Sunday, October 28, 2012

Having RA has made me a cat!

I can't say that it just happened and one day I woke up (well on those few occasions when I am awake) and realized I had taken on so many of my four legged kitty companions personality traits.  In reality, I have been slowly transforming into a cat for over fourteen years.

I ask myself often if I didn't have ra would I have such a close affinity to this animal? A resounding NO pops into my brain. Until I yawn, circle around slowly and curl back up on my bed.

And how exactly, you may be asking yourself by now, have I become a cat.  Well let me digress here for a moment. Over 14 years ago I was diagnosed with ra and overnight the transformation started.

First, I slept (and still do often) for over 14 hours a day!  And that is often just the minimum. Sleeping is a necessity for raers as well as for our four legged counterparts. But for us it is not traditionally wired into our brains. Until, that is, we are invaded by the ra bug and instantaneously our sleep button is turned on. Like cats we love to find a nice warm spot (no matter the time of day or night and yes our warmth may be generated by a heating pad), snuggle in and promptly fall asleep. According to Random Facts, "on average, cats spend 2/3 of every day sleeping. That means a nine-year-old cat has been awake for only three years of its life." That sounds about right. Let's see…fourteen years of ra puts me awake for about 5 years since 1999. No wonder I get so little done! But really, I can't help it! I just have to curl up and sleep!

Iams informs us that "nighttime is the right time". I can't completely agree with them about that fact but from a cat's perspective, that is absolutely correct. For me the clock slowly changed. It didn't happen in one quick 24 or 48 hour period but rather grew out of the constant night time roaming to find pain relief. And after many years of this behavior, I believe, my clock has been reset permanently. But unlike a cat, I do have trouble sleeping, I am not getting enough exercise and I am not instinctively crepuscular. And no, I don't hunt at night (well maybe for a bottle of pain medicine) and my eyes do not detect motion in minimal lighting. In fact, my eyes hardly detect anything anymore. Yet, I find myself up with my two kitties on a regular basis. And yes, we both head into the kitchen to fix ourselves a nice nighttime snack.

Did you know that cats also like to rub everything! And I do mean everything. For them this is their way of marking their territory. For me, I also rub everything but not furniture or other humans. Rather, I rub myself. I rub myself with every ointment out there known to man to help curtail the often throbbing in my joints. Yes, rubbing is our way of marking our territory. 

According to Iams "for the most part, cats get along well with people and other cats.  Sometimes they display their natural instinct to be alone, but who doesn't need some "me time" now and again?  However, when a cat displays too much introversive behavior, it can be a sign that something is seriously stressing her out". Mmmmmm….sounds just like me! And any other human out there with ra. Of course we are stressed out, of course we display too much introversive behavior. And indeed, there is something seriously stressing us out…we have ra!

One of my favorite Iams feline facts (an soooo very appropriate for me)… "Is your cat displaying more aggression toward a particular person? He or she is likely the source of the stress.  To help overcome this, have that person feed your cat and give her lots of treats throughout the day.  Also, he or she should try talking to your cat in a softer, higher pitched voice that soothes a cat's sensitive ears." OK one and all…take heed! Start feeding me treats throughout the day. I prefer chocolates, caramels, and an occasional healthy cooked meal. And by all means do talk to me a in softer voice. Now wouldn't it be such a pleasure to walk into say my doctor's office and have him put this into practice. That alone would make me start to purrrrr!

And one practice I have already implemented that Iam's recommends is to "relieve stress with fun".  I try to adhere to this advice on a regular basis and can attest to the fact that it really does work. It truly does! I don't use fishing pole type toys (although some of you men out there might want to give that a try) but I have found that flying a kite at the crack of dawn on a desolate beach brings a smile to my face. Sure, I have to go back to that rubbing thing again immediately but it is well worth it! Try implementing a bucket list for yourself and go for it!

Yes, indeed I am now completely transformed. I am almost 100% cat! I even have the additional hair growing everywhere to prove it. Thank you pregnisone for that!!!

Have a purrrrfectly delightful day!


Theresa said...

HA! Between the chemo and the prednison...I have hair growing where it shouldn't be and hair falling out where it SHOULD be! You just have to laugh at yourself, that's for sure!
We have two your post really hit "home". ;-)
Hope you have a lovely week Deb. I'm thinking of you always.

carlascorner said...

Thanks so much for the laugh! (I think I'm just turning into a grouchy old bear ...)

Cathy said...

I imagine you as a very sweet cat. :)

Deb aka AbcsOfra said...! And oh how true!! Particularly if one is on the chemo drugs. I forgot about them as I haven't done them for some years now. For me it is just extra hair here there and everywhere. And everywhere I don't want it!!

