|Myrna-waiting in the kitchen for daddy to give her meds. She always pops up when daddy calls for med time.|
Friday, February 8, 2013
It was a Long and Anxious Week
We all worry about our HCM cat’s health. We make sure we give meds on time, the right amount, and we are always monitoring how they feel. There are those days when dispensing meds and monitoring them are easy and then there are those days when things are just more difficult to handle. I had a week like that this week. It was a long and anxious week not because anyone was sick but because Myrna wouldn’t take her meds on time in the morning and she wasn’t using the litter box during the day.
Beginning Monday, Myrna ran from me in the mornings and would not stop to take her meds. She usually gets them from 7:30-8:30 a.m. depending on when I can get her. Sometimes she's sleeping when I wake up and I can pick her up. Other times, she runs under the bed and I can't get her unless I use my bag of tricks. My bag of tricks includes treats, paying attention to another cat, being nonchalant around her, and preparing breakfast and waiting for her to come to the kitchen to be fed.
But not this week. Monday-Thursday she refused to come to the kitchen for breakfast, she refused to stop long enough to allow me to pick her up, and she hid anytime I came within reach of her. Each day I prayed and left it in God’s hands. Then I went about the morning routine and fed all the cats and did the morning chores. Finally, about 9:30 from what I can only assume to be hunger and exhaustion, she came upstairs and stopped long enough for me to get her.
However, Thursday, it was much worse. She delayed the inevitable the entire morning until 10 a.m. when she finally gave up. But it got worse. She then refused to eat lunch and receive her afternoon meds. No matter what I did, she would never come to me or let me pick her up. I finally had to put all the cats in one area of the house and leave her with access to the kitchen and her bowl of food and hope that she would stop hiding and eat. I called my husband and asked him to get home as soon as he could after work-he gets out of the office at 5 p.m. but doesn't always leave on the dot-and try to give Myrna her meds. When he got home, it was easy: she was sleeping and he was able to get her and give her the meds.
Not only did I have a Myrna med problem but I think I also had a Myrna and lack of litter box use problem. Starting Monday, one cat began going out of the box during the day. First, it was on the pads under the litter boxes. Then Thursday I found urine on a rug. I suspect it was Myrna because she did not use the litter box from 6:30 a.m. until around 7 p.m. every day. And yet, I would later find urine out of the box.
I thought perhaps she needed more Valium. When I checked what I had cut and put in her daily pill holder, I realized that somehow I had undercut-decreased-the size of the morning and afternoon doses of Valium. It’s possible that by decreasing the size, even by a fraction, that the accumulative affect was an increase in anxiety leading to not only running from me but to a decrease use of the litter box during the day. I recut the Friday portions and today she was perfect: she let me get her in the a.m. and at lunch for her meds; she’s come for meals on time; and so far today she’s used the litter box on a regular schedule.
I realized today after I had given the meds on time, that I had spent the entire week being worried about her health because of the delay in giving the meds. I have always known that I liked getting the meds done and out of the way. But once delayed, I had a sense of hopelessness and an inability to understand and meet her needs. But it was in that moment of despair, that I thought to check the Valium that I had prepared for this week. That’s when I discovered the size of the Valium was too small.
Lesson learned: be more careful of how I prepare her meds. Don’t take it to heart if she refuses to stick to the routine and take her meds on time. Do be more patient if she does refuse her meds. And wait her out if she refuses. She’ll soon get hungry and come to the kitchen.