Tag Archives: cats

Feline PTSD

As I’ve mentioned a few times, I have a wonderful kitty by the name of Punkin who has feline PTSD.  Here is his picture.. is he not incredibly handsome!?

 

Punkin, September 29, 2017

 

A few months after adopting him in 2014, one morning out of the blue, he attacked our little American Eskimo dog, Dixie.  She wasn’t even looking at him when he suddenly jumped her.  My husband & I both hollered Punkin’s name, which got his attention fast.  He looked almost as if he woke up.  He looked at us & Dixie, then ran off & hid.  We checked on Dixie & thankfully she was fine, just very shaken up.  While consoling her, my husband & I talked about what happened, & I told him that the way Punkin looked reminded me of how I felt after a flashback.  I knew animals could be traumatized of course, but I was unsure if it could develop into PTSD.  I did some research & learned it absolutely can.  Since I have C-PTSD, I felt somewhat equipped to deal with the situation.  It’s been quite the learning experience to say the least!  But, my husband & I have learned & I wanted to share it for you other cat parents out there in case you too have a traumatized furbaby on your hands.

 

In all fairness, I’m not positive how the symptoms show up in other animals, but I believe they’re rather similar.  Our late dog, Bear, had been abused & once in a while he acted quite a bit like Punkin does.  I believe he had a milder case of PTSD than Punkin has.  That leads me to believe the symptoms are probably quite similar among animals, not just among cats.

 

PTSD symptoms in cats are quite similar to humans.  They have an extremely sensitive startle reflex, so they sometimes react inappropriately to situations.  If they get scared, fight or flight instincts may take over.  Punkin tends to freeze- his pupils dilate & he won’t move.  They can be very anxious too, which means they may be skittish, hide or potty outside the litter box.    Separation anxiety can happen too.  They’re hyper vigilant, always extremely aware of their surroundings.  Getting angry easily can be another symptom. as can being depressed.  Signs of depression can mean losing interest in things they normally enjoy such as food, playing or snuggles,   They may have nightmares, which you can see by how they sleep.  Most cats twitch a bit in their sleep, but a cat with PTSD will do so more often & violently.  Another big clue is they avoid things that can be similar to the traumatic event.  I believe due to how Punkin attacked Dixie his trauma was related to a dog.  She was the only animal or person in our home he ever attacked.  And yes, they can have flashbacks.  If you haven’t seen someone have a flashback or if you don’t have them, it can be hard to identify.  When Punkin has had them, he doesn’t look  quite like himself.  His eyes get huge & you see fear written all over his face.  He also acts completely out of character, like when he attacked Dixie, then suddenly stops.  The first time it happened, he hid for quite a while, but after that, he returns to normal in a few hours.  They also make him very tired.

 

There are some ways to cope with feline PTSD that I have found to be pretty successful.

 

I talk to Punkin.  I tell him I understand what he’s going through, & it stinks.  It’ll be ok, though, there is no one or nothing here that will hurt him.  He’s safe & surrounded by other cats & people who adore him.

 

I also follow his lead.  Punkin is very loving, but not particularly snuggly.  Sometimes when the PTSD flares up, he wants to be left alone & other times he wants me to hold him.  I do whichever he wants.

 

When Punkin has bad days, I do my best to remain completely calm in his presence.  Cats pick up on the energy of their humans, so if I’m calm, he’ll be calmer.  I don’t tell him “calm down”.  Instead, my energy says everything is fine, & there is nothing to be upset about.

 

Catnip is a life saver!  I started giving it to him to try to help his anxiety levels.  It didn’t take him long to learn that it helps, so he goes to it often & voluntarily when his symptoms flare up.  I got some very soft, fuzzy socks from the dollar store for this purpose.  I put some catnip in a small rag, tie it up, & put it in the sock.  Punkin also likes jingle bells so I have some with bells inside, some without.  He picks whatever he likes as he needs his ‘nip.  Since it doesn’t work for dogs, I used to give Bear valerian root pills.  The smell is very strong & it tastes pretty yukky, so it wasn’t easy to get him to take it at first.  It didn’t take him long to realize that it helped though, so he began going to where I stored it to let me know when he needed some valerian.

 

Some pet parents also get tranquilizers for their pet from the vet or use other calming aids that are readily available.

 

If you too have a pet with PTSD, following these steps really can help.  I’m happy to say that Bear turned into a very loving, gentle dog from an aggressive one & Punkin’s symptoms are managed very well.  He rarely has flashbacks anymore, & his anxiety levels are much lower in general.

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Filed under Animals, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Exciting News!!

I know, I’ve been posting a lot of animal posts lately, but they have been on my heart a lot too.  Partly because I have lost two beautiful cats since May, but also partly because of the two cuties below….

