Pet Therapy

We adopted kittens on the weekend.  They are sisters, 3 months old and completely adorable.  George Carlin said that when you walk out of pet store with a dog or a cat that you are purchasing a small tragedy.  Having gone through the deaths of 3 cats in my lifetime, I know he’s right.

Yet here we are again.

These little creatures have brought a joy to my life that I didn’t know was missing.


Life and a new pet.

It’s been a while. Work has been exceptionally busy at times. There was a stretch for a few weeks where I wasn’t getting home until well after 6pm. The busy pace is good but when it slows down it seems to really slow down. Like, snail’s pace slow. So slow that I’ve gone out for mid-day runs during the week.

My running comeback has been slow. I still struggle at times with shin splints and am pretty convinced it’s shoe related but just haven’t found the time to get new shoes. I’ve been wearing an older pair which is much better than my current new-ish pair but it’s not ideal. Unfortunately the old shoe isn’t made anymore, I don’t think, so I will have to spend some time trying on new brands and well, there just isn’t enough time right now.

Remember that sourdough starter? Well it’s still going! I’ve made several loaves of bread and have figured out what works and what doesn’t but making just bread all the time is getting boring.  Husband found me a recipe for saltine crackers.

They were so good, they rocked!! 😉

Yesterday I tried the Joy of Cooking’s recipe for pretzels. A little bit time consuming and laborious but well worth the final product.

We also have a new pet.

A mouse.


Have I mentioned we also have a snake? He’s a ball python. We’ve had him for about 10 years now. My husband rescued him from his nephew.  He eats live mice.  Daughter is coming to the age where she understands that the snake eats and what he eats is live mice. Well one day over a month ago, she was particularly smitten with one particular mouse. She begged her daddy not to feed him to the snake.

When I got home from work that night, it was late and the kids were already in bed.  I was surprised to see that there was a mouse still alive.  Husband told me that daughter wanted to keep it, so if she woke up the next morning and still asked about the mouse, he would let her keep it.  First thing the next morning, she woke up and asked him if he saved the mouse.  How could he refuse her? Late that day, the $2.99 mouse was living in a swanky one bedroom apartment worth $75.00.  Almost two months later, he is alive and well and thriving.  Daughter takes excellent care of him.  She cleans out his cage every 2 weeks when the stink gets bad, she is responsible for feeding him and making sure he has enough water.  She has turned into a wonderful mouse mother.


This mother couldn’t be more proud.

The mouse’s name is Speck.  Even the cat is tolerating him.

When A Pet Has Cancer.

One of our cats is sick.  I think I mentioned in previous posts that we have two cats.  One is my husband’s and the other is mine.  It’s my husband’s cat that is not well.

Fizgig is the bestest cat ever.  When I first met him 11 years ago, he was a feisty guy who loved to play fetch with a string.  He was the perfect cat.  He was in the middle of the room at every party and even people who hated cats, loved this cat.  He is named after a character from the movie Dark Crystal.  Husband says he was a stray cat that just kept coming around until one day he let him in and became his pet.  For the past 11 years, Fizzy t has slept at my husband’s feet every single night.  When husband is out late, Fizzy will meow and meow and meow until he comes home.  I kid you not.  Husband isn’t really sure how old Fizzy is – best guess is probably 13 or 14 years old.

For the past two years, we’ve noticed a definite loss of weight.  Fizzy used to be big and heavy.  I’d say he’s lost almost half his body weight in the past two years, more so in the last six months.  We had him checked by our vet last year and he seemed okay despite the weight loss.  Blood tests then were normal.

Now, since the baby was born, we’ve noticed more weight loss and a new development: diarrhea.  Very occasionally there has been blood in the stool.  We thought it was stress related to the new baby, or maybe the change in wet food.  He’s always had a good appetite but lately he seemed to be a bit more picky.  Anyway, a few days ago husband noticed blood in Fizzy’s poop, so off to the vet we went.

Blood tests revealed elevated white blood cells, and more specifically, elevated lymphocytes.  Not good news.  The little guy has cancer, probably chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).  It’s possible it could be lymphoma, so we are going to get some x-rays to make sure there isn’t a tumor in the chest.  The vet thinks it’s probably CLL.  Being a physician, I’ve seen CLL during my Heme-Onc rotation, and I have one patient in my practice with very early stages of CLL. It never occurred to me that it could happen to a cat.  Husband thought, given the diarrhea and weight loss, that we were dealing with colon cancer.  I guess if there’s any good news here it’s that CLL is a chronic condition which does appear to respond to treatment with prednisone and chlorambucil.  Prednisone is a steroid that suppresses the immune system, reduces inflammation and may help to increase his appetite.  However, there is a risk of developing diabetes, given that he’s an older cat.  Chlorambucil is a chemotherapeutic drug.  It is used in humans, as well as felines, in the treatment of leukemia.  Use of chlorambucil requires regular monitoring of blood counts, probably once a week, to make sure it isn’t suppressing his blood counts.

We will probably treat him with prednisone to start.  I’m not keen on chlorambucil given the frequent blood monitoring involved.  Let’s be honest, vet care isn’t cheap.  Fizzy doesn’t appear to be in any pain.  I don’t like the idea of taking him to the vet weekly for a blood draw.  It just seems too much for the little guy.

To some it might seem silly, but a beloved pet is a member of the family.  We always knew Fizzy wouldn’t be with us forever but that reality is setting in all too quickly today.