goodbye my friend



Posting day: Sunday, and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.


Sunday 22nd September 2019


Sylvia, known in the blog as ‘Polymath’, respected and celebrated the lives of all living creatures. If she knew of any animal in distress, she wouldn’t rest until she had rescued it,  or, in later years, dispatched me do so!

Thus, I found myself once at the old RSPCA in Barnes Hill at 2.00 a.m. with a spinning squirrel who’d been hit on the head by a car outside her house or, on another occasion, in the dark one night, chasing a frightened baby herring gull round the back streets of Barmouth. It’d fallen from its nest on the flat roof of Barmouth Co-op.

A week later, when it had recuperated in her living room, I was required to teeter on the roof of her van in order to return it to the nest. (Apparently, gulls are one of the few birds who will accept their offspring even if they’ve been away and come back smelling of humans. Its parents came to greet it.)

She carried home Fluffy, a street kitten she found one wet night in the gutter in Rio, Brazil, and when she and her husband returned to Britain, Fluffy came too.

When I accidentally splashed fence paint on a young wood louse, she spent an hour carefully cleaning the tiny insect with minute shreds of damp tissue.

Sadly, Polymath, my friend of fifty-six years, was diagnosed, out of the blue, with a terminal illness just twelve days ago. She died last Thursday.

There were occasions on which I answered a phone call from her on a Wednesday or Sunday evening, and moaned, “I’m tired, and totally uninspired. I’ve only just begun this post, and it’s even boring me. I can’t publish this garbage.”

After admonishing me yet again for leaving post writing until the last minute, she’d invariably say, “It’s not about being inspired. Just get on with it!”

So that’s what I’ll do.


Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact or

Posted in Uncategorized | 15 Comments




Posting day: Sunday, and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.


Wednesday 18th September 2019


I apologise for the non-appearance of a post last Sunday. This was owing to an ongoing crisis situation.

I hope I will be able to post next Sunday.


Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact or

Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Daisy, Daisy ……………..


Posting day: Sunday, and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.


Sunday September 8th 2019


It’s Thursday and Isis, Daisy and I are off to RSPCA Newbrook Farm, Isis for the second part of her vaccination (accidentally missed last year) and her regular anal gland procedure, Daisy because she needs a new thyroid prescription and weight check.

Isis is very good as usual. Today, for the first time, she has her treatments without a muzzle. That’s a first.

And Daisy?

Well, she never yowls on the journey. She just vomits or poops, or both. We even have a regular pit stop for cat carrier change over.

She’s a good-natured little cat, and always behaves with decorum in the consulting room. The only evidence of her anxiety are damp little paw prints on the examination table, and her tendency to crawl into one’s sleeves or under the hem of one’s jumper.

We can deal with these idiosyncrasies. What, of course, as all cat people know, is frustratingly difficult to deal with is when kitty says “Shan’t.”

Although Daisy’s diarrhoea has been treated successfully, she refuses to eat her renal and gastrointestinal wet food. When I don’t offer her a replacement, she nibbles half-heartedly at her renal/gastrointestinal dry food.

Instead of achieving the weight gain the vet and I are hoping for, Daisy grows steadily thinner. Her shoulder blades feel like fur coated bone, and I can literally count her little ribs.

I give in and feed her Sheba alongside her special dried food. That’s more like it! Yes, she’ll eat some of that.

Not enough, though.

The vet and I talk again. He is fine with the Sheba: eating must take precedence. He also researches an appetite enhancer tablet which can be prescribed for cats with thyroid and renal problems.

The tablets are quite small, she only has to take a quarter of one every other day, and I have a pill cutter. Surely Daisy, who happily helps herself every day to a thyroid pill covered with sardine or pilchard, will not notice that her fishy ball contains a different med.

No problem there then, right?


Daisy is horrified that her pilchard ball is tainted with appetite enhancer, and refuses point blank to even consider eating it.

What’s more, she suspects that sinister things might be happening to her thyroid pill, and refuses to eat that, too.


There’s nothing else for it but to dig out my old, pink, polo-necked jumper again, usher the annoyed feline inside, close the entrance and open up the polo-neck.

As soon as her cross little head pops out, I grasp the neck tightly enough to prevent her from thrusting out a furry paw, and loose enough to avoid strangling her …… although, on second thoughts. (You cat people will know exactly what flits into my mind.)

I struggle to open her tightly clenched mouth with my other hand and to poke the pill into her mouth before she closes it on my fingers.