 

There are two precious new members of hubby’s & my family.  Meet Grace O’Malley (named after an Irish pirate queen).  She has a heart on her back!!!!  How cute is she?!  She is extremely feisty & loving at the same time.

 

And this is Fergus (named after an Irish king), her brother… is he not adorable?  I found him in the food bowl his first morning here.. lol  Fergus is also extremely feisty, & very protective of Grace.  He’s a wonderful brother.

 

One of my best friends texted me about a week ago, saying she knew someone fostering 4 very young kittens in need of a home.  They were about 4 weeks & in need of a home.  They were born to a barn cat who had abandoned the litter.  She was hesitant to ask me if I’d take them because we have lost 2 kitties in the last 3 months, & honestly, everyone in our household is having a hard time with the losses.  After talking to my husband & finding out Grace has a disability, we decided to adopt two of them.  I am so incredibly glad we did, too.

 

Grace & Fergus have been home since about 5 on this past Monday, but already are a very loved part of our family.  Punkin is a great big  brother, which isn’t surprising.  He’s a kind, gentle kitty.  Plus since he has feline PTSD, he’s very compassionate.

 

As I type this, Grace is napping on my chest, so if you see typos in this post, that’s why.. not easy to type with a kitty in your face..lol

 

After losing two other precious cats in such a short time, I’ve realized that adopting new ones fairly quickly is a good thing.  I’m not trying to replace the ones we lost by any stretch, but instead, honor their memory by adopting other babies in need.  The bonus is these two being young babies, they are at the super fun, silly stage of kitten development, so they are cheering everyone up just by being their cute selves.

 

It can be so hard when you lose a beloved furbaby.  That being said, adopting a new one in need can really help to heal your broken heart.  They can’t replace the one you have lost, but they can bring more love & joy into your life which helps to mend your broken heart.  Please consider doing so!  There are so many animals in need!  If you can save even one, you are doing a wonderful thing!!!

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Filed under Animals, Christian Topics and Prayers

Tomorrow Is Black Cat Appreciation Day!

Did you know that there is a specific day of the year devoted to loving our adorable feline friends?  Well there is!  Although in my home, every day is Black Cat Appreciation Day…lol

 

Black animals, cats especially, are the most overlooked in shelters & the least likely to be adopted followed closely by solid white cats.  Silly superstitions are probably behind this as well as misguided beliefs that black cats are always the familiars of witches, therefore evil.

 

I call b.s. on this.  Sorry to be crude, but the sentiment fits very well!

 

I have had 6 solid black cats & 3 solid white cats in my life as a cat parent.  They have been some of the most amazing, fun, silly cats I’ve had the privilege of parenting.  Magic was my first cat, & I have written about him before.  He was something special.  Loving, devoted, extremely intelligent & very opinionated.  He knew my moods better than any human ever has & responded to me well.  He protected me once when an argument with a former boyfriend not long after adopting Magic almost got physical (interestingly, the man’s dog did nothing- only Magic protected me).  He scared my mother in-law away from me once & another time pooped on her carpet to show he disliked her.  Magic was a handful & an extremely interesting way to start life as a cat parent, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.  He has been gone since 2007, & I still think of that precious guy daily.

 

Magic was just one example of the wonder that is black cats.  They are sleek & beautiful, often strongly resembling a black panther.  They are highly intelligent & intuitive.  They are creative, dignified yet can be silly sometimes.  All cats are wonderful, but I have found there is something special about black cats.

 

If you’re a cat lover but never adopted one, then I strongly suggest opening your home to one.  You won’t regret it!  It will be an experience you’ll never forget or regret  🙂  Just look at these beautiful babies of mine… don’t you want to have your own mini house panther now too??  🙂

 

Magic

Magic

Squeaky

Squeaky

georgie

Georgie

pretty boy on towel rack

Pretty Boy (Georgie’s brother)

zippy & sabrina snuggling

Zippy (front) & Sabrina at 3.5 weeks when we first adopted them

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Filed under Animals, Christian Topics and Prayers, Narcissism

Meet The Newest Member Of The Bailey/Rug Family!

This beautiful little lady is Minnie Rose…

Minnie Rose

Is she not the prettiest little diva kitty?

I thought that I’d share her cuteness with those of you who follow my blog since so many of you are also die-hard animal lovers like myself.

Minnie Rose is about 1 year old (I think a little under a year) & a dilute tortoiseshell.  True to the tortie nature, she’s very quirky & talkative, & has the sweetest, softest little meow!  She’s a real purr machine too- a little rub on the head & she’s purring happily.  She’s never been around other cats aside from her birth family, so she’s had a little trouble getting used to having a big family.  I’m proud of her though, as it only took her about a week to come out of her shell.  She’s a little skittish around the other cats still, but it’s improving drastically by the day.

