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Edited to add: I heard from Calsifer – sadly, Bam Bam passed away a few hours ago. If you have any suggestions, still feel free to share in the comments, it could help someone who might be dealing with the same issues, now or in the future.

Y’all, I got this email from Calsifer, of the Tipped Ear Clan. Please read the email and if you have suggestions, either leave them in the comments or, if you prefer, email them to me (mizrobyn (at) gmail (dot) com) and I’ll pass your email along. Even if you don’t have any suggestions, good thoughts in Bam Bam’s direction can never hurt – and make sure you check out the pictures below of Bam Bam and his late brother, Teddy.

I am writing to ask for advice for our old black and white boy, Bam Bam, who will be 16 if he survives the year. I feel the experienced among your readers may have a better idea of what he needs if his history is sketched. So here goes: Bam Bam is a DSH who decided along with his brother Teddy that our home was theirs. They showed up when they were about 2-3 month-ish. Teddy died in Dec 2010 of massive heart attack.

Bam Bam is a chronic renal failure cat. His first suspected failure happened when he was about 3. Suspected due to circumstances making it seemed like he may have eaten something he shouldn’t, there was no clear indication of kidney issues then. The suspected bit got slapped on when he really crashed when he got to age 7 and we were reciting his history for the vet. He always just needed meds after that, and was keeping to his smackdown routines on everyone else just fine. After Teddy’s heart attack, the vets added monitoring of his heart condition to the laundry list of things to be done when he goes for his reviews. Things were … normal and we thought it would cruise-mode for a while yet. That is until last May, when his kidneys had a total shutdown suddenly.

The vets performed a miracle and got them to restart after 2 days. Since then he has been on a plethora of medicines and twice daily sub-Q injections. Also, since then his kidneys have crashed 4 times, but no total shutdowns. Each time he was able to come back. The Bamster has a WILL to live. The only odd thing is he eats only kibbles, and can’t retain weight. So we supplemented that with daily wetfood feedings ala squirt it mushed up into his mouth. He doesn’t struggle and will eat it that way, just not on his own. He crashed again this Thursday/Friday past. Right now, he is at home, discharged after the vets got his potassium down to normal (the readings were so high when they first saw him, the machine could only register it as 10+).

This time his heart and his kidneys are not the main problems. They are “normal” for him. But the difference with this crash was he was losing use of his limbs, as if he was drunk. He couldn’t stand up straight. He still can’t use his limbs properly. Right now, he is flopped down on his side at home. He can however sit up, after a lot of struggling. And he can lift and hold his head up with no problems. He can turn it fine too. But his front paws are like floppy furtoys that he can’t get to obey him. His hind paws too. He is not able to stand up on them. At first it was his front paws that seemed to be weaker but now it seemed like his hind paws are worse. Through it all and even now, his eyes are bright and he insists on trying to get to the litterbox to pee. We’ve rigged things up so that he can move himself easily into his new useless-limb friendly litterbox. But he still doesn’t get there in time and we can see he’s not happy about making a mess just cos he can’t reach the litterbox in time. We’d assist but it’s a private thing for him and he doesn’t try to go if anyone’s watching him.

Here’s the crux: have you or your readers come across such a case, and what was done to help the kitty get use of his limbs back or even just to make him comfortable? Even if Bam Bam doesn’t regain full proper use of his limbs that’s ok. We just want him to be comfortable and live in dignity for as however long that is going to be. If he can use the litterbin as he so desperately wants to, that’ll be a bonus. Right now, we’re doing massages, providing heatpacks. He is due for a review in 2 days with his vet, and she has mentioned that acupuncture may be a consideration. She has added Nutripet to his medicine kit, and checking out if Liqui-Tinic (go Spanky!) is suitable for him.

In case you wonder, we already have, variously, given him the “talk” about the rainbow bridge, hopefully in a way that tells him: “if you’re not done, we’re gonna support all the way, but if you think it’s enough and you want to wait for us over on the other side, its fine too. No rush, no pressure, just all up to you.” But he doesn’t seem to be ready to go yet so we’re doing what we can.

Bam Bam

Bam Bam’s brother, Teddy.

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Regarding Liqui-Tinic, Fred gives it to Spanky via an oral syringe. For those with cats who would fight having liquid squirted down their throat, maybe try it mixed in Gerber baby food, chicken flavor? (When I asked Fred if he had any suggestions, he said “Grab them firmly by the nape of the neck and shoot it in their mouth”, which I know is SO helpful.)

