Sunday evening

It is cosy in front of the fire. Jossan is enjoying the warmth lying between Electra and Leroy ❤

She still has appetite and a strong will to live. It is cold outside and she cannot go out,  but the fireplace in the evenings and sun in the windows during our short days are very popular in our cat pride.

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September

We had the coldest summer in Sweden in last 155 years. But we still had some nice and warm sunny days. And even when it is not sunny, the cats are happy to cuddle at home.
Jossan is as always. But I feel her tumour in one of her armpits grew a lot lately. It was the size of a peppercorn in March and now it is like two almonds. That is the one we wanted to operate, but the veterinaries decided against when we found out she already had metastases at lungs.
She does not seem to notice it or mind it at all.
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I wonder what is going on in her lungs. If that external tumour grew that much, is the end very near? Anxiety is unavoidable, but I do not welcome it and let it stay. I do not have time for sorrow and anxiety now. As long as she is well and lives her life to the fullest, it is good.
Jossan is still getting her COX-2 inhibitor daily and is pampered to bits, dinner in bed, the candy she wants. She goes out when she wants which is only when it is warm and I am at home. She goes to the entrance door and calls me to let her out. She is just staying at our lot, eats the grass out or lies in the sun. Or chases hares or roe deer!!! She chases only big animals. My funny cat. She has a heart and a soul of a lioness.

Our other cats are well. Albert loves to lie in his cat cave and yesterday he really wanted to eat, but was too lazy to go up. And it is so warm and cosy in his little cave. So of course I served his Saturday breakfast there!

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Breakfast in bed, that’s how we roll here  🙂

 

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. ❤

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.

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.

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”!

Remembering two years ago and some news

I remember that two years ago we felt so bad – our cats got infected with TF (Tritrichomonas Foetus), two of our Queens were pregnant and we were sick worried about them, our other big cats and kittens to come.

Now we have been Tf free for some time, after a long struggle, three latest negative tests were done this March, July and now last week.

I would recommend all breeders to test for parasites regularly, Giardia and TF, not only FeLV/FIV and other viruses. Treating parasites and getting rid of them is hard.

We are lucky that after a lot of dedication and struggle we managed to get all of our cats well, negative and healthy. We suffered a lot, mostly emotionally, being sick with worry, thinking what to do and how and wondering if it will ever end. Also, it was not cheap to treat the cats and test so many times. I have used Laboklin in Czech Republic to send tests to, they are very good and a bit cheaper than our Swedish lab, it makes a lot of difference when you send tests for many cats many times.

We have also imported an adorable male kitten last March, whom we call Funtes. His name is Dexter Slunce Moravy, CZ from a breeder from Czech Republic that also tested all I asked for. He was retested also twice after he came to us, he is a healthy and happy young boy!

Funtes at a cat show autumn 2015, when he became Champion

We hope for some lovely kittens this winter when Funtes decides he is old enough now (he is almost 13 months, but is still a big baby). 🙂

Funtes Electra

After a longer time

It has been a long struggle with TF (Tritrichomonas Foetus), but at the end all of our cats tested negative; the last one more than a month ago. Several of them who got negative earlier tested repeatedly negative with a month apart between tests.

We checked the two oldest of our kitties, Leroy and Maven for all the blood values after the medications they got, I was worried if they could influence something else, beside killing the parasites. And – all of their values are perfect. 🙂 When cats get older (Maven is 8,5 years old, and Leroy is turning 8 in December) we should follow up their blood values now and then to catch some things (like problems with kidney or liver function) before it is too late to correct the problems with a change in diet or medications.

Leroy’s blood values 4 weeks after finished TF treatment and a negative test

I am happy that they got no side effects during the treatments against TF (except for a bit drier mouth and eyes, which went away immediattely after medicating). But I must say one thing – TF is hard to get rid of, we needed repeated treatments and to go up in dose. Some cats got TF-free only after a doubled dose of medication. I got too exhausted of TF mentally, and physically and will just not write about it, and not think about it for some time and enjoy the cats being healthy, cat litter boxes with no foul smell, and all the number #2 products of a lovely consistency. That makes me happy! Just coming home, opening the door and feel only good smells in our house feels so good. So good!