She is so funny- she chose her name!  She hid for her first few days, so I didn’t really get to know her well enough to name her yet.  I could see the inner diva, & was thinking of possibly calling her Aretha, after Aretha Franklin.  As I got to know her better though, I thought she seemed more like a Minnie.  She wasn’t impressed.  On a whim, I called her Minnie Rose- my great grandmother’s name.  Immediately her entire demeanor changed!  She became relaxed & more confident.  Since then, Miss Minnie Rose has been coming out of her shell more with each passing moment.  It’s a beautiful thing to see!

The other cats & dog love her already.  Luke, one of my Norwegian forest cat mix boys, is quite protective of her.  Punkin, my young orange tabby, has quite a crush on her- he howls that tom cat howl when he’s around her.  Chester, my 8 year old tuxedo, flirted with her when she hissed at him until she relaxed completely.  Sabrina, my 3 year old black medium hair girl, & Valentine, a 5 year old tortie, are on very friendly terms with Minnie Rose.  The other cats are giving her space until  she is more comfortable, I think.  Dixie, my 11 year old American eskimo dog was playing with her a couple of days ago.  It’s been so awesome to see everyone welcoming Minnie Rose into the family so lovingly.  *shameless furmom brag moment*

Minnie’s former owners said she hid a lot under the bed.  I think she was hit too, because if I move too quickly or she hears an angry tone of voice, she flinches.  She is flinching less though, & I think it’s because she is realizing she’s in a safe, happy, loving home now.  That’s making her more confident

I’m looking forward to many happy, fun years with little Minnie Rose.  She is already a blessing to our little family.  🙂

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Narcissists & Animals

As many of you know, I absolutely love animals. I’m currently the very proud mama to 9 cats, 1 dog & 1 finch. If I can brag a bit, they are all very well behaved (not perfect, but pretty impressive anyway!), happy, affectionate, gentle, sweet & very caring.  I think they’re pretty awesome, & am happy to say that people who meet them seem to share my opinion.

Except for my narcissistic mother & mother in-law.

Before my mother in-law met them (& she met them only one time), she told me I had too many cats & needed to get rid of them.  She also told my sister in-law the same thing.  The one time she met all of the cats I had at the time, she looked at them with such disdain.  In fact, when she entered the room, they all gathered close around me very protectively.  Magic, the head of our family at the time, sat on my lap, swishing his tail angrily & looking at her with the evil kitty eye until she left us alone.  Magic met her one more time, in her home, & promptly pooped on her carpet.  Needless to say, Magic was my favorite cat I’ve ever had..lol

As for my mother, the cats don’t like her & with good reason.  She insults them.  This one is too skinny is she sick, the other one is so rude & too pushy with wanting affection, the cat she used to have weighed 13 pounds & that one over there is obviously way more than 13 so he is way too fat & needs to go on a diet!  Although many people think animals don’t understand words, only the tone of voice, mine are proof that is not true.  Each time she has insulted them, they give her this look like they’re thinking “Well screw you then, Lady..” & walk off, refusing to give her more attention.  It got so bad, I told her repeatedly that if she can’t be civil to my pets, she is no longer welcome in my home.  As a result, she didn’t set foot inside my home for over 3 years.  I guess insulting my pets is really important to her.

Do these scenarios remind you of your narcissistic mother?

If they do, I want to urge you today to pay close attention to how she is with your furbabies & protect them!  The same hurt you feel when she insults you, they feel when she insults them.  It’s not fair, especially since they can’t fight back like people can.  They are completely innocent victims, & deserve your protection.  As the pet parent, it is your job to protect them from any & all dangers, & that includes your narcissistic mother.

Doing this isn’t easy at first, I know.  My mother completely ignored me time & time again when I told her to knock it off- don’t talk to them that way.  I figured out why though- I was livid with her & didn’t mind showing it.  She fed off the fact she upset me, just like any narcissist does.  Me being upset only made her mistreat my animals more & more.

The secret to dealing with a narcissist is to stay calm- don’t let them see you’re upset!  Remain calm & collected in their presence.  (Once they are gone, rant & rage all you want though!)  Calmly state to her that you won’t tolerate whatever it is she is doing to your pet.  Never admit that it upsets you, however!  Just calmly state that you don’t let people talk to your pet that way or you don’t allow your pet to eat that type of food or whatever the situation is.  Offer no explanations at all- it is simply something you don’t tolerate. If she continues, remind her of what you said.  If she still continues, walk over to her, pull your pet away from  her & keep him or her at your side until your mother leaves.  If she tries to call your pet to her, tell her no- the pet stays with you.  She may at some point say something about you being oversensitive, she was just teasing, she just thought your pet would like that treat, etc.  Ignore the innocent act & stick to your guns.  Let her know that certain things are not tolerated & if she insists on treating your pet the way she thinks he/she should be treated instead of how you know is best, then she won’t be welcome in your home any longer.

