The Pervasiveness of Corruption
This Week in Elder News – 16 December 2008

A Harried Weekend

category_bug_journal2.gif Thank all of you who left comments, sent email and telephoned to see if I am okay. I had no idea that not posting for two days would leave you with concerns. Next time I’ll at least post a short announcement.

Usually, I prepare the Saturday and Sunday posts on Friday, but I was busy all day cleaning and cooking for an evening dinner party and figured I’d get them done Saturday morning. But I woke to a deathly ill cat on Saturday and we made a dash to the animal emergency center. By the time I got home in mid-afternoon, it seemed too late to post Elder News so I cleaned the massively messy kitchen.

Also, the computer has rebelled. Thunderbird hasn’t worked since Thursday and I can’t figure out what’s wrong so I’m stuck with my domain registrar’s clunky webmail that is slow and hard to use. Plus, my spacebar and “E” key are suddenly sticky and I have to pound each of them several times whenever I need a space or an E. Grrrrrr.

Ollie the cat is home now, well-recovered from a urinary tract blockage. It is a fairly common malady of male cats and is known to recur. If so, (men reading this may want to skip the rest of this paragraph) the only known remedy is to amputate the cat’s penis which doesn’t impair his ability to pee, but does prevent further wildly expensive veterinary visits. Ollie is neutered so I don’t feel too bad if that procedure becomes necessary.

To prevent or at least forestall that drastic measure, Ollie now must eat a special, prescription food. Anyone who has cats knows what it's like to get them to eat something new. Such fun we're having around here. Oh, did I mention the pills that need to be jammed down his throat twice a day for the next week or so.

Meanwhile, the huge Friday ice storm left a quarter of a million Mainers without power (still so, in many cases), but my neighborhood was spared. Until today, when 40-degree temperatures are expected, it has hung in the mid-teens Farenheit, although it is cozy here in the apartment. As dangerous and disrupting as ice storms are, they do have their aesthetic charms.

Here is what the electrical cables in front of my windows, illuminated by the street light, looked like when I got up early on Friday morning. The sleet was still coming down.


Later in the day, the sleet ended, but the temperature remained well below freezing. If you look closely, you can see that every branch on this tree outside my laundry room is coated in ice.


And here are icicles on the mansard roof of a house behind mine.


Again, thank you all for your concern - one of the best things about the elder blogosphere, this looking out for one another. It was only a harried weekend, but not due of the storm. Oh, and the dinner party was a wild success, feasting on an extraordinarily well-prepared leg of lamb (if I do say so myself).

[At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Ravi Chawla gives us a first-hand account of the terror attack in Mumbai titled, The Agony Continues After the Harrowing 62-Hour Ordeal.]


We are snowed and iced in here in Oregon, too. All schools are closed Monday...

Ollie, oh dear, this brings back memories. My precious Bleecker (have written to you about him before) who died of kidney failure two years ago had the same problem as Ollie back in 1975 when he was a young cat. It was BAD and the prescription diet didn't do the trick. He had the dreaded operation (ka-ching on the credit card), after which (this is rare according to the vet) he re-blocked along the new track they made. So he had a second routing! (ka-ching again) That time all was well. The cutest thing was watching him learn the new places he needed to stand and aim in the catbox. Everything was all new down there!
Any readers who aren't cat lovers are, by now, probably puking or at least groaning!

Oh, POOR Ollie!! This happened to one of my male cats in 2003. He had to be hospitalized twice in a years time (catheter and all) to the tune of over $1,000 each time!! Does Ollie have crystals? Struvite or the kind that start with an "O" (can't remember the name).

Having over 5 cats (how many I have is a guarded secret!) it was impossible for me to give one cat a special diet. I kept begging the vets "considering how finicky cats are there HAS to be something else they can be given" No, just prescription food they kept saying. I checked out the prescription diets and the ONLY thing that is added is a urinary acidifier. I started doing some detective work and came across Drs. Foster and Smith Urinary Acidifier. The active ingredient is methionine. It comes in a squeezeable paste (like hairball medicine). I put it on my cat's paw to lick off twice a day and he has been symptom free since 2004!! To me it was and is a miracle!! Another product is named Methigel. Exact same ingredients but cheaper then Drs. Foster and Smith. You can get both on the internet.

