Just a quick hello. We had a nice, quiet Thanksgiving Day in Newtopia.  Hope that if you were celebrating, your day was as peaceful and joyful as was ours.

Not much to report. I took advantage of the perfect weather, and took the tiny spinning wheel outside with The Dog to do a bit of spinning of the never-ending Pink Silk of Doom. Newt enjoyed a variety of snackies and morsels throughout the day.  He particularly enjoyed the grilled roast. (I was a mean mummy and did not share my Klöße with him!)

As with every day, we gave thanks that our darling little Schnookerdoodle was hale and hearty. And since I was a slug and didn’t say it on Thanksgiving Day, please permit me to say it now:

I’m thankful for you – each of our, and Newt’s, friends who has been so kind, so gracious, and, so helpful and encouraging. Our journey with Newt and his liver shunt has been enriched by you.

Thank you.

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.

Happy Thanksgiving!

To all of Newt’s American fans, Happy Thanksgiving!

On this national day set aside to demonstrate gratitude, Cat Daddy is in his element.  The man loves to cook.

Hey, if it makes him happy to do all that work, who am I to argue? 

It has been our annual custom to begin our celebratory meal with a list of things for which we are thankful. Having an awesome husband who loves to cook is always on my gratitude list LOL.

As you can imagine, Newt’s continued stability and good health was once again at the top of the list for both Cat Daddy and me. Additional thanks were made for Newt’s many friends and fans around the world, whose support, empathy and encouragement have come to mean so much to us – in particular, our growing community of shunt cat parents, who continue to be a source of information, love and Hope for us.

Newt has been enjoying his Thanksgiving feast throughout the day. Due to his dietary restrictions from his liver shunt, he is not allowed to gorge and stuff himself silly (at least not when we can catch him!) Therefore, his menu for has been designed as a four-course meal, served in shifts.

Newt has partaken today from an assortment of items selected and prepared especially for his pudgy Pookie palate, including: cheese and broccoli casserole, baked ham, carrots, cucumber salad, freshly roasted chicken, roast pork and warm buttered croissant. Dessert will be a bit of Danish apple yogurt artfully adorned with a splash of cream.


And if you tell anybody that Cat Daddy cooked for the cat, he will lose all of his man points. 

So let’s keep this between us, shall we?

Happy Howl-o-Ween Rant?

Hope that those of you who celebrate Halloween had a wonderful time.  Me, not so much.

Oh, Newt was fine!  His costume was that of a healthy, happy, slightly poochy-bellied, adorable cat with mesmerizing and exotic copper-coloured eyes.

Me? thanks to my cycle coming for the second time in less than a week, obviously I was costumed as an angry, menopausal woman. Spent the day whining and moaning under my heating pad, bemoaning my ill-fated womanhood, and cussing about hormones and the apparent diminishing lack thereof. Raiding the cupboards for scraps of chocolate and potato chips, and seriously considered ripping the stuffing out of one of Newt’s toys so I could have some catnip tea.

Don’t get me started on my epic Halloween rants!  Years of stories, I gots ’em – similar to several I’ve heard from others.  The “Hey” people, the fully-grown and bearded men, the non-costumed, pillowcase people, the “I don’t like that kind of candy,” and “I WANT more candy” brats, the “after 10PM beating down the door with ALL the lights in the house OFF” idiots, and on and on.  Add to that, a neurotic, hyper-vigilant watchdog who barks.  And barks.  And BARKS – non-stop.  

Almost all of our neighbors have also stopped participating, due to the ongoing trick or treater frustrations we’ve had in our neighborhood over the years.  I think there were only two lights on in the whole street last night. 

Strangest part of the evening was the 5PM doorbell ring.  Too early for trick or treat, I thought.  I ignored it.  Then, pounding on the door.  WTF?!?  I forgot my self-imposed rule to NOT answer the doorbell for any reason, stomped down the stairs, tripped over the barking dog, angrily threw open the door, and yelled “WHAT?!?!”

It was as if Obi Wan Kenobi had waved his hands, saying “These are not the trick or treaters you were looking for.”

Not the trick or treating toddlers one might expect, but … wandering evangelists?!?  At the very start of the witching hour?

Conservatively dressed and polite young women. Both were wearing some sort of Jesus church name tags, but, I could swear that one of them was wearing a small *tiara*.  

I blinked.  

I blinked again.

These were not the normal prosthelytizing visitors we usually get. Oh, yes, the earnest, “Jesus loves you” opening salvo, followed quickly by something about being saved (sorry, all I could think of at that moment was that I wished I had saved more chocolate in my emergency stash), and when I mumbled a “no thanks, I’m busy,” more earnest insistence that Jesus REALLY loves me.

“Uhm, yeah, right … sorry, I’m busy.”  (Busy being an angry menopausal woman!)

Didn’t have the heart (or presence of mind) to blurt out the first words that came to my lips… “Hey, great costumes!”  Still am not sure if they really WERE evangelists, or very clever Trick or Treaters. But it sure was the most unusual Trick or Treat thing to ever happen at our house.

Usually I make a costume for me and the Dog and we escape the worst of it while trick or treating at the pet places.  Alas, everything was closed last night so we huddled under darkness.  Only one small group of TrTers came by – nobody knocked; nobody barked; and, I sat quietly under the heating pad and ate an entire tub of chocolate frosting.

Ahhhhhh bliss.  

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?


