Friday, 20 January 2017

Much too short a time

It is with a very heavy and broken heart that I tell you my sweet little Tanner, the newest addition to my kitty cavalcade, was put to sleep today after a brief but very intense battle with cancer. He was a mere 11 months old.

Tanner came from a no kill shelter and I brought him home the end of May 2016. I had been sitting on the bench in their kitten room, being assaulted from all sides by tiny furry fiends flinging themselves joyfully willy nilly with nary a thought to safety. They climbed and jumped and I stroked and petted as they wandered past. After a few minutes, this little orange and white kitten climbed onto my lap and plopped himself down. I started petting him; he started purring. He did jump off to play, and eat a snack, but came back several times to again plop down and purr. I figured that must be a good sign, and decided since he had obviously chosen me, I must adopt him.

Tanner had been part of a litter of stray kittens. They has been found when quite new so they had a rough idea of how old they were. But the history of mum and dad was, of course, not know. Vaccination status of mum was probably nonexistent. This, unfortunately, is probably the reason for Tanner's untimely demise. All the kittens and cats that come into the shelter are tested for various viruses. Tanner was negative for everything and when old enough, started on his vaccination regimen.

My vet, after diagnosing Tanner with lymphoma, a type of cancer that causes rogue white blood cells (lymphocytes) to run amok through various parts of the body, told me that some cats can actually have a certain virus in their DNA, from infected cats breeding and giving birth before they themselves actually get sick. I guess Tanner came from that kind of a situation because although he again tested negative for the feline leukemia virus (which would be the cause of the lymphoma), if it was in his DNA, it would only show up in that test if he was actively shedding the virus. They could have done a more specialized (and expensive) test on his DNA but there was no point.

My poor wee kitty had lymphoma in his kidneys, liver and bone marrow. He became severely anemic and also jaundiced. I'd never seen a jaundiced cat before but he was glowing yellow. And it all happened very quickly.

On Dec. 22nd, he had some tummy issues and had diarrhea and was off his food a bit. So a trip to the vet for special food, medication and some probiotic powder and he seemed to get over that within a week. But his energy level never came back. He remained rather listless and was not playing much at all. But I figured it would just take a while for him to get back up to snuff as he'd been feeling pretty crappy.

Last week, he went off his food again, this time much more so than the first. And he was doing absolutely nothing. I could feel the weight dropping off and his shoulder blades felt sharper, his hips bonier. I tried various kinds of canned catfood and he half heartedly nibbled at them. By Saturday, it was bad. I called my vet when I got home from work and spoke with her. She advised me to pick up some Pepcid AC from the pharmacy and give him 1/2 a tablet twice a day to help settle his stomach. She said to even try meat baby food, as sometimes cats find that appealing, and to call her Monday with an update.

Monday came and I gave him his pill in the morning, tried to get him to eat, and went off to work. I spoke to the vet during the day and she recommended I try 1/4 of a Gravol tablet, for nausea. When I came home in the evening, picked him up to give him another pill and noticed the jaundice. It had not been there in the morning. Plus I could feel a lump in his side. So I called the vet and took him in Tuesday morning. They did blood work, an abdominal ultrasound, and a biopsy of his kidney. Everything pointed to large cell lymphoma (there is small cell also, which is more responsive to treatment). Needless to say, I was devastated, and the vet was quite surprised as this is usually an older cat's disease.

They kept him overnight and started him on steroids and chemo (which is a once a week IV injection), hoping this would shrink all those giant cells down. They gave me anti-nausea medication and several kinds of canned food. I struggled to entice him to eat anything so the following day (Thursday), the vet called in a script for an appetite stimulant to my pharmacy. It didn't help. Nothing helped.

Both Wednesday and Thursday nights I kept Tanner in my bedroom, with several kinds of food, water and a litter box so that the girls wouldn't be trying to eat all his canned food. Wednesday night he ate a tiny bit... a few licks here and there of the wet, didn't touch the dry. Lapped up a bit of the water from canned tuna. Throughout all this, he kept drinking water and so was not dehydrated. Thursday night was awful. He couldn't sleep, he wasn't able to find a comfortable position to lie in, he wanted out of the bedroom and then back in (how cat of him) and of course, I didn't sleep much either.

Because of the anemia, he got very short of breath with any exertion so any walking around he did, he'd be puffing away. He seemed to like lying on the bathroom mat. But I knew he was starving, and in pain and just never going to recover, so first thing this morning, I called the vet's office to make that final appointment. She was in surgery all morning so our time was 2:20 p.m. It was an interminable morning. I'd wakened at 6:30 a.m. and so had lots of time to spend with him, lying on the bed, or sitting on the toilet (lid down) keeping him company, stroking him and talking to him. Pips and Lila also spent some time with us in the bathroom, keeping vigil. He had a pitiful little raspy meow by this time but his purr worked just fine, and whenever I'd pet him, he would purr.

