Still no answers

The veterinary called me this morning, and – they still do not know what the x-ray show. The radiologist could not exclude metastases on the lungs, but could not tell that they are that for sure either, so we will go to CT, computed tomography exam. They should call me from the animal clinic tomorrow to book a time for that hopefully on Monday.

If Jossan has metastases, we will not operate. If she does not, we will.

That sounds so simple. It is really a simple decision to make when we know the answers, but it is not easy. It is hard on our hearts.

It takes so much time, all the exams, we are in the limbo. But she does not know, she is fine. ❤

We wait

We don’t know more after the x-ray today. The veterinary was not sure if what she sees is blood vessels, age-related normal changes, or – metastases. Uh!!! I asked her to compare it with the x-ray they took last year in August at the same clinic when the radiologist said no metastases were visible. The veterinary checked it and still was not sure. She said we must ask the radiologist, but the radiologist is not there every day of the week, so we will have to wait…. for a week. Maybe less.

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Joakim and I held Jossan in the x-ray room. She is cool and comfortable in new environments. And curious. 🙂

I sent a FB message to Jossan’s oncologist Patricio and the vet said she will also mail him the pics promptly, but still, the best expert is the radiologist. Patricio answered fast, sent us his hugs, and said we wait for the radiologist. He thought it is probably age related changes, but still, the radiologist is the ultimate expert. We wait.
We need to remove the growths asap, if the lungs are clean. We will be able to get “fast track” operation, if the answer is that the lungs do not have visible metastases. Now we wait. Uh.
In my heart I feel it is not metastases they see, but it is just a feeling, or my wishes. If I could heal her with sheer willpower, I would. But we wait for a week and see what happens.

That tiny little bad thing

Jossan’s teeth extraction was a walk in the park. She will be happier now without the last bits of inflammation in her mouth.

After her operation last year (after we discovered that the cancer was back and the new growths were removed), I felt a tiny little hard lump where one of the tumors was removed directly after the swelling went down; in one arm hole, next to the rib cage. It was actually the only of the places where the pathologist said in his rapport that not all of the cancer cells seemed to be removed and the risk of metastases from there or local recurrence existed.

So I followed it and also the vet checked it out, but her teeth were more urgent to fix. Also, it did not seem to grow, that little thing. But I have checked it regularly. It could have been a scar tissue, or not.

Now I am sure that the lump is growing. I messaged Jossan’s oncologist this morning. He moved to another city, but is kind and said I can call him or PM him via Facebook about my baby whenever. ❤ That is a veterinary that really cares about his patients!

I just know it is a recurrence. It is that place, same feeling like the ones removed, tough still smaller than the ones removed before.
Since Jossan is feeling super top great, the plan is to x-ray her and then if there are no metastases to the lungs, operate and remove the growth, in order to minimize the risk for spreading. She will be continually on her COX-2 inhibitor medicine to slow down the cancer also. It would be a tiny cut and operation, maybe 1-2 cm long, not deep at all, the lumps (I think it is one, maybe two, one like a couple of mm in length, the bigger one maybe like max 7 mm in diameter) are directly under her skin, and she will have a fast recovery time.

Me and Jossan at one of our veterinary visits.

During the course of Jossan’s cancer, there was never any doubt in my mind what is the right thing to do. Jossan has such a lust for life and feels good, and her blood values are great. We will do anything in our power that veterinaries think is worth doing to help her live as good life and as long life as possible. I have a special connection with her and love her so much. And I would do that for any of my cats.

We got the time for x-ray in two days, on Wednesday afternoon. Hope there are no metastases yet, I hope so much.

 

Lazy Sunday

A lazy Sunday afternoon, I am reading on the sofa, Jossan is under the blanket. This night and morning she was also under my blanket in the bed. My ❤

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She is feeling well and we hope for spring to come soon so that we can have walks in the garden together.
Next week on Wednesday, a cat dentist will pull out a tooth that seems to be bothering her (FORL). We got okay for that, since all her recent blood tests are good, the cancer is seemingly under control at the moment, and we of course do not want her to have a toothache! Fingers crossed on Wednesday that all goes well with our Queen.
A cat friend’s Siamese girl, with the same bad type of cancer as Jossan has, was put to sleep 10 days ago. 😥 It has spread and took over her lungs with metastases so she was tired and could not breath without problems. She was operated and was on the same medication as Jossan for a few months, which prolonged her life a bit. But then it could not be stopped anymore. So tragic. My heart goes out to my friend.
I hope we will have much more time with Jossan, but I do not think about that much, we chose not to grieve in advance. We take every day as a gift and are grateful for it. And we live in the present. Like cats do. ❤

Oh, Albert

This evening my adorable Foreign White baby Albert decided to turn to a chocolate smoke Oriental van, after playing with and breaking two of my brown powder shadows.

“Oh, fab, they can fly from the shelf with just a tiny little push of a helpful paw, like da bomb making a BANG when they land!
And see how they glitter after falling into pieces in the bathtub, let me smear that a bit and dance on the shiny pearly miniature stardust…
Oh, my paws, look how lovely and chocolatey they are and my nose, am I not a star?
Oh dear, Mom is coming, I will run like the wind and keep on dancing all over the house, landing in one of the off-white sofas, rolling in it back and forth to press all the cacao coloured dust deeper into my once upon a time snow-white fur”.