Did you ever wonder why vacation is spelled va-cat-ion? Why, because the CAT is supposed to be right in the middle of it!

Did you ever wonder why vacation is spelled va-cat-ion? Why, because the CAT is supposed to be right in the middle of it!


True confessions time.


Newt has turned our entire household upside down during his time with us, and this was made markedly evident by the most recent turn of events.


After I finally finished a hideous months’ long client project, Cat Daddy has been grumbling insistently about my need to Get. Some. Rest!  The first two weeks of my free time consisted of me teaching a week-long class, and then taking another intensive class.


So much for resting


One of the small sacrifices that have been made is that we have not gone away together since Newt first toddled his little furry footies all over our hearts more than a year ago. We have not been able to have a romantic getaway since Newt moved in, because of the extra care he requires. Fellow shunt parents know that it’s not so much extreme care, just rather time consuming to prep his frequent meals, and knowing the signs of when he is about to go symptomatic so we can adjust his meds and monitor him.


Cat Daddy was insistent that I REST – no computer, no clients, no phone – just REST, for at least a couple of days. He had a couple of days off, a place in mind, the sitter lined up, and it was just a question of whether or not he thought I’d *really* be able to truly REST. He was concerned that I would be fretting and worrying about the baby instead of resting (not that HE would ALSO be worrying LOL).


My gallant Cat Daddy’s solution? Let’s bring Newt WITH us! (Oh, how I adore that man!)


We’re regularly traveled with a dog or two, but a cat?!? Who takes a kitty on vacation? Are we crazy?


All together now, a resounding YES! We are crazy! It’s official – I am a crazy cat lady. As if I didn’t already know that from the Great Cucumber Debate, but now I can hardly deny the truth.


And for the record, Newt traveled just fine, and had a wonderful time.


Plans are already underway for our next romantic vacation – cat and all!

Newt’s First Snow

In an effort to be good Cat Parents, and teach a very important object lesson (e.g., the dangers of trying to sneak out of  the house into the big, bad world!) we decided to allow Newt to “escape” outside in the heaviest snow fall of the season.

We were prepared, and waiting.  Camera – check, running shoes – check, traffic status – check (the snow plows had not yet come into our streets, so traffic had been non-existent).  Conditions were optimal to show Newt that he *really* did not want to go outside, now did he?

Cat Daddy was waiting outside the front door as I opened it to permit Newt to make a mad dash to freedom.

It was NOT what he was expecting! 

He stopped and stood confusedly on the porch, his little pink nose quivering with the onslaught of new smells. He tiptoed across the wet porch, eyes darting left and right, tail bushed up in excitement.  Slowly, he began to creep to the left, gingerly stepping onto the snowy path trodden down by the dogs.

YUCK. Cold little pink footie paws. This was NO fun!

Spying the freshly shoveled sidewalk to his right, he quickly turned around, and made a mad dash down the sidewalk and under the truck, with Cat Daddy and the camera crew in hot pursuit.

Uhm, great.  One thing we had NOT anticipated and checked off the list – crawling under the truck in eight inches of snow to retrieve him.  Oops.

No worries. He continued to dart in and out from under the truck, whiskers twitching and flicking snow off of his toes. 

Suddenly, he got brave, and tore off towards the back yard.  Finding it not to his liking, he took refuge under a giant bush, and was quickly rescued by Cat Daddy and brought back into the safety of the warm house. 

 He did NOT go near the door again for the rest of the day.

Lesson learned? One can only hope.



Newt Launches his Web Site

After putting it off for far too long, we finally launched Newt’s web site for cat liver shunts.  We had been repeatedly asked to share his “success” story and treatment protocols with others, especially on the yahoo Liver Shunt and MVD Support Group, from other owners of health-impaired cats, and from fellow holistic practitioners, but we had been hesitant.

For one thing, at what point does one consider a situation like Newt’s as a success? When do you stop holding your breath, still expecting him to cross the bridge any day, and dare to whisper that tiny voice of hope that maybe, just maybe, he might be able to beat the odds?

Another hesitation was because so much of his treatment has been not in keeping with traditional veterinary recommendations, we were hesitant to share too much information, as we did not wish to inadvertently cause harm to other shunt kitties.

What has been working for Newt, has been working for NEWT.  Holistic care encompasses a whole-health approach to wellness, specific to that individual, and does not simply address overall symptoms of a specific disease. As an individual, Newt’s case has been rather unique, and as such, so has his maintenance.

After much discussion, we realized that Newt’s story could be one of hope for other cats and kittens whose owners were facing the same lack of information and support that we had originally faced.  By assembling in one central location, the stories and information of the other shunt cat survivors we had located, at a minimum, we could help to save owners a bit of time in searching for other cats afflicted with the condition. 

Plus, with each story we found of a cat surviving, our hopes grew. Imagine having an entire gallery of shunt cats in one place – how much hope THAT, in and of itself, could provide?  And by being able to combine stories, management approaches, resources into one central, online location, then perhaps Newt’s story may be able to help other cats.


How could we not share information globally, as so many others had generously done for us individually?

Newt’s First Christmas

Words we thought we would never say.

 For the first time in years, we set up the larger tree – specifically so that Newt could climb it, were he so inclined.

He enjoyed helping to set it up, almost as much as he enjoyed trying to tear it down.

Made us very happy to see the decorations strewn all over the living room!  Amazing, isn’t it, how your perspective changes when living with a special needs kitty?