Thursday, April 11, 2013

Smelly Cat

Old man Norman is riding the health roller coaster again. His poor intestines are in a state of constant flux... bouts of dehydration, weight loss, lethargy, and diarrhea are NO FUN (for any of us). Before we left for the mountains, the vet put him on a regimen of subcutaneous fluids and steroids, followed up by some at-home medication designed to get him back in tip top shape.

My big clues to the beginning of his recovery are behavioral. Over the past few days, he is perkier. Norman is active, interested in life, attention seeking, and cuddly. He spent yesterday purring in the bathroom with the contractors, supervising while they fixed the source of the water leak into the laundry room (How to know your contractor is a good guy... I asked a million times if Norm was in the way and tried to remove him more than once. But I would always be told, "No, leave him. He's a good dude.") There are, however, physical clues that also point to Norm not quite being over this go-round: 

He's a bit... he's a lot... well, he smells. The litter box situation is improved, but not yet ideal. But the gas... OH THE GAS!!!! I can smell him around the corner. I can smell him across the room. I can smell him when he leaves the vicinity. I'm contemplating attaching a Glade air freshening product to his collar (or perhaps sticking it to his tail might work better). 

"Is it REALLY necessary to discuss such things in public?
I'm an old man and I pass gas. Deal with it."

Our vet ran another senior blood panel to compare against the results of the test she did in December. Everything appears blissfully within normal ranges, except for his pancreatic enzymes, which are elevated. The vet is thinking that we might have a diagnosis of pancreatitis. The standard treatment is exactly what has worked for him before... fluids, rest, and Metronidazole. It's working this time too (although perhaps not quite as quickly... which I suppose can be attributed to the fact that we haven't been here to monitor his progress).

For now we're in a holding pattern. We won't run any pancreatic-specific attacks until he has another acute attack. In the meantime, we're just watching, recording, and evaluating. I'm slowly trying to change his food to a more pancreas-friendly diet. The vet is recommending that we start with a bland diet and protein-based. You all have recommended grain-free. The internet at-large says low fat, poultry based protein, and no corn or wheat. 

"Well, what the heck CAN Norman eat then?"

I'm thinking that means no more pastries...

or Sun Chips...

Or Crazy Bread either.

"Well you're just determined to ruin ALL of my fun, aren't you Lady?"

If you know any more about the care and feeding of an old kitty with a bum pancreas, keep the suggestions rolling in. This is something that I am a COMPLETE novice about. We're transitioning slowly with his diet so if you want to chime in with more advice, I can add or subtract as we go. Kibble seems to be making the easier adjustment in his system. He likes Blue Wilderness (heck, he likes anything... this is NORMAN, after all) and it has helped somewhat. Canned food has proven more of a problem. Again, he will eat anything but all of that anything doesn't seem to agree with his system (as evidenced by the litter box explosions he leaves in his wake). Finding the right protein in the right combination is tougher than I thought. But we'll keep on trucking until we get him back on track.

"Excuse me, Lady? Ruby has a question."

"You're not going to take the Slurpees away because Norman stinks, are you?"


  1. kelly - I think you have already seen, and (and I think they reference each other and a few other sites.)
    I feed with their basic no bones recipe: 1kilo chicken thigh fillets, 200g chicken hearts, 100g chicken liver, 2 tblspoons salmon oil, 2 egg yolks (sometimes) and a specialist additive mix - we have an all natural Australian one but I have seen US ones - they have all the vitamins and additives that make for a complete meal. Mix in food processor - makes enough for about 20 serves - store in freezer in tupperware. Half the cost of purchased food. I also feed grain free canned food like ZiwiPeak, just to make sure they get everything and NO kibble. if he'll chew bones perhaps raw chicken wings?
    USA has HEAPS of really good frozen and canned meals for cats (unlike here where they are all banned)
    Best wishes with him! I hope they little finds a new way to live out his senior years

  2. I'm sure someone's mentioned this already, but I always found that adding a bit of pumpkin to the canned food was a good way to help firm up the poops if one of my cats was having those, er... explosions. That little bit of extra fiber seemed to help. It might be worth a try while you transition his diet over. :)

  3. Glad Norman is at least a little on the mend. I had similar explosive problems with my younger cat when he was a kitten; he ended up in the hospital for weeks and eventually on some experimental antibiotics, which cured him. I imagine you're spending a lot of time cleaning up the litterbox and its environs, not to mention being amazed by all the gas. And then there's the matter of keeping his legs &c. clean... I feel for both of you and hope this middle-aged master of charisma can turn the corner. Meanwhile, Ruby is turning into a lovely, lanky young thing, isn't she?

  4. poor Norman - getting old isn't for amateurs. And no more crazy bread? that is just rude....hope he at least gets to sniff the bag :)

    1. He's ticked about the crazy bread. I told him that he could lick the extra cheese topping out of the bag.

  5. Oh boy, this does not sound fun. I would hate to take away a favorite food, especially on an old kitty. Cheese out of the crazy bread package is good though, cheese is a binder, MOL might help! Then again, it's dairy, and some kitties have the opposite reaction to it! My Star can eat cheese from sun up to sun down if I'd let her.. But it's my Leo who can clear a room with just one silent air born attack... Ugh let me tell you! I do not envy you with those issues!
    Here's hoping he continues to improve!

  6. Now, Norman, you know not every kitty has a song just about them, so don't worry that your mom is "airing" your problems! Just feel better, baby boy!

  7. I'm visiting from Love and Hisses. One of my cats has bouts of pancreatitis. Watch for guar gum and carrageenan in canned food. Sissy has problems with them.

    Cat wipes are available in pet supply stores. You might try them on Norman to help with the smell. I know it can be bad. We had one episode when Sissy stunk up the whole apartment. It was awful.

    We hope you'll feel better soon, Norman.