Wonder Drugs for the Wonder Cat

About 10 days ago, Mojo the Wonder Cat had her first chemo treatment and it went remarkably well. We thought. Due to a miscommunication - because Mercury is retrograde after all and boy, has that ever packed a punch this time around – I didn't fast her, which means she couldn't get sedated for the treatment and the stress turned out to be too much for her bladder. She got a UTI. Popping in and out of the litter box every two minutes, eventually getting so stressed out she tried going on her safest places (the couch, my bed), followed by an "interesting" case of diarrhea due to either stress-induced colitis, antibiotic side effects or chemo (or the perfect storm of all three) which was apparently too heinous for the litter box all meant I couldn't manage her side effects at home, so she went to the vet for a couple of days. By last Thursday, they claimed the diarrhea was largely gone and that she'd stopped peeing everywhere, tentatively diagnosed her with "idiopathic cystitis" - which I take means "the cat’s peeing everywhere and we have no idea why" - and everything was compounded by the stress of being at the clinic, keeping her from eating, so the best place for her would be to come home.


I'm not quite sure they fully understand the impact of a disability and using a wheelchair. Because although the best place for Mojo to be is definitely home, when you have a disability, it can be difficult to manage certain pet-related illnesses and their treatment (and we won't talk about the implications that may have for my ability to let her finish the chemo). For instance, it makes it next to impossible to wipe up diarrhea from the floor (because the diarrhea wasn’t gone), replace towels on the bed when it gets used as a safe place to urinate (because she was still peeing everywhere, always trying to, half the time nothing coming out) or administer medication to a cat that transmogrifies into an armful of eels when approached with medication or the nail clippers.


And speaking of medication, she came home with four: Ovol for the bowel cramps (which I’ve given her for over a year now and it works brilliantly), Tylosin for the diarrhea to attempt to put a cork in her, Clavamox, an antibiotic and Amitriptyline. Yes, the antidepressant. Because I can't pill her no matter how many people are holding her down, all medications are provided in liquid form, as squeezing syringe after syringe between cheek and gum at least gets most of the meds inside her.


Haber’s Pharmacy in Toronto offers compounded medication, which adds flavour to chew tabs or liquids for animals that according to their voicemail messages allegedly "make it easy and fun to give your pet medication!". Obviously, these people have never met Mojo. At first, Tylosin and Amitriptyline were provided in roast chicken flavour and either it didn't cover up the bitterness of the meds well enough or Madame had associations from the clinic, because she'd fight it tooth and nail, whipping her head around in an effort to spit out chicken-flavored medicated drool (because as a result of getting meds, Mojo has in the past year taken to drooling when getting her meds. Or being really happy) and for some reason, the chicken smell made me gag. It was bad enough when pulling the liquid into the syringe first thing in the morning, but wearing it after it had been flung everywhere about my person made it even worse. So the nice people at the pharmacy gave me tuna flavoured meds instead.


Imagine the scene: twice a day, my friend Barb comes over, grabs the cat while I drape a towel over myself and sits down on the corner of my bed. I pull up next to them, we place Mojo's bum on my leg while Barb holds her sort of like a baby, with a firm grip on front legs and head. I then pull out 4 (in the morning) or 5 (in the evening) syringes and we go to town. We start out with the ones she tolerates well - Ovol (mint-flavoured) and Clavamox (banana-flavoured - what can I say, my cat is weird, she likes fake banana flavour). And then we gird our collective loins for The Fight. Because although the tuna flavour appears to obscure the taste of the medication more than the chicken, there is still mad shaking and flinging of medicated drool and by the end of it, the cat is covered in drool, I have tuna-flavoured drool somewhere in the vicinity of my left breast and banana-flavoured drool dripping from my glasses and Barb is trying not to gag because the tuna smell does to her with the chicken smell did to me (we have now bought a mask for her), there is more drool all over the floor where Mojo has flung it as she runs from the scene of indignity and Barb and I then spend some time washing up.


However, the diarrhea is so far in the litter box and is starting to attain a vague shape, the peeing has decreased and is largely happening in the litter box (although I'm keeping everything covered with blue incontinence pads for a while longer – with the aging baby boomers, it’s the decorator look of the future!), she hasn’t woken me up by trying to pee on my comforter for two nights now, is eating well and best of all, the anxiety and stress has simmered right down.


Amitriptyline is the bomb.



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