The kittens are getting bigger

The kittens are getting bigger. They got their second vaccine, and chip recently. They also passed the big health check.

The fur babies have been growing nicely and there were no problems with them, except for an urgent trip to the veterinary last week when Elric threw up a lot and went down in weight fast (I weigh them often, every day during the first few weeks, then every second day or so). It turned out that he managed to swallow 5-6 cm semi-elastic straw that belonged to the brush used to clean the fireplace. We are not sure how he managed to chew it and swallow it, but he apparently did. He threw it up in one of his throw up attacks, so we saw it. That was shocking. So many questions in our heads when we saw it. But we did not say much, I took the phone and called the veterinary to announce that we are coming urgently and what the problem was.

Elric got help fast when came there. He got a lot of fluids under the skin, medicine and he recovered fast. Still, it was a sleepless night, watching over him. If he continued to throw up, we were to drive to the hospital for an operation. Luckily, he had already thrown up all that irritated him, and it did not damage his stomach and intestines. The brush is now locked in the cellar where kittens never go. We are not 100% certain that the thick hair straw he ate came from the brush; it could have been the new kitten furniture, but we threw away the straw in our hurry to get ready to drive to the hospital, and we do not know. We removed that furniture as well, just in case.¬† Elric is completely fine now, and the biggest kitten in Jossan’s litter. He likes to eat, apparently. ūüôā

Elric, Leroy's grandchild, he likes to eat. :)

Elric, Leroy’s grandchild, he likes to eat. ūüôā

So, now all are checked, no defects or health problems. Dexter/LillMupp suffered a minor injury on his tail during the birth, which looks like a little knot, but he has no pain and I do not want to operate it (since that would cause him pain). He is charming with his little ‘kn√∂l’ close to the tip of the tail. He is special.¬†‚ô•

Here is a video with little Dexter:

And a video with a few of the other kittens and big cats:

There are more pictures here.

And what about TF (tritrichomonas foetus)? Our big cats had it for some time now (almost 5 months I think), but stopped showing the majority of the symptoms; only sometimes their stool smells foul, acidic in a way, but they had no diarrhea and did not go down in condition. The small ones had no problems except from when they turned about 10-11 weeks. Or it was not a problem, really, but my nose detected TF smell, how I call it, in their stool. But I did not feel it for all of them. Then we sent the samples for analysis with PCR method that looks for the parasite DNA and we got an answer that all of them had it. They are symptom-free carriers (or – symptom-free… for the most of time, yes, besides that smell).

The good things about the kittens is that they are well; they did not have diarrhea and are growing as they should. I understand that many breeders and owners can miss the signs of TF and mistake it for a slight tummy disturbance. But not all cats have it that easy and are symptom-free. Some have chronic diarrhea and can with time develop anal incontinence. They can get various inflammatory conditions and get depressed. Some go down in condition as well, depending on their overall health status.

And about having TF mistaken for a sensitive tummy; well, there are not so many sensitive tummies around as one may believe! We had a few litters during these years before we got TF in our cattery and NEVER had bad tummies, and those kittens ate many different kinds of food, changing often, eating various stuff at the same time, licking whatever they saw etc (we cleaned and steamed, but you cannot sterilize the whole house, they will always find something to chew on). And we never had an upset tummy, except once when Claire ate some sand, but that went over in a few hours. We did take her to the veterinary to get some extra fluids under the skin though. When they are small, kittens can go down in condition fast, it can be a matter of hours, so one has to react immediately.

So, I am  a bit skeptical when people talk about bad tummies when they get their kitten home. It could be stress and food change (hopefully you did not change food totally at the same time when the kitten moved to the new home?), or it could be something else, like TF or giardia. The causes vary.

We will start to treat TF on Saturday, in two days, with Ronidazole that we waited for a very long time (7-8 weeks, and we still haven’t received all the doses). Or veterinary ordered it promptly, when we got the kittens and they turned 4 weeks, but since it is a medicine that is obtained on license in Sweden, for some reason it takes weeks and months to get it. I will be updating the blog about how the treatment is going and with more facts about TF and the view on it. Now the kittens are old enough to get the treatment and we will finally treat both them and our big cats. All are in good health, and have good weight (some more than just “good” weight; yes Leroy, I am talking about you!) and that is positive.

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Merry Christmas!

This year we got no snow for Christmas in Stockholm, and it is unusually warm for December here, so I did not realize that the holidays were approaching so fast. We usually have kittens during the summer, this is the first time we have litters in  winter. Now it is all about them, besides our work. I did not make Christmas cards this year either, but today I realized that it is okay Рwe are like parents with small childen, they come first, and other things can wait. I should stop stressing about all the other things that much.

All the kittens feel great, Jossan’s five, and LillMupp, or Dexter, Claire’s son. When it comes to TF, they probably did not get it yet. We separated the litter boxes and are trying to keep them uninfected. How much that is possible, I do not know. They feel good, have good stools and I do not notice any odd symptoms. Our big cats feel good too. The medicines are ordered from abroad via our veterinary, and we are a part of the study within SVA (Swedish Veterinary Institute), where our cats will be tested 5 times, once before, and 4 times after the treatment. It all feels good.

I did make one e-card, with little Dexter, or LillMupp, which is his nickname. The photoshoot itself took about one hour, with the most of the pictures looking like this:

Merry Christmas according to LillMupp

Merry Christmas according to LillMupp

and then we got this one, which is our ‘official’ Merry Christmas card this year:

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Also, here are the portraits of Dexter (LillMupp), 7 weeks old, and Jossans kittens, 6 weeks old:

Etsuko, 6 weeks old

Etsuko, 5 weeks old

Electra, 6 weeks old

Electra, 5 weeks old

Elric, 6 weeks old

Elric, 5 weeks old

Eleonora, 6 weeks old

Eleonora, 5 weeks old

Ender, 6 weeks old

Ender, 5 weeks old

Dexter, 7 weeks old

Dexter, 6 weeks old

56 days

Today is 56 days since Claire was mated. There is about 7-10 days only left until Claire’s kittens arrive, and 10 days after that Jossan’s. We saw movements in both of their bellies. So exciting! We are getting more nervous.