We may be having plans in making for kittens next spring, but for now we are just enjoying the company of our beloved mini lions with no mini-minis at sight. I am happy with how harmonious and well functioning group they are; I am not totaly sure why that is, and if I knew the recipe for a successful pack, I would gladly share it. Hmmm, what could it be?

Maven - being a Siamese is a state of mind. Well, a half- Siamese.

Maven – being a Siamese is a state of mind. Or – a half- Siamese… Or – whatever.

I think the first reason is that they are pack animals, as real big lions (Siamese that is; Maven, being a non-Siamese, but brought up with them, just got adjusted. being a Siamese is partly a state of mind!). The next biggest reason is the King – Leroy, who takes care of everyone, both other cats and humans, and does not allow any silly mobbing or dysfunctional or asocial behaviour. And then – Jossan, small and slender, but, at the same time – a real Queen, she decides who, when and where is allowed to do what, and everyone has respect for her. But, she is nice, not like a dictator queen. 🙂 Also, cats in general are not like dogs, they do not have a clear hierarchy, but they have roles, and all of them are important for the whole pride to function and live well.

Another reason is that they are not bored, they have plenty of good places in our house to sleep at – comfortable sofas, cat beds, cat trees, window places to watch the birds and humans that pass by our house, water bowls and food bowls places in different rooms. They get to hunt small cat candy pieces, eat fresh food (or, fresh -. defrosted meatballs made of raw meet, especially for cats) at least twice a day. We cuddle and play with them, a lot. To me they seem happy. They are also in good health. TF was a hell, but other than that, they have been always mostly in good health (Albert’s injury and a dramatic constipation he had two years ago aside).

There was recently a challenge going around on Facebook to post 5 pictures of cats we brought up, a friend challenged me and I did it, choosing not the most favourite cats (since you do not have those, you love all of them with whole of your heart), but the photos I like the most. Here they are, again.

SE* La Voix Elric, lives at Jenny with his half sister Ada

SE* La Voix Elric, lives at Jenny with his half sister Ada

BTW, Elric who moved out first of our E-litter, both FELV, FIV, giardia and TF negative, was mated to two other also tested and all negative and healthy Siamese ladies and the first litter is about to come to world in about a week! So exciting!!! He is a pet, not a breeding cat, but his human Mom was kind enough to let him become a dad before becoming a happy neuter. I am so grateful for that – he is amazing in his looks and temper and his genes should be passed forward. He got to date two chosen ladies that are a good match for him, and have great human breeder Moms that will take care of his offspring as well as we would.

SE* La Voix Ender (pet name Ozzy), lives at Ruth and Lillen, with his big 'brother' Iggy. Picture by Joakim Ohlrogge and Ruth Corke

SE* La Voix Ender (pet name Ozzy), lives at Ruth and Lillen, with his big ‘brother’ Iggy. Picture by Joakim Ohlrogge and Ruth Corke

SE*La Voix Dexter

SE*La Voix Dexter (LillMupp)

SE*La Voix Electra

SE*La Voix Electra

Albert, the one and only <3

My heart Albert, the one and only

1 week against TF

We are half way through the treatment now!

I found out that it is easier to make breaks and do something else between medicating groups of cats, I get less exhausted that way. Now I give meds to 3-4 of the big cats, first, then to 2-3 of the big ones and then the kittens, they are the easiest to medicate.

Happy Valentine’s day! These are our ♥

Hours

My ordinary day during the working week:

1 hours of playing with kittens, cleaning and feeding them in the morning

0,5 h getting ready for work

45min – 1 hour traveling to work.

about 9 hours at work

45 minutes -1 hour traveling from work

1 hour eating, getting ready for bed.

1 hour playing with cats and cuddling, feeding them, cleaning

2 hours feeding cats TF medication

2 hours other chores, answering mails etc. Cats are with me.

Sleep? 6 hours? If I am lucky and everything flows.

I am so tired. Then I go to bed and I am too tired to sleep, too worried about the cats and will they be cured after only one round of medications. I worry about different things, my family and what is my part in changing the world for the better.

