14 July, 2009

Yesterday late afternoon I was trying to stuff some doll pins but kept going over to the window that looks over Stokes Valley. For some reason I did not want to let the light go, it was the last bright and lovely day our Sooty had.

Paul suggested we go outside to watch the light go from there, so we did. We put on coats and hats as its very cold here at the moment and spent, Oh I don't know how long, just stood outside on our front steps looking over the Valley and watching the light fade. I lost count of the number of times I said goodbye and God Bless to our Sooty but I kept saying it. We kept remembering all the fun and silly things she used to do too.

Dash Kitten, who had stayed close to Sooty at one stage during her illness was scampering around out the front with us, playing with Isabell who lives next door - they did gentle chasing and fooling around - they played.

Suddenly Dash seemed to disappear, we couldn't find him. Then he appeared around the side of the house carrying something. I bent down to examine it, Paul thought it was a leaf to start with but, it turned out Dash had brought us one of his little fluffy mice from indoors. I wonder if he sensed our grief and wanted to bring us a gift for Sooty. Sooty will have the little mouse placed with her Rimu wood urn when it returns from the funeral place later this week.


Our Beloved Sooty has Gone

13 July, 2009

Our lovely girl, our little black cat who traveled halfway around the world and loved her time in New Zealand has gone to the Rainbow Bridge.

Her cancer had not gone into remission in spite of three chemo treatments, and had spread to her liver.

Rest in Peace our lovely girl
who sneaked across to live with us from the family across the back all those years ago.


Two Seizures

Things don't look good.

Sooty has a seizure at 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. and slept in my pillow in between times. Bridget of Pets are Talking says Sooty said "tell my mom I'll be with her. I'll be laying on the scraps (showing me fabric?)." Now, I don't know how true all this is but Bridget has been very nice.

We have made the decision to take her to the vet to see what he says. It may be time to let her go - no more pain or suffering. We will see.


A calmer morning but a warning about Anabolic Steroids

12 July, 2009

Sooty is calmer today, quieter and still with us.

I wanted to warn anyone who has an anabolic steroid injection done on their cat that there is might be a reaction and that you might be frightened as we were. For heaven's sake if your vet gives your kitty an anabolic steroid injection ask him what the effects might be.

Sooty became distressed around the injection area and cried so bitterly we were ready to say goodbye. WRONG!!!!!! It turns out she had a reaction in the injection area and after a rest was suddenly filled with energy that she did not know what to do with. Mrs Vet's advice to isolate Sooty in a secure, darkened and warm place was the best advice we could have had.

DO NOT FUSS if your cat reacts as Sooty did. They pick up on our stress, they become more stressed. If you can get immediate advice from your vet - otherwise isolate the cat, keep her warm and in a darkened room (this calms them) with food, water and a litter tray.

Overnight Sooty was quiet and calm and today is much better.


Sooty bit of a panic

11 July, 2009

We took Sooty to the vet, who popped her a steroid, an anti nausea tablet and gave her an anabolic steroid injection. We took her home so she could settle and went out to collect some shopping.

When we came back she came to us crying pitifully. We rang an emergency vet who said that the Anabolic Steroid might be causing a reaction and to put a warm compress on the injection area to help blood circulate and ease discomfort (well I think that's what I remember OK).

She rested for several hours then started shouting again and wandering about. At this Paul and I became really upset and in desperation tried to contact our vet fearing that the time had come to let her go. We eventually spoke to Mrs Vet (Vet was out) and she said that the Anabolic Steroid might be making her very active and she would not know what to do with herself and all this energy. I could sort of understand this as you hear of athletes being tested for them.

We have been advised to stay calm, put her in a room on her own so she is not picking up our panicked vibes and she will eventually calm down. Mrs Vet told us not to be too hasty - and to keep calm. So, we have put her in the second bedroom with food, water and litter and dimmed the lights.

We now wait to see what the night brings.


Worried about Sooty

10 July, 2009

Sooty has been losing some weight and is being very quiet and subdued.

I can hear she still has that raspy breathing sound a bit, although not as bad as it was. I have been vascillating about the vet but after SelenaK's comment I am going to make a vet appointment. I'm just so afraid she won't come back from the vet this time.

