03 July 2012

A change to the menu

I took Pekoe into the shop because you're supposed to do that every so often.  And because he'll be 13 in January, thus making him officially an Old Guy Cat.  And because (hmmm ... how to put this delicately ...) I was seeing something in the litter box that looked not as solid as would be considered optimal.

He is generally good tempered, has a good appetite.  He's energetic and uses his litter box.  So I really had nothing to worry about, per se, but again, he's an senior cat* and I would hate to find out that he had something we could fix had I only brought him in in time.

So I got his fabulous cat carrier out of the closet and let him play with it** and took him in to see The Vet.

It turns out that Mr. Elderly Feline has -- depending on who you ask -- either Kidney Failure or Chronic Kidney Disease.  This is not uncommon for geezer cats.  (Which made it not one tiny bit less disconcerting for me to hear.  This guy has been my pal and companion for 12 years and I love him a lot.)  And no matter what you chose to call it, the short answer is that Pekoe has a medical situation that is serious but not acute and will need to be managed.

That's the bad news.  The good news is that "managing" his health situation will not require that I give him a pill every day.  He ... doesn't like pills.

We put him on a "bland diet," which means that instead of the crunchy dry cereal that he is so fond of, I now feed him baby food.  Pureed chicken or beef or turkey with broth.***  I wasn't sure how he'd feel about that because he does love his crunchy dry cereal and usually ignores most meat-based human food, but he loved it. Loved.  It.  You'd have thought I was feeding him chocolate covered donuts.  He greets me at the door, usually with a "Yay, you're home!  I missed you!" kind of attitude.  Now he greets me with "Yay, you're home!  Let's open another of those jars!"

The Vet gave (read = sold) me some new crunchy dry cereal that is made by Hills and is specially formulated for cats with kidney issues (K/D).  I mix some of that into the baby food which slightly reduces his laser-like focus on the baby food because with the cereal mixed in, he fills up faster and doesn't gulp it down like a 7-year old at a birthday party.  So it's more like plain donuts ...

I'll soon be buying K/D wet food from the internet.  (The internet delivers.  The vet does not.)  Soon Pekoe will get something like wet food for breakfast and dry food for dinner or some such and I don't anticipate any transition issues because his approach as a former stray has always been "You're feeding me?  Again today? How cool is that!"

However ... the subcutaneous hydration?  Not sure he's going to be such a fan. Stay tuned for Leta and Pekoe's adventures with needles.

*One chart I saw broke cat ages into four levels:  up to 1 year = kitten; 1 year + = adult; 7 years + = mature; and 11 years + = senior.

** He loves that carrier and treats it like his own personal clubhouse.  I may have to just put him in there every so often and walk him around just for fun so that he doesn't start to think of it as the Theme Park Ride That Only Goes to the Vet.

***Strong recommendation:  Beechnut.  It's the only baby food I found that was, in fact, meat and meat broth instead of meat and corn starch.  Because the vet, for some reason, didn't suggest that I give Pekoe a daily serving or two of corn starch.  He didn't say not to, but even so ...