I know this may be hard at first, but do it anyway!  Your narcissistic mother is trying to hurt you by using your pet.  If she can’t hurt you directly anymore either by beating you or by insulting you (eventually we all develop a pretty thick skin to her insults & become like an insult Navy seal..), she’ll look for new ways to hurt you which is where your pets come into play.  Don’t let her get away with hurting you or your pet!  It’s not fair to either one of you!  Protect your furbaby just as much as you would protect a human baby- they are equally innocent & undeserving of abuse!

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Filed under Animals, Narcissism

God Wants To Bless You!

I want to share this story to encourage you today, Dear Readers.  God does care about infinitely about you, & what you care about!  He also still does miracles today- miracles weren’t reserved only for Biblical times!  I know it can be hard to believe such things, especially when you’re dealing with a narcissistic mother, but they’re very true!

As I mentioned in this post, hubby & I had to take one of our cats into the vet for his annual checkup on Monday.  I was to call the vet yesterday for the results of his bloodwork, & wow, did I get a surprise!  The vet’s exact words were, “His bloodwork was PERFECT.”  I was stunned, & even asked the vet if he was sure.  He was!  I asked about the liver carcinoma that Pretty Boy had been diagnosed with in October, 2013.  The vet was obviously confused, & said there’s no sign of it- maybe the other vet who saw him mistook a benign mass for carcinoma.  Normally, I respect anything this man says- he’s been our vet for 20 years, & is among the best in the Baltimore area.  However, the other vet who diagnosed Pretty Boy with the liver carcinoma didn’t make a mistake.  She was almost as good as he is, plus she did a blood test & an ultrasound, so there was no doubt as to her diagnosis.  It obviously also difficult for her to tell me there was nothing that could be done for him, & she didn’t expect him to be around much longer.  I began to pray for him regularly as soon as we got this news, & God truly answered my prayers!

God truly hears our prayers, even when we feel like He doesn’t.  He also truly cares about what we care about.  When you pray, please be encouraged that God is listening!  He may not answer your prayer as you think He should, but still trust Him!  He knows best, & is worthy of your faith!

And, for those of you pet parents reading this, please never doubt that God loves your furkids even more than you do.  I know, many in the Christian community doubt this, believing animals have no souls, or are only here for people to use (or eat) as they see fit.  I must disagree with this however!  Ecclesiastes 3:19 says, “For that which befalls the sons of men befalls beasts; even [in the end] one thing befalls them both. As the one dies, so dies the other. Yes, they all have one breath and spirit, so that a [a]man has no preeminence over a beast; for all is vanity (emptiness, falsity, and futility)!” (AMP)  Here it is in the Message translation, too “19-22 Humans and animals come to the same end—humans die, animals die. We all breathe the same air. So there’s really no advantage in being human. None. Everything’s smoke. We all end up in the same place—we all came from dust, we all end up as dust. Nobody knows for sure that the human spirit rises to heaven or that the animal spirit sinks into the earth. So I made up my mind that there’s nothing better for us men and women than to have a good time in whatever we do—that’s our lot. Who knows if there’s anything else to life?”  This tells me that God loves animals just as much as people.  So, I encourage you to pray for your pets!  They are entrusted to us to care for them, to feed & shelter them, to love them.. what better way to care for them than to pray for them?

For further information about what the Bible says about animals, I have written a book on the topic.  You can find it at this link: Pawprints On Our Hearts paperback or Pawprints On Our Hearts ebook

Also, here is a picture of my handsome little miracle kitty, Pretty Boy…

pretty boy's best diabetes day ever 01272014

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Filed under Animals, Christian Topics and Prayers

Feline Stroke

Good  afternoon, Dear Readers!

Although I usually write about narcissism & its traumatic effect on others, today I want to take a break from that topic.  Since many of my fans love animals as much as me, I’m sure you won’t object.

Last night, I watched the show, “My Cat From Hell.”. It’s a great show!  The cat behaviorist on there, Jackson Galaxy, is very wise & helps many cats.  Sadly, sometimes the cat parents or vets he deals with aren’t so wise…

I became livid last night while watching this show, because although the cat parents tried, their vets failed them miserably! 

A couple had a 14 year old cat who would fling himself around in his sleep!  They were afraid, & rightly so that he could hurt himself!  Their vets said he was fine.  Yet, a feline sleep specialist immediately realized kitty had a stroke, & his brain was damaged in the area that affected his sleep.  At this point, kitty was shown walking away, & I recognized that wobbly walk as my  own kitty Jasmine had the same walk after her first stroke!

