old lady, she is doing alright. She still has a great appetite and can still jump on the counters with no issues.
Isis, on the other hand, has been losing weight. She also still eats really well, and is happy to see us come home from work, and joins the Savannah parade that follows me from room to room, but her white cell count is up and she clearly has digestive issues. We have some special food for her and now have an appointment with Nimar's specialist. I have been worried about this girl a lot, lately, and am reminded that old cats will break your heart at some point. I am hoping that this appointment will give us some good forward direction for her continued care. Please keep the beautiful lady in your thoughts.
Cats have such diverse personalities that I am always amused that they seem to have a solid reputation as being aloof, or only wanting to be around people when they need fed. Every cat in my life has been different. They are different in their needs for interaction with both the people and with each other.
Isis and Reeses are well bonded to each other. I actually worry about the day we lose one of them, because I think the other will be quite forlorn (they had no interest in Nimar or the new Savannah clowder). They come to you on occasion for petting and purring, but are not as needful of people time as any of the Savannahs.
Siada is interesting. She loves having Layla as a playmate, but is possibly the most solidly "people oriented" cat I have ever met. She wants her people time, all the time. She likes to play chase with me as much as she does the other cats (maybe even more) and she plays very rough so they can try to avoid her when she gets amped up. Her quarantine for recovery from surgery has been very hard on her in this respect, but now that the incision is healed, we are giving her lots of lap time.
Malik and Layla on the other hand, HAVE to have companionship. It really doesn't matter who it is with, but neither of them like to be alone. For example, I was deveining shrimp last night and had to lock Malik in the back of the house because I would be fighting him off and likely losing half the shrimp. The old gals were in a room alone so they could eat their dinner in piece and Siada was still in quarantine till after we ate dinner. This meant Layla was running around the house with no cats, and Malik was in the back with no cats. It sounded for all the world like Malik was trying to rip the toilet off the wall while he wailed, whined and howled to get out.
Layla, on the other hand was running around as if possessed and slamming into the three doors where they other cats were (even the old cats, who she really has little interaction with). I eventually managed to catch her and toss her into confinement with Malik and I cooked (and we ate) in peace.
When we were first looking at getting Malik I had even said that we should get our boy sooner, rather than later, because Siada having surgery (which we knew was coming) would be hard on Layla. I had no idea at the time how correct that statement was.
Often people will talk about a feline singing the song of her people in the wee hours of the night. I believe that only cat owners can really understand what this is, and from personal experience, I can say that Isis might be the champion Singer of them all. MAWOW-WOOOOOW! Late at night, from a floor away, you can here the song swelling, rising, the volume, the crescendo!
What I have only learned just recently thought (despite more than a decade of Isis serenades) is that she is often bellowing her tale WITH A TOY IN HER MOUTH! Yes, she roams the darkened halls, moving toys from one spot to the next, all the while chanting the ancient refrain of her people. (For nearly a decade we were blaming the continued migration of toys from one floor to the next on Nimar, but his passing has revealed that he actually had a partner in this serious feline matter.)
Isis is a beauty, who, unfortunately, is a black hole when it comes to photography, so you really must witness her glory in person to appreciate her. She came from Rude Ranch Animal Rescue in 2003. I attended a cat show with the BigMan and the last thing he said was "I am not getting another cat, I am just here to look at the fancy cats". (BTW, "I am not getting another cat" seems to be code for "GETTING A CAT!" because every time he says that, he ends up with another furry companion in short order.) Well, we looked at fancy cats, and then, as we toured the rescue groups around the perimeter of the room, a black furry paw full of razor blades reached through the cage and nabbed the edge of my coat.
That of course meant we had to cuddle her, or, well, try to, as she was struggling to climb my head to reach the birds that were six stories up in the ceiling of the armory that was housing the show. This 6 month old black kitton was a total hellion, and they warned that she was a shredder. But we were going to move on and go look at cat trees when a family of small children stopped to look at her. You could tell this family was not ready for a scratchy, shredding, hellfire kitton like Isis, and so the BigMan turned back and declared he was going to take her.
But I digress. Isis is our bard, but she is also our nursemaid. Whenever anyone is sick, she is the one there providing support and comfort. She is the one that will sit with you as you hang over the toilet all night, or if you are soaked with fever on the sofa.
If I had to be honest, I would also say that for many years she also hated spotty cats. She was never impressed with Nimar (she was about 4 when we got him). She would hiss and pop when he came near, and growl if he got too close. (Ironically, this is how the previous cats had treated her, lol.) I really cant blame her though, as he ran her ragged the first few years. She dropped from a very fluffy 20lbs to a healthy 16 (she is a very big cat) on the Savannah Diet (i.e. being chased by a bat-crap crazy Nimar Kitton). When he got sick, she would finally start sleeping with him, cleaning his ears and letting him cuddle her. In his last few days, she was his constant companion. I think that had to mean something to him.
And then we go Siada and Isis was reminded that she hates spotty cats. Hissing, spitting and popping started all over again. Until Layla came along. Like every other living being, Isis seemed captivated by those big innocent eyes and she not only accepted Layla, but suddently Siada was ok as well (the jury is still out on Malik, lol).
Yesterday was the princess's first birthday! She was delighted to see the snow coming down from the new cat tree stationed by the back door, and perhaps even more delighted that mom and dad both where working from home due to the excess of the icy mess.
Of course we celebrated the momentous occasion. We had party hats (and now all the cats hate me), special treats at meal time (they forgave me), and a present!
The hats were adorable. I found them online that could be printed out. I scaled them down by about half and they were perfect. You can find them here: https://hubpages.com/holidays/birthday-party-hats
Unfortunately (even adding a tiara to Siada's princess hat) was something of a waste given that they all tried to eat the hats, rather than wear them. I could not even get a photo of Reeses in her lovely lady bug hat before she tried to murder me.
And for the gift? We opted for something the whole house can enjoy. A tri-tunnel! The kittons especially adore cat tubes and cubes, so this was guaranteed to be an instant hit. No sooner was it on the ground than Siada was inside it waiting for prey (Layla and Isis) to parade by.
Happy Birthday, beloved Siada. I hope that I get to torment you with birthday hats for the next couple of decades at least.
Savannah Caretaker who is honored to do the job.