Tonight – just a few minute ago, in fact – deciding that it would be nice to take a snap of her with her head poking out of my polo neck, I pop upstairs to give her her med.

This time, naturally, she turns round swiftly inside the jumper, so that her rear end is now facing the neck of the jumper and her naughty head the hem.

Point to Daisy: fifteen love.

Just as swiftly, I allow her head to emerge, then wrap the hem end of the jumper round her neck. Ah, I can now sit on the extra length to preempt an escape bid, and use two hands to feed her the pill.

This is much easier: fifteen all.

Thanks Daisy.




We are not amused.




Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact or

Posted in a very good dog, a vet visit, dear little Isis, Isis and Daisy, Newbrook Farm, RSPCA | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

a challenge for Isis



Posting day: Sunday, and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.


Sunday September 2nd 2019


It’s Wednesday morning. It’s raining, so I take Isis to Kings Heath Park for a change. She is so intrigued with all the smells which have accumulated since she last visited, that she is determined to check out every one. After twenty minutes, we’ve still not arrived at the bottom bowling green.

She marks each outstanding smell so assiduously that she soon runs out of pee. I point this out to her, but, undeterred, she continues to mark.

Thrilled to play in her Colour Garden again, she races round and round her bed of shrubs gleefully, until I rudely interrupt her to take her home.

Isis spends several hours on her own today, so in the early evening, off we go to desport ourselves for an hour or so in Highbury.

We’re wet and tired but happy when we set off for home. I’m looking forward to a lazy evening under a fleece on the day bed with Isis.

Since it’s raining, I look for my house key before getting out of the car. I look for a long time. I search. I rummage through bags and pockets. I get out of the car, and poke disconsolately in the rain, among the saturated heap of grass cuttings on the side of the drive.

No luck.

We return to the park where I scour the ground, trudging up and down between the car and the spot where earlier I sat to watch Hairy One playing.

I have spare keys, but they, of course, are unavailable: one is in the house, while the other is with a friend who is not in Birmingham at present.


I lose things so frequently that it’s quite tedious. But this evening’s situation is more than tedious. I repeat a few choice and very impolite words over and over again.

Good job that my pet’s a dog and not a parrot.

I ring my very good friend A. Of course, she tells me, Isis and I can stay with her overnight.

Fortunately, I’d posted on Hairy One’s blog the night before; also, by sheer luck, I’d given Daisy her thyroid tablet and had fed both furries before leaving for Highbury.

We have to park some distance from A.’s house, and I expect to struggle with getting Isis to walk along Pershore Road, especially as it’s very dull and all the vehicles have headlights on. But she’s unbelievably co-operative, and only refuses to walk when we’re traversing the zebra crossing.

Not the optimum choice for a stand-off, but, fortunately, she responds to some frantic chin tapping, and, at last, the soggy pair of us arrive on A.’s doorstep.

Isis has never been to the house before, and is obviously surprised to be ushered in.

I expect her to be frightened and desperate to leave, but she’s  neither. She knows A. well but is, of course, completely thrown by the new surroundings.

I keep her on her lead, and for the first hour she stands still on a rug in the sitting room, now and again gingerly extending an exploratory front paw.

She allows me to guide her into the kitchen for a drink of water and back to the rug. A.  kindly covers her sofa with an old sheet, and I lift Isis up onto it. She settles down between us and, after a while, relaxes.

So far, so good.

A. and I chat until after midnight.

Then I lift Isis down and manouevre her out into the garden and back. She seems quite at ease.

I guide her with lead and chin taps up the stairs and into the spare bedroom. She lies on the floor, but nothing I do will get her to attempt to jump onto the bed.

When I lift her up, she lies down immediately but won’t move an inch in any direction. Clearly, she is afraid of falling off the bed.






I have to shuffle her along with my legs so that there’s room for me as well! All night she sleeps pushed up against me. Once or twice, she gives a little growl, but settles as soon as I lay my hand on her side.

In the morning, she stays on the bed when I go to the bathroom. Again, she’ll not move until I pick her up and put her down on the floor.

This is the first time that Isis has stayed in a strange house, except for her two abortive visits to Wales soon after she came to live with me.

She’s behaved very well, and I am very proud of her.

At the same time, watching how restricted her movements are in a new environment, I’m reminded of the challenges she has had to face, and still has to face, every day of her life.