How did vets not recognize that distinctive walk??  How didn’t they recognize his eyes acting oddly either?  It broke my heart!

For some reason many vets don’t recognize or properly treat strokes in cats!

My Jasmine had 4 strokes before she passed away.  After her first, the vet told me to ” just put her down.  It was the only humane thing to do.”. I knew he was wrong in spite of his fervor, so I walked away from him.  My girl lived 2 more happy years with only a sway to her back legs a clue to her strokes.

Thank God for His wisdom!  He showed me how to treat Jas  at home, & introduced me to a good friend who is an amazing vet technician.

Feline strokes are often similar to human strokes.  Symptoms can include:

Lethargy.  Loss of interest in things once enjoyed, like special toys or foods.
Eye issues. Jasmine’s eyes darted side to side.  Some cats also experience uneven pupil dilation.
Facial paralysis on one side.
Inability to move.
Cold limbs.
Seizures.

If your cat experiences these symptoms, get her to the vet immediately!  If you feel her diagnosis is wrong, listen to your gut feeling!!  I did & am forever grateful I had 2 more wonderful years with my Jasmine!!

As far as treatment, many cats recover completely a few weeks from a stroke with no known cause.  Others may have kidney disease, hypertension, hyperthyroidism or another cause for the stroke.  Those cats need medication to properly treat those serious illnesses.

No vet told me this but after Jasmine’s second stoke, I put her on one 81mg baby asprin twice a week (more can be toxic to cats) & massaged her often to keep blood flowing.  I believe God showed me she needed this the day of her second stroke.  She had trouble walking & her left rear leg was cold until I did these things.  She recovered quickly from that stroke.

Feline strokes are terrifying of course, but often they can be managed.  Keep a close watch on your kitty if  he has a stroke.  Exercise wisdom.  Talk to several vets if need be.  Try not to panic, as hard as it can be! Pray & pray often!  Remember that your baby needs you to care for him, & God entrusted you with his care.

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Filed under Animals, Christian Topics and Prayers

Update For April 18, 2014

I’m sorry for vanishing.. it’s been a very painful few days for me, & I haven’t been up to writing in here or in the new book. On Wednesday, my mother’s birthday, we suddenly lost one of our beloved kitties, Georgie. I’m honestly not sure what happened. I am guessing his heart. He passed away quietly in his sleep. Here’s a picture of my sweet little guy..

image

Since his death, all of us are grieving a great deal, but perhaps no one more than his brother, Pretty Boy. They were extremely close. Since there is no way to eliminate grief, all I know to do is comfort the little guy as much as I can. I came up with an idea that I think is offering him some comfort. I made him a new collar, & put a tiny vial with some of his brother’s cremated ashes in it on the collar. He showed his appreciation immediately by offering me lots of purrs & snuggles. One thing I have learned about animals is they do truly appreciate when we make them a gift. I think it’s sweet. 🙂 If you think of it, please pray for our little family. Every one of us is hurting tremendously right now from our loss. Thank you. I’m hoping to get back to blogging & working on the new book within a few days. As if grieving isn’t hard enough, it’s even ore difficult with C-PTSD. It’s making the usual depression, anxiety & muddied thinking even worse than usual. Thank you for your patience & understanding! xoxo

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Filed under Animals, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health

Pets Can Help C-PTSD

Any of you who have read much of my writing or know me in real life know I love animals.  Especially cats.  Most especially black cats.  

Animals are truly a gift from God, of this I have no doubt.  They are constant companions, they don’t judge, they offer unconditional love & support, they make us laugh & so much more.  I currently have 9 cats, 1 dog & 1 finch, all of whom I love dearly.  Every morning, one of my two youngest cats, Zippy, likes to snuggle me before I get up for the day.  He is almost 20 pounds, so when he lays on me & demands snuggles, it’s impossible to ignore him!  He is a special cat- not only because he is strikingly handsome (think black panther- that is what he looks like), but because he is very in tune with me.  When the C-PTSD flares up, he is the first to attend to me.  He has grounded me during flashbacks by jumping up in my face, demanding I focus on him.  When I was battling agoraphobia more than usual one day & my husband wanted me to go out anyway, Zippy knocked the truck keys out of his hands, got under my feet as I walked near the door & more.  I went out anyway, then wished I had stayed home as soon as I was off my property.  When I came home, Zippy was there, offering lots of love & comfort.  When I am sad, he is there purring loudly & providing snuggles.  Zippy is a natural born service cat!  I have seriously considered training & certifying him as a psychiatric service cat.  He has a natural gift for it.