My vet is a wonderfully compassionate woman whom I have been seeing for almost 14 years. She is so kind and gentle and truly loves what she does, even this difficult task. She stroked his cheeks and gave him a sedative injection. There was a lovely thick soft blanket on the exam table and I lay him carefully on his side so he would be looking at me as I sat next to the table. He settled very quickly but she gave us about 10 minutes to make sure the sedative was effective. He was very comfortable and never felt the second injection. She and I talked about various pets we'd had in the past, as we let him slip away. I knew the names of some of hers and she had cared for various of mine. She cried along with me, as she listened to his chest and heard no further beating of his tiny heart. We spoke of how unfair it is that there are some awful people in this world who keep on going and yet this little cat, this young life, was taken so so soon. I spent some time alone with him afterwards, and said more tearful goodbyes. He is being cremated and his ashes will join those of my previous cats and dogs who have been precious parts of my life.

I so miss his cheery, chirpy, silly little cat face. He was such a lovely sweet soul.




Sunday, 8 January 2017

New look for a New Year

I felt the need to include Tanner in my blog header, as he is well immersed in the family. Only fair that he get to pose at the top with the girls. This is one of the few photos I have of the three of them in the same place at the same time. They all have their favourite lounging spots, and rarely are they near each other. So I took advantage and grabbed my phone and voila!

And, because I can't leave well enough alone, I used the Prisma app and played with the texture and colours and again... voila!

Pips turned 10 on Jan. 1st. An arbitrary birthday, as I adopted her in June of 2008 and was told she was 1 1/2 years old. So New Years baby she is! She is healthy and active, and my number 1 snuggle bum.

I hope all of you are well and happy and healthy. Things are fine on my end, although the ongoing gazillion renovation related things I need to do have stalled. Now that the holiday season is ended perhaps I will get motivated to get things done. Lots of nit picky stuff before any other big projects can move forward.

Drop by when you have a chance! I will do the same.

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Merry Christmas!

Life with the cats is, well, life with cats! They tend to do their own thing. Come to think of it, so do I...

All is well here. I lurk about a bit. I know I haven't posted since August. But I'm still alive and well. Or, as we tend to say in my profession, still pink and breathing.

I am hoping to make it into the big city for the family Christmas gathering tomorrow... um, today. There is a Colorado low heading our way with the potential for high winds and 40 cm of snow between Sunday afternoon and Monday afternoon. Because of that, we are having our Christmas dinner at 2 p.m. instead of 5 or 6. If I see it is starting to get nasty outside, off home I go. I don't want to leave the cats as Tanner is on some medication for a dodgy tummy for a few more days.

So on that note, I wish each and every one of you, my friends, a most peaceful and lovely Christmas season, if that is your way. Also Happy Hanukkah, Happy Festivus, Or even Merry Nothing! Be well, stay warm, share kindness and compassion. xoxo

Monday, 1 August 2016


Tanner will be six months old in a couple weeks. Well, on the 17th-ish. Being a rescue as a baby, his exact birthdate is unknown, hence the -ish.

And he is going in on Friday to be snipped before he realizes what his man cat parts are for.

But isn't he just the handsomest little guy?

Wednesday, 6 July 2016


I've added to the little herd of felines in my house. This is Tanner:

I picked him up from a local animal shelter at the end of May. At that time he was 3 1/2 months old. He is now approaching 5 months and has almost doubled his weight. He's really a cute little guy who is full of beans most of the time but when it is time to have a nap, he loves to come snuggle on me. Even when he is playing he often does "drive-by" face rubs: he will run up onto me, quickly rub his face on mine, and then dash off to play more.

Of course, I have lots of photos. And if he were human, I'd have ammo for those photos shown at your kid's wedding that everyone gets to laugh at.

Like this one:

No, he does not have deformed legs! He'd been sleeping and stirred as I reached for my phone so when I snapped the photo, he was stretching those skinny little legs out. Plus he'd just had a big meal, so that fat little belly is full of kitten kibbles.

Pips warmed up pretty quickly as you can see here, which is a week after he moved in. She thought nothing of squashing him as he napped as he was taking up her space on the top of the cat tree. She is the queen of the household after all (and I am just the staff).

She plays with him quite a bit and they go careening around the house, chasing each other. She will put him in his place if he gets too rough or wants to wrestle when she doesn't. So there will be hissing and smacks on his head. This morning, she pinned him to the bed with his head under her chest while she chomped on his back legs... he had pissed her off. His response? "Bring it on, old lady!!!"

Lila has started to warm up a bit too. She lived in the basement for the first few days he was here (and he was confined to the spare bedroom), silly chickenshit girl that she is. But now they kinda play but if he tackles her (which he does, of course), she will hiss and jump up, whack him on the head and run away. Guess who gives chase?

But if neither of the girls wants to play, he is quite willing to keep himself occupied by flinging small toys and bits of cardboard rolls around. No matter how much you spend on toys, they always seem to like the bits of paper the best. When I am working in the kitchen, he has to bring his toy of the minute to my feet so he can chase it around me. To avoid puncture by claw, I will pick it up and fling it elsewhere. I think he is training me...

And one final pose, just for the laugh value!