January has been a busy month for me: weather issues, migraines, kitty issues, projects to do, and fur fur fur everywhere.
In the kitty news — no, sorry, no impending kittens yet, but we are hopeful. Sahara usually goes into heat in February or March. This has turned out to be a good thing this year as it gave me a bit more time to finally get around to addressing the problems with Sahara’s teeth. Most of you won’t remember, but over a year ago, I had her teeth cleaned and we discovered that she suffers from FORLS (Feline Oral Resorptive Lesions). She had several extractions at that time, but I was reluctant to remove any of her canines. These lesions are like kitty cavities, but they can’t be treated like human cavities. Filling them doesn’t stop the erosion. So far the only recourse they have is to remove the affected teeth. It is believed that these teeth cause quite a bit of pain until they are removed. Furthermore, it’s unlikely that you are going to discover them unless the kitty is under anesthesia for a teeth cleaning since the erosion is below the gum line.
Much of the preventative ‘stuff’ you are urged to attend to for the care of your cats’ teeth is not aimed at FORLS but at plaque and gum disease. The lesions are something different entirely. They start eating away at the teeth and, like the Terminator, THE WILL NOT STOP until the tooth is gone or falls out. I imagine that FORLS are more common than we are generally aware of. A kitty loses a tooth. Maybe we notice, maybe not, but if we do we just shrug and think little of it. Chances are it wasted away to the point it dropped out. Or you take your kitty to the vet for a dental and the vet tells you that they had to do an extraction. You think nothing of that either except that your pocket book is a bit (a lot!) lighter, but it’s probable that tooth was decaying due to lesions. It turned out that three of Sahara’s canine teeth were affected. As you can imagine, an extraction of a canine is a MAJOR ordeal for both cat and vet. The roots of lower canine teeth go way down into the mandible of the lower jaw. However, my vet was surprised to discover that the roots of these canines had been completely absorbed into the bone of her jaws. Essentially those canines were no longer anchored by anything. It made the surgery quite a bit less complicated. She had her oral surgery a week ago and this time I allowed them to remove the canines. There were a few other miscellaneous teeth removed as well, SO, Sahara (aka Fang) is now down to one upper canine and few small teeth. She recovered nicely and seems quite chipper. I suspect that she feels a lot better as well. I’m also relieved that removal of the canines did not mar her stupendous beauty at all. Those of you who have Sahara’s kittens will be wondering if this condition is hereditary. I asked the vet that question and have also done some research. To date, they have not made a hereditary link, nor do they know what causes FORLS in cats. Obviously dental issues do happen in younger cats. In fact “they” say that all cats show problems by about two or three years of age. Sahara is 4 1/2. Some breeds are more prone to dental problems — Persians because of the shorter muzzles and more crowded teeth and Abyssinian for reasons I don’t know.
SO, that’s the story on Sahara. She may not have any teeth, but she is in excellent health and was caught racing around like a crazy cat in the enclosure yesterday. She also has quite the CATitude about being groomed and has me tearing my hair out over trying to keep her fur in a more or less knot-free condition. I gave up on Nugget and, as many of you know who watch my videos, I broke down and gave her a full bear cut followed by a bath. The others are all in great shape with the possible exception of Koi Koi who has the same nasty CATitude as her auntie Sahara. I will be needing to take her in hand sooner rather than later, I think. The question is, how to accomplish that and get out with my skin intact.
One more kitty news item. I have been … am attempting to … go 100% raw food with their diet. Sometimes it seems easier to just pop open a can or, in my case a few dozen cans, than to keep up with the raw even though I buy about 50% commercially made and the other 50% is a simple matter of mixing in a few supplements. I slowly began feeding more canned due to the kittens. I haven’t decided yet how to handle that, but am considering raising the next litter on an all raw diet. Most are transitioned one way or another willy nilly despite my recommendations over to a plethora of diets anyway. The kitties LOVE the commercial Rad Cat which is unfortunate because it costs a small fortune. SIGH! On the upside, I’m well motivated as I was seeing to my dismay more than your average kitty intestinal issues (mainly diarrhea) in Simba Kahn and Tiny Bear. There are so many things that cause diarrhea in cats. It’s the bane of my existence! I know that most cats do fine on whatever us humans decide they are going to eat. Many limp along with mild chronic issues. And there are a few that have other health concerns that cause intestinal problems that are unrelated to diet but perhaps acerbated if not given a diet totally appropriate for a carnivore. In general, I feel that a good meat based canned food is fine, but with two of my cats having problems, I felt it was time for another shift. Poor Simba Kahn (my biggest Fancy Feast addict) has been without Fancy Feast for a couple of weeks… but his poo no longer smells (and it has ALWAYS been over the top in the odor department) and there is no diarrhea. It’s a little early to tell yet if this is going to be the solution for Tiny Bear, but she has also been diarrhea free for a couple of weeks.
I was going to make this a quick post to show off the completion of my project and there I went and got all wordy!! Oh, well. I finally managed to finish the secretary and get it put back together. Here it is:
… and after:
Next project – 24 x 30 canvas oil painting of Sahara (it’s been a very long time since I’ve done any of this kind of art):