Archive for cats

Cat’s Paw

Posted in Columbo with tags , on July 27, 2011 by telescoper

Back late from a very pleasant evening out with the Cardiff cosmology group, I’ve just got time for a quick post to avoid letting my blogging average slip. Today’s been an enjoyable one, but also a bit fraught. Columbo suddenly developed a rather exaggerated limp this morning. At first I thought it was a deterioration of his arthritis but on closer inspection I discovered that he has a swelling on one paw. He’s also indulging in the strange practice of putting the affected paw in his water dish. It’s obviously causing him a bit of discomfort, but the likeliest explanation is that he’s been bitten by a wasp or something; if so it will eventually die down. I’ve left him alone all day and it doesn’t seem any better now that I’m home. I think I’ll leave it overnight and if it hasn’t improved by the morning I’ll have to get him checked out by the vet. Apart from the difficulty walking, however, he doesn’t seem too bad so I hope whatever is troubling him is a minor ailment.

Other than that, there’s not much to report other than it’s an exceptionally sultry evening and it’s nice to have my former PhD student and current postdoc at Cape Town, Rockhee Sung, visiting, in whose honour we had dinner tonight. Rockhee and Columbo are old acquaintances from Beeston days, in fact, so it will be interesting to see how they get on when they meet again, which hopefully won’t be too long!

Cool Columbo

Posted in Columbo with tags , on July 4, 2011 by telescoper

I thought I’d post a quick update about ye olde Columbo because last week I mentioned that I was a bit concerned about his health. I’m glad to report that there’s been no re-occurrence of sickness (that I’ve seen). I started him back on the anti-inflammatory drug and that, probably together with the warm weather we’ve been having recently, has improved his mood considerably. He’s been spending most of his time outdoors lately, in the shade among the bushes at the end of the garden, emerging only to answer the call of nature or to cadge some food. Despite the fact that he’s not exactly Speedy Gonzalez these days it’s still quite difficult to take a picture of him, as he won’t look at the camera, and when I do manage to get a snap he always seems to look grumpy.

 

The State of Columbo

Posted in Columbo with tags , on June 28, 2011 by telescoper

Up bright and early this morning as I have to spend the day in the Big Smoke on external examining duty, after which I’m going to see Tosca at Covent Garden. Anyway, just time for a quick snap of Columbo while I drink my coffee. I’m a little concerned about him. Yesterday he was sick in his basket, which may be a side-effect of his new arthritis medication, so I’ve stopped giving it to him. I’ll try again with a small dose in a day or two and if he gets ill again I’ll just throw the stuff away. I hope it’s nothing worse than a dicky tummy.

Cat Call

Posted in Columbo with tags , , , on June 16, 2011 by telescoper

Just time for a quick post today, as I’m off to the airport this afternoon for a short trip (which I’ll no doubt blog about at the weekend when I get back). I’m also late into the office because I had to take my cat Columbo to the vet for his six-monthly check-up.

Columbo is now 17 years old (and a few months) and has been diabetic for the last six or seven of those. He needs to have a check-up every 6 months primarily to monitor whether his insulin dose (which is administered twice a day) is adequate to control his blood sugar level. The vet also gives him a general medical, and weighs him, during these visits.

This morning Columbo was even more reluctant than usual to get into his box for the trip to the vets. Eventually I got him in, but was apprehensive. Usually when he’s in that sort of mood he retaliates by befouling the box. This time, however, he settled down quite quickly and there were no toiletary disasters en route. The vet’s waiting room was empty when we arrived at 9am so we got seen straight away.

The vet was impressed by his age, especially when she saw how long he has been diabetic. Even without this condition 16 is a pretty good age for a tom cat. Columbo has been through a number of serious medical episodes, at least a couple of which took him near death, but he has always managed to bounce back. He may be an old boy now, but he gets 10/10 for resilience. Looking back over his (substantial) medical history, the vet seems to be amazed by his powers of recovery although history is now definitely taking its toll and he’s looking a bit frail nowadays.

The vet noted the effects of the advancing years. His eyesight has clearly dimmed. He’s never been very good at catching birds and mice, but I think he struggles even to see them nowadays. Despite the glucosamine treatment he has been having, his arthritis has also deteriorated. The stiffness in his joints makes it difficult for him to groom himself, so his coat isn’t in great condition even though I brush him regularly. He’s also lost a bit of weight since the last visit; not enough to be life-threatening, but significant nevertheless.

