Pet Sounds
New Year's Cooking Eve

Pet Sounds, Part 2

And now, after spending close to $500 at the vet yesterday, some breaking news:

My pets? THEY OLD.

Okay, I don't have the results of Max's bloodwork yet, so I don't yet know SPECIFICALLY what old-man-cat affliction he's suffering from, not that any of the choices are all that hot. Maybe thyroid, maybe kidneys, and maybe, as the vet seemed to be leaning towards after his exam: OLD CAT IS OLD. ALSO HELLA CONSTIPATED.

So, okay then. Once the results are in (tomorrow a.m.), we'll map out some kind of plan to make him as comfortable as possible. Hyperthroidism would be the most medically manageable (provided I can figure out a way to get him to swallow a pill without too much sturm und drang), kidney disease would be mostly palliative, and either way I'm hoping the vet has some better ideas to tackle the constipation because we have already tried ALL THE THINGS and this cat continues to shit out tiny little rocks all over the house, preferably on the dark brown carpet of the master bedroom, for maximum camouflage and Amy-stepping-on-poop occurrences. 

(Hmm. I feel kind of bad writing about poor old Max's poop on the Internet. Despite spending quite a few years in the diaper trenches and feeling no shame or filter in discussing my human offspring's poop. This means I have either really grown as a person/blogger or there continues to be no end to my messed-up priorities.)


After Max, it was Ceiba's turn to give me a heart attack, because...



Despite the absolutely horrifying-sounding name that conjures up images of my dog being slowly suffocated by her own throat, "collapsing tracheas" are another fairly common Old Dog problem (and especially Tiny Old Dogs). It means she's got a weird cough and is now on doggie Robitussin twice a day. We seem to have caught it early and it's still mild, so hopefully the cough suppressant will calm things down and she'll just need the medication on and off for future flare-ups.

(Which I suspect will/are triggered by allergies she's developed since our move. Oh, new neighborhood, you are killing us all, stop it.)

Before making that diagnosis official, the vet ordered a chest x-ray because she worried that Ceiba's breathing seemed labored and there might be something More Super Serious going on. The words, "Oh, okay" were all that came out of my mouth while inside my body, my brain was quietly having a heart attack and my heart was having a stroke.

Luckily the x-ray happened quickly and definitely ruled out anything terrible. Ceiba breathes weird because apparently her chest cavity is just too tiny for all the things that belong in her chest cavity. Also she could stand to lose a little weight. (The vet did not say this specifically but I don't care, I'll totally fat-shame my dog. Stop eating the damn cat food, dog. Maybe try some Zumba.)

Anyway, that's where we stand with the pets. Fingers crossed for Max's bloodwork results tomorrow. Which! Blog Service Announcement, will most likely be communicated via the social mediaz, the InstaFacebookTwittergramz and such. Due to my temporary blindness from Zombie Pinkeye last month, I had to delay a couple sponsored posts and now two of them are going to be jammed up back-to-back this week. I usually try very hard to keep that stuff spaced out but it was either get them out this week or say goodbye to money, and um, no. Vet bills and many other bills, folks. Don't read them for me, read them for the animals.


(Do you feel guilty yet? Shall I hum a few bars of Sarah McLachlan? In the armmmsss of the angel...oh crap now I'M crying.) 



It is so hard when pets fail. My heart goes out to your family. Have you considered (since you have 3 tender little hearts at home)piggybacking a 3rd pet? We lost 2 old old dogs last year but our hearts were saved because the prior year we had purchased Taffy - our now 3 year old pomeranian. She helped our grieving hearts without making us feel guilty. Our vet is the one who actually suggested the overlap ... . . .


It is so hard to see those fur babies get old. I will happily read your sponsored posts--they're always funny. Hope Max and Ceiba are feeling better.


