Simon Says …

Newt’s friend Simon says to “Keep those well wishes coming!”Simon Lounging

Thank you for your prayers, your healing energies, your well wishes, and your support and encouragement of Simon and his family as he fights valiantly to recover from his surgery to correct his liver shunt.

Simon is now almost 72 hours post-op, and still having difficulty recovering from the surgery. However, we just got the wonderful news that he stood on his own overnight.  Yay, Simon!  So keep those good vibes heading his way!

At a mere eight months old, Simon has already had a series of setbacks.  His liver shunt, a bout with Toxoplasmosis, (which may have led to his newly-discovered heart disease), and now, a prolonged, post-operative recovery.

A prolonged post-operative recovery process seems to be fairly typical in our shunt cats, from what I’ve seen.  In fact, for some cats, the lengthy time to come out of anesthesia from spay/neutering may be the first indicator of an underlying shunt condition. Anecdotally, with the cats we know who have had surgeries after a shunt diagnosis, be it for shunt repair, spay/neutering, dental, etc, the surgeons have been aware of this, and have used special care and types of anesthesia, etc, to help with the process.

But still, knowing it, and living it are two different things.

Seeing your loved one, (regardless of the species), lying unresponsive in the hospital, can just rip out your heart, and make you feel so entirely helpless and hopeless. Even the “normal” day-to-day antics of a shunt kitty can make your heart leap into your throat with every little thing.

Kitty is purring. OMG is that a happy purr or a pre-episodic purr?  Is that drool? OMG where’s the Lactulose?  And don’t even get me started on the Kitty isn’t in the normal spots, OMG where is kitty??? Is kitty okay? Kitty? KITTY!?!  KIIIIIIIIIIIITTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! as you race through the house screaming yourself hoarse, throwing large pieces of furniture over your shoulder, thundering up and down stairs, leaping over large dogs, and ripping closet doors off their hinges in a desperate search, all the while fearing the worst, only to have Cat Daddy calmly point to Newt, gleefully racing along RIGHT BEHIND YOU!

Not that that has ever happened, mind you.  Ahem.  Nope, not around here.  ::whistles innocently::

But, that’s how it is, for me, anyway.  And previously, it used to be such a lonely existence.  Such an obscure condition, so little information, and no other cat parents with whom I could compare notes.  The dog people were wonderful, and such a source of comfort.  But still, I remember how indescribable it felt to find a CAT shunt owner.  Then another.  And another.  Those emails were like gold to me. Nuggets of golden Hope. (And you may have noticed that I purposefully capitalize the word on here – because it IS that important.)

That’s why I am so proud of our growing community of shunt cat parents.  You are doing such an amazing job of reaching out to one another, encouraging one another, sharing your stories, sharing your Hope.  I am truly humbled and awed at the outpouring of love and support I have seen.  You are building such a wonderful community, a tremendous resource for those of us now, and for the future cats and kittens who come.

We are no longer alone.

We are NOT alone in our pain and sorrow, sadness and frustration.  We are NOT alone in our joy. We are NOT crazy cat people. We are merely trying to do the best we can for our loved ones, whether it is medical maintenance or surgical intervention. Each of us struggles daily with the difficult choices we have to make, to ensure the best quality of life for these special kitties placed under our guardianship.

Our shunt cats come to us for a reason.  I can’t speak for everyone, but it seems to me that so many of our shunt cats seem to have touched our souls in ways far beyond the normal reach of our other, beloved companion animals.  My opinion is that our helplessness and suffering on their behalf is part of the price that we must pay for sharing that unbridled joy they bring to our hearts and homes.

It is a steep price indeed … but mere pennies in comparison to the untold rewards we reap from their presence in our lives.

Mylo Has Safely Returned Home!

Word just in – missing Mylo has made a safe return home!

He was located two streets over from his house, and a friend of the homeowner had seen his ad in the paper. He’s just returned from a vet check, has a few scratches and/or bites, and is down to 1.5 kg.  He’s hungry, but happy to be home.

It’s always cause for celebration when a missing pet returns home, and doubly so in the case of a special needs animal like a cat with a liver shunt.  Mylo, like so many of the shunt kitties, is on a special diet and feeding schedule, and has regular medicine.

Many thanks to everyone who supported Mylo and his mum during this frightening time.  As for me, I’m going to pop open a can of catnip to celebrate!

Mylo Needs Your Help

Friends,  Newt’s cat shunt friend Mylo in  Sandford Hill, Longton, Stoke-on-Trent UK has gone missing and needs your help desperately.

He has been missing since Sunday and his mum has put up hundreds of flyers, the radio has run an ad, the paper is supposed to run an ad tomorrow.  Mylo is an orange and white tuxedo tabby, very small (2 kg), with the the stereotypically copper-coloured eyes

As a liver shunt cat, Mylo is on medication, and sadly, his latest vet results arrived today, indicating that his liver has deteriorated even worse, so it is critical that he be located.  Her vet told her that Mylo’s worsened liver may have caused him to wander off and die.  As you can imagine, she is devastated by this comment.

You have generously shared your love, your Reiki, your Hope, your well wishes, positive vibes, and everything else with Newt, and I humbly ask that you now do the same for Mylo.

We are sending healing and love and Hope for the Greatest Good to Mylo and his mum, and hope that you will do the same.

The “Eyes” of March

Well, well, well.

Happy Birthday, little New New!  Two years old today!

Who would have ever imagined that the scrawny, dirty, abandoned, runty, one pound kitty baby who was going to “die any day” would be celebrating his second birthday as a sleek, glossy, muscular, ten pound, brute of a little cat?