Claire has gained a lot of weight since the mating – 950gr, but that is hard to see. Siamese are very long cats and somehow they manage to distribute all that newly gained weight so that it is not that visible. ūüôā Her tummy was pretty prominent and looked big until about 1-2 weeks ago, when the babies seem to have moved down in a way.¬†Jossans seems to be carrying more kittens than Claire.

20131019Jossan

Jossan, resting. About 17-20 days to go

Claire, balancing on the chair

Claire, balancing on the chair, 7-10 days to delivery

20131019ClaireJossan

Claire, bombing the picture and stealing the candy from Jossan

20131019JossanTongue

Jossan, geting another candy

Here is also a video of the Siamese from this morning. Sorry about the mess in the background. ūüė¶

Jossan is picking the food and candy from one of her favorite toys, and at the same time Jocke is trying to take a good photo of Leroy. He calls him ‘Tjockis’ which in Swedish means something like ‘fatso’ and Leroy understands the word and gets offended! Look at his tail! He gets really upset when someone calls him ‘tjockis’. Well, who wouldn’t? I sound silly, since my voice gets ridicilous when I talk to cats and I tell Leroy that he is cute and handsome, not a ‘fatso’.

You can also see a bit better how Claire’s and Jossan’s tummies look like!

The cats seem to feel great. They eat more of the Queens RC food which has high fat and protein content which Leroy finds irresistible and he started to put on some extra weight again! :/

About TF, the parasite which I wrote about previously, we have nothing dramatic to say. The cats feel great and if we did not have them tested we would not notice much of a difference now. The smell of their stool is still foul, but the consistency is ok, most of the time. No irritation, no problems at all. They are happy and healthy, eat well and show nothing out of order.

I’ve been reading for days and weeks all I could find and am still reading more about TF, treatments, symptoms, medications and so on. I’ve talked to helpful people whose cats had TF and who cured them. I am optimistic and not too worried. This parasite is less troublesome or damaging than many other things cats can get. It is treatable and often cats can even get rid of it themselves.

Knowledge and science FTW! Only the best care is good enough for our beloved fur babies. And I wish that for all other pets, all of them deserve love and care.

In the shadows

What I will write about today is something that a few of other cat owners experience as well, but not all are open about it. Some rather go through that in silence and I understand why. But I want to tell about what we are going through and if possible help others with our story.

Claire was mated just a little bit before our story begins and we  were not sure yet if she stayed pregnant.  Jossan had a date that we drove back to his Mom the previous day. The day the story starts, I came home from work and went to the litter boxes to clean them. Claire followed me, and she went on one of the litter boxes in front of me and did #2. Her stool did not look as usual; it was softer, shinier, and there was a little red streak in it. It smelled bad. I felt dizzy and my heart started racing when I saw that particular streak, and I got so scared. What I saw was blood, I understood that.

Joakim had just entered the house, and I showed him what I saw. Claire stared at us with her beautiful blue eyes, wondering why we look so upset and then she happilly ran away hunting for a toy.

I followed her to the upper floor, got to my computer and started googling for the symptoms while calling a veterinary. Our vet had already closed for the day so I called another clinic that is also pretty good. While waiting to talk to the veterinary, I managed to google that the blood in the stool that looked as Claire’s did, light and almost transparent, was just an irritation in the large intestine, and usually not a sign off something serious. OK, that was not bad.

The veterinary was not too worried, cat diarrhea is the most common cause for a veterinary visit, and often there is not a serious cause behind it (in 80% of cases). I said that Claire was pregnant and, sure, if she gets fine by tomorrow, I can accept it as a one time thing, but if it continues, I want to book a time for a checkup. And so we booked the first available time they had, two days later, and I would call and cancel it if Claire got well.

She did not get better. We ran to another clinic the same night and bought special food for cats with diarrhea, gave her probiotics and extra nutrients in a concentrated paste.

Then Leroy got bad. He ate a lot of grass the previous day, so I thought that that is why, but his stool smelled so bad and now we had two cats that were bad in tummy and I started feeling very anxious. Our cats are almost never sick. They can eat whatever, their tummies are fine. And that smell, you just know that something is wrong.

The next day we took both Leroy and Claire to the veterinary to a booked visit. Our furry babies were very cute and cuddly, a picture perfect clinically healthy cats. No fever, happy, good appetite, clear eyes and all. She took a smear from their bottoms (not appreciated!) and looked under the microscope (we knew before and she mentioned that it is not a 100% certain she will find something that way, even if it is there). No, nothing.

But I knew something was wrong.  Although our cats behaved as always, did not go down at all in weight and ate well, that smell and feeling something is wrong was enough. We agreed to collect samples of their stool for some time and send it to SVA (Swedish Veterinary Institute).

I googled and read studies and other sites and discussion boards frenetically. I was certain what it was. Tritrichomonas Foetus, the odd parasite that came to the cat population around 1999, and no one knows how; before it was something that mostly plagued cows. I mailed Casper’s mom D√©sir√©e that is a veterinary and researcher also at SVA, but works with birds, and she gave me advice and support and told me for which tests to ask for TF; it was a so called PCR test. We also would test for Giardia and other parasites.And so we sent the collected samples.

As the days went by, all of our cats occasionally got bad stool. The veterinary said that it was too late to separate them anyway, they already were all probably infected with whatever they might have had. What we should focus on was to keep them happy and healthy and not stress them. I called and informed the owner of the guys our girls dated what I worried about and the tests I sent for. She was very worried as well. Her cats were symptom free, but there are symptom-free carriers of TF.

