RMW: the blog

Roslyn's photography, art, cats, exploring, writing, life


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Feline Friday – #26 – never a dull moment

frankie-freddie

My three cats, Pharoah, Freddie and Frankie are a constant source of amusement. So here are some recent photos of their hijinks.

As soon as I am out of bed in the morning, Freddie (black and white) and Frankie (grey and white) race into the bathroom to see who can jump into the bathtub first. I have to turn on a trickle of water so they can get their early morning drink. Because of the drought in California they only get a couple of minutes of this activity. Also because I don’t drink water straight out of the tap and don’t think they should either.

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Pharoah (at top) and Freddie taking advantage of the cool tile floor and the breezes wafting in from the front patio door.

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Pharoah posing for his close-up. His funky eye is doing really well lately. Hope I haven’t spoken too soon.

He is a feral cat and if I got within three feet of him he would take off in a nanosecond. At this point he is deciding if I am too close.

frankie-freddie

Frankie and Freddie are checking out the cat carrier that Frankie took a trip in yesterday when we had a big scare.

In the morning I couldn’t find Frankie anywhere in the house. Usually he sleeps on the bed and gets up when I do. After twenty minutes of searching in every nook and cranny in the house and calling his name he still didn’t make an appearance. Then he came out of nowhere, sniffed at his dish in the kitchen and ran off upstairs.

I located him squeezed into the space between a file cabinet and the day bed in my office. What the heck was he doing there? Usually in the mornings is when he is charging up and down the stairs, careening around the living room chasing his toys, jumping on Freddie and generally being a big nuisance while I am trying to make my coffee.

I managed to turn his head up so he was looking at me. The pupil in his right eye was completely dilated… a big black saucer… while his left eye was just a tiny slit.

I looked up the symptoms on the internet and found the term “anisocoria.” There are various causes but the one thing that kept jumping out at me as I read about it on various sites was the advice to take the cat to the vet immediately. So out came the cat carrier and off we went.

The vet spewed out a bunch of technical terms explaining to me why all the reasons for his anisocoria could not be any of the normal causes. She basically looked at me and said she didn’t know what was wrong. Great. All I knew was that Frankie was not himself. Even at the vet he was trying to stay curled up in his carrier when normally he would be jumping all over the room exploring everything.

While we were there anyway I asked her to look at his gums to see how his gingivitis stomatitis was doing. Oh my. I could see his gums were red, raw and bleeding all over again just like his last bout with the disease back in March. Click here to read a post about it.  I asked her if this could be the cause of the anisocoria but she didn’t see a correlation. However, it was probably the reason for his odd behavior.

I decided to have a blood panel run anyway, just in case there was some other mysterious illness lurking in his body. She also gave him two follow-up shots for the gingivitis.

In the evening Frankie ate a little dinner then slept the night away on the bed. This morning he ate breakfast and was back to his perky, nuisance self. His right eye is still dilated a little more than the right one but nothing like yesterday.

So I’m thinking the inflammation from the gingivitis did indeed have something to do with the dilation of his eye.

I’m waiting to hear the result of his blood panel today. But at this point it’s a matter of watching him. And as the vet said yesterday, the best decision is probably to have all his teeth removed so he doesn’t have to suffer through this for the rest of his life. So I have to think about that.

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This morning he was back helping me with my art project. Maybe you can see from the photo, his right pupil is a teensy bit bigger than the left. But at this moment in time, Frankie is giving everything thumbs up!

frankie screen door

And for all you film buffs out there, this last photo is Freddie’s tribute to Swedish director Ingmar Bergman, Through a Screen Door Darkly.

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!

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Feline Friday – #13 – Frankie’s disease with the long name

frankie

As the whole world knows by now (!) Frankie chose to come live at our house in December, 2013. From the beginning he has been a spunky little cat causing as much trouble as is felinely possible.

From day one I discovered he had really bad breath. And as time went on it got to the point where his breath could kill a skunk. This was not so cool as he has always liked sleeping with his head under my chin and I was getting a good whiff every time I breathed in!

He was also drooling and smacking his lips loudly all the time.

In August of last year I took him to his regular vet as his worms had returned. At the same time I asked the vet about the halitosis and drooling. He took one look in Frankie’s mouth and said everything looked okay.

I wondered if it had something to do with the worms returning so I figured I would let it go and see what happened.

The bad breath got so bad I was really thinking a mouse had died in his tummy! And the lip smacking and drooling also had not gone away.

I called a friend who recommended another vet so I could get a second opinion.

When I called and described the symptoms over the phone to the receptionist she said it sounded like something to do with his teeth. I thought, how could she know that when she hasn’t even seen the cat?

Well, the vet took one look inside his mouth and said, this is the problem! (Warning! Do not read any further if you are squeamish.)

Oh my goodness. I was not ready for what I saw. She had pulled down his lower lip to show me his gums that were bright red, raw, bleeding and covered in ulcers. Poor baby!

The condition is known as lymphocytic plasmacytic gingivitis stomatitis… the words rolled right off her tongue like she said them every half hour! She said this was the most severe case she had ever seen… and certainly never in a cat so young. Usually they don’t develop this until they are much older. And Frankie is only eighteen months.

Apparently it’s caused by a cat being allergic to the plaque build-up on their teeth. It can either be an auto-immune syndrome or leukemia. In serious cases like Frankie, ultimately all the cat’s teeth have to be removed.

frankie

If you really have a strong stomach and want to see what this looks like, Google the words “lymphocytic plasmacytic gingivitis stomatitis photos”… and I assure you the worst of these is not as bad as what Frankie’s mouth looks like.

The vet gave him a steroid and anti-biotic shot. I made an appointment right away with the dental surgeon to have the plaque removed from his teeth and the removal of three teeth that couldn’t be saved. While he was anesthetized I authorized a biopsy. The good news on the biopsy, if anything about this can be good, is that his disease is an immune problem, not cancer.

After I adopted Frankie from the animal shelter, I read the pages and pages of his medical history and realized he had been one really sick cat rescued from wandering the streets. So it isn’t a huge surprise that he has this disease. My feral cat Pharoah also has an auto-immune disease that affects his left eye in which he has very little vision, if any. I did a lot of research on the topic and found that administering L-lysene to Pharoah in the form of treats and powder mixed in his food has helped him greatly and saved him from having the eye removed.

So I’m now starting Frankie on low doses. He will still have to be given more antibiotic and steroid shots and probably have to undergo more plaque removal. At least now his bad breath has abated and he is no longer drooling and smacking his lips. So I am hoping we can avoid the removal of all his teeth.

If I had know about Frankie’s medical history before he adopted me, and had I seen all this coming, would that have changed my mind about him being part of the family? I doubt it. Frankie is the sweetest, if naughtiest, cat on the planet and without him there would be a big hole in my life. I am sure Freddie and Pharoah would tell you the same thing.

At this point we are all crossing our fingers, toes and paws that Frankie will have a good long life.

But the question remains, given the obvious symptoms, even without seeing the gums, why didn’t the original vet catch it last year?

Photos: The first photo was taken a few months ago. The second photo I just took five minutes ago showing his leg shaved for the IV.

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!