All posts by amy

20 Ways to Save Money on Pet Expenses

Have you ever stopped to think about how much money you spend a year on your furry friends?  I sure know I have.  I’ve been forced to (even though most of the time I really don’t want to know!) because of the sheer amount of money I’ve been forced to spend over the past 4 years trying to keep my babies happy and healthy.  Take a few minutes and just guesstimate the cost of food, vet bills, medications, supplements, toys, and other goodies—it’s a lot!  My kiddos are worth every penny I spend on them, but it sure is nice when I can save a few dollars here and there. I’ve spent the past few weeks jotting down ideas on how to save just a little bit more money, and I think I’m ready to share how you can save money on pet expenses too!


1.  Adopt, don’t shop!
Find your furkid at a local shelter or rescue and you’ll save a lot of money!  Usually, the spay/neuter expense and some vaccinations are included in the adoption fee too. If you’re looking for a pure-bred dog or cat, check for a breed-specific rescue in your area.  Remember – when you adopt, you will save a loving animal by making them part of your family AND you’ll help open up shelter space for another animal who might desperately need it.


2. Choose high-quality foods.

Cheap food offers little nutritional value and it will cost you more in the end with related health issues and higher vet bills.  Check foods to make sure that they’re produced in the USA, and make sure that they’re not jam-packed with fillers (like corn and grain) instead of focusing on animal protein.  The best pet food has meat (i.e., beef, turkey, lamb, salmon or chicken) in the first and second spots on the ingredient list.  As a bonus, pets will normally eat less (and poop less) when fed a high-quality food.

3. Higher prices don’t always mean higher quality.
Don’t just assume that expensive brands are always better or more nutritious. Take the time to compare labels and ingredients.

4. Take advantage of store promotions.
Most stores usually have some kind of loyalty card or program to help you save money.  Also, take advantage of those in-store surveys and coupons that print at the bottom of your receipt!

5. Order food and treats online.
It’s often cheaper and more convenient to order your dog’s food online. You’ll save time and gasoline and often you’ll get free shipping too. I love for their low prices and amazing customer service!  Also, did you know that Purina now has a program that allows them to ship prescription food right to your door?  Ask your vet how to sign up!

6. Choose the auto-ship option to save even more.
Auto Ship is the most convenient and cheapest way for you to get food and treats that you like to regularly order.  Some online stores even offer an additional discount if you have your food automatically shipped when you need it.  Plus, you will never need to worry about running out of food!

7. Make your own treats.
It’s easy to make homemade treats for your pets and most recipes require only a few ingredients you that probably already have on hand.  There are tons of recipes you can find online – for one of my favorite EASY treats to make, check out this blog post.

8. Give kibble as treats
This is also a great way to help with weight management. Most dogs are perfectly happy getting a few small pieces of their regular food instead of more expensive treats.


9. Look for freebies.
What’s better than free?!  Ask friends or post on facebook to see if anyone has pet items they no longer need. Chances are, someone has a dog crate or cat bed they would be happy to give away.  It’s also a great idea to follow your favorite brands on their social media pages – you’d be surprised at how many discounts and freebies companies give away to their loyal customers.

10. Always repurpose.
Instead of buying new, expensive pet items, repurpose household items you already have!  Turn a drawer from a dresser into an eco-friendly cat bed, old rake heads can be given new life as purposeful dog leash storage, use collars off of an old shirt to make a fun dog collar or cat toy; just to name a few ideas.


11. Don’t pay too much for toys.
Shop for toys at dollar stores, eBay, or other discount stores where prices are generally lower than prices at pet stores.  My dogs all-time favorite dolls was under $5 at Marshalls!  I’ve also purchased several brand new cat toys (even one cat scratcher that was still in a sealed box!) at Goodwill.


12. Prevention can save a lot of money.
Annual vet checks, preventative care, keeping your pet at a healthy weight, regular exercise, and parasite preventatives can prevent major health issues and expenses later on.

13. Consider pet insurance.
With recent trends showing that people are truly considering pets as part of their family, pet insurance is becoming increasingly popular.  Be sure to compare what each policy covers, read reviews, and ask friends, family, and vet staff if they have any experience with particular pet insurance plans.