It takes about 2 hours to medicate all the cats, 6 grown up and 6 kittens. They are kind and nice, but they are not too keen on eating the paste I make of Ronidazole powder, a drop of water and vitamin paste which I am pushing into their mouth. They need different amount, all of them, so it is not easy to measure and mix it. Joakim gets the cats and brings them to the bathroom, one by one, while I am mixing the medication. Then we hold them and pet them and talk to them and get the medication in their mouth. I think it tastes okay, since Albert is not flipping out, he is very sensitive about tastes. On the other hand, he is a cat that prefers eating cactus, pelargoniums and similar to cat candy, so what do I know how tasty the medication really is…

The cats are feeling well, and we notice no side effects. No one has soft stool anymore, already after three days.

Tired.

And I almost forgot – the best part of my day is when, after medicating the cats, and before going to sleep,  Joakim and I eat ice cream on the sofa, and all the cats are cuddling there with us or playing.

More about TF and what might help a bit (besides medicines)

After I wrote my blog post yesterday I kissed the kittens good night and cleaned the litter boxes. And there it was, a cow-pie like poo in one of the ones that the kittens use. So it starts. 😦 And this morning there was an another one. Good that we will start with the medications tomorrow.

TF (tritrichomonas foetus) lives in large intestines, where all the nutrients are already absorbed when the food remains come there. What happens there is that the part of water is taken back to the body and if a cat has TF which causes diarrhea, the water that would otherwise go to the body comes out and the cat can gets dehydrated. So, if a small kitten has diarrhea from TF (or anything else) – hydrate, hydrate! Give the kitten a lot of liquids!

If it is a bigger kitten it may be enough to drink milk, water or or water with electrolytes, but a smaller ones will need extra liquids under their skin. I read about that and that is why we had two veterinary clinics informed about the possibility that our kittens may need re-hydration if they get Tf and we could come there with them urgently without waiting to help them. But no one got it until now. And it is not a diarrhea, but it is more watery that the normal stool. That is exactly how our bigger cats had it at start when they just got TF. It normalized with time. Leroy had the most of problems, but that I solved at the end with help of coconut virgin oil supplement and low fat food.

The thing is that TF ‘eats’ fat. All kind of fat except dodecanoic acid is promoting TF growth. And that is very interesting; dodecanoic acid (“laurinsyra in Swedish”) is as effective as Axilur (Panacur) against Giardia, another protosoe that is similar to TF, but lives in small intestine (our cats are tested negative to Giardia, and we never suspected it, but since we tested against many things, we checked that, too. They had ‘only’ TF, nothing else).

Here is a link to the study: http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=17146659 : “Dodecanoic acid appeared to induce trophozoite death by accumulating within the parasite cytoplasm resulting in rupture of the cell membrane.”

The dose of cold pressed coconut oil for the cats is 1/4 teaspoon (or 1ml) 2 times per day. Also, low fat diet is beneficial when fighting TF. That is what stabilized Leroy’s tummy at the end! I found that Royal Canin Light and Brit Care Light were good for that. But any dry food with under 10% fat should be good. I got a tips from Denmark also that Royal Canin hairball dry food also works in stabilizing TF caused diarrhea.

Good we will start our treatment soon!

P.S. I am in no way associated with Royal Canin or any other cat food manufacturer. I do not write about any cat products in order to advertise them. I only write about what I believe and see works for my cats, in order to help other cat owners out there, if possible.

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. 🙂

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

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

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 ‘knöl’ close to the tip of the tail. He is special. ♥

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.

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 – we 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. 🙂 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.

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Jossan, resting. About 17-20 days to go

Claire, balancing on the chair

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

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Claire, bombing the picture and stealing the candy from Jossan

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Jossan, geting another candy

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

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 Désirée 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/

Sleeping in style

There are several sofas, cat beds and various pillows spread through the house to choose from, but Jossan wants to sleep on the very sheep that Claire occupied first. Claire will of course not move and leave her sheep.

So what happens is that everyone sleeps on the sheep. But – there is place only for one cat there, or so I thought. And I was wrong.

Jossan: "I will sleep here". Claire: "I am not moving." Everyone is happy.

Jossan: “I will sleep here”. Claire: “I am not moving.” Everyone is happy.