OH, ALBERT…

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Only in my head

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Leroy, Electra, Jossan and Claire

This is one of my imaginary conversations with our Siamese. Our only non-Siamese cat Maven is running around on the bottom floor.

SIAMESE: “We think we heard a ghost! 😨 Or Bigfoot! Or, was it – Maven!?”
J: “Occam’s razor, kitties. Occam’s razor… Think!”

***the sound of the Siamese thinking***

J: “So, who were you most likely to hear?”
SIAMESE: “Hmmm – Occam?”

J: “No! You should USE Occam’s razor – the simpler explanation is usually the most likely one. So – who did you hear?”
SIAMESE: “Aha! Bigfoot!!! We most likely heard Bigfoot.”

Jossan and Claire playing

We are longing for spring, and in the meantime, enjoying the cosy life inside. Jossan is feeling great, playing, eating, cuddling and being happy. Here a video of her and Claire “hunting” each other this morning. 🙂

Happy New Year!

We wish you all Happy New 2017! Much health to you and your dear ones, and peace. ❤

We celebrated Jossan’s and Miii’s ninth birthday on 27th of December, and we are grateful for Jossan’s good heath now and that our cats are with us.

Here is a card I made this year (the colours of some of the cats are not from our fur babies, but from a cats that belong to a friend of mine). 201612merryxmas1a1Also, here are two videos of our Leroy. The first one shows how clever he is when solving a puzzle level A for dogs (he can solve almost anything, that cat!)

And one video of Leroy kneading the blanket. Happy New Year and many hugs from us!

 

Merry Christmas!

In Sweden we (who celebrate Christmas) exchange presents on Christmas Eve. We celebrated Christmas this year at our home with Jocke’s mom. We bought presents for cats this year also (they get presents all the time, but I got them some for Christmas now too).

2016 has been a tough year, with struggle against Jossan’s cancer, failed pregnancy for Claire, phantom pregnancies for Electra and Funtes that is not eager to mate the girls (but it is getting better, he is maturing. The slowest maturing Siamese ever…).
I feel still deep sorrow and grief after LillMupp, I cannot and do not want to talk about that really. It’s been a year after we lost him, just before Christmas. It hurts.

It was a very successful year for Leroy on the cat shows and the health on our fur babies is mostly well now. Jossan is getting medicine against her cancer (a non-steroid anti inflammatory) and feels great. Her sister Miii is overweight and it is a struggle to get her down in weight. It started with special food good against cancer for Jossan that everyone also eats and Miii really liked and ate a lot… and skyrocketed in weight incredibly fast. 😦 So now we have to be clever and juggle feeding schedules and help Miii get back to her normal weight again.

We had a happy Christmas Eve this evening. Many things in our lives and the world around us are not great, but many are; we celebrate that and wish for better future for all the living beings who go through hard times now.

Our fur babies liked the presents. They got a catnip filled Yeeeww banana toy (they are crazy about those), and one easier and one harder puzzle (they get candy if they do the right thing or two-three things in a row). Leroy solved the easy one immediately.

Claire solved the harder one.

I can recommend http://www.nina-ottosson.com/ for puzzles (this is not an ad, I do not know Nina, but our cats enjoy the puzzles she makes).

Funtes did not care about puzzles much. He cuddled here and there and here again until he fell asleep in the middle of cuddling. 🙂 A love bug! The biggest baby in our mini lions pride.
We wish you a merry Christmas!

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Me and my love Jossan on our card this year (Jocke took the picture).

Leroy turns 10

Today we are celebrating Leroy turning 10 years old! It is hard to believe that our little baby is 10 years old already, feels like yesterday we got him home to Stockholm, from Forshaga, Joakim driving through icy dark landscapes, me holding 12 weeks old Leroy in my lap on the backseat (he yelled and cried in the cage, but the moment I let him come out and sit in my lap he calmed down).

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10 years and many memories. He was always there for us, to help bring up the kittens, to console us when sick or sad, to play with us, our visitors, grown ups and small ones, check and patrol our home. Leroy is the best Siamese ever.

Last week they removed 4 of his teeth (back ones, upper jaw). He had FORL in one of them, the other ones ached. Now we hope he will have no pain at all there! Our veterinary ran a complete health check on him recently, all is perfect, including kidneys. We hope for many more years with our precious Leroy!!!

About our other fur babies – so far so good with Jossan, no new tumours we could feel, we were at the control 9 days ago, seemingly all is okay. We do not know how and when it will go from here, but we are enjoying her being her with us and feeling great.

No kittens for us this year – Electra had a phantom pregnancy. 😦 We hope for better luck next year.

In November?

Life is full of surprises. We were focused on my darling Jossan and did not expect much from our (slow to become an adult, an eternal junior 🙂 ) boy Funtes.

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Funtes, summer 2016

Yes, both Electra and Claire were in heat (with 2 weeks apart, Electra first) and they both were given privacy with Funtes, but we did not notice a single mating. Well, maybe he prefers to date while his humans are at work.

