Another Lesson


Hello. It’s me again. The reluctant blogger with the world’s most adorable liver shunt cat? Oh, I know, all of you owners think your OWN liver shunt cat is the cutest, but humour me, okay? I need a bit of tea and sympathy, and possibly a swift kick in the ass.

I think we’ve gotten Newt’s annual ER visit out of the way.

He’s been doing so well. Cat Daddy had been out of town for a few
days, and I was trying to complete some major home improvement projects,
and my vigilance slipped. I’m trying desperately to not feel guilty,
but … it’s my fault.

Any sort of change can affect my special little snowflake, so between
the moving of furniture, the painting, the slightly off-kilter feeding
schedules, the dashing to and fro from the store, the missing his daddy,
my own personal stress of family crisis, and various other stimuli,
well, he was already showing mild pre-episodic signs, but I was hoping a
full-blown Hepatic Encepalopathy episode might be averted.

I carefully prepped his meals and soups, trying to keep him on some semblance of order while Cat Daddy was away. Things were going really well, in spite of the frenzy.

Until some dumbass (that would be moi) forgot to pull the bowls of
Forbidden Food after Other Cats had lunch on Sunday. By the time I realized what had
happened, and began administering extra Lactulose, it had already gotten a
firm hold. This was his worst episode in almost 5 years. Not as bad as
the worst early ones, but pretty worrisome. Heavy drool, progressing to appareent blindness, low temp, weakness and neurological impairments.

If things had been worse at
the ER and they had insisted on keeping him, I woulda been begging for
mojo like I did when he had his little Pecker Problem. But a Lactulose
enema, some fluids, and chilling under the expert care of Cat Daddy (who
returned home JUST in time) had him right as rain again.

I seriously doubt that he learned anything about stealing Other Cats’ Food, but I certainly got a rude lesson!

No News is Good News – Again

Goodness gracious, has it REALLY been that long since my last post? Yikes! I’m so sorry. Haven’t forgotten you, I promise!

Just nothing much to report, really. The new gig is still wearing me thin. (Trying to adjust to being a “normal” grown up is hard work LOL)

Everyone’s favorite Spotted Schookums is once again burrowed onto my chest for mumsnuggles. I wonder if the cooler weather is making him even more affectionate than usual?

No excuses, really, for not writing. I just don’t have anything fun or exciting to say.

Newt’s doing well, and we are preparing for a long, hard winter – if the Almanac and bajillion acorns in the yard are any sort of indicators. Well, that, and the layer of winter fat that Newt and I have accumulated. Ooops!  I think his is attributable to all the extra helpings of soup he’s been getting. Not sure what I can blame mine on. Maybe because I eat his “cat food?” ::snork gasp wheeze::

Sorry, Cat Daddy and I tease each other about eating “cat food” whenever Newt demands (and usually gets) nibbles of whatever meal or snack we are having at the time. It seems that each liver shunt cat’s diet is as unique as they are, but I would confess, Newt’s diet isn’t exactly making his vet very happy – especially not since he gained a pound in less than six months. Eek!

So I guess today’s post can be a Public Service Announcement! Eating “cat food” makes you fat – if your cat’s food happens to include pizza, cookies, macaroni & cheese, mayonnaise-laden sub sandwiches, heavy whipping cream, cheese, spaetzle, lasagna, waffles, pierogies  ….

Dear Dog

Dear Dog,

If I had known what lovely yarn your fur was going to make, I would have been a LOT less annoyed with your neurotic nature. The only thing that has kept you in my good graces over the years has been your incredible connection with Newt.

Nothing in the world like seeing an almost 90 pound Lassie carefully cleaning and caring for a 9 pound, runty little spotted weasel varmint kitty bunny named Newt.

Wait! Why are you running? It’s already been a whole day since I last brushed you, and I neeeeeeeeeeeeed more fiber!

So, uhm .. yeah. Perhaps I’ve been a leeeetle overzealous in harvesting cheingora for my spinning attempts. But the last few harvests have been PATHETIC! How am I supposed to spin yarn if my fiber source is not producing?

I never thought I would say that I was looking forward to the Spring Coat Blowing Season LOL.

But, Newt and I need that fiber! Newt especially, as he stole the last big fluffy wonderful batch when he annexed my wool bag while the Collie fur was waiting to be spun. That luscious harvest of fluffy springy yumminess has been flattened into a flatter than flat cat mat – and yet, Newt STILL insists on sleeping in the bag.

Yes, Newt’s doing MUCH better! Output is almost back to normal, and he has been acting quite normal most of the time, sleeping in his preferred spots, tanning at his normal tanning appointments, and gulping soup like a fiend.

Sometimes I just have to shake my head. Trying to adjust his diet to ensure we are meeting all of his Newt-rition requirements, and dealing with his often finicky nature when it comes to the amount of liquid in his food? A smidge too much liquid and he refuses to touch his meals.


The little beast has been slurping down soup like crazy! Hooray! It’s not an ideal solution, I know, but at least he’s getting liquids – and a LOT of them! So far his favorite is still the sardine soup, sprinkled with a soupcon of grated parmesan and romano.

