Meezer Musings
June 2016

Welcome to June's Meezer Musings! Bandit has been enjoying a spell of sunny weather; the picture below shows him snoozing in a sun puddle and warming his bones on his very own cat-sized sun lounger.

This was wonderful until we suddenly flipped back into a spell of cold, wet, windy weather, which sent him scurrying for cover under the duvet!

Wherever you are I hope you're enjoying the seasonal change from winter to summer - or summer to winter, if you're 'Down Under'.

Sunny days are here again ... (maybe)

What's in This Newsletter?

This month we're taking a look at a few topics that have come up in questions and comments to the site - things that perhaps you haven't heard of, or maybe don't want to think about! But they're important so I thought I'd share them here.

  • None of us wants to think about the end of life, either that of our cats, or our own. But have you ever considered what would happen to your cats if something happened to you? Have you made any provision for this?
  • You may remember that last month we talked about the change in coat color in cats with hyperthyroid disease, and there's a little update to share from one of our readers.
  • We also take a look at Saddle Thrombosis - a thankfully rare, but nasty and often fatal condition that is the cat equivalent of an embolism.
  • On a lighter note, there are recommendations for holiday reading; our usual Meezer of the Month feature; and Fun from Facebook, in which we'll be taking a look at the work of a rather unusual cat artist ...

Read on!

What Happens to Your Cats, If Something Happens to You?

This question came in from one of our readers, Anne.

"We have just got two adorable Siamese kittens. We're not spring chickens and are trying to protect their future should anything happen to us. Do you have any resources in your organisation for stepping in to re-home Siamese cats when the owners die ?"

This is such a great question and something we should all think about (me included!) What can you do?

I should say here that I don't provide a service like this, although I think it's a great idea. And the world's too large a place to be able to cover all localities and eventualities.

What I can do, though, is to tell you about a few options we have here in the UK, so that you can look around to see if something similar exists in your area. Both of these are national organizations - in larger countries than the UK anything like this would probably be more local so you'll need to search your own region.

The first and most important thing, of course, is to make sure that someone in your family, or otherwise the executor or administrator of your will, knows how you want your cats to be cared for in the event of your death.

Is there a family member who'd be prepared to take them? A close friend or neighbor? If not, then what?

Your next option is to find out whether there's a dedicated Siamese Rescue somewhere near you. For example, the Siamese Cat Club Welfare Trust in the UK will take your cats after you die, and re-home them with Siamese-loving owners who are used to Siamese cats and their ways!

Having got Bandit from them, I know that they go to a lot of trouble to find suitable homes for the cats in their care, and place them where they'll be happy.

Another possibility we have here is the Cinnamon Trust, which amongst other services will provide long-term care for pets whose owners have died or moved into residential care in homes that don't take pets.

I've also read about one rescue that specifically provides a home for OAPs (Old Age Pussycats) - senior cats who for one reason or another have nowhere else to go.

So - do some research, see what you find in your area, or nominate one or more family members or friends who'd be prepared to love and cherish your cats if you were no longer able to do so.

And if you've already found anything like this near you that you'd like to share, I'd love to hear about it.

Color Change in Hyperthyroid Cats: an Update

You may remember that last month we talked about the possibility that the coats of Siamese cats with hyperthyroidism may become paler as the disease progresses.

One of our readers, Gayle, wrote to tell me that this exact thing had happened with her seal point girl - her fur, and especially her points, kept getting whiter, and more 'salt and pepper speckled'. At the time, Gayle searched for information but couldn't find anything about this, and the vet knew nothing either.

So it seems that scientific evidence for this is hard to come by, but there are stories from owners that this does happen, and it's something to bear in mind if your cat's coat starts looking much paler.

This is probably more noticeable in seal and blue points, and it's as well to bear in mind that coat color variations can also be caused by seasonal temperature changes.

Fever Mask and Fever Coat

Salt-and-pepper fever mask
Image above with thanks to and copyright © Claire Cooper

I was just in the middle of writing the piece above when one of our Facebook readers posted a photo of her cat's face on our Facebook page and asked what the noticeable color change could mean.

In the photo above you can see this salt-and-pepper effect very clearly. This is known as a fever mask and often indicates some kind of underlying illness, infection or raised temperature .

A vet visit is always a good idea to try and find out what's going on. Even if there's no immediate cause for concern and everything appears normal, it's a sign that you should keep an extra-close eye on your cat's health for a while, and monitor any other changes.

You sometimes see this graying effect in the coat as well, when the tips of the fur turn pale. This is known as a fever coat.

Once any infection is treated and the cat's temperature returns to normal, the dark fur will grow back, but this can take three to four months.

Saddle Thrombosis - an Unexpected Killer

Another question I'd like to share this month is this heartbreaking one from Theresa:

I recently had to put my Siamese baby down due to saddle thrombosis. He was on corticosteroid shots every 6-8 weeks for an autoimmune issue. He was just over 6 years old. It was a terrible time deciding to put him down. The vet said that even with flushing the arteries, a painful process with 20% chance of success, he may pull through to no quality of life. I was devastated to know I had to let him go. Is this known among this breed?"

