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Little man update

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Back again!

Anyone get the new Tripawds calendar and see Alfredo on December 2016?  So handsome!

Anyway, I last wrote about my concerns with Fredo, particularly his weight loss and small appetite and general uneasiness in the house with an excessively barking dog… I made a few changes to hopefully see what we could do for him.  I think ideally, getting out of the house with a dog (this is a temporary situation) would be best for him, BUT until then, I am making sure to have good separation.  The dog tends to sit at closed doors and bark at nothing if she thinks the cats are on the other side.  So, we’re keeping her away from the doors as much as possible.

Secondly!  I gave him some different treats we’d received as a sample, and he ate them like CRAZY.  He’s always been picky with everything, food or treats.  So I was glad to see him eat these.  I thought, maybe he just hates his food.  LOL.  Because of course he’d hate the higher quality so-called “healthy” food.  I went to the pet store and got some chicken and rice flavored kitten food, hoping that it would have more fat and calorie content.

The other day he actually threw up something instead of just dry heaving.. win!

I weighed him yesterday.. 9 pounds!  Win!  He was under 8 pounds last time I checked (and subsequently freaked out).  He’s eating much more consistently and even seems excited when I put the food down.  Trying to keep the little cat (Daphne–who is now the big cat, honestly.. SO FAT) away from the kitten food.

There’s a good question.. how do you figure it out when you have one cat who needs to slim down and one cat who needs to bulk up?  Agh.

Okay bye!  Hopefully Fredo is out of the woods.. as much as a cancer-surviving tripawd can be. 🙂


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Life goes on

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Hey Tripawds,

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays!  Our buddy is one year, eight months and 19 days post-amputation.  I know some people are thrilled for even a year of extra time.  I, of course, want 10 more years.  A struggle of tripawd kiddos is that the time is NOT guaranteed.  Our little maniac girl cat Daphne has a significantly less lovable personality (though I still adore her, but I might be the only one) and I’m sure she’ll live 20 years with no health issues.  Fredo, on the other hand, is our catdog who waits at the door for us to get home, always cuddles, and loves his humans… and seems to continuously struggle in one way or another.

First the toe amputation, then the leg bump removal which led to the CT scan and leg amputation, and the subsequent chemotherapy.. then I switched food, then moved them out of state to live with a DOG… now he’s lost significant weight, and this concerns me.

The problem with him is that I don’t know anymore if I’m overly paranoid or if there’s some justification to it.  He’s been hacking up invisible furballs which scares me (meaning blockage, possibly), he doesn’t eat as much as he did, and he’s down to about 8.5lbs (from about 10 post-amputation).

As I mentioned, there is a dog in the house.  Not the kind of dog that eventually chills around cats after a few months, but the kind of dog that aggressively barks when she even thinks to remember that there are cats in the house now (after 7 months!).  Fredo still likes to wander to be around his humans, but he doesn’t have free reign like he did at our old home.  So this makes me wonder….. how much of Fredo’s diet/weight change can be attributed to an increased level of stress/anxiety?  His mood/playfulness around us is generally the same.

Also.  He was always a Purina “chicken and rice” kind of guy.. I switched them to Blue Wilderness Basics.  I wish I knew if he just preferred the taste of the old stuff.. but I don’t know.  I feel that would have enough calorie/fat content to keep his weight consistent.  And it’s supposed to be easier on digestion which to me means that he shouldn’t be having issues with blockage or furballs.  SO.  What to do!!!  He does not like wet food, cat milk formulas, or gravy-type stuff of any kind.  I have managed to get him to eat a LITTLE bit of malt-flavored hairball gel.

The simple answer might be that he’s fine, and I need to calm down.  But I am going to keep an eye on his weight and PROBABLY take him to the vet if it continues to go down.  Poor buddy!

Happy Caturday! + I need help

National Cat Day, I hear…

It has been MONTHS!  Since I last updated, we’ve all moved to California.  Our cats LOVED the 6-hour road trip from Phoenix.  False.  They hated it.  I took our little girl and she meowed for the first three hours (and then of course, when she got quiet and fell asleep I assumed something was wrong with her), and my husband took Fredo and had an equally fun time.

So, a few pictures and then my latest struggle.

img_4215 img_4179

HIS cat house.. does not like to share.  Clearly.  Also no, neither of them goes inside.. not my greatest purchase.

HIS cat house.. does not like to share. Clearly. Also no, neither of them goes inside.. not my greatest purchase, but he likes to sleep on the top.

