Sunday, July 13, 2008

Backyard nemesis and a week of frustration

I have been wondering what to write about for several days, but I seem to have writer's block, or maybe I'm just too lazy to post anything. This past week Red and I have been dealing with Avalanche's illness. The weather has been a factor and he seems to be failing rapidly. Avalanche is 12 years old and has been an indoor cat for the past 10 years. He is the only one of four cats who is FIV positive which doesn't help his situation at all.
This week we have dealt with hot temps and smazy skies. A few days after I had posted about clear skies the smoke returned. At least I haven't had to smell it except for a few moments a few days ago. And luckily I work in an air conditioned building. But I do have to deal with the elements when walking to work and back home again.
As for other frustrations we are all lacking sleep because one of the dogs goes berzerk whenever she hears firecrackers/fireworks. And it always seems to happen after we've gone to bed. I usually put the dogs in the kennel for the night just before retiring, and within a few minutes Mick is clawing at the chain link fencing of their kennel and is showing signs of being completely stressed out. It really bugs me that we have such inconsiderate neighbors (somewhere around here) that continually set off these noise makers that are illegal here in California. Fourth of July isn't good enough; they have to do it almost every night all summer long, and many times on other holiday weekends, too. I just wish the police could find these jerks and seize their noisy toys.
Not only that, but Avalanche has awaken me a couple nights in a row around 3:30 in the morning. He's usually hungry since he hasn't been eating on a regular schedule. Red and I took Avalanche to the vet earlier in the week to find out why he wasn't eating (again). And we kind of knew it had something to do with his mouth. We then found out that due to his kidney disease/failure that he has developed ulcers, at least in his mouth. Apparently, with kidney disease there are a lot of toxins in one's system that are creating havoc and causing an upset stomach and lack of appetite, etc. We are giving him an antibiotic (amoxycillin) to help with the mouth ulcer infection. We've also had to start giving him soft liquidy food. He as well as the other cats have always eaten dry food, so this is a fairly new experience for us. Also, because of nausea and lack of appetite we've had to try giving Avalanche a quarter of a Pepcid tablet and a quarter of an appetite enhancer (cyproheptadine) at least once a day. And now for the past two days and nights we are dealing with Avalanche's mouth bleeding. So we are not only trying to keep him cleaned up, but we end up with his blood all over our clothing. And now I'm fearing anemia. We've also been told that this disease also causes a big loss of calcium which means we are also trying to get calcium carbonate down this little guy. I have been trying to liquefy Tums and giving it to him with some nonfat milk. It's funny how he shows an interest in eating but then he walks away from it. So something tells me that the smell of food attracts him, but then possibly feels nauseous after he gets close to it.

Anyway, on a more up note or even an amusing experience: we've been enjoying this resident mockingbird singing his heart out. But every time I try to get a picture of him he flies away only to come back when I get back in the house. I swear he is teasing me! Today I tried again to get his picture because I knew he was really close by. I located him in the tree that is in my neighbor's yard, just on the other side of our backyard fence. I no sooner located him and got my camera focused and he flew off into the redwood tree that is in the same neighbor's yard. So I decided to take a video so I could share his song with all of you. I took the video of the tree where I first saw him. By the way, if anyone can identify this beautiful tree with yellow flowering bunches, please let me know.


Lynne said...

Dear Mary,
I'm sorry you're having such a tough time with Avalanche. It sounds like many things are piling up to make life even more stressful for you. I hope it all evens out and that your kitty is able to be comfortable again.

Thanks for the mocker song. They are quite uncommon here- I've only seen them in Arizona.

Ruth said...

Our dog is fearful of fireworks and thunder and we have had plenty of both lately. We have had the rain and cool temperatures you need for those persistent fires. I have yet to see a Mockingbird. They are rare here too.

Martha said...

Mary, I was wondering about Avalanche. Our pets are so precious to us. We have a dog who also does not like thunder, fireworks, motorcycles, etc. She can shake the whole bed at night.

Mary C said...