I don’t have any suggestions beyond that – maybe someone else does? If you have suggestions on this topic, please jump in!

Also, I did just think of this – maybe Connie’s method of pilling a cat would work for giving them liquid meds from a syringe/ dropper as well?

Edited to add: Jacquie suggested this: CatDad, one thing you might try if Stormy likes treats is to put some drops of the Liqui-trinic on the treats. That is how I started my cat because she was chary of it at first, but would be unable to resist the treats even if they were a bit wet. I was able to progress to using the dropper after a week. (Thanks, Jacquie!)

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Regarding Buttercup: someone asked if they were remembering correctly that one of Maxi’s kittens was named Buttercup. Her name was actually Princess Buttercup, which meant that I could still go ahead and use “Buttercup” without the title, with no conflicts in the shelter records.


It’s funny that they seem so huge to me when they don’t even weigh a pound, but good LORD, look at those huge babies!

OH the faces.

I feel like maybe Leia’s got a sleep disorder or something. That kitten is forever yawning.

Tandem tuxie nursing.

Sophie asked in the comments yesterday if one of the tabbies is a ticked tabby (no stripes on the body, just the legs and tail), and Aslan very well might be.

What I love about them at this age (aside from EVERYTHING) is how when you touch them, they kick their little legs at you.

Here’s another shot of Aslan’s body – you can see he has no stripes on his body. I actually didn’t know ’til Sophie’s comment that that was called a ticked tabby. You learn something new all the time, right?

Buttercup has a stripe of white going down the side of her chin to her throat. It looks like she’s dribbling milk down her chin!

Another shot of Aslan.

Oh, wait. He looks to have stripes on his belly – does that still qualify him for being a ticked tabby?

And, a video! 6 days old, rolling around, squirming, nursing, and being cleaned by Kate. Could they BE any cuter?

YouTube link.

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I put this blanket on my bed the other night because I was cold, and left it there because the cats love it so much. Tommy looks like he’s staring off into the distance having Deep Thoughts, but in actuality he was marching, marching, marching.



2012: For future reference (although I’m sure I’ll never remember this), it’s apparently at the 3 1/2 week mark when the kittens lose their fear and start seriously venturing forth from their safe place.
2011: No entry.
2010: I don’t know what the number is that determines crazy cat lady-hood, but I’ve got to say that two can’t possibly be the number. That’s hardly even cat PERSON level, right there.
2009: Beulah thinks this is the MOST FUN EVER, and she crawls up on the back of my leg and hangs on for the ride.
2008: No entry.
2007: I ain’t cleaning the frickin’ floors in this house ever again
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.



3-26-13 — 51 Comments

  1. Sorry about your kitty. Certain electrolyte imbalances can cause muscle weakness. Also, with the renal and cardiac history there is the possibility of a stroke (clot or bleed) either a partial/complete saddle thrombus or spinal. Vestibular problems can cause problems with walking but the cats usually look drunk, not atonic. We are having a snow storm here but if you live in a warm check him for ticks because tick paralysis is possible. There are some other much rarer disorders.
    I would take him back to the vet ASAP and have him checked. If electrolyte imbalance is problem, then balancing should fix problem. If it is a tick, remove it and he should return to normal. If it is a stroke, the faster you can re-establish blood flow the better the prognoses. With time and PT some of these stroke cats can get better if the damage isn’t to extensive. Vestibular problems will resolve with time but the cat may be left with a head tilt.
    Hope it works out for you and your cat.

  2. I hear loud purring in my head when I see Kate and her babies and Tommy too! do they purr loudly ? thats what the mummy kitty I had used to do while babies nursed and what mine usually do if their kneaders!

    • Kate and Tommy both purr like crazy. Tommy will march and purr, march and purr, and he’s so loud you can hear him from two rooms away!

  3. Wow, those are some healthy-looking babies. Is it Leia who has white paws? I love her little climb through the scrum at the end. She’s my favorite (at least until another one is my favorite…).

    I’m sorry I don’t have any advice regarding Bam Bam, so I’ll just send my good thoughts. He sounds like an amazing guy.

  4. Love the babies’ names! They are so unbelievable adorable I want to eat them for breakfast.

    About giving liquid meds with a syringe, maybe I can share my experience. Keep in mind that English is not my first language, so sometimes I have some difficulty explaining stuff like that.