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Electra, October 2016

Electra, Jossan’s daughter from her last litter, seems to be pregnant. I do not know for sure if it is a phantom pregnancy or a real one, but she should be about 5 weeks pregnant now, and went up about 350-400gr, so this could be for real! In that case, we will expect kittens between Funtes and Electra in the middle of November!

Jossan is perfectly well now on the outside, I am spoiling her to bits. Breakfast in bed and all she wants. She is tolerating her Metacam well, no side effects. I hope it works and that she will be around for many years to come.

We checked Leroy, Albert and Maven’s blood values recently. They also passed their yearly physical exam. They are well, and have no signs of arthritis or kidney failure or something bad. Good! Here are Leroy’s blood chemistry results, Albert and Maven hade similar values. Leroy is ground for our breeding, so I am happy that he is going strong, still. He is turning 10 this December.

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Miii was tested earlier this summer, also all well, but she is a bit overweight and we are struggling with that.

Not what we hoped for

Last Friday we got back the results from Jossan’s operation, and it was very bad. All three small tumours they removed were malign, two seemed to be removed in total, one not. And that one was in lymph nodes, which means that the cancer has metastasised. The tumor was very fast growing, also.

I felt completely shattered. It was Friday morning and I headed back to work after meeting the oncologist, Patricio Rivera, and getting the bad news, Jocke took Jossan back home. She was just happy and as usual.

She has no symptoms, since the cancer did not spread yet to her lungs or inner organs (well, not according to the recent x-ray, anyway). When it spreads there and grows, when she gets symptoms maybe like coughing and being tired and not her usual self, that when it starts getting bad, and that is when I will have to let her go, before she starts to suffer. Not now. But my baby will never suffer. I own her that final grace. But I will not think about that now. We will get her regular checkups to see how it progresses and hope for the best.

My working day was not great, I cried and worked, cried and worked. I was so sad. We did not get or asked for any prognoses, since no one can tell really what will happen now. She will not get chemo, since there is no chemo that can preserve her good life quality, and cure her. Only maybe prolong her life a little, but worsen life quality. Still, she will get this COX2 inhibitor, an anti-inflammatory medicine, Metacam, which is good for her, and can stop or slow down the progress of cancer. She will also get special food for cancer patients – a lot of fat and good protein, minimal carbs. One of the dry food that are best in that composition is Royal Canin Intestinal, according to Patricio, we got her that. I’ve also ordered wet food of same kind, and she also eats Bozita and Sheba chicken file and egg yolk at times. We will not give carbs to the cancer!!!

(Yes, she gets food served in bed. Leroy is helping her)

I woke up very late at Saturday, but I was not as sad anymore, I was determined to spend this time we have left together the best we can. Jossan is my big love. We may have weeks or months or years left together, I do not know. No one knows. And you actually never know for anyone how much you have left. We live now, in present and I am happy to have her in my life. I love her so much. ❤

Jossan, a year after

My love Jossan had a great summer, she was healthy and happy and got to go out in our garden, lie in the sun, crawl through the bushes and eat the grass and hunt the flies.

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Jossan outside in our garden, summer 2016

If you remember, we have discovered Jossan’s mammary cancer about a year ago and she underwent a total mastectomy after that. After complications related to the cut not healing well, we have changed the clinic, they revised the cut, got out the material that was irritating her and she healed fast and well after that. All was a total happiness again.

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Jossan, summer 2016

Just about a month ago, her blood values were checked, she was X-rayed and she was considered to be in a remission with no signs of cancer. And then, not even two weeks after the happy news about her being seemingly cancer-free, I was cuddling with her on the sofa before going to sleep, when I felt a little lump in her right front armpit. And one even smaller next to the first one, and one more… there were three of them and they were like a pea, and half a pea and a peppercorn. And so I started getting cold chills and soon a full blown panic attack.

It was back, or we missed it, or it was a microscopic, and grew. Jossan looked at me with her pretty loving eyes wondering why am I worrying. They always feel what we feel.

I called and booked a time at the new clinic the first time next morning. We met a veterinary, and got booked an appointment with an oncologist, for a counseling and deciding what to do.

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Jossan and her daughter Electra, summer 2016

I broke in tears at the oncologist. He was very nice and emphatic, but I was not prepared to talk about feelings and perception of life there. I am tough, I think, when we talk about medicines, studies, possible treatments. Facts and possibilities I can talk about easily, relatively disconnecting my emotions, but I cannot, without being prepared, talk about my love for my cat and what life means for her and how she sees it and why we feel and do the things we do.

Joakim could not join us for our appointment, but we have already talked before about the money issue and other things and decided that we will do whatever it takes, if we can save her, without her suffering (a few days in stitches is fine, that she would forget, and we two are close then, she sleeps on me all the time and cuddles, and that closeness is also good). We will pay for it however much it costs (will probably go over the max sum what insurance covers).