OKAY, now… 

Fredo has always been a puker.  He gets a nervous stomach from just about everything; I know I’ve talked about this before.  If his dish gets too empty (never actually empty, mind you) he will wake the house in the middle of the night by sitting in the hallway meowing.  So, we feed him, and then he eats at hyper-speed and throws up.  Just an example.  Sometimes, it’s a hairball.  So LATELY he’s been doing the whole heaving thing and very little comes up, so of course I have gone to Google, and I’m told this can be a sign of blockage somewhere in the digestive tract.  Occasionally there is semi-digested food.  Then my husband made some joke about Daphne (other cat) gaining weight while Fredo seems to be getting smaller.  One thing that is true of tripawd kitties is that they sometimes tend to put on some weight due to decreased activity.  This has certainly been true for Fredo, but I wouldn’t say he’s ever verged on unhealthy.  So, anyway, he hasn’t been officially weighed since his last chemo appointment last August or September, and he was around 10 pounds consistently.  I weighed him today and he is 8.8!!!  Over 10% lost!  So, I’m freaking out.  He hasn’t been eating much, and when he does, he eventually throws up some of it.

What to doooooo.  Help me, Tripawd peeps.  We’re new to the area and haven’t established him with a new vet, and we JUST paid off his surgery and chemo in July.  I’m understandably hesitant about putting him through more vet visits and incurring more expenses.  I don’t even know how they treat a blockage, if that’s what it is.  Any holistic solutions out there?   I hate to think we put him through all of this just to get an extra year and a half out of him.  🙁 Of course my mind goes to the absolute worst.  I can’t wrap my head around losing him now.  So, all comments and suggestions welcome.

As a side note, I verged into cat lady territory and watched The Truth About Cats, which dug into the science behind the evolution of kitties.  So remarkable.  Cat lady for life.  <3 Go hug your kitties and wish them a Happy Cat Day!!

 

Almost a year (+video!)

Hey there,

So, March 30th was Fredo’s amputation day last year.  I was just going back and reading some of those entries, from diagnosis to decision to surgery to recovery.  Yuck!  I don’t want to go through that again.  I certainly feel for those who are going through it now.  It gets better!  

Some days I still have a lot of sadness for him, so I try to remember that he’s fine.  I’m pretty sure he’s not wallowing in his depression over the sadness of his missing leg.  In fact, he phantom-scratches almost EVERY day so I’m not even sure he realizes yet.  A year later, ha!  Goofy cat.

He is not a fan.

He is not a fan.

So, I got this scratchy thing to try to help him out with the scratching.  My husband puts me pretty squarely into cat lady territory for this purchase.  BUT SERIOUSLY.. it seems like a no-brainer.  Go scratch the parts you can’t scratch, right?  But Alfredo is not a fan.  He couldn’t even be lured with catnip, his favorite thing in the world.  We set it up at the patio door so that he’d be forced to go through in order to get outside, and he just darted through as quickly as possible, so that wasn’t really effective either.  Cats, man.  They really don’t care about anything they don’t want to care about, haha.

Girly man + sister

Girly man + sister

Little cat’s legs are getting better, I think.  You can still see some fur loss here.  We are in the process of transitioning over to Blue Wilderness Basics.  Apparently the formula I chose before this is very high protein, which I knew, but that can cause an adverse reaction in terms of allergies and whatnot.  SO, we’re trying this.  The cats are super duper resistant to it though.  They eat, but not enough yet.  And I’m transitioning really slowly too.  Again, they do what they want.  If this doesn’t go well though I might have to forego the whole healthy-eating thing and give them the Purina back.

Just a real cute pic.

Just a real cute pic.

Whiskers!

And last, check this out.  I haven’t gotten bed stairs yet for the little dude.. I ordered some and then they were back-ordered and blah blah.  It’s on my list!  But check out his skills.. he loves the back of the couch so it’s nice that he’s able to pretty effectively move himself around.

So, all is well in our tripawd world!  Forever grateful for this community for helping to maintain my sanity.  🙂  Happy Tuesday!

Checking in! 8 months post amputation

Hello Tripawds & Tripawd owners!

I have nothing terribly significant to report; it has just been a couple of months so I figured it was worth a check-in.

The change to Blue Wilderness food has been amazing but uneventful, aside from a decrease in vomit and hairballs and an increase in shiny, soft kitty fur!!!  Plus, I enjoy the peace of mind that they’re eating well.  Even if the cost is a big ridiculous, but I deal.

Some pictures..

Super duper handsome

Super duper handsome

Amateur selfie-taker

Amateur selfie-taker

Will not pose.

Whiskers for days!

Distinguished and broody

Distinguished and broody

Can we talk about how Fredo’s favorite place to chill is on an extended recliner?  With or without a person, it doesn’t matter.