However, even my pets that aren’t quite as gifted as Zippy is are awesome.  They are so helpful with the nasty symptoms of C-PTSD.  They give me something to focus on, which helps my sketchy concentration.  I have to make sure they all have food, water & a clean litter pan.  If someone is sick, I have to be sure he gets medicine on time, that I keep an eye on his symptoms & take him to the vet as needed.  (Amazingly, as bad as the agoraphobia is, it is almost entirely gone when I go to the vet’s office.  I think because I have one of the furbabies with me.)  Most of the time when I write, Pretty Boy (my handsome, almost 12 year old black Turkish Angora mix) sits on my chest.  His presence somehow helps me focus when I write.  It is truly needed- as much as I love to write, sometimes it can be a challenge, organizing my thoughts.  Also, one of the furkids is almost always looking for love from me, but especially if I’m upset or the C-PTSD is flaring up.  They help me to relax when anxiety is bad, & cheer me up when depression kicks in.  

If you are battling some type of mental illness, I would like to encourage you to get a pet.  Pray first, seeking God’s wisdom on what type of pet would be best for you.  God won’t guide you wrong!  I have had a LOT of cats over the years, & I somehow just knew in my heart each time I met them which cat I should adopt.  That “knowing” feeling has yet to disappoint me!  I have been blessed with pets very well suited to my personality, & mine is suited well to theirs.  We always share a deep, loving connection.  God can do the same with you!  Just ask for His help!

I have written some about animals on my website.  What God has to say about them, & some advice on choosing a pet.  Check it out here:  Animals- God’s Gifts

 

Also, if you are interested, there are organizations who train psychiatric service animals out there. A search for “psychiatric service animal” or “ptsd service animal” can yield many results. I have seen a couple of books on amazon too, about training your own psychiatric service dog.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Animals, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health

December 22, 2013

Good morning, Dear Readers!

December is a rather challenging month for me.  I have lost 5 kitties during the month of December since 2001, & my kitty Jasmine had a stroke on Christmas day, 2009.   Naturally, they’ve been on my mind a lot lately.  Not only missing them, but thinking about the good times, & the things they taught me.  I’d like to share some valuable lessons they taught me before their passing. 

December 11, 2001- I lost Bubba to feline AIDS & emphysema.

Bubba was a very laid back, gentle soul.  We met when he was only about 4 weeks old.  From that moment we met, he purred loudly every time he saw me.  Needless to say, he had my heart immediately.. 🙂

During Bubba’s short 9 years of life, he taught me the value of being patient & understanding with others.  Even when he was sick during his last few months of life, he showed patience with me giving him his medicine (which he hated!), & with his best buddy, Squeaky, who still wanted to be by his side every moment.  He understood we loved him deeply, & wanted to do what we believed was in his best interest.  His sweetness was very inspiring to try to understand why people do what they do, even when it isn’t what I would like.  It helps me not to be angry or frustrated, but instead appreciate that they are trying.

December 13, 2003- I lost Bob to cancer.

Ahh, Bob.. named after Bob Dylan the singer, due to his odd meows.  He was truly a character- loved to play fetch with tiny jingle bells, would put his paw on your mouth if you blew on him, & was always a chatterbox.  Such a sweet, fun boy!

Bob taught me to fully enjoy comfort.  Granted, most cats love to be comfortable, but Bob seemed to take comfort to a new level.  Once comfy, you could NOT get that boy to move!  It made sense to me, so I’ve learned to appreciate comfort more.  A comfy pair of jammmies, my cozy, warm bed on a cold winter’s night, an afghan made from especially soft yarn- these little things are heaven to me!  They help me feel good & relax.

December 16, 2009- I lost Doofus to causes unknown.

Doofus was such a fun kitty.  A very big, loving, gentle, laid back tuxedo kitty.  He rolled with the punches, never getting upset.  He helped me to realize that in life, one thing never changes- change happens!  Might as well accept it & go with the flow.  I have trouble doing that sometimes, but I try to remember, if Doofus could handle going from the king of the cats in our old neighborhood to a content housecat once we moved into our house, I can handle less drastic changes.

December 21, 2010- I lost Vincent to causes unknown.

Vincent was a very special member of the Bailey family.  He was my Granddad’s best friend until he passed in 2003.  Vincent even shared his personality.  Strong, stubborn, loving, loyal, intelligent & dignified. 

I was blessed to have Vincent his last 2 years of life, & in that short time, he stole my heart.  He obviously missed Granddad, but in spite of it, he was happy living with me.  In the fall before he passed away, I took him outside one brisk day.  Since he had been an outdoor/indoor cat with Granddad, I tried to indulge him in outdoor time periodically.  (It was too dangerous to allow him to roam unsupervised around my yard, what with the wildlife & living on a major highway.)  This one day, Vincent taught me about how to appreciate the little things.  He stood perfectly still, allowing the cool autumn breeze to caress his face gently.  Once it died down, he grabbed my hand & covered it in kisses.  That moment inspired me to write my book, “Lessons From The Heart: What Animals Have Taught Me About Life & Love.”