The talk to the oncologist went well, besides that part with me crying a bit (while Jossan was happily jumping around and exploring the oncologist’s office). We have decided to remove what I discovered, look for more and remove what more is found, too, during the surgery. Since she was x-rayed and examined very recently, we knew that the cancer did not spread (visibly at least) yet, so we still could hope for the best after this operation. I am a firm believer in surgery against cancer, that if possible, it is the best treatment. We’ve met before, cancer and my close family, both human and pets (a dog), where surgeries were successful and the cancer was gone after them, for good; in one case after only one operation, in another after an extra surgery. Jossan will also receive Metacam, half a dose, every day, for the rest of her life; it is an anti inflammatory medicine that can inhibit some of the tumor cells.

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My ❤ Jossan

Jossan was operated this morning and the veterinary has called me recently; she is well and the operation went well. they took out those three lumps I found and checked her in detail for more; they found two more 1-3mm big and removed them; one in the middle of her abdomen, another close to the back leg. She has only small cuts and very few stitches. So now I am almost crying from relief that she woke up and she feels well. I cannot wait to see her in a few hours. My heart. ❤

No kittens (this time), but 4 newly scanned perfect hearts.

For a breeder without a litter in 2,5 years, I have a very intense and turbulent life. That is because I am a cat Mom, and because breeding is not just about putting two unaltered cats of opposite sex into same room and getting kittens out of that rendezvous 9 weeks later…

Bad, very bad news first – Claire had no kittens this time. 😥
She went down in weight after 7 weeks of pregnancy, little by little, but still carried what turned out to be empty amniotic sacs to the term. Sleepless nights before we knew she has no kittens in, her started bleeding a bit, urgent visits to veterinary clinics, worries and tears. Claire is a tough cookie, she already started resorbing the stuff in her uterus. No signs of infection or inflammation. She got a medicin (Alizine)e to help her expel the contents and they sampled the fluid coming out. We will take her to a new ultrasound exam now on Monday, see if all got out, and in 10 days we will see a specialist in gynaecology/fertility for cats to discuss why this happened.

Good news – Jossan, Electra and Claire got heart scanned by a cardiologist at Albano and all three girls have perfect hearts. ❤ ❤ ❤
I was worried about Claire being scanned, she was there to get another injection of Alizin only, and had her heart scan booked in 2 weeks, but the veterinary thought she was well enough and that her condition would not influence her heart scan, so they scanned her as well as her mom and half sister.

And the best news 🙂 ❤ 🙂 – Funtes has a healthy heart, and is absolutely approved for breeding!
We went to see a cardiology specialist today (previously Funtes was scanned by a consultant within cardiology, whom I guess is good, but matters of heart are difficult, in every sense, and in Funtes case we needed what we were told by some of the other breeders was one of the best teams in Sweden. Ultuna cardiologist team).

Ultuna was informed about the previous scan and what I was told.
Well, it turned out that what Funtes has, is not an aberration or thickening, it is something called a ‘false tendon’! (I must admit I’ve never heard of the term before). It is some kind of fibrous tissue/bands and is an anatomic variation, not a pathology.

Other thing that was noticed on the first scan – turbulence on Doppler when Funtes yelled and struggled (poor him hates to be held by force, it was much easier to scan the girls, they just were lying calmly, protesting very little) were not considered a pathology by the expert today, it was normal “bubbling” that Doppler showed. All the measured parameters fall within limits for a normal, healthy heart! He was absolutely approved for breeding and his heart was declared healthy today!

We are very happy. First and foremost because his heart is perfect (which in a way we never doubted), and then because I got so much support and good advice after being open and writing about Funtes on Facebook also, which prompted my breeder colleagues and friends to give me good advice and pushed me to look for a second opinion, which led us to where we are today.

Openness puts us out there with all the bad but also good things that come back to you.
I am grateful and believe that if we ask for help when confused and sad, we will get help and ultimately together we will do the best for our cats and the whole race we work with.

It was the same with TF, I got helped the most, by absolutely by far the most by people that had read this blog and mailed me. I am grateful to them forever.

So that is a lot lately – our expectation of kittens led us to a heartbreak for Claire and the loss, the girls hearts are scanned, and Funtes is back to being perfect hearted and kicking. 🙂 So much to take in, so much!

Next station – checking why this happened to Claire and trying to fix it if possible, and then attempting to mate Claire (if she is ok) and Funtes and Funtes and Electra.

Hug cats. Sleep. Try to enjoy the other half of my vacation. I love my cats. So much.

Funtes heart scan

I am grateful for having amazing Siamese cats in my life, they made it so much better.
But I never thought that I will experience so much heartache as a breeder and owner.

Me and my husband always wanted to own and breed healthy cats. Which breeder doesn’t?

I deeply believed that Siamese and Orientals are a healthy race. And it is and it should be. But we have to do more. How much do we check? Can we possibly check for all? No. Only for the things we know may be an issue.

I tested for PRA, as soon as knowledge about it become available, before it was obligatory. I was lucky that my cats and kittens I bred did not have double set of faulty chromosomes and would never get blind. I tested liver, kidneys, viruses. All I knew or heard could go wrong or was recommended.

Years ago I’ve only heard remotely about TF (tritrichomonas foetus) and giardia (it always happened to someone else, you know, in some other country…) when we got TF! I was open with our struggles here on my blog and, while I had support from the most, I’ve actually also had potential buyers saying – oh, great you are open, I appreciate that, but then they went to buy kittens from people who had TF in their catteries, gave it to others while knowing that they might, sold the kittens with TF  and did not care to say that!

