It's been about a long time since I posted a cat update, so here is some news, plus a bunch of pics, for the cat fans among you. Charles and Elsa are now grown up. They had their first birthdays in the last week of July. They still are pips and we love them to pieces. They are so funny, so silly, so sweet; their antics keep us laughing, and watching them tear around the house makes us feel young and spry ourselves. They still have their health issues, through, most troublesome their chronic gingivitis. I brush and rinse their teeth with an enzymatic paste and rub their gums with an enzymatic gel daily when I'm here (which is most of the time). That seems to keep it under control. Angelo also gets his teeth brushed, but his dental issues predate the arrival of Charles and Elsa.
Angelo getting his teeth brushed and rinsed:
Elsa getting her teeth brushed (sorry, no shots yet of Charles getting his teeth brushed):
Our new vet thinks Charles and Elsa's gum condition is related to their long, drawn-out upper respiratory illness as kittens. "From what you say, it didn't respond to antibiotics, but just went on and on. If they'd had something bacterial they'd have been cured or dead", he said. The breeder thought what they had was a series of stubborn colds. But the vet thinks they probably contracted feline herpes, a condition which, like herpes in humans who suffer from chronic cold sores, is viral and life-long, flaring up in times of stress or when the immune system is otherwise taxed. An adult cat that helped raise Elsa at the cattery had herpes. The breeder did not hide the fact that she had herpes, but the breeder also said the kittens didn't/couldn't get it from her. It seems she was probably wrong. But, as I said, other than their gum disease and a continuing tendency to be sneezy, they are great, very active and very fit.
Angelo, now nine, is still his own dear, whining, love-hungry self. But he has had troubling kidney readings, at his tooth-cleaning this summer and his check-up this fall, so he's been going to the vet's for hydration (subcutaneously injected fluids) every week since December. Plus he gets a special nutritional supplement for cats with kidney issues, and is eating a food formulated for weak kidneys. We have our fingers crossed that Angelo hasn't got acute kidney disease or kidney cancer. He just had another blood test last week and I should hear the results tomorrow. We worry because his brother died at four of kidney cancer, although he got very sick, very fast.
But, that's life, having pets. They all have health problems sooner or later (although ours seem to have them sooner than later, or perhaps Siamese really is the "weak breed" it's rumoured to be). When they do, you have to deal with it. They make you worry when they're ill, they break your heart when they die, but they make our lives so rich.
Below is a series of photos that are actually screencaps from a video. The three cats had been sleeping in a pile here on the guest room bed, when Charles began to give Elsa an ear bath. I got out the camera. They both love sucking on body parts; Elsa sucks on the tip of her tail. There's nothing more disgusting than letting her come under to covers to find that the end of her tail is sopping wet with spit. Charles loves to suck on ears. We have some shots of him chewing and sucking on Angelo's ears, which Angelo seems to enjoy. But the series below show Charles sucking and chewing on Elsa's ears, as well as her neck. She seems not only not to mind, she seems to positively it.
Here are photos my husband took more recently. The cats were on top of me while I was trying to read. Notice that Charles started out on my chest (considered by the cats to be the best spot, up near my face), with Angelo farthest away. But as the video was being shot, Angelo supplanted Charles. Angelo looks so smug in the last frame, having ousted Charles from the choice spot, Charles left to sulk on my shins.
~ Sweerts, Michael: 'Self-portrait', plus jan-u-wine's "At the Last", 1-30-10.