The dogs and cats
Squeaky the cat- R.I.P 12.02.11
Poppy the Papillon- R.I.P. 29.09.14
Millie the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel- R.I.P. 12.04.11
Kia the cat- R.I.P.
Snowy the cat- R.I.P.
Stripey the tom cat- R.I.P. 22.04.15
Boston the tom cat
Pontus the tom kitten ;-)
Logan the German Spitz Mittel
Blob the tom kitten
Lacey the Shih-Tzu/ Bichon cross
Pippa the Toy Poodle
Crackles the tom cat
Squeaky joined us at the beginning of 2001. In the winter of 2000/ 2001, a few cats started visiting our garden. There was an extremely shy black tom cat, a very old black and white cat, similar to Squeaky. And then there was Squeaky. The old cat was quite friendly and would let me touch her, the black tom cat never came close to me, Squeaky was shy at first but then she came to me for food and cuddles. The cats never stayed for long but came at least once a day for food. I know the old cat was also fed by somebody else in the village and in the end it was only Squeaky who visited us regularly. Then one day, possibly early spring 2001, she decided to come into the house. I was sat in the lounge by the back window and opened the window. She used to eat on the outside window sill or below it and this one day she came into the lounge. She jumped onto the floor, looked around, had a look upstairs and she must have decided that this was good enough because she stayed... :-)
We had birds in the lounge as well. 2 cockatiels and 2 budgies. They had their cage on a sideboard and a branch from a tree screwed to the ceiling to sit on as well. They were never caged. And safe on their branch. But we didn't want to leave Squeaky in the lounge at night so before we went to bed we used to put her out. This became more and more of a struggle, darling Squeaky did not wish to go out at night. She'd try and get upstairs and hide under our bed. She complained loudly when she was put out. Then in about May 2001, the weather turned really nasty. Very cold, windy and wet. I felt sorry for Squeaky, there's a barn sort of next door for her to go into but I didn't want to put her out. So this was the first night she was allowed to stay in and she was never put out at night again (unless she went out and didn't come back). We left the light on in the lounge for the birds and they were never harmed by Squeaky.
I'm not really a cat person and wouldn't have gone out to get a cat. I don't like the fact that they can jump on kitchen work tops and get everything "dirty" and then they get run over by cars. But I adore Squeaky and have changed my mind about cats. I always liked them but wouldn't have had one before Squeaky. Squeaky is very cuddly and when I have a lie down, she comes and lies on top of me or by my side. When I had food poisoning for 3 weeks in December '01, she was lying down with me all the time. She's not very active or playful but loved cuddles. :-)
Squeaky is loosing more and more weight now, she has mammary tumours, she first had some nodules removed in'09 and more removed in '10 because they were painful. Squeaky started to vomit this month and throws up almost every day, sometimes twice a day, first it’s usually food, usually followed by bile/ mucus. But apart from that she seems happy still, she doesn't look depressed or weak although she's quite thin, and she comes for lots of cuddles. And she still eats and does have a bowel movement every other day so some food does go through. I took her back to Michaela and she says she can feel that one liver lobe is hard and lumpy, Squeaky had a small nodule (palpated and seen on scan) on her spleen a few years ago and Michaela was worried about it being lymphoma, well, now she thinks it is lymphoma and that this has spread to her liver. I wanted to have Squeaky’s thyroid tested so Michaela ran a blood panel first and her liver enzymes were normal so Michaela thought a thyroid problem was unlikely, on the other hand the TP was high so that’s why Michaela thought of lymphoma. She wanted to do a fine needle aspirate and look to see if she could find any lymph cells (I think) in it but 5 minutes after booking the procedure, I cancelled it. I’m not a big fan of fine needle aspirates and it would stress Squeaky and I feel like what’s the point. It’s not like we can cure it if it is lymphoma. I would like to go to a homoeopathic vet with Squeaky but we don’t have one anywhere near. I’d do anything for her and spend any money but not if she’s full of cancer. She had mammary tumours removed back in June, and now has more and much bigger than before (walnut size). Part of me wishes we had taken out the mammary glands 2 years ago when it all started. But I was scared of such a huge operation.
I had Squeaky put to sleep last Saturday the 12th. I knew it was a matter of days or maybe weeks but for a long time she was just stable. She’s been vomiting a lot for the last 2 months so for the last month I gave her tinned food/ pouches. She ate those and wasn't sick but she didn't eat much. With the dry food she'd eat loads but not the wet foods. But she still passed stools and looked alert, even went out into the garden on a sunny day. But last week she started throwing up her wet food and Saturday she was really sick and made a horrible noise throwing up. Different than before. Afterwards she didn't want to eat, I opened up a few different foods, even a can of the liquid vet diet, she looked like she wanted to eat but at the same time she seemed like she couldn't eat. She had also looked a bit depressed for a few days, not purring when I cuddled her, so Saturday I made the decision to let her go after she threw up so badly and didn't eat anymore. I had to call out the emergency vet as the practice was closed after midday and then when she was on the table, she started purring. So that made it even harder. When the vet injected her into the front leg vein, she went out like a light. I couldn't believe how quick it was, she was sitting up one second and the next she just sort of fell onto her side. I will never get used to this, it is so bizarre how an animal is with us one moment- and gone the next. We’ve had her for 10 years, I’ve never had an animal for so long before, I know people have dogs and cats for like 15-17 years but I’ve never had an animal for 10 years before...
Squeaky was a very lovely cat, I know I don't write much about the dogs and cats but she was very loving, she loved being groomed, and got on really well with the other animals. She always came to me if I had a lie down on the sofa, and would sit on me or by my side.