If the thyroid numbers come back saying Max needs meds, ask the vet about the ointment you can rub in his ears. I tried the pills for my old man Oberon, but man he hated that and I could add tales to your animal poop stories as a result! My awesome cat sitter told me about an ointment the vet can give that you simply rub on the inside of the ear - sooo much better and easier. The old man is now healthier as a result (and thinks he is getting additional luuuvvvs when mom rubs the inside of his ears)!

ccr in MA

Fingers crossed on the bloodwork! If he does need pills, give Pill Pockets a try, some cats love them! Mine did, and I had to give part of it to the second cat so he wouldn't steal the first cat's heart medication!

On the other hand, my brother's old cat knew there was something going on, and he would chew up the treat before spitting the pill out. So no guarantees, but it can work.


My little dog is 15 this month. In the past year (probably more like the past 6 months) she has become blind and, I think, deaf. She will pee wherever she pleases, thankyouverymuch. She sleeps most of the time but every time I look at her my heart melts. We have had her since she was 8 weeks old. Losing those you love is hard, whether they walk on two legs or on four. Cherish them as long as possible.


I've had two kitties with old man (and lady) thyroid issues for whom giving pills was a firm hell no. Both treated for years with gel you rub in their ears. You have to be careful and wear gloves (it works for you too) and you'll have to consider whether the kids can not touch his ears. Also, make sure Ceiba doesn't lick them, like by dog Henry did. Henry is a special sort of dumb.

They also make treated food, but it sounds like that is not an option for you.

The other option: you can radiate your cat's thyroid for about $1,200. I really wish I'd done that for Reno.

Hope things turn out well!


Oh, that tight-chested feeling at the vet's office...I am quite familiar with it this year. Hang in there and thinking good thoughts for Max and Ceiba both.

Sarah True

I also have an old ass olderson kitty who has hyperthyroidism and a heart condition. He's skittish and horrible at taking meds, however he LOVES his hyperthyroid med and even asks for them every day. Our vet prescribed a compound that I order every 2 months from an online pharmacy. It's a gel dispensed from a pen and is rubbed on the inside of his ear. Methimazole in lipoderm 5mg/0.05ml T-A-D transdermal gel. Worth asking your vet about. It's a night and day experience for my old guy who would rather die than take a pill.


Have you checked your house for weird environmental stuff? Radon, mold and all that?

Sorry for this random alarmist sniper comment. I love your blog...


sorry for the old pet stuff, makes you feel pretty helpless. Currently petless here and while I miss having a furry friend, I am not ready to go through all this again.


That gel on the ears medicine sounds pretty great, but if you do end up having to give pills, try this: pry open kitty's mouth, toss pill in back of mouth/throat, clamp mouth shut and blow in his nose to get him to swallow. Follow with yummy treats if you like. It's not as terrible as it sounds and it works. I had to give my boy pills daily for a couple of years.

Sue W.

If you write it, I will read it. We have an appt with our vet tomorrow for 19 year old Savannah who after 7 months has decided to start random peeing all over the house again. Her poor kidneys are failing, yet with cooler (finally in Florida!) temps and the house open, she was running laps like she did when she was a kitten this morning. So I don't think she's in pain. But we will do the tests and see. I will look forward to updates on the Internets on both of your furkids?



Love the beach boys reference- my Dads favorite album. :) Made by day.


My dad still brings up the time I passed out at the Vet's office when we were given some concerning news about our then cat's health. Granted, I was in elementary school, but you can be glad you didn't wake up with your head in a trash can like I did.

Big snuggles and hugs to your animals. It's so hard as they get older to know if you are doing the right things for them.


My old lady kitty also had the constipation problem. Vet recommended pumpkin. Just a teaspoon mixed in som canned food. Worked like a charm, and no medication. Just make sure you get the 100% pumpkin and not pumpkin pie mix.


I second Becki's suggestion, as crazy as it may sound, for a third pet. I don't have experience with this as an adult (and I can assure you, with one cat and one dog in our house, I would run far away from a third right now) but it happened to me as a kid. We had two old cats. We got a fun adorable new kitty. Within a couple years, both older cats passed away (they were ages 14 and 16 I believe) but having the newer cat helped. I think I was in high school? My younger sister was still in elementary school and it definitely eased the loss.


Intends to read for the aminals. Hopes it's recipes I can fuck up.

