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17 February 2008 @ 05:14 pm
The obligatory cat post  
My poor old cat found us several years ago soon after we had moved into this house. She was a keen investigator, and would come and supervise while I worked on the garden, occasionally digging up plants she thought were less than perfect and squashing others she considered good bedding material. After asking around, we found that she belonged to two lovely people in the back street and had been rescued by them some years previously, to join their brood of three ancient cats.

While it took her time to let us touch her or to come inside the house, she slowly moved from being amusing visitor to being regular guest. She'd trot in with us when we came home from work and then trot out for dinner around nine, returning for a sleepover around 10. Original owners thought this was a good system because she stopped picking fights with their ancient cats before dinner.

After a year of this, she suddenly became sleeker. We thought this was just because the evil cow next door who used to feed her but lied about it had moved out (NB, her original owners knew she was hanging out with us but we didn't feed her because she wasn't 'ours', they laughed with us about her teenaged couch surfing.) We ran into the owners on the street and they expressed dismay; they had a new cat who beat the crap out of Min, she had stopped coming home at all. They thought she must be starving and feral.

"Actually," we said, "She's in fantastic nick, all glossy and sleek. She must be living on rats and mice." And so she was. We watched that night and she trotted down to the railway outside our house, then returned with a rat half the size of her own body which she proceeded to munch happily on. They asked that we take over her primary care and continue to visit her daily out he front of our place.

Since Min became 'our' cat (she still acts as though she is a time share), she's had a few exciting medical moments including the $1200+ abscess last year, but has mostly been fit and healthy if a bit battered from her habit of scrapping with all and sundry including giant railway rats. Then at Christmas she caught a cold.

And she is still wheezing.

She's had steroid shots, antibiotics, herbal gunk and what have you. Hot vet from the local surgery now says he thinks it is feline asthma and has her scheduled for X-rays and a possible bronchial lavage tomorrow morning. He sent me home to read up on feline asthma and its treatments. There's a great site on asthmatic cats here, including photos of them using an inhaler here. I have broken out my pruning gauntlets in case we need to teach her to use the inhaler and hired my hot young friend to come around tomorrow while Min is at the vets and remove all the allergy-inducing weeds from the garden.

Meanwhile we are hoovering the entire house and have sprayed the futon where she likes to sleep in case of dust mites.

I can't help thinking that if we'd just had a child when we decided to adopt this cat, the offspring would be up to doing the dishes and bringing us breakfast in bed by now. Though I suppose we'd not be able to leave a Brammers Jnr in the laundry with food on the front verandah when we go on hols ...
Jaeenchanted_jae on February 17th, 2008 07:48 am (UTC)
Are you familiar with the cat comms on LJ? Other owners are a wealth of information. I can guarantee that whatever odd thing your cat does or has, someone else has experienced it.

I'm on note_to_cat, although I confess I don't post there often. Let me know if you want my username there.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on February 17th, 2008 07:56 am (UTC)
If it turns out she is asthmatic, I will be turning into the mad cat lady of lj as I attempt to find tips for dosing her with her puffer while retaining some of the skin on my hands.

She's only just forgotten last year's surgical bucket incident.
down the hills and round the bendsnorton_gale on February 17th, 2008 08:46 am (UTC)
My Maine Coon was diagnosed with asthma about 15 years ago (he's entering his 17th year). He had all sorts of tests, including a ridiculously expensive electrocardiogram to figure this out. At first they thought he had a heart complaint. The vet told me he had a valentine-shaped heart and wouldn't live much longer! It took a specialist and far too much $ to set us straight about the asthma. And he hasn't had another attack since!

I hope Min gets diagnosed and feels lots better soon. ♥

Though I suppose we'd not be able to leave a Brammers Jnr in the laundry with food on the front verandah when we go on hols ...

My landlady actually used to leave her 3 year old son on the porch with my cat! I think she thought the cat would watch him and keep him from running into the street. Although remarkably patient with children, my cat was never known for dramatic rescues.

Oh, by the way, I got your gorgeous peacock card from New Zealand yesterday. It was so festive in its gold envelope. Thank you for adding to my birthday cheer. Maybe I will make it a month-long celebration. :)
blamebramptonblamebrampton on February 21st, 2008 03:16 pm (UTC)
YAY! Glad the card made it there safely. I do think it's fair to take February for yourself. It's a short month, you're not being ostentatious.

