Newt’s Newest Careers

The Great Spotted Schnookums is currently having a fabulous run of good days, after a spate of ups and downs. Not content with being the self-proclaimed, international poster cat for liver shunt awareness, he seems to have decided to branch out in new career directions – most recently that of Moving Man and Legal Eagle.

Yesterday, he closely supervised the installation of a new  door, and helped with moving the old sofa. His assistance included attacking, ripping, flipping, gnawing, chewing, and writhing on it, and then, riding at the helm it as it was moved across the floor – repeatedly, so as to try and obtain video footage of his superior supervisory skills.

Much hilarity ensued. Never before have furniture moving and handyman efforts been so much fun!

This morning, The Dog was unceremoniously thrown in jail (time-out behind closed door) for excessive, very early morning barking. The family sat around, bleary-eyed and yawning, whilst debating The Dog’s fate, (and staying vewwy, vewwy quiet, so as not to share the same consequences!).

Lawyer Newt decided that He Had Had Enough and leaped into action!  He pawed and meeped pathetically at the closed door,  then trilled demandingly at the Magistrate (aka Cat Daddy). His closing arguments included frantic tail lashing, and pacing between the jail cell and the stern Magistrate’s office.

Who could resist such an emotional and demonstrative plea?

Needless to say, Newt successfully bargained for The Dog’s early release.

The Dog was happily (and much more quietly!) reunited with his BFF and lawyer extraordinaire, and the rest of us learned a valuable lesson – we will NOT bark at 5AM, at least not loud enough to annoy The Powers That Be!

Life is good

Prayers for SugarMint

SugarMint’s mum has asked for your healing energies, love, prayers, and whatever
support you’d care to send to Newt’s shunt friend Sugarmint.  She’s had a rough prior 48
hours, and there may have been some seizure
activity involved.
She is snowed in; unable to get out to a vet right now. 

update seems to indicate that Sugarmint may be coming out of an
episode, but is still having impaired vision and wobbledies. She has been relatively stable for quite some time.  This has been her
worst ep since her initial diagnosis. 

Please send your Love, Hope and Healing Energies to Sugarmint and her mum.

A Poem for Newt

Once again, I am overwhelmed by the compassion and support of Newt’s friends and fans around the globe.

While celebrating yesterday’s excitement over Cat Liver Shunt Support Group celebrating its first Birthday / Anniversary, Newt was having another rough day.  Not nearly as bad as last weekend’s episode, which resulted in the 3AM trip to the ER for precautionary fluids, but moderately symptomatic nonetheless.

On top of the ever-present anxiety induced by another round of drool and lethargy, I was dealing with a puking cat, an abscessed tooth, an out-of-town Cat Daddy, an incessantly barking dog, a bout of doggy diarrhea, and a last-minute set of major changes on the current project.

I was tired.  Whiny, achy, emotional, frightened and frustrated.  And … just tired.

So very, very tired.

But I was not alone.

With the well wishes for Newt winging their way across the globe, and a wonderful, empathetic pep talk from “the best friend I’ve never met,” I found comfort and encouragement, and the strength to soldier on.

Our little group has developed such a sense of community – of family – it’s wonderful and amazing, and so welcome – especially at times like these. 

And to top it off, an extra special surprise arrived today.

There is a cat on our group, a very special older gentleman named Pingu, age ten, who has been medically managed for the last five years.  He has experienced several major setbacks of late, but through it all, his mum is always welcoming the newbies, and leading the cheering and support when we need it.

Today, upon hearing that Newt was still episodic, she emailed him a Get Well Poem that she’d written.

A Special Poem for Newt ( as he,s poorly!!XX)
Reprinted with Permission from Gayla Lamb

I know this wonderful handsome cat, he,s gorgeous , his name is Newt
He has a wonderful mum and a wonderful dad and he,s just incredibly cute!
But he get,s these days, just like his friends when he feels all yukky and sick
So extra cuddles from his mum and his dad i think could do the trick!
It,s sad to see , to have to watch to see him sleep and drool,
To know he feels so awfully sick when he,s usually so bloomin cool
He,s Newt the cat, well he,s the man, a dude to all his friends,
Whatever he says whatever he does yay Newt sets all the trends!
We love him to bits, and we hate to know he,s having some really bad days,
And that we all want to help as much as we can in all our different ways!
So sending him hugs sending him love and sending extremely good vibes
From Pingu and me and Sharky too and all the rest of the tribexxxxxxxxxxxxxx


Folks, I got shivers when, a few moments after reading her poem to Newt, the drool stopped, he ate a bit of lunch, had a drink, a bath, and then, curled up comfortably to sleep.

Never underestimate the power of friendship, love and Hope.

Nico Needs You

Hot and Sweaty Greetings!

We have been without power for the last 21 hours, and may not have electricity until tomorrow night.  Am having internet withdrawals, and am going crazy not being able to access our little Cat Liver Shunt support group. (This is what happens when you have it on 24/7 – you forget your password!)

