Heartbreak

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

LillMupp <3

LillMupp ❤

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

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas with LillMupp 2013, 2 years ago

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

LillMupp December 2014

LillMupp, December 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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

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

LillMupp is here

Let me introduce you to LillMupp, Claire’s kitten.

He was born via c-section, 31st of October, after a whole day drama. He was the only kitten and Claire was 69 days pregnant with him. The nurse came with him to us after the operation and we had to wipe him and rub him with the towel for half an hour while Claire was waking up. We were scared, he was so fragile and not at all as lively as the kittens we saw before, that were delivered the usual way.

The veterinary came to us with Claire as soon as she was done. She did not know where she was, was still under the influence of the anesthetic, did not understand that it was her baby, or that it was a baby at all. She did not recognize us either. The veterinary helped us milk Claire and get a drop into the kitten’s mouth, and after some time he managed to nurse a bit. It is a reflex. The veterinary told us that he is a very strong boy, although Joakim and I were very skeptical, he looked so small and weak. But he had a good weight. After 8 hours at the hospital we went home with confused Claire and a kitten that I kept warm on our way back.

At home, Claire, still somewhat drugged recognized her mom and got very happy. Albert got confused and failed to identify Claire as her sister, since she smelled like medicine and hospital, so he stood there in the middle of the hall, being confused and worried. When I showed them the kitten, Jossan did not give it any attention; she cared only about Claire, and was trying to lick her clean. Albert still sat, utterly shocked, and Maven and Miii joined him, thinking.

And then Leroy, our rock, came to the kitten, all delighted, and started licking the little one’s bottom, to help him do #1 and #2. Small kittens cannot empty their bladder and colon without their mom or another big cat licking their tummy and bottom (or a human mimicking that gently, with for example a q-tip). I don’t know how Leroy knows that, but he always knew that, since Jossan’s first litter. Instincts. So he took care of the small one, and afterwards he licked Claire.

We went to sleep very late, after being on phone with my friends and dad cat’s owner, who all gave me good advice. We were trying to get Claire to understand that the little one was her ktten, and that it was a kitten at all, and that she should nurse him. Jossan took care of the kitten as well, keeping it warm, after she licked Claire clean. She would not leave them alone, so we had to let her sleep with Claire and the kitten in their rrom. First I, and then Joakim slept on the bed next to their cat house. He slept there almost every night at start.

20131101LillMupp3

LillMupp, 1 day old on Mom’s back

20131101ClaireJossanMupp1

LillMupp, kept safe between mom Claire and grandmother Jossan

20131107LillMupp1week1

LillMupp, 1 week old

20131116LillMupp2

LillMupp, 16 days old, showing some attitude

LilMupp is adorable, and very  loved by all of us. Albert has recovered from the initial shock, and understood that it-that-we-brought-from-the-place-that-made-his-sister smell-odd is a kitten. And he loves kittens. 🙂 Claire has recovered fast and without any problems from her c-section, and she adores her kitten.

Jossan was close to her delivery when LillMupp was born, her kittens saw the light of the day 8 days later. I’ll present them next time, when I have more pictures of them. They are all doing well.