Yesterday when Paul came home and we sat down to supper Sooty came up and was talking loudly to him, not me, to Paul. She ate a bit of mince after her chemo tablet Paul can't understand what she is saying. Is it Marjorie's driving me nuts or I don't feel well, or I'm hungry.

I don't want her to suffer but if there is hope I don't want to let her go. I just WISH I was more familiar with cats and how they work and what might/could happen.


Bad Weather

09 July, 2009

It is very very cold here. Colder than we have ever been. As a result Sooty has come down with a sniffle and a dry raspy cough. It is not severe but she sounds 'coldy' and is causing us a bit of worry.

Her blood test was slightly better but she is going through one of periodic troughs of poor health. She has lost some weight but has just eaten a good handful of minced pork including a bit with her dially steroid hidden in it. (Yes!!).

I am busy with my doll making but keep the fire on and Sooty is resting on the back of the sofa. She did come to the door and meet me when I returned from my doll hair shopping so the vital spark is still there. It's just so bloody cold here and we are barely into winter. The frustration is immense, it is not usually this cold for so long.

Today we start Chemo 3, so she will take a dip again. I just hope Sooty can hang in there for us, I want her to see another Spring, to see her out in the warm sun.


Settling into a rhythm

06 July, 2009

As time goes on, I find that both we, and Sooty, are settling into a daily rhythm of ups and downs. Morning times Sooty is HUNGRY (steroids) so she is perky alert and responsive. Then she subsides into quietness and has lately taken to sharing Casper the Guinea Pig's cage - he is fine as long as he has lettuce LOL!

Mid-morning Sooty is hungry again so has a top up, then rests and so, on throughout the day. Then come evening time she is perky enough to scamper (literally) at high speed to the door to greet Paul - to say he was thrilled is an understatement.

She is still very thin, and the vet says she will never put on huge amounts of weight but she is still very much 'our Sooty' so we are happy. Oh, and Good News on the holiday front. We had a meet and greet with the pet sitter who will be giving Sooty her chemo for a couple of the days we are away in Auckland.

Recommended by our vet, the man (and his wife) appear to be competent and nice people. Tony took detailed notes about who likes what to eat, their routine, what Sooty's medication was and when it was administered. Where all the food is etc., etc., he regularly walks other dogs, feeds cats, can administer cytotoxic tables without panicking.

I feel much happier about going away for a few days now.


Blood Test Report - post 2nd Chemo

03 July, 2009

I rang the veterinary surgery and was told that Sooty shows a small improvement!

Yes, she is still ill, but this shows the chemo may be having some kind of effect. We have also found someone who will be able to give Sooty her Leukeran while we take a short trip away. Paul's birthday celebration is a visit to see Mandy Patinkin and Patti Lupone in Auckland then come back on the Overlander.

So happy.


Improvement and eating a bit more.

30 June, 2009

I spent the day working at the University and left late so Paul beat me home to be greeted at the door by Sooty, and Dash Kitten. Sooty was hungry enough to enjoy most of a steroid dose without knowing it - yes!! (punches the air).

She was very perky for a while and pleased to see us. She has now gone into rest mode but still seems happy.

Her wellness, or not seems to come in waves - sometimes up sometimes down. We have to keep alert to changes so we can anticipate when we might have to give her an anti nausea tablet (we do not give these regularly - using them only when needed).

Currently she is resting, laid quietly on one of the kitty condo shelves, on her side. She is a good girl.


Flaky moments

28 June, 2009

Sooty has been doing a bit of shouting tonight. Like she is worried or slightly flaky. It's very upsetting as she looks very thin. I am gong to take her to the vet to see if the blood tests show OK and to see if she is making headway or we are just deluding ourselves. I got an anti nausea tablet down her earlier so she is eating small amounts.

A real low point for me.


Post Chemo Report 2nd Chemo

25 June, 2009


Sooty finished her second round of chemo and after a couple of days give us a difficult night - she could not settle, was absolutely everywhere, up, down, on, under, in.... Until Paul went nuts and I put her in the second bedroom with a clean litter tray, fresh good and some water.

The following day, both of us half-dead with fatigue, struggled through work and home for an early night. We found Sooty much perkier, still subdued but ready to eat heaps of gracy, some meat and two whole prawns an inch or more long apiece.