A week later, even before the results came back, I was completely certain that our cats had TF. I read many many things about it, and exchanged plenty of mails with Des, Casper’s Mom, and Jossan’s breeder, my friend Monica. The cats felt absolutely fine, except that it smelled awful in their litter boxes and they sometimes had bad consistency of their poo. Not all the time, maybe 50% in average, it was all good. But not all the same cats all the time had bad stool; it varied. But they played, Claire went up in weight (we weighed the cats every day) and started eating more and more. They slept and ate as before and all was as before. Except for the litter box thing. I checked their bottoms every day to see if they got irritated or swollen, but they were fine.

And then the results came. The veterinary called and said that she was sorry, but it was TF, as I thought. I felt terrible and at the same time relieved. The thing is that Joakim and I were very worried, we did not not sleep or eat well all that time. I could have been wrong about TF, and something else could have been the culprit of the foul smell and the bad tummies. A virus or a bacteria that could kill the unborn kittens and make our cats really sick. Or not kill the kittens, but give them all kind of deformities. Or something that could kill the moms to be, give them inflammation of the uterus etc… I am a breeder and know other breeders, I heard all kind of things that other experienced during their years as breeders. You see pictures of fluffy cute kittens in all these catteries, including ours, and that is true, breeding is an amazing experience, but then, there is that other side of the coin; cats can get sick and bad things can happen. And we must do our best to help them stay healthy and recover fast when sick!

Let me tell you a little about TF.

Tritrichomonas Foetus is a small parasite, it is a single-celled protozoa, flagellate. It looks pretty nasty when enlarged, but it is very small.

The fact is that TF does not actually make cats go down in condition. The parasite lives in the large intestine and causes diarrhea or actually soft poo at times. It smells really bad. At some cats it gives no symptoms at all! All the nutrition from food is already taken and absorbed in the small intestine before it gets to the region where TF resides. That is why cats do not get sick or lose weight. TF does not affect unborn kittens or cats’ condition. Our cats do not go to the toilet more often either. It is the consistency that is sometimes different. And that smell. It is awful.

TF is not contagious for humans.

There are studies in Britain and Norway that were done on taking samples from all the cats on cat shows and it turns out that between 20% and 31% of all the cats had TF! Some had other parasites as well, as for example Giardia.

I think that it is a responsible behavior to treat it, sell only TF -free cats and stop spreading of TF. We could sell a seemingly healthy kittens with TF, but it could give it to other cats and occasional (or in some cases – everyday) diarrhea is not fun to deal with. Our cats have very mild symptoms, but some cats get worse; it depends on their overall health, I guess.

I think that it is not acceptable to sell the cats that are sick or even symptom-free carriers of parasites. Not only  that by selling kittens with problems you would give a lot of emotional and economical stress to the new owners, it is also that we love our cats and kittens with all of our hearts, and we would never give them such a bad start in life that would lead into continued illness and possible misery. TF usually heals on its own on 90% of cats even without medications in average of 9 months. In two years the most of them are fine; about 60% are parasite-free. About 40% are suspected to stay symptom free carriers for longer.

There is a bit of hysteria about TF (when we do not know much about something, we get scared, and sometimes even worse than scared). I read that some claim that TF kills cats, kittens etc. TF does not kill kittens. To quote one of the experts on TF, professor Danielle Gunn-Moore, it is unlikely that kittens with TF die from TF or the diarrhea caused by it. It is much more likely that Giardia or another bacterial, viral or parasitic condition was also present in the kittens if they died, and that it was one of those that were as yet undetected that kills the kittens.

This was confirmed by one of our ¬†veterinaries, Katharina (she works with Buba and she is also an excellent veterinary). I talked today with her, and told her what we have and that we will have kittens soon. We will be able to run to them immediately if the kittens get dehydrated and need some extra liquid under their skin or vitamins, if it comes to that. Although, we tested for other things, and we do not have anything but TF, so the kittens will most likely be fine even if they get TF from the big cats. But it feels good to have ¬†veterinary support even before the kittens turn 12 weeks and all the cats can be medicated and cured. We will try to prevent the kittens from getting TF by separating their litter box from moms’ litter boxes.

We are also in contact with other veterinaries (the cats will be treated when the kittens are big enough at the first clinic we went to, Linnea is also very good veterinary and they will help us get the medicine from abroad, on a licence) and the SVA’s parasitic laboratory and I am mailing some more of the world experts on TF, since abroad ¬†(especially in the US)¬†people have more experience with TF than we in Sweden. Plenty of knowledgable people are involved!

Our cats and kittens to come will be taken care of and treated and move to their new homes when they are tested and given a clean bill of health.

This may be a hard few months ahead of us, but we will do our best.

Informative links about TF:

http://www.icatcare.org/advice-centre/cat-health/tritrichomonas-foetus-infection-cats
http://www.catplanet.co.uk/index.php/magazine/articles/303-tritrichomonas-foetus-tritrix
http://www.cvm.ncsu.edu/docs/documents/ownersguide_tfoetus_revised_122009_final.pdf
http://www.marvistavet.com/html/body_tritrichomonas_foetus.html
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC427826/
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19653162

In Swedish, about both Giardia and TF:

http://www.sogrupp.se/2012/06/tritrichomonas-foetus-giardia/

The fat Siamese diary – part #2

Leroy

The story of Leroy on a diet continues. Told as Leroy would probably tell it:

Day #8

I spent last night sleeping under the duvet between Mom and Dad, not moving at all (except for my ribcage, but only as much as necessary for breathing).

It was snowing outside and I must preserve all the heat I can. Dad says it is warm in our house, but hey, he’s a Swede, ‘warm’ is just a word to him. All of my ancestors, 20 generations back originate from Thailand. Hello – Thailand! A tropical country with 23¬įC¬†minimal daily temperature in January! When was the last time we had 23¬įC in Stockholm? The hot summer of 1964?