14. Save money on grooming.
Stretch out the time between grooming appointments by leaving how to freshen up your pets at home. Try giving baths, minor hair trims and nail trims at home.  If you’re not sure how to perform something – just ask!  Most groomers should be willing to fill you in on their favorite grooming products, and most vets will happily give you a demo on how to safely cut your pet’s nails. If you need a bigger or more convenient space for giving dog baths, try a self-service pet wash station.

15. Hire someone to take care of your dog.

Paying a friend, family member, neighbor or local pet sitter might still be a better and cheaper option than paying to have your furbaby boarded at a kennel. Bonus! Your pets get to stay comfortably at home or with somebody they love.


16.  Buy preventatives in bulk.
Many preventatives are much cheaper when buying by the box instead of purchasing individual doses.  ALWAYS buy preventatives through your vet office – many companies only guarantee their products when they are purchased from a veterinary clinic.

17.  Have open communication with your vet.
It can be all too tempting to check with Dr.Google in an attempt to save a few bucks on pet care.  More often than not, searching online will do nothing but stress you out.  Be sure to call your vet with any questions or concerns that you may have about your pet’s health.  Also, be sure to let your vet know if you have a budget that needs to be worked around – you should be able to request an estimate prior to any services to make sure everything stays in your price range.

18. Ask for written prescriptions.
I don’t know about all pharmacies, but Wegmans pharmacy will occasionally have antibiotics for a significant discount at various times throughout the year.  Your vet’s top priority is helping your pet, and most are more than happy to write you a prescription to help save you some money.  Letting them know about the deals that your pharmacy is offering will end up not only helping you but when vets know that local pharmacies have products significantly cheaper, they are more likely to write out those prescriptions for other clients.

19. Seek out organizations that can help.
If your pet requires care that you can’t afford, there are organizations that may be able to help.  The Humane Society has a short list of animal welfare groups that are designed to assist people who need help.

20. Get Pets Spayed or Neutered
Yes, this last suggestion is bolded for a reason.  One of the most important things you can do both for your pet and for your wallet is to make sure all of your pets are fixed.  Spaying helps prevent uterine infections and mammary tumors while neutering your male companion prevents testicular cancer and prostate problems.  The cost of your pet’s spay/neuter surgery is far less than the cost of the major surgeries involved with treating the above issues, not to mention the cost of having and caring for a litter of puppies or kittens.


Be sure to share in the comments if you have any other frugal pet tips!


The easiest DIY cat toys ever

I made these a few months back and forgot to post them.  Every now and then, I try to be crafty…I’m just usually not too good at it.  I decided to make something that even I couldn’t screw up.  If you know how to make a knot, you can make these DIY toys too!


All you need is leftover fabric, old shirts, etc.  I also used some catnip to get the cats initially interested in their new toys, but if your kitties are extra playful, they’ll love their new home-made toys with or without the catnip.


I used 3 different colors of fleece that I had leftover from a different project.


Cut the fabric so the pieces are relatively the same size.  I made different size toys, so some of my pieces were longer than others.


I had one end of my fabric wider than the other end, just to make it easier for me to knot.  If you’re better at tying knots than I am, this step likely won’t be necessary.


Last but not least, start tying knots!  You can tie as many or as few knots as you’d like, as tight or as loose as desired.  If you know how to tie different styles of knots (I don’t!) you can mix and match those to create fun new toy designs.




Linus was immediately eager to play; Burger and Frenchie didn’t pay much attention until I sprinkled some catnip on the toys.



Andddd you’re done!
If you attempt these super easy DIY toys, be sure to post pictures in the comments down below!


Holidays always hurt the worst

Somehow made it through Thanksgiving.  It was not easy.  Ever since my grandpa died when I was younger, the holidays have always taken an emotional toll on me.  It’s always hurt that I didn’t have my grandpa here with me anymore.  I’ve always wished that I had one of those big families that you always see on TV, where there’s dozens of people coming into town to celebrate.  I’ve always been so jealous of people with big families.


