Six Toes

Six Toes
What's Up?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Six Toes Improving

Well, it's been a week and a half or so since Six Toes started taking more of his medicine and focused on being as healthy as he can be.  He sleeps a bit more with the new regimen, since his meds make him tired.  Once rested, however, he's still the same old Six Toes, energetic and wrestling with his brother.  From time to time he plays with our rabbit, Isabelle, whom he hasn't quite figured out yet as an animal. He knows she's not a cat, but he can't figure out what she is or if she's playing when she hops away or thumps her feet. 

He was a little stressed out when we had some construction and several strange men walking around his house.  He watched them with interest for a while and then decided after all the strange noises and shouting he'd hide under the bed.  There he remained until the workmen left.

Other than that day, he's been one relaxed and laid back kitty.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Six Toes Gets His Diagnosis

Today Six Toes visited the cardiologist.  I know, it's hard to believe that such things are possible.  Anyhow, away we went to the vet.  Six Toes loved the doctor, who saw right off the bat he had personality plus.  He listened to his heart and then looked up at me. 

"That's loud," he said.  "Maybe we should do an ultrasound so I can see what's going on."

Six Toes did NOT like the ultrasound.  He cried from the time they took him away until the time the brought him back.  I think he was afraid they weren't going to bring him back.

"Well, I can tell you what's wrong with Six Toes," the doc said.  "He's got HCM."

HCM is short for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.  It's a disease of the muscle in the heart in which the muscle gets progressively thicker until the heart can no longer work properly.  Because Six Toes is a mutant, it's appropriate that HCM is a genetic disorder.  It's not something they can cure, but they can give him medicine to help his heart work better, such as the Atenolol he's been on. It's rare to have HCM show up in a young cat, which makes Six Toes even more special.

The doc wants to see Six Toes back every six months, just to make sure he's doing ok.

Six Toes cried all the way home, but he sure was happy to come back.  The first thing he did was to curl p in his favorite chair and go to sleep.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

We're Goin' To See The Cardiologist....

Well, after a loooong delay...too long actually....Six Toes has his appointment with the cardiologist in September!  I had no idea there was such a thing-cat cardiologists-until I did a little research.  Here's what I found out:

For many states you can count on one hand the number of board certified ACVIM (American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine) cardiologists.  Some states like California have quite a few vets around who have this specialty and you can find a list of cardiologists for each state here. Cardiovascular diseases are often found in cats, with the most common killer being myocardial disorders.  Cats can also have Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM), Feline Restrictive Cardiomyopathy (RCM) and dilated cardiomyopathy, just to name a few.  For some conditions only medication is indicated, however, in more severe cases surgery might be the only option open to an owner.  Just like humans, cats can have pacemakers and even coronary bypass surgery although it's extremely rare that such procedures are done!  It's amazing what's possible with today's veterinary skills combined with technology, even at this rudimentary stage surgically.

I don't know what the cardiologist will tell us about Six Toes, but I'm so hopeful that he'll be ok on just medicine.

I'll let you know how he fairs next blog entry.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Six Toes' Good Life

Right now, Six Toes is a very happy kitty!  He feels special now that he gets a special treat every day to help him stay healthy, along with his medicine.  He's gotten a lot of attention and I swear his purrs are louder than ever!  It's great to see him so content, with his glossy fur and cute as a button smile.

We haven't seen the cardiologist yet, but the appointment is coming up.  I sure hope there's something they can do to help Six Toes stick around for several more years.  He's a great cat and so full of love.  I'm glad we rescued him and his brother!

He's enjoying the weather right's a little cool, but just right.  He's lying on a a comfy blanket near the window, dozing.  What an awesome life my little guy has!

Life is good!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Happy Birthday, Six Toes

It's official...tomorrow is the first birthday of Six Toes!  I can't believe he's made it this far, despite his heart problem.  To celebrate, I'm giving him a can of his favorite cat food Natural Balance Salmon, laced with a L-lysine HCI supplement to help him stay healthy and happy (Viralys).

Here's a little treat for all you Six Toes fans out there:

We're still a few weeks away from the visit with the cardiologist.  Cross your fingers we can find a way to help Six Toes!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Six Toes Nearly Does Himself In....

