Courageous Colonel

I write to you today with a  bitter-sweet post about our cheeky kitten, Colonel Percival Tenenbaum. Today would be Colonel’s third birthday. I’d like to share his story, in the hopes to help just one cat or dog out there, and make people aware of a serious disease, the warning signs, and to stress the importance of feline {and canine} leukemia vaccinations.  

Colonel was born to my parents’ cat, Gyspie. Fiance and I immediately fell in love with the runt of the pack, and affectionately named him Colonel, due to his unmistakable curled white ‘moustache’ marking, much like Colonel Sanders‘. 

Soon he was old enough to come home and boy, did he have sass. He was into everything, and would steal anything, with the hopes of eating it. You name it – entire chicken fillets, rubber gloves, paper, bags of crisps, clothes, tissues, Cheeto’s, anything.

When Colonel was 9 months old, we noticed a  change in him. The first warning sign for us was that he no longer ‘sat tall’ or upright. He crouched all the time. The second thing we noticed was a weird one – there was a tiny square of exposed concrete in our apartment, and began licking it, non stop. All day. The first two symptoms we didn’t think much of at the time, until he began to loose his appetite. For his character, that was not normal. The combination of those three, I immediately brought him to our local mobile vet clinic. They checked him, gave him pills for his immune system, and sent him home. Colonel only got worse. 

I snuck him treats of whatever meat I was cooking whenever I could. I snuggled hot water bottles around him in blankets, cuddled him on my lap, in hopes that would make him better {this was before knowing about the leukemia}. 

I brought him to the vet every week for four weeks. Sometimes twice a week. Finally, the week before Christmas in 2009, one particular vet finally realized something was very wrong, and advised we send him for tests. I researched his symptoms, and came to the horrid conclusion that he may have feline leukemia. I brought him to the specialist vet, and as I feared, the vet explained they would keep him for feline leukemia testing and for me to go home. Later that afternoon, I got the call to say Colonel was not going to make it, and would have to be put down. The leukemia was so advanced. An unhealthy blood platelette level they explained was 30%, and Colonel’s was 13%. His blood was like water. 

I asked that they wait for me to get there, and hoped Colonel would last long enough for us to arrive. Fiance and I wanted to be with Colonel. I didn’t want his last minutes to be with strangers, in a cold room. We were with him in the end. Like the crazy cat lady I am, I whispered in his ear how much we loved him, rubbing him, hoping he would know that we were with him in the end. He was so weak, I wasn’t sure he could hear us. Under my hand, his heart beats became softer. There was no final struggle that I was expecting. Everything quietly stopped.

The vet told us he had been in a lot of pain, and was for quite some time. I’ve never cried so hard or so much as I did the following days. My skull hurt and my face swelled. It was my fault. I felt I didn’t bring him to the vet enough, or on time. And on the other hand I feel I brought him sometimes twice a week to the vet – why didn’t they catch on? I still blame myself.
Colonel was always an indoor cat, which was our reasoning for not giving him the feline leukemia vaccine when he was a kitten. We thought – how would he catch it? Feline Leukemia isn’t actually leukemia, but a debilitating disease that is contagious between cats and cats, and dogs and dogs {not cats and dogs, if you get my meaning}.We knew our other cats {who were also strictly indoors} didn’t have it. It was only months later that we came to the conclusion that he may have picked up the disease when he went into get neutered, a month before his symptoms started to show. 
The symptoms we found with Colonel:
– loss of appetite and subsequent weight loss
– an unusual and new obsession to licking concrete or windows {this was due to a lack of minerals in his system}
– lack of energy
– change in attitude
– change in quality of fur {Colonel had lovely silky black fur, and in the last month, it went downy and brown}
– change or loss of awareness in hygiene
– inability to ‘sit tall’ or upright

The feline leukemia vaccination is one of the more expensive vaccinations at around €70. Getting this vaccination could prevent your pet from the pain and torture our little cat went through. Please get it for your pet if you can. The treatment for feline leukemia is incredibly expensive, not to mention the extreme case of having to put your pet down. Please, if you notice any of the above symptoms with your cat or dog {not sure if dogs would show the same symptoms?}, bring your pet to the vet as soon as possible.

All of the pictures above were taken when Colonel was healthy and at the height of his sass. I didn’t take any pictures of him when he was sick. He was a cuddle whore, and was very much in love with his girlfriend, Toshi. 

That’s just like, your opinion, man

I’ll start off by stating that we are a household of regular Dude references. When it came to making something for fiance for his birthday last week, I knew I wanted to make a pop-culture/cult reference. For fiance, that would be either Star Wars, Call of Duty/Battlefield, or The Big Lebowski.

While scrawling through Honestly WTF a couple weeks back, and saw this post about the seriously talented Mark Hall-Patch and his watercolours, where he delicately paints and draws clothing. There was one particular cardigan that immediately reminded me of the Dude’s cardigan from The Big Lebowski, also known as a Pendleton Cowichan Cardigan, and I knew I had to make a Mark Hall-Patch-inspired version for fiance.
I drew up an image of the Dude’s cardigan, and for the first time in eight years, I used watercolours. A little scary, but watercolours are quite safe and very forgiving, luckily for me. I’m not madly in love with the final piece {it’s a little cartoony, I could have chosen better paper, and I should have spent more time on it; the ush}, but those with a keen movie interest shouldn’t have too much trouble deciphering it. I hope.

Image 2 image cred!

Vicarious shopping

Today is Katie’s 3rd birthday – Roberts niece. Robert gave me full permission to scour H&M for a birthday outfit for her. The words ‘Hello Kitty’ had barely crossed his lips, and I was already on my way out the door.
How ridiculous are these tunics I found? And those patterns! Talk about sophistication. If they had them in my size, I would have bought them. Wading through this much tiny peoples clothes is bad for the hormones.