I took some video of Steve throwing herself around. Everything is forced, so the video is bouncy as I am directing Steve where to go. If I can catch her in the act as she does it during a case of the crazies, it will look much better. I won’t be so close to her. Also, it’s all in my bathroom, since that’s where she is fed and that is where the window is that she most often pulls herself into. Enjoy!!
This one is her stepping up into the window. She puts a paw on the low, uncovered litter box to hoist herself onto the toilet so she can then step into the window.
This is her pulling herself up into the window. I had to block her litter box route, so I’m sitting on the toilet right next to the window. Sometimes she puts a paw on the basket between the toilet and the wall for a little boost, sometimes she just jumps up. Either way, she jumps high enough to claw the lip on the window sill, then pulls herself up into the window!
I’ve noticed something recently about Steve’s mobility, specifically her upward mobility. I would love to get a video of her doing this, but it happens so spontaneously that I would have to be recording her doing something else and just happen to catch her doing it. My hope in this discovery is to give hope to owners of other rear leg amp cats. Cats are jumpers of crazy heights, both up and down. I remember being a bit nervous about Steve being able to get around to the heights that my other two cats are able to get to. In the past year, Steve and I have both figured some things out…Steve more than I.
Steve has become a rock climber of sorts. I intentionally leave Steve’s nails long so she can use them for grabbing and pulling in any capacity she needs. Well as it turned out, she needs! I’ve witnessed her jumping just enough to grab a window ledge, then pulling herself up the rest of the way using almost all upper body strength the way a rock climber would!! Yesterday, I saw an even better move (the move that would be nearly impossible to catch on video). She ran at the perch I have under the kitchen window. She placed one paw on the lower level of the perch, swung her body up to land on the next level, then grabbed the window ledge and landed in the window!
I try to have makeshift steps for all of the places Steve needs to get up into. It appears she doesn’t need them! Steve is parkouring and rock climbing her way around the apartment! She’s even figured out how to climb Yorrick’s crate to get up into the window it’s under!
To all of you who are new to this and worry about your cat being able to get around, I promise you that he or she will figure out a way!
Steve had trip to the vet today. It was the first trip since her initial post adoption wellness visit that was not an emergency trip or a visit related to her gastrointestinal troubles! Today was a visit for her annual exam and regular vaccines and boy did it feel good!
We saw Dr Sarah, the veterinarian who assisted in her amputation surgery and who figured how to find the sweet spot between constipation and diarrhea. Dr Sarah said that Steve looked the best she’s ever seen her! She said she was finally at a healthy weight, her coat was thick and shiny, and her eyes were bright!! Dr Sarah also said that it was really nice to have a visit with Steve that was so easy! She was very careful about where to place Steve’s vaccines in case of vaccine associated sarcoma. I told her that I was aware of the danger, and that I appreciated her concern, but that I wouldn’t be overwhelmed or even scared to go through another amputation. I’m confident in my abilities to care for a double amputee cat or a cat in a cart, and I’m confident in Steve’s ability to overcome anything thrown her way. I am very glad to have a veterinarian who is conscious of the risks, especially in a cat who is already an amputee.
Steve’s one year ampuversary is in one month, on August 15th. I look at pictures from when she first came to live with us, and she definitely looked like a skinny, ratty, roughed up cat. I always thought that after she had healed from surgery she looked great. I guess she has just been improving a little bit every day, except for the minor trauma she went through with the GI troubles.
On a very different note, we have a single A short season minor league baseball team in our area. Their Bark in the Park game is this Thursday. Since Steve can’t go to represent Tripawds, Yorrick will be wearing Steve’s Tripawds bandanna and will be proudly representing his sister and all of Tripawds nation!!
Kitten season is in full swing and I’m being a terrible foster mom. I keep leaving town, which means I can’t take in any kittens to foster. Next week, I’m going to Boston with my parents to help my sister’s family move. After that, I promised the humane society that I will start taking kittens!
Today, I got a phone call from the humane society (the very one that Steve came from) that warmed my heart and boosted my self esteem. It was one of the vet technicians that had assisted with Steve’s amputation surgery. She was calling to see if I could take another kitty amputee in for a post op foster! She said that she has a very short list of foster families that she trusts with such cases, and I am on that short list!! I told her that I was going away for a few days next week, but that as soon as I got back in town I would take the kitty in if no one else did.
It feels so good to be trusted with something so important! I hope no one else is available so our furry family gets to be the one to care for this kitty in her post op days! How great will it be to have two Tripawds hopping around the apartment for a couple of weeks?!