There's one thing you need to know about cats...they're sneaky.  Too sneaky.  Around here it's been hot, with temps in the high 90's and super-high humidity.  Not good weather for us humans and certainly sucky if you happen to be a cat.  Even worse if you're a cat with a bad heart. 

Yesterday, Six Toes decided to be man enough to go outside without us knowing about it.  Somehow, he snuck outside while we were doing something else and we didn't realize he was gone.  We heard him crying as he does when he gets himself stuck somewhere in the house...usually our cupboards in the kitchen.  So we started looking for him.  We searched and searched and couldn't figure out where he was....until we got to the front door.  There on the deck was Six Toes and he was breathing extremely hard.  It was clear he was way overheated. 

We grabbed him and quickly got him to the basement (it's cooler there) with a fan on him.  We gave him water.  We got wet towels to cool his neck and face.  All the while, he was panting, tongue way out, his breathing fast and shallow. 

My god.  He could have died from heatstroke or caused himself a heart attack!!!!

Sometimes, being too clever as a cat can kill.  I should have noticed he was gone way before he started crying.

Thank god he's okay today.  But it sure was scary.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Six Toes Vet Woes

It was time to take Six Toes to the vet for a check-up on all his problems, so I got him a new carrier for the occasion.  He seemed to like it, going in and sitting in the box...not much stresses him out in our home.  When he gets into a moving car, suddenly all bets are off and he's terrified.  All the way to the vet there were little cries of fear...he doesn't like being driven anywhere.  We tried to keep him calm so he wouldn't hurt himself or cause himself a heart attack.  Heck, I even gave him a small piece of crisp bacon (his favorite) just to distract him, but it did nothing to alleviate his transportation nightmare.

Once there, we let him out and he explored the office, crying just a little and trying to spray everything (he can't do it because he's fixed).  Nerves, I guess.  Of course he came up to me more than once, head-butting me and rubbing on my legs just to let me know he belongs to me and to remind me to bring him back home.  The assistant came in and wrapped him in a warm towel so they could draw his blood.  I waited and then they brought him back, still chipper and alert.  "We'll have the results back in a couple of days."  So we left and I drove him home, where he happily got out and promptly laid down for a cat nap.

Transition to today:  I get the call.  "Well, we got back Six Toes test results....overall they look pretty good BUT there's some odd things going on with his blood platelets that we'd like to have checked out...."  The next thing I know, we're given the number to a cat cardiologist to schedule an appointment and told to pick up a supplement....a kind of protect his immune system.  The vet said that it might be necessary to put him on Plavix, which is something humans take to prevent blood clots for those at risk of heart disease and stroke.  Poor Six Toes.

I suppose some folks out there are thinking "My gosh!  If it's that bad maybe you should put him down.  After all, he's just a cat."  But he isn't just a cat....he's Six Toes.  He's the little fella that greets me every day and always asks for a treat with those sparkle-filled eyes, full of mischief.  He knocks things down and gets into trouble racing around with his friends playing.  How can I say no?

So I guess I'll be on the phone tomorrow scheduling an appointment.  He just celebrated his first birthday....he's made it a year so far.  We keep hoping and praying to have him in our lives just a little longer...he's so darn cute.

Pray for Six Toes.  He needs it.

Monday, June 27, 2011

String-cheese Love...

Six Toes has a new interest which keeps him purring.  It's not attention or pets or tuna fish.  Lately he's been a little lover-boy, always seeking my attention.  While I'm used to him curling up in my lap when I sit down to sew, he's never been a constant companion.  It frankly baffled me...the constant chirping, curling around my computer and head whenever I'm trying to work, following me everywhere (even the bathroom!).  It wasn't until I noticed how excited he got whenever I went to the fridge that I figured out what it is.

Every once in a while I buy string-cheese to snack on.  When I have a piece I generally toss a few crumbs to Buddha who loves it and my other kitty Kali.  At some point, Six Toes must have gotten a taste (probably stole it from his brother Buddha if I know him) and wanted some for himself! 

So I waited one evening until Buddha and Kali were fast asleep and went to the fridge, Six Toes following me as usual.  Once I got the cheese out and he could see what it was, he started dancing and mewing because he was so excited.  I sat down on the couch and he immediately was in my lap, letting me know he was here and wanted to share in my bounty.  So I pulled off a nice hunk and threw it down.  He wolfed it down like piece of tender fish!  Quickly he was back so I threw down another.  Again he was on it in a flash, gorging himself. 

