Sheep Fest, Here I Come!

We are very excited at the surge of interest in “Newt Food!” One of the shunt cat owners was talking to their vet about “Newt’s Diet” and the vet asked what brand that was LOL. Hope to soon have more sample menus and recipes for you to try.

In the meantime, definitely talk to your vet about preparing your shunt cat’s meals yourself.  You may hear them say what the other vet did – “Wow, your cat eats better than I do!” Particularly if you are searching for more economical ways to manage the condition, homeprepping meals can save money. It just takes more time. But, with Newt, the results speak for themselves.

Newt continues to do well.  He was rather unfazed when Bopper visited earlier this week for the Second Cat Liver Shunt Conference.  Spent most of the day snoozing in the Annex Box, but he did climb up and demand snuggles.  Think perhaps he was feeling a bit put out that mum’s attention wasn’t entirely focused on him.

Cat Daddy will be doing main zookeeping duties tomorrow, as he is insisting that I attend the humongous sheep and wool festival.  He says I deserve a vacation after the last round of deadlines.  Not to mention, I’ve been threatening for years to attend and watch the herding dog trials.  Now I can go pet yarn AND watch the dogs! Have my list of must-see vendors, a small shopping list of things I hope to buy, am visiting a booth to see the Ghandi-type of spinning wheel in action, and hope to get to try some other wheels as well. Plus, one of the vendors is offering a free spindle class. 

Still want to try and make a T-shirt and cards with Newt’s Ravelery info on it, in case people are ask about his copper eyes. Yeah, yeah, again with promoting liver shunt cats, what can I say? ::smile:: It’s the least I can do, as so many folks are now speaking up, sharing their shunt cat stories, info, and Hope.  We have quite a happening little community evolving, and the more creative venues we can reach, the more Hope that we can provide to future owners and their special shunt cats.

Newt-rition 101: Chicken Soup Variation # 42

Since we’ve been getting so many inquiries of late on Newt Food, thought I’d start sharing some pictures of his menu. This is a sample of one of the many variations on his “Chicken Soup.”

General Recipe is to:

  • Gather whichever veggies you plan to use
  • Puree them in the food processor or blender, or chop very finely
  • Add three parts veggie puree
  • Add one part pureed protein source (chicken, in this case)
  • Splash some extra water and/or cream to make it more watery
  • Optional – warm slightly
  • Stir well
  • Serve with Love

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!



Another good day, yippy!

Sugar Newt is being his adorable, darling little self today.  Bright-eyed and rat-tailed.  A few rounds of gnawing on his One True Love, good appetite, normal snuggles. All good news!

Other good news – well, good news, but, rather odd news – got a call from an agency today, asking if I was interested in a summer contract.  Time commitment is within range; pay is acceptable; and, commute is reasonable.  Sort of.  Seems that part of the project will be spent on location.


Yeah, that’s what I said, too.  “Pardon me, did you just say ‘Africa‘?”

I was still trying to wrap my brain around how I ended up on the short list of tech writers for out-of-country assignments, and I’m sure I sounded like an idiot.  “Uhm …  did you say Africa? Africa, Africa?  As in, the CONTINENT of AFRICA?” All the while, thinking to myself “No shyte! Africa, in all its glorious, wondrous, otherworldness?”

While they had me on hold, I asked Cat Daddy “How do you feel about me going to write in Africa for a few weeks?”

His reply – “Pardon me, did you just say ‘Africa’?”


Seems they feel that I am a good fit for the job, in spite of not meeting one important criteria, which I helpfully pointed out. 

“But, you have animal control experience!” he enthused.

“Uhm … yes, I do, but that was controlling cats and dogs and guinea pigs, not lions and elephants and gazelles!”

“But, are you interested?” he persisted.

“I guess so,” I replied, oh-so-convincingly.

He said he is going to submit me for consideration, and I say that I’m reasonably certain nothing will come of it.  But dang, guys, how ueber COOL is that?  To even be considered for an assignment in an exotic locale.

Gosh, I love my job!

Am already under orders from Cat Daddy that if I do get the gig, I am NOT to try to smuggle home an occicat.  One spotted wild cat in our home is enough. 

Gotta go – need to learn how to say “Cat Liver Shunt” and “yarn” in Swahili!