My paternal grandma spent most of the holidays in Florida.  When I was really young, she wouldn’t leave for Florida until after Christmas, but as the years went on, she started heading down there earlier and earlier, usually as soon as the weather started to get cold.  So that left holidays being just myself, my parents and brother, and my maternal grandparents.  I was always okay with that – my grandpa was my best friend, and as long as he was there, I was happy.  When he passed away, my family more or less stopped celebrating holidays.  We would visit my maternal grandma in her assisted living home, spending the majority of each holiday there.  Same with my paternal grandma, who only stayed in Rochester for the holidays once she was physically unable to travel due to her declining health.  After being in and out of the hospital for months with various health issues, it was Christmas Day that the doctors told us she was unable to return home, and that we needed to look into nursing homes for her.


After both grandmas had also passed away, Thanksgiving and Christmas were spent at Chinese buffets…just my parents, brother and me.  I would always smuggle some turkey out for Oreo, and when we were pulling in the driveway we could see him jumping around the window, anxiously awaiting his holiday meal.  After that, we would always go for a long walk with my dad.  Oreo always seemed to enjoy that – most nights, he would force my dad and I to take him on separate walks, but seeing him prance down the street when the both of us were with him was priceless.


I wasn’t expecting this Thanksgiving to hit me as hard as it did.  I spent it home by myself with my cats, as my parents can’t leave their new dog alone without her destroying things.  Their house isn’t suitable for people to come over for big dinners (and no one in my family really knows how to cook anyway), and they didn’t want to come over here.  I think I would have been completely OK with the way it played out if Oreo was still here.  It’s almost been 6 months since I lost him.  Half of a whole year.  It still seems so raw.  Most mornings when I wake up, for that first split second, I still reach over to scratch his ears.


Sometimes I can’t believe that I survived losing him.  Part of me had always thought that I truly would die of a broken heart when he was gone.  He was my entire heart and soul, my first child.  I love my kitties so much, but they can’t compete to the complete devotion I felt towards Oreo.  He was my child and I was his mommy, and I was determined to do anything and everything I could to make sure he lived a long, happy and healthy life.  Despite all of that, he did not live nearly long enough (10 short years), and was plagued by a variety of health issues.


I hope he enjoyed his first Thanksgiving in Heaven.
I hope someone remembered to smuggle him a piece of turkey.

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The Fun Days Of Fall…

Just some random ramblings as we finish up what will likely be the last nice day of fall…

Every warm day in the spring and the fall would always be Oreo’s favorite days for walks.  Not too hot that he’d tire out too quickly, not cold enough where he’d refuse to leave the house.  I really miss those walks.  I tried taking Skai for a walk today, she lovedddd running around the beach playing with Riley (the dog next door).  Walking, though…apparently it’s not one of her strengths.  The furthest we made it was just two houses down before she’d turn around and start doing zoomies around the beach.  Also, much like Oreo, Skai is apparently afraid of water!  I had thought that since she loved playing with Riley so much, she’d chase her right into the water.  Every single time, she’d put the brakes on , refusing to go any further than the shoreline.  Silly dogs!



Last night I had a “girls night” with some of the girls from work.  It made me realize how much I miss nights like that.  I used to have dates with friends at least once weekly, but with working two jobs and having Oreo and Burger so sick, it kind of got pushed to the side. I hadn’t realized just how isolated I had become.  With Oreo gone now, and my being down to one job, I have more free time.  I still have a really hard time spending the night anywhere but home since Burger still needs a lot of care, but I really need to start opening up my social calendar instead of turning things down in favor of watching tv and sleeping.



Speaking of Burger…this picture is from right after he threw his bloodclot.  I forget how chunky he used to be!  He’s so much bonier now…I think large in part to his GI issues.  His bloodwork always comes back pretty normal, but I worry about his body not absorbing nutrients like it should.  I remember this day…we’d put him in what used to be our biggest run at work.  He was coming with me every day, making himself cozy wrapped up in blankets, and enjoying watching all of the cats and dogs that came in every day.  On this particular day, we had locked the doors and I was doing cashup for the night when I looked up and saw this guy strutting past me.  He had jumped over the top of the cage and decided that he wanted to explore a bit!  It was at that moment that I knew that I had to do whatever it takes to make sure that he was okay.  He wasn’t done living his life, and I wasn’t going to stop fighting for him until he told me he was ready to go.  Three years later, here we are…he’s still not back to normal and has some days where he gets really sick, but overall, he’s my happy little boy.  He’s really starting to warm up to Skai, as well.  She’s very gentle with him, and he even started to lick her nose a bit today before he realized what he was doing.