December 22. 2006- I lost Delta to unknown causes.  

Delta was a very special little girl- she was born with only 3 legs.  Her left rear leg stopped just below the knee.  Upon adopting her, I noticed she did her best to hide that leg, always wrapping her long, fluffy tail around it when she sat, so as to cover up the “stump.”  It didn’t take her long to notice that no one in the house thought of her as different.  She was just one of the family.  She began to make her feelings known with said stump after a while- sitting & tapping it when irritated, or standing then tapping it when she wanted her favorite treat (whipped cream in a can).  She taught me that something others see as a handicap doesn’t need to be.  It can be used in a positive way.

Last but certainly not least, Jasmine’s story…

Christmas morning, 2009, my husband woke up before I did.  He found Jasmine unresponsive, but alive.  Being Christmas day, no  vets were open, so we had to wait until the following day to take her in.  The vet said further testing would reveal for sure, but he believed she had cancer or pancreatic issues.  He said she would live 1-2 days, tops, & it would be best “just to put her down.”  I don’t believe in euthanasia, however, if I knew that Jasmine would have wanted that, I would have done it for her.  However, the look she gave me when the vet said this was one of sheer terror.  She obviously did not want that, & besides, my gut feeling said don’t do it!.  I told the vet no, I’ll take her home.  The vet scolded me, telling me I was doing the wrong thing, putting her down was the only humane thing to do, etc.  I walked out on him.  I am so glad I did.  Jasmine started to improve once we got her home.  During her recovery, I was searching online trying to figure out what was going on, & met a vet tech.  She correctly diagnosed Jasmine as having had a stroke. Within about a week, Jasmine was walking again, although with a small swagger to her rear half.  Until her death 2 years later, Jasmine had a total of 4 strokes, & after each one (except the final one), she fought so hard to regain her faculties.  She barely allowed me to help her recover from her strokes, as she wanted to do it all herself!  She was a fighter with a never give up attitude.  Jasmine was a true inspiration!  She was strong & passionate, until her final breath in August, 2011.   

God uses animals to teach us humans, if we are only pay attention!  Job 12:7 says, “ But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee:”  I encourage you today to pay attention to the animals in your life.  You’ll be surprised with what you can learn! 

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November 10, 2013

Good morning, Dear Readers!

While I was lying in bed unable to sleep yet again last night, I realized something.. I haven’t given any updates on Pretty Boy since I asked for prayer for him.  I did on my personal fb page but not here.  I forgot.  I am sorry!  Thank you so much to those who have been praying for him!  I pray God will bless you abundantly in return for the favor you have done for me!  

Pretty Boy’s maintaining pretty well.. lost a little more weight I think, but is in good spirits & about as active as he ever was (which isn’t very..he’s always been the couch potato type.  lol).  Evidence says that the problems with his liver are indeed a carcinoma, as the vet suspected.  She doesn’t expect him to have much time left.  However, he is going to enjoy every possible moment of whatever time he has left, & he is getting the best care possible to help him be as healthy as possible until the end.  He is surrounded by love, especially from his brother who is constantly close to him these days.  He seems quite happy, frequently looking for snuggles from the other animals or my husband or I.

Logically I know my vet knows what she is talking about with our situation.  She is an amazing vet, & full of love, compassion & insight.  She also knows Pretty Boy really well.  However, I also know God is capable of miracles.  And, when this type of situation arises, which sadly is inevitable when you have pets, I have learned to lean on Him more than usual, expecting those miracles.  I have been asking Him to give Pretty Boy the best possible days, & to help him not to suffer.  I also ask God for a complete healing, but if that is not His will, then when Pretty Boy’s time comes, please make it quick for his sake.  I have prayed like this for every animal I’ve had, & every single one has not suffered.  Even the ones with long standing illnesses were able to take less medications & lived longer than the doctors expected with a good quality of life.  God has truly honored my prayers, & I am truly grateful for that.  

I never have been comfortable with euthanasia, & do not want to be put in the position again of having to decide whether or not my pet lives or dies.  I have been there only one time, & it was horrifying.  When my beautiful snowshoe kitty Jasmine had her first stroke, we took her to the vet.  He said she had either cancer or pancreatic issues, & wouldn’t live much longer.  I should “just put her down.”  As I looked into her lovely blue eyes, I just knew in my heart not only was that not right for her, but she didn’t want it.  I told the vet no, & he scolded me for being “selfish & inhumane.”   I have never seen that vet again, & he left the practice shortly after.  I took her home, & within a couple of days, saw Jasmine was recovering rather than getting worse.  I then met a friend who is a vet tech who diagnosed Jasmine has having had a stroke, NOT cancer or pancreatic problems!  She lived almost exactly 2 more years, healthy & happy, with only a slight sway to her hips the sign of having had a stroke.  If I had listened to the vet, she would have died prematurely!  We would’ve missed out on 2 years with one of the most amazing cats God’s ever made, & she would’ve missed out on 2 years of love & fun with her family.  Also, during that 2 years, Jasmine had 3 more strokes, only her final one 2 days before she passed away being quite severe.  The other ones, as soon as possible after the stroke, she would walk the house over & over.  That may have saved her life- it made the blood clot move through her body rather than staying in one spot.  She was so smart, strong & an inspiration.

