M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Monday, November 08, 2004  

Cat Scratch Fever

When Dirt and Banana heard that we’d been chosen to adopt M. Tiny, they offered to throw a baby shower for us almost immediately.

(I mean the offer came almost immediately. Not the shower. That would have been a logistical miracle.)

At the time, we decided that the best weekend to have it would be this last one. It would give us a few weeks to prepare, while still being a few weeks before the baby came.

Yeah, right.

Aside from finding ourselves in the unexpected position of having to find a babysitter so we could go to our baby shower, I’d say it was a huge success. Not that the virtual baby shower of the past couple of months hasn’t been fun, with packages materializing on our back deck and front stoop at the rate of several per week, but there’s also something to be said about sitting in a room with people and opening their gifts in front of them. Particularly gifts as kind, generous, and thoughtful as these. And that something is “Thank you.”

* * *

While we were hanging out at the NICU with M. Tiny a couple of weeks ago, Linda suggested that the combined stresses of my life called for a special self-help book: So Your Cat Has Herpes, Your Premature Son Is in the Hospital, You Had a Horrible Migraine, and Your Other Cat Has Diabetes. Sadly, I keep forgetting to add it to my wish list.

But now M. Tiny is out of the hospital, and I think I’ve got the migraines at bay, mainly by taking care of myself. I try not to get stressed out, I walk half a mile from the parking lot to work and back every day, I get as much sleep as the parent of a newborn can reasonably get without alerting Social Services, and every weekday morning I get up early and fix myself a giant bowl of Ibuprophen. Stays crispy, even in milk.

Of course, Strat’s diabetes hasn’t gone away, which we didn’t expect it to, and neither has Orca’s herpes-based upper respiratory infection, which we did. We can still mark her entrance into any room by the sound of her breathing, like Darth Vader’s first appearance in Star Wars. We put her on the Lysine almost two weeks ago. I’ve been cutting those chalky horse-pills into quarters, forcing her mouth open, and cramming them in at the base of her tongue twice a day, and the only thing that’s changed is that now she runs and hides in Trash’s closet when she sees me coming at her with something in my hand.

The vet told us a week of the stuff should take care of it, but if anything it’s been getting worse. She’s physically incapable of purring without wheezing, and a sigh sounds like a jet engine revving up. We were going to call the vet to tell hem how much he sucks, but we got a house call instead.

See, we know a vet through Trash’s sister, SIL. This is the same vet who fixed Orca’s teeth a couple of years ago. She doesn’t get to see our cats professionally very often because her practice is halfway to the Iowa state line, but since she stopped by to see M. Tiny yesterday after the shower, we figured we’d hit her up for some free medical advice.

Funny thing about Orca. There are two classes of people she neither hates nor fears: immediate family, and veterinary professionals. Anyone else who tries to pet her will only scare her off. I was a little nervous when the Vet-Friend, out of office and out of uniform, came in the house and reached out to scritch Orca’s ears. Orca accepted the tribute gratefully, much to the disgusted astonishment of SIL, who is easily Orca’s least favorite person for reasons I may or may not have explained in a previous entry. She thought it was just because Orca was sick.

Long story short, the Vet-Friend suggested we double Orca’s Lysine dosage. Getting a second opinion was a great relief to us. I think it even made Orca herself start to feel better on the spot, which may explain why she then tried to take off the Vet-Friend’s finger.

Now I’m cramming half-pills rather than quarter-pills down the back of Orca’s throat twice a day. After pulling her out from even deeper in the closet or under the bed. And it’s not that I don’t appreciate those of you who suggested I grind the pills up and hide them in milk or tuna. Unfortunately, that was only halfway successful. Orca knew something was up immediately and wouldn’t touch either. Strat, however, didn’t suspect a thing, and if he was about to get herpes, his immune system has now been fortified against it.

I think I’m just going to have to write my own self-help book.

posted by M. Giant 7:17 PM 6 comments


The vet made you give the poor cat Lysine in tablet form? That's crazy! We just open up a capsule and put the power on their food. No muss, no fuss. Same with the glucosamine.

By Blogger Samantha, at November 8, 2004 at 8:04 PM  

i've never had the first velcrometer comment first. but now i have....

By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 8, 2004 at 8:04 PM  

If YOU wrote a self-help book, I would totally read it.

By Blogger DeAnn, at November 9, 2004 at 1:04 AM  

I continue to believe that "So Your Cat Has Herpes" would be a best-seller. In fact, when you write your first hilarious book about your experiences, I demand that you call it "So Your Cat Has Herpes."

By Blogger Linda, at November 9, 2004 at 8:20 AM  

When our cat had feline herpes, the drug store ordered the lysine in liquid form for us. It was much easier to squirt the medicine down his throat then to try to force the pill down there. Maybe you can ask your drug store about it?


By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 9, 2004 at 5:29 PM  

I share with you the pain of cat-pill-giving. My cat has a middle ear infection that the vet helpfully tells me could get into her brain and kill her. If that's true, I sure wish his colleague had diagnosed it the first time I took her in, three months ago.

The secret, I find, is getting the pill right in the middle of the tongue at the back of the throat, then holding the cat's mouth closed until she swallows. I do not recommend sticking your finger in the side of her mouth to push the pill back in when she spits it out. Not that I got to experience the shearing strength of a cat's jaws at first hand recently, or anything.

By Blogger Joanne, at November 9, 2004 at 6:40 PM  

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