The past year has gone by in a blur of overall, excellent health for my little Pookie Bear.  A few bad days, but overall, a glorious journey of joy, Hope and celebration.  Every day that Newt shares with us is another gift, another miracle, another reason to celebrate the mystery of life, and the courage of the kitten with the heart of a lion.

Newt has brought untold joy and sadness to Cat Daddy and me. But isn’t that true of all love? The heart-singing joy of good days, the heartache over the bad days, and the reminder to celebrate each day to the fullest, and to cherish the treasure of time spent with those you love.

The 15th day of March, the Ides of March, a festival honouring the Roman god of war and battle – Mars.  Our little Newt has waged a ferocious battle against his portosystemic shunt and has proven to be a warrior of the highest caliber.  Defying the odds, confounding logic, and soldiering on – winning, day by day, the war against his liver shunt.

In the peaceful, easy days of his robust health and well-being, it is easy to relax one’s guard against the insidious, merciless, mercenary lurking beneath his robust exterior. But one look into his mystical, glowing copper eyes brings back the tragic reality of his constant, ongoing war against the disease.

Beware the Eyes of March, indeed. 

Petey Needs a Home

Am putting a temporary post up here, on Newt’s blog, and emailing to my Reiki students.  I typically don’t do this, but this is stuck in my heart right now, and I feel compelled to do this.

If you know of anyone looking for a cat, I met a shelter cat this week during an unrelated visit to the Washington Animal Rescue League ( , and can’t stop thinking about him.  His name is Petey, and while I know we can’t adopt him, I can’t stop thinking about him.  So I’m sending out emails, blog posts, etc. to everyone I know who may know someone who knows someone who is looking for a cool cat.

Saw him again today.  He’s an orange tabby, 1 yr old, a few black smoodges, white paws.  Looked like copper eyes to me.  We had a copper-eyed orange tabby before, so I’m not immediately thinking he’s a shunt baby.  He leapt into my arms as I was leaving, demanding to be held and snuggled, and LICKED MY CHIN. Repeatedly.  I almost cried – he reminded me so much of the two orange tabbies we’d loved before, and the only cat before him who has ever licked my face is Newt.  And then, as someone else was holding him and I walked past the door to leave, his eyes met mine and he yowled.  Oh geesh. Cunning little beast, to zing his way into my heart like that LOL.

So anyway, I’m not affiliated with WARL, I know lots of wonderful cats who also need homes, but am sending this out in hopes for the greatest good for Petey.  (He was very receptive to Reiki.)

Hairless Cat Sweater, Part Drei

Almost finished the third version of the Cat Sweater / Cape.  Am hopeful this one will be the right one.  Earlier version was a wee bit snug at the arms, and a bit short in the neck. So, I knitted really loosely behind the arms (the belly band) and extended the neck as well as the arm area.  My goal is easy on/off, lightweight but warm, and sturdy.

Having too much fun with this.  Love a challenge.  Am determined to loom knit a perfectly tailored nifty, knifty knitted sweater for a fellow shunt cat.  Just need to weave the ends, launder and mail.

Newt was more cooperative with this version.  Am taking that as a good sign of a better fit!

Met a Shunt Cat Parent Today!

Yes, i admit, I was trolling the cat show for liver shunt cats

Was thrilled to be speaking at the World of Pets Expo in Timonium, Maryland today.  Gave a presentation on Reiki for Animals, and had a quick dash thru the vendor area, and then roamed the edge of the cat show, peeking at the pretty kitties.

Was thrilled to find out one of the people I was speaking to is a shunt cat parent from Florida, and the person next to her also knows a shunt cat parent.  WoW.

Spoke with several vets about our shunt cat friends, and we *may* have a lead on a couple of guest speakers, if we ever have our conference – woohoo!

Made me realize that next time I go to an event like this, I need to take Newt’s business cards as well as mine. I probably gave out more of HIS info on the back of mine than I did my own

First Annual International Cat Liver Shunt Conference?

Well, it looks as if my hare-brained idea may be taking shape!

It originally started with me jokingly suggesting to SugarMint that while she is on vacation in Pennsylvania, that we meet halfway for lunch (aka the First Annual International Cat Liver Shunt Conference).  She is still there, and hasn’t returned to Florida yet.

Plus, now we have Buddy in NE PA, and Abby is also in PA. 

At a minimum, we are thinking about meeting at a big box pet food store along 95 in Philly, sometime in the next couple of weeks.

Anyone have any suggestions on cat-friendly establishments?  I am not sure if Newt will be accompanying me, but am hoping to do some Reiki on SugarMint, so we need a place where we can have at least one cat, and possibly more, if anyone else want to come.

So, what do you think? Is this a good idea?  Does anyone have any suggestions for a cat-friendly venue?

More Shunt Cats

Buddy is in PA;  just diagnosed, severe HE coma in ER, finally came home yesterday, meds, diet, etc, and is doing much better today (back to normal!)  Owners aren’t getting good vet support, blah blah blah. 

Yoda is a newly DXd kitten in South Florida. Says her vet is AMAZING.  Yoda is in search of a home.  I haven’t warned her yet that he probably IS home LOL and she just hasn’t admitted it yet

Pingu in the UK, Mylo in the UK, Lily also in the UK, Abby in Pennsylvania, USA

We are up to eighteen now on Newt’s Hall of Hope. 

Wow.  It’s wonderful and sad at the same time.  Wonderful that so many folks are reaching out to help each other, and sad that we have such a dearth of information, and that we are facing this disease.

Hugs and purrs to all.