deborahjross: (Deb and Cleo)
Our tortoiseshell cat Cleopatra died peacefully on Saturday morning, most likely of congestive heart failure. We thought we'd lose her before Oka, but -- cranky old grandma kitty that she was -- she outlasted him. She spent her last night on a pillow between me and Dave.

She's the cat perched on my shoulder in the icon.

With Shakir:



Last winter, enjoying a nap on the sheepskin-lined basket:

deborahjross: (Deb and Cleo)
It just shows to go you that when you brace yourself for the worst, all you see is your own fears.

Oka is now on maintenance chemo with a different IV drug, soon to go to every 3 weeks, plus an oral drug. He's tolerating both without any noticeable side effects. In fact, other than where they needed to shave one leg or another for access to a vein for the IV, he gives no sign of illness. He is his usual bouncy, eager self, and we hope this goes on for a long time.

Cleo continued to eat and gain weight, and therefore strength. She's moving about more and rebuilding muscle, although of course she is not as steady on her feet as the younger cats. She is now officially TWENTY YEARS OLD, and still purring and sleeping in her favorite sunny places.

There she is on my shoulder in the icon.
deborahjross: (Oka)
Thanks so much for everyone's good wishes. They must have been powerful, because both Oka and Cleo are not only still with us, but are doing well.

Cleo's report is easier. I tinkered with her meds and she started eating. And eating. And eating her fool head off. She's noticeably heavier and more muscular, also stronger and steadier on her feet. She's due for her annual vet visit next month and we'll get a proper weight for her then. Meanwhile, she's moving about, sleeps on the pillow next to me, purrs (despite her deafness), and seems to be enjoying life.

Oka had a bad reaction to the first round of chemo maintenance (goal being to keep him in remission as long as possible). Vincristine, the agent, sometimes produced a condition called ileus or partial bowel obstruction. Poor puppy, he ended up severely dehydrated, then on IV fluids and a special diet. He's mostly bounced back (and is certainly eating well and has regained the weight he lost).

We saw the oncology vet yesterday and switched to vinblastine, in the same class of anti-mitotics, but with a much lower risk of ileus. So far, so good - we'll know by the weekend. The interesting thing about vinblastine and vincristine is that they're vinca alkaloids - from the periwinkle plant. You know, that ground cover with the pretty blue-purple flowers?
deborahjross: (Oka)
Oka has finished his 4-drug chemo protocol, is now in remission, and will start on maintenance chemo today. He's almost back to his usual self, given the degenerative myelopathy. (Sometimes his hind legs give out and he gets this, "How did I end up on the ground?" puzzled expression.)

And Cleo the cat has pulled off yet another miraculous comeback, is eating her fool head off and gaining in strength and well as weight. You can never predict what tortoiseshell cats will do next - they have Pronounced Opinions! And like all cats, they know exactly how the universe should be run.
deborahjross: (Oka)
Cleo, true to her tortoiseshell personality, is still hanging in there. She's even perked up enough to eat a little. Rose and Marcie came over yesterday, and we all plied her with chicken liver treats. She still has trouble getting around, but she gets there. We negotiated whether she was going to sleep on my head last night and arrived at a compromise.



According to the oncologist, today will be Oka's worst day from the doxirubicin, the last of the induction-phase chemo. Oka is definitely under the weather, wanting to be close to his people, so I've stayed home from Quaker Meeting. I took him for a short walk this morning and he clearly enjoyed sniffing and peeing on things. I took this picture on Friday -- sorry it's so blurry, as I am so not a photographer:



And finally, here's what Oka found in the back yard (outside the deer fencing) a few weeks ago:



You can read more about the story behind the skull on my blog.
deborahjross: (Default)
Two of our four animals are geriatric, and we are walking through the-beginning-of-the-end with them, one faster than the other.

Here's Cleo, the gray tortoiseshell who is also perched on my shoulder in the icon.


She's almost 20 and is the last of the cats I brought from Los Angeles. She's been hyperthyroid almost her entire adult life, and now at last she's shutting down. One of the challenges of managing hyperthyroidism is that if you lower the thyroid hormone too much, the cat goes into kidney failure. We suspect that's what has happened, but we're not going to stick her with needles to be sure. She's had a long, happy life, a life full of Tortoiseshell Attitude, and she absolutely hates blood draws.

She's pretty much stopped eating in the last day, although she curls up on her heating pad, looking out over the garden, and nestled next to me in bed last night, purring. She's so thin, I don't expect her to have more than a few days left. With any luck, she'll go to sleep in one of her happy places and just not wake up.Read more... )
deborahjross: (Default)


It's our first successful crop, planted last winter. The poor plants huddled there in the cold and gloom, looking as if they were never going to do anything. Then spring couldn't make up its mind, but finally went away. And we have explosions of cauliflowers! These are "cheddar," a beautiful color. I don't know if it's the variety or the freshness, but the one I cooked last night (with just a sprinkling of cheese) was so mild and delicious, it was almost sweet.

After dinner, as is my wont on Mondays, I went off to a meeting, leaving Dave to do the dishes. So the cauliflower dish did not get cleared from the table immediately. Cleo, our matriarch kitty (she's sitting on my shoulder in the icon), has long been known as a broccoli thief. Apparently, cauliflower is close enough to be tempting, because Dave relates that he heard wild yowling from the dining room. Cleo had pulled the cauliflower on to the floor and was in the process of defending it from Oka, our German Shepherd Dog (who weighs 95 lbs to her 5 lbs).

Ferocious little beastie, she is. Either that, or the the cauliflower was growing close enough to the catnip to have absorbed whatever creates kitty-endorphins.

[livejournal.com profile] sartorias, we'll be harvesting all week, so will save some for you!
deborahjross: (Default)


The best part was watching our 2 y.o., Shakir, peeking behind the monitor to see where the cats were.

Cat movies

Dec. 28th, 2009 01:40 pm
deborahjross: (Default)
I am in deep, deep trouble. Gayatri "She Who Sings" usually limited her attentions when I am trying to write to crawling on my chest and butting her head against my chin. She has now discovered the attractions of the cursor. She's been staring at it, following it with her eyes, for the last 10 minutes. No sign of losing interest. Just as I began this post, she embarked on trying to pin the tantalizing thing down -- with her claws. On my monitor screen.

We must have a talk. If I can herd her out of the mudroom back into the house, surely there must be hope?

Surely I jest.

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deborahjross: (Default)
Deborah J. Ross

May 2017

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