WHISKER UPDATE!  Omg.  I remember when our oncology vet said that they could grow back backwards or curly or weird.  NOOOPE!  Fredo’s whiskers are back full-force (even more so than the above pictures), and they look great!!

We were not financially able to keep our November appointment.  I guess I’m choosing to have faith in the treatment he received.  In truth, logically I’m not sure what we could treat at a 3-month check up that we couldn’t check at 6 months.  If this makes me a terrible person/pet owner, then that’s how it is I guess.  I’m sure that many tripawd owners have this internal struggle.  Like how much of our resources can we really pour into our animals?  We did what we could to give him the best shot, but that will probably be as far as we can manage, as we are not wealthy people haha.

With that said, he is hopefully going to be able to make it to his appointment in March.  Of course I am probably too psychotic about checking his legs and chest and little body for anything that seems out of place.  I am lucky he has a calm disposition (or friendly is a better word, maybe) and doesn’t mind if I grab his feet and whatnot.  What a guy.  🙂

Wishing happy thoughts to this community!

Whiskers no more

Hey all,

DID YOU KNOW… that whiskers can continue to fall out for several weeks post-chemo?  Haha.. this is my most recent lesson.  My kiddo had his last chemo session on August 19, and for a while he was sporting three whiskers, one on the right, two on the left.  The right whisker has bit the dust though, so he’s just walking around with two whiskers now and a bunch of little tiny ones.

That faaace!

That faaace!

He’s been missing the bed when he tries to jump lately, so I think he’s getting a little gun shy, but I would still say he makes it 80% of the time.  Someone said I should get him some stairs, but I don’t really want to enable him to quit trying.  His back leg must be getting pretty buff.  🙂

This is random, and not at all scientifically-based, but I switched both cats to Blue Buffalo with the thought that maybe better quality food would make for healthier cats.  I don’t think Blue Buffalo prevents cancer or anything, but anything I can do to give them a better life, I will try.  With that said, I did the whole slow transition thing to the new food, but they took to it SO QUICKLY.  Within a week I was able to give them 100% Blue Buffalo, and their appetites are normal.  I was noticing that Fredo wasn’t throwing up as much, but then yesterday morning he tossed his breakfast.. but it is still less frequent.  Pretty happy about that!

Overall, life is a little bit easier now that we’re not traveling to chemo every three weeks.  That November appointment is coming up quick though.. that should be just swell.

Anyway, Happy Friday to you all!

Fredo’s chemo graduation!

Hey all,

So when I thought of chemo graduation, I was like, maybe I can get a tiny graduation hat, or a party hat… or something.. would you believe those aren’t marketed more?  Anyway, I nixed the idea because it truly screams “cat lady.”  Just kidding, it’s because I couldn’t find a tiny graduation hat on Amazon without having to buy seven others.

Let me back up.  I begrudgingly brought the kiddo to his “last” appointment.  I use quotes because it’s obviously not his last appointment, but whatever.  I just feel so BAD.  Is this prepping me for parenthood?  Because ugh.  I know cats are resilient, but still.  He’s gotta be SO OVER this.

They did the last doxorubicin infusion and also scanned his lungs, did x-rays, ultrasound, etc etc.  I don’t really know; I just went with the flow and paid the very expensive bill at the end.  Our Care Credit is officially maxed (despite making continuous payments).  Ah, life.  But I digress.

He peed on his towel.  I don’t really know what life is like during these appointments, since I dropped him off and came back when they called.   So I really don’t know if he was nervous or upset or didn’t have an access to a litter box?  Who knows.  But it’s over!

Oh, most importantly: all of the tests came back clear and the vet is comfortable saying that he is completely healthy at this point.  HOWEVER, we will return in three months for another terribly expensive appointment.  LOL.  Can you tell I’m a little overwhelmed by the cost of this?  At least it’s becoming less frequent.  He’ll have appointments every three months for the first year, then we’ll scale back.  So for now, a little peace in Fredo’s world.

20150819_162118

 

So, back to that hat thing.  It’s good I didn’t get it because he wouldn’t even get near this bandana.  What a party pooper!!

Then I thought I’d do like the cute things where people make signs and up them next to their pets and everyone is all cooperative..

20150819_163307 20150819_163209

NOT MY CAT.  He finally let me get this close to him, I had to prop up the little signs a few feet away and he occasionally offered a glance in my basic direction but basically just ignored me while I was laying on the floor.  Whatever, man.  (Side note: look how great his terrible amputation haircut has grown back in!)

So yeah he wasn’t super fond of me yesterday, as usual.  And the office shaved his belly.  We’re all pretty excited that he has no new funky haircuts coming his way.

