Though probably not as short as you would like.
I talked about the story of Shadow coming into my life in a previous post, so now I am going to tell you about how Loki came into our lives.
It was a very hot August and I was just leaving, with my mom, to go do laundry. I remember that I had a basket full of dirty clothes on one hip and I was getting ready to close the locked front door when I looked down and saw a pathetic sight: a very scrawny kitten looking up at me and meowing.
He was most definitely a kitten as he was probably just large enough to fit into one of my hands. His meow was pitiful and the heat was overbearing. I knew I couldn’t leave him outside. I dropped the basket, picked up the tiny fuzzbutt and ran around the neighborhood asking if anybody knew anything about him. No one did. I couldn’t find any other kittens and I didn’t see a momma cat looking for him. I did notice, however, that he smelled like women’s perfume. I began to wonder if he had been dumped nearby. Maybe someone was able to give away the rest of the kittens, but not this one. I figured it was because he was sickly looking, with one eye swollen and goopy. I wasn’t sure if he had injured it or was unwell, but he needed medical attention.
I put him in the bedroom and locked the door so Shadow wouldn’t kill him while I was gone doing laundry. Yes, I was sure to set up a shoebox litterbox and a feeding station for him. I left with my mother to go do laundry and figure out how I was going to break the news to Hubby that I brought in another cat to our already too small apartment. Needless to say, he wasn’t happy about it – but he wasn’t irate, either. He agreed it was too hot outside and that the poor thing looked sick. He needed to see a doctor.
Loki (who we had just named that – I had started out calling him Odin because of his eye, but his antics soon required a name change). At any rate, the vet gave him eye drops and tested him – everything came back negative. Phew.
We were planning on having him fixed and boostered as soon as possible, but something came up: he became exceedingly ill. His eye wasn’t as swollen, but the goop had spread to both eyes and he was blinking quite often. He had also started to have massive bouts of diarrhea and would throw up on occasion. We tried as many remedies as we thought possible until one night he walked across the living room, literally drooling from both ends. I snatched him up and ran him to the vet. A quick anti-biotic and steroid shot seemed to clear up everything. I sighed in heavy relief as I thought it was behind us. It wasn’t.
The goopy eyes, diarrhea, and vomitting began again, a few weeks later. I did some research and discovered that he was sharing the symptoms of someone allergic to gluten. “Worth a shot,” I thought as I began to research how to make your own cat food. And that’s just what we did. Hubby seemed to enjoy it, the cook in him relishing a challenge. We fine tuned the recipe over the course of a few months and – behold- Loki was getting better. He fattened up, grew about a foot, and started getting loads of energy. I was thrilled he was feeling better, but not so thrilled about having to make cat food for the rest of our lives.
To our great relief, gluten free pet food was becoming more mainstream. People were projecting their own faulty self-diagnosis onto their pets. (A side note: true gluten allergy is not as common in humans as people would lead themselves to believe. Many people may possess an intolerance to it, but not a full blown allergy which would cause an immune response. Okay, off my soapbox.) We weren’t about to complain, however, this just made our lives that much easier.
This is my blanket now
And so, that’s what we do now. We scan dry, wet, and snack cat food ingredients for any form of gluten. We try to find ones that have wheat and corn substitutes, obviously, and are able to find more and more each time we go to the store. We used to have to travel to a larger city with a pet store to find these foods. Now, thought, WalMart carries them. Yay!
We still keep an eye out for signs of remission: goopy eyes, loss of fur, fatigue, moodiness, losing weight, loose bowels, gagging, and coughing. If we start to see any symptoms, we immediately make cat food for a couple weeks, or until the symptoms clear up. Each time, he seems to be able to go longer and longer without symptoms returning. He seems to have a skin condition similar to psoriasis on top of this and is constantly developing patches of scaly skin. We’ve gotten spray steroid as well as have started adding coconut oil to their food. This seems to help quite a bit.
The vets we’ve been to do not feel comfortable starting his booster shots until his immune system has settled down, so we are still waiting to booster and fix him. He still tests negative for anything, so we feel safe in waiting until he’s healthy enough. I would kick myself to the moon if I got him the shots and he became violently ill, again. No, no, it can wait until he is very nearly 100% healthy.
We were trying to foster him, at first, but now this is a joke. He is apart of our family. Shadow doesn’t like this turn of events very well, but I think that once we get a larger apartment with more room for them to roam, they’ll be happier. In fact, Shadow has not really adapted to Loki’s presence well at all. They constantly fight, play fight, and hiss at one another. Loki has commandeered the cat tower that Hubby and his mom made. We’ve made an effort to provide plenty of places for each cat to hide out and get their peace. Fortunately, Loki has never sprayed. He does rub himself all over everything, much to Shadow’s dismay. I think this turf war is the main reason there is so much cat fur constantly flying around the apartment. Between fighting and marking territory, they probably lose a lot of fur.
And so it is that I have a ninja and a Norse god for pets. I love both of them and wouldn’t change it for the world.