Today, I watch her racing around yet another area of the park which she has mapped out. She has learned where the trees and bushes are and races around fearlessly. When we’re walking in less familiar areas, naturally, I have to protect her from obstacles. Sometimes, I’m not quick enough, and she trips over a bramble or bangs her head on a log. She never makes a fuss. She just shakes her head and carries on. Bumps are rare, though. She has taught herself the layout of most parts of her two parks.

How brave and clever she is.


Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact or

Posted in a very good dog, clever girl, clever Isis, dear little Isis, Highbury Park, Kings Heath Park, oh dear, running running, scenting, sleeping arrangements | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments




Posting day: Sunday, and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.


Tuesday August 27th 2019


Why is this post appearing on Tuesday, you may wonder: does she think it’s Wednesday?

She might well. It’s not out of character.

But this time, it’s not an error. The post is early because, at around five thirty, five years ago today, something life changing happens.

A Europet van draws up across the road and comes to a halt opposite my house.

I cross the road. I’m feeling quite weak with anxiety. In my hand is a new, blue, spotty collar.

In the van is the last dog the couriers are delivering today.

One of the couriers gets out of the van to confirm who I am. Then he climbs into the back of the van and brings someone out. He places someone on the pavement.

Someone dazed and bedraggled.

Someone hairy and white with grey splodges here and there.

Someone with very long, hairy ears and a spotty pink and black nose.




I kneel down on the pavement and look at her. She just sits there, still and bewildered. “Hello”, I say to my deaf/blind dog, and offer her a hand to sniff. She doesn’t sniff the hand. She doesn’t move at all.

I take off her old collar and put on her new one.

I’m probably making her even more anxious, but it feels important, not because it has on it her ID tag. This, of course, is very important, but I’m not thinking about that. I just feel I want to give her something new.

Looking back, I guess that I was claiming her.

The courier picks her up gently and carries her across the road. He takes her into her new home. He puts her down in the hall where she stands, looking lost.

His partner gives me the paperwork and a large bag of the food which Isis has become used to eating since she was found.

They leave.

The rest is history (as they say).

You know that our early years were not always easy.

Did I think that one day she’d be a happy, confident, playful dog?


Did I imagine she’d ever trust me to groom any bit of her which needed grooming?

No way.

Could I envisage a day when she could run and play off the lead in the park, come to find me, or walk beside me?

Absolutely not.

Have I ever regretted adopting her?

No, I haven’t.

Kerry told me while Isis was still in Portugal what a brave little dog she was, and, my goodness, she is.

She has achieved all of the list of things I never thought that she could. And more. She is happy, confident and playful. She puts up with her grooming sessions and bathing, which she hates. She loves exploring off lead in the park, walks most days in the woods with Rufus and Nancy. And doesn’t run away – although she often ventures off-piste!

She’s no lap dog, but she greets me joyfully each morning and will lean against me while I pat and stroke her. Much to my surprise, her heartiest surge of tail wagging occurs when I kiss her muzzle. Perhaps it’s because that’s how dog friends greet each other.

Thank you Aeza. Thank you Dogwatch U.K.

I love my hairy podengo.





Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact or

Posted in Uncategorized | 10 Comments

gentleman Blitz



Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.


Sunday August 25th 2019


This is the tale of Isis Podengo and her friend Gentleman Blitz.

They have known each other for several years. Though they rarely interact, they are clearly perfectly comfortable around each other.

Rescue dog Blitz is a ball mad, dashing, rushing, jumping fellow. But he is gentle and polite around Isis, even his greeting sniffs are restrained and deferential.






It’s Wednesday. Friend Y. finds a nice blue ball on a string. Blitz will like this, she thinks. He does. He finds it delicious. Without pause for thought, he tears a a large slice out of it.

When Y distracts him with another ball, I rescue the abandoned prize and ask if Isis may have it. She loves dangly things and won’t mind at all that there’s a piece missing. She’s not proud.

I don’t give it to her there and then, but shove it into my pocket. As we know, Isis tends to become overwhelmed by a sense of responsibility for her toys, and if I give them to her in the park, she usually sets off back to the car with them.

Much better, I think, if she ‘happens’ to come across it in the park.

The next day I sneak it out of the car, intending to let her play for a while before she ‘finds’ the ball on a string.

I settle on my usual comfortable log and wait for her to trot off to her dance stage.

She doesn’t. Instead, she sniffs in an ever decreasing circle closer and closer to me. What on earth is she doing?

