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/

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Albert’s beautiful offspring

Here is a few pictures of Alberts pretty kittens, First, the kittens from NO*Aceso cattery, in Oslo, Norway. On the picture (taken about a week ago) they are almost 10 weeks old:

NO*Aceso A-litter (picture by Janne Flusund)

And, the five small ones, in Viska’s cattery, Åkersberga, Sweden! Now, they were a bit harder to get together for a picture, since they were all over the place. They are 3,5 weeks old, and already have reading as hobby!

"We love books!" (picture by Monica Lindgren)

"Catch us if you can!" (picture by Monica Lindgren)

One of Albert's and Dixie's white daughters. A doll! (picture by Monica Lindgren)

8 weeks

Today we tried to take some pictures of the kittens. The light was nice, and Jocke and I were enthusiastic about a photo session, but it is so hard to take their photos! They glide, jump and turn around all the time.

There is one picture where we have three kittens looking in one direction and Beatrice sniffing at something. That is the best we got! But we’ve got some nice individual pictures here.

La Voix B-litter, 8 weeks old; Belle, Blanche, Balthazar and Beatrice

Beatrice is an action cat:

Beatrice, always in movement

Belle is thinking…

Belle is cute

Kittens in NO*Aceso cattery!

Albert became father yesterday for the first time, 1 year and 1 day old!

Four gorgeous healthy Siamese kittens were born in Aceso cattery in Oslo, Norway! Mom is a beautiful blue point Arwen that visited us in March.

 

Many warm congratulations from us! We are so happy that this litter is born. :* BTW, Leroy is now a great grandfather, only 4,5 years old! 😀

Albert had a date!

Did you know that in Norway they do not have only Norwegian Forest Cats, they also have beautiful Siamese!

Arwen (NO*Masked Bandits April in Paris)

Arwen (NO*Masked Bandits April in Paris), a beautiful blue point Siamese lady from Norway came to us over the weekend (she was here for about 30 hours) to visit Albert.

Both Albert and Arwen were inexperienced, but two important factors were just right:

1. Arwen is a very brave and at the same time gentle lady that did not let the voyage distress her too much and she did not totally despise the little almost 10 months old white Bebis who seemed to have a huge admiration for her. She was not too crazy about him, but she did not hate him.

"Jag tycker om dig!"..."Jeg liker deg ikke!" (photo by Janne Flusund)

Well, it could have been a better start, some would say. What about love at first site and all? But, for Albert that ‘not really hate’ was more than enough. So we come to the factor #2

2. Albert was very goal-driven since he was a kitten; while his siblings played and dragged toys around just to fall asleep exhausted next to their mommy, Albert killed toys paying a great attention to detail, for a long time, barking and growling at them like a little dog, not a cat; disintegrating them with precision and dedicataton you thought only Dexter had. He had the same approach with Arwen. Precision and dedication. Only, now it was about attraction, not killing.

Albert: "Precision and dedication"

Albert rolled like a girl, talked, sang, circled around the tough blue beauty, tried everything. She hissed a bit at him, showed a paw, ignored him, tried to stare him to death, but he just continued to sing… 6 hours later there was a familiar sound from their room you cannot mistake for anything else. An event!

Albert and Arwen continued dating during the night and the next day, completely exhausted towards the Sunday evening. Arwen and her matte had to fly back to Oslo, but it seemed that the love birds had the job done, so to say. Albert was so tired when Arwen left, he just lied on the couch and slept and slept… He played a bit with us this morning before we went to work and greeted us and played when we came home, but now he is sleeping again. He is back to being just a kitten, our all crazy 1st class stud of a great determination and not so bad skill (apparently). But now all he cares about is his toys and to cuddle with us. “Girls” – what is that? Give me my rats! Our little white guy is Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde impersonated in a cat.

It's been a hard day's night...

We keep our fingers crossed that Arwen stayed pregnant and that there will be some nice tempered beautiful Norwegian-Swedish Aceso Siamese in the near future! Arwen’s matte has a blogg here and her cattery name is Aceso. Also, check out this vidio of Arwen taken by her matte. Arwen is one smart cat!

New pages

There are new pages in the menu on the right:

Buy a kitten from us , where we write more about our breeding cattery and what we aim for with our breeding program (yes, we’ve just started, it may seem to you, but we had studied the subject of breeding of Siamese thoroughly and prepared ourselves well!)

La Voix first litter , where individual pictures of all seven kittens will be posted regularly.

Siamese kittens, 3 days old

The babies are growing. This is how they progressed the last three days. Their weight is given in grams:

At birth, May 23:

86, 94, 94, 96, 98, 98, 102

May 24

94, 94, 102, 106, 108, 110, 110

May 25

106, 108, 108, 108, 116, 116, 116

May 26

116, 122, 130, 132, 132, 136, 136

Look at that little ear on the kitten in the front, it is starting to get color. That kitten will probably be seal or chocolate point.

Seal, chocolate, blue and lilac point and also white (Foreign White) are possible colors. According to another breeder that has experience with FW it does not seem that any of our kittens will be white, all will have points. We’ll see.

Also, great news, our cattery name got approved by SVERAK.

La Voix it is! The country code included, it will be SE*La Voix! All the kittens we breed will have SE*La Voix at start of their names.