08 November 2019

Feline Friday: It's a No Go

As I shared last week, Lily is doing well following her recent trip to the ER. The emergency vet suggested we do another urinalysis after her 2-week stint of antibiotics and this was the week for me to make that happen.

In talking with our regular vet, we agreed that Lily should not come back to see him unless it was truly necessary -- because we're trying to keep her in the stress-free zone to prevent a re-occurrence of the cystitis. He suggested trying non-absorbent cat litter to collect a urine sample, or even seeing if she would go potty in an empty litter box.

I dutifully ordered No-Sorb, which comes with six small collection cups. I emptied three into the litter box, which didn't amount to much but I figured would be sufficient to get the job done. 😉


Turns out Lily will NOT -- under any circumstances -- step on the black plastic pellets! I placed her in the box so she'd get the idea, and the little pellets clung to her feet which created a whole new kind of stress. I could see from the get go that this was going to be a NO GO.

Undaunted, I stayed home one afternoon and limited her litterbox access to this one. After a few hours I heard her howling in the living room -- an ominous sign. I immediately replaced the litterbox with her regular one and -- sure enough -- she went potty in it immediately.

So the vet agrees that we're just going to skip the urinalysis for now. She is doing fine and obviously will not cooperate with my "sample collection" program. I'll keep a close eye on her, as usual, and if anything changes we'll address it right away.

Back to our normal programming! Lily says WHEW!

Happy Feline Friday, y'all!
jp and Lily

01 November 2019

Feline Friday: Stress-Free Zone

Lily has fully recovered from her recent bout of feline urinary cystitis which landed us back at the veterinary ER. This condition was brought on by the stress of her PREVIOUS visit to the vet.

So now I'm trying to make sure that Lily is living a stress-free life. (Can't say the same for myself, though...)

I'm pretty sure we're having some success with making this a Stress-Free Zone, at least for Lily. 

Here's the proof:

Just hanging on the back of the couch in Modified Monorail Position, waiting for the 3pm Food Drop from her automatic feeder...

 Waiting for her dinner to be served... Not really, but it doesn't hurt to have goals, right? :)

  Watching a little Bob Ross painting with Meowmy...

And just relaxing while waiting for a brief belly rub.

Yes, I think it's clear that Lily is living in the Stress-Free Zone. Let's hope all this chilling out keeps her away from the vet!

Happy Feline Friday!
jp and Lily

25 October 2019

Feline Friday: It's Stress-Related

Well, last week I reported that on Wednesday, Lily had had an excellent trip to the vet.

Unfortunately, by 12:30pm on the following Saturday, just a few days later, we found ourselves at the ER. No worries, Lily is fine now but we both had a stressful day!

Exactly five minutes after our vet closed on Saturday, I found Lily trying to urinate in various places around the house. That's a sure sign of trouble so I immediately scooped her up with the litter box and shut her in the bathroom whilst I went to retrieve the carrier. Regardless of what else I had planned for the day, it was clear that we were headed to the ER.

When I returned a few minutes later with the carrier, I found Lily in the bathtub where she had produced three dime-sized spots of urine which were clearly tinged with blood. I guess in retrospect it was helpful for her to go potty there because I could immediately see the blood. Lily willingly went into the carrier (poor baby) and we left immediately for the veterinary ER.

Since Lily's anal glands had just been expressed a few days prior, my working theory was that perhaps some bacteria from that procedure had caused a urinary tract infection. As it turned out, there was no sign of infection except a trace presence of one type of bacteria. 

The diagnosis: feline urinary tract cystitis. 
Caused by what? Stress.

By all accounts, Lily lives an exceptionally comfortable life so what could have brought on the stress? You guessed it: Wednesday's anal gland appointment. We could tell that she was pretty upset at the time as she growled continuously as she came out of the sedation, but who would have guessed that she'd develop cystitis as a result? Certainly not me. This was a new one. 😟

There's no real treatment for this condition other than pain medication and time. But since Lily's urinary tract had trace amounts of an unusual bacteria, the vet elected to give her a 2-week acting antibiotic shot as a precaution. We left with instructions to give her pain medication every eight hours as needed and follow-up with our regular vet in two weeks.

