Friday, 31 January 2014

The Blandest Thing on the Menu?

Another Tom update, for those who may have wondered…

Tom has settled in so well.  He’s been with us for eight weeks now and has gone from a scared, shy and nervous cat, who hid behind the washing machine and ran away whenever he saw anyone, to a much braver, friendly, sweet little cat, who’s pleased to see us when we come in, shouts for his meals when he’s hungry (and when he isn’t – but more about that in a minute!), greets visitors with cautious curiosity and loves to be groomed, to sit on the sofa with us, even to climb onto our laps and take a nap!


However, it hasn’t all been plain sailing.  Two weeks ago, Tom started to be sick.  He wasn’t well for a few days and began to be sick after each meal.  My mum’s cat hadn’t been very well, so initially we thought he must have “caught something” from her (as I’m obviously in contact with her regularly and it was me who took her to the vet when she was ill). But the sickness continued and I took Tom to see the vet.

The vet thought Tom had “acute gastritis”, though he showed no sign of a fever or other illness – indeed, apart from being sick, he’d been chirpy and busy enough, still asked to be played with and groomed and generally appeared to be fine.  He was given an anti-emetic injection, plus zantac tablets to settle his tummy, also some bland food for “sensitive tummy”, as apparently the “best cat food” we’d been feeding him was far too rich! The vet said if he was still unwell after the weekend (it was Friday-before-last), that we should take him back again.

Over the weekend, Tom was fine.  He ate his plain food (though he didn’t really like the sachets from the vet – we think they probably taste like cardboard!).  All was well until part-way through Monday, when the sickness started again.  By Tuesday it was obvious he wasn’t improving and the vet I spoke to said I should bring him in during the afternoon, as she wanted to scan him, to make sure he hadn’t any blockage – that he hadn’t swallowed something like a bit of string for instance!

Tom was scared silly at the vet… He was so scared that he made no protest or fuss, whatever was done.  The vet & nurse had to hold him up and shave his tummy so the ultrasound scanner would work, then he was laid on his side, for the scan, then the other side, while the vet examined him thoroughly.  It turned out that his pancreas was swollen and the vet said she was certain he had pancreatitis, which was making him sick and would be causing him a lot of pain (!?!).  We had no idea he was in pain – he’d been behaving quite normally, apart from seeming a bit sleepy etc – but that would have been expected, as he hadn’t been able to eat. 

So, poor Tom spent last Tuesday afternoon and night in the vet hospital, on a drip, with pain-killers. He also had blood-tests, to make sure nothing else was wrong (eg. liver or kidney problem etc).   I was to call at 2pm on Wednesday, for an update; the vet would call me if there was anything urgent. 

In fact, the vet did call me at about 1pm.  She said Tom was much better, had been on the drip all night to be given fluids, that he’d had painkillers and should now be brought home.  She was keen for me to collect him as soon as possible, as he was so frightened in the vet hospital, that he refused to eat anything.  She wanted him brought home and cared for, because she was sure he’d eat once he was back in his “safe” environment.

Tom came home and has been on a Strict Diet of plain very low-fat foods.  He has eaten chicken breast (no skin!), white fish (lightly poached in water!) and a little tuna in spring-water.  After a week, we started to re-introduce his “sensitive tummy” cat biscuits and sachets.  Yesterday evening and today, he has eaten some “normal” cat food, mixed with the “sensitive” food, plus a little fish. 

So far, so good – he seems to be fine.  In fact, I’ve noticed that he is now shedding far less fur than he had been and he feels more silky to touch.  I think his body was “stressed” and so he was losing fur quickly.  Now he seems well and we think he’s just about recovered.  Phew!

250114_Toms_TummyThe only reminder, is a naked patch on his tummy where he had “the scan”!

The only other thing, is that Tom is now on a Diet.  The vet weighed him and he weighed 6.15 kilos.  Apparently, although he is a large cat, he was about a kilo overweight.  I think this is because he spent a year in the foster-kennels, getting very little exercise and also because we were a bit unsure how much food he needed when he came to us. 