I can see why you might leave a toddler with a dog, but a cat? Maybe he has mind control powers for the under-fives?

Min's cell cultures may come back tomorrow, to celebrate she has been dramatically better tonight. Typical.
down the hills and round the bendsnorton_gale on February 21st, 2008 03:20 pm (UTC)
Tsk, cats. Maybe it was just pneumonia and not a chronic condition? Let's hope.

I'm not sure what powers my cat had, because the child's aunt was horrified enough to come running out when she saw her nephew by himself on the porch. Yes, the cat was about half his size, but that doesn't make him a lifeguard.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on February 23rd, 2008 09:26 am (UTC)
Well, she's stopped deteriorating at least. Not getting much better, so I have my fingers crossed we'll hear back about the cell culture on Monday.

I slept all day today ... worn out by the cat!

Good to hear that child had some sensible relatives. But I'm sure the moggy would have been of some use!
george pushdragonpushdragon on February 17th, 2008 09:24 am (UTC)
I suppose we'd not be able to leave a Brammers Jnr in the laundry with food on the front verandah when we go on hols ...

I believe that any viable child should be a strong mouser by the age of, say, three.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on February 21st, 2008 03:17 pm (UTC)
I agree wholeheartedly. Alas, social workers do not.
snottygrrl on February 17th, 2008 09:51 am (UTC)
[*pets kitty*]

i hope she feels better soon. i don't envy you the idea of a cat and an inhaler. eeeep.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on February 21st, 2008 03:18 pm (UTC)
Cheers, dears! On the good side the big test shows it's not asthma, on the bad side, she may end up with an inhaler anyway depending on what the remaining tests show.
cloviss on February 17th, 2008 01:44 pm (UTC)
It sounds like Min is a very sensible and discerning cat in her choice of people. You are very lucky to have the pleasure of her company.

My elderly, exraordinarily handsome, and occasionally cranky cat is currently asleep on my pillow after having eaten half a sausage. Luckily I am not asthmatic.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on February 21st, 2008 03:56 pm (UTC)
I have a terrible feeling she screened us before moving in.

Your cat sounds magnificent. Min still has her customary spot at the end of the bed, alas the not-asthma = very loud wheezing and snoring all night. We are less than our best here this week!
Lisbet Karlsdottirlisbet on February 17th, 2008 03:31 pm (UTC)
Though I suppose we'd not be able to leave a Brammers Jnr in the laundry with food on the front verandah when we go on hols

LOL, exactly! Same here, with our kitties:)

Good luck with everything -- I'll keep you and your lovely Min in my thoughts and prayers.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on February 21st, 2008 03:58 pm (UTC)
Thank you! They seem to be helping, she's stopped getting worse and seems quite good tonight.
tnumfivetnumfive on February 18th, 2008 11:35 pm (UTC)
:( I hate when kitties get ill.

My cat's developed these strange lumps on her back. I'm trying to find time to take her to the vet but when you're the only one who works in your office, it gets hard to find the time. I think I'll come in a few minutes late tomorrow and drop her off on my way in.

Lumps must be some sort of infection, I think. They just appeared out of nowhere. She acts like they're tender too. Won't let me get close enough to take a look.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on February 21st, 2008 04:03 pm (UTC)
Oh poor kitty! How is she? I hope that it turns out to be something relatively innocuous! Min is doing well tonight, tests due tomorrow or Monday. Fingers crossed for both of our cats!
spark_of_chaosspark_of_chaos on February 23rd, 2008 04:56 pm (UTC)
Let me repeat cat asthma to myself and go o.O for ten seconds first.

My own went a bit shaky around Christmas too (ovarial hardships) and is suspectedly not fully healthy yet, so I can commiserate. I think I wouldn't have been as shaken by the pitiful wailing even if it was my own kid's. Just... cute fluffy furballs have ways of growing on you, don't they? :g: I hope your Min gets as good as she reasonably can. (and it's never too late to work towards breakfast in bed in ten years' time...)
nahimanaemerald_dragon8 on February 29th, 2008 05:09 am (UTC)
Oh, I am sorry to hear about this. Hopefully she will be okay. Animals have amazing resilience. My dog had pancreatitis about six years ago, had thousands of dollars worth of tests and treatment (she was so sick that the vet thought his machine was broken, despite the fact that she actually wasn't very fat) and she's still alive and kicking today, at the age of almost-15.