About once a year…

…I seem to come down with an out-of-the-blue, 24-hour bug of some sort: a bit of intestinal trouble, a bit of vomiting and, most of all, an overwhelming desire to sleepsleepsleep. So that is exactly what I do when this happens: I sleep. All day.

Well, the bothersome yearly bug hit me yesterday morning. I got up as usual and went downstairs to feed the cats. But I knew something was wrong. So I went back to bed without eating or drinking anything (luckily!), and stayed there all day, surrounded by four of my cats, including our new kitty, Prezzemolo (=in the photo; as you can see, he’s exhausted from all the nursing yesterday!), but especially Piccolo, my big boy, who snuggled up next to me and wouldn’t let go of my arm all day, and Pinga, who refused to budge from my chest, purring all the time (except when she fell asleep, exhausted).

Cats are THE best! 🙂

This morning I’m fine…as if nothing had happened. Weird. I mean, I got up early as usual, had my cappuccino and breakfast as usual, and since then I’ve been doing all the housework etc. that I should have done yesterday. I will rest a bit this afternoon, just to make sure the bug is gone for good, and then I’ll get back to my (full) daily routine tomorrow…No big deal…

Boyohboythough, my emails are reallllllllly piling up (I have about 700 unread emails, just to give you an idea, urgh!)…which reminds me: sorry if I haven’t answered your messages/blog comments…I’ll try to get to ’em this weekend…but Stefano and I are going to be super busy, so I can’t make any promises…Sorry about that!  

Anyway, take care, everyone, and don’t forget the daily belly laugh! 🙂


Things have been absolutely crrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrazy over here. A lot going on (nothing to do with my state of health, though…no worries there! 🙂 ). Anyway, as a result, I never seem to have any free time to finish editing my posts (I have two drafts that are almost ready to pop) or do any research. Sigh. Well, I hope to have a bit of time tomorrow…fingers crossed…

In the meantime, have a look at this hysterically funny video (thank you, Rada!). Especially funny if you have a dog or a cat in your life (…and if you have SIX cats, it’ll be even funnier, hehe! ;)): http://goo.gl/vMKKU Enjoy! 🙂 

Hiss hiss growl growl!

I’ve been incredibly busy lately, with a million things to do, but I apologize for letting so many days pass without publishing even a couple of words here on the blog. That shouldn’t have happened…Anyway, sorry! 

I hope to have enough time tomorrow or the day after to post about a couple of new SMM and MGUS studies I’ve come across recently. Right now, though, I have just enough time to post about the kitties. I know, I know. Boringgggggg! But I’ll make it up to you! 🙂

Let’s see…Last Thursday our vet pronounced Prezzemolo (our new kitten who has been very ill in the past few weeks, see previous posts) fully recovered…Hurray! 🙂 So Stefano and I decided to free him from my parents’ bedroom…finally!!!

Introducing a new kitty into a multiple cat household is not as easy as it sounds. You can’t just open the door and let the cats meet face to face. You have to introduce the newcomer gradually. If you don’t, the cats might never get along, which would really be too bad. Stefano and I have created our own introduction system that seems to work quite well. So here’s a summary of what happened this time…in a nutshell…sparing you lots of details… 🙂

On Saturday evening we shut three of our cats–Piccolo, Priscilla and Pinga–inside our bedroom (where we’d all been watching a film). Then we let Prezzemolo out of my parents’ bedroom. We decided to let him first meet Peekaboo (5 years old).

As soon as he set eyes on Peekaboo, he joyfully and playfully bounced up to her. As for her, well, she just couldn’t believe her beautiful blue eyes. “What the heck is this…THING???,” she seemed to be asking us. Whenever he got too close, she hissed and growled at him, so he’d stop dead in his tracks. But he’d fallen head over heels in love with her, and, as we know, love is stronger than fear, so he kept running up to her, meowing and chirping seductively. All he got in response, unfortunately, was hiss hiss and growl growl. This went on for some time…

We finally put him back in his room but kept the door open a crack. Stefano stayed with Prezzemolo while I released the other adult kitties from our bedroom. One by one, they all came up to sniff the new kitty through the door. When it was Pinga’s turn, I saw a little black paw appear at the crack and tap Pinga right on the head. Spunky boy!