At that point, somehow brother Buddha had awakened and came to see what all the fuss was about.  Seeing the cheese, he cried for some.  I threw him a piece which he grabbed and began to eat. 

Six Toes wasn't having that and tried to take it from him.  There was a bit of growling...their territorial "It's mine, leave me alone!" posturing.  Six Toes then came up in my lap and literally STOLE the remaining cheese in my hand, only to run off with it!  That cad!

Who knew that string-cheese could inspire love,devotion and thievery?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Soooo Cute I just Had To Share....

Check out this video from!

Six Toes Checks Out

It looks like Six Toes is ok.  The vet can find nothing wrong with him.  The speculation is that he had a slight ear infection from his kitty cold and that may have affected his sense of balance for a moment.  He seemed pretty chipper yesterday, tearing around the house and playing with his pal Bully.  Fed him some turkey this morning and I thought he was going to have a big one hopping up and down in his eagerness to get to the plate!

Just a quick discussion on what a kitty cold is.  It's an upper respiratory infection.  Cats with a kitty cold sneeze, cough, have runny noses and eyes, drool and can have a fever.  From experience, I've learned that the best thing you can do for them is keep them quiet, wipe their eyes and nose clean with a damp cloth, and if they have a lot of problems with congestion to run a vaporizer in the room they're recovering in.   Watch your cat closely to ensure they keep eating and drinking.  If they start to have trouble breathing, make sure you get them to a vet, as kitty colds can become more serious and may require a stay at the animal hospital. 

Six Toes' brother Buddha is also on the mend from the kitty cold.  I think he was actually sicker than Six Toes.  He coughed and sneezed a lot and sat pretty still for a day or two.  Right now he's taking a snooze in my papasan chair...he loves his comforts. 

Six Toes is also sacked out for his morning nap on top of my folded fresh laundry.  How do cats sense when you've just cleaned something in order to seek it out and lie on it?  The cad!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Six Toes Flops Over...A Trip To The ER?

Last night was scary.  Really scary.  Over the past couple of days Six Toes has been battling a little kitty cold.  You know, sneezing, watery eyes, the occasional cough.  Other than that he seemed normal, eating and drinking as usual.  But last night something happened.

Six Toes was on a chair in the living room where he loves to take naps.  He got up, stretched himself and proceeded to jump down to the floor.  Once on the floor, he tripped over a shoe...and suddenly, his whole back end just fell over.  He looked kind of out of it and with his front feet walked forward a few steps, dragging his backside over the floor which was entirely motionless.  Then he started to slump down.  I hurriedly picked him up and felt his heart beating.  Worried, I started to call his name to see if he'd respond.  In my arms he seemed ok, so I put him back on the floor.  He walked away entirely nothing happened.  I spent the entire evening watching him like a hawk.  I'm still worried about it.  I wonder if I should have took my guy to the animal ER a few communities away.  I can't explain what I saw.  Was it a stroke?  A ear infection of some kind?  A flutter of his heart?  I just don't know.

I'm going to take him to the vet on Monday.  Just keep praying for him till then that it was just a fluke of some kind and he suffered no lasting damage...after all, he won't be one years old until July.  We love Six Toes dearly and want him to have a long life of fun and happiness. 

I love Six Toes!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Smokin Hot Six Toes

Well, here in Michigan we didn't transition gracefully from winter to consequently, we've got temps in the 90's.  Poor Six Toes!  He and his brother Buddha have thick, short fur that keeps them warm and they've been suffering through this hot spell.  I give them ice cubes to play with (they LOVE that!) and get them wet when it's clear they're getting too warm (not too happy about that) to try to help them cope with the heat.  And of course with the heat, bug season is in full swing, so they have a terrific time at night hunting spiders, ants, beetles, june bugs, moths...whatever makes it into the house is instantly pursued, killed and sometimes eaten by my gang of ruthless cat hunters!