I know I’m kinda all over the place with this post..so sorry!  Please bear with me- not much sleep has been happening the last couple of nights!  Worrying about Pretty Boy & difficult conversations with my mother 2 days in a row have affected my sleep habits. 

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November 5, 2013

Good morning, Dear Readers!

I thought I’d keep things light, & share some pictures today.. 🙂

First, it was 3 years ago today my handsome Norwegian forest cat mixes, Bo & Luke came into my life.  

This is how teeny they were when we first adopted them.. Luke is the one with the orange on his face, Bo has a white face.

 

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& here they are today, all grown up..

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And secondly, I love autumn.  This is my absolute favorite time of year.  I love the cool days, the peacefulness of the earth settling in for a winter’s rest, the roaring fire in the fireplace, snuggly blankets & sweaters & most of all, the beautiful colors of the changing leaves.   This morning, I took a bunch of pictures around my house.. here they are… enjoy!!ImageImageImageImage!!Image!

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October 20, 2013

Good morning, Dear Readers!  I hope this post finds you enjoying your Sunday.

I just thought I’d pop in to give an update on Pretty Boy & thank everyone for your prayers.  THANK YOU!!!!  From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for your prayers, well-wishes & concern for my little man, as does my husband.  🙂

Today makes the third day since we’ve been to the vet & received his diagnosis.  He seems to be doing a bit better.  He is a little more active- more cuddly (like his old self) & he even “killed” the ring off a milk jug lid last night & howled proudly to show off his accomplishment.  I hope & pray this is a good sign, that the liver problems he’s having are related to the diabetes, because at least that is most likely fixable.  

What a journey it is, having a sick pet.. it is like having a sick human baby- they can’t verbalize exactly what they are feeling, so you have to do your best to figure out what the problem is & the best way to treat it.  It isn’t easy, that’s for sure!  But I wouldn’t trade it for anything.. the constant, unconditional love that my pets give me makes any problems worth the while.  🙂

 

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October 17, 2013

Good afternoon, Dear Readers…

I’d like to ask you for a favor today.  Please pray for my wonderful 11 year old kitty, Pretty Boy.  He’s been battling diabetes for the last 2 years, & recently his glucose levels went absolutely haywire.  Today I took him to the vet.  His liver is enlarged & malfunctioning.  It may be due to his glucose levels going crazy, or it may be due to a carcinoma (cancer) in the liver.  Neither is a good scenario, but I am hoping & praying it is related to the diabetes & we can fix this.  The vet says she thinks it may be carcinoma, but I believe God can heal Pretty Boy no matter her diagnosis.  She is a wonderful & knowledgeable vet, but God knows even more.

Here’s a picture of my handsome little guy… thank you so much for your prayers!

 

pretty boy on towel rack

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August 2, 2012

Good morniing, Dear Readers!  I hope this post finds you well!

So I was talking with a good friend of mine yesterday, & had a new book idea.  Maybe not overly original, but I was thinking of writing about cat ownership.  If you know me personally or are familiar with my work (especially “Pawprints On Our Hearts”), you know I love cats, & understand them well.  It would include all kinds of information, such a how to choose a cat or kitten, nutritional needs, emotional needs, general car, health information & more.  I’m thinking of doing this partly to help other cat parents out there, as well as get me back to writing since I haven’t been able to do much in a few months.  If you have any thoughts, I’d love to hear them.

Have a great day, everyone!  God bless you!

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July 19, 2012

Well, Dear Readers, it’s a boy!  And a girl!  We now have 2 tiny kittens.  A good friend of mine knew of a litter of kittens in need, with no mother.  Eric & I have adopted 2 of them, although I wish we could have adopted the entire litter..  Beautiful little angels that they are.  Zippy is a shorthair, & his sister, Sabrina will be a medium hair.  Both are that lovely dark sable color (dark brown, almost black) which is my favorite color for a kitty.  These babies are already fitting in well- the others are watching out for them, like good big brothers & sisters. 

So, chances are I won’t be on much for a while.. such young kittens need the attention of their mama often.  I’ll post a picture as soon as possible.

Take care, Dear Readers, & God bless you!

 

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