LAST PICTURE.  I did a whisker-loss comparison for good time’s sake, and also because I was very curious how this side effect would be for him.  The doc said initially they might fall out, they might not, they could grow back normally, they could grow back weird… etc.  The regrowth remains to be seen, but here’s after 5 chemo sessions compared to before his first session:

IMG_20150803_220012

Look at that face!  <3  So the whiskers are pretty sparse, but it could be worse of course.

Until next time.. thanks for reading this crazily disorganized chemo update.

Hello (or go away) from Fredo!

Hi Tripawds world…

Life in Fredo’s three-legged world is pretty mellow these days; we’ve definitely adjusted to his new little existence, and it’s really not all that different from before.  People told me that when I first found out he’d need the surgery, but you know how we all tend to believe it once we see it for ourselves.  🙂   He gets up the stairs just as fast, is able to jump on the bed, still prefers to sleep on the back of the couch.. etc.  Our guest bed is a bit higher, so he can’t get up there (where his sister spends most of her time), but that’s the only hindrance I can think of, and he never really went on that bed anyway.  It is fairly amusing to watch him jump on our bed.. he jumps and then swings his little behind over to the left (turning his body parallel to the edge of the bed).  Although when he’s really excited, he’ll sprint into the bedroom and jump on the bed without really any thought, and there is no behind-swinging.  Pretty cute.

One small inconvenience of course is the ongoing chemotherapy for the little guy.  It is increasingly terrible, mostly because of my guilt.  They said last week that he got a little upset with them, and I believe it because he sounded more angry than usual.  Once we brought him home, he avoided me like the plague (the picture below of him eating felt like daggers should be coming from his eyes–go away lady, let me eat in peace).  But now we’re friends again, until the next (AND FINAL!) visit.

So, yes, Fredo completes chemo on August 19th, and I am pretty thrilled.  They said they’ll do a chest x-ray and ultrasound along with his infusion, which will hopefully show a completely clear little cat, and then we can get on a six-month plan instead of the three-week plan.  Those three weeks go fast!!

Chemo in general has been okay, aside from the physical act of bringing him there.  He does have nausea for a week or so after.  The other day he ate only treats, threw them up once, kept them down later… On days like that, I’m just happy to get something in his stomach.  I would say he’s eating normally about 75% of the time.  His appetite hasn’t really suffered.

Ah, another thing I wondered about was weight gain or loss during this time.  A weight gain could result from a lack of activity since he does have less mobility, technically.. or, not technically, because he really does do most of the same things, and I don’t think he’s any more lazy than the average cat.  A weight loss could result from the resulting nausea.. BUT.. none of these have really occurred.  The only obvious change in his weight came from the loss of his leg, bringing him from just under 11 pounds to just under 10, where he has stayed steady throughout all of his chemo.  Yeah buddy!

And one other side effect that was mentioned–whisker loss.  He has lost whiskers (in fact, after I post this I think I’m going to go back and compare some of his earlier pictures), but not all of them, and I’m hopeful they all come back in normally.  Fingers crossed!

I’ve said this probably 100 times, but life does not really change after a life-saving amputation.  If you have the means, you get that surgery for your kiddo.  Care Credit made it possible for us, and we’re paying off this endeavor with no interest.  Now, if Fredo became sick again, I truly don’t know what we would do.  Financially, this will be a challenge, but worth it.  But could we do it twice?  Not sure.  So with that in mind… HAPPY THOUGHTS for the kiddo.  Let’s hope the chemo wiped out any residual tiny cancer left in his body and that his scans come up clean for many years to come.  🙂

The second pic is where his incision site is, by the way.  Where the dark hair meets the light belly hair, there’s an incision under the fur which has almost entirely grown back.. woohoo!

Happy Monday all!

Shoo, woman.

Shoo, woman.

Post-chemo crash

Post-chemo crash

 

Two cats, chemo, and the phantom limb

Hiiii all,

I was remembering how I used to post several times a day in my distress because this tripawd situation was so new and weird and horrible for me.  I credit this blog and community with helping me stay sane through all of this.  I can only hope that eventually someone finds some level of comfort from my experiences.

Kiddo goes back tomorrow for round three.. already almost halfway!  This has gone pretty quick.  I just hope that once the six rounds are completed, we’re done and the cancer will be a thing of the past!

I saw a post on the Tripawds Facebook page inquiring about how cats recover from surgery when there are other cats in the house.  As I’ve shown, we have two kiddos, and they have always had a physical play relationship.  Additionally, we have stairs.  My second question to the vet was, “how do they do with stairs?”  and he said, “just fine!”  Seriously all the optimism in the early stages of this process was enough to make me skeptical.  Go figure.  But, they were all correct.