Made it to the library where they have air conditioning – woohoo, and doing a fast email grab to check and see what’s going on with the shunt babies.  Newt is fine, lounging in the cooler areas of the house.  We have iced his chicken and his ricotta in the fridge, so he’s good to go.

However, one of his new friends, Nico in the Netherlands, is in crisis.  Nico is newly diagnosed, and from the email, it sounds as if he is in a severe hepatic encephalitis episode, and the vets are having difficulty bringing him out of it.

So, dear students, colleagues, fellow shunt cat owners, friends and loved ones, please send your vibes, healing energies, Reiki, prayers, whatever you care to share to little Nico. Your support has helped several other liver shunt cats, so am humbly asking for your Love and Hope to help Nico.

Will post again, once the power comes back on, or I can rig up a hamster wheel and generate some power.

Marley has Stablized

Thanks bunches for your happy healing vibes!  Marley in Australia has stabilized, and his parents are hopeful.

You guys rock!  Love the fact that geo-theo-political boundaries are proving boundary-less when it comes to pulling together in Love and Hope., and am so grateful that this tiny  parking space along the information superhighway, devoted to an obscure condition (in a  cat, no less!), has enriched our lives in such a splendid fashion.

On our end, am still on deadline; project was extended for another week, and it looks more definite that the next project will land immediately after this one is delivered.  Woohoo Chicken and Lactulose money for another two months!  Crossing my fingers and rubbing Newt’s belly.

And speaking of Newt, am trying really, really hard to not go all neurotic mama cat – for the second time in a week.
Had an episode last week where the new pharmacy did not compound his Neomycin, and when I arrived for pick up on Saturday, was told we had to wait until Monday. 


The good news is, that since it was not done in time, we had a chance to discuss the Rx with the compounding pharmacist, and opted to go for the tuna this time instead of the lemony chicken.  MUCH better.

Crisis averted – until tonight.

Opened the new bottle of Lactulose tonight for his dinner dose, and, oh, no, it’s the wrong kind!  Instead of the odorless, clear liquid we’ve been getting, it is the nasty green puke-smelling other kind that he won’t eat. Not only that, but he’s been a bit off his feed today.  Although, the little brat did jump onto the counter while I was processing the Cheap Chicken Friday chicken for freezing and started tearing hunks of it off. The chicken, that is, not the counter. 

So, for tonight, looks like it will be a tablespoon of chicken and goo, and if he refuses to eat that with his Lactulose on it, we’ll have to direct dose his meds.  Cat Daddy will be coming to the rescue (again!) and going back to the pharmacy tomorrow for the good stuff.

And so, time for the midnight snacks here at the zoo. Night, all!

Miss You Guys!

Just a quick hello from crazy calendarland.  I miss you guys!  I love my job, I really do, but sometimes I get to feeling a wee bit sorry for myself.  That is, until I kick my arse and get over myself  

Being a freelancer affords me the flexibility to spend the majority of my time easily arranging the calendar around our little liver shunt cat’s special dietary needs and the Dog’s potty breaks.  Frequent mini-meals, a la fresh din dins every 5-7 hours. Alas, the flip side of that means that when work comes in, all bets are off, and Cat Daddy and I scramble to ensure adequate lunchroom and hall monitor duties. 

Working on these major projects typically for 30 days each project means that usually I’m working 18 hours a day, 7 days a week for that month. If I’m lucky, the deadline extends for another week or month or three. Yay! More chicken and Lactulose money!  But it also means that my Schnookie Snurfing Sessions are severely shortened, as well as my other important home care rituals. Things like scratching Cat Daddy’s belly and kissing the dog’s cheek – or is it the other way around?  By the third week of the deadline, I’m so tired I don’t know whether I’m coming or going – or, scratching or kissing, as it were!

So that’s where the feeling sorry for myself comes in.  No time to keep up with our other shunt cat friends, no leisurely coffee visits with friends, no Newt News, barely enough time to shower, and collapse into bed for a few hours until time to get back to work.

Today was a short day, so I’m taking advantage of it to say hello to you loyal subscribers and assure you that Cat Daddy is taking his customary wonderful care of Pookie Bear.  Newt is doing fine, and actually helped me with my shower tonight.He’s been a little stinker of late, refusing to give me my much-needed spotted belly snurfs, but am hopeful that tonight will be the night. 

Rumour has it that our deadline is being extended, and not only that, another I’m being slated to immediately move over to another project when this one delivers.  Good news, right?

Yeah, except for the exciting fact that I’m soooo tickled to have been invited (dared!) to participate in the Tour de Fleece right in the middle of it all!  Excellent motivation to kick my spinning into some semblance of order.  I hope! Wish me luck.

And speaking of luck, going to close with a plea for your prayers, healing energies, well wishes, good luck, all your vibes please, for Marley in Australia.  Marley has been having a rough time of it lately, being hit with a double whammy – diagnosed with pancreatitis on top of his liver shunt.  He’s been having some rough days while his vets try to determine an effective management protocol for both of his issues.  His mums have been superstars in his care, and they are inspirations to many of us.  So, vibes if ya got ’em..

Oops, gotta go, Newt wants a snurf – woohooo!

