What Is Normal?

Newt has been behaving … oddly. Nothing to be alarmed about – quite the opposite, in fact.  Been trying to articulate what, exactly, is different about him.

As near as I can explain, he’s been acting like a normal cat!

To clarify, not so much “Newt normal” but normal normal, if that makes sense.  Not the “starving, must eat all the things hyena”, not the “heat-seeking, burrowing, little limpet”, not the “predictable, must have my normal routine” Newt.  Just … behaving like a normal cat.  (Well, as “normal” as a cat can be LOL)

He’s eating, but not huge quantities – acting a bit finicky, but not a mild hunger strike. He has been playing more than usual, with newly discovered toys, not just his preferred old favorites like Ball and Bouncy Bee. He has also learned a couple of new Scare Mum tricks, chief of which is to jump on top of the two large plastic yarn bins on top of the bookshelf, and perch precariously while regally surveying his domain.

I can almost hear him roar “I am the King of Yarnia!”

Well, at least until he decides to hang halfway off the ledge, rolling and writhing and preening while begging for head butts and belly rubs. Then he’s just simply ahhhhdorable.

It’s an odd feeling, finding a new normal. After four years of being hyper alert to every flick of a whisker, knowing so well all of his oddities, predilections and propensities, to discover that he is currently NOT acting in his normal fashion, but in what seems to be a new normal? Vaguely unsettling, but to be fully enjoyed – once we get over the shock, and adapt to the newest version of Newt normal.

In fact, just the other day, both Cat Daddy and I were marveling that he actually has been looking more like a cat these days, instead of our darling little half-grown adolescent kitten. His fur is sleek and glossy, his white markings are the whitest and brightest they have ever been, while his black spots are a rich, glowing ebony. Eyes have been a very light amber, and we haven’t seen his inner canthi in months. And his face seems to have filled out some more – more adult-like, and less kittenish. Oh, he still has that adorable little half-grown look about him, but he looks truly like a real cat.


Strange, how living with a liver shunt kitty makes you truly appreciate “normal” in all its wondrous variations – even when the “new” version of normal causes an initial alarm. 


2 thoughts on “What Is Normal?”

  1. Hi Julie!

    Going to send you a personal invite to join Newt’s support group (http://www.catlivershunt.org). Lots of wonderful people there, with similar stories. Would love to have you and Sunny join us.

    Which vet in NY is consulting? Is it Dr. Kyles? Or Dr. Plotnick? One of our group has seen Dr. Kyles, and another had a post-op phone consult with him.

    Glad to hear Sunny is feeling better with the diet change. Did the diagnosing vets also prescribe Lactulose and/or an antibiotic?

    Newt’s email is [email protected]. Please let me know if your membership invitation does not arrive, and I’ll re-send. Looking forward to hearing more about Sunny!

  2. Hi! Thank you so much for the invite! I look forward to meeting other people with kitties with the same issue. I have felt so lost and am happy to find people that can help me. I am not sure who the vet school is in contact with in New York but I can find out. They did tell me that if he is eligible for surgery that he would probably have to be flown to New York for the surgery 🙁 Hopefully I will get an answer soon. Even if he is eligible i’m not sure I should put him through that. I have sooo many questions unanswered and do not fully understand shunts or what my Sunny’s outcome will be. They told me NOTHING about shunts besides the fact that they are blood vessels that bypass the liver. I do not know what this is doing to him or how long he may have. They also did not tell me I needed to change his diet or send me home with ANY medication. Maybe they see it as a death sentence? They told me to take him home and feed him WHATEVER he wants to eat. I don’t understand why they didn’t put him on SOMETHING or at least tell me to change his diet?! I have been doing as much research as possible on shunts to educate myself so I will know how to help Sunny. ANY information would be MUCH appreciated! I wish i had a holistic vet here to consult about his diet. Now I am feeding him my 15 year old cats science diet k/d because of the low protein. I was not advised to do this by the vet… they told me to feed him anything 🙁 Any advise on how to find a vet knowledgeable about cat shunts would also be appreciated. Right now I don’t know what to do besides feed him the k/d. Thank you SOOOO much for writing back and being so helpful! I asked Sunny last night if he wanted to go live with Newts Mum 🙂 I want to do the best I can to make him happy and keep him around as long as possible 🙂 Once again, THANK YOU!!!

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