I successfully made it through yet another wedding season!  While I’m beyond happy for all of my friends who have found their way to marital bliss, I do tend to feel pretty out of place.  My dad has taken to the task of “finding Amy a boyfriend”.  Any time he goes anywhere, he insists by telling me about some random guy he met and how he thinks that I should go back to the store/lawyers office/doctors office/etc to meet them for myself.  When he was throwing my mom a surprise squaredancing birthday party, he even said “it would be good for you to go!  Maybe you’ll meet a boy!”  I think he was a little disappointed when he saw that the youngest “boy” there was probably in his 50s.  I don’t think he realizes that it’s not something I want.  Sure, every now and then I wonder if I’ll ever get my “happily ever after”, but if I don’t…that’s okay too.  I don’t feel the extreme desire to meet someone, get married, and have kids like most people do.  I do okay by myself.  A big chunk of that is based on my complete inability to trust anyone.  That, coupled with my anxiety levels going through the roof, have made me decide that maybe it’s time to look into counseling again.  It can’t hurt…right?


On that note, I think it’s time to head to sleep.  Shoot some fun fall activities my way!  I didn’t get to really celebrate the Halloween season last year, and I want to make up for it this year.

Goodnight <3

Life Changes and Happy Cat Month!!

Did you know that September is ‘happy cat’ month?  How fitting that it’s also my birthday month!  In the spirit of always making sure that my kitties as as happy and healthy as possible,  I wanted to start at the root of the issue – making sure that I’M happy as well.


Earlier in the month, I made the decision to resign from Chase bank.  While I had always had high hopes of climbing the ranks, I just was no longer happy there.  With each passing day, my job satisfaction level decreased, and I just knew that it was time to get out.  Starting October 1st, I’ll be going back up to a full time position at Greece Animal Hospital.  Working at the vet is by far the most difficult job I’ve ever had; but it’s also the only one where when I leave at the end of the day I feel like I make a difference.  GAH has always been my home.

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Of course, this will lead me with lots more opportunity to pet-sit!  I already do it fairly frequently, but would occasionally turn down gigs because of my crazy schedule between both jobs.  Now I don’t have to worry about that – I’ll be back down to working 40 hour weeks, and on long days I can even bring those pets into work with me if need be!  I am also considering using my newly found free time to take some classes – I’ve been especially thinking about animal behavior and cooking.  I nearly set the microwave on fire at the bank today trying to make popcorn, so I figure it’s time to figure out what the heck to do in the kitchen.


To keep my kitties entertained, I’ve been buying lots of different toys, treats and food for them.  I even signed up for Meowbox – so I get a box full of new toys and treats (and even kitty wine) for my fur babes every month.  Of course, in typical cat fashion, their favorite toy is the cheapest one —


My birthday is coming up next week – Wednesday to be exact. I’ll be turning 31.  It seems completely insane to me – I can’t believe that a DECADE ago I was counting down the days to celebrate my 21st birthday.  Time goes by so fast, it’s crazy.


My parents added a new member to our family last week; a sweet little girl named Skai.  She was rescued from Puerto Rico, and is so timid and shy, but bonded immediately to my mom and dad especially.  She reminds me so much of Oreo in some ways – her looks, obviously, the way she walks, the way she acts with the cats. Yet in other ways they are SO different, and she reminds me of just how perfect Oreo was, and how lucky I was to have him.  I still miss him so much every day, and still always wonder how long it takes for the sheer pain of heartbreak to start to subside.