Conclusion on Chemo : Two days after she stops the round she becomes very uncomfortable. We must be prepared for this next round. The anti nausea tablets take a while to kick in but are a big help and not feeding Sooty for some hours means she is hungry enough to polish off food with the steroid tablet in it.


Unwell Tuesday

23 June, 2009

Sooty is not feeling very well at the moment, she has been up on the dinner table having abit of food, wandering around in a hopelessly distrait way, looking totally lost. I have tempted her with bacon some of which went down then she left it, came back, ignored it....

She has had one half on an anti-nausea tablet but this has not had much effect, as yet. She is so very thin - but stil has her sparkle and a shiny cold nose.

Not sure if she will settle, I hope so.


Current Chemo Over

Sooty is still eating but seems very very thin to me. I will make the appointment for her blood test but I am not happy as she seems so very thin.

We will have to see if the chemo is having any effect. I honestly don't know at the moment.


Second Chemo Round Over

22 June, 2009

Sooty took her tablets, reluctantly, and getting the steroids down is becoming more of a challenge. But she is still here and spent some time in bed with me this morning and last night. I have a rotten cold and she snuggled up.

She is still thin and we will have to wait for the blood test to see how things are going and if the lymphoma has begun to retreat.

Sootyt is still sparky, just a bit quiet at the moment.


Second Chemo

19 June, 2009

After her first tablet Sooty came up and snuggled between us restlessly for a while. She is still hungry which is great but it is become a bit of a palaver as the pills are cytotoxic which means they can't be touched by us. Still we persevere and she is sparky and came to the door today which is great!

Second chemo tablet tonight.


Bodyweight thoughts

17 June, 2009

Something that I thought I ought to mention in case anyone checks this with their own lymphoma cat.

Sooty lost a heck of a lot of weight before she was diagnosed. She had become very thin. Now she is 1) on chemo and 2) has the anti nausea tablets she is starting to regain her appetite. This is a long slow haul but she is gradually filling out a bit.

Sometimes I think she looks heart breakingly thin, other times a bit plumper. The lesson I have learned is that rebuilding her body will take time, she may never fill out totally again BUT she still has a sparkle in her eye, a spring in her step and she is still our Sooty.

We start the second round of chemo on Thursday.


Tablet Trouble

14 June, 2009

Sooty it seems is getting better enough to fight back when we give her tablets. Tonight's steroid is still in the bowl hidden in chicken. We lost one tablet (in two halves) to soggy refusal * sigh *.


Eating improvement and Blood Test results

12 June, 2009

Sooty's blood test results came back from the vet (and he has also sent them to Dr Acke at Massey Veterinary Hospital). Sooty's white blood cell count has taken a bit of a beating but, so far, we have not heard from Dr Acke that we should change our regime of chemo therapy - so we now keep going. This result was not unexpected, from my previous reading on Lymphoma, so is not a shock or anything.

This aside Sooty in progressing in leaps and bounds. She woke us up at 5 a.m. wanting love and cuddles (oh Joy, I know. I know but I was too happy to worry about it being 5 a.m.) and she now comes all the way to the door which is just totally thrilling after her previous low periods. The anti-nausea medicine (only 1/2 a tablet has been given so far) has improved her appetite and today we ate chicken (raw) 'Oh So Fishy' sachet and a bit of gravy from Fancy Feast.

I won't say she is filling out but she is not the ghostly little figure we took to Massey. Each day is still a blessing.


10th June - Patience

10 June, 2009

The Maxolon (anti nausea) seem to have had an effect. I only gave 1/2 a tablet once and Sooty has perked up considerably. From only eating chopped up raw chicken and a bit of minced meat she has moved on to a tiny bit of dried and the more strongly smelling food sachets called Whskrs Oh So Fishy.

She now spends a lot of time in her new bolt hole which is the airing cupboard - so we leave the door ajar and she comes out to demand feeding at regular intervals but is able to rest away from the more boisterous members of the cat family.

One important thing I have learned that I want to pass on.


Your cat may not seem to want to eat when you place a bowl in front of them. Don't just put it down and leave them to it - please, please, please - encourage, speak gentle words and above all wait as you might need to count slowly up to 30 or more before kitty decides to take a bit. Kneel down with kitty - get down on their level with them, make them feel comfortable, and wait.

If after a long time your cat just isn't taking the bait - retreat and try again another time. Be patient - they feel rotten on chemo, they need all your help and encouragement.