Amy A

I do feel for your fur babies, but holy hell did I LOL at this post! You are just too funny-- your candor and humor are what make your blog one of my favorites. And yes, I'll definitely read for the animals--Sarah McLachlan lyrics or not :)


So, if it ends up being the kidney thing? Can I strongly give you advice you didn't ask for. Truly just do palliative and don't do anything that requires hospitalization, including IV fluids. I'm one year out and, seriously, just ease him out. It doesn't get any easier on anybody, least of all the animal.


Good luck with the vet stuff! Our cat (who has the same carrier, btw), has had off an on constipation issues since kittenhood. We actually had to take him in this fall because his back legs started to get paralyzed - from too much constipation. Our vet had never seen that before - apparently it was putting pressure on a nerve or something. At any rate, for us lactulose and tweaking diet has currently gotten him back to normal. And pill pockets are maqgic for getting most cats I've known to take pills. Hope it all turns out to be ok!

(I'm seriously starting to feel like a doppleganger stalker or something - my two long haired boys could be Ike, my oldest loves cooking, we had similar bus discipline issues, you moved to a town 20 minutes from us, and now your cat has the same medical issues and carrier - too many similarities!


Oh, so sorry that you're getting double-whammied with health issues and aging pets. My childhood Yorkie had the tracheal collapse, and required a surgical procedure immediately- hers was advanced and severe- but it did curtail the issue. I hope that you're able to hold off with the cough meds as long as possible! Sending good thoughts for the tests/animals/general wellbeing at your house.


Ear gel meds are amazing. They are the only way I get meds in my cats, both of whom have serious conditions.

My very old cat has constipation and it is the fault of kidney failure and (mostly I think) she can't....assume the position.....long enough to get a good poop out (this does feel wrong to talk about for her) b/c her hips are so bad. She usually poops on the tray the litter box sits on so I just scoop it up with toilet paper and flush every day. Taking the cover off the litter pan has improved her willingness to use it for both functions, btw. A pet water fountain has been really, really helpful at decreasing the constipation; both cats are drinking much more water from it and it was totally worth it. I've had them in the past and thought it was nice; now it is a necessity with 2 in renal failure.

I agree with the poster who said that if it is kidneys that considering palliative care is a good idea. 7 YEARS ago my cat was diagnosed with renal failure and I refused treatment and told the vet that I wasn't going to make her eat expensive food (ha! my cat food bill beats my people food bill most months) that she didn't like and that I just accepted this as part of life. 7 years later she's lost some weight (but at 20.5 years it would be weird if she hadn't) and she's 18 months out from being given weeks to a few months because her kidneys were so bad. We've done fluids twice after acute illnesses but no treatment of the renal failure otherwise. I've had the vet say "THAT cat is still ALIVE!" when she was seeing the other one and I referenced Anna. Kidneys are weird and unpredictable and I really think the treatments may not prolong life but do make it more challenging. She gets meds (in the ear) for nausea as needed and arthritis meds and that's it. It's an individual decision but it is not something I'm sorry I decided to not treat in either cat. The younger one has severe pancreatitis and that we treat because it would kill him unnecessarily fast and painfully.

It's so hard when they get old.


Been thru 2 renal failures in cats both at 4 years of age. One had to sleep cuz it was too late when it was discovered the other I tried to help but 2 months later I came home to find her out of her gourd. Just be nice to them and let them live out their days.

I grew up with a cat we also got a third it did help. Can't help on the dog side though as we're not dog people yet. Out babies getting older just sucks.


Ack! So much to reply to. Apologies for the lack of @ or threaded comments like a Real Website.

Thank you for the ear gel recs!!! I will absolutely ask IF that's the news. Though with the kids and Ceiba (who will lick anything sticky) we'll see if that's okay.

We have tried pumpkin, olive oil, all sorts of diet changes. Max rejects his food the second we mix in anything (other than ONE particular joint supplement). Prescription foods have also all been a no go, and since he can't afford to not eat we've eventually given up. Also Ceiba eats all the rejected constipation-fighting efforts and gets the runs. WAT.