Lynne - thanks for the good thoughts about Avalanche, but I can see this is going to be a tougher week with him unless he has a miraculous turn around. I didn't realize that mockingbirds weren't all over the country. Glad you enjoyed its song.

Ruth - do you have anything that helps calm your dog? I've tried herbal anti-stress "supplements" with chamomile and L-tryptophan, but it doesn't seem to be working with Mick. As for mockingbirds, knowing they are territorial we only get to hear/see one at a time around here. There used to be one mockingbird where I lived before moving here. And then just last year started to hear one around here. I really love their cheery singing. And so far, I've only heard this bird during the day, although many other folks have said they sing at night.

Martha, thanks for stopping by. Yes, our pets are all so precious to us and we feel so helpless and frustrated when we see them suffering and don't know what to do to comfort them. I know that Mick does much better when we bring her inside, but that usually means we have to put the cats in a bedroom and shut the door. Mick has never learned to "accept" the cats so she is mostly an outdoor dog, thus her anxiety and stress when hearing "popping" sounds. She was abused before (where she used to live) by strangers who thought it was fun to throw firecrackers into her kennel.

Mary said...

Hi Mary,

I understand your concern and frustration with Avalanche. You look at them, knowing something is wrong... Sorry about his health.

And those fireworks! Same here! Not only on July 4 weekend but all summer long. My dogs head inside the house quickly when they hear a crack but they're fine once inside.

Thunder is a problem for Chloe (the oldest one). She developed a fear of it about two years ago and shakes and trembles so terribly that you can hear her teeth chatter in the next room!

Oh, these precious animals. I love your dog's blue eyes!

You don't need to chase Mockingbirders here - they're EVERYWHERE!

Sorry I haven't been here for a while. I haven't read any blogs regularly in over a month :o(


Mary C said...

Mary, no problem about not visiting. It seems I'm always at least a few days behind in reading everyone's posts, and then I'm too embarassed to leave a comment so much later. But I'm learning "better late than not at all." I'm glad you (and Ruth and Martha) can allow your dogs in the house at night. At least they feel safer that way. It's too bad I'm not able to do that with Mick because of the cats and we would have to keep doors shut which does not allow air flow at night. And poor, poor Chloe. I wonder if giving her some chamomile and/or L-tryptophan would help. I recently bought a tube of Vital Nutrition Canine Calm Ease from Drs Foster and Smith (online) and L-Tryptophan is something our vet suggested to try. Unfortunately, it only works when we bring Mick inside - then she calms down. But while she is outside nothing seems to work. (sigh)

KGMom said...

Mary--awww, poor Avalanche. I just hate it when our pets get sick. We had a cat several years ago with failing kidneys. Such a sad decline for a very loving cat.
Hope Avalanche has some good times left, and that you can enjoy his furry presence.
Same here in PA regarding fireworks. Our dog freaks--also at thunder. I heard on our local news this year that more dogs go missing on July 4 than any other day of the year. There are likely few dogs that really ENJOY hearing fireworks explode.

Linda in Erie said...

I can identify with the failing health of your cat. We are dealing with a similar situation. I love your Mockingbird recording. He's just trying out all his sounds. They are really talented birds! We have lots of Catbirds here that just go to town on their songs,too. I love hearing them.

Larry said...

Wow-I think someone fed that Mockingbird some high test coffee!He's singing at full force.-Good video/audio!

Mary C said...

It looks as though I missed a couple of comments here. My apologies.

Donna - as you may be aware by now we lost Avalanche on Saturday (Jul 19). I also had hoped he would have at least several more months to go, but it wasn't meant to be. Unfortunately, we are still dealing with popping sounds on a daily basis every night - and Mick freaks. We end up putting the cats in a bedroom (shutting a few doors) and then letting both dogs in for a few hours until Mick settles down.

Linda - I know you already know about Avalanche. I'm glad you enjoyed the mockingbird recording. Funny thing, I haven't heard the mockingbird in the past several days. I wonder if he moved on to "greener pastures." ;o)

Larry - thanks. I like your thought about the bird having some high test coffee. He certainly was a strong singer.


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