Trying to get by, one day at a time…

It has almost been 2 whole months since the love of my life left me.  Each and every day, I struggle to make it through another day without him.  Some days are easier than others.  I try to keep as busy as I can.  Other days, I can barely get out of bed, and have to excuse myself at work to run to the bathroom when I can’t hold back the tears any longer.

Something that has brought me some added joy to my life is a little ball of fur named Linus.  This little love came into my life when a girl I work with nursed him back from the brink of death.  I wasn’t planning on getting another cat, the idea of adopting him literally never occurred to me.   One day I jokingly said that I would take him…and within a week, that joke became a reality.  It sounds silly, but with all of his health issues…adopting him that quickly was one of the most impulsive things that I have ever done.  He makes me laugh every day.  He gives the sweetest little kisses.  Most importantly…he has changed the entire dynamic in my house.  Frenchie has someone to play with and cuddle with, and Burger can choose when he wants to join in, instead of having Frenchie continually try to play with him when he would rather not.

2Frenchie is probably the sweetest kitty I’ve ever had.  She is such a shy little girl, and the fact that she loves me and trusts me so much warms my heart so much.  I love seeing her personality grow every day, as she grows more into herself.  She is very slowly starting to learn that not everything is scary.  She doesn’t hide from my parents anymore when they come over, and she spent most of the night out with me when I had some friends over the other night.


Burger is doing a lot better.  He still keeps to himself a lot since Oreo left us, but he’s starting to snuggle me again and isn’t hiding in the cat carrier every day anymore.  I tried switching him to a new food (Hills W/D), and aside from the first few days when his system was getting used to it; he has been doing REALLY good!  He’s only thrown up a handful of times (instead of every day like before), and just seems to be healthier and happier.  I’m hoping this kick of health sticks around for awhile.

Long story short, this shirt more or less describes my daily life.


I still find myself talking to Oreo every night.  I wake up a lot of times and panic because he’s not next to me, before remembering that he’s gone.  How much more time has to go by before I remember what happened?  I just want to see those eyes of his. I want to step over him on my way to the bathroom in the middle of the night but he’s not there. I still step automatically thinking he will be. Where are you, Oreo? Why aren’t you here? My heart hurts so much. You were my heart. Without you what am I meant to do? Someone has to tell me.


I love you. I miss you.

A letter to Oreo…

Hi Oreo <3

It’s been almost seven weeks now and I still can’t believe you’re not here.  Where are you?  Are you here and I just can’t see you?  I find myself hoping that you are.  That you’re here and you know how much I love and miss you because I do, so so much.

I stand staring at your picture that now hangs on the wall everyday. You were so handsome, you were the most amazing dog, ever.  Why did you have to go?  I don’t know if my heart is ever going to mend, it doesn’t feel like it.

I love you. I miss you.


Having to say goodbye is the most unbearable pain…

June 7th was the worst day of my entire life.  It was the day that I had to say goodbye to my best friend.   Just typing those words has me sobbing.  I have been through so much in my life, but none of it has compared to this.  I have never hurt this much before.  Over a month later, it is still as raw  and painful as it was on day one.


The night of the 6th, I was supposed to go to a WWE show.  I had been excited for it for awhile, but something just didn’t feel right.  Oreo had a seizure that Saturday, and I just had a bad feeling about leaving him alone.  So I stayed home with him instead…and I’m glad I did.  Oreo had 3 seizures that night.  The first was around 7:30pm…right as the show was supposed to start.  He snapped right out of it, just like he did for the other seizures he’d had.  He went right back to being his normal self.  We went to bed around midnight…and I woke up maybe 15 minutes later to him having another seizure.  I was so scared…he’d never had more than one seizure in a day.  I called my parents, and they came over to spend the night, just incase something were to happen.  I told Oreo that he couldn’t have another seizure…that if he had another one, I was going to have to let him go.  I already knew that his nasal tumor was invading his brain, but I didn’t expect it to progress so fast when it did.  2 hours later, Oreo had his third seizure that night.  After that seizure, it took him a few hours to fully come out of it.  I sent a message to my vet letting her know that I thought I had to say goodbye, and told her that I would come in over the lunch period.  I took Oreo for a walk around 11 – he was so happy, and went running down the street with my dad.  I immediately started doubting my decision.  I took him in around noon, and was hoping with every fiber of my being that his vet would tell me that it wasn’t his time, and that I’d be able to take my boy home with me.  That didn’t happen.  she agreed with my fear that his next seizure he might not come out of.  I had to make the most difficult, painful decision of my life…I had to let my little boy go. I held him through the whole thing.  I felt his heart beat it’s last beat.  I’ll never be able to get that memory out of my head.