We took one 5.5 oz can (162 ml) of sardines in tomato sauce – his fave – and blended it with 3.5 cups (875 ml) of water. He’s drinking 1/4 cup (60 ml) of it on each of his four daily meals, plus also getting another 1/4 cup every couple of hours for between meal snacks.

Did the same thing with a can of tuna, and he’s also drinking low sodium beef broth, and is still pretty fond of the juice from low sodium spicy southern style greens. His marrow soup is still iffy; sometimes he likes it, and sometimes he doesn’t. So far the main hit is the sardine; we’re just trying other things to get the liquid intake up, and to hopefully keep him from getting bored with the sardines.

As for me? I’m actually beginning to enjoy the smell of fish soup in the morning. As long as I don’t accidentally mix his creamy tuna shake into my coffee again …

Happy Valentine’s Day!

For those of you who celebrate Valentine’s Day, I’m a bit stumped. While Cat Daddy and I don’t usually make a big deal out of the day, we usually surprise each other with some small, sweet or amusing token.

My original plan was to dye and spin some fiber, then make him a little red heart from The Dog’s fur. However, because of all the recent excitement, am reverting to plan B, C, D – heck I think I’m on plan X at this point!

With the current minor tweaks to Newt’s diet – primarily that of an assortment of tasty soups, do you think that Cat Daddy would enjoy a saucer full of steaming sardine soup? No? How about warm beef broth? An ice cold tuna shake?

You’re right. I didn’t think so, either.

However, Newt will have any / all of those for his Valentine’s Day present tomorrow, as they seem to be working!  He is eating his Cosequin on his food, and enjoying lots of extra broth and soups. Yesterday’s intake was 1.25 cups (295 ml), and his output is approaching normal – yay!

Guess I’ll have to do something else for Cat Daddy.

I know! I’ll send him this valentine!

Pookie Pecker Power!

Newt is still at home and stable. Not nearly back to his normal prodigious output levels, but eating, drinking, playing, snuggling and being his adorable self.

Still monitoring very closely. Vet visit today went well. She wasn’t as dire and full of doom as the releasing ER vet was, but understands too well the gravity of the situation and the delicate balance that we need to keep him safe while juggling the dietary and medicinal conflicts of urinary crystals vs liver shunt.

He has no stones, but some Struvite crystals – NOT the ammonium urate variety typically associated with a liver shunt cat. No sign of underlying infection. His pH is high, but not overly so. Maybe a chicken and egg thing brought on from the UO?

For now, no real answers or options. Get him to drink as much as possible, minimize as much stress as possible, keep a VERY close eye on his output, and … Hope.

He’s having Cosequin once per day, and we are likely going to add Cranberry Extract. No major changes to his diet yet, but research is ongoing to hunt for possible subtle tweaks. We’ve been so lucky to find the right diet and “Newt-rition” to keep him stable, it’s going to be tricky to make any major changes. Plus, not only are we his personal chefs, we are now working on recipes for kitty cocktails.

While he IS drinking, I don’t think he is drinking quite as much as he normally does (which is usually a LOT), and he is soooo particular about the amount of marrow soup in his food!  Too much and he simply will not eat. Same thing with his sardine goo or cod goo. He does love his cream and also his spicy seasoned greens, so am going to see if he will drink a watered down saucer of cream, or the juice from his spicy greens.

He’s not usually a fan of watered down cream (or watered down ANYTHING); he wants it straight up, thankyouverymuch! So, that’s where the mixology is coming into play. I feel like a kitty cocktail chemist – how many tablespoons of water to teaspoons of cream with how many mls of sardine juice and how many drops of cod flakes will turn out to be the perfectly flavored kitty cocktail? While Newt may not be enjoying all of our juice experimentations, The Dog is certainly loving it!

Good thing he’s not litter shy, what with me setting the alarm to check his pee every hour overnight.  The little exhibitionist even leapt into a litter pan for his vet and wizzed on demand.  What a guy!

Oops, gotta go, the pee alarm is sounding! Thanks again to all his many friends around the world for the love, Hope, healing songs, mojo, vibes, pawprayers and well wizzer wishes.

A special thanks to his knitting buddy for today’s title. The Supersized Font screaming a simple, yet elegant,”POOKIE PECKER POWER” gave both Cat Daddy and me a MUCH-needed giggle and a reminder that so many people are pulling for our Pookie and his little pecker. You guys are helping more than you can ever know.

With Love and Hope,

Newt’s Mum

A Day of Thanks

Well, here we are, on this fourth Thursday of November – the day Americans celebrate as their national day to give thanks. If you guys are celebrating today, Happy Thanksgiving!

Cat Daddy and I are very thankful that Newt is here for his third Thanksgiving with us. We did not expect he would see his first Thanksgiving, so this is a very special day for us!

We are also thankful for each owner of a cat or kitten with a liver shunt who has contacted Newt, or joined his support group. Thank you for sharing your kitty’s stories with other owners around the globe, and providing Hope. Big hugs!