We have a pet water fountain, water dishes throughout the house, removed the hood from his litter box, every morning we let the faucet run in our bathroom so he can drink. The house has a top of the line built in radon detection system and we had two separate home inspections in August to check for mold and other environmental issues and came up clean. (I blame carpet and/or different grass, which of course Ceiba eats, and we admittedly have no idea what the previous owners treated it with.)

Anyway, it's late and I'm stressing about the call tomorrow, just wanted to clarify a few of the things we've tried on my lap purring and nuzzling my elbow so hopefully whatever the news is...this is a happy cat we can continue to make happy.

(Max would KILL a third pet. Or just growl and hiss constantly from under our bed. Or KILL. But I do see Ceiba mourning her boy pretty bad so mayyyybe....)


Oh, hugs to all of you.

My kitty is the pickiest eaters, so pill pockets, etc. are out. I watched videos, read instructions, and repeatedly failed to get pill down her throat (people say "close her mouth" like it doesn't take a vice grip, wth). Oh, and the stress - she vomited on my husband around the 5th attempt. When we went in for her checkup, I asked the nurse to show me so I could see what I was doing wrong. After her third failed attempt (ha!) she brought in a pill shooter, and OMG but this was a game changer. The process is quick and painless. She still hates it, granted, but it is over so fast and the pill goes down easy. (The vomiting incident actually happened after we got the pill shooter, but somebody's ego got in the way. Now we both use it.)


We have a 16 year old cat who has ALSO randomly lost weight and occasionally had weird bouts of constipation so bad that... I'll leave out the details but really, my vet is a saint.
Two things, though! That have worked for us!
1. A pill shooter (or pill popper) is WONDERS for getting a daily pill into our old man (who is on phenobarbital for seizures.) Your vet probably has one or you can get them on Amazon for like $5. Pill goes in rubbery tip thing and all you have to do is get it in the back of their mouth and push the plunger. PIll pockets have never worked for him because: picky.
2. The only thing that's helped Old Man's poop issues is 1/3 of a teaspoon of Miralax in some wet food every day. Apparently it's super gentle and doesn't change the flavor or texture of the food. Who knew?


We had my old Sandy for 21 years. She had diabetes , had to go for shots for a while, then since she had never had soft food and that was the prescription food, she LOVED it. I know she had kidney problems at the end, she peed a few drops all the time but she lived in the garage/ driveway, so it was not a problem. 21 for an outside cat who lost an eye in a hit and run, sweet lap kitty, miss her a lot. We were all allergic to cats but always had outside cats.


My beautiful 17 year old Pomeranian was just put to sleep on 1/4/16. He had many issues, including a collapsing trachea. In late 2014 we took him to a cardiologist who recommended an inhaled steroid called Flovent. It is used by people who have asthma, but is also used in dogs to treat collapsing trachea. It is much safer than using oral steroids such as prednisone, and it worked wonderfully for him. He had been taking Temaril P (a steroid pill) prior to starting the Flovent. I don't think the pill helped him, but the coughing stopped 2 weeks after we started the Flovent. It was a complete turnaround. You would need to buy an Aerodawg chamber ( to use the Flovent on Ceiba, but it was all well worth it for us. Late this year my Pomeranian was also diagnosed with kidney disease and we started giving him fluids at home. He tolerated it well, but I'm not sure as a cat how Max would do. Just wanted to pass the information about Flovent on to you, as not all vets are readily familiar with it. Sending positive thoughts your way for your two fur babies.


my vet doesn't love the thyroid ointment bc allegedly its not as strong/effective but hey, if that's the only way to get the meds in (on), do it. I'm able to shoot a pill down my 13 y.o, fat cat's throat, twice a day -- she takes a 1/4 of the pill (I bought the pill cutter at Target) and it goes into this kind of shooter thingy that the vet gave me so I can force her mouth open and shoot it down the back of her throat. For all that, the dear girl gets two temptations treats and a lot of pets. :) I wish you luck!

The comments to this entry are closed.