9 April - Report and Washington DC appeal

09 June, 2009

OK so Sooty came out and grazed a bit on some food already out - and has now gone back to her billet in the airing cupboard (where stuff is put to warm). Advantages - the airing cypboard is warm and cosy and I can leave her food on the shelf. Disadvantages - I can't give an anti nausea tablet without great difficulty, unless she takes a bit of mince.

OK I go with the mince.

Secondly : I would like to pass on an appeal from SelenaK in connection with some rescue kittens.

Now I would not usually do this as this blog is a record of Sooty's progress against lymphoma BUT SelenaK has been one of the main forces in getting Sooty into the best care and medication and I wish to repay her kindness is some way.

If you are in the WASHINGTON DC area and can help care for some FIV kittens please read this. It is a personal appeal by SelenaK not an organisation.

If you are able to Cross Post this to possible people who might help - please do.


Back from the Vet - FInal Report for the Day

08 June, 2009

We now have MAXOLON - 1/4 to 1/2 tablet 1x or 2x per day as needed. This is an anti-nausea tablet which should help Sooty eat without feeling sick on days she is feeling low. Thank You to SelenaK for mentioning this. I asked the vet and I received.

REMEMBER : Chemo Cats might feel nauseous and, though hungry from the steriods, not feel like eating. Ask about anti-nausea medication when you are given the chemo tablets for your cat.

Sooty has come home and eaten some tuna in juice and SOME DRIED which she hasn't eaten for weeks now. [OK updated three hours later after it seems Sooty has hardly stopped eating.]
Her results go to Dr Acke at Massey University for her review/opinion/etc., and she will consider if any changes need to be made to the medication.


Anti Nausea Medication

07 June, 2009

I don't expect you to read all the comments on the posts, so you might not have seen the one from SelenaK below where she passes on some information that I want to bring out into a proper post. It's about anti nausea medication.

I did not realise that the chemo might be making Sooty feel sick and even if she is hungry she might not feel like eating. There is medication that helps ease this. I was not aware of this and I am going to ask our vet about it tomorrow when I take Sooty in for her blood test.

I quote SelenaK, but I am sure she will be the very VERY first to say, consult your own vet as the person 'on the ground' is the best person to advise on individual cat health - never ever EVER rely on the internet for final advice - only help in understanding what is happening.

"She may want to ask about an antinausea medication, sometimes a decrease in appetite can be a sign of nausea. Cerenia is an excellent choice and in small kitties may need to be compounded. Another option (although we've never really seen it not help) is Zofran or Reglan, if there is a component of decreased GI motitily because of the location of the cancer. We normally recommend the Cerenia every 24 hours for a minimum of 2 doses. This medication may be dosed longer, but if you reach the 5 day mark, take 2 days off before restarting. (If needed one of the other meds maybe used during this time.)"


Friday 5th April report

05 June, 2009

After a couple of quiet days Sooty thrilled us today by coming almost to the front door.

If I explain that for most of her adult life Sooty has been a natural greeter - meeting Paul or myself at the front door when we get home you may understand how important this is. The fact she stopped doing it was one of the factors that prodded us into a vet visit.

We still have to coax her to eat (raw chicken is still the firm favourite) but she now feels well enough to show interest in the rhythms of home life.

This is progress.

Finally, thanks very much to everyone for letting us know the posting IS working. All your messages have been passed along to Sooty and she passes a gentle * nosetap * to those kitties that enquire about her health.


Posting now working at The Sooty Diaries!

04 June, 2009

Thanks to Twitter anipal @HotMBC I am now able to accept comments for Sooty - Thank you! Apparently, you have to have comments set to 'open in new page' or set to 'pop up'. Once I changed this @HotMBC tried and was successful in making a comment. So, we are now open for business.

UPDATE - Sooty 4th June 2009.

Sooty has eaten today chicken and a little bit of mince, not huge amounts as I think she is going through a low patch after being bright. She heads out for a blood test Monday 8 a.m. It is sunny but she has not wanted to go outside.


Posting Comments

03 June, 2009

I have had a few people mention that they could not leave comments. I have tried to rectify this so if you come by try again. If it doesn't I will have to look further but give it a go, I always tell Sooty if anyone wishes her luck, pass on *nosetaps * and generally keep her up to date.

