Saturday, August 27, 2016

Happy Birthday Brulee!

Today is Brulee's 5th birthday!  Our cute and quirky little girl has grown into a beautiful ladycat.
Graphic courtesy Zoolatry

Mom Paula:  I told you the story a few days ago of Truffle's little brother, Beignet, leaving for the bridge at 11 weeks of age.  I was so depressed.  I'd been on an emotional roller coaster for the past 6 months:  Sweet Praline's diagnosis of cancer, losing her one month later, making the decision to bring two new kittens in my life, having Truffle and Beignet choose me, the anxiety of waiting for the new furchildren, and then losing Beignet one week before he was scheduled to come live with me.  Even though it was a sad time, God knew what he was doing and little Beignet was born 4 days later and would eventually choose to come live with Truffle and me.
Photo courtesy Terri Rogers
August 27, 2011

Brulee was in a litter of 4 silver shaded kittens who were born to Mikayla.  Mikayla is a beautiful golden shaded Persian, which is in the same color classification of shaded Persians with the silver shaded Persians.  Brulee had the same daddy cat as Truffle, so they are half siblings.  I think it's so amazing that the silver shaded Persians are born looking like little tabbies.
Photo courtesy Terri Rogers
Brulee - 3 weeks old

To be honest, I still wasn't quite sure I was going to get  a second kitten.  I think I was so afraid of losing another one that I hesitated.  Terri was very patient with me and told me that I had first choice and we could decide by the time they were 6 weeks old.  I received Brulee's first glamour photo at 3 weeks of age.  Her darker coat was beginning to lighten and she had that Persian pout.
Photo courtesy Terri Rogers
Brulee- 5 weeks

Brulee's glamour photo at 5 weeks was a big surprise for me.  I hadn't seen a photo of her in a couple of weeks and I couldn't believe how much she'd grown.  Her fur was gorgeous, she had the round face of a Persian, and she had the cutest little brick red nose (which is standard for the silver shaded Persians).
Photo courtesy Terri Rogers
Brulee - 6 weeks

By the time Brulee was 6 weeks old, I finally told Terri that I did want a second kitten.  When I went down to visit, Brulee really wasn't my first choice.  I didn't take any photos of the kittens that day because it was the first day they'd been out in the front of the house after going to their first vet appointment.  I was the first person (besides the vet) who'd been around the kittens except for Terri's family. I played with another female kitten who looked very similar to Truffle and had Truffle's personality and the little male kitten, who was adorable.  I stayed about 3 hours with the kittens and towards the end of my visit, I told Terri I had no idea which kitten would come home with me. However, Brulee did something about 10 minutes before I left to make an impression on me.  
Mom Paula and Brulee - October 21, 2011

There was a little kitten who was off to the side sleeping the entire time I was visiting.  Towards the end of the visit, she walked over to where we were sitting on the floor and rolled over and let Terri rub her belly.  I commented to Terri that she looked different from the others and Terri said she had a flatter face.  I reached over to tickle Brulee's little belly and she reached over with her paw and tapped me on the arm.  I said, "you want to make sure I remember you, don't you?"  I told Terri I had no clue and she stressed that a decision needed to be made soon because other people were waiting to choose their new fur children.  I told Terri I would let her know within a couple of days.

It was a two hour drive back home that day.  The whole way back while I was thinking about the kittens, Brulee kept popping into my mind.  Little did I know, but she had already chosen me as her mom with that tap on the arm.  I poured over the photos of all the kittens once I got home and I kept going back to Brulee's photo.  Two days later, I emailed Terri that I'd chosen kitten #2.  Let me rephrase that, Kitten #2 chose me!
Brulee - 5  years old

Brulee has the cutest personality and can make me laugh with her little quirkiness.  She grew into a beautiful silver shaded Persian who is a challenge to keep groomed because of her cottony-soft fur and big eyes that drain all the time.  She gets along with Truffle about like you'd expect sisters to do. At times I think they tolerate each other because both love me.  She aren't real cuddlers to each other, but they do seem to enjoy each other's company and will stay near me.  Brulee is becoming more of a love bug this past year, but on her terms.  I'm so happy she chose to be part of our little family.