I am looking forward to global warming. Yeah, yeah, people are against it, being worried about the survival of polar bears and Swedes. And what about me? What about ME?! ūüė¶

The kitten food. I need it back for my insulation layer. The global warming is not here yet.

Day #10

Until today the best day of my life was when I got my beloved daughter Jossan as a personal present from Mom’s friend Monica. But, that was UNTIL today. Because – today – I am having the best day ever.

I am so full that I cannot move, lying like a big seal on the sofa. I might be a bit sick, but I am so happy that it does not matter that I might throw up soon. The soft white carpet is close, so I’ll be fine (I prefer throwing up my hair balls on white carpets and cashmere sweaters. Class matters).

Poor Mom. She is almost crying, showing the numbers on the scale to Dad who keeps on swearing that I must have gotten invisible and that it is not his fault that I am so fast and sneaky.

Mom is right, I am neither tiny nor fast and Dad is, well, the best Dad ever!

Earlier today he was about to let the Little One into the Green Room when for once the baby was useful. The Little One was all cute and purring so that Dad focused on cuddling with her while I crawled behind him from the corridor into the room and slid under the sofa where I kept silent and hidden until he left and closed the door behind him… leaving me with Bowl#1 and Bowl#2!!!

I ate so much that I could barely call someone to let me out when I was done.

So sick, but it was worth it… burp. :

Life is good again.

To be continued

The fat Siamese diary – week #1

Leroy, The King (lilac point Siamese)

Leroy went up in weight while we had kittens and he weighs at least 0,5-0,8kg more than he should.  That is not good for him, and it is easier to get him to go down in weight sooner than later. He loves food, and also, especially tasty, high in calories and fat kitten food that Claire eats (she is growing and has different needs than our other cats). He just sucks it in like a vacuum cleaner. Sometimes it takes only 3 minutes, and half of the bowl content is gone.

So, we have 4 cats in excellent shape, one growing kitten, and one overweight Leroy. Hm. How to feed them all in the most optimal way?

We are trying our best to help our beloved chubby Leroy get down in weight. We observed carefully his behavior and I wrote a short diary of the previous week, seen through his eyes. What I wrote is rather toned down, since Siamese are cats with love for drama and it is hard to get even close to how they actually feel.

“I am not fat, I’m big boned!”

Leroy’s diary – week one

Day #1, afternoon

I was sleeping in my bed for hours. Got up, looked through the window. Rain. No birds. The other cats were sleeping.

Eat, I could eat.

Whaaat?! Bowl #1 with my favorite food (that humans oddly enough keep¬†calling “kitten” food) is gone. Bowl #2 with my second favorite (again¬†– “kitten” food!) is also gone. Only Bowl #3, with boring, yucky food¬†is left.

I don’t get it! It must be a mistake.

I’ll go back to sleep.

Day #1, evening

We got our wet food as usual, before humans went to sleep, but it was¬†not my favorite (which humans claim is just ‘smaksatt skit’, or in¬†plain English – tasty crap). We got ‘quality food’ instead. Let me¬†tell you something – THAT is tasteless crap! And it looks like plain¬†mud.

Bad humans. ūüė¶

I ate some, though, since I hate Bowl #3 even more than Tasteless Mud. ūüė¶

Day #1, night

I spent the night playing, lying next to my humans and thinking. I worked so hard last year on my insulation layer, since yet another long Swedish winter is coming. I wonder if Bowl #3 can keep my safety layer intact.

Where are my Bowls #1 and #2?! And my beloved Tasty Crap?

Not happy. ūüė¶

Day #2, morning

I ate from Bowl#3. My Mom talked to me a lot and praised me when she saw me eating that crap. What could I do? Better that than certain death.

Day #2, evening

This is getting really weird. Only Bowl #3 and Tasteless Mud get served, but The Little One and the rest of the cats occasionally smell like Tasty Crap and kitten food. I must be hallucinating. #3 probably contains nothing nutritious for my brain and body. My little neurons are starving! I will be as clever as Maven soon.

Damn it humans, what have I ever done to you? ūüė¶

Day #2, night

I sat next to my Mom while she slept and tried to beam my thoughts to her. She must understand that I need food that tastes good. She woke up and petted me, but I got no food. Damn! She fell back to sleep really fast and I realized that I am losing my mental powers for sure. You are what you eat. My mental energy is vanishing as you are reading this.

Day #4

Oh, my horrible destiny! Animal cruelty! Betrayal! Horror!

I discovered that the humans keep the Tasty Crap and the kitten food in the Green Room! I noticed the pattern. I was not imagining Рthe other cats get to go in there regularly, everyone except me is allowed. They just come and call the humans and they get let in. When they scratch or call, they get let out. And Рwhen they come out of the Green Room, they smell like heaven!

Oh, that is where my food went!

To hell with Bowl#3 and Tasteless Mud, I want my Tasty Crap back!

Day #5

I cried and cried standing next to Bowl #3 and when I got the humans’¬†attention I bit The Little One on her neck and demonstratively held her like that. Dad¬†commented that I seem to be so hungry that I am trying to kill and eat The¬†Little One.

Yes, exactly, what do you say now? Give me my Tasty Crap back or The Little One gets it!

But no РMom just took away The Little One (who showed no fear, which took the edge off my performance. Stupid kitten, not scared of anything!). They cuddled a bit, and Mom cuddled with me as well, saying that everything will be okay, I just have to lose some weight.

WHAT? But that is so NOT OK!

What is wrong with my humans? They loved me so much until recently. ūüė¶

They must have gotten brain damage.

Day #7

Mom is still not happy with me. She puts me on the scales every day¬†and today she complained to Dad that I eat everything in huge¬†amounts, no matter how bad it tastes and that I’ll never lose weight¬†this way. She said that they must ‘portionera‘ my food. I do not¬†understand what she meant, but even my Bowl #3 is gone now.