If you can't leave a message add a comment to the latest post here on my own blog.


Sooty in the sun!

Not sure if this is a red letter day but Sooty has spent an hour in the sun, and enjoyed going outside to the toilet rather than using a litter tray.  The weather has been poor these past days but today it was awesome and I had the doors open so she enjoyed it.  

I took the chance to wash her blanket as she does smell rather chemically but I don't care, she is our Sooty and she is still here.

Blood test monday 8 a.m. to see of blood count is keeping healthy.


First Chemo Update - 4 days on 3 weeks off

TODAY:- Sooty is OK, her spark is taking a bit of a dip and I think the chemo has something to do with it. She ate some mince and some raw chicken - no she won't eat it cooked - believe it I cooked free-range chicken and STILL she won't eat it.

We have been persistent and now she eats a bit.

I aim to publish links to some of the information I found thanks to friends on the net but the one thing I will say RIGHT NOW is - if your cat is diagnosed with lumps like Sooty was - GET A REFERRAL. Thanks to the persistence of two particular people, to whom I am profoundly grateful, Crochetkitten who has a kitty blog, and @WineCountryDog (from Twitter) I found I COULD have Sooty referred.

This had not occurred to me!! PLEASE remember that there is treatment!!


Sooty Home from the Hospital 28th May

29 May, 2009

UPDATE - Thursday 28 May 2009

Sooty is eating better now and has had her first chemo tablet.

For those who follow these things in more detail her medication is as follows :- Prednisone 10mg once a day and Chlorambucil (Leukeran) 1 tablet by mouth for four days repeated every three weeks with a blood test ! week after finishing to check for bone marrow suppression.

We are instructed to monitor her food intake and mood. The prognosis is guarded - and I know from my online reading that we can hope for remission of an undetermined length of time.

But, for now she is back, eating and has put on a tiny bit of weight. I can relax a tiny bit and post about my new articles coming up on handmadenews.org .


A brief post as we are both worn out having done the drive to the Massey Veterinary Hospital twice this week - a four hour round trip which is long for someone who does not drive regularly. Paul has a cold too so this was a big ask for him and he came through.

Sooty is now on steroids (Prednisone) and starts her chemo programme on Leukeran tomorrow. She is sparky and alert and making up time by eating quite a bit.

I don't know how long or how successful the treatment will be but, for now, things are looking a lot better than they were over the week-end.


Hospital Update on Sooty - Results

26 May, 2009


So, the phone call from the hospital has come, and the news is bad. Sooty has lymphoma. It may be in several places (large/small intestine).

Options are steroids and chemo. Will discuss face to face with vet on Wednesday - we don't wand Sooty to suffer. Maybe by then I will have stopped shaking and crying.


We have left Sooty as the Massey Veterinary Hospital for tests, an ultrasound and possible biopsy.

Sooty was sparkier than ever this a.m. when we got up. Demanding more of the mince she had munched down the previous evening after her prawn, but on a nil by mouth instruction we had to take some mince along to give her 'when we came out'.

We had an examination with a final year student first off, then the Consultant. Both ladies I was thrilled to see. I had been worried we would have a gruff chap (not that they are unfeeling but the state I'm in anything could set me off...). They said there were several options possible depending on what the tumour in Sooty is (e.g. chemo, possible operation) and we will find out when they ring this evening.

We left the mince with the hospital (in their fridge) and have driven home. We were both were exhausted when we got home so slept for 1.5 hours now are up for an evening meal awaiting the telephone call. I will update this message when I know more.

It hit me like a hammer on the way home that without the suggestion of SelenaK in particular (who works in veterinary medicine), my friend Pam Beirne, and others experienced at this kind of thing (Tx @winecountrydog), I would not be doing this and fighting Sooty's corner as I would not have realised I had the option. I am SO grateful for the support.


A Brief Sooty Update

24 May, 2009


We are going to take Sooty to the Massey University Veterinary Hospital 10 Am Monday (New Zealand time) have asked for a referral from the Vet who is happy to do so. I have taken the step and feel happier. I will be honest, I don't know if Sooty will make it through even to Monday she is not eating and is so thin, but I want to do the best I can for her.


Thanks to a link from SelenaK who has the lovliest amigurumi kitty shop, I checked out the Veterinary Hospital in Wellington. I am so rattled I never thought to look so I am very grateful to her.