Slowly it dawns on me. She can smell the ball and she wants it.

I toss it a few yards away, and within a couple of minutes she finds it. She’s very chuffed indeed.





She doesn’t attempt to take it back to the car. She trots around with it, runs up and down with it, spins around with it, lets it go, dervish whirls away, and, after a few mad minutes, comes back to reclaim over it.

She’s having a lovely time. Plenty of exercise. Good.

Then up the slope comes Ollie, the park bully. He’s rather like a muzzled bumper car. He bears down on Blitz, their hackles rise, and then off they go rip-roaring over the meadow, between the trees, up and down the slope and through the long grass, in wild, wide loops.

When the game is finished, Ollie is walking away towards his human, when, suddenly, he catches sight of Isis who is innocently playing with her dangly ball.

“Whurraff!, shouts Ollie rudely, “Whurraff!”, and he pounds over to her.

Y. and I are not close enough to protect her, but as soon as he sees Ollie menacing her, Blitz rushes over, heads Ollie off and stands in front of her, chest stuck out, head lifted, stock still, glaring at the interloper.

Bully boy’s human captures him and leads him away. Blitz stays around for a few minutes, sniffing the grass, checks out Hairy One, marks the log and then wanders off amicably. He knows that she has his ball, but he’s too well-mannered to snatch it from her.

Amazingly, tail erect, she carries on playing as though nothing has happened.

Well I never!


Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact or

Posted in adopted dogs, Highbury Park, oh dear, park dogs, scenting, walking in the park | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

off to the kennels ……… sniff!



Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.


Wednesday August 21st 2019


How we humans suffer when we leave our pets in kennels and catteries, however good the establishments are. And how exciting it is to go to fetch them home.

Isis has always done very well at Hollytrees. They know her there, and understand her needs. She shows no signs of trauma, thank goodness.

Previous dog Ellie was only left in kennels twice. The first time she was about six months old, sociable, friendly and playful. Her stay was only for two nights and she had sensible companion Rush, my border collie, in the pen next door.

When we returned to collect the dogs, we were told that Rush had been fine but Ellie had been impossible. She had hardly eaten, and growled and snarled ferociously when anyone passed her run, let alone attempted to open its door.

I was asked if I’d mind collecting her from her run myself. When I approached her quarters, she burst into a paroxysm of rage, barking, growling, and snarling. As soon as she recognised me, of course, she flung herself at me with joyful little cries and delighted wriggles.

The second time she was left, it was for a week. This time, the lady in charge spent a long time getting to know her, there was a huge run and and time out each day with other dogs. On this occasion, she was a calm and responsive guest, but noticeably anxious for a while afterwards.

One of my previous cats, Mini, hated boarding. She always refused to leave the cat carrier except to use her tray. She was fed in the carrier, and at bed time the staff would put the carrier, with Mini in it, into her sleeping quarters. In the morning the carrier, plus its incumbent, was lifted out again.

Back at home, for at least a week, sometimes longer, Mini refused to interact with her humans. She sat close by on the back of the sofa, but faced the wall. No amount of cajoling would entice her to turn round.

Dog Rush once hid in the driver’s foot-well while I waited for someone to open the gate at Hollytrees.

Little Isis never complains when I take her there. When T. takes her away, Hairy One waits for me to follow. But when T. leads her on, she just looks sad, sort of resigned, and walks away.  She is very well cared for, and understands the layout of the bedroom and run. She is always very well looked after, and emerges looking healthy and smelling nice.

In the past, she showed no emotion when I fetched her, just wagged her tail a little when she recognised her house.

The last few times she’s been very pleased to see me.

Last Tuesday, she realised that I had come to fetch her as soon as she was led onto the bottom of the yard. She tugged at her lead eagerly as she came towards me.

And I got two pink and black spotted nose nuzzles around my eyes.




It’s so good to be back in the park.





Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact or

Posted in a very good dog, dear little Isis, Highbury Park, Isis at Hollytrees | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

vets, baths and something else nasty



Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.


Sunday August 18th 2019


What a relief that the kennels situation is resolved.

Home from the vet’s, poor Isis is subjected to a very long and thorough bath and rear end trim.

She hates every minute, of course. Why wouldn’t she? She has warm water drizzled through her coat until she is soaked to the skin; shampoo is worked into her hair, even into her beard and the streaming strands around her ears.

