September 9th, 2008


state of the cat

Okay, here are the things we know, with a fair degree of certainty, are not wrong with Kuron.
He doesn't have feline leukaemia.
He doesn't have feline HIV.
He doesn't have a parasite.
He also, rather confusingly, is no longer anaemic or hyperthyroid.
The vets at the RVC recommended we put him on a special diet for about six weeks to see if he put on any weight, so we got a new bag of biscuits for him which are made with a single protein and a single carbohydrate.
He was fine with them for a week or so, then he started to get constipated, so we gave him an enema and a couple of doses of Catalax, which solved that problem.
Then he started throwing up. Now, this is no big thing for us; when he first developed megacolon he was throwing up all the time. Because his face is so flat, every time he's sick some of it goes into his nasal passages somehow, so after throwing up he has a number of sneezing fits, resulting in snot - and, on one spectacular evening, blood - going everywhere.
We panicked when this happened the first few times, but these days it's more kind of, `Oh, hai, Kuron. Been sick again? Ho-hum. Let's wash your face, then.'
However, it's not normal for him to honk his food up three times a day, which he did over the weekend, so we phoned the hospital for some advice and they told us to start giving him some sensitive-stomach food and bring him in today.
Which we did, and they decided to keep him in for a few days to repeat some of the tests and to give him an endoscopy. If that doesn't find anything, they'll open him up and have a bit of a rummage and take some biopsies.
When he came back from the hospital the first time he was on a course of antibiotics in case he had a parasite, and our feeling is that, maybe because his digestive system is so short now, it blitzed his gut bacteria and they haven't been able to recover, which might be why he's being sick. Either that or he grew intolerant of the special diet. After we started giving him the sensitive-stomach food, he started throwing up less - just twice in two days - which might mean something, or it might not.
Anyway, his doctor thinks the sickness might be the next stage in whatever's wrong with him. Candidates for that include something similar to Crohn's Disease, or maybe lymphoma, both of which she says can be managed to some extent, although lymphoma could mean chemotherapy.
We'll have to see. Meanwhile, he's in good hands and, according to the junior doctor who phoned us with a progress report this evening, behaving himself impeccably.

In other news, Kasia has for some time been suffering from a flea-bite allergy, which has left her back and neck covered with itchy scabs. Bogna's been treating it with a tea-tree ointment, which seems to work somewhat and has the added bonus of making it possible to know where she is at all times just by sniffing the air.
It's not going away, though, and she's been scratching a lot, so Bogna took her up to the vet on Friday for a steroid jab, which seems to have reduced the inflammation a lot.
He also gave us some medicated shampoo to use on her. Now, we've had Kasia about six years now and we've never bathed her. Her coat's a different texture to the boys' so she doesn't really knot up, and she washes herself a lot. In addition, Dougal, who's besotted with her, spends at least part of each day washing her too.
But the shampoo should help bring down the itching, so we hosed her down tonight. My own feeling is that we only got away with it because we'd never done it to her before and it took her by surprise. Kuron doesn't mind being washed for about ten minutes, then he gets sick of being wet and starts to complain and trying to make a run for it. You could put Dougal through a car-wash and he wouldn't even bother waking up. Kasia, though, has come to the conclusion that it's no fun, and I have a sneaking suspicion that the next time I pick her up and carry her towards the bath I'll wind up needing plastic surgery.
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the end of the world is nigh. or not

It can't have escaped anyone's notice that the Large Hadron Collider at CERN goes live tomorrow. Nor can it have escaped anyone's notice that there have been dire warnings about what the thing will do, from creating `mini-black holes' which will destroy the Earth, to bizarre particles called `strangelets,' which will also destroy the Earth and probably the rest of Creation. It's been in all the papers for the past few weeks - even the tabs - and the BBC have been running a series of very informative and interesting programmes about what is the largest science experiment ever created by Man.
We were driving back from the veterinary hospital today and listening to Virgin Radio, and the DJ was talking about this, with all the scientific rigour you'd expect from a Virgin Radio DJ, and he mentioned that the bookmaker William Hill is actually offering odds that the world will end tomorrow because of the LHC.
Now then, all this end-of-the-world hysteria is getting on my tits and I became very annoyed indeed when I heard William Hill were offering odds. Because William Hill, being a venerable institution and not run by assholes, must have done their homework and they know as well as I do that the world will not end tomorrow. Tomorrow the big brains at CERN will switch on one of the proton beams in the LHC, I presume to calibrate it. This will not cause the world to end. Then, a few days later, they'll switch on the contrarotating beam, again, I presume, to calibrate it. This also will not cause the world to end. They're not going to start experiments until next month, and the damn thing won't reach full capacity until sometime in 2010. And even then I wouldn't put money on the world ending, no matter what odds William Hill are offering.
Of course, I've noticed no one mentioning that, in order to collect your winnings, the world actually has to end. Which would kind of be the ultimate pyrrhic victory, wouldn't it?
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    sisters of mercy