Burger has been mourning the loss of his best friend just as much as I have.  He’s gotten a lot sicker since Oreo’s been gone – his GI issues have become pretty constant now.  I’ve been chalking that up to stress and grief.  Burger loved Oreo so much – would follow him around the house, and would sit and wait for Oreo in the porch window when I’d take Oreo for a walk.  Every night before bed, Burger would groom Oreo, then curl up next to him in bed for the night.


Burger had started to resent Frenchie since Oreo passed.  Frenchie has tried so hard to cheer us up – she is such a sweet little girl, and I am so thankful that I adopted her.  She laid with me every night as I cried myself to sleep.  Burger was mad at me – wouldn’t cuddle me, wouldn’t even be in the same room as me for a solid week.  He stayed in the corner of the porch, in his cat carrier, for the entire week.  Anyone who says that animals don’t grieve like people do must have never had a pet of their own.  When Burger would come out of hiding, Frenchie would get so excited and run over to sniff him – and he’d hiss and growl, bat at her, and just make it clear that he wanted nothing to do with her…that she wasn’t a replacement for Oreo.  I was worried that it would start affecting Frenchie’s behavior – she has always been a shy, scared kitty, and I didn’t want to see her start to become anti-social with other animals as well.  I adopted a sweet little kitten named Linus on the 5th of July to keep her company — more on him in a different post 🙂

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It’s been six weeks, six weeks of absolute hell. I still don’t know how I manage to get up every day and not see him.  Most of the time, I go to bed hoping to stop breathing in my sleep so that I can be with him again.  I miss him so much that it hurts.  I want to know where he is, if he’s happy, sad or if he’s angry at me for what I did.

I know he’s probably not, he was never angry.  He just looked at us with those big brown eyes of his, those eyes that held so much love. Did he know how much I love him?  How much I miss him?   I have an appointment Tuesday to get his portrait tattooed on me.  I’m going to have his ashes mixed into the ink…so that he can always be with me.

Wherever he is, I hope that he is safe, happy and that someone is looking after him until I come to get him back…because I will. One day I’ll get him back and I’ll be able to feel his fur in my hands and see him wag his tail again.








I saw this at Walgreens not too long ago, when I was having a particularly bad day.  I have never seen my grandpa’s name on anything before (Lawrence), and for it to be next to one that says Angel… I am choosing to believe that is him telling me that he’s my guardian angel, watching over me.  I hope that means that he’s with Oreo.  Oreo would have loved him.


I love you.  I miss you.


Time To Party — Oreo’s Birthday Party!

This post likely won’t be as upbeat as usual, since my mood has really been tanking as of late.  But I figured I’d start out on a high note – Oreo’s birthday party!


This past Sunday I threw Oreo a birthday party – his very first one.  Up until he got sick, it wasn’t something that I had ever really thought about.  I’m so glad that I decided to do it – Oreo had a blast!  He was so happy to see so many of his people friends (especially since usually he only sees most of them when he’s at my work.  Boy does he love seeing them even more when it’s not in a vet-setting!!), and he even made a new girlfriend!  After his party, we went for a little walk, and then Oreo passed out for seriously the rest of the day/night!


I tried to get Burger into the celebrating spirit as well, but he really wasn’t in the mood for a party.  However, his mood quickly changed when he started to realize that he was recognizing people’s voices!  His grandma and grandpa were there, and then he realized that his girlfriends from my work were there!!  He used to love snuggling with them back when he was my sick little boy, spending just about every day at the animal hospital with me.  He spent the second half of Oreo’s party downstairs being social.  Frenchie on the other hand…she only made an appearance when I brought her downstairs to say hi to everyone; and then immediately ran upstairs and hid, not to be seen again for hours.