    Three years ago, my 14-year-old Chanie (I know, he has the name of a girl. We were told he was female when we had him and didn’t really check. We had quite the surprise one day.) was often constipated and was diagnosed with a megacolon. For a long period, we had to give him lactulose with a syringe, 1,5 cc three times a day at first, then it went down to two times a day, then one time a day. At first, my spouse did it because he has a firmer hand with him, but it wasn’t always possible because he doesn’t work from home like I do and three times a day meant I had to give it to him once during the day. Plus, if my spouse did it, he had a tendency to “forget” to do it. I started giving it to Chanie myself just before I gave him food so he wouldn’t run away from me. What I did was prepare the syringe, of course, then I would place myself behind him to block with my legs any possibility of retreat. Then I would place my hand under his jaw and gently press the side of his mouth to get him to open it and squirt the liquid into his mouth, aiming at the roof in the back of his mouth, then try to hold him a few seconds to get him to swallow if necessary. Before I started to block any retreat with my legs, he would back away while shaking his head, so the liquid would go everywhere but in his mouth.

    I didn’t have much problem that way, but that may be because he didn’t hate the stuff. Last year, he got a bout of looser stools and I had to give him a chalky mixture that tasted horrible and he would really fight this one, running away as soon as he saw me with it. But I still used the same method when I caught him.

    I hope that was clear enough. Good luck!

    • That was perfectly clear, and though I’m not usually the one who medicates the permanent residents in this house, when I do have to do it, that’s exactly how I do it, too! (Especially Miz Poo. For a lovebug, she can be a fighter when it comes to meds. Blocking her exit so she can’t back away from me has been a life saver.)

    • I gotta say, if it were not for your disclaimer and the fact that you used a comma in your measurement (the US notation would be 1.5 instead of 1,5 – we’ll catch up to the rest of the world one day!), I would never in a million years have guessed English was not your first language – for that matter, I’d have assumed you were a professional writer or perhaps an English professor or senior newspaper editor! If more native-English speakers had the grammar, vocabulary, and spelling skills you do, I’d spend a lot less time being annoyed by them.

      I use pretty much the same method for giving my cats medicine – the one thing I haven’t found out how to prevent or minimize is the foaming at the mouth. I keep a cup of water nearby and follow the squirt of medicine with one or two syringes of water in hopes of washing out the bad taste, but I don’t even know if that’s what causes the foaming. Lately I’ve given up, and just lock the cat in the bathroom for a half hour or so, then go in and scrub, scrub, scrub. (c:

  5. Kate, in the video, looks like she’s thinking: “Whatevah…” And those kittehs also look huge to me for their age. Don’t even have eyes open but boy, when they do…look out!

    I agree with the first poster about a possible stroke…for the kitty without use of front legs. I had one cat that apparently had a massive stroke, lost control of her bowels, and then couldn’t move at all. She had been sitting my lap, jumped down, then went behind the sofa. I got her out, and called the vet, but by the time I was ready to take her there, she had died. The vet said cats do suffer partial and massive strokes, and thought that was what had happened to her.

  6. Today’s Royal pictures make me think it’s Belley-palooza Day! Striped bellehs, spotted bellehs, tuxie bellehs…I could blow raspberries on them all! 🙂

    Hugs to Bam Bam and his folks! I know what it’s like to have a cat who is a survivor despite the medical challenges.

  7. I’m sorry to hear about Bam-Bam. He’s had a rough time of it and I’m glad that they’re focusing on his comfort and when he’s ready. Lovely toe-beans. How about some puppy training pads around the litter or nearby for him? Easy clean up and give him some dignity. maybe put a handful of clean litter on it so it’s clear to him what it’s for.

    Buttercup and her siblings are just killing me but those white whiskers, wow.

    Kate is so gorgeous. And so patient with those little things crawling all over her!

  8. My heart goes out to Bam-Bam’s family. I do like Kar’s idea of the puppy pads with litter on top… gives him a bit of dignity and his family easier clean up.

    Liquid meds strategy for adults… I sneak up behind them and block their retreat with my entire body, putting one arm around the front of them to hold their legs down (kind of hugging from behind). I use the hand that’s hugging to pull backwards on the corners of the poor kitty’s mouth, which opens it enough to get the tip of the syringe between their teeth. The same hand that pulls their lips backwards rotates to hold their mouth shut while they swallow. It seems like a lot of steps, but I can actually get it done quickly (in a matter of seconds) and without drama. The most I get from the kitties is a look of disgust afterwards.