Lily also left sporting a lovely blue bandage on her leg from where the technicians drew blood. I was told to remove the bandage as soon as we arrived home which seemed like it would be no big deal, but Lily was having none of it. She became an incredibly nasty, snarling ball of teeth and claws every time I approached her to take it off -- which in turn caused her (and me) a great deal more stress.  After a call to the ER, they suggested I take her back so they could remove it. It took multiple technicians to handle her. Poor sweet girl.

Needless to say, the second trip did nothing to help our mutual stress levels! So the rest of the afternoon, Lily slept and recuperated while I fretted.

Lily recovered very quickly from her ordeal and later that day was back to going potty in the litter box. Her appetite never decreased (of course!) and her activity level has improved significantly.

 Because I now know that she's susceptible to stress-related cystitis, I am vowing not to take her back to the vet unless it's absolutely necessary. I've ordered non-absorbent litter so that I can collect a urine sample in two weeks without having to take her to the vet for that uncomfortable procedure.

Hopefully last Saturday is a distant memory for Lily. She's back to living her stress-free life.

I'm not so sure about me, though! 😩
Happy Feline Friday!
jp and Lily

18 October 2019

Feline Friday: Whew!

 Lily had her pre-arranged anal gland appointment this week. We last had her checked in the summer, and I had hoped to make it to October without incident -- and we did! Lily has not been scooting so I was fairly certain everything was A-OK.

One gland was completely normal and the other was almost clear. Turns out the increased pumpkin program is working GREAT!  This is fantastic news, as we had been traipsing to the vet fairly regularly to have them cleared. I have been keen to avoid this because sedating her that frequently is hard on the kidneys.

Lily is now getting a teaspoon of canned pumpkin (pure pumpkin -- not pumpkin pie filling!) every day. She will eat it straight out of the can, but I've been mixing it into her canned food, along with her powdered join supplement. The pumpkin bulks up the food slightly and makes it last longer, which I think is good for her diet. And the extra fiber helps her glands stay clear naturally. So we're not going to make her go through that procedure again unless she starts scooting. YAY!
 I had also noticed a small bump on her chin, smaller than a pea but getting a bit bigger over time. It moved with her skin, so I thought it was probably a cyst or acne. It wasn't at all like the bump our sweet Tinsel had, which was attached to her jaw bone and turned out to be cancerous. Still, I wanted it checked and removed as it seemed to be uncomfortable for Lily.

Turns out it was a fairly inflamed zit which the vet successfully removed. What a relief it was nothing to worry about! During her sedation, Lily also got a complimentary nail trim and a weigh-in, which showed she's lost a tiny bit of weight. I'm not quite sure how that happened but yippee!

It did take Lily a little longer to wake up from the light sedation at this visit, during which time she growled steadily as if to say "I know you're messing with me but I can't wake up to do anything about it". The vet reassured me everything was just fine, so we all got a good laugh listening to her fierce sound effects.

That evening, Lily was treated to a dinner of Fancy Feast then took a good long nap -- with no growling! With her chin feeling better, her newly trimmed nails, and clear anal glands, she should be in tip top shape for the foreseeable future!

 Happy Feline Friday!
jp and Lily

14 October 2019

Family History Mystery

I've been working on a mystery in my family tree and I'm pretty excited that I've now solved it, at least in part! 

The mystery involves the family lineage of my 2nd great grandfather, Sam Weaver. As I've been working on my family tree, I've run into a fair amount of confusion about his parents. I want to know exactly who they were and what happened to them. 

This photo of Sam Weaver and Mary Hayes, my 2nd great maternal grandparents, was taken in 1930.

