The State of the Menagerie

I’ve been meaning to write a post about my menagerie for weeks now. And today, well, was an absurdly crazy day. You will see why in a minute.

First up, the cats. All of my kitties are seniors now, how did that happen! I have Marlow, the gray tux, Maggie, the black and white tuxedo, and Miso, the poofy Himalayan. All three are rescues from different situations. Billy and I used to volunteer at the shelter quite a bit before we had Wyatt, and we ended up with three cats and a dog as a result. Penny, my sweet English Setter, passed away when Wyatt was born. But we still have our three cats, although they are now 17, 14, and 14. I’m having a hard time finding a photo of my flibbertigibbet Miso. She is too inquisitive when I go to take photos and gets up and comes to me. Lol. Maggie was a stray kitten, Marlow was abandoned in an apartment when his owners moved, and Miso was from a hoarding house. Now they are all here. And super spoiled.

And, we have the reptiles and lone amphibian. Harry and Luna, the leopard geckos, and Apple Jack the crested gecko.(L-R Luna, Apple Jack, and Harry)

And then finally Freddy.

For the most part, the entire menagerie is fairly easy to manage. This weekend however, a situation arose with Harry. He was acting different, not eating, and when he shed he didn’t eat it, which is not really normal. Then Sunday night, I noticed some sore looking areas on his um..nether parts. Not good. Not good at all. Since Michigan is all arctic right now, with temps zero and below, I was hoping that we would not need to take him to the vet. So, Billy googled it. And google actually gave Billy the right diagnosis, clogged pores in his hemipene plugs. I could go into more detail on that but I will leave that up to you whether you want to google it or not, because TMI. We read we could try some things at home, which we did, but it wasn’t helping. So this morning, I called around to find a vet. And let me tell you, finding a vet for a reptile is not easy. But, I found one, and lucky us, they had a cancellation for today. Woohoo! However, then I had the challenge of figuring out how to transport a desert creature to the vet on a zero degree day in Michigan. I decided to put the carrier and a towel in front of our heat vents to warm up prior to leaving, then fifteen minutes before we left, I started the car to let it warm up. I wrapped the carrier in a blanket and towel, had a hand towel in the carrier, and turned on the heated seat for him. And crossed my fingers. It was only a 15 minute drive so not too bad, and we made it ok. Or rather, he was fine. When I got to the vet, due to Covid, the policy is to wait in your car until the vet calls you to come in. Ok, I can deal with that. However, with the heat at max by the time we got the call I was so hot and sweaty! Yay me. Harry was nice and toasty though and that is what mattered.

Poor Harry was such a trooper. The vet did his exam and he was so uncomfortable he squeaked! I have never heard him do that! The vet came to the conclusion that yes, he did have clogged pores. And that he would require slight sedation and perhaps even an incision. At the very least lanced. In case you are unfamiliar, leopard geckos can also drop their tails when scared or upset, so in order to prevent that from happening we decided that sedation was the right route.

In case you are wondering, I took that photo of the vet holding him so that we could mimic that hold later on. Not because I randomly snapped a photo during the exam like a weirdo. Lol.

Sedating him for his procedure, while not cheap and took part of my Christmas money from my dad I had been hoarding for books, was the absolute right call. The vet told me later when I picked him up that he had a lot of back up and that the procedure took a lot longer than she had anticipated. But it was successful! They also told me he was a popular guy while he was there. Before the surgery they gave him a little warm soak under warming lights and the tech told me that everyone kept popping by to see him and pet him. He was the BMOC.

And the after care, you ask? Well, we needed to move him from his bioactive tank to a tank with paper towel or paper anything, that would not get in his wounds. So Harry is temporarily living in my butterfly tank. You see, when you are a nerd you have lots of extra tanks, picked up from free sites and curbside garbage picking. So Harry returned home, a bit stoned, in some pain, but to a clean and sterile tank. Oh, and we have to give him two different medicines as well. We have not attempted this yet, but.. I am guessing it is not going to be easy. Cross your fingers for us!

Today has been a very big adventure for us both!