Newt! Getouttathe …

In the ever-growing list of Newt Names, perhaps I should have added his most common appellation, “Newt Getouttathe”  (pronounced quickly, and with a slightly exasperated slur) As in:

  • Newt! Get OUT of the Refrigerator!
  • Newt! Get OUT of the other cat’s food!
  • Newt! Get OUT of the dog’s food!
  • Newt! Get OUT of the cabinet!
  • Newt! Get OUT of the microwave!
  • Newt! Get OUT of the dryer!
  • Newt! Get OUT of the knitting bag!
  • Newt! Get OUT of the frying pan!
  • Newt! Get OUT of the dishwasher!
  • Newt! Get OUT of the Cat Daddy’s chair!
  • Newt! Get OUT of the sink!
  • Newt! Get OUT of the bathtub!
  • Newt! Get OUT of the pet-free room!

Yeah, I know cats are curious creatures, but my little Pookie possesses the cheek and daring to match the bravest transcontinental explorer. Who do you blame for such brazen behavior?  Are all liver shunt cats as shamelessly spoiled as ours?

Part of the blame lies in his determination to make every single step that I make – insisting on being right in the center of action at all times. A tiny portion of the fault may lie with moi, in that perhaps I might have contributed a teeny bit, by overindulging his impudence as a baby.  (After all, he was “going to die any day” so what harm was there in permitting a minor indulgence or two?)  However, for my wee spoilage, I lay the bulk of the blame on Cat Daddy himself. 

Yes, that’s right, it’s ALL Cat Daddy’s fault.  He started it!

The very first, post-diagnosis Lactulose dosing, while I was juggling the bottle and dropper in one hand, and the squirmy kitten in the other, (successfully, might I add!), Cat Daddy “helpfully” took The Baby and placed him ON THE COUNTER!

“Cats aren’t allowed on the counter,” I reminded him of the non-negotiable house rule.

“Oh, he’s just a tiny kitten. He’s not really a cat, so it isn’t the same,” Cat Daddy replied, while gently comforting Newt against my rude medicinal advances.

“Errr, we don’t want him to develop any bad habits, Cat Daddy,” I persisted.

“Don’t be silly!” He replied.  “He’ll associate being on the counter with ‘bad things’ like medicine. Besides, he’s not going to be around very long, so it’s okay. Remember, we’re supposed to ‘keep him comfortable’.”

So began the journeys of our Trek Cat, to boldly go where no cat has gone before …

In the Pink

Well, let’s add yet another item to to the ever-growing Mystery of Newt.  This time, it’s The Case of the Intermittent Pink vs. Not-So-Pink Appendages.

Yesterday, his darling little pink nose, his mouth, his sweet little lips, and those irresistible little pink footie paws were an alarming pastel, almost white, shade of pale.  Hydration was good, appetite was fine, but … you know how it goes with your shunt cat.  The teeniest little change sends you round the bend into another cycle of the OMGs what is going on NOW.

No snot, no boogers, and no pink!  This was the second time in the last month or so that his nose has been almost the same color as the flashy splash of white surrounding his mouth, with the inside corners of his eyelids peeking out.

Today?  Back to normal – snot and all. His footie paws are practically glowing their customary robust, lively pink; his nose is nice and bright, as are his lips and the inside of his mouth.  I should know, he’s cleaned me.  Vigorously and repeatedly throughout the day.

Still have a bit of the inner canthus on both eyes showing, but not as marked as yesterday.  He’s eaten well, played a bit, had a few naps, and spent the rest of his time cleaning my cheeks and chin.

 Wish I could explain to him that if he is so compelled to clean me, to work  on the crow’s feet around my eyes. I’m convinced that his tender ministrations rival the effect of any dermabrasive procedures for wrinkle removal any day!

Pookie Patrol

Hmmmmm.   After two glorious weeks of Newt being back to his old self, my Paranoiameter is back into overdrive.

Newt has seemed overall fine. Nothing tangible, but you know how those sensors go into high gear.  He was quite the little snugglebum last night, and vigorously cleaned my chin, repeatedly. Appetite is good, but he’s just … quiet.

My primary concerns are:

  • his inner canthi are definitely visible
  • his little nose is clean
  • his cute little pink nose is very pale, almost white

Added up, this really alarms me, because these are the identical things we noted immediately prior to the merry-go-round.

The only time my dirty little boy’s nose is clean is when he is episodic.  The drool burns the boogers off, I do believe.