Spring 2002 we happened to watch CRUFTS. I never watch it, I don't think much of dog shows. But I turned the TV on and the show was on TV and they happened to have the toy group on. I fell in love with the little dogs, especially the Papillon. They were so beautiful and elegant. We also liked toy poodles, Italian greyhounds and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. Then I couldn't get the dogs out of my head and wanted one sooo much. I also thought if we had a dog then I'd be forced to go out for walks which would do me good. Having chronic fatigue and depression, I am so tired all the time and lie down a lot in the afternoon so I thought if I *had* to go out then maybe I'd become stronger... Fresh air and the sun would do me good but I wouldn't have gone outside if I didn't *have to* (i.e. if I didn't have a dog who needed to go walkies).
For a few months I researched all toy breeds on the Internet and it seemed like the Papillon had the least health problems so in April/ May 2002 we started looking for a Papillon. We got the advertising paper and there was a litter of puppies advertised and I phoned one day after the paper came out and all puppies had already gone... We discovered that Papillons are rare and litters are gone as soon as they're ready. Then no litters at all for weeks. Until I looked at the advertising paper on the Internet, we were prepared to travel for one so I looked at nationwide adverts. And we found a litter near Marlborough, near Swindon, which is about 190 miles away. On Sunday 19th of May 2002 we went to look at the puppies. The drive was nice and the countryside near Marlborough was stunning! The puppies were on a smallholding, they had many dogs and also horses. The puppies were so cute, unfortunately already 18 weeks old but we chose one and brought her home. Poppy was pretty quiet at first, didn't want to know us, didn't want to cuddle. But luckily it changed and soon she loved both of us. She's very suspicious of strangers and when people came to visit us, Poppy would come running to me and sit on my lap. It took months (half a year?) before she would go up to our neighbours, even though she saw them almost every day.
The only bad thing about Poppy was her house training. We would take her out every hour but she never went to pee outside. But as soon as she got back in, she would do her business behind our back. Or she did a pee outside and then another inside. We did all the right things, praised her, gave her treats when she went outside but she still continued to go inside as well. She would go on the sofa and pee and poo up there. She would drive us insane sometimes. She never messed in front of our eyes, always when we weren't looking so we could never tell her off. Then around October/ November '02 she finally realised that she was supposed to go outside and became house trained very quickly. :-)
Poppy is a little crazy thing, she is *always* active, she can't sit still. She doesn't cuddle much, she always wants to play and will bring her toys so we can throw them for her. We wanted a little dog because we thought they'd be quiet, yeah, right... ;-)
I had a scare with Poppy. End of April, the last Saturday, she didn't seem her usual happy self. She wasn't excited about going for a walk, was panting walking downhill (!) and at night she sat there shivering and shaking. So I checked the only thing I could- her mouth- and while one side was full of sparkly white teeth, the other side was full of tartar and one small tooth (the first premolar) was loose. So I thought she was in pain and started the antibiotics and gave her Metacam. Following Tuesday, 1st of May, she was booked in for a dental and they did a pre op blood test and Poppy's liver enzymes, ALT and especially alk phos, were high. My vet said there was a chance that Poppy had Cushing's so they wanted to test her for that before doing a dental. If she had Cushing's, they would have started medication first and done another ACTH stimulation test 10 days after starting meds before doing the dental which would have meant that it would have taken at least another 2 weeks before she had the dental. Luckily she had the ACTH stimulation test on Wednesday the 2nd and by Saturday the 5th I knew that she didn't have it! I was so worried and I told myself not to worry, I mean I read about Cushing's and Poppy had none of the symptoms described. But of course I did worry and it turns out that again it was unnecessary. I get all these positive quotes on Facebook, it reminded me of one I saved from Mark Twain “I’ve had a lot of trouble in my life - most of which never happened.” It is so true, I just have to work harder at implementing it into my life! But anyway, 11th of May Poppy- finally- had her dental. I never would have thought that she had tooth issues as she was eating anything, bones, big kibbles, plus she was using both sides to chew.
Poppy is really sick. It started a few years ago with reverse sneezing, she would start when going for a walk and we thought it was excitement. It would only last about 5 minutes. Then the last year or two it got progressively worse with this year being awful.
Eventually the reverse sneezing lasted much longer and happened more often and at one point early 2013 I think my vet said her soft palate looked inflamed and angry. She did have antibiotics (Synulox) and steroids (prednisolone) and they seemed to be working and next time Poppy was bad they did not work. Or they did not work by themselves, meaning Poppy was bad and one time only had pred and another time only had Synulox and the meds did not work by themselves.
Then Poppy suddenly started regurgitating food in December 2013 and was subsequently diagnosed with megaesophagus on the 8th of January 2014 (PRAA). On top of this she now has severe sinusitis and rhinitis. She seems better at times (not too much mucus production) and then it seems to get much worse again (choc-a-block full of mucus). You can hear that her nose is blocked. Then the mucus goes down into her throat and seems to get stuck at the back of her throat (I have post nasal drip myself). Poppy will reverse sneeze to try and pull the mucus down, she will retch and gag and cough to loosen it, and because she has megaesophagus, the mucus will collect in her esophagus and she will often eventually regurgitate it. HUGE amounts. Mainly on walks or when visitors come and she gets excited. And while she had had this on and off for about 2 years, it has become extremely severe this year. She never puked mucus in the past. At times I can't walk her because of her shortness of breath and the amount of mucus she will regurgitate on a walk.
She has had so many tests, my vet looked into her nose and throat with a camera, on the 30th of May 2014 Poppy had another GA, 2 x-rays (skull and chest), bloods done, a heart scan, ear cleaning, and a dental. That is when my vet saw that the breathing problems had caused the right side of her heart to enlarge so she is on Fortekor (Benazepril) now, too. While under anaesthetic, she did have breathing problems and worried my vet...