This past week has been pretty exhausting.  My little old man has been in and out of my work and the emergency vet.  His name is Dium…named because when he first wandered into my house and we took him to the vet to e scanned and checked out, the vet wrote “DM” on his paperwork.  DM, of course, standing for Domesticated Male.  My dad, however, thought that the vet was naming him.  So he added a couple of vowels and went with it.  I’ve always called him Kitten Little.  He’s always been so tiny, despite his ferocious appetite.  He has always been my shyest boy; no matter how hard I worked with him, I have never been able to help him develop confidence.  I’ve always thought that it is, at least partly, due to the fact that he was declawed when we found him.  The only bold move he ever did was to race into my house during a snowstorm when my mom was going out to get the mail.  I knew where he lived, as he had found his way to my yard before; but when I took him back home this time, the house was abandoned with a “for sale” sign in the yard, and the window left open for the cats to come and go.

Last week, during the beginning of the snow storm, Kitten Little’s nose seemed to be extremely swollen and bloody.  My mind went to worst-case scenario – another nasal tumor.  My work was closing down early for the day due to the weather.  An appointment was scheduled for him for 2 days later.  I was at work at the bank that day and got a panicked email from my dad, that Kitten Little was barely breathing.  They were on their way to the vet with him, expecting him not to make it.  My vet quickly referred him to the emergency hospital with a laundry list of problems.  Again, we prepared for the worst.  I got an update from a friend at the emergency vet who sounded hopeful – saying that it looked like it may be just a really severe URI.  Which it was (…and still is).  In addition to his URI, he had lost a significant amount of weight – partially due to not eating for a few days prior to his hospitalization, and partly due to his newly diagnosed hyperthyroidism.  They also discovered a heart murmur – which hopefully is just because of his thyroid condition.  He spent 2 days/nights at emergency, and got to come home Saturday.  He then wound up spending Saturday at my work with me, because no sooner did my parents get him back home than did his nose start to bleed.  After looking at him, it appeared that he must have pawed at his face and ripped off one of the scabs on his nose.

Since then, he is slowly improving.  I brought him back into my job the other day because his nose was almost swollen shut, and he was pretty dehydrated.  By the time we got to my work, he sneezed out a HUGE chunk of mucus, and his nasal passages seemed to reopen.  We gave fluids, and he got to come home.  He is still extremely congested, and his nose is still pretty red, raw and swollen; but his appetite has come back with a vengeance.  We haven’t had to give him any of the appetite stimulants that we were sent home with.  He is due for a recheck next week, and if his URI is cleared up enough, we can hopefully get him started on some thyroid meds.  Which should be fun trying to get into him, seeing as how he bit his vet when she was trying to give him his antibiotic!  Literally the first time he has ever even TRIED to bite anyone, much less done it.  I was in shock.

Burger has been having diarrhea for the past week or so.  It’s not unusual for him, but normally it clears up within a few days.  This time, it started right before his mouth ulceration/UTI; cleared up for a short amount of time after that; and now is back…and AWFUL.  He normally gets baths every Sunday to keep him clean, but he’s been needing to get them once or twice DAILY recently.  He’s on a bland diet and getting a probiotic, so I hope that it starts to clear up soon.  This poor cat…can’t decide if he wants to be backed up with stool or have completely watery stool…he can’t just settle for something in the middle and have normal poos like everyone else.

One of the other family kitties, Cinder, has been acting a bit under the weather lately too.  He’s been licking his lips/the air a lot, his breath became TERRIBLE seemingly overnight, and he’s just been sleeping a lot.  I was finally able to look into his mouth the other day, and saw what looks like one of his teeth getting absorbed by the gum around it.  So, he has a vet appointment tomorrow, and I’m sure will need a dental cleaning/tooth extraction after that.  He is such a sweet boy, he responds to being called “Pretty Kitty” or “Key”, and will come running from where ever in the house he is when he hears his name.  He lived under our camper for 2 years, until right before Hurricane Sandy hit…the night of the storm, he decided suddenly that he would much rather live inside, and went right up to my dad, sat down, got pet, and then followed him inside!  Prior to that, the closest we had gotten to him was from several feet away – he wouldn’t run when we brought him out food, but that was it.  These days, he is truly my dads shadow.