Buddha has taught his brother how to steal food recently.  Buddha is the most feral of all my cats and hasn't gotten over hunting for food and hiding it.  He loves bagels and the other morning I got one.  As I was reading the paper, I took a bite and set it down beside me.  When I looked up, the entire full-sized bagel was GONE and whom do you think had it in their jaws?  Buddha!  I managed to get it away from him despite his growls of ownership and proceeded to wash it off.  When I set it on the paper towel to dry, who do you think climbed up on the counter and stole it for his bro?  Six Toes!  What a group of rascals.

It's predicted the weather's going to cool off soon and I hope my babies can hold out that long.  I made a place for them to sleep in the cool basement...if I can just convince them to stay down there during the day, that might help a bit more.  Looks like it's going to be a scorcher for smokin hot Six Toes and Buddha this summer!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Six Toes Learns to Walk With a Leash...

Wow.  I didn't realize it had been so long since I last made an entry!  But that's spring for you:  home projects, work and cleanup just seem to take over.  Now that summer's here, I can sit down and relax with the blog. 

Before I get to Six Toes learning to walk on a leash, I need to talk about his best friend, Bully.  Bully is a large brown dog of mixed boxer, ridgeback and gosh knows how many other breeds.  He weighs a lot, near 80 pounds if I had to guess.  He and Six Toes have been best buds since Six Toes came to stay with us.  If Bully goes outside, Six Toes sits anxiously at the door, crying his eyes out.  If you open the door, Six Toes shoots outside just because Bully's out there!  He can't stand to be without him.  So after a month or so of warm weather escape attempts to be with his friend, we decided the best thing would be to train Six Toes to walk outside.

The first thing we did is got him a little five-point harness.  These are usually reserved for small dogs, but we needed Six Toes to get used to it.  Anyhow, we put it on him and he spent about two hours trying to get out of it...he's never even worn a collar as long as he's been with us.  After that he seemed to settle down.  A day later we hooked a leash on the harness and took him outside with us the same time we took Bully outside for his walk.  We stuck to the yard because we knew Six Toes doesn't know a lot about the outdoors.  He spent considerable time attempting to chase bugs and birds.  Cars scared him so much he stood up like a squirrel behind Bully.  Everything was of interest to him...the grass, the air, the sun, the leaves, the ponds of water.  We walked him outdoors for about 15 minutes and put him back.  Each day when it's not raining we let him go outside with Bully once a day and it's helped Six Toes be more content when Bully's gone.  The first thing he does when he goes outside is to greet Bully, bopping his head on his belly or chest or nose if he can reach it.  They really love each other. Bully sometimes licks Six Toes, but he doesn't really like's just too big and sloppy of a swipe!

Next week we're going to try taking Six Toes on a longer walk around the block with his buddy.  I'm not sure how it will pan out, but we'll see how he does.  Just pray there's no huge cat-hating dogs on the path!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

New Pics of My Guy....

It occurred to me that I haven't posted any new pictures of Six Toes for quite a while now.  He's grown a lot and gotten tall and lanky.  Here's a few pics:

As you can see, he's got quite the Barbie tires him out!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Six Toes Fights The Spider

With spring now under way spiders are finding their way into my home, much to the entertainment of my cats.  Six Toes also discovered spiders.  Here's what happened:

I spotted a large daddy long legs spider in my bathtub.  So I thought, here's an opportunity for Six Toes and Buddha to see a spider and find out it's alive!  So I grabbed both kittens and put them in the tub.  Buddha was not interested in the spider.  In fact, he looked bored.  Six Toes, however, upon discovering the spider moving on its own, decided to play with it.  He stepped on it and attempted to pick it up.  The spider, being clever in defense, climbed up on Six Toes' head.  He looked up at me with crossed eyes, trying to see where the spider went.  The spider fell off and began to attempt to get away, but Six Toes wasn't having it.  Pursuing the spider, he stomped on it again, and it tried to climb back on Six Toes head for a rest.  Six Toes shook off the spider and promptly ate it. 

At least he got his protein for the day!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Six Toes the GIRL?

I might not have mentioned this before, but I have three male cats in my household, including Six Toes.  One is 7 years old and the other two haven't even hit one yet.  All of my male cats have been neutered. 

Anyhow, over the past few weeks, my 7 year old male has been actively trying to mate with Six Toes.  He grabs him just like a female on the neck and tries to hump him.  Six Toes cries because he doesn't understand why he's doing it and fights to get away.  His brother Buddha has no problem with my 7 year old male.  So what gives?

