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?"