17 thoughts on “The State of the Menagerie

  1. 15andmeowing

    I am glad the cats are doing well. I hope Harry gets better soon. I am glad they discovered the problem, and you were able to get him to a vet. Most vets around here have no appointments until the end of February.

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    1. The first vet I called, that was exactly what they told me. The second vet, where we ended up, was actually our vet when we had dogs and they miraculously had an exotic appt cancellation – probably since it was so cold! I really had no choice, Harry had to go whether it was cold or not so I just bundled him up. Lol. My SIL runs a spay-neuter clinic and has told me about the vet shortage before and this was the first time I experienced it!

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    1. Aw thanks Laurel-Rain! I was so worried about my Harry! And he thanked me last night, I am pretty sure. We had left him alone for the most part Tuesday night, and then most of yesterday. Last night though after we did the meds (Billy holds I administer) I picked him up and he heard my voice and his eyes sprang open and he turned and ran up my arm and was standing there looking at me very happily. πŸ™‚

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    1. Yes! I hadn’t really either honestly until I needed one. The first vet I called didn’t have any availability for any new pets, or non-existing clients until end of February! I really lucked out with Harry’s vet. It was a vet that we used to use when we had dogs, so we were still in the system and that helped I think. πŸ™‚ And that cancellation for the exotic spot too! I bet the owner was like it is way too cold to take my reptile out but I knew I had to do it. Lol.

      Yes, the vet shortage! My SIL runs a spay-neuter clinic and they are having a terrible time finding vets to work there.

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  2. So glad Harry is okay. Loved the photos and I would have taken the photo of the vet holding him too so I could recreate it.

    Your cats sound like the ones my husband and I had for years. 19 and 17 when they finally passed. Our 19-year-old was a black cat and growing up I had a black cat too. He also lived about 20 years. Something about black cats, I guess. We now have another black cat and hope she’ll last as long.

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  3. Pingback: My Sunday-Monday Post – Still Life, With Cracker Crumbs..

  4. I have a phobia of snakes that spills over a bit to all reptiles and amphibians but I am glad that you were able to find Harry the care he needed. And kudos to you for going to such lengths to keep him safe, warm, and healthy!

    I am a cat person though, and yours are beautiful! Miso’s little face! My brother-in-law and his wife now have five cats, all rescues. They went through a phase when all of theirs were senior cats too. They gave them long, happy lives but time takes its toll and now they have mostly younger cats. They gravitate toward black cats but have one tortoiseshell Hemingway cat. I like to visit and get some kitty loves but we haven’t seen them in a couple of years because of covid and because they moved away from my husband’s parents. It’s harder when everyone is in a different direction!

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    1. I feel the same about spiders! I saw a tarantula that needed rescuing and I considered it for about a minute and realized I could never do it. LOL.

      Aw thank you!! I say that about Miso too lol. Her little face kills me! And a tortie Hemingway cat, how cool!! I love Hemingway cats! Hopefully you get to visit soon. πŸ™‚

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  5. Harry is so blessed to have landed in your family. Hope giving him his medicine turned out to be easier and less involved than you might have feared. I remember one of my dogs eating a chem light, but we didn’t realize she had eaten it. She started throwing up the most awful glowing yellow ‘stuff’. I took her to the vet and they thought she had dysentery. I had to give a presentation that afternoon at the university. Couldn’t afford to hospitalize Cheyenne so they sent her home with a couple of bags of fluid and prayers for the best. I learned quick how to administer sub-cutaneous fluids that day before dashing off to my engagement. Cheyenne survived and we figured out what she had eaten after she passed the chem light.

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    1. Aww thank you Leslie! I could not believe I was paying for surgery for a gecko, but there we were. I can always get books at the library!

      And holy moly!! That is a crazy story!! And look at you, learning a new skill! The things we do! I can only imagine what hospitalizing a dog would cost, yikes!

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    1. She told us that no one is quite sure how it happens. We went over some basic care and we were doing everything right, except now that it hasn’t gotten so cold in Michigan, the night temps in his tank might be getting too low even with his heat lamp. So we have been working on that.

      Aww! Well, maybe in the spring with the new kittens being born you guys can look at them, and he will have changed his mind. Lol.

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