I did a little research and apparently, when male cats feel unhappy or threatened, they will resort to humping the competition.  It has nothing to do with sex but is concerned with establishing dominance.  My 7 year old male cat has been MY cat for as long as I've had him and apparently, he doesn't like sharing me with Six Toes.  Six Toes has a habit of sitting in my lap whenever I'm sitting to sew and  my 7 year old man doesn't like it.  He sees that attention as a threat to his position as the alpha male.  So Six Toes has been very unhappy lately. 

The way to solve the problem is to grab the aggressor by the scruff of the neck or squirt them in the face with water to deter them from their actions. I did that with my 7 year old male yesterday and it seemed to work for a few hours.  Six Toes was left alone and in peace. 

Has anyone else had this problem with their male cats?  If so, how did you solve it?  Let me know!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Six Toes Summer Preview

Yesterday was a great day for Six Toes.  It was 80 degrees and all the windows were opened for the first time over an extended period.  Six Toes sat all day near the window, listening eagerly to the birds outside and watching them with his wiggly tail.  It was exciting for him.  He felt the wind, sniffed the air and seemed very contented at his perch on the windowseat.  And all his friends including his brother Buddha, were with him.

Later on in the evening he got to try his first ice cream cone.  Six Toes really adores ice cream!  He stayed until it was all gone, licking his chops with approval. 

He hung out around the fan and watched everything as the sun went down.  It was better than anything he's seen so far. 

When night fell, so did my buddy.  He collapsed among the pillows on my rocking chair and went to sleep. cute!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Naming of Six Toed Cats

I just had to write when a reader asked "Why in the world did you name your cat Six Toes?  There's so many other names that would show a little more imagination!"

Well, that's kind of hard to explain.  You see, when we first got Six Toes, we weren't sure about keeping him.  So we tried not to give him a name which would make it harder for us if we chose to give him away.  But as the months went by we had to call him we chose a name that was descriptive:  Six Toes.

But the reader is correct.  There are a lot of names out there for six toed cats.  Here's just a few to consider:


Six Toes just seems to fit him somehow.  When we call him, he always answers with a quick mrrrrr sound.  He likes his name. 

Spring In Michigan

It's been a very interesting week for Six Toes.  He's never been through spring before, being born in the summer, so everything is new to him.  In Michigan we've had a lot of rain...a whole lot of rain.  And melting snow.  And thunderstorms.  Normally the rain would mean nothing to Six Toes...except his basement suddenly had water creeping across the floor.   He seemed rather puzzled at this event and climbed up to a high perch on a shelf to look over the situation.  His master did all sorts of interesting things:  vacuuming up the water (he did NOT like the sound!), picked up and threw out damaged things, build a platform for the litterboxes (that was REALLY interesting for him, he got his nose as close to the drill as possible) and hauled water upstairs to throw outdoors.

On a very windy evening, we had a loud thunderstorm.  Six Toes was determined to see what was making all that racket and kept looking outside.  He wasn't scared at all.  He just wanted to figure out what was making the noise that was disrupting his night-time stroll!

One afternoon, he got a real treat.  He's always loved to look at snow falling and was just beside himself at seeing hail bouncing off the front deck.  The sound fascinated him.  After it finished (it was smaller than a pea), I went outdoors and got him some to look at.  He didn't know what to make of it.  It was cold, like ice cubes, but very small.  Finally after pawing it and sniffing it he ate some.

So far, Six Toes is finding spring pretty darn exciting!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

What IS a six toed kitty?

Someone recently asked the question "What causes a cat to have six toes?  What is a Hemingway cat like Six Toes and how is he different?"

I'll explain.  Six Toes and cats like him are genetically challenged due to an inherited genetic trait that gives them six (or more) toes.  The condition is called Polydactylism.  Cats with this condition exceed the normal toe count of five toes on the front paws and four toes in back.  In the case of Six Toes, he has six toes on his front paws and five on his back paws.  Polydactyl cats can also have as many as seven toes on their paws, depending on the genetic mutation.  It seems to occur most often in cats living in the east coast of the United States and southern England, although the reason for that is unclear.  The polydactyl cats became more commonly referred to as "Hemingway cats" because famous author Ernest Hemingway collected polydactyl cats and kept them as pets in his home in Key West, Florida. 