Our kitten buyers trust us what we say. If we are silent, they still trust us that we sell them healthy cats. They cannot know about all that can be wrong.

Well, that war on TF we won. Got all clear. A new page, clean cattery, healthy cats, my new import, he and all others scanned four-five times for parasites, healthy, no viruses, nothing. Picture perfect.

Last December I had a young cat who died in a total heart failure. Heard only whispers about cats dying, but no – no heart disease in our race. Pretty cats winning the shows; some have TF, some get put to sleep for heart issues, kidneys or something, it is all silenced down. Now you see them, now you don’t.

A fellow Oriental cat owner had her heart broken recently when her cat died from heart failure. Another one got the sister cat from the first one scanned last week – the same, genetic issue. I really hope that the parents, siblings, half siblings etc get scanned.

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I took my Funtes to an ultrasound specialist today, after learning more and more about the heart issues in our race. The issues I did not think were a problem at all. Maybe minor thing, here and there.

And Funtes beautiful heart, sounds amazingly well – picture perfect health, but then, on the screen – just this little thing (I cannot see it, I have no clue how to interpret ultrasound of the heart) – a tiny little thicker tissue, or was it – a thread. Almost nonexistent. No, no stenosis, but it is there! It is there. Almost perfect, but not.

He will never get worse, he will never get sick or unwell, he will never need medicines. He will always be perfectly healthy heart wise. He does not have HCM, or any cardiomyopathy he has a little extra something that will not get worse. That is his diagnose.

But – according to the ultrasound specialist, it is a common thing on Siamese and Oriental, and it is genetic, and it can be worse than in his case. Can I breed on him!? The veterinary was hesitating. No definite no. But no yes either. He would probably not breed on him if he was his cat. It depends on who Funtes is mated with. We talked about how we should scan our race more, breed away the defects! Not be silent about it, raise the awareness!

But we have a litter in Claire’s belly where Funtes is father that is due in 3,5 weeks. I talked to the veterinary and we will take them all to him for a complete heart scan when they are 12 weeks old. You can see already then if they have something or not!

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Funtes and Claire are expecting kittens.

If we are lucky, they will not have anything and if healthy otherwise, can be used in breeding. If not, I hope the little fault is as little as on their father and can be a long lived pets with no influence on their lives.

We should heart scan our breeding Siamese and Orientals. We do not have HCM in our race, it is almost non-existing on Siamese and Orientals, but dilated cardiomyopathy that my fellow Siamese/Oriental owners had on their cats is common, and what Funtes has is common. If one in the litter has something, and we know it, we should scan the siblings, offspring, parents, used in breeding. It should become a practice.

And we should always select on health before type. Ethical breeding – we are responsible for the health of our animals and their offspring. We do not know all, but as soon as we learn about the possible problems, it is unacceptable to just close our eyes.

This on Funtes is no one’s fault! And luckily it will not influence his life or health. But it made me more aware of the possible heart problems in our race.

When you know there is something in the lines, or in your cattery – an infection, a virus, a parasite, a disease and you breed on that without curing the cats, or scanning them and just close your eyes and continue – it becomes your fault.

My sunshine Jossan

Jossan resting last afternoon, grooming herself. My love is well and healthy. Happiness! 🙂

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Also, if all goes well, she will become a grandmother (Claire & Funtes will have kittens), in about 5 weeks. After 2,5 and more years we may have kittens in our home. 🙂 Fingers crossed!

A new test for kidney function

We sometimes organize events or presentations in my cat club (Siameslinjen), and last Saturday we had a guest veterinary Linnéa Brandt who held an excellent presentation on a subject of older cats (on a cell level cats start aging from about 7 years of age, so in a way, all cats older than 7 years are – older cats). One of the leading death causes in older cats (more than one third) is a chronic kidney disease (CKD).

During the presentation I learned about one thing I did not know before – there is a new test available that can help us discover the scary kidney disease earlier than before, during an annual control of our senior furry family members – the IDEXX SDMA blood test.

SDMA typically increases when there is on average a 40% decrease in kidney function. This occurs earlier than creatinine, which doesn’t increase until there is up to 75% loss of kidney function!

We have tested our older cats (most recently Leroy a few months ago, Leroy is 9,5 years old now), and their urea and creatinine were fine, but – they would be fine until 75% of kidney function is already gone! I want to catch this bad condition early, if it is bound to happen, and adjust their diets in time and have them live long and good quality lives! I have mailed one of our veterinaries about the tests, asked if they perform it. I know it is not done readily in Sweden yet, but some veterinaries send it to Idexx laboratory in Germany.

I just wanted to share this with you who may read, to know about this great new test! You may read more here.

Happy Easter

Happy Easter and greetings from us and our cat family!

The spring is almost here (we had some snow last week in Stockholm). All the cats are healthy, and we hope that this year we will have some kittens during the summer. Nothing yet, but we have the plans. That will be so exciting, we did not have kittens since winter 2013/2014.

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Jossan is eating some of the cat grass we grow for our furry friends in the flower pot, and then kindly poses for her yearly ‘cat with an Easter hat’ picture, with a half of one Easter egg-shaped metal candy box acting as a hat.