She has been really bad this July and a few weeks ago I took her to the vets because her mandibular lymph nodes were massive and hard. Poppy was so uncomfortable with it, she could not put her head down and sleep. So on the 23rd of July my vet put her on prednisolone, Poppy weighs 3.6 kg and got 2.5 mg pred twice a day. A week later her lymph nodes had gone down a lot and felt softer and for one week she did not regurgitate mucus or anything (but was close twice on walks) and was much less congested. On the 30th of July she had another check-up, by then her weight was 3.2 kg. Then she got congested again so I thought the pred is not working either, it was just a coincidence that Poppy was better for a week. So I lowered the pred dose to 1.5 as my vet said to try and lower it but then the lymph nodes went up again and Poppy started doing a strange "scream", I don't know if she makes the noise or if it is an involuntary sound that happens when she breathes odd or something.
Then Poppy had another check-up on the 8th of August. Incidentally she was really awful that day, regurgitating mucus 3 times before breakfast and then not wanting to eat because she had problems breathing and then she did eventually eat and then regurgitate mucus and a bit of food twice when I was about to take her to the vets. Her weight was 2.9 something kg so went down just over 200 g in under 1 1/2 weeks even though she did not walk much and ate the same amount of food as usually. My vet thinks it may be lymphoma because of the overall body condition and progressive weight loss. But then, clutching at straws, suggested (like I had thought before) that it *may* be a food allergy or sensitivity. Incidentally, the first few mouthfuls are easy to eat and then the congestion gets really bad. So since Poppy always has chicken, my vet thinks that maybe past vaccinations have caused her to become allergic or sensitive to chicken because there is albumin or something from eggs in vaccines. Poppy has only been vaccinated about 3 times, I am not one who is keen on vaccinations. But she has had rabies vaccines because I took her to Germany and Hungary a lot. So anyway, Michaela suggested giving her meat that is neither chicken nor beef, she thinks beef is an allergen, too. She also gave me a homoeopathic remedy for vaccine induced health problems.
So Poppy has been having lamb and was so much better- for 1 day... Then the strange "screaming" got much, much worse. She looks more miserable than ever, so scared, breathing problems etc. The only difference is that she has no problems eating her lamb but I don't know if this is the lamb or the consistency of the food. So I first tried the change of food which did not do much, then I tried the homoeopathy, it didn't help, either, so now the dose of pred has been put up again to 2.5 mg bid.
Her symptoms are there all through the year- and she has had (slight) symptoms on and off for about 2 or 3 years- but so much worse this spring and summer.
I took some pictures and videos of Poppy in case anybody wants to see. Also of the "screaming".
I get so (di)stressed when she is so ill, she looks incredibly sad at times and feels bad and panics and is very clingy. She always wants to sit on the lap. I did try diphenhydramine and it first seemed to help but then she got worse again despite the tablets. Whatever we have tried always seemed to work at first but didn't continue to work, even the pred. But she now needs the pred because of her lymph nodes.
Poppy was pts last Monday, 29.09.2014. She was actually very stable during August and September, she had been on doxycycline and seemed okay but getting weaker. But barely any mucus. But then she started going downhill middle of September and on the 23rd I made an appointment to discuss euthanasia. But people on the megaesophagus list thought it sounded like Poppy had myasthenia gravis which can cause megaE and urged me to try Mestinon, the medication for MG. It seemed to help at first- and then it didn't. I gave Poppy medication to coat her oesophagus and she was back on doxy for the last week but she deteriorated. The pictures and videos in the link above were nothing compared to the last week, especially last weekend. :( But it was hard because we didn't know exactly what we were dealing with and not knowing whether she can be helped. But during the last week we tried *everything* and she went downhill so Monday I had her pts. Even Michaela said there's no other option, she noticed in what a bad condition she was, we can only assume she had cancer. In August she did have bloods done and her liver values were high and also cholesterol so she couldn't continue with her lamb, I had to feed her low fat turkey and added oats to it to make up calories. It all went well but then middle of September the mucus got worse and worse again and she was loosing her appetite, I think because she had problems breathing and found it hard to eat and breathe at the same time. It is so sad that we have now lost both our first 2 dogs, I remember when we got them like it was yesterday and in a flash second it is all over. :(
With Poppy it really bugs me that we never found out what exactly was wrong with her. I keep telling myself whatever it was, we tried absolutely everything and she was very sick so it doesn't matter what she had, fact is she was awfully sick. I even did a post mortem on her- after she'd been in the freezer for 2 weeks (in a defrosted state of course). I cut her chest open and expected to find God knows what. On the x-ray her oesophagus wasn't straight but making a U shape along its way to the stomach. I thought maybe I would find a tumour or something. But all I found was a massive heart and I could barely find the oesophagus at all, I managed to cut out a bit of wind pipe and oesophagus but could not see if anything was abnormal. There was some abnormal looking tissue growth alongside the oesophagus but I don't know. I even checked the abdomen, her liver was massive. I have never seen the inside of a dog so don't know if they do have such large hearts and livers but compared to a ferret they were big. I could not find anything odd but when Poppy was defrosted, blood came out of her nose and you could still hear mucus when you pressed on her nostrils. I miss her...
As time went by, we thought it would be nice for Poppy to have a friend. So we were looking at the toy breeds again. Then we happened to see a note at our vets in November '02 that somebody had Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppies for sale. So we rang up and had a look at the puppies and the mother was so cuddly and the puppies as well so we chose one. We still had to wait a week as the puppies weren't old enough but then on the 15th of November we fetched Millie. She was so cuddly right from the start and all she wanted was to be close to either Pete or me. When I was on the computer, she'd put her head on my foot or against my leg. She tried to get as much contact as possible. She was such a cute puppy, when we first got her she could barely walk and it was amazing to see her grow up.
