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.
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 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.
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!
We have managed to get him into his harness twice now. This brings me great joy. He is so curious that he never even notices it much and just goes about his normal, pouncing business. I wasn't entirely sure about how he would fare with the vet, it being a strange place and all, but he did as well as our fearless Siada did on her first trip. He wanted to explore everything, let the tech weight him, played with her, let the vet examine him (no temp was taken though, his majesty over-ruled that idea), and stole papers from the staff.
After the exam, we were in the lobby waiting to pay and people wanted to see him so we opened the crate and he strutted right out and let every one pet him. Each new person that came by would get his attention and he would walk over to greet them. Hopefully he continues to be as social as he gets older!
Let's try this again!
Work interfered heavily with my life in December in January, making little time for updating the crazy antics of my gals. Siada and Layla have bonded well, though Siada can be a total brat at times. Layla just acts like a puppydog and follows her (or any one else) from room to room to cause trouble.
And Layla is getting big. She will be 6 months old in two more days and just hit 7lbs (Siada is only 8lbs at nearly a year old). I think the most common phrase uttered in the house is "LaylaNO" or its companion exclamation "NOLAYLA". My BF was even yelling at her in his sleep last night! Siada gets into trouble, but is not as rambunctious as her marbled cohort. Siada is fearless, but also smart, which helps mitigate the level of drama coming from her. Layla is very haphazard (such as getting on top of the curtain rod and then wondering what to do once up there), but also an absolute lover. Her personality reminds me more of Nimar than anything else.
What is most amazing though, is that Isis, who is long known to bot be a fan of Savannahs, decided very quickly that Layla was just so cute that she would accept her. No hissing, no growling (which both Siada and Nimar got), but there is a great deal of curiosity and Layla sometimes trots after Isis the way she does the rest of us.
Reeses of course, has no interest in these other cats. This old gal was recently diagnosed with stage three kidney disease. We have switched her food, and are taking in for regular bloodwork and so far, she is holding her own. We will do our very best at loving her and giving her special time and treats as long as we can.
And Layla has already gotten her spay! As with Siada, we used the Suitical suit which helped so much with keeping her calm for at least a few days during recovery (it did not work as well to sedate her as it did, Siada, but it definitely was better than a cone and it gave us a few days ease with the whole procedure).
To read more about Siada in the Suitical, you can go here: https://themerryrosette.weebly.com/blog/recovery
Quite a few folks on my Savannah forums are using the suits now. I think most have had good success with them, but the one question that always comes up is size, and what size to purchase. When Siada went in for her spay, she was six months old, but very petite for a Savannah. She wore the XXXS (on the left below). I think this would fit most similarly aged kittens going in for a procedure. Had we waited another month, I might have had to extend the straps on the bottom to make it fit, because she was long and tall even though small.
Layla is a bigger kitten, we got her the XXS (on the right below) and while it was a little loose in the body, the length was good at the smaller setting. Even a larger Savannah kitten would probably be just fine with that size.
There are, of course, more updates. Lots of them, including one about BK#3, and that will be coming very soon!
My bitty kitton is recovering well from her spay... well, she will continue to recover well if she will just stop climbing on things for a bit!
The first day she did great. I think it was in part that she was hopped up on pain medication, and so was a bit sleepy, but she merely alternated between sleeping on my lap and on her kitten bed. She is incredibly easy to pill and to give oral syringe meds too, unlike her predecessor. She is also very adorable in her little suitical recovery suit!
We bought this item from Amazon, but you can also get it at popular pet shopping sites like Chewey. Siada does NOT do well with a Collar of Shame (even a soft one), but wears her harness well so we opted to try this. So far, it is great. She did get the snaps undone yesterday, but I refastened them and so far it is fine. I plan to take it off of her tonight, but it definitely kept her from worrying at the incision, even if it makes her walk like John Wayne.
Day 3 Post-Op did not go as smoothly as the previous ones. She is now wanting to run, climb and play. I am hoping I can keep her somewhat calm for a few more days at least, but she is being exceptionally feisty.
After the years of Nimar's health issues, I am understandably nervous about Siada's spay this week. To alleviate that tension, I decided to keep busy by making her a little tote that will contain her suitical recovery suit, her cone of shame and food when she goes to the vet tomorrow.
It really is so adorable that I cannot stand it.
And here, of course, are obligatory cute kitton pics (she did not want me to finish my dinner last night)!
Savannah Caretaker who is honored to do the job.