On Sunday morning we opened the door for good: hiss hiss growl growl, chase chase, whack whack. But no blood has been shed so far, no big fluffy tails have appeared…and that is a good sign. Another good sign is that Piccolo let Prezzemolo sleep on our (messy unmade sigh) bed yesterday, as you can see… 

Then today Pinga and Prezzemolo touched noses, and she didn’t hiss at him at all…Yay! These two are going to love each other, I’m sure of it! 🙂

Okay, time for dinner…time does fly! Ciao! 🙂

Just because…

I’m posting a quick link just because it’s funny and made me laugh…

This video shows a cat struggling to squeeze himself inside a box with a teeny tiny hole in its side (typical!): http://goo.gl/9Ur1P 

Oh, wait, before I go downstairs to start dinner, here’s another cute and funny video I just watched…I say, this kid’s got a future in comedy (if not dancing, that is!): http://goo.gl/VwIKC 


Enjoy! 🙂


In the beginning I fully intended to write a funny post about tapeworms. But then…Well, to be honest, I couldn’t come up with anything even remotely funny…So my conclusion has to be: there is simply no humor to be found in intestinal worms…Though I did find the following joke (I edited it a bit to make it a bit, er, more “palatable” for the blog…): 

A guy went to a doctor because he felt sick and was losing weight. The doctor told him he had a tapeworm and instructed him to bring a muffin, a Twinkie and a cookie with him on his next visit. “Trust me. I know what I’m doing,” said the doctor to his baffled patient. 
During the following visit, the doctor gently pushed the muffin, the Twinkie and, finally, the cookie into the patient’s rear end. The patient protested, but the doctor reassured him, saying it was part of the therapy.
This treatment continued for several weeks…
The doctor finally instructed the patient to bring a muffin, a Twinkie AND a mallet on the next visit.
The day arrived, and this time the doctor inserted only the muffin and the Twinkie.
After a few minutes, the tapeworm stuck its head out of the guy’s rear end and demanded, “Where’s my cookie???!!!!”


That’s about as funny as you’ll get with a tapeworm (sorry if I grossed you out!!!). And…no, no, no…I don’t have tapeworms. Neither does Stefano. Uhm, I’ll give you ONE more guess (hint: see photo).

Yep, it’s our new kitten, Prezzemolo. 

And this is how we found out (no mallets involved, though!)…

Last Friday, after we both got home from work, Stefano asked me to have a look at some, er, stuff he’d spotted on Prezzemolo’s blanket (which, by the way, happens to cover Stefano, too, at night…).

The “stuff” looked very much like sesame seeds. Stefano thought it might just be some dry kitty snot (that is, nothing to worry about), but I thought it looked a bit weird. So I put together a sample, which I took to the vets immediately (by the way, we have two vets, a man and a woman, who work in the same office, just so you don’t get confused when I sometimes refer to a “he,” sometimes to a “she”).

“It’s tapeworm,” the vet said, as soon as he set eyes on the sample.

“Tapewhaaaaaat?????” I repeated, stunned, horrified and totally grossed out.

“Tapeworm,” he repeated (tenia, in Italian)…

Well, there are actually two “positive” things about tapeworms: 1. We can’t catch ’em from our cats unless we ingest a fresh, still wriggly tapeworm segment (full of eggs, bleah) or a tapeworm-infected flea (double bleah)…both scenarios = extremely UNLIKELY; 2. Tapeworms can be dealt with relatively easily—two pills, one administered immediately, another after 20 days.

“Two pills, just two pills. How hard can that be?” I thought to myself. Famous last words. 

The two tapeworm pills come together in one box, which is extremely convenient…that is, IF you can get both of them down your cat’s throat. So here follows some advice, based on personal experience: it’s pointless to grind up the pill and mix it with any sort of palatable cat food. It won’t work. We tried not one but TWO types of food that Prezzemolo normally adores. But no, he wouldn’t go within a mile of the tapeworm-medicated food, even though he had been taking his antibiotic the same way for ages (oh, for the record, he’s been off antibiotics since last week…).