BUT, if your cat has the "O" type crystals, this will not work, and can make the symptoms WORSE so you must be sure!

Good Luck!!!

Oh my what a few days you experienced. I know nothing about cats except in the country a few that stayed outside and slept in the barn. My daughter lives in Longmeadow, Mass. The weather looks really cold and dangerous. Your last comment "if I do say so myself". I am always saying that and my soninlaw kids me about it. Take care and have a better week.

Just looked it up and the "O" crystals are oxalate crystals. Much harder to deal with. Hoping Ollie has the struvite crystals.

Kept checking in over the weekend, and glad you and Ollie are doing well despite his condition and the weather. Images really capture it; night one has look of early photography

Thought you might be having TypePad issues like mine. It's wonky out there. Stay warm!

We were worried too, imagining you in a house getting colder and colder, or out in a shelter without Ollie.
I've never had a cat with the crystal problem until they were older. I think there is a cat only vet in Portland. Hope you are getting good advice on this. Poor boy.
Next time there is a power outage, just post us a note!

I am so glad you posted, Ronni. I was going to go into old posts and see if you had an e-mail address to see if it was the storm or something worse. It appears it was something worse. Poor Ollie. I am glad he is better. You are getting the temperatures today that we had out here over the weekend. Be prepared though. The system that left the upper plains buried under blizzard snow has arrived here with extremely low temps. We will be lucky to get to 10 degrees today and for the next few. We haven't had the snow but the rain turning to ice has caused numerous crashes on the highways all over this area. I don't know what this system will have when it reaches your area. Stay warm and safe.

Glad this wasn't a repeat of the last time when you were without power.

Sorry to hear about Ollie. Hope he responds to the present treatment for more reasons than just the alternatives costs. What could that surgery do to his self-image? Oh well! Maybe he would mellow and could be allowed out on the balcony with a harness, or just close supervision.

Years ago after having our cat neutered we learned the hard way that they're then very prone to urinary tract problems. Wish we'd known in advance, but expect we would naively still have chosen to keep him as we did for about fifteen years 'til the end of his days. Fortunately, he never progressed to the more severe state you describe, but I'm sure once his lesser problems started his medical care necessitated our spending more than we had to incur for our two small children.

So glad to know you're okay, but am so sorry for Ollie, no fun time for him with new food, shots and all that bad stuff! And so glad the dinner went well, sounded delicious! We're pretty much frozen in here in Seattle, but not like you are. It is unusual for us to have the really cold weather stick around as long as it is. You and Ollie stay warm!

I also kept checking in to see if you were all right, Ronni.

So happy that you are fine and that you have power.That is what concerned me most; thinking of you and Ollie with no heat or lights.

Sorry about Ollie not being well. I'm sure with your good care he will be as good as new.....

Sorry to hear about your harrowing week-end with Ollie but glad you had a great dinner party to go with it. We have a male now (have had them in the past) with that problem. It's pretty typical in neutered male cats, I think. We have also gone to special diets but find the Purina one is edible for them more than the one the vet recommends we try first. Either one helps ours. Good luck with it but I agree that having that done is not a big deal for a neutered male if it keeps him healthier and happier.

Glad to hear you're warm and snug Ronnie. Dear ole Ollie, hope he improves soon. Some really good tips here for us cat lovers.

I, too, was hoping for the best when you were not posting... As a Cantabrigian ten years (in the 60s-70s when I and the world was younger), I relate well to the northeast winter weather. Benefits to living there abound, of course.

About the yukky scientific food Ollie must ingest... Have you tried lacing it with yummy stuff, e.g., wet kitty food? Or something equally decadent in his opinion?