Carlsacorner...yup, I could write a book on being a bear :-) But I highly doubt you are a grouchy bear. More likely the cuddly one that everyone loves!

Cathy...sweet cat. Mmmmmm....cats can be sweet? Maybe one in the form of a cupcake perhaps. You are too kind!

Terry said...

Haha, I was going to ask if you hunted your food but you answered that . We have one cat thats a PIB, it decides if you get to love on it or not, partially because one of our dogs tried to love on it with her teeth. So the cat doesn't trust anyone with 2 or 4 legs now. Love the kite photo ... we should all be doing that every day!

The Lady in Pred said...

Completely agree! I have ALMOST resorted to shaving at times. I think I am as furry as our kitty. Ours curls up to sleep on my legs in the afternoon and I wish I could stay with her when I have to get up to start running my kids around. The cat-life and the RA-life would meld so purr-fectly :) Hope you are feeling a bit better. I am creaking along!

Wren said...

What a fun post, Deb. I read it not long after you wrote it, didn't have time to leave a comment, and then forgot to come back. Well, now I'm here, I've just reread, and I like it just as much the second time!

I must say, though, that you caught me with the word "crespucular," writing about joining your cats for wanders during the night. I thought, does she mean her kitties' joints crackle? I tried to envision the three of you, padding along, trying to be silent as all your knees popped and cracked. Nooo, I thought. That word can't mean that! I looked it up. (We are Never Too Old for a dictionary). And sure enough, you didn't mean "crepitus," which was what I mixed up crepuscular with. The latter word, of course, refers to animals that are active at night.

So I had a little laugh at myself, which made me enjoy your post even more. And I do love the photos of your marmalade tabbies. They've always been some of my favorite felines.

Hope you're feeling well, and looking forward to a new post one of these days. ;o)

carlascorner said...

Hey Deb: Just checking in with you. It's now March and we haven't seen a new post from you in a while and I was getting concerned. Unless of course you actually turned into a cat and your paws don't type very well! Check in when you can. We miss you.

bellefire said...

Your cat is adorable, can't help not to mention her in my comments. By the way, I used to sleeping a lot after being diagnosed with RA. Must be the medications i get. But i found out that exercise helps a lot in coping up.

It is very important to exercise and increase muscle tone of your non-weight bearing joints. Of course, it is important to maintain good cardiovascular fitness as well. Walking with appropriate supportive shoes is another important consideration. Just wanna share the information i found online about rheumathoid arthritis

Theresa said...

Hey you! I don't have an email address to get a hold of you, but you have been on my mind this week, so I decided to reach out here! How are you??? It's been months since your last post so I hope everything is okay. If you happen to read this, send me a note at my email - - and let me know how you are. :-) Then I can stop worrying.
Love to you, my friend.
Theresa (

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Gina Diaz said...

Loved reading your post. It was really interesting to read it. Looking ack at the time when I was living with my arthritis pain in my knees I am really feeling ALIVE now.After the stem cell therapy, I recovered from my knee pains and my orthopedic surgeon Dr. Purita did a great job.

carlascorner said...

Just checking in again, Deb. It's been a long while since you've posted and hope you're okay. If you can't or don't want to post, please shoot me an email at to let me know you're okay.

Rachael said...

Deb, Thank you for all the work that you and your blog do for Rheumatoid patients. I'm a chronically ill epatient working on HealClick, a website matching patients with similar conditions so they can share relevant treatments and experiences. I'd love to talk with you about the possibility of working together. Feel free to email me directly at

Joyce Miller said...

Deb, I don't have ra (they say). Another form of degenerative arthritis. They started me on methotrexate shots....that's when the cat poop hit the hit me in every joint. My legs swelled so bad I had to use a cane...The pain in my knees and legs was excruciating. Went back to see of there was an antidote...they gave me prescription anti-inflamatories. I guess they r helping...but i will never b back to the way I was. Did I say I went ONLY because of the pain and inflammation in my right hand.? Your friend, joyce m

Joyce Miller said...

Deb, I don't have ra (they say). Another form of degenerative arthritis. They started me on methotrexate shots....that's when the cat poop hit the hit me in every joint. My legs swelled so bad I had to use a cane...The pain in my knees and legs was excruciating. Went back to see of there was an antidote...they gave me prescription anti-inflamatories. I guess they r helping...but i will never b back to the way I was. Did I say I went ONLY because of the pain and inflammation in my right hand.? Your friend, joyce m

Seeyeseye CeeSI said...

How can I contact your sister? She needs to know that the exhumation of Britt is taking place in June.

Ray said...

Thanks for the encouraging blog! Your optimism against such odds is greatly encouraging!

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