Our vet is happy to do a referral. He said, however that they might just confirm what he says, and it might have spread. Also if there was an operation there is no guarantee her quality of life would improve for very long.

So we have to think now. I think I would like to have her checked by the hospital people, but it depends on how long it takes to get an appointment. She may not last very long as she is now trying to run away out into the cold (it's autumn/winter here and 9C).

Finally, can I just thank everyone who has offered their encouragement and support - it means a lot to me, knowing Paul and I have people wishing us well in so many far away places.


My Question to Ask E-vet

20 May, 2009

I am determined to find out as much as I can about what might be Sooty's
problem. People have asked is it a growth, or is it cancer - or what.
Get a second opinion, would a biopsy help. I then remembered that my
longest standing group of cat friends are on Yahoo FrankTheCat and
several times someone has posted a question on AskE-Vet
This is a yahoo group formed more than a decade ago and has been of
considerable help on previous occasions. I have joined and posted that
I think covers Sooty's case - I set out my post below, it might be of
help to others in a similar situation.

AskE-Vet Post

I need some help clarifying things around our recent vet visits and our
cat Sooty who is approx. 13 years of age a black cat. I respect and
trust our vet but would like to clear some things in my mind so I can
ask the right questions if I need to call - I have been a little upset
so having a focus with a goal is helpful.

Sooty - story so far

Sooty started losing weight a about 6 weeks ago. She has always been slender
so it may have taken a little while to become noticable. Concerned, I
took her to our vet who did a thorough examination and prescribed a
short course of antibiotics, gave her a steroid injection to boost her

She continued to loose weight so a short while later I took her back for a
blood test - the results came back with nothing untoward being
indicated - no thyroid trouble which had been a thought.

We took her back for the third time on Monday and, suddenly the vet found
a growth in her abdominal area, he felt around her hips etc., as vets
usually do. He said it would be risky to operate as she is 13 and as
they would have to join the bowel together again the recovery might
kill her.

We have brought her home and I am determined to explore every avenue I can
to make sure I have as much knowledge as I can to understand what is
happening. Sooty is eating very small amounts of real meat (and I am
going to get some fish), drinking regularly, still cleaning herself, is
quiet but can be sprightly and when I spoke to my friend in the UK by
telephone she spoke to Sooty (I held the phone for her) and Sooty
turned on her purr like a light switch.

My questions and comments - these might seem silly but as a layman I would appreciate being enlightened.

1)How can the vet be sure that it is not a large but benign growth or a
blockage that can be sorted out with medication or minor surgery?

2) Would x-rays help - should I ask for him to do a biopsy. Would they help?

3)How come this didn't show up in the blood test. If it is cancer (and
this has come on within the last three weeks so had happened Very
Quickly) would it have done?

4)An animal communicator colleague said Sooty told her she was feeling
severe nausea. Sure fine, if you don't believe in that kind of thing,
she was there, online, so I asked OK. Would this nausea tell a vet
anything I don't know already.

5)Would a second opinion be of use. If Sooty is seriously ill, I am
prepared to acknowledge this, but I would like to understand as much as
I can about her condition, the options, what it might be (a benign
growth/cancer/blockage) and how to deal with it.

I feel a bit in the dark and am happy to ring my vet with questions or go
back if I need to. I would appreciate some guidance on doing the best
for Sooty - that is my first and foremost concern - her well being and
future care are my first concerns.



19 May, 2009

This is my beautiful beautiful girl - Sooty.

Our beloved Sooty is very ill. A month ago she had blood tests that did not show any prblems but rapid weight loss led us to return to the vet. He said Sooty has cancer and, as she is not a young cat, that it would be very risky to operate and she might die sooner. She is only 13.

I am just too upset for words.

Sooty has blossomed since we came to New Zealand, and loves it here, she has come out of her shell, become an even more fun and loving cat, loving the sunshine and enjoying the garden. But she is getting thinner and thinner and doesn’t look well.

I am going to cut back on blog posts for a while, I will let everyone know when my Handmade News articles go up (I can cry all over my keyboard in the privacy of my own home) and put up a message or two on Twitter from time to time but beyond that I just don’t feel it is appropriate to bounce around like a lunatic while she is ill.

I love her very much - please say prayers or healing rituals or whatver you do.