The Mayans were right. The world is coming to an end in 2012! My world¬†definitely is. ūüė¶

To be continued

“Bowl #3!”

The first week of changed feeding we came to the conclusion that Leroy sucks everything in like a vacuum cleaner, not only the kitten food. Now he has access only to quality food that contains no grains and a high percent of meat, but the thing is that he eats very often.

Also, he is not going out since it got cold here and although we activate him more than during the summer, it seems like he eats when he is bored or just does not know what else to do. Another thing – he is almost 6 years old now and although he still is a young cat, maybe his metabolism has changed a bit. We will give him food in portions now (so Bowl #3 will not always be full) and play with him even more.

Leroy got a bit chubby after every litter, but so did Jossan and Miii. The girls went down in weight fast this time, as usual, spontaneously, but he did not. We’ll help our Leroy to get fit again!

Albert, after operation

Albert fell in April and hurt a part of his chest bone, sternum. It was a dramatic jump (that turned to a fall) from a cupboard to the edge of a chair. The first veterinary we went to basically ignored a bone poking out of Albert’s chest and us saying that he is in pain, so we went to another veterinary where he was x-rayed, got pain medication and diagnosed with a dislocated part of sternum. Several days later I called our vet Buba (the first two were in the emergency animal hospitals, since, of course, Albert chose to try to be extra acrobatic on Easter!) and he said that we should wait and see if the bone will go back after some time or not.

Continue reading

Albert is better

Today Albert dragged one of Jocke’s dirty socks from the laundry basket to our bed and left it on his pillow to welcome him home after a long day at work.

I went into the shower and Albert was in the bathroom, on the highest shelf, balancing from the shelf to the window and back like a little monkey, patiently waiting for me to be done so I could cuddle with him.

We heard a stampede of mini buffaloes up the stairs and see grandpa Leroy being hunted by a tiny white beast, faster than lightning.

Bebis is much better! Especially the sock present (yuck! But he never leaves it on my pillow, always on Jocke’s, and I am grateful for that!) shows that he is feeling great.

We see that Albert is in less pain; the medicine helps, and also, cats heal faster than humans. He is still swollen, but less. He breaths with no discomfort.  His bone is still protruding though.

Today I looked for a cat chiropractor/osteopath nearby, for a second opinion, but there are only a few who treat horses, and one who treats dogs and horses. I found a few messages on the net from other people (in Sweden) whose cats have various problems, with spine and legs that wondered about a chiropractor for cats. Others, among them veterinaries, answered that that is a not very practiced or common skill in Sweden.

I also read more about that bone and how dangerous it could be if it is pushed inwards, so I do not think I’d dare let even an experienced cat chiropractor (if we find one) manipulate our Albert’s bone. We’ll see what happens, he seems to have less pain and the tissue is healing.

Albert’s injury, day 5

Today I called Buba, our regular veterinary and talked to him about what happened.

Here is how he reasoned (in short);¬†right now Albert has pain and is swollen at the place of the injury. We should wait for two weeks for the soft tissue to heal and calm down. The pain should be gone faster than that. If Albert is still in pain after 5 more days, we will get him more painkillers.¬†At the vet #2 he got an injection, which he did not even notice. Now I am giving him drops of Metacam directly in his mouth and poor thing is taking them with little objections. He follows me like a puppy, he is extra ‘mamman√∂dig’ (in need of his mom) right now. Jossan is his biological mom, but I am his human mom. Miii was very caring today and yesterday and licked clean her little hurt nephew. He seems a bit less eager to lick himself now, he who is always so careful about his pretty fur.

After those two weeks we will reevaluate what we should do, take new x-ray and see how it looks. Buba said that it is possible that the muscles would pull the bone back while healing. I hope that happens, but I am not optimistic, the bone is protruding quite a bit¬†from Albert’s chest. Buba did not see the x-ray, we only talked over the phone, so he just assumed how it looks from my description. It feels much better after I talked with our veterinary Buba. Not only that he knows Albert and all our cats, but he always takes us seriously and explains everything. And he is very knowledgeable in cat health! Too bad he does not work on weekends.

We noticed that Albert limps a bit on one hind leg, but today he is running and playing more than yesterday, in spite of limping so he is getting better. We do not know if he limped before, he did not jump and run much around. Maybe he hurt his leg as well during the fall¬†. ūüė¶ But it is not that bad, he runs like crazy at times. We see a slight limping only when he is walking slowly.

We and Albert thank everyone so much that wrote to us, here and on our mail, for your love and support. It is very touching! Bebis is getting better fast, he is a tough little cat. Many hugs and love from us.

Albert is hurt

Our Easter was not that good; we spent two days in animal hospitals.

Last Friday Albert fell from the kitchen cupboard when he tried to jump down. He did not see me next to the cupboard, in the line of his ‘flight’ before it was too late. He tried to avoid jumping on my head and landed on the edge of one chair with his abdomen and chest. At first he seemed fine, but then he hid and was silent and did not want to play with us. I tried to lift him and check him, and he cried. I felt something hard and sharp poking out of his chest (but no blood or so) and we called one animal hospital where they told us to come there with him for X-ray and an exam.

After some waiting time in the hospital we finally got to see the veterinary and she thought that Albert seemed fine. He was silent and tried to wrestle out of her hands when she wanted to examine him, so she concluded he is ok and no X-ray was needed! We were very surprised, and pointed out the bone or something poking out of his chest and she said ‘Maybe it is a rib, maybe it is piece of his breast bone, in any case we do not do anything about it’. He did not get painkillers either, since she thought he didn’t have any pain! She told us though to monitor if his skin gets paler (in the case of spleen injury) and to come there again if that happens.

That vet was not a speciallist in cats; not very knowledgable about their behaviour anyway, IMO. Cats are experts in hiding pain, especially in front of strangers! What could we do – we paid and went home.

