Horatio is Radioactive -- 4/24/2010

And Felicia is always right... grr...

Sorry I haven't blogged in a while. I just haven't been in a very funny mood. Lots of not so happy stuff going on. But Felicia assigned me another writing task, so I figured I'd put that off by writing a blog entry. I learned this behavior from my brothers, by the way. They told me the only time their apartment ever got cleaned in college was when they absolutely, positively had to study.

Horatio is our old cat. He'll be 16 next month. He's not doing so well. A while back he was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, which is usually no big deal. He went on the typical treatment, methimazole. His thyroid hormone levels came back in line, but his white blood cell count started to plummet and then his red blood cell count fell too. We took him off the drugs and, fortunately, his anemia cleared up. So this means he's got a rare but well-documented problem with the only real drug they have to treat hyperthyroidism. We took him to VHUP (Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania) to work on the next step. We decided to go for the radioiodine treatment, but during the workup, we discovered he's got kidney disease and possibly lymphoma. Poor old man. We talked it over with their vets and we decided to go ahead with the radioiodine treatment anyway to see if we could get another year or so of a good quality of life for him.  Oh, I almost forgot (yes, if you're a regular reader, you know I did forget), Horatio had an abdominal ultrasound as part of his pre-admission testing.  His belly, almost all the way to around to his back, got shaved.  The other cats are making fun of him.  We tried to tell him it was the latest fashion statement--any cat who's anybody is wearing it, but he didn't buy it.

We packed him up about a week later and dropped him off at VHUP. They handed me a hospital "bracelet" for him. "Am I supposed to put this on his paw?" No, just put it through his carrier handle. I watched. Nobody else knew what to do with the bracelets either.

They shot him full of I-131 and kept him until he wasn't "that hot" anymore. He still can't sit on our laps or share a litter box with his housemates. Of course, you can't TELL him to use a different litter box. So he's living in our bedroom. And with my parents' old "poopy" cat living in another of our bedrooms, we figure it won't be long til Karl and I have to move into the garage--actually, that's not possible either since it's currently holding Horatio's "radioactive waste." It seems the radioactive iodine is excreted through urine and feces, so he has to use special litter and we have to hold it for a couple of weeks before we can throw it away.
He'll be quarantined for another 5 days. It's driving us crazy. We're not supposed to sleep with him either, but he has this uncanny way of sneaking under the bed after we're asleep. He's trying to irradiate us, I'm sure of it. He's paying us back for making him stay in the hospital for 3 days, locking him the bedroom, and feeding him that horrible kidney diet.

We let him out to visit with the other cats, but we seal off the basement where the other cats' boxes are and the master bath where his box is. This, of course, leads to the time-honored children and pet tradition of asking to go in, then out, then in, then out, then in, then out... And the added confusion of the cats staring and poking at the basement cat door after we've re-opened it trying to figure out whether it works or not. Frosty was quite upset and whining at the door, so I decided to just leave the door completely open. He didn't like that either. He nyerted more and then started pushing the door more and less open with his head. As with all things in the cat world, however, as soon as he was distracted by food or sleep, he was content again.

Horatio's not eating much, which has us very worried. I bought a postal scale (cause I'm too cheap to buy a baby scale) so we can watch his weight. Now he thinks we're going to mail him somewhere. I guess I shouldn't be trying to stuff him into one of those flat rate boxes in order to weigh him.

Enough about Horatio... back to Forgotten Cats. I've been working on a small trapping job which I've somehow managed to turn into a big deal. I've made 6 trips to the location. Since there are only 7 cats there, this seems quite inefficient. Of course, it all started with Felicia just asking me to "drop off some traps there." Beware of Felicia. This is the way she operates. It always sounds like nothing when she asks. :) I thought we were done. They caught the "last" cat this morning. I thought maybe I could return the 3 that have already been sterilized when I went to pick up the last one. But Felicia thought I should take another trap and have them keep baiting it. I rolled my eyes (over the phone.. she didn't see it...shh... don't tell her.. besides, I thinks she was rolling hers at me too). I was sure they'd caught them all. Ugh. But she convinced me. "Just take the trap. Just ask them to set it. It's not hard." OK, OK. More eye rolling. Well, turns out, there is another cat. Grr.. She's always right! Man I felt stupid. Thought I should have to write 1000 times, "Felicia is always right." Fortunately, I'm a programmer, so it doesn't take much effort on my part and my hand doesn't hurt.

We've got some success stories to report--thanks to all your voting, we won both Week 11 and Delaware in The Animal Rescue Site's Shelter+ Challenge. That's $2000 which will allow us to sterilize about a hundred cats! The next Shelter+ Challenge starts in a few weeks. Don't worry, we'll remind you to vote! To date this year, we've adopted out over 270 cats and sterilized almost 3300. We'll be having another Meals for Meows night at the Charcoal Pit on May 20th and we've updated our list of coffee vendors.

I probably shouldn't put off that other writing I have to do any longer. Besides, I need to go visit my radioactive kitty. He gets lonely up there when he doesn't have me to irradiate.

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