Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Why I love my cat...

I can always remember having kept cats and they feature in many family photo's from when I was little. So when DP and I bought our first house I immediately wanted a cat. DP wanted a dog but agreed that maybe a cat initially would be more practical. And so, we went to the Cats Protection League and Firby (then called Shadow) was the friendliest, apart from a little nibble to DP. Who jokes that this had the cat sold to me! ;) This was a while before we got married so I think maybe 5 years but it might be less.

Firby was fine initially. The first week we had him some friends came round, we had a bit to drink and DP decided to show off, blowing down his 'Diggery Doo' (no he's not joking, he does have one). He didn't wait and I was holding Firby at the time, about to put him out the room so he didn't get too distressed. This resulted in Firby flying in one direction, scratching down my wrists as he went...

I must admit I think DP and Firby felt the worst, I wasn't too worried. I do have a slight scar left but my attitude was I've never planned to be a wrist model so what did it matter!? :) I had to see the Doctor later that week for something else and was a bit shocked when the Doctor typed 'laceration to wrist'... (she was saying as she typed).

So from the start you could say Firby has always been a fun cat to own! 

Not long after we realised he seemed a bit lonely and I persuaded DP to get another cat to keep him company. This didn't work quite as expected because Pippin really was not the friendliest of cats :/

When I went to get her from the Cats Protection she was so bad tempered they said I'd have to get her checked at the vet myself. And when I did that, the vet had to sedate her. It turns out she has an extremely bad reaction to anesthetic, the vet who dealt with her said she hadn't seen it that bad in 20 years! So Pippin had a tough time initially!

She was on medication when we got her for arthritis but it wasn't that long after that the vet suggested we take her off it as it's bad for cat's stomaches (which explained why she had a tough time) and he felt it was improving.

We had various ups and downs but then in about September 2010 I asked DP to take her to the vet as she didn't seem well. I happened to have that week off work and by the end of it when she had a repeat trip (and she HATED the vets!) it was clear she had a tumour and it wasn't going to improve. That week by the way, was horrible. The vet had said she needed to eat more as she'd lost weight so I had to feed both cats separately, we had a litter tray for her indoors and she must have gone down hill during that week rapidly because she fell off the sofa at one point, walked into a wall and tried to eat her own litter! Then when DP got home she'd be loving and 'fine' for him. Having had her put to sleep (the first pet as an adult I've had to do that to) we then dreaded ever having to do the same or anything with Firby...

It was a few weeks after that we decided it was time to consider having a baby. First DP had his tonsils out though! It was a crazy few months! ;) 

Then, having got pregnant rather rapidly I had a tough time. I don't really feel the need to go into detail about why things weren't so great but I was signed off work sick and even that didn't go according to plan. 

On Saturday 11th June 2011 when I was 32+4 weeks pregnant, DP had a week booked off work, I had been to the hospital on Thursday morning and was on medication for high blood pressure. It really had been one thing after another after another. The plan was to discuss our finances for our upcoming arrival... But instead I woke at 5am not feeling well. I won't go into detail (now) but it turned out that I was in early labour and didn't know it. Firby stayed in the room with me right up until the last minute. I still look back and think if I'd paid more attention I might have realised. IP arrived 5.5 hours later and we called an ambulance. 

So when I have referred to Firby as like my 'midwife', that's what DP meant! 

Soooo our story isn't over yet! ;)

DP was offered a job in Luxembourg in 2012 and we decided to move. Part of the agreement on my behalf was if Firby could come too. I took him to the vet who said he just needed a rabies jab and a passport, it actually wasn't too difficult. I think it was around then he was shot in the leg (see this post). So we bought the biggest cat carrier we could get, puppy training pads, booked to take the car so he could come in the back, a cat harness/ leash... Um I think that covers it! :) Oh and when we were investigating where to live we specified that we had to be allowed to bring a cat and have access to outside - Firby does not like being kept indoors! 

Getting to Luxembourg wasn't too hard. It wasn't much fun for him but it could have been a lot worse. Once we got here we then bought the biggest litter tray that's enclosed with a filter so that's made life a little easier as well. And as I say, he was already on prescription cat food for a medical condition so I did have to do a ring round vets - firstly to check they spoke enough English and secondly to get enough food. Oh and then we returned to the UK for a week a month after moving so I then had to find someone to look after him. 

So by September/ October 2012 he was allowed out of the house. He then came back in and promptly threw up blood. We didn't have a car at that point so I rang the vets we'd bought the cat food from and arranged an appointment. I got a taxi there. They couldn't fathom why he'd thrown up blood but he was on a medication at the time that they think maybe affected it (and as we'd just been away we just assumed it was due to the people feeding him misunderstanding) and he seemed ok. It was at that appointment that they did the x ray and discovered he'd been shot... I left with IP and was to go back at 5pm...

The plan was to get 2 buses to pick him up but then a taxi home as we didn't know if it was the car or the vets he didn't like and we didn't want him pooing or crying etc on the bus! So I walked down the street, telling DP on the phone about it, IP in a baby carrier attached to me... And it turns out that the vet hadn't shut the carrier properly so Firby jumped out the carrier on a busy road and ran down a nearby 'hole'. I screeched, told DP and hung up, then panicked. Luckily for me, there was a lady nearby who seemed to speak English and having got IP out of her carrier, she offered to look after her so I could run into the area Firby had run down and get him back. I said to DP later that it was one of those horrible moments where I had to make a split second decision, was this lady friendly and would she run off with my baby or do as she said and stay there? Because as DP said, if I'd left Firby then that would probably have been 'the end' - we were too far from home for him to be able to find his way back and that was a very busy road! I had tried to coax him out but he wasn't interested. 

So this lady held IP whilst I ran round - the best way I can describe it is a low wall with some trees the other side. There was a small gap at one end and then the entry way at the other. So I couldn't crawl under the gap where Firby had gone but I could run round the other end and hope I didn't get into trouble and that Firby could be caught easily. Luckily I was able to grab him by the scruff of his neck (the safest most secure way with cats) and I then held on for dear life, put him back in the carrier and made sure it was properly shut! I did the latter in front of the lady, in the street whilst profusely thanking her in French! I still have no idea, she might well have been English, and I now know that Luxembourg is actually pretty safe but at the time I couldn't be sure. 

The first time I went away overnight in the UK having got Firby, DP let him out and he didn't come back. So DP and I camped out in the living room waiting for him to return and when he did, I took this picture:

So I think that just about sums him up and gets you up to date! ;) He's certainly not perfect and he does cause me grief (Cushings Disease basically makes him very hungry all the time :( ) but I am hoping and looking forward to a time when we can move next year to a house and let him out much easier... Ie with a cat flap (like we had in the UK) rather than leaving our back door open which is not the safest or warmest... Oh and IP loves him. She does get possessive when he sits on her chair but I think she likes shouting at him to get down! And she loves calling him and giving him his dinner and I love that he does come running when she calls him... 

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