Happy 5th Birthday, Cutie Pie!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Flashback Friday - Brulee

Brulee is a gorgeous silver shaded Persian now, but she has such a cute and quirky personality.  She can look at you in that special way and make you smile.  Her mom, Mikayla, is the same way.  We wanted to revisit this video we shared back in June 2012 (Brulee was still a kitten).  Brulee reminds Mom Paula of a Jack-in-the-Box the way she pops up from the trashcan.  We hope we can bring a smile to your face as you watch it.

Mom Paula:  Both of the girls always loved playing in this trashcan.  It got to the point where I couldn't keep trash in it because they were always jumping in and turning it over.  I finally put it in a tight space behind my chair and now it's full of papers.  Perhaps, I should rethink this because I'd love to look down and see this cute face staring up at me again.
Brulee at 8 months - 2012

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Cute Baby

Someone has a birthday coming up!!!  Look how dark she was when she was born!  We can't wait to celebrate Brulee's birthday this weekend.
Photo courtesy Terri Rogers
Brulee - 3 days old - August 2011

We have one final giveaway that is connected to our 5th Blogoversary and hope to have it posted this weekend.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Our Little Mancat - Remembering Beignet

We're being reflective today because we want to remember our little brother, Beignet, who left for the Rainbow Bridge 5 years ago.  He was the only littermate to Truffle and was scheduled to come live with Truffle and Mom Paula, but he left for the Bridge at 11 weeks of age due to cancer.  The photo below was taken when Mom Paula went to visit Beignet on August 20, 2011; three days later, he was gone.
Beignet August 20, 2011
Beignet on August 20, 2016

Mom Paula:  What can I say about the little mancat that wasn't meant to come home with me except that he was loved as much as if he had lived with me 20 years.  I'd lost Sweet Praline due to cancer in April that same year and had decided to get two Persian kittens a few months later.  I knew I wanted two kittens this time, but I was convinced I wanted two females.  When I first went to visit the kittens, Truffle chose me immediately.  When I left that first day, I didn't know who the second kitten would be.
Beignet - 2 days old - June 3, 2011

I'd received several photos of all the kittens (2 different litters) from Mom Terri those first six weeks. It was difficult to know which kittens would be my new fur children based on their photo.  At about 3 weeks old, Beignet's personality began emerging in the photos I received.
Photo courtesy Terri Rogers
Beignet - 3 weeks old

By the time I went to Mt. Pleasant, SC for my first visit, I already knew Truffle was coming to live with me.  She had such an outgoing personality and she immediately showed me I was her new mom. Beignet was a little slower in choosing me, but it was probably because of Truffle taking up all of my attention.  I had debated for over 6 weeks which kittens would live with me, but both Beignet and Truffle chose me that day.  It was so nice to hold kittens in my arms again and I couldn't wait until they would come to live with me in about 6 more weeks.
Truffle (left) and Beignet (right) - July 21, 2011

Once Truffle and Beignet chose me on July 21, 2011, I eagerly awaited photos and videos of the siblings.  Their dark coats were beginning to get lighter with the silver shading and their personalities were definitely developing.  My job took me to Charleston a few times that summer, so I always asked Terri if I could come visit the kittens and she always agreed.  My second visit with Truffle and Beignet happened on August 4, 2011 and Beignet had come out of his shell.  In the video below, Truffle is the kitten sleeping on the left and Beignet is the kitten playing with my hand on the right.

Terri was able to finally get some photos of both Truffle and Brulee together for my weekly photo shoot.  Truffle was the first-born and she acted like it, but I believe she was also protective of her little brother.  One of the photos I received showed Beignet snuggling up next to his big sister and I knew then that I made the right decision by selecting these two siblings.
Photo courtesy Terri Rogers
Beignet snuggling underneath Truffle's chin - 10 weeks

The kittens had their first vaccinations that week and everything was going well until I received an email from Terri several days later, saying she was taking Beignet to the vet because she found a little bump on his side.   At first she thought it may be related to the kittens playing a little rough, but it was growing, so she thought it best to take him  to the vet. The vet recommended its removal immediately since it was growing so fast.  The lump was about 3 cm in diameter and it was near the surface of the skin.  The vet felt everything was okay and it was nothing serious, but Terri insisted the tissue be sent off for testing.  Terri sent me a video of Beignet later that day and said he was doing great.  I think I had a knot the size of a basketball in my stomach, waiting to hear the results.  I asked Terri if I could come visit that weekend to see how he was doing.
Mom Paula holding Beignet with Chloe (Truffle and Beignet's mom kitty), August 20, 2011