My best source of information about Sam and Mary is this delightful family history book which was written by one of their daughters, Mate. Aunt Mate lived to be over 100 and had an avid interest in family history. I am so grateful she took time to write down everything she knew. Her book doesn't include a family tree, but instead features several chapters with colorful stories that bring our ancestors to life. I've read through it many times and discover something new each time. It's a real treasure.

When I first started reading the book, I began putting the names and dates Aunt Mate referenced into my family tree on Ancestry, verifying them with contemporaneous documents. Other than a few typos and slightly off dates, her information has been extremely accurate. In addition to being quite interesting and entertaining, her book has been invaluable as I try to piece together this particular family line. 

So back to Sam. When it came time to write about her father's early life, Mate had very little information. She knew his birthdate and that his parents were William Weaver and "Levina" Biery, so I added that information to my tree. It was at least a start.

 But things got very murky from there!

I also inherited another distant relative's research into this side of the family. I could see in her notes that she had written to a library in Pennsylvania about Levina Biery, but they actually sent her information about a Levina with the MAIDEN NAME Weaver, not Biery. The library materials suggested that Levina had married a man named Samuel Owen. After digging around in many records, I concluded that while this information may be correct for Levina Weaver, it is not at all correct for our Levina Biery. Sadly, our relative passed away before figuring things out.

In addition, some Ancestry trees suggested that Levina had a twin sister named Sovina -- and they were born a month apart. Now...how likely is that? 😏 In researching this I discovered that on old census records, the letter "L" often looks like a letter "S". Turns out there was only one girl -- and her name was actually Lavina.

Meanwhile, in the very old family Bible I found a few other clues to Lavina's (my 3rd great grandma's) life. On a page of pictures, there's a photo of a girl named Amanda Bergstresser, labeled as "father's sister". 

Hmmm... Assuming Mate also wrote in this Bible, then she would have been referring to Sam as her father, making Amanda his sister.

 I'd seen the name Bergstresser before. The relative whose research I inherited guessed that perhaps "Sovina" married David Bergstresser and "Lovina" married Samuel Owen. Of course, both of those theories turned out to be false.

But a quick check online confirmed the facts: David and Lavina were actually married and Amanda was one of their many children. They were married just a few years after Sam Weaver was born to Lavina. It was a second marriage for him and POSSIBLY a second marriage for her, although I've yet to determine if Lavina ever actually married Sam's father, William Weaver.

The lesson here is that when you're doing family research, you must always verify -- and verify some more. It's extremely easy to find yourself going down a completely wrong path and you may never realize it. You can never take someone else's research as fact without verifying!

The other lesson is that when you come up against a "brick wall", as I have with William Weaver, you can often learn a lot by researching others in the family. I want to learn about William, but in order to do that I need to piece together details of the ENTIRE family. In researching broadly, you'll often uncover the missing information you need. 

Since I cleared up the mystery about Lavina and David, I've been able to identify Lavina's parents, too -- my 4th great grandparents. I'm just starting to fill in their family details which will include Lavina's siblings. In the process, I hope to learn more about Lavina's relationship with William Weaver, my elusive 3rd great grandfather. 

Did Lavina ever actually marry William? If so, when and where? If not, what happened to him? Did he leave her to raise Sam on her own with her family, as seems to be suggested by the census records? Or did he meet an untimely death? It sounds a bit like a soap opera...but it's really my family history!

 If you haven't started looking into your family's story, I highly recommend it! It's a fascinating journey and you never know what you might discover!

11 October 2019

Feline Friday: Flamin' Hot

 Lily spends a good portion of her waking hours (at least when we're around) trying to get food. This includes her own kitty food, of course, but also EVERYTHING we're eating...almost without exception. It's a constant battle to keep her away from people food, especially snacks. And obviously I'm not always successful.

Her new object of desire: Flamin' Hot White Cheddar Popcorn. Spouse bought himself a bag this week and she became completely obsessed with it.

