Monday, July 05, 2010

Update on the cats

Anubis and Simba are doing well, aside from a continued flareup of Simba's interstitial cystitis.

She has been to the vet to make sure she hasn't developed an infection, aside from that we just wait. She almost got past it, then the fireworks this weekend shot her stress levels up again so we're back to fighting it. Unfortunately our vet also advised me there is still no research that has shown any promise in prevention of her condition. The issue is apparently cause because the cat has holes in the glucosamine layer along the urinary tract - studies have at least shown this much. However the research also, sadly, shows that simply supplementing glucosamine into the diet does not repair these holes and therefore does not help the issue. He did tell me there is some current research into whether a daily glucosamine cath will help, but even if the research shows promise I don't think I'd ever use that method. Unless they found that a one-time cath of glucosamine would help, it's a matter of the cure being worse than the disease. For now, as much as she hates me scruffing and medicating her, the Diazepam does work.

Unfortunately the cystitis causes pain, and the pain causes Simba to be, I suspect, a bit moodier than she would otherwise be. We were making good strides in getting her to like Anubis, but now she's gotten to where she is confusing the heck out of him. Sometimes she doesn't mine him sitting next to her, sometimes she'll hiss. We're trying to give her a firm "no" anytime she hisses for no good reason (ie: he hasn't startled her or chased her or, his new odd habit, stared at her on the litterbox). We're getting there, but slowly.

It doesn't help that Anubis has decided that with James and I out of the house much of the day, he needs a new playmate, and Simba's it. Now, even as a kitten Simba wasn't much into rolling around playing with the other cats. She likes to play with toys, she likes to snuggle. But she's not big on the pounce-and-play with other kitties. Anubis, on the other hand, likes to roughhouse a bit. He doesn't understand why she keeps hissing at him for pouncing after her. After all, he wants to play, why shouldn't she? Unfortunately his boredom has reached levels where he's jumping out at her on her way to the litterbox, on the way to her food bowl... pretty much all the time if he sees her. Which, of course, means he gets hissed at again. For some reason, though, she's running instead of her normal approach I've seen her use with every other new animal I had in the house - standing her ground and swatting. We're quite convinced that all it would take is one warning swat for him to get the picture, but she just won't swat him. So the learning process is requiring us to catch him in the act and stop him, and make sure he knows we're saying no to him without her thinking we're telling HER no for something. It's all getting rather complex and confusing, but they're both smart cats, we just need to make sure we're consistent. It's not that he's doing anything BAD, just Simba won't scold him properly herself but she clearly wants him to back off, and if he wants to make a friend we have to teach him how to interact a bit more calmly.

See, Anubis has never had a kitty playmate before. Not since he was a kitten himself. So he doesn't really know his manners as well as he probably should. He knows not to be mean, he just doesn't know that other cats don't like to be pounced every second of every day.

On the upside, they have come nose to nose a few times. Once she walked right up and sniffed him while he was sleeping. Simba is still occasionally hissing for no reason (we assume the times she hisses are when she's in more pain), but it's happening less often now. Anubis has gotten brave enough to come into the bedroom once or twice a day now - Simba has yet to start wandering regularly into the office, but we're thinking we may have to carry her in there to get her to realize she's allowed in there again. The other day Simba walked right up to Anubis, they sniffed each other's faces.... then the neighbors shot off a firework and she thought it was his fault. So right back to hissing again. Two steps forward, one step back...

It's a slow process but we're getting there. It'll get better once James isn't interviewing constantly, we stop running around trying to pick up things to organize the house, and we settle into something that resembles routine so both cats can sort of figure out what's going on. Until then it's a little crazy, and they're still both doing much better than expected.

We're just mystified by the fact that the situation is reversed from what we expected. We seriously thought Anubis was the one who would have trouble getting along with another cat...