Yes, 2018 was the unofficial Year of The Cat up our mountain. In my art and writing and in real life cats have been the main focus of the year for me. Here is my review of 2018 and I think you will see what I mean.
The Year Of The Cat!
Scrappy and The Kittens
Two months of my life were devoted to Scrappy and her kittens. The kittens were born right at the end of May. After a few weeks Scrappy started to look ill and the vet found she had three large crystals in her bladder that were life threatening. We managed to get the kittens to five weeks old then Scrappy went in for surgery, being spayed at the same time, while I looked after her babies.
We had some ups and downs, including reintroducing the kittens to the outside world. One of the kittens, Sandy, managed to disappear for 12 days and we were convinced she was gone but she turned up for dinner quite happily one day. A bit thin but healthy.
At time of writing Scrappy is fine and back to normal. The kittens, Rabby, Rolly, Sandy, Ella and Treacle are eight months old and very healthy. They have made great subjects for my art and writing of course.
I even wrote a short story featuring them called ‘Where Do Kittens Come From Mum?‘.
Do a search in my blog for ‘Scrappy and the kittens’ and all the blogs will appear. I also made a number of videos featuring the kittens. You can see the full video playlist on YouTube here.
Malteser Gave Us A Run For Our Money
Malteser frightened the life out of us when we found him quiet, limping and not wanting to eat. As with all my cats, not being interested in food is a major indication that something is wrong.
Luckily I took Malt to the vet in time as he had a urinary blockage, he was in agony and his body was already in the process of shutting down. It was a medical emergency and a mad flurry of activity with vets working to unblock his urethra and save his life.
Eventually I was able to bring Malt home for two week’s convalescence indoors under close watch. Which was just as well because, not satisfied with having scared the life out of us the first time, something else happened.
A Shut Down Colon
Malt had some sort of ‘event’, similar to a stroke, that shut down his colon. This caused a fecal mass that blocked his colon. For two weeks I had to take him to the vets everyday to be given something orally, a saline drip and an enema. At home I massaged his abdomen several times a day. Finally he began to use the litter tray again – phew!!!!
You can read the whole story in my blog post ‘Could Your Cat Suffer A Urinary Blockage?‘.
A Cat With Asthma
But Malt wasn’t finished. Just when we thought we could get back to some semblance of normality, the final x-ray to check his bladder and colon discovered something else. Malt has asthma. That is managed by tablets twice a day and an asthma inhaler that he has to use twice a day. Read how we manage that in my blog ‘How Do You Cope With A Cat With Asthma?‘.
Elvis And The Car
Having already paid enough money into the veterinary clinic to pay their mortgage (well, you know what I mean) we hoped that would be it. But no, Elvis had other ideas. I went out one morning and found him hiding in one of the cat beds looking ill. When I tipped him out he couldn’t walk properly, his legs were all splayed out at funny angles. He had been hit by a car. This took some doing bearing in mind that we only get about five or six cars per day on our road.
Another mad rush to the vets and x-rays showed Elvis had been lucky and nothing was broken. Just lots of torn muscle and bruising. He was a horrible patient, being feral, and as soon as they could the vet sent him home. He is fine now thank goodness. As you can see, he is a pretty boy!
Catching Up With Spaying and Neutering
The unofficial Year of The Cat includes a lot of spaying and neutering! Tippy, Moonboots, Scrappy, Rolly, Rabby, Ella, Sandy and Treacle all went in for their ops. For the girls that meant 12 days in the back living room being waited on hand and foot while waiting for their incisions to heal.
For the boys it was much more straightforward, with just an overnight stay at the vets before being allowed back outside.
Or at least that is how it should have gone…
The Missing Testicle
Treacle went to be neutered with his brothers Rolly and Rabby. But when the vet came to operate on Treacle there was a problem. Treacle had a missing testicle. What should have been a simple surgery turned into something major as they had trouble finding it. Treacle ended up with a very large scar on his abdomen and he had to go in with the girls to recover.
That all went fine until two of the girls went back outside. I kept Moonboots in with Treacle to keep him company but clearly he was stressed at losing his sisters. The little horror ripped out his stitches and I found him with a big hole in his abdomen! Eek!
Yet another mad dash to the vets for him to be clipped back together again and he spent the rest of his recovery wearing a surgical collar, living in a dog crate in the kitchen where I could keep an eye on him.
I wrote all about this, of course, in my blog ‘My Young Cat Had An Undescended Testicle/Cryptorchidism‘.
Treacle has always been a friendly little chap and he has now been awarded the honor of the same residency status as Malteser and Lucy – an inside/outside cat. In other words he can come and go as he pleases. But the penalty is he has to learn to pose for my art – this is his first effort, not bad for a beginner I think!
Annual Check-Ups And Shots
All of the above was quite apart from the annual check-ups and shots for all of the animals. For Scrappy’s kittens that involved three visits to the vets each.
I have been trying to work out how many times I visited the vet this year. I make it about 65 visits in total, the worst culprit being Malteser who accounts for 24 visits alone. That is two months of this year spent at the vets, no wonder that it has felt like I am always there!
What do Emmy and Stevie Mouse Think?
Emmy appears to have accepted Treacle and mostly ignores him.
Stevie Mouse is not to sure about the whole arrangement but I have pointed out to her that she was rescued and brought in the house once. By the way, she looks good in this picture I think!
To start with Stevie hated Treacle and hissed at him all the time. Then she went through a phase of leaving the room when he came in. I was convinced she had a tiny toy cat hidden somewhere that she was sticking pins in. Sometimes she would just sit on my feet or ankles as if to say ‘this is mine, paws off’.
Gradually, Stevie has thawed and will now sit within a few feet of Treacle. I don’t know if they will become buddies but we can hope! At least there is no fighting – yet!
Let’s hope that 2019 focuses more on the positives of cat ownership than trips to the vet!
Treacle’s Christmas And New Year Message
As Treacle is now a fully fledged member of the household he has to take his turn in the spotlight. I leave you with Treacle’s Christmas and New Year Message. See you in 2019.
Before you go
My name is Dorothy Berry-Lound an artist and writer. You can find out more about my art and writing at https://dorothyberryloundart.com.
Thank you for reading!