Saturday, January 21, 2017

Week 20 - Discord

We survived the ice storm last weekend with no difficulties at all, except feeling restricted to our house. Not that we had plans that were cancelled or needed to go anywhere during the ice storm, but it always feels weird to know you can't go out.

By Sunday it was mostly just wet because the roads were well treated in our immediate area. We still stayed home to rest because all of us were sick / still sick / feeling crummy.  Monday we met up with a couple of Amber's friends and their moms for lunch and then took the girls to a ceramic painting store to celebrate Amber's birthday. I think it was the last birthday celebration.

Our school work this week revolved around completing Amber's homework in four co-op classes, literature, and some history at home. There were a couple of other miscellaneous lessons along with all of Amber's regular activities and therapies, car licensing appointments, and medical appointments for me. We were exhausted by Friday morning, yet still had three appointments to go. Amber missed her monthly yearbook meeting Friday evening.

This week was definitely not restful, yet we are still in great need of it.

(clockwise starting top left) Resting in a favorite spot while we watch TV on Sunday evening. Home from the vet Monday evening with a bandaged back paw and very skittish. Tuesday morning in my bedroom, another favorite place. Still skittish and scared of open spaces. Wednesday morning, helping me with my hair and makeup like old times. Still scared of the other cats.

The big issue of our week though was our Maine Coon mix cat, Biscotti. He has spent most of his nearly six years of life on and off of anti-anxiety medications. He's a big boy (20lb and small for his breed) and can be rather difficult when he gets upset. Lately it seemed he was doing well off the medications. I guess I was wrong.  But in our defense, he seems happier, talks more, and is more playful when off of the medications.

After a proper introduction when he was two years old, he has gotten along fine with our other two cats who are siblings that we adopted together. Then after the first co-op day of the semester a few weeks ago Amber and I came home to cat hair everywhere and it appeared Biscotti had fought with our smaller male cat, Milori. Biscotti does not like invaders in his home or his yard, and usually goes a bit berserk when he sees an animal outside. Normally we can calm him, but if another of our cats is nearby he refers the anger to them. Again, a few minutes alone has always calmed him, then he goes on being happy friends with Milori and Rosetta.

This past Sunday evening we were all home and actually walking around doing the bedtime chores, when a cat fight ensued on the lower level and continued as cats raced upstairs. We were able to separate them quickly, but it was strange behavior. We believe Biscotti saw an animal outside the patio door and then referred the anger to Milori who was nearby.  Unfortunately, Milori has a sweet personality where he wants to comfort any animal or human who appears to be in distress.  If Biscotti had become agitated, Milori would have hurried to him to provide comfort, and thus became the receiver of Biscotti's anger.

(clockwise starting top left) Wednesday afternoon he followed his normal routine for wet food while the other cats took a time-out. Resting in the guest bedroom with me, still anxious at the sounds of other cats. But perfectly happy and calm with his people. Even playful. Thursday, willing to play with paws under the door with some reserve and an occasional hiss.

Biscotti could not calm down though and we ended up letting him spend the night in the guest bedroom, which is setup as our cat room.  It's where we put them when they need time alone, when visitors are allergic to cats, when service people are here, or when we just need to ensure the cats won't get lost or hurt.  There's a litter box, cat tree, food, water, toys, beds (human and cat), and a window to watch the birds.

Monday morning Biscotti really wanted to feel better and even licked Milori's face in greeting, and all seemed forgiven. Until suddenly it was not.  Biscotti started hissing and growling again at both Milori and Rosetta while becoming extremely agitated. There was another fight and we separated them again. Biscotti eventually was growling at humans too. After a couple of calls to the vet, we decided to take him in for evaluation, but getting him into the carrier was somewhat disastrous.  He ripped several claws on a back paw and tried his best to tear the front ones on the carrier door.

The vet found nothing wrong except signs of extreme anxiety again. He was put on meds to help, but the gabapentin to give him immediately calming relief has not been kind to his digestion and we've halted it.  The buspirone for the anxiety takes a while to been fully effective. Biscotti has needed to spend most of his time in the guest room since last Sunday evening, which means we are spending time with him, time with the other cats, time swapping the cats around so Biscotti can get out, time medicating Biscotti and worrying about his reaction to the cats at the door, extra time with feeding, and just general worry.

(clockwise starting top left) Helpful girl sitting with me and Biscotti for a few minutes. Friday, resting and reading a favorite mythology book. A playful girl putting her "paws" under the door for Biscotti (yes, I was with Biscotti to make sure he didn't get upset).  Exhausted Amber Friday before dinner, the intention was to keep Biscotti company but she ran out of energy.

I've been rather upset that my shadow can't follow me all the day long, and the other cats miss their friend as well as us when we sit with Biscotti.  It's not been a great week.  Today we tried the next step in a reintroduction and let Biscotti see the other cats through a crack in the door with positive reinforcement. Of course, he hissed and gobbled up his treat, hissed again and started to growl. We shut the door then, and plan to keep trying the slow introductions. I just wish I knew that patience and this medication would definitely result in positive results. We went from a happy cat family a week ago, to a very unhappy cat who hates being cooped up yet also hates his companion cats too.

It's going to take a lot of work on all of our parts to straighten this out. Hopefully as Biscotti's medication takes even more hold on him we will see more progress in his behavior. It's been very stressful on us all to see him so upset and to know we can't let a member of our family out of his room.

Next week we have the bare minimum of activities / appointments and we are trying to spend as much time at home as possible to accomplish more school and to help our cats through this time. Oh, and the people need a break too.

Wish us luck!

Linking With:

Weekly Wrap-Up  Homeschool Coffee Break


  1. I am so sorry. Discord is so hard. I hope the cats can reunite.
    Blessings, Dawn

  2. I feel the same way about not having the option to go out when we're snowed or iced in. Sorry to hear that there has been fighting and unrest among the cats, and I hope that situation is resolved soon. :-(