Albert; it is hard to find a position that does not hurt

Albert; it is hard to find a position that does not hurt

Albert got worse on Saturday and yesterday, and the place of injury got swollen and red and poor cat could not lie as usual and had some pain while breathing. We waited one day to see if he would get better and then yesterday we went to another hospital, Albano (I am really not happy with the first one, Västerort djursjukhus, every time we go there we pay a lot and only sometimes we felt we got a good care for our cats). We called Albano before we went there and they were surprised that Albert was not X-rayed and that he got no meds in Västerort djursjukhus. So we went to Albano.

After 6 hours of waiting (it is Easter, and few veterinaries were working) Albert got an x-ray and exam. Good news – no fracture or inner organs injury. Bad news – one bone has dislocated (the one poking out of his chest) and there is an injury of connecting tissue. The operation to move back the bone would be too complicated and risky. He will probably have a bone poking out of his chest forever, but it will not hurt him after the inflammation has calmed down. Now he got an antinflammatory medication/painkiller (Metacam) and we hope he will get better fast.

Albert is one happy and playful cat; he is playing even now, although he has pain, but then he gets tired and he cannot lie down as usual, so he has to find a position that won’t hurt him as much. Breathing hurts as well.

Here is an X-ray of his injury, the green line shows where the dislocated bone was situated before, and the red arrow points to where it moved.

Albert's thorax X-ray

Albert's thorax X-ray

The injury looks so small on the X-ray, but it is pretty big and swollen in reality. You can see it a bit here on the picture where I hold him so I can show it; I did not want to stretch him too much. It is worse than it looks on the pic, the fur is hiding how bad it is.

Albert hurt

Albert hurt

Poor Albert. ūüė¶ We give him a lot of love and care and hope he will get better soon. Also, I put a few boxes on the top of the cupboard, so that no cat can jump there again.

A great day for Albert

He is healthy! 

Thank you everyone for your wishes for Albert’s fast recovery. They helped! Albert was well since we came back from the hospital. Completely well, like nothing has ever happened.

Here is our white boy with huge jowls (kindpåsar på svenska) (those enlarged cheeks that make a tomcat look more attractive for female cats. I think it looks silly, but apparently I have no clue what makes male cats irresistible!). He is back from the exam and feels victorious.

Albert (and his jowls, a Foreign White almost 14 months old)

Today we went for an ultrasound of all the organs of the abdomen (after not eating for 12 hours! Albert was a bit hungry, but quite calm). They shaved his tummy and put tons of gel on it. He did not fight, but he complained and talked to the veterinary and the nurse during the whole examination.

“Maumaumaumau…”

“Oh, a Siamese! A white Siamese! He is adorable! He is gorgeous!”

People found him charming. Cats know when you admire them and they like it. Albert does not despise attention, and although he thought that having your tummy shaved and lying on the back is far from good, still, attention is nice…

And – he is fine! No tumors, signs of diseases, nothing. There was a sign that he had a bad tummy (slightly enlarged spleen), but everything looked nice, his kidneys were perfect, the liver and colon were fine, too. Albert is pretty on the inside, too!

Albert became a father again!

And – great news! Albert became a father again today, this time in Sweden, in Viska’s cattery!

Bäckbykatten's Dixie The Great, picture by Monica Lindgren

This morning Dixie (B√§ckbykatten’s Dixie The Great) gave ¬†birth to 5 healthy kittens that are right now nursing cuddled to their mom! We are so happy! We told the staff in the hospital that Albert became a father today for the second time, and he got even more compliments, admiration and praise for being so nice and gorgeous boy.

He has no clue why everyone is treating him like that, but it is in his nature to accept petting and compliments as something he deserves by his sheer existence. He is a cat. And – a Siamese one.

Albert feels fine

Albert feels well, and behaves as usual, except that he is much more at my side. Last night he slept in our bedroom and we closed the door so the other cats would not disturb him. Leroy was a bit upset, he protested for 5 minutes from the other side of the door.

Albert thought that all the attention was very nice. He cuddled and slept next to us all night.

I started working again today, but Jocke is at home with the cats, he has one more week of vacation. Albert ate this morning and he seems fine. And he is so happy. He is not weak or anything like it, he is moving and behaving as a strong healthy cat. The whole Friday drama feels so unreal.

Albert was sick

We had a tough weekend.

Friday

Albert got suddenly sick last Friday. He threw up violently six-seven times until there was only saliva left and refused to drink and eat. He screamed loudly in pain when we tried to touch him close to his tail root and on tummy and dragged his back legs while walking. He did not have fever but something was obviously wrong. We called the animal hospital that is always open and they told us to come with him immediately.

Continue reading

The B-litter is here. Sorrow and joy.

We did not sleep last night.

Jossan went into a labor late yesterday evening. We experienced a shock and great sadness early in the delivery. It took a long time for Jossan to deliver the first kitten, and its intestines were out. Other than that, it was alive and normal sized and looking kitten. I called a pet clinic and talked to a veterinary. The defect was major, and the only thing to do was to drive there and have them put the little one to sleep as soon as possible. I cried on the phone but understood we must do this, and stay composed, since the delivery had just started. The veterinary said that the kitten will feel no pain.

We wrapped the kitten gently in a towel so it would not freeze, and put it in an open box that Joakim held under his jacket and kept it warm while driving to the veterinary. There they confirmed that nothing can be done and the kitten was put to sleep with a high dose of sleeping medication. It is so sad, I am still crying while typing this. We named the kitten Alan, after Alan Turing, a brilliant person with a tragic destiny. The first baby kitten born yesterday is a little angel now and feels no pain.

It was hard for Joakim to drive with the kitten, and it was hard for me to stay with Jossan and help her deliver the next kitten. It took some time, and she was upset and looked for the first one. I did not know if this was a defect that all of them will have, will something else be wrong, are they still alive…

I kissed and petted Jossan during the whole delivery. She was in pain, but she curled next to me on the floor, on a pile of clean towels and blankets, and pushed, supporting herself on my body and hands.