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Happy Easter!

 

 

Recovery

Yesterday I was so happy I cried.
Jossan has healed and, after months spent in her little body sock, stitches after the cancer operations, infection, complications, depression brought on by the loss of her best friend, she is whole again. Happiness!!!
She is purring and grooming herself her and I am helping (on the pics, she loves to be brushed. Not much hair, but she enjoys it. Leroy is half-napping behind her).

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She is still sleeping curled next to me and is in my lap almost all the time when I sit down at home. My heart is filled with love and I am happy she is well now.

Two weeks later

Last two and a half weeks went both fast and slow, part like a dream, part like a nightmare. At moments it was very painful, sometimes I felt sedated by chemicals produced by my own body. We have capabilities to both hurt and heal.

Our focus shifted from primarily grieving to taking care of Jossan. After her second operation she got complications – a part of her cut would not heal, and close. The infection she got was cured by antibiotics she got, but the edges of the cut healed each for itself, and did not meet here and there.

I feel that she was not sewn that carefully after the operation, the upper part of her chest was sewn so-so; I tried to tighten the knots after a week, and managed with a lot of patience and work. Jossan trusts us 110% and was calm and waited for me to untie and then tie again the problematic knots of her stitches. That helped, the cut healed, but not everywhere. We went to the vet twice again, and they booked a surgery (the third one!) acutely in case the hole does not close, on 30th of December.
The hole did not close, partly because of the too eager nurse who cut of about 1-1,5cm from the thread ends on our second visit, in spite of my objections (“It is plastic, it irritates her skin”, she said.” Yes, but it will get untied”, I said, “there is a reason that surgeons leave them that long!”). She cut them of anyway, and the stitches went off in the evening and Jossan got to have a surgery.

On her revision surgery they trimmed the edges of her skin that did not close and pulled them together and sewed them again. My poor cat got to recover for two weeks longer than we expected at the first place.

The biggest problem in her recovery was not the hole that would not close; it was that she got depressed and would not eat, LillMupp’s death made her very sad, he was closest to her of all the cats. So, I fed her, carried her around on me, lied next to her during the days and nights. She was so sad, we were sad. It all was dark.

Yesterday, finally, the hole (that was not sewed properly again, IMO, and I tightened it, again!), closed and Jossan started eating more and more. I see it finally turning for the better and the future looking brighter.

The good news is also that they did not find any cancer on her other side. The tumour she had there was benign. That and the fact that all was discovered early and removed early, gives her relatively good prognoses, for a cancer type that usually has medium to very poor prognoses.

I hope she will heal fast now, when she started eating on her own (I do not have to feed her for hand all the time anymore) and the cut is closing. The most important is that she got stronger than her sorrow. She is very tough.

I still am very sad and grieving. It will take time to think about it less, but feelings of love and pain and loss will always be there. They will move more to the background with time.

20160106Jossan

Jossan, January 2016, recovering

My ever rational brain figured out one thing while I was half-asleep two nights ago; after LillMupp died, I felt like swimming in dark cold waters under a night sky without stars all the time. That night in my bed my mind understood which is the straw I’ll be grabbing.

My straw was Jossan and her little warm body next to me, in the bed. There is so much beauty in love between her and me, that gives me physical feeling of energy and light and warmth in my heart. I love my husband and my other cats very much, but right then it was Jossan and her loving me, and her needing me and me helping her and loving her and nourishing her back to health that became my straw and the source of love and beauty I felt in my heart again, in the middle of all the sadness and darkness.

Heartbreak

Last Monday we lost our beloved LillMupp (SE*La Voix Dexter), Jossans grandchild, Claire’s only kitten. He was only 2 years old. Joakim and I feel broken.

LillMupp <3

LillMupp ❤

LillMupp had an amazing personality and was very beautiful. All cats loved him and he loved them. He had a happy childhood and was adored and loved whole of his life.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas with LillMupp 2013, 2 years ago

He liked all humans and greeted everyone that came to our house.

LillMupp December 2014

LillMupp, December 2014

LillMupp went down in weight recently, about three weeks ago, or four. He ate and drank water, seemed otherwise ok. We took him to the veterinary, he listened to his heart and lungs, all sounded normal. He ran blood tests and saw signs of an ongoing infection and anaemia. LillMupp was tested negative against the usual FeLV/FIV, viruses, parasites etc and we repeated the tests for viruses there. Negative. Sent in tests for different kinds of bacteria (mycoplasma) to a bigger lab, and gave him medicines immediately as if he had mycoplasma hemofelis (that can give that clinical picture). Ronaxane and also he got Prednisolone. Where could he get that from? He was not exhibited, did not go outside, and no other cats were sick. He did date three otherwise healthy girls, tested for all he was as well. He had no symptoms of anything, but that low weight. He was actually a bit constipated that day, but went on the litterbox just before we went to the vet.