On the other hand, his heartbeat and other vital signs seem to be in order, and he purred contentedly on the table during the examination. The vet was a little concerned about his weight loss, but said he clearly wasn’t in any discomfort and trying to prod and probe, take blood samples and whatever to find out the reason was just going to cause him distress. And even if they could fix it, he was still going to be a very old cat if and when he recovered and there’s no cure for old age.

During these visits the vet usually takes a blood sample in order to check glucose and fructosamine levels for diagnostic purposes. This time, however, she suggested that it was probably best to skip it. The business of drawing a vial of blood from a cat’s neck is unpleasant and extremely distressing for the animal. Given that his bodily signs were OK, there seemed little point in subjecting him to this. Instead she suggested we just maintain the current insulin level unless and until something appears to go wrong. I agreed.

Not doing the blood tests saved me a bit of money, but that’s not the point at all. I know the old boy is much nearer the end of his life than the beginning. I just want his last days to be as comfortable and happy as possible. I don’t see the point of making him uncomfortable to satisfy veterinary curiosity or to prolong his life by a few months. When the time comes, I’d rather he went peacefully.

The one thing I did agree on was to try some anti-inflammatory treatment for his arthritis, stuff you squirt on food. If that works it might make it easier for him to get around, and also groom himself. It does have a side-effect with some cats, making them nauseous, so I have to build it up slowly and keep an eye on him in case he gets sick.

Anyway, when it was time to go he climbed willingly into his box – the cat-box process is a very different business at the vet compared to what it’s like at home. When we got home he bundled out at high speed and headed straight for his food dish. He still has a healthy appetite, that’s for sure.

Here’s a quick picture for his fans, taken just before he went in his basket for a nap.

Old Boy Network

Posted in Columbo with tags , on May 17, 2011 by telescoper

It’s only after spending what seems like weeks catching up after my short holiday that I realise I’ve forgotten to post the update that probably most people care about, i.e. my old moggy Columbo.

Well, although he’s not getting any younger he’s still doing OK. I had to make use of the services of a petsitter while I was away (both at NAM and then on holidays). It turns out the lady who usually comes wasn’t available all the time so I had two different people coming to the house at various times. His support network is becoming extensive.

He is of course pretty old now – he was 17 in March – and he’s showing quite a few signs of age. He has been suffering from arthritis in his legs for a while, but the medication seems at least to have stopped it getting worse. He still has a bit of a struggle sometimes getting up and lying down but the discomfort obviously doesn’t last too long. If it gets to the point where he’s in pain all the time then I’ll have to think very hard about what to do.

Despite this ailment (and his continuing diabetes) he still seems happy enough to potter about in the garden in between lengthy snoozes, more often than not on my bed. He’s also still got a healthy appetite. The only times he’s ever been off his food have been when he was really ill, so as long as he’s eating I reckon he’s basically OK. That’s why I don’t mind him cadging for snacks, as is his wont..

Columbo’s basically a friendly old chap and there are occasions when he clearly enjoys having other people around. At other times, though, increasingly frequent now, he clearly prefers his own company and goes off on his own somewhere. I know him well enough not to bother him when he’s in that mood. Actually, Columbo and I are pretty similar in that craving for solitude. We old boys like to keep ourselves to ourselves.

Share/Bookmark

Columbo’s Birthday

Posted in Columbo with tags , on March 31, 2011 by telescoper

It’s been a while since I last posted an update about my old moggy, Columbo. In truth I’ve been waiting until today to post about him, because today is his birthday. He’s 17, not bad for a diabetic tom cat. Yesterday I bought some fresh prawns and this morning gave them to him as a treat. He demolished them so quickly I doubt if they even touched the sides. Technically he’s supposed to be restricted to special diabetic food but it’s a one-off so I decided to splash out. Anyway, here’s a close up of him looking close up. This is his tactic when there’s cheese on my plate.


Share/Bookmark

Baby Columbo

Posted in Columbo with tags , on January 24, 2011 by telescoper

No time for a proper post today, so I thought I’d put up a gratuitously cute picture of my old moggy Columbo, taken when he was a youngster – about 16¾ years ago. Feel free to say “awwww…”. Oh, and the beardy weirdy in the picture is me, also in a younger incarnation.

 

 


Share/Bookmark

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,995 other followers