    Little Leia has the most amazing pajama pants ever.

  9. Hugs to Bam Bam and his family. He looks like a real sweetie.

    Those kittens are really growing fast. I checked the weight chart – Aslan is over a half pound and he isn’t a week old! Wow – they are meatballs.

  10. Is it just me or do the behbehs look significantly bigger in just their six days gracing us with their presence? LOVE the names!!!

    Adding good thoughts for Bam Bam’s family.

  11. First of all, I want to thank everyone for their suggestions & comments about giving the Liquitinic. I’m going to give the baby food a try and if that doesn’t work, I’ll think of something else. Problem is Stormy has always been a picky eater & food is not a big motivater to him. If I have to, I’ll try the eyedropper/syringe again.

    To Annie B- Your method of giving liquid meds, etc., is exactly the same as what I do. Since my wife passed away several years ago, I’ve had to learn how to give meds by myself without that ‘third hand’ to help. I’ve been quite successful at it with all my other cats so far. But Stormy has never been sick & I’ve never had to medicate him, so this was a new experience for both of us. If I’ve learned anything about dealing with cats, it’s ‘Don’t give up’, so I’ll keep trying.
    Again, thanks for the help everyone.

    My thoughts & prayers are with Bam Bam. I hope you can find a way to ease his discomfort at least a little bit. It’s not easy dealing with things like this, and bless you for doing everything you can for him.

    If the Royals keep growing at this rate, you might have some awfully big kittys on your hands. Can’t believe how plump they are.

  12. So sorry to hear about Bam Bam. What a beautiful cat-((hugs)).
    The babies are so adorable and Kate seems like such a good mama. I think I’m going to nickname Leia and call her PJ (for pajamas) because those little stripey legs just kill me.

  13. Robyn, I decided to try Liquitinic with my old cat, Velcro. She has a difficult time getting around, walks slowly and deliberately and lays in her bed a lot. She’s alert and doesn’t seem sick, just old and slow. She had always been easy to handle until the vet cleaned her teeth last year. Now she doesn’t want anyone around her head. It wasn’t easy getting the dropper near her mouth, even using the methods suggested above. The medicine did wonders, though, after only one administration. The next day I pulled out the bottle of Liquitinic, Velcro took one look, and RAN away. I haven’t seen her run for years. It’s a miracle! I tried mixing it in her food. She wouldn’t eat the food. I had to open a can of tuna and mix it with tuna juice, it was the only thing she would accept, but she wouldn’t finish it. The other cat, Gollum, came along and finished it. Gollie is 10, so I guess it’s good for her, too. After a week the only way I can get Velcro to take her vitamins is to put it in both cats’ dishes, mixed with wet cat food that’s part tuna juice. Gollie eats it fine, but if I just put it in Velcro’s dish, she’ll go eat from Gollie’s instead. I don’t think it’s a problem with Liquitinic, I think it’s just the result of giving an old, sassy cat an opportunity to remind me she’s still in charge.

    • bless all old sassy cats! Both of ours, 13 and 20, avoid pill pockets and *anything* applied to foods. We even tried a “tasteless” water additive for their teeth, and they started drinking from a decorative fountain instead.

      We have to surprise our old kitty when she’s sleeping to administer her liquid meds.

  14. I am a great believer of mixing meds with chicken baby food. I’ve never had a cat that didn’t eat it right down.

    And the tiny pink toesies!!! So cuuute….

  15. Bam Bam: Compare notes on Eric and Flynn’s Adventures at twodevoncats.blogspot.com. Eric had similar issues. We’re sad to hear Bam Bam died. Hugs to Calsifer.

    Kate is such a good mommy. The striped and spotted tummies!!! They are all such cute little butterball kittens 🙂

  16. Haha, Kate sure looks like she’s putting up with a lot! Those 5 look like they’re a handful, but she’s being a good mama and letting them belly up to the milk bar without a single complaint!

  17. Goodness, you can almost see those kittens growing from one picture to the next!
    Ok, am I crazy or does that kitten in the front on the video seem to have white spots on ‘elbows’ and ‘ankles’? It looks like a marionette, that’s where the strings attach! Too cute!
    When Tommy goes marching on the bed, Hurrah, Hurrah… 😉

    • Yes, that’s either Buttercup or Charming who has silly little white dots on his (or her) legs. I need to get a closer look (and better pictures, obviously!)