He got better on medications. He went dramatically up in weight and we were happy. The results came back negative for the lab, no mycoplasma of any kind, but it could have been some other bacteria or a virus. The important thing was he was getting up in weight. He played and all. Then last Sunday, a week ago, almost 2 weeks after the first veterinary visit, he started breathing oddly. Why, we wondered. He did not want to eat himself that evening, so I fed him. He liked to eat from my hand, he was brought up as a single kitten and very attached to us.
On Monday morning I did not think he seemed better, so Joakim took him to the vet, acutely. Jossan followed. I thought that they should take a look at her cut after her other surgery, I did not think it looked as it should, too much discharge was coming out of it, but she seemed otherwise fine. I did not go with them, since I was pretty sick with flu or something like that and in bed, could barely speak.

The agony began when Joakim called me and said that they saw some liquid in LillMupp’s abdomen on x-rays. After that he was taken to the ultrasound examination to a cardiologist. And then Joakim called me and said that they can not save LillMupp, that his abdomen is filled with fluid, that his lungs are filled with fluid, that his heart is not working, that he has a both sided heart failure and that even if he was in intensive care for a long time, the chances to save his life were almost non existing, and even if they would succeed, he would never have a good live afterwards, since his heart could not be fixed.

I jumped in the taxi I called and cried my eyes out on the way to the hospital to say farewell to LillMupp The cab driver was trying to be sympathetic and when he understood through my sobbing why I was crying he said – well, you can get another cat. I just cried and cried.

Joakim, Jossan and LillMupp were in a room made for the final farewell. It was pretty dark with electrical candles giving some light. I collected myself and was silent as much as I could before I went in so I would not give more anxiety to LillMupp and Jossan. Talked to a veterinary myself. I could not believe he could not be saved. He could not. I did not want him to suffer. I have an enormous respect for life. When I was small I killed a fly by mistake with my pen and cried for hours, my mom was annoyed, my dad consoled me. A life is precious. And my cats’ lives, I would do anything to save them. There is no money that would be too much for that. But he suffered so much, he was in pain, he could not breath properly, he was purring, to diminish pain, and happy to see me.

We arranged so that his beloved grandmother Jossan would lie next to him and Joakim held his head and kissed him and I held his paws and body and kissed him, and Jossan licked him, and the veterinary gave him sedative and painkiller and we were there in a long hugging and kissing moment for a while.

Then when we were ready, we moved Jossan from there back to her travelling cage, to spare her from the shock or fear or anxiety of the departure to come. Then the veterinary came back in and gave him the final injection that stopped his precious, big, warm, and ill heart. I was not sure when it stopped, he showed no signs of pain, it was just like he fell asleep. Jossan howled in the middle of it all, it was a sound she never made before, it was like a wolf howling at the moon, an ancient, very primitive kind of scream, pulling the strength from the bottom of her abdomen and lungs. We think that is when his soul departed from his body. Joakim was thinking – was it that he stopped breathing, and she reacted to that, what was it. We do not know. Some things we might never understand.

He will be cremated and we will get his ashes home in a few weeks. We will have our pets ashes buried with us one day. I will think more about that later. His ashes will be in the house with us until then.

The veterinary thought that it could be that his heart just got weaker and weaker with time and then he compensated for it until it was too late. Some infection might or might not have contributed to that. Probably not, but it did not matter anymore. He did not have any offspring.

The pain after his death was physical. I would wake up every few hours after I managed to get asleep, with chests burning from pressure and pain. Cried until half of my eyelashes fell of, and I was dehydrated. Tried to find answers online after a day or two, why it hurts so much, what to do, I felt I will never manage to go on. I found one good site that helped me understand that others who love and have lost their pets feel like I do. ‘Pet’… he was a family member! Our cats are our children, our friends. It is a good site, please read here.

I am trying to understand my grief and understand who I am; grief for atheists and theists is the same in pain, but the consolation is different. I am brought up by Christian parents (dad was an atheist as younger), but I thought that I am an atheist – there is no better place and rainbow bridge after death in my world. Sometimes I feel that being an atheist is a form of masochism. And being a theist is lying to yourself.

I am neither. I KNOW that energy cannot be destroyed or made. That is a fact.

LillMupp is still with us, he has just changed his form. He also lives in our memories, in our hearts.

My dad told me once (not to me directly, but about his views. It was before he denounced his atheism and went back to being Christian) – “do not bring flowers to my grave and visit it often after I die. I won’t care. Be nice to me while I am alive”. That was one of those sentences that influenced who I am today. I want to love and be nice to my beloved ones while they are here with me. I love my husband and my cats and try to make the most of it every day. Flowers on the grave are not meaningless though – they are for the living left behind, we have to live with our sorrows and grief. But I do believe that there are things we do not know, and that it all makes some more sense than a big nothingness and oblivion afterwards.

Energy cannot be created or destroyed, but it can be transformed from one form to another. LillMupp will always be with us. My love for him is forever. But his loss hurts so much, I am crying through the whole text I have typed here. I did not want to write about this on my blog before, and I could not. This happened only a few days before Christmas and I did not want to spread the sorrow and pain we feel. I love LillMupp forever.