Jay and I never really vacation. Our “vacations” are usually an overnight trip to Asbury Park, NJ. If we’re lucky, it’s two overnights. Occasionally it’s an overnight in Kennebunkport, ME with my parents and my sister’s family. This past weekend we went on the closest thing to a real vacation we’ve ever been on. We flew down to Orlando, FL, stayed at my friend’s apartment in Celebration for 4 days, and hit up some of the parks in Disney World (for free thanks to my friend being a cast member).
Usually, when we go on an overnight, the dog goes to a friend’s house and Spyder and Saxon are left in the apartment with a large bowl of food, a large bowl of water, and a couple of clean litter boxes. Things were different this time – even when we went to Boston for an overnight two weeks ago to see a Red Sox game. I enlisted the help of my father for both trips. Thankfully, he only lives across the backyard from us (and to be honest, he’s where I learned to love animals so much).
His concern for Steve’s health and well being while Jay and I were away was obvious. When I told him that my options for her were either him taking care of her in the comfort of our apartment or her having to live in a small cage at our vet for 5 to 6 days, he was happy to oblige. I could still tell that he was nervous. This wasn’t just making sure a food bowl was full or a litter box was scooped. Steve’s food and medication routine is just that for Jay and I – routine. For my father, I had to write it all down in detail: every little nuance, what to look out for, what to be careful of (“make sure you close the bathroom door behind you so Saxon doesn’t eat Steve’s medicated food on her!!”). Everything was laid out on the counter for him, including extras of both types of food Steve eats.
My father may have been nervous, but I was relieved. Because he had agreed to feed and medicate Steve and to let her in and out of the bathroom at feeding times (all part of the routine), I knew that Steve would be happy and safe. If we had to board her, she may have been too nervous to eat and may have become constipated again. It was great to know that she would be spending the 4 days that we were gone with her brothers and able to look out her windows!
I’m very grateful that Steve’s special needs are simple in the grand scheme of things. For some special needs owners, the best option might actually be to board at the vet. I hope that my friends, relatives, and neighbors know that they can always depend on me to look after their special needs pets in any situation.
Here are two shaky videos of Steve begging Jay for red dot time! Jay sat down to glue more of his model aliens/monsters/whatevers together, and Steve started begging!
The first video is Steve begging at Jay and looking around for the dot. The second video is me trying to sneak the laser pointer off of the table, Steve doing her head dart thing, my phone dying, and Steve chasing the dot. Oh and Yorrick shows up a little too! (Jay almost caught on to what I was doing)
A little less of a look into Steve’s life, a little more of a look into mine. (My nickname has been Bue [short for Bueller – as in Ferris] since I was 8. My sister says I faked sick to get out of school all the time.)
We’re dogsitting my brother’s 3.5 pound Teacup Yorkie, Peanut, for 4 days while he’s in Aruba at his bartender’s destination wedding. I don’t envy him. Places like that do not appeal to me. Jay and I are going to Boston this weekend. THAT’S a vacation destination I can get behind! (Go Sox!)
I think kids and pets look at getaways to Grandma’s or Auntie’s house as a vacation from the rules. Unfortunately for Peanut, that is not the case here. With my background in animal health, and my future in companion animal behavior (possibly dog training), the rules only get stricter when Peanut comes to stay at Aunt Bue’s. That’s not saying much, since her dad spoils her rotten. She gets to “help” with prep at the restaurant, which means she gets to sample the day’s dishes. At home, he lets her rule the house (I know because I live upstairs from him). She’s allowed on any furniture at any time, even meal time. When she begs, she gets what she wants. Her bark is tiny, so it isn’t corrected.
Here at Aunt Bue’s, the first thing that has to stop is the barking. Saxon isn’t really phased by anything and Spyder has been through the war, so they just let it go; but Steve is not coping. She spent Peanut’s first few hours here in the closet, then she moved to the bathroom where she could watch from behind the baby gate (which Peanut fits through no problem). Besides that, Peanut barks at every little noise AND every time Yorrick gets even a little bit excited. My schedule is different from Jay’s, so the normal routine of scooping the litter boxes leading into Yorrick’s last trip outside – which get’s Yorrick excited, but nothing loud – now turns into YAP YAP YAP YAP YAP while Jay is trying to sleep!!