20130623ClaireJossan1

Half an hour later; everyone is still happy, sleeping.

On the balcony

The spring is very much here in Stockholm! The weather is lovely and we are planting the flowers and working in the garden and on our balcony when we can.

The cats are helping us (according to them).

Jossan sniffing campanula

Jossan sniffing campanula

But, this is not how it is supposed to be!  Jossan is my angel, she only sniffs at little campanula flowers.

Claire and her salad choice

Claire and her salad choice

Albert eats them as salad! Which is what Claire does with my small pelargonium plants that are ready to be planted in the big pots.

Albert and pelargonium; a view from the inside

Albert and pelargonium; a view from the inside

But, the worst of all – look where Leroy is sitting!

Leroy, Albert and Claire; all doing the things they are not supposed to.

Leroy, Albert and Claire; doing the things they are not supposed to.

The net must go up soon!

Spring is in the air!

Spring is in the air! What? Spring, on the March 1, in Stockholm? No, of course not! There is at least a month or two of winter ahead of us, but – we got tulips in our stores, plenty of them!

Anders who is Dad to Corto and Calvin, got the prettiest bouquet of tulips and I can only imagine how happy he was when he realized that his fur babies like flowers in vases, they find them so decorative… a sort of Morticia Addams decorative:

Morticia trims the roses; on the other end

Morticia trims the roses; not in the most usual way (for humans). But, if you are a cat, Morticia’s way is perfectly logical.

These are a few pictures that I borrowed from Anders. The boys are not eating tulips, they just trim them a bit and play football with the crowns. (Tulips are not poisonous for cats, but they can get bad tummies if they eat too much of them).

Calvin and Corto: "We'll help you trim those, Dad!"

Calvin and Corto: “We’ll help you trim those, Dad!”

Corto

Corto

Calvin

Calvin

The game is on!

The game is on!

Thank you Anders, for the lovely pictures! 🙂

Cats are healers

I was sad lately, and, although I think that our cats are very affectionate every day, I noticed a change in intensity, especially with Albert and Jossan.

Jossan is following me as a post stamp follows a letter, from the moment I come home from work to the next morning when I depart to work again. She even talks to me in new ways. Albert comes and takes care of my hair and has cuddling sessions more often than usual. All of our cats are loving and I love them all the same, but Jossan and Albert are a bit special in a way, they don’t care about other humans as much as they care about me.

When Jossan sits in my lap while I write mails or make jewelry, I feel happy and content. I thought about that recently at one point when I became aware of the whole situation and how good I felt, with my little loving cat in my lap – that was happiness in one of its forms, right there, right then.

Jossan, in Jelena's lap

Jossan, focused, in Jelena’s lap

Jossan: "Helping my human"

Jossan: “Helping my human. That pearl does not fit there!”

Jocke got his working corner in our living room recently, where he, in his turn, set up a cuddling corner for our cats. It is mostly Maven and Leroy that sit there while Jocke works on his hobby projects.

Jossan, helping Jelena

Maven, snuggling close to Jocke

2012

Many things happened in our cats’ lives in 2012.

Albert was the cat of March month on siames i fokus, a mostly Swedish/Norwegian social site for Siamese and Oriental cats.

Albert (again) fell and fractured his breast bone on Easter which bothered him until late summer, when he was successfully operated. Now he has recovered and is jumping happily around as he did before the fall.

"It's mine!"

“♬ ♪ You ain’t nothin but a hound dog… ♬”

We managed to put a removable net on our balcony and furnish it so that the cats could safely enjoy the fresh air.

MavenBalcony2012

Leroy and Maven on the balcony and the net between them. No, this is not how it should be! 😦

Amazing mother and my beloved one-human-cat Jossan delivered six precious kittens (C-litter), who were raised and taken care of by the whole cat family for the first 3 months of their lives when five of them moved to their new permanent homes where they are very loved and taken care of.

JossanAutumn2012

Jossan, the queen of our castle

We kept Claire, a kitten cared for by all the other cats, a little clown that loves all the cats and humans equally.

201212ClaireMouse

Claire – I mostly care about mice!