  18. If you want to give liquid medication what I do when I have someone who won’t cooperate with me is that I keep their mouth closed turn a head a little to the side so the lip points to the ceiling and lift up a lip and slowly squirt it on to the teeth, it seeps into the mouth and the cat generally swallows it. If it is really bitter it would be an issue – but most meds aren’t that bitter.

    I use the petinic and the liquitinic and mix it in with the baby food.. My cats don’t care which flavor, they love them all. Fleurp gets it, and she BEGS me for her medicine all the time.

    and they are butterball kittens

  19. Oh Calsifer – I’m so sorry to hear that Bam Bam passed. Sounds like he was very well loved and will be missed. Hugs.

  20. Calsifer, I send you lots of hugs. Just yesterday my 6-year-old furbaby, Chester, was diagnosed with severe renal failure. Till Saturday he seemed perfectly OK, on Sunday evening he was not OK, on Monday morning he was in agony. Our vet is doing all he can to restart him. I’m devastated. Chester is my son’s best buddy, his four-legged brother. He’s such a beautiful cat, chocolate British Shorthair, the lord of the house, such a dignified creature. And now he’s lying hidden under the kitchen cupboard, sick and forceless. I cannot, will not imagine our life without him.
    On the brighter note – Robyn, go check the Cute Overload today, there is a beautiful picture of the toes of Percy Pickle of yours !

    • Joasia, I’m so sorry that Chester is going through this, I hope the vet is able to help him pull through.

      (And thanks for the heads-up on Cute Overload, I hadn’t checked there today yet!)

  21. I’m so sorry Calsifer! Sounds like he had a wonderful life.

    In addition to baby food for hiding meds, I highly recommend hot chicken water. In other words, chicken broth but without any flavorings and homemade. I boil thighs or whatever’s cheap in water for a while, let it all cool, and give them the fatty broth (heated for 5 seconds in microwave if it’s from the fridge) and meat. My cats now assume that any time I head into the kitchen, it’s to fix them some broth. It’s like being stalked by crack heads. I can successfully hide meds in the broth, but don’t since I can’t control who eats which bowl.

    They absolutely will not touch store-bought broth, and I assume it’s because this is pure liquid chicken grease and the purchased stuff is flavored with veggies.

    PS I learned the “recipe” from this blog. I just don’t drop whole chickens on the ground. 😉

    • I bet they’d REALLY stalk you if you were throwing chickens on the ground every time you went in there! 🙂

  22. Calsifer… So very, very sorry to hear Bam Bam didn’t make it. Just know that he was loved and had a wonderful life with you. I know well how hard this is for you but remember he’s at the bridge waiting… as they all are.

  23. Robyn you must great self-control, I think I would be kissing and wanting to gobble up those kittens. Or do you do that as soon as the video camera is off???

    Aslan’s quivering tail in the video almost made my head explode from the sqeeees.

    Did you go over and cuddle with Tommy after you took the pictures?

  24. I am sorry about Bam Bam. It sounds like, despite his issues, he had a good long life and was well loved.

  25. I never heard the term “ticked tabby” before either. But one of my cats is pumpkin-orange and white tux and white belly, but the only stripes he has are lower legs and end of tail.

    The kittens’ tiny, tiny wisp of triangle ears … that’s what’s killing me the most.

  26. So sorry to hear about Bam-Bam’s plight, never easy to say goodbye to them. Hugs.

    the cuteness is a good antidote.

    • me toooooooooooo! I need all those extra o’s to express how adoooooooooooorable it was!

  27. When my cat Bear was sick with FIP, I had to give him EIGHT cc’s of liquid medicine (an experimental drug called polyprenyl immunostimulant). The easiest way I found to give it to him was to use a 1 cc (very slim) syringe, and stick the syringe between his cheek and his teeth (with the jaw closed and the head slightly tipped back), then squirt into the back of his mouth. The liquid passes through the gap between the teeth and the back of the mouth without a lot of drama. Just make sure you get the syringe in far enough to avoid having the liquid dribble back out again.

    • BTW…this also works if you need to feed an ailing cat. Just fill the syringe with wet food mixed with water.

    • Oh, I like this – not least because of the way they clamp their jaws shut sometimes. It’s the perfect work-around!

  28. I have a tabby (maine coon) that is ticked and tabbied…I think they can be anything they want to be! 🙂