So glad you and Ollie are well. I could tell some cat stories, but there are already some good ones. I'm interested in the dinner party. Successful means that both the food and the conversation were good. I wonder how many people make the optimum number to invite, and how one manages to make all the preparations without getting frazzled. As I get older I find entertaining, which I love to do, increasingly difficult. Social life is really important as we age. Someone should write a book (is there one?) on how to give a good dinner party when you are getting old.

Glad you and your fur person are ok.

Poor Ollie!

(I am chuckling, though, at Mage B's description - your fur person).

Mainers have all the fun...including rack of lamb!

Glad you are safe and warm albeit with a puny friend.

It's cold here today - brrrr! Windchill factor makes it feel like the mid 20's.

Glad you and your fur person are ok.

We're glad Ollie's better, too. Part of this comes from my two male orange tabbies who are quaking just a bit at the possibilities. "Yikes!", they say, and "Holy Cow".

Thanks to everyone for their good ideas & tips should this ever occur with us.

Here's a virtual scratch on the head for Ollie.

I'm glad you're OK. I was going to give you a little more time before I checked since I thought it might be weather-related.

My cats like the prescription diet. I've given it to them since long ago when a female cat got a UTI and needed it. When I'd get a new cat, they'd start on it and have liked it.

This brings back sad memories from when my cat Columbo had something similar. He had cathertization several times, and the surgery was discussed. However, he'd been through so much and his bladder wasn't contracting. He was only four years old.

It sounds as if Ollie is on the road to recovery. It's scary when they get sick. It's also annoying when they try to lie on my laptop the way Brigit is now. I keep moving her head and paws and am glad she's my little fur person and wants to be nearby. OK, I know it's because the laptop is warm, but she does like to be near me when it suits her.

catheterization ... is that it?

Ronni, I was so worried about you and Ollie--we had a horrible ice storm here last February and lost power for several days--thank heaven for good neighbors who helped us and each other.
We've always had our feline buddies "fixed." Have had a number of neutered male cats in my long lifetime, and only one had urinary blockage. Have heard that one should wait to neuter until the male cat is pretty well grown, though, to prevent problems. So sorry to hear about poor Ollie, but happy you are warm and safe.

Went through that with my cat Willis a few years ago. Fortunately, he LOVES Science Diet Feline C/D!

It's good stuff, if that's what Ollie is on. Hope he'll get to like it -- WIllis' coat is be-a-utiful!

Oh, and you might want to look into this organization:

The Mesa Fund is designated for financially challenged individuals needing financial assistance with diagnostics, treatment and/or maintenance of cats with renal disease. Financial grants will be granted to assist with:

* renal lab tests (blood work, urinalysis)
* blood pressure monitoring of renal cats
* medications relating to renal disease
* fluid therapy and supplies
* prescription renal food
* renal ultrasounds
* renal biopsies
* tests to determine if a cat is suitable for renal transplant


I am new- if the cat is not too old and in good health the surgery is very successsful if done by a surgeon; it may never happen again so wait and see; dont torture him with the food ; it doesnt work and all the prescription foods have chemicals,; you just need a low ash holistic food- Pinnacle is the one I use; made by Breeder's Choice-, all dry is not good once this happens so you need to encourage wet food also. he is getting a muscle relaxant for the urethra now. If he seems painful and they usually are from the catheterization, you can ask for lidocaine cream prescription. Put a little on a q tip and put it on his penile tip in the sheath.

Observe as they can die from this but it may not happen again. Be sure to use bottled water only.

Am looking forward to the site

Poor baby...You and Ollie too

But the leg of lamb sounds scrumptious.

Poor Ollie! I hope he will take to the new food and that further medical help will not be needed (especially surgery).

All of the above...hope Ollie gets well and stays that way!!! Never had a cat but had three dogs in our married life...oh the love and oh the sadness when they left for the other side...that is why no more pets for me...I just have to pretend now and pet Scooby Do - the slippers my husband Syd which he replies "SLIPPERS" - huh???? Time for a Chia Pet!!!!!

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