Monday, June 18, 2012

Bella's kittens at 3 weeks: open eyes and exploration!

Bella's kittens were three weeks old this past Saturday!

Their eyes are open now, and they're getting very curious about their surroundings. When I visited this past weekend, they got to explore the bathroom a bit:

They seem to want to be together all the time, even when exploring. They stuck close together as they wobble-walked across the vinyl tile. We're really hoping to find a forever-home with someone who can adopt them as a pair. 

They're getting a lot more wiggly and active, but they're still babies and thus they get tired pretty quickly. Here above they are after a vigorous round of nursing (Bella was off taking a break when I snapped this picture -- I don't blame her!).

Above, Matt's mom (that's her hand) is holding the larger, darker grey kitten, as she was checking for sticky eyes. Both babies are breathing just fine and not sneezing or anything, thank goodness -- just a bit of the crusty-eyes thing, which has been getting steadily better since their eyes opened up.

...and here we have the other/smaller kitten, who seems to be following in Cora's pawprints as far as a sense of adventure goes. The kittens were moved to a much larger, nicer crate shortly after this photo was taken -- one with openings that should be narrow enough to avoid anyone's head fitting through. This actually scared the crap out of me when it was happening...I was worried she was going to get stuck, or worse, injure her neck somehow. Thankfully she was fine but still.

...and finally, one picture showing 2/3 of the family. The larger kitten is barely visible nursing at left. You can see one grey paw but not much more than that. Bella, meanwhile, is sniffing at some treats I put in for her, and the smaller kitten is looking at the whole affair with considerable interest (ears forward and everything!).

Oh and while of course whoever adopts them may well re-name them, we're sort of tentatively trying out the names Ella (for the probable-girl kitten) and Bruce (for the probable-boy). I think it's good to be able to refer to kittens to something other than their fur color and/or size. Matt's niece actually suggested Ella because it rhymes with Bella. Personally I think that could get confusing, but at the same does seem to fit! And it reminds me of Ella Enchanted, which would work with this kitten's personality. As for Bruce, I have no clue where Matt got that one but, again, it weirdly fits.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Cora and Shadow Get A Blood Test

Heh, the title of this post, now that I look at it, makes me think of the titles of the Berenstein Bears books I used to like as a kid (this being before the annoyingly fundamentalist offspring of the original authors took over the series, but I digress).

Ahem. Getting back to the all-important realm of cats, I am posting this both because I find medical-statistical values extremely interesting, and because (while I am NOT a vet and this should in NO way construe the proffering of medical advice) I figure I can't be the only one inclined to be searching around for comparison blood-test values for raw-fed cats. Which Cora and Shadow and Brodie have been for the better part of 2 years now. 

So since Cora and Shadow went to the vet this past Saturday (Nikki and Brodie will go in for their shots and checkups next; it's just easier for Matt and I to wrangle two cats at a time as opposed to all four!) and the vet was kind enough to email me their blood test results, I thought I'd go ahead and post the data here (copied and pasted from the PDFs I received; I wasn't able to get the little "low-normal-high" bar things to render but you can tell well enough from the values what was what. Results appear below; note that reference ranges are in parentheses ( ).

Pet Name: Shadow
Species: Feline
Breed: Domestic Short Hair 
Age: 2Y
Sex: CM

Wellness Chemistries

Total Protein: 7.6 (5.2-8.8 g/dL)
Albumin: 4.2 (2.5-3.9 g/dL)
Globulin: 3.4 (2.3-5.3 g/dL)
A/G Ratio: 1.2 (0.35-1.5)
ALT (SGPT): 39 (10-100 IU/L)
Alk Phosphatase: 14 (6-102 IU/L)
BUN: 29 (14-36 mg/dL)
Creatinine: 2.5 (0.6-2.4 mg/dL)
BUN/Creatinine Ratio: 12 (4-33)
Glucose: 112 (64-170 mg/dL)
Potassium: 3.9 (3.4-5.6 mEq/L)


WBC: 8.4 (3.5-16.0 103/μL)

RBC: 9.5 (5.92-9.93 106/μL)
HGB: 14.8 (9.3-15.9 g/dL)
HCT: 49 (29-48 %)
MCV: 51 (37-61 fL)
MCH: 15.6 (11-21 pg)
MCHC: 31 (30-38 g/dL)
Platelet Count: 214 (200-500 103/μL)
Platelet Est: Adequate