Africa, Part II ?!?

Geesh has it been a week since the last post? Eeek, where has the time flown?

Newt continues to do well, hooray!  Cat Daddy and I are getting ready to host the 2nd International Cat Liver Shunt Conference.  The first was held in our living room when Bopper and Newt had a playdate.  We will be catsitting for Bopper while his apartment is renovated. I don’t know who is more nervous, me or his mum

I’ve had some part time with Major Corporation (yay!), and two more projects from them are supposedly going to launch soon.  And, I got ANOTHER call about the Africa gig.  Okaaaaaaaay, submit me if you think I meet the minimum requirements; I’m not going to turn down a chance to write in another continent!

May have finished another pet nest; debating on whether to rip it out and enlarge the base.  These things are addictive. All made with donated yarn, and so far, no two alike. Next step is probably going to incorporate upcycled fabric remnants for even more of a rag rug appearance.

Early feedback is very promising. Still experimenting with the “Shepherd’s Knitting” (also called many other names, depending on what source you read – everything from Tunisian crochet, gobelinstitch, pjoning, slip stitch crochet). I just need to alter my pattern a bit, as I do think they should be larger. My sense of size is obviously still skewed from tiny baby New New!


Random Rak

Newt got another RAK! Only this one appears to be random. Some kind person sent wonderful yarn with a note saying they hope it makes lots of kitty  toys. Woohoo.

Am thrilled and confused.

There was only one group where I had a wish list, and only there because I was Instructed To Do So because we were being sent a RAK  ::smile:: I did include any fat or acrylic yarn for cat toys and beds to donate on that list, but the sender, while on Ravelry, doesn’t seem to be on that (or any of my other) groups.

WoW.  So it appears that folks are taking an interest in Newt and our efforts to help animal rescue groups.

Whoever you are, thank you so much.  It’s perfect and will work very well.

I’m still feeling all warm and fuzzy inside!

Smiles and Spindles

Just a little woohoo and a quick snap of Newt before I toddle off for a much-needed nap.  (Note to self: you are getting entirely too damn old for all-nighters, no matter HOW much coffee you drink!)

Got a wonderful surprise in the post yesterday – my first RAK!   Newt’s newest fan sent us a beautiful, brand new, Ashford drop spindle. Awesomeness!  I really didn’t quite believe it when told that a Random Act of Kindness (RAK) was in the mail after an earlier post where I fantasized about learning to spin wool.

But it’s here, and it’s real, and it’s from New Zealand! It has SUCH a nice heft and balance.  I know nothing about spinning and spindles and such, but I do know power tools; so, I figure it’s the same basic premise, right? LOL

Cat Daddy is much relieved, as he was having nightmares about sheep eating his lawn, and bunnies … uhm … well, you know.  Ahem.  “Cavorting” like bunnnies.  ::snork:: Yeah, we have a pretty juvenile sense of humor at times.  Keeps us laughing!  After almost 20 years, we still snort and giggle together like kids. 

He barely raises his eyebrows anymore when I launch into the latest and greatest grandiose plan; but he did draw the line at sheep and bunnies.  Can’t say I blame him. 

But I do find it hard to believe that after all these years spent in an endless, ongoing, cycle of sweeping / brushing / grooming, while bemoaning the overabundance of Collie-produced, downy fluff – giant hairy tumbleweeds coating every available surface – that I am telling the Dog “You aren’t producing enough fur!”

Don’t Enjoy Roller Coasters Anymore

Sneaking in a quick post between projects.  Need to wean myself away from New’ts blog at least for the next couple of weeks during the crazy upcoming schedule.

It’s been another up and down kind of day. 

First, the update on Newt’s friend, Simon – a tiny bit of hopeful news.  Last night’s report was that he had nibbled a bit of food on his own.  His vet is guardedly optimistic, and his family sends their appreciation for your encouragement and support.  They are visiting him today.

Red Feathered Newt Nest

As for little Newt? He’s having a bit of a rough day – probably the worst since this cycle began.  Was drooling last night, but ate his snacks.  Did not jump on the bed with me, preferring instead to drool and doze in his box.  At least he’s not hiding in the back of the costume closet in his red-feathered Newt nest. He’s been drooling rather heavily off and on today, resting in his box, or sitting in the annex box here next to me. He’s alternating between purring and wheezing.  Hair coat is ruffled, and he refused breakfast but ate some chicken for lunch. Direct dosed some water just to be cautious, and direct dosed Lactulose.

Have another email into his vet, and am curious why his Neomycin that was compounded with chicken flavor does not taste like chicken.  It actually tastes like sort of a lemony zing.  Doesn’t smell bad; doesn’t taste bad; but, does not taste like chicken.

I just shake my head.  Isn’t it interesting how one’s tastes and preferences can change situationally?  I used to adore the wild surges of emotion induced by the dips and twists and jolts and turns of the roller coaster rides at the County fair. Have often described myself, and been described by others, as an adrenaline junky.

And yet, with our Newt, and especially with his recent bout of up and down and round and round? Well, I’ve decided that I really don’t like roller coasters anymore.