Seeing the inner corners of his eyelids is a signal from a holistic perspective that something not quite right is going on under the surface.  And the pale nose? My first thought is anemia, or blood pressure. Hydration is good, so don’t think that is it. Need to open his little mouth or catch him mid-yawn, and check his gums.  This is the second time in about a month we’ve seen the nose change color.  Hmmmm come to think of it, I need to see if his little pink footie paws are also lighter.
Rats.  Mouth, gums and footie paws also seem significantly paler than usual.

::deep sigh::

Will see if he wants some Reiki after dinner, and maybe poke around on his liver meridian.

I Got Nuthin’

Sorry, guys, I got nuthin’ for ya.

Sorry ’bout that.  But hey, no news is good news, right?

Newt has had another wonderful, normal week, woohoo!  Cat Daddy does an amazing job, for sure!

Cat Daddy is not only taking good careof Newt, he’s also doing an amazing job (as always) of caretaking moi. Clean house, dishes and laundry, food on demand, encouragement, the works.  It’s so much easier to be on-site with these hellish projects when Newt is doing well andhas Cat Daddy at his “beck and claw.”

::snork:: Sorry, that just slipped out

Four (yes, 4!!!) new shunt cats have found Newt in the past few days – two of them littermates with suspected liver shunts. Will post more info on them once the owners give permission.

Supposed to be wrapping one of the current deadlines up tomorrow.  We’ll see about that.  It was contracted for one week, continued for two, and I have a sneaking suspicion that a frantic phone call is going to extend it through the weekend. 

Ah well, client work is what buys Newt’s chicken and my yarn, right?

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!

Do the Math

For the folks who have been asking about Newt’s diet, here’s a sample breakdown of what he eats, and how much it costs. This exercise can also be useful for those owned by other special needs kitties requiring limited protein intake or special diets.

A typical meal involves one (1) US Tablespoon (T) of meat-source protein (usually chicken, sometimes cod or other) in combination with a fresh, pureed vegetable mix of three (3) Ts of vegetables, typically selected from cucumber, green beans, zucchini, broccoli, yellow squash, carrots. We also incorporate dairy proteins, including cottage cheese, cream cheese, ricotta cheese, and yogurt, both as meal components, and as between meal snacks.

For today’s sample menu analysis, we chose chicken, cucumber, broccoli and green beans.  We splurged and got the broccoli florets from the salad bar; otherwise, it would have been less expensive.  Gotta love Cheap Chicken Fridays where the freshly-roasted rotisserie chicken is on sale for $5.00!

Meat Component $ 0.06:

  • One medium chicken $ 5.00
  • Marrow Soup for gravy. No cost, as it is made from the chicken carcass and leftover broccoli crowns, carrots, etc.

Upon food processing, one medium chicken yields an average of 5.5 cups, With 16 T per cup, one chicken yields 88 servings (1T per meal), and six cents per serving.  Yes, six cents per serving.

Vegetable Component $ 0.11:

  • 1 large cucumber $ 0.79 (did not weigh, sorry. They are per each, not per pound)
  • .27 pound of green beans = $ 0.54
  • .07 pound broccoli = $ 0.35
  • Veggie Total Cost = $ 1.68

After pureeing, the above yields three (3) cups of fresh veggie mix, or 48 T.  At 3 T per serving, each meal’s veggie mix costs 11 cents (10.5 cents).

Cost per Meal $ 0.17; Food Cost per Day $ 0.68:

His meals are roughly the same volume as the typical 5.5 ounce can of cat food.
Combining 3 T of veggie mix and 1 T of chicken, Newt’s meals cost $ 0.17 per meal. At four (4) meals per day, this is $ 0.68 / day, or $ 4.76 per week.

Compare with the average price of one single serving of:

  • Generic, canned cat food – average $ 0.40
  • Commercial, canned cat food – average $ 0.60
  • Human grade, holistic, canned cat food – average $ 1.50
  • Prescription food (he ate previously) – average $ 1.41

So, when you do the math, it becomes glaringly obvious that preparing your liver shunt cat’s meals in-house is tremendously more cost-effective than any other food choice.  Plus, you have the added benefit of knowing exactly what ingredients are included – no worries about food safety recalls, such as the one required by Newt’s former prescription diet (prior to his consumption), or concern about the quality of ingredients  – no corn or grain filler, and none of the 4 Ds commonly accepted in commercially-prepared food sources.

Home cooking for your liver shunt, (or other special dietary requirements), cat, under the guidance of their veterinarian, can be a truly rewarding experience. 

Not just in terms of dollars and cents, but also in dollars and sense!