Well, we gave up in the end (“tough love” didn’t work!)…threw away both mixes…and bought another box of tapeworm pills…

The following morning I phoned the vet and told her the Prezzemolo pill story. “We are totally inept, good-for-nothing parents!” I wailed. She laughed and agreed to help us.

When we got to her office, she said, “don’t worry, this will be easy. I can do it alone.” She held our little Prezzemolo with one hand, and with the other she gently pried his jaws open and deftly popped a pill down his throat, quickly closing his mouth and keeping it shut. Then she tried to squirt some water into the side of his mouth to make him swallow the pill…

And that’s when things got really ugly. Prezzemolo turned into a kung fu master of every single “squirm, twist, wriggle and spit-out-pill” technique known to cats and cobras. And it wasn’t long before the sharp kung fu claws came out, too. Stefano rushed over to help the vet…

Well, I don’t want to bore you, but it took three attempts to get enough of the pill inside of Kung Fu Prezzemolo…which leads me to ask the obvious questions: 1. why oh why can’t drug companies come up with a super easy system to give medicine of any sort to our kitties? 2. Why oh why do we have to traumatize our furry babies with bitter-tasting pills or impossibly huge, hard-to-swallow pills?

It makes no sense…

In my opinion, ALL pet medications should be like Ibaflin 3%, which is a palatable sort of antibiotic gel that you mix with something your cat/pet loves (I mix it with the hairball remedy that my cats love more than anything), then stick on the tip of your finger. My cats will lick it right off my finger. Easy peasy.

Well, as you can see, our sick feline saga continues…Oh wait, and here’s another thing: the vet told us that Prezzemolo’s snotty nose is probably going to be a CHRONIC condition. Lovely. She prescribed lysine for it, which means it’s a herpes-based virus. Great. Super. Fabulous.

Sigh. 😉

But next weekend, if all goes well (= no “sesame seeds” in sight, that is!), we’re going to introduce Prezzemolo to the others…finally! So I’m feeling positive…at least, right now I am… 😉

Absentee voting and pills pills pills…

Well, a couple of weeks ago I mailed off my absentee ballot. I won’t tell you for whom I voted, of course…I mean, after all, there are privacy laws and all that. Uhm…let’s just say that if you have been reading my blog for at least 4 years, you can easily figure it out…especially since I voted for him again. 😉 

But no, I’m not going to talk about the presidential race today. The only thing I’ll say is that I really hope Cancer Girl’s Barack-oli soup (http://goo.gl/d56aw) helps our mutual candidate tomorrow… 🙂

Okay, enough. Let’s just get this election over with and see who wins, fingers crossed, tightly crossed! In the meantime, I’ll entertain you with a bit of what’s been happening in our large feline household lately. Essentially, after sighing a huge sigh of relief last week, when all the cats seemed fine or on the mend…BOOM!, our eldest cat, Puzzola, came down with a bad cold, too. Can you believe it???

And my recurrent nightmare is that our Puzzola will get sick…You see, administering antibiotics or any other pill to Puzzola in any way, shape or form is virtually impossible. She can smell a pill a mile away, no matter how cleverly you camouflage it.

This is what typically happens: the first day, when she isn’t paying that much attention, she’ll eat the crushed antibiotic mixed in with a her favorite food, and you think “Purrrrfect! This works. Problem solved.” Then the next day she’ll act as though I’m trying to poison her…Same food, same antibiotic, same me, go figure.

But I don’t give up easily. So I switch to an even more palatable sort of food, and my new tactic might work for 12 or even 24 hours, but somehow the kunning kitty figures out there’s a pill somewhere in there. I firmly believe that she would starve herself to death before letting go of her main principle in life: “no human will ever outsmart me with a pill. 😉

Well, I’ve run out of palatable food…This morning I even tried non-vegetarian baby food. Didn’t work. 

So this evening, as much as we hate this “plan,” Stefano and I are going to grab her and shoot the pill in liquid form down her throat. We can’t let this high maintenance cat get any sicker than she already is…

And so the sick feline saga continues…Uffaaaaaa!