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Beautiful Girl … and the Trip to the Vet

April 6, 2013

Yes, yes … I have four cats.

FOUR.

I know how many that is.

I know how much food they eat each month (not as much as you would think), and how many daily litter box cleanings it takes to keep the house smell free (more than you would want to know). I know that many consider me on the verge of becoming (or already there) a crazy cat lady.

Gus

Gus, with Izzy in the background

But the reality is that cats are better in pairs and I essentially have two pairs of cats  — one pair considered seniors and one under four years of age.

Izzy and Gus are my two oldest at 10 and 9 years of age, respectively. As “seniors” (as opposed to geriatric cats, which is apparently reserved more for those over 12 years of age), they need yearly check ups and blood work to check kidney functions, liver enzymes and thyroid levels, among other things. Things can go so wrong so quickly that it’s important to keep close tabs on their health.

Soooo … this past week, I loaded up both cats and trundled off to the vet with them at the same time.

It’s always an adventure to go to the vet with Gus. As I have said before, he loves his little hidey holes, but he hates it when he realizes he is being locked in a box for a trip. He immediately urinates in the crate and spends the entire trip yowling pitifully. I half think that he believes he is being taken back to the shelter, never to return again, because the moment we arrive back home and he realizes he is safe again, he spends the rest of the day following me around and demanding attention.

Gus 3Given the fact that he had messed the crate and it needed to be cleaned before I left the office, the vet decided to examine him first. Again, true to Gus’ non-confrontational demeanor, he spent the entire visit trying to hide his face in my shirt or the crook of my arm, almost as if he believes that if he doesn’t see the vet, she isn’t really there. The only time we managed to get him away from me was when we put him on the scale — he weighed in at a healthy 14 pounds, 2 ounces — and when they whisked him into the back room to take his blood.

Within about five minutes, the vet popped her head back in to ask me if I wanted the techs to trim Gus’ nails. I agreed, but only later found out that she asked because Gus decided to show the staff his rather impressive claws when they were trying to draw blood. I have to admit that he boasts fairly large, stark white claws that appear enormous and lethal against his coal-black coat, but I also know he would never use them to inflict harm. He actually shows them most often when he’s being loved on. And then they come out as he extends his front paws, so that he can stretch and writhe and show you another part of his body that needs to be scratched.

Then it was Ms. Izzy’s turn. Unlike Gus, she seems to take vet visits in stride. She doesn’t like them, but she’s not terrified of them either.

I was a little nervous, though. Especially as I placed her on the scale.

See, when I first adopted Izzy, she weighed more than 14 pounds, which is too much for her little frame. When I moved the cats over to an easy-to-digest food for Gus’ stomach, she actually gained about a pound and a half. About a year and a half ago, I managed to moveMI 1 Izzy over to a diet food and she has been steadily losing weight. The last time she was on a scale, she was still over 11 pounds and I only hoped that she hadn’t regained any of the weight.

When the numbers finally stopped shifting, the scale showed that Izzy was now a svelte 10 pounds, 7 ounces. The first thing the vet did (after rechecking the scale) was to ask if I was trying to get her to drop weight or if she could be sick. I told her that this was, in fact, on purpose. After smiling, she said that — despite my belief that I had to get her down to 10 pounds — I didn’t have to continue trying to take the weight off. The little girl was at a good weight for her size and age.

I can’t even begin to tell you how relieved I was.

Eventually, she was taken in the back for a blood draw. When the vet returned, she brought two little plastic bags filled with black pellets and a syringe. Apparently, they couldn’t get urine from either cat (although give that Gus had used the crate as a litter box on the way to the vet, that wasn’t all that surprising), and I needed to try to collect it at home.

MI 2

Since losing weight, Izzy not only likes playing more, but she also shows off her belly more than ever before

Yeah … easier said than done. After 12 hours of Izzy being locked in a room with a box filled with the little pellets, a bed and a bowl of water, she refused to do anything. When I finally let her out, she ran for the stairs and demanded to be fed (even though I had fed her while she was in the room).

Next up, I get to try it with Gus.

Despite the fact that we haven’t been able to check their urine yet, it would appear that I have two incredibly healthy senior kitties. Their blood work showed near perfect levels across the board. The only thing that needs to be addressed is that they could both use a teeth cleaning. Izzy is going to go in first because her teeth are showing her age a little more than Gus’, but that is to be expected.

Hopefully, I will be blessed enough to have both of them in my life for a long, long time.

MI 3

MI 4

From → Animals, Cats

2 Comments
  1. Keep up the great work in looking after your gorgeous seniors Izzy and Gus. I must say they are absolutely stunning kitty cats and don’t look their age at all. It is never easy to collect a urine sample from a feline and I hope your perseverance paid off. 🙂

    • Thank you! They are absolute loves and I want to make sure they lead long, healthy, happy lives. And the urine collection has ended up being quite the chore. They finally got some from Izzy when she went in for her teeth cleaning. That looks like it will be the only time we get it from Gus, as well. 🙂

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