Bumps in the Road

So we’ve hit a few bumps in the road. Both Zissou and Esteban seem to be showing signs of sensitive tummies and, as some of you may have read on the forums, Esteban seems to be showing signs of phantom limb pain. We even thought for a little bit that maybe Zissou was experiencing phantom pain in her tail.

The sensitive tummy issue has been the easiest bump to smooth out. I went to PetSmart and comparison shopped for a sensitive stomach diet for Zissou as hers was the first to manifest in mild vomiting and diarrhea. I wasn’t super impressed with the options in my budget range. I was trying to keep a future home in mind, knowing that they may not want to spend as much as I would. When I think sensitive stomach diet, I think fish as a first ingredient. A lot of the “cheaper” sensitive stomach diets had poultry as first ingredients. I left with Purina Pro Plan sensitive skin and stomach, which has herring as a first ingredient. I feed all of my own pets Pro Plan, so I was very happy with the purchase I made. I’ll just be holding out hope that her new home is willing to spend a little more to keep her belly happy because so far, we’ve had great success feeding her this food. Today is the first day I’ve fed Esteban this food as his sensitive tummy issues have just started to manifest in the form of …errr…gas heh heh.

Our theory on Zissou’s phantom pain is still up in the air. When she first came to us, she was super growly. She became more friendly with us quickly, but continued to be growly and moody with all of the other animals. Jay speculated that losing her tail was causing the rapid mood swings as her tail is technically part of her spinal column. Lately, though, she’s been less growly and more social with everyone. Steve was the first of our own pets to stand up to Zissou and hang out with her, even when she was growling and hissing, so we absolutely have Steve to thank for Zissou’s turn around. Steve taught Zissou how to play! Zissou now plays with Steve, Saxon, Spyder, and Esteban! It’s so funny to see them all zooming around the kitchen! Really, we hear them banging around more than we see them!! Still, though, she has moments where she lashes out for no reason. She was just laying with Jay while he studied and he said that she was biting his hand out of nowhere.

Esteban’s phantom pain is my biggest worry. He will jump onto my lap to snuggle, ask for attention, then bite and yell at me out of nowhere. I’ve also seen him be eating, then yell and bite at the air in the direction of his amputated leg when no one was there touching him. He has days – or even hours – where he’s irritable for seemingly no reason, then days – or hours – where he’s super sweet and cuddly and nothing bothers him. He can go from laying on the couch in that crouched pose that makes it look like he’s in pain to running from room to room doing cat zoomies!

The weather here in Upstate NY has not been conducive to getting out of the house much. I called the humane society last week to set up a vet appointment for first thing this coming week. Ten minutes after I hung up the phone, the forecast came on the news saying we were going to have a “long term snow event” lasting from Saturday through Monday night. Ugh!! I don’t mind the snow but I need to get things done!! I called the humane society back and rescheduled for Tuesday! (So far there’s something like 7 inches on the ground on top of last week’s foot and we’re expecting another foot by the end of the day tomorrow I think.)

So fingers are crossed for good news on Tuesday. I don’t know what kind of experience the vet has with phantom limb pain, so I really appreciate all of the input I’ve gotten here. It means that I can go into the appointment prepared. I’m really glad that I decided to keep Esteban in foster care longer. If he had gone to a home and bitten somebody (god forbid a child) because of phantom limb pain, he could have been returned to the shelter and been put on a bite hold! His future would have been so uncertain after that! This is why foster homes are so important!!

Here are some silly pictures of Zissou since Esteban has escaped my camera recently:

This was the first day Steve taught Zissou how to play!
From the first day of Steve teaching Zissou how to play
zissou vanity 3
Zissou is working on her beauty routine!!

zissou vanity 1 zissou vanity 2

Author: stevethetripawdlady

Born and raised in Upstate NY and a volunteer at Mohawk Hudson Humane Society in Menands, NY. That's where Steve came from. Remember, Steve is a girl!

6 thoughts on “Bumps in the Road”

  1. Go Zissou! Learning how to play! Or … condescending to play–she is a kat after all 🙂

    This kitty on and off again thing–isn’t that just par for the course with kats? Its been a looooong time since we had kitties in our house. But dang, they were always kinda fickle. Love you, love you not kinda vibe. Sounds like they are still both adjusting big time.

    We are so hoppy that you are giving these balls o’ fur a grrrrreat foster home so they can work out the tripawd (and tail amp) thang. And Steve …. you are totally pawesome for putting up with it all!

    Codie Rae and the OP

    1. Steve never went through any of these attitude changes like this post op. Spyder had a rough go of it before we adopted him, so we don’t really weigh cat personalities against his. Saxon is incredibly mellow. It takes a lot to bother him. Maybe we just got lucky with Steve (definitely with Saxon).

  2. I hope you get some help with Esteban’s potential phantom pain. That must be somewhat stressful. I only noticed it with Mona once where she, Eli (other cat) and I were on the couch together about a week after the surgery and Mona suddenly jumped up and screeched and ran. Eli looked at me wide-eyed as if to say “what’s with her” and then he ran after her. Shortly after she cuddled up with me.

    You’re a great foster mom finding the right food before they are placed. I’m sure the adoptive parents with appreciate your input for the best care.

    And that Steve sure is a great help. What a team you have!

    Kerren and Trikitty Mona

    p.s. Codie-Rae – my cats have never been fickle, they love me all of the time and both are cuddlers. The only problem is that I only have one lap which Mona will not share.

    1. If my fosters end up on a diet other than the one the shelter provides, I try to send them with the bag of food I bought for them. I think in this case, I’m going to have to split the bag up into two baggies and label them well. The more I set them up for success, the less likely they are to return to the shelter system!!

      I really did hit the jackpot when I adopted Steve. She’s in the kitchen right now playing with Zissou. Some nights, she’s the only one who will tolerate that kitten! It’s so great to have a cat with the maternal instincts that she has!!

  3. Wow you really are an amazing pawrent! You are doing such great things for these kitties. It’s only a matter of time before the stomach issues get settled, thanks to your conscientiousness.

    But I would be cranky too if I got my tail removed, who can blame her? I’m glad to hear that she’s gradually perking up, she really is a doll.

    Good luck with the snow event. Eeeek!

  4. Is it possible Zissou is getting so tempermental because she doesn’t have her tail to express herself with? I’ve read that cats often show signs of anger or unpleasantry with their tails that we often miss because we don’t know body language as well. Without her full tail, she can’t express everything?

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