Look Deeply into my Eyes …

Look deeply into my amazing copper-colored eyes

  and tell me I’m beautiful.

Or at least, feed me!

Pretty please? I’m staaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarving!

Copper colored eyes can be indicative of a feline PSS. Although some breeds can, and do, have eyes like Newt’s, it is a breed characteristic, and not indicative of an underlying condition. However, one of the hallmarks in shunt kitties is that unusual eye color.

We are aware of one cat who had a successful liver shunt surgery, and their eyes changed colour, from copper to a rich gold.  Another cat’s eyes began to change with their diet’s change, and eventually changed further after their shunt surgery. 

Newt’s First Snow

In an effort to be good Cat Parents, and teach a very important object lesson (e.g., the dangers of trying to sneak out of  the house into the big, bad world!) we decided to allow Newt to “escape” outside in the heaviest snow fall of the season.

We were prepared, and waiting.  Camera – check, running shoes – check, traffic status – check (the snow plows had not yet come into our streets, so traffic had been non-existent).  Conditions were optimal to show Newt that he *really* did not want to go outside, now did he?

Cat Daddy was waiting outside the front door as I opened it to permit Newt to make a mad dash to freedom.

It was NOT what he was expecting! 

He stopped and stood confusedly on the porch, his little pink nose quivering with the onslaught of new smells. He tiptoed across the wet porch, eyes darting left and right, tail bushed up in excitement.  Slowly, he began to creep to the left, gingerly stepping onto the snowy path trodden down by the dogs.

YUCK. Cold little pink footie paws. This was NO fun!

Spying the freshly shoveled sidewalk to his right, he quickly turned around, and made a mad dash down the sidewalk and under the truck, with Cat Daddy and the camera crew in hot pursuit.

Uhm, great.  One thing we had NOT anticipated and checked off the list – crawling under the truck in eight inches of snow to retrieve him.  Oops.

No worries. He continued to dart in and out from under the truck, whiskers twitching and flicking snow off of his toes. 

Suddenly, he got brave, and tore off towards the back yard.  Finding it not to his liking, he took refuge under a giant bush, and was quickly rescued by Cat Daddy and brought back into the safety of the warm house. 

 He did NOT go near the door again for the rest of the day.

Lesson learned? One can only hope.



Newt News!

Welcome to Newt’s blog. Subscribe and keep up to date on Newt’s journey toward health while living with a cat liver shunt.

Check back often, as we will attempt to re-create Newt’s previous timeline, and continue adding new updates on his condition. Please share Newt’s blog and website with other shunt kitty parents, who may be in need of additional information resources, and hope for their liver-impaired feline family members.

Newt Launches his Web Site

After putting it off for far too long, we finally launched Newt’s web site for cat liver shunts.  We had been repeatedly asked to share his “success” story and treatment protocols with others, especially on the yahoo Liver Shunt and MVD Support Group, from other owners of health-impaired cats, and from fellow holistic practitioners, but we had been hesitant.

For one thing, at what point does one consider a situation like Newt’s as a success? When do you stop holding your breath, still expecting him to cross the bridge any day, and dare to whisper that tiny voice of hope that maybe, just maybe, he might be able to beat the odds?

Another hesitation was because so much of his treatment has been not in keeping with traditional veterinary recommendations, we were hesitant to share too much information, as we did not wish to inadvertently cause harm to other shunt kitties.

What has been working for Newt, has been working for NEWT.  Holistic care encompasses a whole-health approach to wellness, specific to that individual, and does not simply address overall symptoms of a specific disease. As an individual, Newt’s case has been rather unique, and as such, so has his maintenance.

After much discussion, we realized that Newt’s story could be one of hope for other cats and kittens whose owners were facing the same lack of information and support that we had originally faced.  By assembling in one central location, the stories and information of the other shunt cat survivors we had located, at a minimum, we could help to save owners a bit of time in searching for other cats afflicted with the condition. 

Plus, with each story we found of a cat surviving, our hopes grew. Imagine having an entire gallery of shunt cats in one place – how much hope THAT, in and of itself, could provide?  And by being able to combine stories, management approaches, resources into one central, online location, then perhaps Newt’s story may be able to help other cats.


How could we not share information globally, as so many others had generously done for us individually?

Newt’s First Christmas

Words we thought we would never say.

 For the first time in years, we set up the larger tree – specifically so that Newt could climb it, were he so inclined.

He enjoyed helping to set it up, almost as much as he enjoyed trying to tear it down.

Made us very happy to see the decorations strewn all over the living room!  Amazing, isn’t it, how your perspective changes when living with a special needs kitty?

How Newt Got HIs Name

Well, the little bugger survived the night, wonder of wonders.

We had implemented supplemental bottle feeding every four hours, and he ate ferociously. His drawn little tummy was full and round, his eyes were bright, and he was teetering around on tiny little feet. We needed to name him, and add him to the log.

Being the ueber geek, I named him Newton, considering his harrowing experience with gravity.

This was promptly, and more fittingly, shortened simply to “Newt.”

Newt was quite content with his surrogate mother, and was doing well with the comfort nursing she provided, along with the bottle feedings every four hours.  Being the overnight and weekend feeder, I decided it would be easier to take the pair of them home with me, instead of coming back to the shelter every four hours over the long weekend.

And so began his process of worming his way into our hearts and our home.

Newt’s First Experience with Reiki

The ACO on duty had tried to give the dirty, scrawny, hungry kitten to another cat who had recently weaned her litter.

She was not very accommodating.

He was then placed in the cage with a different cat, Belle, who had delivered one stillborn kitten a week earlier.  She was VERY accommodating, fervently cleaning him, snuggling and loving him, guiding him to her nipples, all the while making little meeps of joy.

But she was not producing milk.

The ACO called me, as at that time I happened to also be working as an ACO, and asked me to come give Reiki to Belle to make her start producing milk.  I explained that this was NOT how Reiki worked, but I would be very happy to try and share Reiki with the kitten and the surrogate, for the greatest good.

Upon arrival at the shelter, I saw for the first time this little scrap of cat.  He was nothing fancy, a mangy little alley cat with dirty, ruffled tabby fur and pleading eyes.

Upon reaching into the cage to say hello to the little fellow, he promptly bit me, attacking my thumb with little snarls and growls, chewing and gnawing hungrily.

I was smitten.

I began performing Reiki on the pair of them, all the while explaining that Reiki was not some sort of on-demand, vending machine, but that at minimum, it would help to calm and relax the pair of them.  Imagine my shock and surprise when Belle’s milk began flowing. 

The kitten quickly switched his biting, chomping, snarling ,growling focus from my thumb to her nipple, and had his first meal in who knows how long.

He was still not expected to survive.

A “Fallen” (Soon-to-be) Hero?

A dirty, scrawny, hungry kitten was rescued from inside of a wall when telephone repairmen were working on an outlet.

Rescuers surmised that he had fallen down inside the wall from another section of the apartment complex. They had no idea how long he had been there, and there was no sign of a mother or any additional kittens.

Animal Control Officers took the kitten to the shelter.

He was not expected to survive.

A “Star” is Born

the best estimate of his inauspicious beginning

Shrouded in mystery, on or about this day in history, a star is born.

Nothing is known about the first three weeks of his life – his origins, his lineage, his history – just the best estimate of his inauspicious beginning here on Earth.

Welcome, Newt, and Happy BIrthday!