Saddle thrombosis (also known as saddle thrombus or aortic thromboembolism) is a truly heartbreaking way to lose a cat. It's sudden, unexpected, there's very little you or the vets can do and, sadly, the kindest thing is to let the cat go.

The condition occurs when a blood clot blocks the arteries that supply the back legs and tail. The clot lodges at the fork of these three arteries, stopping the blood from flowing into these areas and cutting off the circulation. This causes paralysis, and the legs will feel cold to the touch.

Occasionally, but more rarely, this may also happen with one or both of the forelegs.

Saddle thrombosis causes an enormous amount of pain so a cat will generally yell and become aggressive when touched; their breathing will probably be very rapid and they may even pant, open-mouthed.

This condition is a veterinary emergency so the cat must be taken to the vet as soon as possible. Unfortunately, there's little that can be done but as a first step, the vet usually will give very strong painkillers to manage the pain.

It is sometimes possible to clear the arteries with clot-busting drugs, but only if the condition is noticed immediately and you act very quickly. The outcome is generally so poor that it is much kinder to put the cat to sleep.

I could find little evidence that Siamese cats are more prone to saddle thrombosis than other breeds (Ragdolls, Maine Coons and Norwegian Forest cats are the worst affected) but Siamese cats do seem to be more susceptible to heart disease than others, and heart disease makes a cat more prone to saddle thrombosis.

I've read many stories of cats of all breeds who've died in this way though, so it's not limited to Siamese cats or their related breeds.

If you'd like further information, this very good article and client fact sheet from the Bilton Veterinary Centre in Warwick, UK explains more about the condition.

But now, as I'm sure you've had enough of gloomy things ... on to some lighter topics!

Meezer of the Month

Our Meezer of the Month for June is one very lucky little guy! An abandoned, stray little kitten, he was found by April as she was, in her words ...

... "taking my turtle outside to enjoy his pond, when I noticed my dogs sniffing and digging at the barrier between the sheds. We do get semi-large lizards but there's also been a skunk and possibly rats so I shooshed them away from it.

They kept on sniffing and digging so I looked but I didn't see anything. This went on for around five minutes. I had looked three times, and finally the last time I leaned over further and saw the tips of two tiny ears. Putting the dogs inside I moved the barrier to get a better look and this tiny white kitten was sitting there staring at me with these amazingly blue eyes."

Sammy, as April named him, turned out to be a red (flame) point and a much-loved bundle of fun!

You can read more of his and April's story in The Tips of Two Tiny Ears - My Little Sammy.

Sammy settles in
Image with thanks to and copyright ©
April Franklin

Summer Reading

We've shared these books before, I think, but if you haven't read them they're perfect for a spot of cat-related light reading!

Author Madeleine (Maddie) Purslow lives with four Siamese and one Oriental cat. Her love of her cats, also portrayed through this story's main character, Monica, shines through in her novel Moon Diamonds - A Siamese Cat Story.

Monica Pinto, a retired actress, suddenly finds her life changing dramatically. As she struggles with her new situation, her cats help her to come to terms with a life that may never be the same again.

The Dalai Lama's Cat is the first of three novels* providing a cat's eye view of life through the eyes of HHC (His Holiness's Cat) a long-haired female Himalayan rescued by the Dalai Lama as a kitten.

If you've ever wondered what it might be like to sit at the feet of the Dalai Lama, or wanted to visit his headquarters in Dharamsala, or asked yourself who might visit him there, or even what it might be like to be a cat in such circumstances, this is the book for you!

*The others are The Dalai Lama's Cat and the Art of Purring and The Power of Meow.

I occasionally link to books and products I think you might like. If you purchase through one of these links, I receive a small commission. There's no extra cost to you, and I only suggest products that I have enjoyed or that other cat owners have recommended. You can find out more on our Affiliates Disclosure page.

Fun from Facebook

Something slightly different in our Fun from Facebook slot this month as instead of something from our own page, we're sharing someone else's!

You may have heard of The Topiary Cat; some of the images have recently gone viral, creating quite a stir!

Surrealist Richard Saunders created these 'topiaries' (they're works of art, not actual topiaries - although many people believed that they were real!) of his much-loved cat Tolly by using photos of various landscapes around the UK with an overlaid topiary cat.

I was particularly delighted to come across the one below of the Topiary Cat in Painshill Park landscape gardens as this park is not far from where I live.

The gardens are full of the most extraordinary architectural 'follies', which I love for their occasional resemblance to Narnia! You can see one of them behind the cat in the picture below.

Richard's cat Tolly, who sadly passed away in February, was a Russian Blue but the topiaries remind me of Siamese cats too.

You can find out more about Richard, his art and his topiaries on his website the Topiary Cat and related Facebook page.

The Topiary Cat in Painshill Park, Surrey
Image by kind permission of and copyright ©
The Topiary Cat

Tail end ...

That's all for June with a big thank you to everyone whose questions and images we've shared.

We'll be back in July with more stories and till then, we wish you and your Meezers a very happy month!


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