Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Goblin the Cat, 1989 - 2007

Goblin the Cat, my pet, friend and familiar, crossed the Rainbow Bridge to the Summerlands Monday, August 20th at 6:00 p.m. Goblin spent her last day in this life doing all the things she loved. She was cuddled, petted and talked to by her human companion for hours on end. She was even allowed to sit on the kitchen counter and look out the kitchen window, a previous no-no.

Goblin had Irritable Bowel Disease as well as cancer, which had prevented her from enjoying her favorite foods for quite some time. Over the course of her last 24 hours, she indulged in turkey, tuna, cheese and Haagen Daz Vanilla Swiss Almond (her favorite ice cream).

Goblin was born in Rhode Island, but moved to California with her person years ago. She spent most of her life in Southern California, but also did a brief stint in Northern California. She was a lovely tabby, with the most beautiful green eyes.

At the vet’s office, Goblin’s person created sacred space around her, holding her and talking to her as she purred herself off to sleep. Her person kept a little bit of Goblin’s hair which will be kept on her altar next to the All-Mother of cats, Bast.

Goblin is survived by her feline buddies, Grainne and Ophelia, and her person, Nicole. Nicole is very, very sad and misses her terribly. A memorial service will be held at their home once Nicole is feeling up to it.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

A Cautionary Tale

Every year, for two weeks in summer and two weeks in fall, I house/pet sit for a friend of mine. She has three lovely kitties, Little Bear, Jasper and Autumn. This story is about Autumn.

Autumn has arthritis. Her vet prescribed Metacam, which has been used with success on dogs but is iffy with cats. The vet gives it to her own cat, though, so it seemed okay. While taking it, Autumn was like a new cat! She was more active and seemed happier.

I was kitty sitting a week ago when I noticed Autumn was drinking a lot of water. Cats have a low thirst drive, so this is very unusual. None of the cats was eating their canned food, but for Autumn to refuse canned food is unheard of. I called my friends and told them I thought something was wrong. They had me do the litmus test - offer Autumn tuna. She wasn't interested, so we knew for sure something was wrong. I made an appointment to take her to the vet the next day.

I don't know what I was expecting, I thought maybe diabetes, but I was shocked when the vet came back and told me Autumn was experiencing kidney failure. The vet said her values were really, really high. She said my friends would have to choose between extraordinary measures and "letting her go." I told her my friends would never just let her go without a fight and went outside to call them. I couldn't believe it. I was thinking, "What, let her go? Right now??"

Skip forward about an hour and I'm on my way to an animal emergency hospital. Up to this point, I hadn't cried, partly because there were kids in the vet's waiting room and I didn't want to upset them, but I was beyond freaked out. The receptionist at the emergency hospital asked me what Autumn was there for and when I needed to say "kidney failure" I couldn't get it out. I still couldn't believe it. Yesterday she was maybe a little under the weather and today she's at death's door?? That's the thing with predators, once they start acting sick, they're on the verge of dying. Autumn didn't act sick at all, just super thirsty (which I knew was not good) and not hungry.

I was at the hospital for quite a while. They took Autumn in and ran a bunch of tests. There were phone calls back and forth between me and my friends, who were on the other side of the country. It kinda sucked to be me that day, but I really would have hated to be them. To be so far away when one of your fur babies is so very sick has to be horrible.

Finally, the people at the hospital told me they were going to keep Autumn and try to get her values down by hydrating her. They weren't able to tell me much more, just that they had to wait to see if she would produce urine on her own. It was hard to leave her there, but she needed round the clock professional care.

Both vets had repeatedly talked about toxins. Did Autumn get into anti-freeze, did she eat any poisonous plants, was there any other toxin she might have gotten into? No, no, no. I mentally went over everything in the house and couldn't come up with anything toxic or even anything that hadn't been there for ages already. Neither vet could say what caused the problem. They said it might be just her age (she's 12), it might be that she ingested something toxic or it might be the Metacam. There was just no way to know for sure.

Being an information age Google freak, the first thing I did when I got back to the house was Google Metacam use in cats. Guess what? Apparently there is very little difference between a safe, effective dose of Metacam for cats and a toxic amount. This is what is known as a "narrow margin of safety." According to one report, of 320 cats on Metacam, there were 105 cases of
kidney failure. (Source) Metacam is not recommended for long-term use in cats and Autumn had been on it for six months.

Fast forward a few days to my birthday. Autumn is still in the hospital, but she's been able to produce urine and her values have come down significantly. My friends are coming home today. I get a call saying they'd gotten Autumn's values down as far as they could and that she can go home! I want to surprise my friends, so I go to pick her up. Turns out they already know, but they were happy I was there to get her as they'd just gotten home from the airport.

I spoke to the vet and she gave me instructions for several medications Autumn needed to take, including needing to by subcutaneously hydrated daily. I asked her again what she thought had caused the problem. She repeated that there was no way to know for sure, but said, "The most suspicious thing is the Metacam. We only prescribe that for a week, maybe ten days. She won't be taking that anymore."

I had a very happy reunion with Autumn and took her home for more happy reunion joy. She isn't fine, but she didn't die and she will likely be with us for a while yet. I wanted to share this story to let other cat people know that they should use caution with Metacam. Again, there is no way to know for sure if that is what caused Autumn's kidneys to fail, but my friends were not aware of the risks. I'd hate for anyone else to have to find out the hard way.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Etsy Street Teams!

Etsy has things called Street Teams, which are groups of Etsy sellers who band together for support and promotion. Street Teams do things like organize shows or events, represent Etsy at festivals, band together to share advertising costs, raise money for charity, etc.

I'm a member of two street teams, EAST and EFA. EAST is Earth Path Artisans Street Team. We're a group of Pagan, or Pagan-friendly Etsy sellers. You can find our shops on Etsy by searching tags for "east." Our information is here:

Shop Earth Path Artisans to support your local (or non-local) Pagans!

EFA is Etsy for Animals. We support animal charities by donating a percentage of our proceeds or all proceeds from the sale of specific items in our shops. You can find our shops on Etsy by searching tags for "efa." Our information is here:
We also have a myspace page, here:
Etsy for Animals on Myspace
Our website is here:
Etsy for Animals

Shop Etsy for Animals to help our critter friends!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Birthdays are for indulgence

Yesterday was my birthday! To celebrate, I did something I've only done once or twice in my entire life - I had a mani, a pedi and a facial! It was wonderful. The facial was the best part, so relaxing, so soothing. Now my fingers and toes are all purdy. I'd never had a mani before and only once before had a facial, but I've had maybe four pedis altogether. The fact that these little indulgences are so rare made the whole experience special and decadent. Special and decadent - that's what b-days are for, yes?

After that, I had pancakes for lunch. Another special and decadent treat! But the best part was when I had dinner with friends. We had take-out from El Pollo Loco, where I'd never eaten before. As far as fast food goes, this place rocks! The food was really good and much healthier than the majority of other fast food restaurants. The company was the best part, though. The highlight was having "Happy Birthday" sung to me, in its entirety, by a two year old! What a cutie.