Throwback Thursday – Hope

OK guys, ended up with an accidental Throwback Thursday post!

Think I need a group hug.  Don’t fret, Newt is FINE. I’m just getting a bit snively and emotional, after looking at his original vet records for the first time in what seems like years.

Was told that he was probably going to die any day, and to just keep him comfortable, so this is nothing new. But reading the discharge papers with the words “poor prognosis” really is taking my breath away.

I remember how stunned we were, and how desperate we were for information and for … Hope. And now, six years later, our tiny Little Lion is a sleek and spoiled older Little Lion?

It seems unbelievable.

So much gratitude to everyone who has joined us on this journey, both from the earliest days to the most recent. Each of you is so important. Each of your sharing your stories of Hope with your own liver shunt kitties is such a beacon of Hope.

Together, we ARE making a difference.

Oops, gotta go, my “poor prognosis” puddy tat needs belly snorgles!

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 …

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

Spoilt Kitty?

Subtitled: Why Newt Needs Three Beds

Cat Daddy regularly teases me about pandering to Pookie. One question that always seems to crop up is “Why does Newt have so many beds?”

Your Honour, I present Exhibit A.
As you can see, Newt is using the down comforter in his bed (also known as the Annex Box) as a pillow, while his paws are comfortably propped on the squishy goodness of his “sick bed” (a wonderful pressie from a fellow shunt cat that he only sleeps in when episodic), while nestled snugly in his bed known as Annex Box 3.

Let’s tally up the few beds that he has:

  1. His Box
  2. His Red-feathered Newt Nest
  3. His Tanning Bed
  4. His Annex Box
  5. His Annex Box 2
  6. His Annex Box 3
  7. His Sick Bed
  8. His Summer Bed (he lined it with plastic bags and lounges in it during the summer)
  9. His Pink and Black Pet Nest (that he stole away from the Slasher Queen)

Oh, dear, when examining the evidence, perhaps Cat Daddy has a valid point!!!

It’s Hot !!!

Just a quick update with some Newt News.

Have missed you all.  Been working on-site with a new client’s project.  Great team, great work environment, and this company has a wonderful corporate culture.  Work hard, play hard, and family friendly.  The “family friendly” seems to extend to ALL family members, as folks have been very understanding about coordinating my schedule around my “family’s”  special needs.

How refreshing!

Having a blast, in spite of having to be gone from my Pookie Bear so much.  Cat Daddy is doing his usual amazing job of taking care of Baby Newt.

Newt’s been doing
really well lately (knock on wood!). Had a crisis at the client’s
yesterday, and was delayed two hours in getting home for his lunch / meds and letting the Dog out.  They were fine. I, on the other hand, was a bit of a nervous wreck LOL

Any significant deviation from his schedule, or additional stress can be enough to trigger an episode in him, so we do our best to keep things on an even keel here in Newtopia.  Anytime something abnormal happens, well, it can be a bit concerning, as it might trigger him. You may remember me mentioning before how he seems to have had episodes shortly after significant stress in the home – like my job stress, or temperature extremes.

We are seeing this appears to be a fairly common concern with many other liver shunt cat parents, as things like significant environmental stressors, or major changes to their meal and meds, etc. can cause challenges for some of our kitties.

Like today, for example. Ugh.  Heat
Index of 105 degrees (40 Celsius) and the A/C has been broken all day.  The fan
portion was running, but Cat Daddy and I were both working this afternoon, so no way to
get it repaired earlier.  Sitting here waiting for the emergency after
hours repairman to show up. Not for OUR comfort, mind you, but for the baaaaaaaaaby!

Newt is rather uncomfortable, and The Dog is miserable!

We’ve had the ceiling fans going all day, and many thanks to Newt’s knitting friend who suggested  a floor fan with an ice bucket in front of it. It’s really helping!

Going to direct dose with extra Lactulose for his dinner and midnight snack, and hope like crazy that will help prevent an episode.

Gotta go, I think Newt needs me to fan him with his special imported palm fronds!

Hoarse from the (Effective) Singing

Just a quick update. Another wonderful day in Newtopia.  The Great Spotted Newt continues to thrive under Cat Daddy’s expert care.  Me, too – even though the new gig is wearing me out – but Beloved is taking excellent care of the house, the Newt, The Dog, and moi.

Hurray for Cat Daddy!

Update for those of you who have been following Pingu’s journey.  Pingu’s mum sends her heartfelt gratitude to all of Newt’s friends who have raised their voices in a song of healing for Pingu.  He seems to be stabilizing.

But now, she humbly asks that if possible, you continue your joyous chorus for Pingu’s brother, Sharkey.  He, too, has taken a sudden down turn, and the family is quite worried. Sharkey is not a liver shunt kitty, but, from what I can tell from his updates, it sounds as if he is facing some sort of liver crisis at the moment, as well.