Jossan’s further recovery

Jossan has recovered after the first surgery without an infection or complications. We just had to keep an extra eye on her not to get out of her protective body. She was a little Houdini, she, as soon as she was off her painkiller that was also a bit sedating, she would somehow take off her body-sock!
This collar did not help a bit:

20151104_090308

The soft collar that Jossan could take off in 3 seconds; rotate, hold with one paw, pull out the head, using her other paw. :/

I had to put on a plastic collar on her, and then one day when I came back from job this is what waited for me:

20151106_211004

“Yes Mom, I took the body off, and the collar is still on!” HOW?! My Houdini!

So, I had to work some from home and take care of Jossan. She was very calm and not trying anything as long as we watched her. Clever lady.

The stitches were removed 2 weeks after the surgery and all was fine, but she still had to be watched for some time. Now she has healed completely. She did go down i weight though, in spite of all the nutritious food. Body takes a lot when healing.

Last Thursday we had an appointment with an animal oncologist in a big animal hospital. We got referred there because Jossan’s veterinary who operated her went on a longer sick leave and we had to get another surgeon and someone to talk to.

It was good to meed an oncologist. She told me that cats can have at the same time different types of cancer. We will see what she has on her other side when it is removed, the next operation is scheduled for 15th of December. Usually the oncologist we met does not recommend to remove all of the mammary glands (different veterinaries think differently), just the one and one more maybe where the tumors were found. Jossan is in a good condition and took the surgery well, which is not always the case, and that is one of the reasons why she does not recommend it – it is a tough surgery with a very long cut.

I will post some pictures of Jossan’s cut. They are taken with my mobile and not very sharp, but you can see the extension of the cut. It is a very long cut. DO NOT LOOK at the pictures if you are sensitive. There is no blood, but bruises and stitches. The pictures are linked here:

Pictures after the surgery

Also, the kind of tumour that they found so far, on the side that is removed is as I knew, not that aggressive, and actually can be kept down with a medication that is anti-inflammatory (Metacam), not a citostatic, if needed, or a new one appears! That is very good news. But we have to see what kind she has on her other side. And we hope that they remove all of it.

I was away from Friday afternoon to Monday afternoon, went to Norway with Leroy and Albert, to a cat exhibition that we booked a long time before we found Jossan’s tumours. That was supposed to be our first exhibition abroad and I thought to try to get one more certificate each and see if the boys can become International Premiers within FIFe. The hotel and trains were booked, and I went there with a friend that had also some rough time with one of her cats and kitten recently. It was our mini-vacation. Joakim took care of our cats at home, and Jossan.

The exhibition went great, above my expectations, many happy moments,and very happy Leroy (he loves cat shows). Yesterday I came back home and to my beloved cat, with her dad and son and all the medals and bows and we cuddled so much, I was happy. In two weeks, we have a new operation before us, and after that some more recovery to do. And then I hope Jossan will be healthy for many more years to come.

Jossan’s results

We have already received the results from the pathologist. To sum it up – it is the least bad kind of bad news.

Jossan has cancer, as we expected, and we seem to have detected it early, as we hoped. It is also not a very aggressive tumor (at this point), and is of type that gives the best prognoses. It also did not seem to have spread to the surrounding lymph nodes.

In about 5 weeks she will undergo another operation where her other chain of mammary glands will be removed. After that we will check her regularly and hope for the best. If we detect another lump somewhere, we’ll take it from there. The aim and hope is that all the bad cells will be removed and that she will live a long and healthy life after that. ❤

I have attached the report if one is interested (click to enlarge).

Report after the first operation

Report from the first operation

More to read about mammary gland cancer can be found here:
http://www.uoguelph.ca/~rfoster/repropath/mammary/Mam_fel/Mam_cat.html
and here (breast cancer):

http://pathology.jhu.edu/breast/grade.php

Mammary glands cancer in cats has similarities to breast cancer in humans. I did not understand all I read in the report at first, but I have looked it up, understood it all, and got a bit relieved. Talked to the veterinary later, she confirmed what I already interpreted from the report. She also told me that it is almost never this good bad report they get back from the pathologist, usually the tumours are faster dividing and the grade is higher. They progress fast, it is easy to miss them, and they are detected later that one could hope for.

We will take care of our dear girl, and hope she will get cancer-free soon! Today I found another lump on her other side that will be operated in December. Mammary gland cancer tends to be bilateral in cats. I am very nervous, but I cannot rush anything. They cannot operate two sides at a same time, and also, after the first operation, she has to heal and the skin should not bee too stretched so it could burst after the next operation.

Jossan and Leroy

Jossan (closer) and Leroy (farther). Yes, she is similar to her dad in her looks, only slender and feminine 🙂

I have many mixed emotions, and sometimes I cry, sometimes I am optimistic, all in all I am pretty shaky. But above all I am happy that I have her and that she is recovering well from the first operation.

Halloween where we live

Today Jossan is a bit better. She does not want to eat that much though, so I feed her, and then she starts eating herself. Her temperature is 38°, which is good for a cat, no fever, no too low temperature. Her cut looks good. A lot of bruising, but no infection or blood or foul smell.

I have washed her body sock and am watching Jossan now, taking care that she does not lick her stitches while the body sock dries.

I draw a comic while lying on the floor, next to her, waiting. She is purring. ❤ I draw comics about us and our cats sometimes.

Everybody loves "Dreamies"!

Everybody loves “Dreamies”!