Even though Beignet had a large incision on his left side, he was doing great.  He was out with the other kittens and playing.  He tired a little easier, but the surgery had been a few days earlier, but if you didn't see the incision/stitches, you'd never know he'd just had surgery.  I left that Saturday feeling better about both coming home with me in another week.  A couple of days later, Terri sent me the 11-week old photos of Truffle and Beignet and he looked great.  You can see the incision on his left side in the photo below.
Photo courtesy Terri Rogers
Beignet - 11 weeks old

My heart dropped to the floor when I received a message from Terri that Monday morning that the pathology result came back and Beignet had cancer.  The diagnosis was a Vaccine Associated Sarcoma (VAS).  There has been more research about this type of cancer and because scientists have found these type of tumors can occur with almost any type of injection, the name was changed to Feline Injection Site –Associated Sarcomas (FISS). This type of cancer is rare in cats (about 1% of cats), but unfortunately, Beignet fell into that small percentage and needed immediate surgery to remove the tissue areas around the original lump.  I made the hard decision to not bring Beignet home with me because most of the research I'd read said that this type of tumor recurred throughout their lives and it would be an ongoing problem with treatments and surgeries.  I'd just lost Praline a few months earlier to cancer and my finances were tight because surgeries I recently had.  Terri and I both cried that night on the phone and she assured me that Beignet would have a quality life with her as long as he was on earth.  I felt so guilty with this choice and it still haunts me.
Photo courtesy Terri Rogers
Truffle (left) and Beignet (right), 11 weeks old

Beignet was taken to the vet the morning of August 23, 2011. Terri told me the vet said before the surgery that Beignet was going to be fine and that I should still bring him home. Unfortunately, Beignet didn't make it.  He died half-way through the surgery.  We think it was because his body was so little and he couldn't handle the long surgery.  I felt so sorry for Terri because she was the vet technician who was doing the anesthesia.  We were both heartbroken!  It's still hard to talk about it five years later.  I'm sitting here crying the past couple of hours as I write this post and remember.  I posted a short video the day after he died.  You can click on the link to visit the webpage from 2011 or the tab above.  Terri insisted on sending biopsies to feline oncologists and other labs.  The company who made the vaccination paid for all of the tests because they didn't understand why this happened. All of the specialists had the same conclusion:  they didn't know why it happened to Beignet at such a young age and so quickly after the vaccination.  Terri sent me copies of the lab results and I gave them to Truffle's vet to keep on file.  Some of the recent research is showing this type of cancer could be genetic, so we watch Truffle carefully after injections.  Even though I'd only seen Beignet three times that summer, he was my little mancat and he'd already begun filling that hole Sweet Praline left. 

We'd agreed that Truffle should stay with Terri a little longer to see how she'd react after her second vaccination.  Truffle did fine and came to live with me September 4, 2011.  When Terri brought Truffle to me, she began taking special items out of the bag.  She then told me, "I'd hoped to bring Beignet to you today, too, but at least you can have part of him with you." Terri had brought me a small urn with half of Beignet's ashes (she kept half).  I told her that I wanted to ask for them, but since Beignet was technically still hers that I didn't.  He has a place beside Sweet Praline's ashes in my living room.  I have some comfort in believing that Sweet Praline is taking care of him at the bridge and that he is driving her crazy with his little mancat antics.  I'll always wonder what it would have been like to have Beignet living with Truffle and me.  I've wondered if there would have been a closer relationship since they were the only littermates.  I've imagined what he would look like today as a handsome adult. He is missed.

Four days later, Brulee was born...

Special Note:  In the next few weeks, I will share an informative post about Feline Injection Site –Associated Sarcomas (FISS). There isn't a lot of research on it yet, but the research that is out there has impacted decisions I've made about Truffle and Brulee.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016



We interrupt this sleep to tell you that we're a little inactive right now because Mom Paula is on some medication that makes her sleepy.  She's fallen asleep in the chair watching TV every night and is sleepy throughout the day.  Don't change that channel, because we'll be back.

Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to Jeanne K. from Random Felines on winning the 5th Blogoversary Cat Package.

We have another  exciting 5th Blogoversary Kitty Package coming up in a few days (once we wake up around here).

Remembering Beignet

We feel so bad.  We had the incorrect date written on our calendar for the anniversary of little Beignet going to the bridge.  We thought it was Thursday until FB reminded us it was today.  We promise we'll have a memory post on him tomorrow. :(
Truffle's little brother - Beignet