On Newt’s Group, for the last week or so of singing, several members have been using consecutive lines of popular songs as their status updates. It’s been interesting to see which songs are familiar to members in various parts of the world. So far, one of the most popular seems to be “Do Re Mi ” from the Sound of Music, the “Bingo Song,” and variations of “Old McDonald.”

As Pingu and Sharkey are quite British, I’m tempted to toss in a Beatles song – but have to admit, I’m more of a Rolling Stones kinda gal

So, if you are so inclined to continue your song of healing, love and Hope, join with me:

All you need is love

All you need is love

All you need is love, love

Love is all you need

Victory Song (and Dance)

Thank everyone for the singing – Pingu has rallied yet again! Never underestimate the power of love, Hope and healing energies from friends

Normal day in Newtopia yesterday, lots of evening snuggles and demands for extra snackies and nibbles. A bit of fridge climbing today for a great start to hopefully another wonderful day.

Still trying to figure out what was going on with him Thursday night. He was showing many of his typical signs of an HE episode, but without the major drool that usually accompanies a medium to strong ep for him. Not all cats with liver shunts show the same signs of an oncoming/existing HE episode, but we’ve gotten to know Newt’s signs all too well.  Having things change in the middle of the game is a bit worrisome, and we will continue to monitor closely and track, to see if we can identify any possible new triggers.

Otherwise, today we will be singing our Victory song, and doing the Happy Butt Wiggle Dance, to celebrate another day of normalcy – for our little Newt and for his courageous friend Pingu.

Come on friends, join with us and shake your tails in joy!

Sing With Me

Your favorite Spotted Schnookums is back to normal after a really odd night last night. He went on a food strike and wasn’t drinking either – both of which usually happen when he’s in the middle of a medium to strong episode, complete with full drool.

However, aside from a minor bit of drool early in the evening, no other drooling. Several of his other ep signs were presenting, but NO DROOL.  Weird.  And frustrating. Long night spent alternating Lactulose and water via direct dosing. Finally, this morning, after 15 blippy hours, within a half hour time span, he made a 180 and was on the counter gobbling snacks, and drinking deeply. 

Perhaps you heard that deep sigh of relief I uttered?

So, Newt is back to normal, but now his friend Pingu has had a bit of a crisis. You’ve read about Pingu on here before, and so many of you responded that you were joining us in a song heard round the globe. Your singing worked, and Pingu rallied wonderfully and was doing much better!  However, he had another crisis earlier today, and as singing a song of healing seems to have quickly become a tradition for our cat liver shunt support group, am asking you again to Sing for Ping.

With love and Hope, and painfully off-key,

Newt’s Mum (and Scribe)

Sing for Ping!

Newt’s friends around the world continue to sing a song of healing to support our friend, Pingu.

Cats, dogs, mums, dads – so many people are pulling together in song, showing love and Hope for Pingu, the senior shunt cat who has been providing Hope for so many young shunt cats. 

I humbly ask Newt’s friends, loved ones, and family to continue to raise your voices in a song so loud that Pingu’s family can hear it, all the way over in jolly olde England. Loudly, softly, perfect pitch, or off-key – with prayers, healing vibes, or simple good wishes, let us raise our voices in a glorious chorus of Hope.

Newt’s Newest Careers, Continued

After successfully defending The Dog from his unjust incarceration for excessive early morning barking, (what, he was just doing his WATCHDOG JOB!!!), the Magistrate (aka Cat Daddy) commented that  Newt should hang out his shingle for future
lawyering business endeavors.

Newt the Cat, Esquire,
Attorney at Claw

You like it? It made me snort coffee through my nose.  Cat Daddy is quite the comedic entertainer, as well as being an awesome musician and singer.

Speaking of which, I also think that Newt may be adding “Singer” to his resume. Another liver shunt cat parent mentioned today on Newt’s Support Group that in the Siamese cat tradition, they sometimes refer to sending prayers, healing vibes, etc, as “singing.” Apparently Siamese kitties can be *quite* vocal, unlike our quiet little spotted weasel cat.

So, I shall gently tweak Newt’s little iguana tail and make him “sing” for his friend Pingu, who is feeling poorly.

You may recall we’ve mentioned Pingu on here in the past.  Pingu is a sexy, senior shunt cat who has served as a beacon of Hope for young shunt cats around the globe, showing that shunt kitties can not only survive, but thrive. Under the careful love and attention of his owners, Pingu has beaten the odds many, many times.

Many of Newt’s Group members are sending their well wishes to Pingu today. Will you join Newt and me in “singing” to Pingu? 

I’ll get my accordion, and we can REALLY make a joyful noise!