Next to go is the constant begging for food. We have regular food routines for morning and evening. It’s not hard to squeeze Peanut in, or to even put her food somewhere that Yorrick won’t eat it. Everyone goes to their place for their food and gets fed quickly. Now Peanut is under my feet going to everyone’s bowl trying to eat their food, especially Steve’s special diet wet food!! Every time I open the fridge, Peanut is at my feet begging. Sitting down to dinner, Peanut is in my lap begging! Yorrick has his “place” at our mealtime. I think Peanut needs hers! If I could just get Peanut on an all dog food diet…. Who am I kidding? I gave her a piece of bacon an hour ago!
I’ve put a lot of work into Yorrick. He’s not perfect, but he’s smart and he knows a lot of commands – specifically the right commands. I can get him out of the way when he’s just being annoying underfoot. I can redirect him away from dangerous situations (hot ovens, pots of boiling water being carried across the kitchen). He has manners and takes correction when his manners aren’t on point. He barks a bit more than I’d prefer, but certainly not nearly as much as any of the other dogs in our neighborhood! I get that it’s fun to just spoil your dog and let them get away with whatever, but a well trained dog is so much easier!!
Thankfully, Steve has come out of hiding. She just needs to realize that she is triple Peanut’s weight and she’ll be fine. Peanut may have the mouth and the spunk, but really, just a skid in the right direction and Steve can take Peanut out!
Saxon is almost 5 times Peanut’s size. I think Saxon’s paw is bigger than Peanut’s face. Peanut really needs to watch her step in this cat dominated apartment…..
Haven’t gotten any video of Steve training Jay, but I did get some pictures of her with Jay. He got a model something or other and had to glue the pieces together. She sat next to him and at his feet and watched the whole process! She really loves him!!
I’m not sure if she was hoping for an early red dot play time, or if she was just really into what he was doing!
I’m posting this here because Jay doesn’t read this blog, so he won’t come after me for making fun of him.
He thinks he has Steve and Saxon clicker trained in the sense that the button that turns the laser pointer on makes a clicking sound and when they hear the “click” they go crazy.
In reality, Steve has Jay clicker trained. Every night, at almost the exact same time, Steve sits at Jay’s feet and looks around. Her eyes dart from the ceiling to the wall to the kitchen floor back to the ceiling. She chirps a little as she does this, and she doesn’t let up until Jay pulls out the laser pointer and plays. If he ignores her she chirps louder and longer. She’ll even tap him on the feet or reach up and put her paws on his thighs as if to say, “Hey pal, you can’t ignore this much cuteness this long! Where’s that red dot?” In the end, Jay always pulls out the laser pointer and plays!
The funny part is, while she’s sitting at his feet, if I reach for the table where the laser pointer is always kept – even if I’m just reaching for my phone or for the remote – she chirps at me!
Steve may be my cat (a long running joke between Jay and I is that in the divorce, I get Yorrick, Spyder, and Steve and he gets Saxon), but she loves it when her daddy plays laser pointer with her! She doesn’t play as hard at it with me…
This picture is unrelated to the post, but it’s so funny I had to share it. Saxon came up to sit next to me when Jay and I got back from taking a walk. Steve wanted to sit next to me, too (because she ALWAYS has to be next to me – if Jay gets off the couch, she immediately takes his seat), but Saxon wouldn’t give her the space. I thought I was going to get a cute picture of them snuggling, and instead I got this. Saxon isn’t grooming her, and he isn’t asleep. He’s just….sniffing her side….like a weirdo.
I feel like I’m continuing to get worse, and if Steve is any indication by how much she hangs around me, then I definitely am. She’s constantly underfoot when I’m in the kitchen and sleeping somewhere on or next to me when I’m idle. I wonder how the doctor would react if I brought her with me to my appointment Tuesday morning? I’ll put her Tripawds cape on her and write “Therpy Cat” on it!
Thankfully, her GI issues are almost 100% resolved. I’ve found a ratio of wet and dry food I feel comfortable feeding her, and can now start slowly reducing how much laxative she gets everyday until I find a good dose to stay at. I’m so satisfied with where she is with her food that I wrote an email to her food company telling them her story and our situation, and to thank them for making quality food that I feel confident feeding her for the rest of her life to keep her GI troubles at bay. I got some coupons out of it!
It’s a great feeling to know that I don’t have to worry if Steve is pooping every day. I felt so awful both times she got constipated. I felt like such a terrible mother to let her go through that pain and discomfort. Now (knock on wood), we don’t ever have to deal with that ever again. None of the vet’s biggest concerns have happened. No mega-colon, no dead nerves.
Now if I can just get her to stop climbing the screen windows!!