Having been a stray, Tom has developed a habit of guzzling any meal that appears, however much is there – because, of course, a stray that has to fend for himself can never be certain of his next meal.   So, it was difficult to judge when he was genuinely hungry, and when he was just asking for food because it made him feel safe and cared for.  The food we bought was “the best” cat food available – which is too high in fat and not really suitable for a cat like Tom, who’s been used to basic cat foods at the foster home (and probably a diet of cheap cat-food and mice/voles etc in the two years he was living rough & sometimes being fed by a neighbour of his original owners).  We don’t know whether we actually caused his pancreatitis, but the rich diet made him put on weight and certainly wouldn’t have helped him to recover if he’d picked up an illness. 

Tom seems to be well now and we’re keeping an eye on him.  In a couple of weeks, I’ll take him to the vet nurse, to be re-weighed, but I’m optimistic that he’ll have lost weight and will stay well now. 

211213_Tom_FussMeanwhile, he’s living the Life of Riley (that would’ve been a good name for him, if he hadn’t already been “Tom”!), slouching on the sofa next to Dave, watching tv and his favourite animal videos on the laptop (did you know that on You-Tube, you can find a channel called “Videos for your Cat”? Tom absolutely loves it… he’s amazing, sitting watching fishes, mice, birds, other cats, dogs etc for ages, with rapt attention – and the occasional over-excited jump onto the keyboard, which stops the video of course!)… 130114_TV_Tom_4
sitting on my lap when I eat my toast in the morning, playing with his toys, making little forays through “the portal” from the main living room into the hallway and the rest of the house (we opened it last weekend and encouraged him into the “snug” sitting room, where he sat on the sofa and looked around). 

He’s a delight to have around.  This evening, Dave & I drove James to a weekend away and on our way home we were discussing Tom.  We both agreed that he is a dear, sweet little cat and we’re so very glad we decided to look at the Cats’ Protection website at the end of November and saw Tom’s photo and read his story.  He’s the ideal cat for our family – and we think we’re the ideal family for our cat!


Thursday, 23 January 2014

Books! (or some of the books I made recently)

So, I didn’t post from July 1st until December.  Life was so very busy last year – especially after April, when the Building Project really got going. 

That doesn’t mean I didn’t make any books for my business though.  I had a number of commissions – mainly for wedding books – and made several other books too.  In September I taught a one-day workshop at the local quilting shop.  We made felt-covered journals, with embroidered covers. The ladies did some lovely work. 

I had quite a busy bookbinding year, in fact: 2013_Favourites_2_12x12_16_photo_grid
These are some of the books I made over the year…
In the last couple of months, I’ve made mostly notebooks and journals.  Many have had covers of wool felt, or of leather.

Wool Felt Journals


Forest Bird Journal. 

Mauve Wool Felt Journal.

Button-Embellished Journal 


Red Felt Journal with Holly Fabric


Blue Iris Felt Journal

Purple Peacock Feather Journal

Leather Books

I made so many leather books this year… it would take ages to describe them all! So I’m not going to do that just now… I will just post a few photos instead.


Black Leather “Dear Heart” Journal


 Cream Leather Journal

Red leather journal with cream strap fastening. 


Assortment of Leather Books

Longstitch Journal in Wine Suede and Black Leather

Longstitch Journal in soft Red Leather with natural edge detail

Cream Leather Journal with fancy Longstitch & strap fastening with handmade button

Large Cream Leather Guestbook with red marbled lining paper, Small Red Leather Journal

* * *
These are books I have made in recent weeks:

 Deep Green Leather Journal with strap and pen-holder, decorative bead on fastening.

Deep Green Leather Journal with pink strap fastening, decorative longstitch binding and red patterned paper lining (I love this!)