When she decides that enough is enough, she lifts one sad, sodden, little front paw out of the sink and plonks it on the draining board. Before she succeeds in lifting up the other front paw to join it, nasty Human returns the paw to the sink. Hairy One lifts the other front paw, and the same thing happens. We have a little paw dance, but Isis is defeated.

The torment continues. In fact, things get worse. Human wields the dreaded scissors and trims around Dog’s private parts. Not so private, now, poor little creature.

She knows this isn’t right. She growls and grabs my hand. I don’t blame her: she’s been very patient. I’m expecting a bite, but I don’t get one. She holds my hand firmly between her two rows of sharp teeth for a few seconds, then releases it unmarked.

Dear little dog. I’m  impressed. And very touched. “What a good little dog,” I tell her, “What a very good little dog.”

I rinse her, wrap her in a large towel, and squeeze out as much water as I can. Then we both have our breakfast before setting off for the park.

She’ll only have two fifteen minute outings a day while she’s in kennels, so I plan to give her a couple of hours in Highbury before I leave her at Hollytrees.

Much to my surprise, she’s reluctant to leave the car. Then, having fulfilled her obligations, she turns back towards the car park.

When I persuade her to venture onto the meadow – which normally she returns to happily every day – she walks cautiously by my side until I take off her harness.

Then, instead of trotting off to enjoy the space, she stops in her tracks and stands stock still.





She’ll not move until I return to her side and tap-tap under her chin. And tap-tap again. And again. When I stop tapping, she stops moving.






We’ve only moved on a few feet. Again I tap. She walks slowly forward. I stop tapping. She stops walking.





This is very strange. Clearly, she’s not terrified, just wary and apprehensive.

I walk over to a log and sit down.

She lifts her head and sniffs the air.






I wait and watch her.

She begins to sniff her way towards me. When she reaches me, she lies down very close to my feet, and there she stays, head raised, sniffing the air.

This is unheard of. She never wastes her time sitting with Human when there’s all that space to enjoy.

She’s definitely not happy. Something is wrong. Something which she is aware of, and I am not.

Obviously, she is not about to run around and enjoy herself. What a shame.

She seems quite relieved when I fasten on her harness, and walks, briskly now, by my side to the car park.

Once home, she’s fine. I let her play in the garden until it’s time to go.

That evening, as I sit in the house, dogless, I learn that there have been thunder storms around Birmingham.

I guess that she sensed danger. But I heard nothing, and she is deaf!

How did she know?



Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact or

Posted in a very good dog, a vet visit, clever girl, dear little Isis, Highbury Park, Isis in danger, Isis says "No"., oh dear, poor Isis, scenting, strange behaviour | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

these humans!



Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.


Thursday August 15th 2019


First, apologies from Human, who hoped to return to her saga yesterday. Her intentions were beyond reproach, but she fell asleep with Isis on the day bed. When she came round at  2.15 a.m., it was already today, so to speak.

She returned on Tuesday from a week away staying with friends in Uppingham (the other side of Leicester.)

The holiday was very enjoyable: stimulating, peaceful and relaxing.

The days leading up to it, however, were anything but.

As we know, Daisy had been back and forth to the vets for about six weeks threatening to quit this life, and was only just beginning to come round.

Fortunately, Emma, cat sitter par excellence, came to look after her.

Although she’s not eating as much as she needs, Daisy’s digestive system recovered day by day, and is now better than it’s been for years.







I’d made an appointment for Isis (anal gland time again) for Monday August 5th, the day before she was to go into kennels. I knew that her vaccination was due in August and looked at her record to check the date. There was no entry for last year, so I assumed that I’d not taken the record with me at the time.

To my horror, the vet could find no record of Hairy One having had a booster last year. I couldn’t believe it, but, clearly, she hadn’t. She needed to begin again.

The vet asked whether I wanted Isis to have a kennel cough shot. This seemed a good idea, so she went through the pros and cons, the last of which was that a dog should not have a kennel cough shot if anyone in the home had a compromised immune system.

“I do,” I acknowledged, “But I’ll only be with her until tomorrow because she’s going into kennels.”

Then the vet dropped a bombshell. She told me that some kennels will not accept a dog unless s/he has had the kennel cough vaccination, but it has to have been done at least three weeks before.

She kindly checked out Holly Trees online.  They do not insist on the vaccination.


But they do state that all vaccinations have to have been completed at least four weeks before the dog comes in.

Yikes! What should we do?