My advice for IMMEDIATELY after surgery: stick your kiddo in a large crate with all necessary amenities (food, litter, bed).  Limit their movement til the stitches are out.  THEN… their kitty siblings will help them get back to a more comfortable level of activity.  Alfredo is basically the exact same as he was before.

Now–regarding chemo.  After round two, he threw up daily for a week.  Then my husband and I went out of town (scheduled months ago), and my aunt said she’d stop in to see them while we were gone.  I was concerned because I don’t think anyone else should have to clean up our cat’s puke, ha.  LUCKILY he only had one puking incident while we were gone, and since then it’s been only twice, so I feel this is okay.  As I’ve said many times–he’s always been a puker.  I chalk it up to his nervous personality.

OKAY–PHANTOM LIMB TIME.  OMG.  I saw this cat four hours after surgery when he smelled like pee and medication and vet office and had a yucky bloody incision, and he hobbled over to me, and this was sad but encouraging.  I mean, if you have an aversion to stitches (which I sometimes do), it could have been a terrible experience.

Do you know what’s worse?  When your cat, two and a half months after surgery, sits down and begins to scratch behind his right ear with his missing right leg, and you can see the little nub of muscle wiggling back and forth, and it LOOKS LIKE HE’S ACTUALLY FEELING SOMETHING.  Like, as this is happening, he appears to be content, like he actually thought he was scratching his head.  I don’t know why this was so traumatizing to me hahaha.  In any event, we always try to give extra attention to his right side that he can’t scratch.  This is the first and only time I’ve seen him “scratch” himself, but man.  Again, I was more affected by this than he was, go figure.

Some pictures ahead!  Can I just say–this cat historically avoids anything except Purina chicken and rice.. Only recently we got him to start eating Greenies.  So imagine my surprise as I am eating my birthday cake and he climbs right on up to see what it is.  I let him try out of curiosity, I didn’t think he actually would.  A couple days later I was eating a granola bar, and he got up in my face until I gave him a piece of that.  But cooked chicken?  No way man.

Hates wet food, loves frosting.

Hates wet food, loves frosting.

So, so unamused by me

So, so unamused by me

Very, very comfortable

Very, very comfortable

Two weeks post-amputation

Heyo,

Not a whole lot to update, two weeks after the surgery.  I remember when I brought him home that I was pretty freaked out.  He smelled weird, he had a very fresh incision, he was grumpy and drugged.. I didn’t want to hold him or deal with him much.  This isn’t meant to sound mean or insensitive, but I was pretty stressed so I just left him in the crate for the most part (which he was fine with and I think that healing time was valuable), even occasionally when I was home.  As the drugs came off and he was a little more clear-headed, we saw a lot more progress, and of course his personality came through a lot more.

We started to let him expand his boundaries a little bit.  He lived in the closet for a few days, and then we upgraded him to a smaller room (with just an armchair, so no risk of jumping).  This past Friday I decided to see how he handled the stairs, and he’s fine.  So he’s had free reign of the house for a few days.  I am only okay with this because his incision looks great and is not showing any sign of distress.  So even with that considered, it did seem like he was self-regulating pretty well.  His sister is still kinda weirded out by him (and the collar), so no risk of them playing too aggressively.  He still stayed close to his bed.  All good signs.  He’s very frequently laying on the incision side… we joke that maybe it’s more comfortable, not having to lay on the leg (that probably hurt him pre-surgery, honestly).  Plus even us humans know that it’s awkward to lay with an arm pinned underneath us, so there’s that.  🙂

No call from the oncologist office, so I’m assuming that means they do not believe his case is urgent enough to be seen before May 2.  I will try to sleep easy with the assurance that they are the professionals here.

A few pictures from the weekend.  His walking is honestly about the same.  I will get some more once the collar is off because I swear he’s a different guy without it.

Edited to add–we haven’t had any smell issues lately.  People think I’m joking or being rude when I say he’s functioning like an actual tripod, but he does.  He puts his two front legs farther apart to help out his back leg, and as a result, he’s not having as many issues peeing on himself.  This is a win.  Yay!

Happy Monday!

Lapcat

Lapcat

Chilling in "his" bedroom

Chilling in “his” bedroom

Collar break.  I love this picture.. so handsome.

Collar break. I love this picture.. so handsome.

Ignore my ghostface, but more exciting was the purr-y laptime I got with the big guy.

Ignore my ghostface, but more exciting was the purr-y laptime I got with the big guy.