Oreo had his new chemo treatment on the 8th.  For the first  3 or so days, he seemed to be responding pretty good to it – it didn’t seem to make him nauseous like his previous chemo did; but it just never completely eliminated the swelling of his nose/lymph nodes like that previous chemo did.  By the 1 week mark, his swelling was back to as big as it had been, if not bigger.  Yesterday, I woke up to my bed, myself, and Oreo covered in blood.  He must have had a bleed in the middle of the night – it didn’t seem to be a big one, but every time he sneezed he would spray blood everywhere.  That seems to have decreased to the equivalent of a runny, blood-tinged nose, which is still going on.  A few minutes ago, he sneezed so hard he smacked his head on the ground, and his nose started bleeding pretty heavily.  I was able to get that under control pretty quickly with ice and pressure, thankfully.  I just have this sinking feeling that another big bleed is in our future, and it scares me and devastates me at the same time.

With all of the health issues my pets have been having lately, my anxiety and depression have been completely through the roof.  Oreo’s issues are obviously affecting me the worst.  I had a small nervous breakdown last night when I was trying to go to bed… I was crying pretty hard and my nose stuffed up.  I blew one side, but then realized with the other side completely stuffed it must be how Oreo feels with his tumor blocking one nostril.  It was so uncomfortable and hard to catch a full breath…the thought of him feeling like that every day crushed me.  I totally lost it, and cried myself to sleep for the first time in a long time.  He seems to be a bit sleepier than usual – but I bumped up his gabapentin from 1 pill to 2 pills once daily (I can bump it up anywhere up to 2 pills 3x a day; but it hits him pretty hard, so I don’t want to get him on too high of a dose if I can avoid it); so I’m hoping the mild sedation is just a side effect of that.  Otherwise he still seems happy – he still wants to play and go for walks, he still gets excited and bounces around at the mention of going for a car ride.  I am getting so scared that his time is approaching.  I’m terrified of not being able to make that decision for him, or of waiting too long…and I’m even more scared of what I may do when I lose him.  He is my reason for living.  I love my kitties, but it’s nothing compared to him.  I honestly don’t think that I could love a human child as much as I love him.  He’s been there for me at the absolute lowest point of my life after my accident…I really think he is the only reason I walked away from that.  He has saved my life in more ways than one.  He is the reason I wake up every morning.  WIthout him, I would be lost.

Over the past 4 months or so, I’ve had this strong desire to just pick up and move away from my town.  I think it’s due to how strong my depression has gotten lately…I just want to pack up everything and start a new life somewhere else.  I will be in debt for probably the rest of my life from all of the vet bills I’ve had over the past 3 years.  I don’t feel like I really fit in anywhere anymore.  I feel like I have no one other than my parents, who aren’t very good with other people’s emotional problems, or very easy to even talk to about things like that.  I have so many people around me, but I’m not really close to anyone anymore, and most of the time, I just feel 100% isolated.  All I can think about now is just giving up and trying again somewhere else. The only things holding me back are: 1) my mom’s health issues, and 2) the thought that I might immediately regret moving away once I settle in.  I feel very lonely a majority of the time and I’ve been feeling that sticking around here really isn’t worth it anymore.  To top everything off, I’ve been having very bad back and neck pain over the past few days, causing what seems like a permanent headache.  It’s excruciating, and causes vision in one of my eyes to become blurry.  It started out with spasms in my back, at the area affected from being hit by the car.  The next day, it had spread into my neck, and was radiating into my head.  No amount of asprin or hot compresses have seemed to help it.  I don’t know what I did to trigger it; but it’s awful.

I guess that’s enough about that… I doubt anyone will really make it this far down without any pictures in the post to keep it lively, but I just needed to get everything out one way or another.  I’m sure keeping it all in was making it even worse; so maybe writing about it will at least help.  I just feel so lost lately and don’t know what to do anymore.  I just need a break.