Polydactyl cats have great difficulty as kittens learning to walk and groom themselves as they tend to be clumsy with their big feet.  It took Six Toes a while to learn to walk and groom himself without constantly hitting himself in the head. 

Because of the abnormality, some Hemingway cats have other genetic deficits as Six Toes has.  My Six Toes has in addition to his polydactylism deformed eyelid margins (half of his eyelashes didn't form) and a heart that does not function correctly.  His brother, Buddha, is NOT a polydactyl cat, but has other genetic malformations of the skull and feet which have been difficult for him to master. 

Despite their differences and challenges, Hemingway cats are still lovable companions and great cats to snuggle with.  And some folks say they'll bring you luck.  I don't know.  I just know I love my Six Toes!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Flood! Thunderstorm!

Poor Six Toes.  It's been a couple of days where new experiences have left him confused and bewildered.  At his home we've had inclement weather to put it mildly.  Lots and lots of rain.  And one evening, a thunderstorm.  A really LOUD thunderstorm.  And Six Toes was determined to figure out what it was outside that was making all the racket.

He poked his head through the curtains as the thunder crashed and rolled.  Then he sat up like a squirrel to see more.  He just couldn't figure it out.  What mystified me was that most of my other cats were either hiding or ignoring the noise.  But not Six Toes.  He was determined to find out what all the hubbub was and do something about it.

After the storm, it rained.  And because the ground is saturated and somewhat still frozen, the water leaked into my basement.  Not much, you understand, but enough to cover the floor with about a quarter to a half inch of water.  And that's where the litterboxes are.  So after moving the litterboxes to higher ground (on top of milk crates) I began to bail out using a Shopvac.  If you've never used one, they are very loud.  Most of my cats run for the hills when it's on. 

But not our Six Toes.  First, he came to the basement to find out what was going on.  He watched me put the litter boxes up and decided to check it out.  So the first thing he does it put his toe in the water. And pulled it back.  Clearly he was confused.  Why was there cold water in the house near his litterbox?  But after watching me working, curiosity got to him and he made the plunge.  Two or three bounds across the wet floor and into the litterboxes up on the crates!  Which led to another problem:  Six Toes feet.  You see, his big paws were WET.  Really wet.  So when he leaped into the box, he got litter on his paws that turned to a muddy, clay-like mess!  He wasn't happy.  He found another safe perch to sit and watch me vacuuming up the water.  Which was fascinating to him, as he tried to attack the vacuum attachment repeatedly.  When I finally took a break, I got Six Toes, took him upstairs and cleaned off those muddy paws.  The cad.  And even though we've made a dry path for the cats to get to the litterboxes, he still insists on exploring this new wet world.

So for the past couple of days now, he's had a lot of new experiences and entertainment.  He's watched his humans bailing water and for some reason, always washing his toes!  And it's been noisy. 

I'll be glad when Spring is over....

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Six Toes Gets Lonely...

Poke. Poke. Poke.  BITE!

It's Six Toes.  He's really unhappy that I was gone this evening working.  So while I was sleeping, he decided he needed my attention. 

First, he laid down by my head and scooted his feet towards my face.  Poke.  Poke. Poke.  On my face, in my eye, on my cheek. Poke. Poke. Poke. 

When that doesn't work, he pokes some more, causing me to lift up my hand to brush him away.  For him, it's play time.  BITE!  He latches onto my arm, not enough to break the skin, but strong enough to hurt. 

Poke. Poke. Poke. BITE!  BITE!

He's enjoying his little game to get my attention.  Really. 

Finally, after getting me awake enough to know what's going on and that he wants attention, he curls up in a contented ball near my head and goes to sleep....SNORE.  SNORE. 


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Spring with Six Toes

Well the days just got longer and the weather is moderating.  The snow is melting.  The sun shines brightly on my floor in the afternoon...the perfect place for my buddy Six Toes to have a sunbath!

Watching him stretch out on the floor, luxuriating in the sunshine, with a blissful smile on his lips was worth all the tea in China.

His brother Buddha played tag with him later.  Six Toes runs on by and 'tap!'  Buddha tags his brother it.  Then it's king of the mountain...Six Toes on top of the couch.  Buddha trying to knock him down.  Finally, after a good run and several small fights over who's on top (but nobody gets seriously hurt), the brothers both settle down for an afternoon nap in the sunshine. 

