Our new cat

It isn’t often in life that we get 2nd chances.  It’s rarer still that those chances work out.  Geoff and I are lucky that in this case, it has.

Some of you will remember the problems Smoky was having a while back with his, well, everything.  We eventually were able to pull him back from the brink of death and get his extreme hyperthyroidism treated and we knew, after doing this, that he would be on at least 3 medications for the rest of his life.

The medications were where the problems started.  Or continued.  Smoky had been on a thyroid med and an allergy med for a long time.  Always being a fan of food and feeding time, he was a willing patient when it was time to show up and get his pill pocket loaded with medication.  The problems started after he came home from the hospital and spent his time in quarantine.

His tastes changed.  Suddenly the pill pockets were no longer interesting.  He’d still show up for them, but he was only interested in the treats that he and the other kids would get when the pill pockets were eaten (Smoky is, as you may remember, not the only medicated animal in this house.)  We changed the flavor of the pill pockets and that helped for a very short time.

So we started having to shove the pills down his throat.  Smoky generally tolerates being pilled pretty well, so it wasn’t that big a deal at first.  Then he got tired of it, and started fighting us.  He’d spit the pills out, claw us, or wait till we thought he’d swallowed then scamper away and leave the pills in interesting places.

So we got a pill popper.  He HATED that.  The addition of the pill popper into the twice daily pilling ritual ended up with us having to stalk him to get the pills into him and him hiding from us all the time.  If he was sleeping or relaxing anywhere in the house and one of us walked by he’d run and hide.  He’d even hide from us at meal time and try to eat when we were out of the house or sleeping.

The upshot to all of this is that Smoky was really unhappy, really skinny, he was mad at us and peeing on things, and we weren’t sure how much longer we were going to be able to keep up with trying (and failing) to medicate him while he was quite literally fading away.

We knew that the chances were good that if we didn’t figure out a way to fix the problem we’d lose him.  We were either going to have to put him down for his own good or we were going to wake up one morning and find him dead somewhere in the house.  We also knew that it was possible that we might be able to have his medication compounded into some stinky tasty flavor, but we weren’t sure if we could afford it.  We were playing a dangerous game of trying to hold out to pay for the compounding until one of us got a job vs. Smoky’s declining health.  That’s a crappy game for all involved.

A couple of weeks ago we started calling around and discovered that the local family owned pharmacy down the street, Skenderian, compounds drugs for animals and people and that we’d be able to come up with the money for at least one month for Smoky.  We asked them to make the stinkiest/tastiest concoction possible and within 24 hours we had 3 little bottles with directions, syringes, and we were ready to go.  And it was remarkably affordable.

What happened next was a miracle.  Not only did Smoky lap the little mixture right up, he bothers us for his meds now.  Every time we go near the fridge he comes running to see if it is time for more fishy noms.  He’s gaining weight, his chicken legs are gone, and his appetite is back.  He wants to eat all the time now.  We’re actually buying extra wet food just to keep him happy.

The best development of all is that he’s happy, he no longer runs from us, and he has, shocker of shockers, turned into a lap cat.  You have to understand.  Smoky has been borderline feral for most of his life.  I adopted him when he was 8 weeks old.  He was a shelter kitten and had been weaned a little early because his mother got sick and they didn’t want the kittens to get what she had.  He grew up with older brother, Bucky, being spoiled, never wanting for a thing, and scared of his own shadow.  He hated being held, confined in any way, and really only stopped for attention when he was being brushed.

And out of the blue about a week ago he started sitting on my lap.  I was so shocked I stopped my work at my laptop and just sat there.  He only stayed for a few minutes at first, but the other day he sat in my lap for almost an hour purring merrily.

I guess you can teach an old cat new tricks.  He’s 12, almost 13, years old and he’s literally turned over a new leaf.  Geoff and I can’t be happier.  Welcome back, Smoky.  Here’s to the rest of your lives.


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