She loved her raw food from the beginning, she ate the first night she was here and from then on her appetite grew and grew until she became our walking waste disposal unit! I soon had to give her big pieces of chicken wing etc. because she'd try and swallow small pieces and I was scared she'd choke. Poppy has such good eating manners, she eats slowly and chews her little pieces well while Millie just wolfs everything down. But it is such a pleasure to feed Millie and watch her eat, she doesn't refuse any food and eats everything so well. :-) It was funny when she was teething. She usually ate her wing so quickly but suddenly she was still sat there after half an hour. She was sucking the wing as all her milk teeth had gone and she hardly had any new teeth... So then I gave her small pieces to swallow while her new teeth were growing. But that didn't stop her from eating a bird! Squeaky sometimes catches birds and sometimes they end up dead. Millie must have found a bird that Squeaky killed and while I was preparing lunch I looked out into the garden and thought "What is Millie eating???". A bird. She sat there munching and munching and every now and again a wing or leg stuck out of her mouth and eventually the bird was gone... It looked like a starling.
Millie's housetraining went quite well and she didn't have many accidents and not for very long. I'm happy to say that both Millie and Poppy are clean now. They do have a big cat flap in the kitchen door so they can go out into the garden anytime. They spend a lot of time outside and play a lot. When we first got Millie, Poppy was a bit jealous. But after about a week she welcomed her new little friend and realised how nice it is to have a play mate. Now the 2 are inseparable and play sooo much, chase each other and are just generally mad.
Millie was spayed this month. She felt very sick from the anaesthetic but a day after the spay, she was back to normal. She jumps up for her food and all sorts of reasons and it was so hard to stop her jumping all the time. I’m surprised her stitches stayed in! She was a bit more quiet than usual but not for long... Poppy (who will be spayed in June), is sooo playful and energetic and kept asking Millie to play all the time and didn’t understand why Millie was more quiet. So all the pestering from Poppy made Millie play instead of rest... But she recovered well and healed well so luckily playing didn't harm her.
Millie really is a very sweet thing, she looks at us in such a cute way, when we talk to her she tilts her head and tries to understand every word we say.
Millie has had heart problems (mitral valve disease) for about 2 1/2 years and is getting worse, I’ve booked her in for a heart scan next Monday 14th. I didn't watch the first one 1 1/2 years ago but want to see this one with commentary from my vet. Millie's breathing is getting worse, I don't think she has fluid in her lungs though. While we had frost, she was okay, as if she wasn't ill at all, she was running around and was just very happy. But we went for a walk yesterday and she could only walk slowly and was getting out of breath. Millie's neck has become smaller, I had to put her collar onto the last hole. I wonder why that is. Even her face looks smaller but her tummy is big but she has a layer of fat on her ribs. Poppy was 9 last month, I can't believe how time flies. Millie would be 9 in September. I keep wondering if she'll still be alive then.
I came home on the 10th of April (I'd gone to Germany 24th of February and fell ill for 3 weeks while I was there...) and Millie had gone downhill rapidly since I left. Pete said I will be shocked when I see her. Well, I arrived home and I thought Millie was going to die. She was so happy and excited to see me that she could barely breathe. Her abdomen was huge and full of water (at least 2 litres), she'd lost a lot of muscle mass on her back and back legs, she could barely walk and then she just sat in front of me and I don't know how to describe it but her breathing sounded mechanical, you could hear her heartbeat in her breathing, it was just awful. :-( Monday I was straight at the vets and my vet doubled her diuretics and prescribed another medication as a last try. It was a medication that could be dangerous if overdosed so Michaela dosed Millie very carefully and on the low side. But this one dose made Millie worse. After that she didn't eat, hardly drank (I think she felt nauseous), hardly peed, and she just walked from one corner to the next to lie down and breathe heavy. At night I almost called the vet out but thought I wait to see if Millie improved, at least to the point where she was at before this new medication. But she was just the same Tuesday so I was at the vets before 9.00 and asked for Michaela to put Millie to sleep when she arrives. I stayed in the car with Millie and held her and when Michaela came and shaved her front leg, Millie looked up at me like she'd always done when she was scared, like to ask if it was okay what was being done to her. I'll never forget that look. :-( It was so hard, but for me it was unbearable to see her the way she was. I don't think I'll ever have a Cavalier again, I did research the breed before we got Millie but was in denial, I thought we would have one of the Cavaliers that didn't have this mitral valve disease. And then she turned out to be one of the worst probably, a heart murmur by the age of 2, needing treatment for the disease by the age of 6, and needing to be put to sleep by the age of 8 1/2.
There is not much to tell about Kia. She was an old cat and somewhat neglected. When we took her in (possibly around 2002/2003), she was skin and bones and matted fur. We first trimmed her coat with scissors as it was completely matted. She pretty much only ate raw mince and enjoyed being indoors, warm and safe and comfortable. It took a long time before she ventured out into the garden, like she was scared she wouldn't be allowed back in if she went out. But eventually she went out and enjoyed sunbathing but she never left the garden. After 1 year with us, she was put to sleep due to kidney failure. At least her last year had been free of worries.
Stripey (and Snowy)
It started in about May 2006. Squeaky keeps coming into season, probably an incomplete spay that left some small hormone producing tissue behind. Squeaky was opened up again but the vets couldn't find anything so she has been coming into season regularly since she came to live with us. When she came into season, she would attract tom cats and 2 in particular would hang around the house. It didn't matter whether we kept Squaky in or whether she was out, those tom cats would stay and cry all night long. Since they were obviously stray, feral tom cats, Pete wanted to trap them and have them neutered. He was worried about our neighbours as well with all the crying going on. So we managed to trap Stripey in the garage and he was absolutely wild. We got him through into the utility where he climbed up the breeze block walls. He got into the kitchen from there and soon caused havoc. In the end we trapped him in a crate and off to the vets. They neutered him, gave him some eye drops and an antibiotic injection because he had an eye injury/ ulcer and then we fetched him and released him later on. We thought that would be the end of it and that he would never come close to the house again. ;-) But we were wrong and he just stayed around. At that time we also had another cat "drop in" that we had called Snowy
so we always left food and water (and a bed) in the garage and the garage door slightly open so Snowy used to come in and sleep in the garage (and inside the house in winter)- and Stripey joined her. He saw how tame Snowy was and slowly started to tust us. At first he would only eat in the garage when nobody was around. By summer he stayed close even when we were in the garage. Soon I could sit by him when he ate and then the day came when I could touch him. That was around September 2006 and it coincided with Snowy being hit by a car (I suppose, I found her dead on the road but no mark on her) and dying. (It was so bizarre, I went over to neighbours and saw Snowy on the drive, alive and well. While I was at the neighbours, they said "Is that a cat by the road" so I looked and ran down, it was Snowy and she was dead. Alive one minute and then dead the next. :-( ) I didn't know who Snowy's owners were so we buried her. By that time Stripey was pretty tame and moved indoors to be with Squeaky. He loves her. :-) And he loves the dogs- especially Millie- and sleeps with them and did so right from the start. And Stripey is very photogenic. :-) And now a very sweet and cuddly tom cat, you wouldn't know that he was wild and feral in the beginning. :-)
Poppy, Millie and Stripey
Millie and Stripey
Stripey and Squeaky
About time I said a few more words about Stripey. He is very, very tame and clingy. He is a real people's cat now. When we sit on the sofa and he comes in, he looks and comes straight over to sit on the sofa with us. He loves to rub his head against ours. It's like a ritual we do a few times a day. It makes him very happy. He also likes to do this to everybody who comes to visit, anybody especially sitting on the sofa. Visitors will sit there and Stripey will sit next to them and starte at them and then I say "he wants to rub heads". Strange cat! But very sweet and loving and he gets on with everybody. :-) Can't believe he's been here 6 years...
Stripey was diagnosed with cerumen gland adenoma/ adenocarcinoma (tumours in the ears) and was booked in for his total ear canal ablation and bulla osteotomy yesterday, yeah, I know, doesn't sound like fun... I was a total mess and almost cancelled the surgery Monday as I was just crying. Then he went in to the vets yesterday, had the pre op blood test- and it showed he is in renal failure. Not horribly bad yet but my vet did not want to go through with surgery which would have taken at least 1 1/2 hours and then of course the other ear would have been done 3 weeks later. I'm sort of glad and sort of unhappy, I don't know what would have been for the best but it's been taken out of my hands now and he can get painkillers if and when needed. Michaela said that cats can be maintained on e.g. Buprenorphine for some time.
Update February 2013
Stripey started limping badly and he has arthritis in both elbows. :( His BUN was tested 07/02/13 when he had his x-rays and it got slightly worse in the last half year but not too bad. So he has his ear tumours, renal failure and arthritis. He is quiet and sleeps a lot but he seems very content and very cuddly.
Stripey went onto 4 weekly Cartrophen injections but they did nothing for him. He even had accupuncture. So he is on Metacam now which seems to eas the pain...
Update October 2014
Stripey is getting worse, he went back to the vets last month to test his kidneys and they are getting worse. I must ask how much worse they are compared to 2 years ago. Michaela wanted me to reduce his Metacam but I am not happy about it, for me the quality of life is more important than the quantity, I don't want him to spend the rest of his life in constant pain. He has bad arthritis and ear tumours. I have tried Tramadol but it has not agreed with him, he just wasn't right. But I'll try again with a smaller dose. But he is going downhill, his body condition is deteriorating. If or when he dies, we will have lost 1/3 of all our animals (not counting the birds). A bit later... I have actually given Stripey the Tramadol now, 1/4 tablet instead of 1/2.
Stripey suddenly had burst blood vessels in his eye and my vet thought maybe high blood pressure so Stripey had his BP checked which was okay. Then approx. middle of Oct my vet happened to see something in that eye and thinks it may be lymphoma and put him on 2 mg prednisolone once a day. I googled lymphoma in cat eye and read a few veterinary pages and it so sounds like he has got it. It said something about a deposit in the eye that looks like cottage cheese. That is a pretty good description. It also said about increased blood vessels and ruptured blood vessels. Yes, got that too. And it said it is common in cats that have feline leukaemia virus and while I don't know if he has got this, it is quite possible. Then I think if he has it, they all have it. :( Anyway, Stripey's eye is painful and he now has eye drops that cost over £20, they are non-steroidal and painkilling. He hated the antibiotic cream he had before and he also hates the one drop I put in his eye. :( But he is good in himself, very affectionate, and has put on a tiny bit of weight (he dropped from just over 5 kg to just under 5 kg).
We had cat Stripey put to sleep 22nd of April. He had been on Tramadol towards the end, I found out he could tolerate the 10 mg tablets well. He was so funny on it, *very* loving. :) He could walk quickly as well and managed to jump onto the window sill for food. Usually he would sit by us and stare at us so we would put food on the floor for him. It really made a difference for him. Until he took a turn for the worse. He suddenly didn't want to eat and then puked when I gave him his medication (prednisolone and Tramadol). The next day he reacted even worse to his meds and puked so badly that I took him off them. He had a blood test done and Amylase was high but his renal values had not changed much at all since he was diagnosed. His picky eating went on for a week and a half, I eventually put him back on Tramadol and he tolerated it but he barely ate and then over 2 days he pretty much stopped eating so I had him put to sleep. Whenever I put food down in front of him he turned away in disgust and *ran* away. I asked my vet how likely it was that he had pancreatitis or would get better and she said very unlikely. She said most cats with pancreatitis get it when they are younger, and most are fat/ obese. Stripey's stomach was bloated and when my vet tried to palpate his abdomen, he started drooling and was in obvious discomfort. So looking at the whole picture, his age (at least 13 but probably more likely 15), the ear tumours, probable tumour in eye, severe arthritis in his front legs/ elbows, renal failure. And then sudden nausea and abdominal pain and anorexia. I'm at the point where I don't want to prolong an animal's life at any cost, I look back and wish I had so many ferrets put to sleep sooner. We had him almost 9 years and he had a good 9 years. And I don't have to wonder and worry anymore how much pain he might be in. But anyway, it looks like his renal failure was more severe than the bloods said.
Sometime around autumn 2008, a cat kept visiting us. For some reason the cat bonded with Stripey and the two always hung out together. The cat was so petite that we actually thought it was a girl cat. Then one day the owner came over and asked us if we'd seen her cat Boston, we just thought "who would call a female cat Boston?" and then the girl said she hadn't seen "him" in 4 days, I just thought "ooops...". Not ooops because we got the sex wrong but because Boston had been staying with us and I hadn't realised that he hadn't gone home at all! Luckily at this point he was at the front of the house, the girl saw him and took him home. Only for Boston to return later...
Tuesday 30/12/08 we had to take Boston to the emergency vets. Boston had been out all night long which was strange because it was so cold. I thought maybe he was at his home. Just before midnight he came in through the cat flap, yowling (if that is the right word for meowing piteously/ miserably/ deplorably). He was walking in slow motion and didn't let me touch him so I phoned the emergency vets and we saw him at midnight. Boston got pain killer and I think antibiotics, the vet couldn't see or feel anything desperately wrong. Boston looked like he had been hit by a car and been dragged/ thrown across the road because tufts of hair were coming out everwhere out of his coat. The next day Pete took Boston back to the vets, he was better already so he didn't need an x-ray after all. I think after this incidence Boston stayed longer and longer, returned home less and less, until he pretty much lived with us- which was, I think, very soon after.
Boston is known for sleeping in strange places, I uploaded a lot of photos of him on Picasa in the folder Boston.
He can be such a very cuddly cat, laying on me like a baby, even holding onto me with his front paws. One strange thing he does is he jumps onto my lap when I sit on the toilet...
Middle of December 2012, Boston was diagnosed with arthritis. Boston had an accident about 4 years ago and that probably caused his arthritis, he is doing well on Cartrophen injections. He almost moved out and in with another family but I think he didn't like them putting a cat collar on him ;) and I also think they tried to confine him because once he was gone for a whole day and then suddenly he was here all the time. He comes indoors during the day and is here every night. He's not so grumpy any more and I can stroke him all over without him crying. I think the arthritis was hurting his back and back legs quite a bit. All better on the Cartrophen. :)
We have... a new kitty... I don't know if he was a feral kitten and his mother abandoned him- or went back to her home and got locked in- or was killed- or some "genius" dumped him nearby, we first heard him meow (cry loudly) on Friday 13/07/12, across the road. Then he moved to our neighbours to the left, hid in their hedge, then he came to our front garden and stayed in the bushes between us and our neighbours to the right. There was no mother cat, nor a human looking for him. Nobody bothered about him and he cried and cried all day.
Pontus still outside
I threw food into our neighbours hedge, I put a dish out in our bushes, and a dish in our garage (plus water and a box with bedding). Saturday the garage was left open a jar all day long- and all night long. By Sunday I got worried about kitty that he might starve. I saw him in the garage once and then he went quiet. By the evening he was meowing loudly again and it sounded close so I quietly opened the garage door and kitty was sitting there, so I quickly wound the garage door down (it's remote control). Then the fun started, trying to catch a feral kitten in a messy garage. He literally threw a hissy fit- and bit me. We put him in the ferret/ skunk sick/ vet cage and fed him, such a tiny emaciated kitten. I think he is 6-8 weeks old but eats tinned food, kibble, and meat (oh, he loves meat!!!). He tried to nurse on my fingers/ knuckles though... Didn't take long to become tame though, he soon purred when cuddled and after a few days he was allowed to stay out of the cage during the day and a few days later also at night. Like once I was sure that Stripey and Boston wouldn't hurt him. He's fascinated by the ferrets and skunks, scared of Poppy, and drawn to cats Stripey and Boston. The boys are *not* keen on kitty though, they gave me looks like they were asking “What the hell???!!!”. Stripey is now indifferent to kitty, Boston hisses at him a little. But at least no attacking him. My best friend from Germany gave him the name Pontus, sigh. Pontus is now feeling at home here, walks around the living room, jumps onto our office chairs (Pete made 2 car seats into computer chairs for us) and he is often sitting behind me on my chair or on my lap. Very clingy. He also loves to play with all the USB leads that dangle down everywhere, he plays with a cloth, with the lights on the computer, just a really silly kitty. A scary thought came into my head though, if Pontus lived to 19 years, I'd be 60 when he dies... That thought scares me...
He is a gorgeous boy though and always has this look of awe on his face. :-) Pictures and videos of him and his arrival are here: New arrivals July 2012.
Boston, Stripey and Pontus
Pontus and Poppy
I went to Germany on 26/09/12- until 02/11/12, sigh- and stayed in Hungary during October. My uncle, mum's brother, was there as well.