Six Toes probably doesn't remember summer.  He was just a tiny kitten when we got him last year during the summer months.  Wait till he sees grass and butterflies and flowers....he'll go bonkers.  Ditto flies, which I'm sure he'll swat with his great big paws if they get in the house.  Wham! 

Now if he'll just refrain from eating them....

Friday, March 11, 2011

Six Toes Has a Miracle....

Took Six Toes back to the vet to get some bloodwork and see how he's doing.  And guess what?  All the tests come back normal or near normal!  The medicine worked.  His vet said that is was better than she expected, almost miraculous.  I wouldn't say almost...definitely miraculous!  Six Toes has more energy these days and looks happy and content.  His purr is louder.  And we're so happy that he's well.

Watching Six Toes just this morning playing with some string, I just thought of all the people he has to thank.  The vet, who diagnosed the problem and treated it promptly, using her knowledge; the pharmacist, who probably thought it was really weird to give heart medicine to a cat, never mind his odd name; the fans reading this blog, who prayed unceasingly; Christopher Penczak, who lent his expertise in Reiki to us in treating him at home; the elders of my church who prayed for a blessing upon him; and all of his animal playmates Buddha, Stormy, Torchy, Kali, Braveheart and Buddy, who love him and care for him always. 

Six Toes is one lucky kitty.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Test Results Look Good....

Six Toes had an appointment at the doctor yesterday.  He was pretty chipper for a cold winter morning.  Doc measured his blood pressure...much better.  All signs point to the medication working and his feeling a whole lot better!  What wonderful news to hear. 

Shot some new pics of Six Toes hanging out with his buddy, Bully, the well as his bro. I should have those up pretty soon on the blog for you to enjoy.  This afternoon he's chilling with me as I write as usual...the rascal.

Let's just continue to think positive for my little guy...

Monday, February 28, 2011

A Reiki Master, A Cat, and a Community

Six Toes is indeed a lucky kitty.  This weekend he was fortunate to secure the services, however indirectly, of one of the most important Reiki masters in America...Christopher Penczak.  You see, my daughter was attending a convention where Mr. Penczak was teaching.  She was able to consult him about Six Toes and how to heal him from his heart problem and other difficulties.  Mr. Penczak offered many suggestions based on his teachings, which she will attempt.  Frankly, we'd do just about anything to save Six Toes...even thought right now he seems to be doing fine.

Reiki is the practice of healing the body through energy manipulation.  It is Japanese in origin and focuses on stress reduction through relaxation techniques.  It is done by laying hands on the person being treated and balancing the energies of the person.  Exactly how that happens, I'm not sure.  But I know people who have undergone Reiki treatments say it works.  I've never seen it applied to a cat.  I guess we will find out if Six Toes is interested in Reiki.

I can't tell you how many times I've worried about him since this started...when he sleeps, if he stops purring, I sometimes wake him in panic, thinking he's stopped breathing.  I watch his breathing and when he's busy chasing his brother Buddha around the house. If he seems too active, I'll stop him by picking him up and petting him, trying to calm him down so he doesn't hurt himself.  He spends a lot of time in my lap or lying by the computer as I write...although why he sticks to me like glue when there are other people and cats in the house I don't know.  He's picked me.  So I guess I owe it to him to do the best I can by him.

Others in the community have been supportive of Six Toes as well.  The pharmacist asks how he's doing.  Friends always reference Six Toes.  The vet checks in from time to time.  He is a loved cat, no question.  But then, look at his picture!  How could you not love that little face?

Friday, February 25, 2011


Six Toes has a new obsession.  It isn't belly rubs, string or catnip.  It's bubbles!  Much like the yellow fish in "Finding Nemo".

If you pour a glass of pop and set it near you on a table, Six Toes will sneak up when you're not looking and put his face over the glass.  If you're still distracted, he'll even put his face IN the glass, just to get closer to the bubbles!  Then, if you STILL haven't noticed him, he'll sit up and put his paw IN the glass, IN the pop, in an attempt to capture or maybe stop the bubbles!  Which usually results in tipping the glass over.

So what is it he finds so fascinating?  The sound?  The feel? 

We  may never know...

