Friday, August 28, 2009

No. (and TMI alert, too)

To answer the question from the previous post. Paxil does not seem to be doing much of anything to address the peeing/spraying problem. In the last two weeks, I've watched Scruffy like a hawk every morning. I follow him all over the house. I sit on the steps while he's downstairs, watching the little stinker pretend that he doesn't have the intention of peeing down there someplace the minute he sees me go back up the steps. I have actually seen him poop in a litter box twice in that time span, and pee three times. Unfortunately, in the same three weeks, I've watched him back up to the china closet (3 times) and the bookcase (2 times) and spray. Right in FRONT of me. The first couple of times, I just watched helplessly. I have no basic information about spraying - what exactly the process is, or anything. I assume that it's an expression of severe displeasure on the cat's part, obviously, but other than that.... I have always heard/believed that once a cat starts to pee, they can't stop. (I do apologize to anyone who might be reading this, but I have to get it off my chest. I only WISH I could get it off the rug!) The last two times I came around the corner of the kitchen to discover Scruffy making a puddle in front of the china closet, I yelled, "HEY, what are you DOING?" and he scrambled off in mid-stream. So, if this is spraying, rather than peeing, he does appear to have a modicum of control over it. Not that that fact - correct or not- has any relevance to the problem at hand. Or at foot. I think at least a dozen times a week that I am SO glad that I didn't get that new carpeting.

In addition, Scruffy seems to be hot all the time now, too. Well, yes, he's got that really long, fluffy fur, but he seems to sleep restlessly lately, and he gets up frequently and moves to what appear to be cooler places - from my lap to the table top, from the kitty pi on the window ledge to the wooden shelf beside the ledge; he gives me the definite impression that he's uncomfortably warm now. Anyway, I'm not satisfied with paxil, (which is doing NOTHING for Tootie as well - it doesn't even make HER sleepy!) - and as soon as this last so-called refill of 10 pills (shared between Puffy and Tootle) is gone, I'm asking the vet for Prozac. Plus, he prescribed this tiny amount of itsy-bitsy pills - only 10! - and they charged $1.70 PER PILL. I am willing to sign all sorts of pledges or whatever that no one will use this medication but the two cats - if only he will please give me a prescription for a decent number of pills so that they are a reasonable price.

Scruffy's eye looks pretty good. I am still trying to get a decent picture - the last ophthalmologist appointment was the first time I didn't have a picture to leave with him, and at the time ( a month or so ago) I really thought that the eye that had had the laser surgery looked greatly improved. The small, faint melanosis in the right eye looks slightly darker to me, which could be my imagination. I really want to get a picture to compare it to. His next appointment is, well, at some unspecified date, because I thought I hung the appointment card on the fridge, but apparently not. I think it was six months this time, which might put it in January or so of 2010.

I just read a paper from Cornell regarding feline iris melanosis/oma that I came across by accident. (Checking the Site Meter listings, it was on the same Google page as Scruffy's blog.) 18 pages of information that made me feel kind of uncertain about whether or not I should have just had his eye removed, instead of doing the laser surgery. (And that also made me think that that first ophthalmologist, Dr. K - who I did not care for in the first place! - should have never allowed the growth of the melanosis to have gotten as far as it did. The statistics quoted in the Cornell paper - for a study of 34 cats with iris melanoma - were pretty bleak in terms of the number of cats who had metastasizes of the cancer. But the data was only gathered from the eyes that were removed, since there doesn't seem to be a way to really detect malignant/benign iris growths in cats, for some reason. So, hopefully, the laser treatment will be effective and protect the Puffer. Particularly if we may be faced with the necessity of making the decision a second time....

The photo below, while blurry, of course - I am the Queen of Blurry Photography! - shows at least an idea of the improvement in the left eye that has occurred in the last couple months. The brown goblet-shaped remnant of the surgery has become smaller. The pupil is still pulled out of shape, and will undoubtedly not show much improvement, since the adhesion will probably alway be there.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Is the Paxil successful?

Got me. I haven't seen this cat - whose litter box habits I monitored twice a day for FOUR YEARS - use the litter box one single time in almost two weeks. I have NO idea where he's going now. He apparently must be, or he would have exploded by now. (Although, he does look significantly more "rounded" than he did...) I have added two more cement-mixing trays, one in the living room and one in the dining room, in what seem to be two of his favorite target spots.

I am pretty sure that he was, at some point, peeing on my beloved heart-shaped braided rug in the laundry room. So, I threw it out. He does stroll in a leisurely fashion down the steps in the middle of every meal, which I would assume is a very bad sign, but I have no proof.

He started the Paxil on Saturday, August 1. The culture and sensitivity urine test was negative, which meant that there was no bladder infection to contribute to the problem. (I had been told that Prozac would be more effective, but my vet was insistent that we try Paxil first, and since I had already filled the prescription for Tootle, I agreed.) The dosage is 2.5mg. The pill is 10mg, so that's 1/4 of a pill. A teeny-tiny, minute little dose. And, for the last week, that tiny little pill has turned poor Scruffy into a zombie. He sleeps virtually non-stop. Well, yes, I know he's a cat, and that's what they do, but this is EXCESSIVE. Nothing like his usual pattern. As additional evidence, there's a huge difference between what Scruffy seems to be doing with Paxil and what Toot's doing with it. She's minimally calmer and less aggressive, unless there is food involved, and she's awake; she's patrolling the food dishes, she's guarding the bathtub, she's watching the kittens through the screen - in essence, she's still got a life. Poor Scruffy - I'm not so sure.

So, here's my dilemma: 1) I don't know if it's working. 2) It's turning him into a fur-covered log. While it is absolutely necessary for the peeing and spraying to stop, I feel a need for Scruffy to have some of his normal life going on - looking out the screen door, trailing around behind me in case I might sit down and he could sit on my lap, playing with the occasional toy, knowing when it's time to eat without having to be poked....

What to do, what to do? Well, for today, and possibly for much longer, until I gather some evidence that the litter box avoidance problem has returned/never left, I didn't give him any Paxil. And he still slept deeply virtually the entire day, but I figure that's because he's got some quantity of the drug left in his body.

I don't want to ruin the quality of his life because I haven't found homes for the kittens. He deserves much better than that. He's been a patient, loving, placid cat through all of the disturbance of feline diabetes, and herpes, and laser surgery for what was probably a melanoma in his eye - I owe him something for all that, don't I?

(That said, the annoyance - nay, possibly "rage" is a better word! - I felt the day he backed up to my bookcase in the dining room and sprayed right in front of me makes me more than a little concerned if there's some long-term fallout from stopping the drug so early.)