The next one arrived at 00:25, and still crying and scared as I was, I managed to help Jossan clean the kitten and cut the umbilical cord. The kitten was perfect, big and healthy, but I could not be happy or relax after the first shock.

Jossan delivered three more healthy big kittens, the last one at 3:30 AM and I was not sure if there were more, so we waited until 6AM and then cleaned everything, put the new sheets in a clean tipi, tucked everyone in and went to sleep. I took vacation this week, but Joakim is working.

Today I am starting to feel more joy about the B-litter. I am also very happy that Jossan does not know what happened and is such a good mom to the four kittens she is nursing now. They are beautiful. I think that 3 are boys and one is a girl. There is one Foreign White, one lilac or Foreign White and two are blue or seal or chocolate. But I am not sure yet, the colors can be determined with certainty when they are three weeks old, and sometimes even later.

SE*La Voix B-litter, 1 day old

The weight and time of arrival for the surviving kittens, born on May 2, 2011:

00:25 girl 100gr

00:55 boy 104gr

02:00 probably boy 102gr

03:20 boy 94gr

Around noon they already weighed 104, 106, 108 and 112gr. Jossan has a lot of milk, and they all are quite happy to eat and sleep all the time!

PRA (progressive retinal atrophy) test

Jossan and Albert are tested negative for PRA.

That is great news, it means that the kittens any of them parents will never get PRA and become blind, no matter whether the other parent is a carrier or not (this is an autosomal recessive condition). The disease is not associated with gender. Since it is a recessive disease – two copies of the gene,¬†in this case –¬†CEP290¬†¬†mutation are required for the cats to lose their vision. There is no treatment available for the condition.

PRA stands for Progressive Retinal Atrophy. 

The cats with two copies of the CEP290 mutation have normal vision at birth.  Vision loss progresses slowly and is variable, with most cats becoming blind by usually 3-5 years of age.  Some estimates are that 33% of Siamese and related breeds are carriers of the mutation, meaning that about 11% of them will eventually become blind later in life.

You can check which cats are tested so far and what the results are here¬†for female cats and here for male cats. Click on [h] far right next to the cat’s name to see the test results.

Please observe: not everyone has tested their cats used in breeding programs yet. I have become aware of this just a few months ago, after a study in Finland has been done. Also, not everyone is going to register the results in Pawpeds; not all the breeders are aware of the existence of the Pawpeds – the cat database. But more and more reports will arrive with time. If you plan to mate your Siamese/Balinese/Oriental or buy a kitten from a breeder, make sure you know the PRA status of the cat in question. Carriers and PRA-negative cats will never develop PRA. Only homozygous cats will.

The goal is that with selective breeding where a carrier can be mated only with a non-carrier we will be able to minimize the appearance of the mutation within the Siamese gene pool.

We sent our cats’ DNA to Veterinary Genetics Laboratory, UC Davis, California. We got the results 8 days after the lab had¬†received my letter with the samples. Read more about PRA here.

Information in Swedish:

Om PRA: http://www.pawpeds.com/healthprogrammes/pra_se.html

Rekommendationer: http://www.pawpeds.com/healthprogrammes/prarecommendations_se.html

Från rekommendationer:

“Alla k√∂pare av kattungar som √§r b√§rare och kattungar vars PRA-status √§r ok√§nd (d√§r inte b√•da f√∂r√§ldrarna √§r fritestade och negativa) ska informeras om sjukdomen, om det faktum att en f√∂r√§lder √§r b√§rare och om den risk som finns om kattungen anv√§nds i avel.

Heterozygota bärare kommer visserligen aldrig att få några symptom och då kan man lätt tänka att informationen är irrelevant för den som köper en kattunge bara till sällskap.

Men eftersom det inte alls √§r ovanligt att k√∂pare av katter till s√§llskap senare √§ndrar sig och i alla fall vill ta en kull efter sin katt och de d√• kanske drar ig√•ng det hela utan att h√∂ra med uppf√∂daren till katten, s√• √§r det lika viktigt att k√∂pare av kattungar till s√§llskap ocks√• till fullo f√∂rst√•r vad sjukdomen inneb√§r och vad det kan betyda f√∂r deras kattunge.”

P.S. Goofy, dad to A-litter and dad to the upcoming litter will also be tested for PRA in the near future. Judging from Albert’s results, he is negative or in the worst case, a carrier, but cannot be a homozygote.

Updated, May 2011: Goofy is also tested PRA-negative. All the kittens that he and Jossan had are PRA-negative since both parents are not carriers.

Albert hears well (as if we didn’t know that…)

We took Albert to an animal hospital today. Not our usual one, but to the one with a special equipment; we had to test Albert’s hearing. He is white, and all cats that have dominant white pigment, must not be deaf if they will be used in breeding.

White Siamese are different than other all-white cats; they are not deaf more often than non-white cats (that is Рif parents are not carriers of red pigment). If you want to know more about white Siamese (Foreign Whites), you can read an interesting article here. Another interesting and informative post about Foreign Whites, in Swedish, can be found here.

We know that Albert is not deaf, but the test had to be done anyway.

Poor Albert, we had to let the veterinary sedate him and put all these needles it the little one to examine the response in his brain to the sound waves. Look at our poor kitten, he is sleeping. His eyes are not completely closed, and they put him special eye-drops to keep them moist since he cannot blink while sedated.

All these needles and drugs... Not fun! You know that I am not deaf, I only have selective hearing!

I did not walk all over Jocke's orchids because I did not hear his 'NO'. I just could not resist admiring them!

Well, his hearing IS excellent, even the machine said so, and now we have all the pappers if we are going to use him for breeding. He is our little furry baby, and he will not be stud for a long time (cats, especially male, are much happier and more relaxed when neutered. They think only about cuddling and playing, not about girls, girls, girls… maumaumau). But, it would be good for awfully slim numbers of white Siamese in Scandinavia if he had some white (or masked) offspring that could also contribute further to the Siamese and FW gene pool in Sweden.