As with everything in Newtopia, today is uncertain. Even on this happy day of celebrating, there is a minor undercurrent of worry, and a bit of an imbalance in the Force.  For quite a while, Newt was on a merry-go-round of intermittent drooling one day, hen fine, the next. The last couple of weeks, he’s been perfectly normal, but, for the last couple of days, he’s been mildly drooling and slightly off his food.

Back to normal last night, but this morning, more very mild drool.

That certainly has not interfered with his appetite or enjoyment of the day so far! He was sunning himself in one of his favorite spots before breakfast, and began eating with gusto. Alas, because he is mildly symptomatic, we will likely not be preparing his customary four-course Thanksgiving feast, scattered throughout the day. Instead, we will stick with the basics (and his favorite – chicken!) Should his appetite diminish, we will, of course, be offering the tried and true tidbits to tempt his palate.

These very mild episodes seem to last less than six hours, so it is quite likely that later today, when Cat Daddy is in full Chef Mode, that Newt will be dining on hand-fed morselettes from mum’s plate. But for now, we are again reminded of just how MUCH we have to be thankful for, with our darling little liver shunt cat.

Each day is a gift for which we are thankful, and that the good days far outweigh the bad. His quality of life remains paramount, and on days like today, even while showing a bit of drool, he is happily sunning, eating with gusto, and reminding us that every day of Hope is a day to give thanks.

Cheese Toes

No, not the orange covered, poofy, snack food Cheetos, but real CHEESE – in the toes!

Newt really enjoys  variety of cheese as a regular addition to his diet to help with his liver shunt. But during his “very good day” yesterday, he took his cheese to new and unexpected places.

I shouldn’t laugh, BUT!

You know the theory that putting stuff on a cat’s paw will make them lick it off?  Yeah, right. We’re talking about MY weird little Pookie Bear here.
Splashed at the grocery on a jar of cheese dip with peppers in it. Was eating it right out of the jar (classy, huh?).
Annoyed that Mum was having a snack and not sharing, as she is SUPPOSED to do, Sir Chubbs bounced his spotted ass up onto the counter and walked right thru the lid, coated with gooey, creamy, peppery cheese.
Didn’t phase him a bit! He never even blinked, let alone attempt to clean his paw. He was nosing around, hunting for his suitable snack and glaring at me for DARING to eat something he did not want. (Yes, I offered him some, in between fits of giggles.)
Before I could grab him to clean his footy, he stomped across the stove, the other side of the counter, then reversed back across both sides of the counter, the stove and up onto the trash can, almost sliding off in the process, as his left hind paw was thoroughly coated in the aforementioned creamy cheesy goodness.
And let me tell you, his scrawny little lizard toes had GLOBS of cheese stuck between them!
In spite of his marked lack of cooperation, I managed to clean most of the cheese off his foot, and wiped away the cheese tracks marking the scene of the crime. For once, I did not attempt to obtain photographic evidence of his adorable transgressions. (It’s gotten so bad around here, that the first thing Cat Daddy asked when I was telling him the tale of Newt’s latest exploits was “Did you get pics of the cheese tracks?” LOL)
I turned my back to toss the sponge into the sink, and as I did so, Newt jumped down from the trash can, landed IN the cheese lid with his same left hind paw, and stomped back across the stove, the other side of the counter, reversed across the stove again, and jumped back up onto the trashcan.
Never ONCE did he even LOOK at the gooey yummy cheesiness sloshing around on his paw, let alone attempt to lick it off!Guess in spite of the fact that cheese is one of his favorite foods, he’s not too fond of it with peppers in it? Or maybe he just wasn’t in the mood for Mexican food, even though he usually is quite the gastronome. He loves his German food, Indian food, American food, Italian food, Chinese Food, Dog food …


Scaling Mount Refrigerator

Mount RefrigeratorMost of our cat liver shunt friends have commented on their kitty’s appetite extremes.  They seem to roughly fall into two categories – the Ravenous Rogues, or the Finicky Fussbudgets. Guess which our Pudgy Pookie is?

While diagnosed as a kitten with probable brain damage, (later rescinded as his HE symptoms got under control), Newt had no problems with food finding. Once he located a food source, he would return again and again to see if he could snag more snacks.

As we began implementing Newt-rition 101 and began cooking fresh meals for him, he soon discovered that the Source of All Good Things was Mount Refrigerator.  We learnt very early on to ALWAYS do a fridge check!!!  Especially when he was a wee kitten, it was too easy for him to hide behind his veggies.  Now, it’s a bit harder to miss the ten-pound tabby swinging from the vegetable crisper.

Some cats come when the can opener beckons.  Newt comes thundering into the kitchen when the fridge door is opened. Not only does he peer into the fridge, lately he’s begun climbing it!

Note his little lizard toes clinging tightly to the bottom shelf as he
scales the precarious cliff wall to reach the summit, containing the forbidden
fruit of Other Cat’s Food!

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