Deep Wine-Red Leather Chapbook, with cream pages. Cover is unlined (suede inside)

Deep Pink Leather Chapbook with ribbon page-markers. Lined with hand-marbled paper by Rhonda Miller. Cream pages.

Scarlet Leather Journal Cover (for ready-made refill), with red-spotted lining/end-papers
There are a lot of photos here already, so I didn’t want to post any more to show more details. 
However, if you’re interested in seeing more of these books, you can go and see the photos I have at my Facebook Page:!/LizzieMade/photos_albums – This will take you to the general “Albums” list and you can choose which album(s) to look at!
I hope you’ve enjoyed having a look at what I have been doing.  Usually I’ve posted stuff as I went along, but there’s been so little time in the past few months, that I just couldn’t manage that.
Thanks for looking!

Friday, 17 January 2014

Birdies, Mice, Yoda and other Rich Food…

I thought you might like an update about our lovely puss, Tom?
This photo was taken on December 28th and was one of the first times Tom settled down on the sofa.  This has now become his very favourite spot and he’ll happily snooze there, or sit next to a human and graciously accept fuss and strokes!
He’s also started to discover that sitting on someone’s lap can be rather nice… This is our new chair & footstool – a pair of legs stretched out flat makes a very good cat-lap!
He’s also discovered the tv – and videos on the laptop!  This is him watching a video (excuse the weird hand in the corner)…
…and watching a wildlife programme on television.  He loves to watch anything that’s moving – especially other animals or birds.  Mind you, just after this bird was shown, some elephants appeared – Tom ran and hid under the table!
He is the only cat we’ve had who likes to watch tv.  He has a very favourite video too…
He’s pretty fascinated by this video of two mice running on their wheel… He gets right up close and stares…
… he even gets his paws up on the keyboard (and then wonders why the video stops!).  
(BTW please ignore the very crumpled curtains in the background – they were only put up two days ago and they need some steam to remove the creases!)
He even likes children’s tv…
          But this is his Nemesis…
To a small fluffy cat, this image is truly terrifying!  He hid in a corner for ages. 
* * *
More scary still though, for Tom, was today’s trip to the V.E.T.!  Poor Tom hasn’t been 100% for the past four days.  He kept being sick whenever he’d eaten.  We initially thought it was a furball problem, especially as he didn’t seem unwell at all – except for the being sick.  However, as he still hadn’t recovered today, I took him to the vet this evening. 

He was not happy to be tricked into his carrier (even though it’s very comfortable!).  He was less happy about being in the car and he complained very vocally for the majority of the drive.  Then he was examined by the vet, who prodded and squeezed him, listened to him with a stethoscope, took his temperature (how undignified!)…
The vet said there isn’t anything serious wrong; Tom has possibly had “a bug”, but his symptoms show that he has “acute gastritis” – in other words, an upset and acidy tummy.  She gave him an injection of anti-emetic, which should give him 24-hours of not being sick and let his system have a chance to recover.  He also has Zantac – human tablets, broken into tiny pieces!  
But worst of all?  He can’t have his nice, posh cat foods any more! We bought him very good cat food – the expensive tinned and foil-tray stuff.  We wanted to make sure he was well cared for and had “the best” we could afford.  However, it turns out these are two of the richest foods on the market.  Our Tom has been a stray and has lived in a foster kennels for a year.  His tummy was used to whatever he could scrounge and then the basic, less expensive brands of food.  He just can’t cope with the stuff we have been feeding him and his system has finally had enough! Which explains why he was a bit better when we gave him small amounts of tinned tuna in plain water.  
So, unwittingly, we have made a problem for him.  We now have some sachets of food for “sensitive digestive systems”, for him to eat over the next few days.  Then he is to have “supermarket brand” or Felix… nothing richer than that.  The vet thinks this should settle his stomach and he’ll be fine.   
Otherwise, he’s a huge (6.15kg), fluffy, healthy and beautiful cat!


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