BTW, there is no difference between masked offsprings of white Siamese and other masked siamese with ‘ordinary’ (non-white) Siamese parents. The white gene is dominant (if a cat is white, it can pass the white gene further, if it is not white, it cannot be a dominant white gene carrier and pass it further on its offspring).

Albert, almost 8 months old, is examined and healthy, and his hearing is fine (we have never had any doubts about that ūüôā ). If an owner of a non-red color carrier Siamese lady is interested in meeting Albert in winter/spring 2011, you may mail us at info [at) lavoixcats.se so we can talk about it. We live in Stockholm, Sweden.

Jaws

Albert is a bit over 5 months old  and right now he has both milk teeth that did not fall out yet and the bright big permanent ones coming out. Look at our little shark!

His sister Ada started losing her milk teeth recently, but our little boy is in a bit of discomfort, nothing is coming out yet, everything just doubles. He started chewing on and biting his toys a bit harder and more often.

Just like us, cats develop both milk teeth, and adult teeth. A kitten’s baby teeth start to appear when it’s about three-four weeks old, and ready to chew soft foods. When the process is complete, the kitten has twenty-six tiny, sharp teeth.

Between 4-9 months of age, a kitten’s baby teeth begin to fall out, as new stronger permanent teeth push them out and replace them. Teething can be painful, and the kitten’s gums may be red and sore for a while.

A close up:

By the time it’s eight or nine months old, that young cat will be a proud owner of thirty bright, sharp adult teeth. Sometimes if the old milk teeth did not fall out yet and the kitten has sore gums it is a good idea to have the veterinary pull the milk teeth out and make the whole teething process easier.

Fireplace

It is getting cold in Stockholm and we lighted a fire for the first time this autumn last week. Albert never saw a fire before and he was completely hypnotized by the view. And – the warmth! The sounds!

Later when the fireplace cooled down he jumped over the protection and put his head into the chimney. He looks like panda now. I managed to clean his body, but not around the eyes.

But this is how it looked when there was fire!

Last week we tested Leroy’s blood values, urea and creatinine, and everything was fine. We checked him once earlier, before he was paired with Hannah. We also tested Josssan before she was paired. I thought to test the cats every few years, because one can detect problems with kidneys well before the symptoms show. If the issues are detected early, a change in cat’s diet can prevent illness and a possible kidney failure. Siamese are not more predisposed to urinary tract diseases than the other cat races are, but I feel that if there is something one can do so that they can live long and healthy lives, I want to do it. And that includes occasional tests.

 

9 weeks

We’ve spent most of our time lately with Archimedes that got a reaction to their first vaccine. He seems to be on his way up, after a lot of help from us and some extra saline injections from the veterinaries. We did not have time to take the kittens’ individual pictures, all we do is attempting to stabilize and improve his condition.

He has no more higher temperature, his weight has stabilized and he started eating a bit himself. He is still more tired than the others, which is understandable, and we still feed him extra by hand.

Here is he in the middle, this evening, with his siblings. It was too dark to take a better picture with my poor camera. We are so happy he can be with his siblings all the time now. When he was feeling the worst, he went away from them and sat in one corner (more correctly Рour Time Capsule, it is so warm and nice for a sick kitten). But we would always put him in his special bed and cover him with a small blanket so he would not lose too much energy on keeping his body temperature up. Poor baby, we hope he will get well soon.

Archimedes against vaccine

It is a bit hard to type, since Archimedes is lying on my left arm and I cannot use it. He is resting on his pillow next to us right now, but he was sleeping next to his siblings in the afternoon (both he and they were very upset he was not there with them, so we put him back when they are resting. When they are running around and wrestling, we have to get him out of there, or protect him).

Here is he, to the right, sleeping next to Alfred (looking at the camera) and Ada this afternoon:

Archimedes’ body temperature goes up and down, and he is still tired, but we’ve managed to feed him regularly, so he got all the nutrients and water he needs. He weighs 30 gr more than before we went to the vet (saline certainly helped a lot). Leroy is licking him here, while Archimedes is resting on his pillow that we put on the sofa in the living room:

Vaccine reaction

The kittens got their first vaccine on Monday, and they felt fine after that.

But, Archimedes started sleeping more yesterday, while the others ran around, very active, as usual, and when that happened again this morning, we weighed him and saw that he went down in weight 26 g since Sunday. He had a higher temperature than the other kittens, but still not high enough to qualify as fever (38.6 C). We managed to get the time at our veterinary within 30 minutes after our second call (we were very worried) and we drove there with him.

Archimedes behaved as if he were fine there, of course, he protested and yelled at the vet when the he was measuring his temperature (we have an ear thermometer, and the vet used the bad one, that goes into the rear end).

Archimedes’ condition (being tired, decreased appetite, higher temperature) is a reaction to the vaccine, as we thought.

The vet gave Archimedes an injection of saline under the skin, and an injection of antibiotics, just in case, but he will get no oral antibiotics, not to disturb his stomach flora (he is not that sick, he does not have fever. If he had fever, he would have gotten oral antibiotics as well). We also got special canned food, a/d¬ģ Canine/Feline Critical Care,¬†to give him a little bit every few hours, diluted in water.

Poor Archimedes. The vet said it is because he has a strong immune system, so the body is fighting and he got a stronger reaction than the others.

I am so worried in spite of what the vet said. Archimedes is sleeping next to Jocke on a pillow now, isolated from the others, so they would not wrestle him. We fed him once, he did not like the food that much, but he got it in the mouth and ate it anyway.

I hate vaccines. Necessary evil. It is not the half-dead virus, it is the additives that most cats get reactions on, like people and human vaccines. It was Nobivac Tricat he got. I hope he gets better fast. The veterinary said he should.