               Differential         Absolute
Neutrophils:   4368          52%    2500-8500 /μL
Lymphocytes:   3192          38%    1200-8000 /μL
Monocytes:     168           2%     0-600 /μL
Eosinophils:   672           8%     0-1000 /μL
Basophils:     0             0%     0-150 /μL

Heartworm Antibody: Negative
Ova & Parasite: None Seen
Giardia (ELISA): Negative

Pet Name: Coraline
Species: Feline
Breed: Domestic Short Hair 
Age: 2Y
Sex: SF

Wellness Chemistries

Total Protein: 7.2 (5.2-8.8 g/dL)
Albumin: 3.9 (2.5-3.9 g/dL)
Globulin: 3.3 (2.3-5.3 g/dL)
A/G Ratio: 1.2 (0.35-1.5)
ALT (SGPT): 35 (10-100 IU/L)
Alk Phosphatase: 11 (6-102 IU/L)
BUN: 30 (14-36 mg/dL)
Creatinine: 2.4 (0.6-2.4 mg/dL)
BUN/Creatinine Ratio: 13 (4-33)
Glucose: 111 (64-170 mg/dL)
Potassium: 4.5 (3.4-5.6 mEq/L)


WBC: 9.0 (3.5-16.0 103/μL)
RBC: 9.2 (5.92-9.93 106/μL)
HGB: 14.8 (9.3-15.9 g/dL)
HCT: 49 (29-48%)
MCV: 53 (37-61 fL)
MCH: 16.2 (11-21 pg)
MCHC: 30 (30-38 g/dL)
Platelet Count 127 (200-500 103/μL)
Platelet Est: Adequate

            Differential      Absolute 
Neutrophils: 4230         47% 2500-8500 /μL
Lymphocytes: 3870         43% 1200-8000 /μL
Monocytes:   180           2% 0-600 /μL
Eosinophils: 720           8% 0-1000 /μL
Basophils:   0             0% 0-150 /μL

Heartworm Antibody: Negative
Ova & Parasite: None Seen
Giardia (ELISA): Negative

------------------------------------------------------------------------, overall, everything looked great! Both kitties were within reference ranges for almost everything, and the only values where they were "on the edge" were things that, due to their diet, would be expected to appear slightly high (creatinine, albumin). Protein-related values on a raw diet can be higher because raw-fed cats aren't generally consuming as many (if any) carbohydrates. Thus, it's important to factor in what's on a cat's regular menu when looking at his or her blood results, as the reference ranges have basically all been obtained from cats on a steady diet of commercial cat food, as that's what most people feed these days.

HCT (hematocrit) was also borderliney, but the vet said this probably wasn't a concern other than possibly indicating mild dehydration, which I wouldn't be surprised to see given it's been warm lately and my guys aren't big drinkers. They're accustomed to getting the vast majority of fluids IN their food, and since cats often don't feel thirst strongly, my guess is that they've not increased their liquid intake in light of the weather, meaning I should supplement their meat with some extra water during the summer months especially. 

[Which I tried doing tonight and it was a total success...apparently if the water is meat-flavored they lap it right up (I know, amazing!).]

Oh and regarding Cora's platelets: initially I was confused as to why the number was on the low side, and why the vet had no concerns at all about this. But apparently the important part of the platelet value is actually the little comment that says "Platelet est:  Adequate". Because they get the initial value using a machine, only the machine can't necessarily get the most accurate number, because platelets clump together and the machine is just taking an average from a limited volume of sample. So what the test lab people do then is smear some of the blood on a slide and then determine based on how that looks whether the platelet count is okay. And it was apparently fine for both cats. 

Finally, I was also of course happy to see there was no evidence of parasites in their poop (they did a fecal analysis too). Shadow had tapeworms as a kitten and I could barely look at sesame seeds for months afterward (believe me, if you've ever dealt with tapeworms, you'll understand why!). 

Friday, June 8, 2012

No clever title for this sleepy-cat photo post

Shadow sometimes sleeps in the most ridiculously excellent positions. Here he is on the couch in a very impressive "backward sprawl" pose:

...and here is one from this morning of Cora and Shadow snuggling on the window seat: