Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Kitty Stitches!

So... I have been busy! I have been busy sewing. Lots of cat related things, and Christmas things and they are all up for sale...

Please pop along to peek, admire or even buy, that would be lovely!

Sofia has been gone a month. We miss her, it seems odd to be only (!) six- two humans and four mogs.  Ava is spending less time alone in quiet corners, and Indigo has stopped pulling her fur out; they grieve and need to adjust to the loss in their own ways. Both Tonks are getting hefty post spay, so the next thing will be The Diet.... food on order, a complicated proceeding with my lot and their different food needs.

I hope you are all well :) B x

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Goodbye Sofia

Today we said goodbye to Sofia.

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Sofia and her sister Ava came to live with us in 2008, at seven weeks old. I had wanted to rescue an older cat, but, disqualified by location I started looking for kittens. I'd decided on a black girl 'and a sister' and there they were, the two girls from a litter of five, one well grown, big eyed grey tabby and her scrawny, runty, lastborn black sister. In fact she was so scrawny, her first family had named her 'Batman'. Over time her sister became lanky and waif like, and Sofia became big and solid and muscular, and then later still, decidedly rotund.

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She was a 'proper cat', wanting attention only at times and on her terms, not so keen on laps and being held, but loved a tummy rub and a fuss. Loved being brushed. One of her favourite places to hang out was the sink, and when I was in the bath she enjoyed having me 'groom' her with a wet hand. She had a long standing antagonistic relationship with Indigo, from which both appeared to derive much satisfaction. Sofia wouldn't stand for the Tonks picking on quiet, shy Ava either, rushing in with the most unladylike of language. Sofia was fussy about her food, growing stout on a strict diet of lots of kibble and the occasional cheese and chicken Dreamie.

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Ava and Sofia were both quite independent cats, despite being littermates, but occasionally cold weather would prompt a snuggle. More often though you might find them on separate ends of the same bed, together, comfortable in each other's company, but not on top of each other. A different bond than the Tonks', but no less strong. Theo is no respecter of personal space, and would often flump down on Sofia, but she would quickly detach herself and move a half metre or so away, tail swishing at his impertinence.

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Despite her runty beginnings, Sofia was hardly ever off colour, had perfect teeth and was strong and robust, so it was a great surprise for her to become ill. She developed a fast growing lump on her lip, and in the few days between ringing the vet and going in for an appointment it became apparent she had a swollen gland as well. Her sister had had a couple of bouts of 'rodent' ulcers in her youth, so we crossed our fingers and hoped for the best, but the testing showed an aggressive cancer in both sites, with a very poor prognosis.

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The site on the lip was situated ideally, in that it was able to be completely removed, giving her a new lease of life. The lymph tumour, although massive and inoperable, never seemed to give her any discomfort until right at the end. Even yesterday she was busy doing her Sofia things with much enjoyment. But she was losing ground, having trouble eating, and on Monday night for the first time winced and pulled away as I petted her on the tumour side. She was given two months. She gave us four, a long and unexpected summer. She'd done enough.

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Goodbye darling. Thank you.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Still Going Strong

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We're well into borrowed time, now, and Sofia is doing marvellously. Bright eyes, glossy coat, her usual nosey, chirpy self.

I don't want to give anyone false hope. Sofie has an incurable cancer which could end her life any day now, and we are not pursuing any kind of treatment plan for her. It won't be long. There's a few symptoms starting up now that signal a progression in her illness- slight loss of weight, slight awkwardness bending down to eat. I've ordered raised dishes from Amazon (which should have arrived by now, grr!) which should ease things a bit. But for now, she's enjoying a life of much love, play and treats several times a day and, as far as I can tell, not in significant discomfort.

The issue I have now, is knowing when will be the right time to say goodbye. Sofia and Ava were my first cats, and Sofia is the first to go. I've brought lots of kittens into the world, and several haven't made it, but this is the first time I've had to choose when to say goodbye to an older cat. People tell me I'll know, but... and yes, I know we had Polly-kitten, and later on Paisley and Tattersall from Lucy's litter, but in all three cases it was obvious the kittens couldn't possibly have lived, and were almost certainly suffering.  Euthanasia, and as soon as possible, was the only humane option. But for Sofia?  She's enjoying life right now. I don't want to deprive her of her remaining good days, but I hope I realise it at the point when things change.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

An update

What a long time it has been since I last posted!

2015 has been a vile year. I've come to blog so many times, but found that actually I had nothing to say. Yup, me, who could blog every day and not run out of things to witter on about.

Early in January, I had the news that an Indikon cat from the first litter had been diagnosed with, and subsequently passed away from, Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy. Dear Jacob- little Wendell- so sparky and full of life. His Mum, and brother Jonah (Indikon Monty) have felt the loss very deeply and I'm sure will do for some time.

You may recall that another kitten from the litter, Kensey, passed away last year from the same condition. That makes two from the same litter and the possibility- for there is no data or tests for this condition in the Tonkinese- that it could be something heritable. I have been able to contact most of my families from over the years to discuss this and fortunately the issue, if it is an inherited thing, seems to be confined to the one litter as far as we can tell at present.

Needless to say, though, I have had both Indigo and Lucy neutered and my line is finished. Indigo was sedated and scanned, which to my relief showed no evidence of HCM in her at present. I haven't the heart to start breeding again,  although I hasten to add I will always be available to Indikon families for help and advice, or just updates. I love to receive them as you know.

Around the same time, we lost Lucy's kittens of course. These things happen when breeding, and to an extent one must be pragmatic about it, but it was very distressing all round. The birth, the aftermath, Lucy's grief... all absolutely horrid. Lucy, I may add, is completely back to health now and very happy being the pampered 'baby' of the household!

And now? Well troubles always come in threes, they say, and this was another bad one; our beautiful Sofia was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer.

We don't know how long she has left, maybe days, maybe weeks, maybe even months, but it isn't treatable. Or rather, the likelihood of it being treatable is very low even with extremely aggressive treatment and I won't put her through that. She's had one lump removed, a painful and unsightly tumour on her lip, but by that stage it was already too late and a second mass was rapidly growing on her neck. The neck tumour does not appear to be painful, and although Sofia is sleepier than usual, she seems to be enjoying life in her usual manner. But it can't be long. 'Maybe two months' said the vet, and that was nearly two months ago so really we're on borrowed time now.

So yes. 2015. Really it hasn't been pleasant at all. With everything there are bright spots and things to look forward to though. A friend's much longed for baby on the way. Lots of craft projects planned- I've learned to use a sewing machine and taken up quilting, of all things! And I've now done my exams and an 'off' till September. This means I have a lot of free time to spend with the cats, and in particular Sofia. Which is just what I want to do at this time. I'm very lucky really :)

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Quick update

No new photos but just to let you know how the kittens are doing...

Miranda and Nicholas went home on Friday. They were shy and scared for most of the afternoon, but by the next day had decided they were home and investigating all the nooks and crannies and- ah- the vertical properties of the curtains, apparently. Sorry about that S and B! They are going to be called Maya and Mingus.

Ariadne went next, all the way to the top of Norfolk! She has four big sister kitties who she will be meeting over the course of the next days and weeks, for now her Mum reports she's having lots of cuddles as she's feeling a bit scared with all the strange noises and smells. She's bonding well to her new humans though which is fab, and I think they are planning on keeping the name Ariadne (Ari)

Michael went home too, he's going to be called Reber after the German brand of chocolate. His new Mum brought me some Reber Mozarts, which.... well let's say if they were readily available here I would be several stone heavier!! Reber has already become buddies with his new brother Tonk, Barny Doofus, who I am told is practically quivering with joy at his new buddy, and his sisters (also Tonks) are also getting used to an interloper in the house albeit rather more slowly.

Leo and Desmond are with us till next week which is lovely as I've been sorely in need of kitten cuddles this week, both boys have been happy to oblige! I've let them into the main house increasingly because they have needed more space,  so they now have a few hours out of the kitten room in the morning and again in the evening. It's working well.

Lucy is recovering well from her spay, it will be Indigo's turn at the end of the week

Thursday, 29 January 2015


Some sad news, I am afraid. Lucy delivered six-seven kittens over the course of the day, the last ones with the help of the vet. It was touch and go as to whether she would need an emergency spay but the second lot of oxytocin did the job. Even then we decided not to wait till Monday for the spay and she will be going in tomorrow.

Two of them fought awfully hard to live, poor little mites... what looked like a brown solid boy and a blue tortie girl. Absolutely beautiful.

We are, obviously, very upset. Lucy's kittens were to be our last litter for reasons I will no doubt share at a later date, but it seems it was not meant to be.

Collection of our Halloweens starts this weekend, so there are happier goodbyes to be made, and after that I'll be taking a break from blogging for a while.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Leo gets his charm on

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Aww, Leopold. He's very photogenic! Such a winsome little face, and he often holds still for photos, unlike certain siblings I could mention (*coughmichael* *coughariadne*) I do think, now, that I've made a mistake in registering him as BCR, his body has lightened considerably while his points have gone darker, there's now quite a contrast between the point and base colour. You can see it especially on the paws. My definite BCR's don't have anything like that contrast.

Tonks are so difficult!!! Ah well, registrations can be changed. We'll wait to see what he is like as a mature cat and then have a rethink, if his Mum and Dad are bothered.

There was no post yesterday because my car broke down! Ugh, we had to be towed, in the dark and rain in rush hour traffic! I HATE being towed and by the time we had walked back from the garage I was fit for nothing! Ugh ugh ugh. I was met by a noisy little group who lost no time in telling me they were LATE FOR OUR TEA LADY WE IS HUNGRY!!! despite having lots of kibble down. Spoiled little monkeys! Ah well, I will give them lots of fuss today to make up :)

Some people have asked me what food/ litter/ etc I have used for the kittens. Food wise, I like to use a good kibble, a premium wet food and a more readily available (supermarket) wet food, so this time we have used James Wellbeloved kitten fish kibble, Grau kitten food and Whiskas kitten sachets, all varieties, and there will be samples of these in the kitten packs. They also have treats aka bribes (lol) which will be in the packs too. With the food, stick with what I give you for a few days while they settle in and then you can start changing it over to what you want them to eat, ultimately. Do this over several days- first day 1/4 new stuff to 3/4 old, day after half and half, the following day 3/4 new to 1/4 old, this should avoid any wobbly tums although occasionally the stress of the move can upset them slightly. I would say put down about 50g of wet food per kitten at each sitting, so that's half a sachet or half/ quarter of a tin of Grau depending on which size tin I give you in the packs. The rest will keep in the fridge until the next meal.

Litter wise, again I use several varieties for the same reason, don't want to kittens to get too fussy! So we have used Sanicat gold clumping(comes in cardboard boxes), Tesco premium clumping litter (which comes in a handy plastic bottle, easy to pour!) and all varieties of the Pets At Home premium range- ultra is my favourite, I don't like the scent of the scented one but it does the job, and the antibacterial is also good. These come in plastic pouches. I tend to go for the expensive varieties because of the sheer traffic my litter boxes have to deal with, I find the cheaper ones just don't cope, but you can experiment with other ranges. The kittens have all been into the adult litter boxes (silica) but I haven't seen any evidence they have used them so I would stick to clay clumping at first.

When you get the kitten(s) home, I would put them into the litter box straight from the carrier. They won't use it at first, but they will then know where it is and orient themselves from there. I never quite relax until they have had something to eat and 'gone'- they don't do either unless they are reasonably settled- so do let me know when these things have happened!

Right, off to get some more cuddles in while I can. The weekend is fast approaching... what am I going to do??