My uncle and I did go to a market on 2 Sundays and there were also animals being sold at that market. All the puppies looked to be in good shape- except one. I was so tempted to get a Chihuahua as they cost about 80 GBP there. But then I saw a very depressed looking German Spitz puppy, 4 months old at the time. He was curled up in a tiny box. I went to stroke him and he didn't react. I picked him up and he was skin and bones and fluff. There was no weight there and he again did not react like he'd given up. I was scared he'd starve or freeze to death so a week later we went to the seller's house and picked him up. His name is Logan. I didn't really need or want another dog and the next was supposed to be another female and one with a short coat. Now I have the exact opposite, sigh.
Logan when I first had him
He was really good at first and house broken in next to no time. But once we got to Germany, he started barking at everything. Cows, sheep, horses, other dogs. Here he luckily got on immediately with Poppy.
He is so clever, at first he spent the night in the kitchen, away from the skunks. In the morning the ferret / skunk toilets would sometimes be soaking wet and I thought maybe Pontus used it. Then one afternoon I watched on in amazement as Logan went onto a skunk toilet in the living room, and peed. He has done this a few times now, especially when it was so stormy and rainy. The other day he even did a pooh on the skunk toilet. How clever is that!
He has grown into that tongue now ;)
Poppy enjoys her new companion, she was a bit scared at first but I now play ball with the dogs on the beach and although Poppy cannot pick up a tennis ball with her mouth, she thoroughly enjoys chasing the ball and Logan. She has this big smile on her face and looks so happy. Logan has given her a new lease of life. :)
Poppy and Logan on the beach :)
End of January I started proper dog classes with Logan, he was assessed and then was getting lessons on his own! Sometimes the trainer brings in her dog to see how Logan reacts. He is much more reactive (barking) when he's on the lead and getting a bit better off the lead now. He is very intelligent, and obedient when it comes to sit and down and leave and stay.
After the 5 weeks obedience course we're now on to agility (as of 18th of March 2013). He is a natural and loves it. :) He is still the only dog in the class but will be put with another (reactive) dog hopefully soon. The dog trainer is really good, as in she hires the church hall and does different classes for hours every night. She does different levels of obedience and agility classes, dog massage and dog grooming etc. Logan has become more obedient and when he is off the leash now and a car comes and I call him, he comes immediately and sits on the verge, he is absolutely good now. It's like he suddenly got it. He loves climbing banks to look over, also slowly getting better with dogs, other animals and people. I hope he will eventually grow out of barking at/ reacting to other dogs. And that he will grow out of pulling washing off the outside washing line. ;)
We have... yet another kitten, sigh. Cat number 4. On Monday the 11th of March 2013, I went to call Boston in at night (I like to have all cats in the house at night) and there was this cat crying badly outside the front door. I thought Boston either has a dead creature or is hurt. Got a torch as crying kitty was not coming in and I saw it was a strange kitty. Of course I went out, kitty was not scared and I could pick him up, I fed him (he was starving) and then he left. Tuesday evening I saw kitty out in the back garden with Pontus, I opened the back door and kitty came running in! I fed him and then cuddled him (he was craving a cuddle as much as he was craving food)- and then I noticed he had a lump on his tummy. I thought a big abscess. But I let him go again, thinking his owners can take care of it. Well, Wednesday night he came in through the cat flap! By then I thought he either got terribly lost, or some genius dumped him. So I confined him and took him to the vets Thursday, alongside Stripey who had a check-up. Michaela thought it was a hernia. She shaved his tummy and it was all bruised. :( So I went all around the village looking for his home but nobody even has cats. What I don't get is that he appears so tame like he belongs somewhere. But maybe he was just dumped. I am getting scared that somebody is dumping animals here, first Pontus appeared out of nowhere, then Blob materialised on our front door step. Maybe I should accept my fate that I will end up as a crazy old cat lady...
Well, after the vet visit, I let Blob go again but he came back so I booked him in for his hernia operation and castration. He was done on the 20th. I confined him for 5 days, he was caged when the cat flap was open, and free roam at all other times. Then I forgot and left the window open while he was free roam and he got out. But he came back and has been kept free since. He has totally moved in and adapted to life here, it's eerie as he fits in too well. Boston and Stripey don't even mind him, and Pontus and Blob are starting to play with one another, they seem to be the same age, like 1 year old in June. Like Logan. Blob loves sleeping and eating all day. :) His looks are stunning. Who would get rid of him or loose him and not go looking for him...
I know he looks like he had a head trauma, too ;)
Since Poppy died, I had been looking for a rescue dog on and off. Part of me was happy just having Logan and I tried to convince myself that one dog was much easier than 2. But I kept looking. I also didn't know whether to get a Staffy (which I *love* but wouldn't have been able to take on holiday with me to Germany because it's a banned breed) or a dog like a Cavalier. I kept looking at local rescue pages, but no suitable dogs came up. Then I googled “rescue dogs west Wales” and found an animal page that had animals for sale and also for adoption. This is where I found Lacey. An abused and very frightened Shih-Tzu/ Bichon mix. We visited her (she was in a foster home) and also visited the dog rescue (she hadn't been featured on the rescue's web page...) to talk about what it is like to adopt such a scared girl. I felt confident though so we applied for her and waited for a home check. Linda White, the rescue lady, said that she was coming to do the home check which she did on New Year's Eve. I said to Lacey's foster parents I would really like her to come on New Years Day so they came and brought some food for her, treats, cuddly toys, a harness. Lacey seems happy enough here. She was immediately interested in her new environment, mastered the cat flap, loves the garden and looks very content. But she is very shy and still scared of us. I'm sure she will come round very soon. :) She is so much better than I had anticipated, the foster parents had done a good job, we saw her 2 weeks before we got her and she was so much worse then. But Logan is also so much better than I had anticipated, reacted a little to her but is 100% okay now and didn't react badly at all. But the cats were scared of Lacey although they had absolutely no reason to be scared. Pontus had a hissy fit every time he saw her, Blob was scared but was soon okay, Boston was more or less okay. Even Stripey was suspicious of her. I think after Logan the cats do not trust dogs entering our house, they probably think it's downhill from now on as Logan was so boisterous and they expect the same or worse in any other dogs we get. ;) But all the cats are fine now, a week of Lacey being here and they were all okay. Lacey has actually bonded with Stripey and cuddles up to him a lot. :) I think a breed like Lacey is pretty safe with cats and other animals, I would have been worried with a rescue Staffy, especially with Sparky.
