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

Sleepy

Truffle

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 Chewy.com 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

Monday, August 22, 2016

Bring Your Cat to the Vet Day #askyourvet

Pledge to take your cat to the vet this month

When  was the last time you took your cat to the vet?  You may think this is a foolish question, but statistics show that even though there are more cats owned than dogs in the United States, only a small number of cats are taken to the vet on a regular basis. Some research has shown that 83% of cats are taken to the vet the first year of ownership, but over half don't return.  The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) has used the month of August to educate cat caregivers on the importance of routine check-ups.  Not only are checkups important to get required vaccinations, but cats should be screened for possible diseases and health problems to help maintain health and longevity.
Photo courtesy of IDEXX
This post is sponsored by Pet Health Network® and the BlogPaws® Pet Influencer Network™. I am being compensated to help create awareness for the importance of the IDEXX SDMA™ kidney screening test for pets, but we only share information we feel is relevant to our readers. Neither Pet Health Network® or IDEXX is responsible for the content of this article.



Did you know that kidney disease is the leading cause for suffering and death in cats (like heart disease is for humans)? IDEXX SDMA™ is a breakthrough test that screens cats for kidney disease.  This test can detect kidney disease months to years earlier and gives the cat parent and vet time to do something about it.  If your cat receives the IDEXX SDMA screening test, kidney disease could be detected when much of the cat's kidney function is still intact.
Truffle and Brulee sharing facts about kidney disease
Truffle and Brulee share facts on kidney disease in cats



Why is it so important to have your cats tested for kidney disease?  One in three cats will develop kidney disease.  There are no visible signs early on, which is why it's important to have your cat tested with a screening test, such as IDEXX SDMA.  Cats tend to hide disease, even if it's advanced, so they can appear normal in the early stages of kidney disease.  In later stages, symptoms often include increased thirst, frequent urination, and subtle weight loss. These symptoms can also be signs of other diseases and that's why it's so important to take your cat to the vet for annual checkups which include examinations, needed vaccinations, and other screening tests, such as the IDEXX SDMA test to help identify or rule out kidney disease.
Truffle had an A+ examination at the vet

Truffle went for her annual examination last week.  She'd gained almost a pound, her temperature was normal, her teeth looked great, and the vet drew blood for baseline screening since Truffle turned 5 years old this summer.  We're happy to report that Truffle's blood work results were pretty good. There were a couple of counts that were off a little bit, but the vet believes it's her summer allergies in her eyes. Brulee goes to the vet next month for her annual checkup and will have her baseline blood work performed also.

You can get more information about IDEXX SDMA and kidney disease by following Pet Health Network® on Facebook.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of IDEXX. The opinions and text are all mine.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Sunday Selfie

Mom Paula tried to take a true "Sunday Selfie" of Truffle and herself this past weekend, but Truffle wouldn't cooperate and look into the camera.  Mom Paula was hesitant to post the photo because the "bags" under her eyes look terrible, but she figured everyone would understand human tiredness.  We converted the photo to black and white and added the frosted effect to soften the photo.  We hope you have a great week this week.  We have a busy week ahead with a sponsored post, a memory of our little Beignet, and Brulee's birthday.
Mom Paula, Truffle, Sunday Selfie
A quiet moment together

You can see more Sunday Selfies by visiting The Cat on My Head.

Giveaway


Today is the last day to enter the giveaway for the Chewy.com 5th blogoversary cat package.  We have one more major giveaway as part of our 5th blogoversary later this week, so stay tuned.