What kind of cat wants anything Flamin' Hot? 
I said NO right away to everything Flamin' Hot.

Nevertheless, she persisted. 😉 

She sat by his feet, hoping he'd accidentally drop a piece. He didn't. 

She angled herself around the chair, plotting to sneak up behind him. He didn't fall for that trick either.

Early the next morning, I found her sniffing under the chair where, using her super-powerful Snack Detector, she discovered the TINIEST MORSEL of Flamin' Hot Popcorn. Before I could catch her, into the hopper it went! Fortunately, she seemed no worse for the wear for having digested this spicy tidbit.

 Still, Lily is not going to have ANY MORE Flamin' Hot Popcorn. The bag is empty and gone from the house. I'm glad, because out of sight is out of mind...until next time!

04 October 2019

Feline Friday: Lily's Week

My week looked just about like last week. Still up to my ears in class prep but the end is finally in sight!

  I guess Lily's week was about the same, too!
Monday: Napping

Tuesday: Napping

Wednesday: Napping

Thursday: More napping

 Friday: Napping (face plant)

Good thing it's the weekend...so she can catch up on her sleep! :)
Happy Feline Friday!
jp and Lily

27 September 2019

Feline Friday

It's the end of another week and I'm tired. Lots of class prep going on and I'm up to my ears in it. 

 But obviously I'm not nearly as tired as Lily!

  Like Lily, I'd like to drag my blankie around with me today...

  Happy Feline Friday! 
Have a restful weekend, friends!
jp and Lily

20 September 2019

Feline Friday with Rory, Fur Real!

 We were in Texas last weekend for a short visit and while there we of course got to see Cousin Rory! Although she wasn't quite sure who I was at first, she warmed up pretty quickly.

When we first arrived, Bailey was at school. Rory made a beeline for the bedroom and hid under the covers! After I fished her out, she took me on a tour of one of her favorite places...the bathroom! I think she had a vague memory of the time I let her up into the high bathroom cabinets and got in a little bit of trouble for that. :)

Who is this pretty girl in the mirror?

 Then she retreated to her cat tree while she tried to figure out who we were. Eventually she came around and was ever so sweet...but then it was time to leave! :)

Nevertheless, it was great seeing Rory in PURRRR-son for a little while!
Happy Feline Friday, y'all!

13 September 2019

Feline Friday

 COULD SHE BE ANY CUTER? Look at the back feet!

Yes, now she's working it...
...using all of her cuteness to procure some treats!

12 September 2019

Tree/Door Frog Alert!

YIKES! This little guy was stuck to our front door last night....dangerously close to making his way inside!

This reminded me of the time we had a tree frog in our upstairs bathroom, one of the most terrifying events of my adult life. I am deathly afraid of frogs, even the one on our front door!

06 September 2019

Feline Friday: The Cat Who...

It's been another busy week around here getting ready for fall classes so in the evening, I've been curling up with a good book series. If you're a cat person, you should definitely check it out! The series is written by Lilian Jackson Braun and is called The Cat Who... The author started writing the books in the 1960's, but I've only recently heard of them! A customer at the store where I teach has been loaning them to me in batches as she knew I'd enjoy them...and I do!

The books are mysteries featuring reporter Jim Qwilleran and his two Siamese cats, Koko and Yum Yum. Qwill encounters a different mystery in each book -- and his cats are instrumental in solving them.

The books are very well-written and the feline characters are described in a way that cat lovers will appreciate, as the author was a cat guardian herself. The mysteries are intriguing but not scary and revolve around a different theme in each book. They can be read in any order, but the first two books provide the background about how the two cats came to live with Qwill. I started out reading a few books in the middle of the series but now am going back to read the early ones.

 Of course, the very best way to read these books is with your own cat stretched out on your lap! At this rate, I'm not sure Lily is going to be solving any mysteries of her own...other than when her next meal will happen!😸
 Happy Feline Friday!
jp and Lily