Monday, February 21, 2011

Getting better? Maybe.

Got Six Toes his new medicine.  It's called Atenolol and it's given to humans as well.  It's a beta blocker used to treat high blood pressure and for people suffering a heart attack to improve their survival.  The first day or two after he started this medicine, Six Toes was groggy.  Really groggy.  He had trouble walking a straight line and his butt wiggled.  He slept a lot more and ate voraciously when he woke up.  But after that he started seeming more like his old self, sleeping less and playing more.  The groggy/wiggly thing was over.  He's alert and having a grand time chasing his brother in the house.

Got to take Six Toes back to the vet in a couple of weeks for a quick blood draw to see if the medicine is working.  I've got my fingers crossed that it has.  It's nice to have my old Six Toes back and happy to sit in my lap when I sit down, poking me in the eye to wake up in the morning.  My buddy.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

It's Always Darkest....

Today the vet called.  The bloodwork on Six Toes was back.  It was, sad to say, horrible.  Every level elevated.  Sodium through the roof.  Evidence for early liver failure.  And so on.  And so on.  It was hard to concentrate with all the medical terminology and descriptions.  Hard to get beyond "I'm so sorry."

"But we're going to put him on a medication...hopefully it will help him."  said the vet.  "We'll do everything we can to see that he enjoys life.  Think positive."

Wow.  It's hard to think positive when every test is abnormal and results seem dire.  Yet Six Toes continues to have a good time in my home, stealing bits of meat from my plate and growling at Buddha while he eats it.  Playing with and grooming Bully, his best dog friend.  Playing tag as you walk by him around corners.  Sleeping in the comfy chair.  Watching the birds outside at the feeder.  Just like normal.

This afternoon I sat down to sew and there he my lap as usual.  With his loud purr.  Occasionally trying to snatch the thread from the opposite side of my sewing project.  The rascal.

So this evening I'll be heading off to Walgreen's to get Six Toes his medications.  And praying.  If not begging.  Being thankful that he doesn't know how ill he is or how worried we are, those of us who love him.  And I'll ask, if you're reading this, that you say an extra prayer or two for my cat Six Toes.  He needs all the help he can get.  As he has ever since I got him seven months ago.

Six Toes is special.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Story of Six Toes

Greetings cat lovers.  This is the story of my mutant kitty, Six Toes.  How is he a mutant?  Simple.  He's got deformed eyelids, a really messed up heart, and six toes (hence his name).  He's seven months old now, but I got him when he was just two weeks old.  Seems his mom left Six Toes and his brother Buddha (whom I also own) after she was run off by a dog.  They were brought to me because they really needed help.

Six Toes was and is a character.  He was the biggest of the two kittens.  He ate the most.  Six Toes had a habit of sucking off his brother Buddha's chest while he slept because he missed his mommy so much.  I cleaned them up and kept them warm (fortunately it was summer).  Buddha was in bad shape, being a lot smaller with a massive hernia on his tummy.  I took both kittens to the vet.  She didn't give Buddha much chance to live, but Six Toes, she said, was darn near indestructible.

So I fed them, kept them warm and let them walk out in the sun on the grass.  Buddha got better and his hernia healed.  Today he's a very quiet and thoughtful cat.  And Six Toes got bigger too, getting into mischief at every turn.  He developed a habit of sitting with me, wanting pets.  He's always been there whenever I sat down to sew. He became my buddy.

Transition to this week.  I took Six Toes in to the vet to get his shots when the vet, after listening to his heart, looked up at me.  "He's got a heart murmur."  She listened again.  "A bad heart murmur."  She listened a third time.  "I'm really sorry..."

In my mind, I thought 'It can't be that bad.'  So I said "What do you mean?" 

"He's got a really bad sounding heart murmur.  I recommend we do a cardiac workup on him as soon as possible.  We might be able to put him on medications that could help, but aside from that, there's nothing we can do."

Again, my mind was slow to take this in.  "Are you saying he could die?"

The vet was slow to respond.  "I don't know.  A lot can happen.  I've seen cats live a long time with a murmur like that and others die from cardiac arrest pretty quickly.  I won't know until we get him checked out."

You can understand how I felt.

So I started this blog to follow the life of my cat, Six Toes, however long that may be.  Because, well, he's Six Toes.  My mutant kitty.