Leroy had a lump in the skin (yes – ‘in’, not ‘under’, there is a difference, and his was more likely to be malign) removed in the summer. Luckily that turned out to be only a lipoma. So, basically, he got his first liposuction this year! (I am joking now, but poor him, we were so worried) He was x-rayed and all his blood values checked on the same occasion and he is a very healthy, now a 6 years old cat!

Maven took many walks with us outside in our neighborhood where we have very little traffic and many pretty houses to look (and sniff) at. She and Miii spent a substantial amount of time with us in the garden, helping us.

MavenAutumn2012

Maven, gardening

Leroy was (unjustly?) pronounced fat by his humans and exposed to various methods of torture. One of them, putting him on a special diet for overweight cats, made him go UP in weight even more! Well, that is over now. Buying a new toy (Da Bird) and wrestling with Claire seems to keep him in shape. In spite of what his humans think, he got ‘Excellent’ as condition mark from both judges on the exhibitions he attended.

Yes, the exhibitions – Leroy and Claire were exhibited and that went great. We might do it again some time.

The cats got a few new beds and furniture that they seem to like.

MiiiWinter2012

Miii – warm and cosy

Our cats were very much loved, played with and well fed during the whole year, as always. Sisters Jossan and Miii turned five years on December 27, and not only them but their two siblings from the same litter, also Leroy’s kittens – their handsome brother Gandhi that lives in Denmark and sister Noora that lives with one family in Stockholm. Happy birthday, dear cats!

Jossan and Miii spent their birthday lying close to and caring for their humans that fell ill with a bad influenza and were in fever for days (getting better as I write this). Our beautiful, beloved cats with big hearts whom we love so much, we wish you happy birthday and every other day! We are so happy to have all of you in our lives.

And to mark their fifth birthday – Miii was a model for our Christmas and Happy New Year card this year and I am working on a small painting of Jossan that will be finished when I feel better.

MiiiXmasCard2012

Miii – Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

I’ll post a picture of the painting of Jossan when it is done.

Much love and happy New Year from Jelena and Joakim with the cats. ♥

Da Bird

I heard about Da Bird toy before, that it was very popular among cats, but I did not manage to find where to buy it.

Well, recently I saw it here and ordered one for our cats. And they love it! Jossan is the only one who is not impressed, but all the other cats adore it, especially Albert and Leroy. That toy might be the key to Leroy’s future weight loss. We hope…

Albert: “Where is it, where is it?”

Albert, defying gravity

“I got it!”

“It’s mine!”

Leroy, not really flying, but doing his best.

Leroy’s fur is a bit darker and shorter where it was shaved earlier this summer when he had a benign lipoma removed. The fur will be the correct color again in a few months.

The Siamese tree

Saturday afternoon at our home. It has been raining all day and it is already dark outside (it is 6 PM here). There is a whole 2 months left until Christmas but it already feels like the holidays are around the corner!

The heating is on, and our ‘furry lizards’, how Jocke called them, the pride of Siamese, are lying close to the radiator, the beloved source of warmth. 🙂 Maven with her fluffy semi-long fur does not feel the cold, she is lying in another window, looking at the street.

The Siamese tree. Up – Jossan, Claire, Leroy. Down – Albert, Miii.

 

First plants on the balcony

Today we had one sunny day after a lot of rain and cold last week, so we tried to arrange the balcony a bit. We want to grow plants that cats like to eat (like lettuce and Roman salad), also, herbs that we use in cooking and flowers that are not poisonous to cats.

It is a whole summer project, I guess, but the first plants (if I do not count pelargoniums that hang outside of the net, towards the street) have moved to the balcony today.

Albert: “Work fascinates me. I can watch humans work for hours and hours.”

The cats smelled the plants carefully (that is, all cats except Albert; Albert chewed on everything but rosemary). Jossan chewed on some salad as well. The cats seem to appreciate our efforts (or, at least, they do not complain, and they showed a lot of interest in gardening).

“Rosemary, what is that good for?”

“Salad, on the other hand…”

“… yes, salad is tasty!”

Miii: “Hmmm, lavender…”

“… yuck! That is probably not edible (if you are not Albert, that is)! It smells like a hand soap!”

Leroy, The King