I decided to get into dog foster. There's a dog rescue called West Wales Poundies and they rely on foster homes to get dogs out of the pound, they mainly get staffies in and I really wanted to foster a staffy. So in July 2015 they were desperate for foster homes so I said I would like to foster. We went to meet a staffy but she was boisterous with Lacey so I didn't feel confident. I was scared that if Lacey cries that the staffy girl might go into attack mode. So the kennel lady said they were getting a toy poodle in the next day and she could go straight into foster because she needed building up before being spayed. That was Sunday the 26th they got her in and the next day was my birthday so I couldn't fetch her but we got her a day later on the 28th. And she is adorable! Pete has fallen in love with her and I admit I am very fond of her. She is a girl with attitude, she has no idea that she is a tiny dog and is not scared of bigger dogs. She loves us and loves to cuddle, loves walking, plays with Logan and Lacey, and because she is all over us, Lacey has lost much of her fear towards us. The three of them get on so well and this is just lovely to see. I told Pete if he wanted to have her, he would need to apply for her which he did in August. Thing is a lady, who is also interested in Pippa, came to visit to meet her and has already filled out an adoption form so I feel bad that Pete (and I) applied for her, too, but she does fit in with our gang so well and we have grown fond of her so I guess why should we not apply, too. We did say not to worry if she goes somewhere else but that we thought we would try anyway.
Pippa came in with an itchy skin condition, the pound had already taken her to the vets, skin scraping was negative for mites so she had been put on antibiotics and a special anti-everything wash (Malaseb) and had Advocate, too. When she got here she was very itchy, then the itching got better, only to get much worse again beginning of August. So I had to take her to the vets that the rescue uses, a 3 hour, 80 mile round trip. She was put on the same wash again and low dose steroids. I have to wash her every 2 days now and bring her back for another check-up. The itching has got much much better after just one or two days of treatment. So this intensive care makes it even harder to let her go. But I will be okay with whatever happens.
Pippa when she arrived :(
By around October, we knew we were keeping Pippa. Apparently foster parents have the first choice with West Wales Poundies and if they want to keep their foster dog, they can. I just felt really bad for the lady who wanted her, too...
Pippa has luxating patellas and 2 vets said that she needed to have operations. My vet said she would need about 6 weeks crate rest after each knee operation! Yet Pippa always ran around like nothing was wrong. She hardly ever carried her leg and if she did it was only briefly. She races over uneven ground so I struggled with making her go through 2 operations and crate rest. Then a neighbour told me that her vets usually don't operate on such little dogs because they are lighter, there's not as much weight on the knees. So with this information and the fact that Pippa was perfectly active, I decided against the op. My vet said that she could get arthritis in her knees but Poppy had luxating patellas for a while and never developed arthritis in her knees. But in her elbows instead...
Pippa May 2016
Pippa July 2016
As far as her skin condition goes, in the beginning she was washed with Malaseb a lot. She also went on a short course of prednisolone. She grew back her coat but her coat went greasy quickly and she would smell really bad. At some point I cut out grains from her diet and her skin and coat got much better, hardly any washing. At the moment I have even cut out poultry from her diet. Her coat doesn't get greasy, no smell, but she still has scabs on her chest above her front legs. Doesn't seem to be bothering her at all but I think I will take her to the vets.
Pippa Boxing Day 2016
We got another cat. Middle of October a new cat started visiting the garden. I thought it belonged to neighbours who had recently moved 2 houses down the road. The cat was very shy and would run off as soon as it saw us. But then he hung out in the garden more and more and because I am a sucker I took some food out one day. He was really hungry. :( After eating he turned into the most cuddly, sweet, loving cat imaginable, like really craving attention and love. He soon moved into our garage, he was not happy in the house so we made a bed up in the garage and put food and water in there. He has been in the house at night most nights recently and has got used to it a little. I have brought him in not long ago now and he is settled on the dining table (or should I say cat dining table, sigh). For some reason our cats don't like him. :( But they mostly get on.
I took Crackles to the vets to have him sexed and he is a neutered tom. I put notices up on FB and my vets put him on their page, but nobody claimed him. He wasn't reported missing or anything. I mean who neuters a cat and then abandons him?
Crackles has made himself at home. Considering a few months ago he *hated* being indoors. Twice he cleared the orchids off the front window sill at night, trying to get out the closed window, then we put a board across the window sill to keep him off it, then we eventually forgot to put the board up but all was good anyway. So he got used to being indoors at night and being let out in the morning. Then he started turning up during the day and even staying in, now he comes onto the back window sill to be let in and even comes in through the cat flap. The boys are still a bit stroppy with one another but getting used to the new situation.
Crackles is sooo sweet though! Irresistible. When I stand in front of him he will stand up against me and put his paws on or around me, when I walk past he rolls on his back and stretches so I can stroke his tummy. So very loving. I hope the cats will all be best buddies soon...