The vet thought that since Isis had been vaccinated annually until last year, and I had used the kennels for over forty years, they might well feel O.K. about accepting her even if she had only just had the first of the two shots required. But it would be a good idea to speak to them before the first half of the vaccination was given.

The vet kindly held on for thirty minutes while I tried to phone Holly Trees, but I was unable to get through. Eventually, we decided that while Isis might not be accepted if she’d only  just had the shot, she’d be just as likely to be rejected because she’d not had her booster the year before.

So she was vaccinated.

An hour later, when I got through to Holly Trees, T. told me she was sure everything could be sorted out when we got there.






These humans ……..


Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact or

Posted in a vet visit, Newbrook Farm, RSPCA | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

these animals!



Special notice: Human is taking off next Wednesday (August 7th) and next Sunday (August 11th). She hopes to blog again on Wednesday August 14th.


Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.


Sunday August 4th 2019


It’s Monday, and I’ve almost arrived at the Q.E. (Queen Elizabeth Hospital) with my original appointment letter and my reminder letter, as requested, when I’m suddenly struck by doubt. The appointment I’m aiming for is at twelve. But, for some strange reason, eleven-thirty flashes into my mind. Oh, hell, am I late? I retrieve the letters from my bag and look at them.

No, I’m not late. I’m early. The time is correct, but the appointment’s on Thursday, not today.


So the week proceeds apace. I make numerous mistakes, lose even more stuff than usual, and frequently forget what I’m doing.

I can’t blame Isis, who is being uncharacteristically well-behaved.

It’s Daisy.







Six weeks ago, she begins leaving most of her food. Then, for three days she barely eats at all. She’s very thin. Her fur is dull. She’s lethargic, sleeping all the time and not demanding attention. Her faeces are loose.

What does the seasoned cat owner do? Yes, of course. Panic.

But I must be sensible. Daisy’s almost nineteen and a half. She’s closing down. I shouldn’t put her through the blood test which she is due to have for her thyroid condition. It’s not fair. I must accept that she’ll not be with us for long and just give her palliative care.

I dread telling her owner Polymath, who is unwell herself. She dotes on Daisy.

Then, after three days, she begins to eat again. It suddenly occurs to me that it’s been  extremely hot. Perhaps that’s what has affected her appetite.

I’m still very apprehensive, though, when we set off for her blood test, and fantasise the vet’s response to our much loved and ailing feline: “Well, she is almost nineteen and a half now, you know …………………”

Not surprisingly, when she’s put on the scales, they register a significant weight loss. She’s given a very thorough examination, but nothing is found which can account for her condition.

We wait for the thyroid result in case her medication needs to be increased. The other results will be available on Monday. We leave with a large syringe of probiotics, and some antibiotics. This will be great fun. Not.

The blood test reveals only one anomaly: her calcium level is significantly higher than it should be. This could be indicative of a cancer, or just a one-off spike.

We do not enjoy our – very frequent – medication sessions. Daisy hates the regime. Of course she does. She’s a cat.

She finds the probiotics particularly distasteful. She knows that she’s being poisoned and does her best not to swallow any. Her little face, my tough calico smock, the duvet and the floor are bespattered with probiotics.

She also refuses to eat her thyroid pills wrapped in cheese, which she usually attacks with joy. So those have to be forced on her too.

After a few days of struggle and strife, I poke her into the bottom of a tight polo necked t-shirt and hold the bottom closed. Immediately she pops her little head out of the neck. She looks very sweet, but this is no time for a photo opportunity; it’s much easier to give her the medicine and tablets though.

After two fraught weeks we see the vet again. Daisy has gained one gram. Not much, agrees the vet, but at this stage, positive.

The vet thinks that getting her patient to eat and regain weight must come before the renal diet. She  suggests that for two weeks I give her anything she’ll eat, then bring her back. We leave with a worming liquid, just in case.

Daisy enjoys two weeks of chicken, fish and Sheba luxury cat food.

Isis’s little spotty nose twitches excitedly while the food is being prepared, so she enjoys some chicken and fish too.

So Daisy is eating. But despite antibiotics, probiotics, worming, chicken and fish, her diarrhoea is not improving. It’s getting worse.

On Thursday, I am on my way to the Q.E. again when I have a call from Ja. who is at my house. She’s very worried about Daisy whom she has just observed expelling a stream of liquid from either end.

She has consoled Daisy and left her sleeping.

Oh dear, oh dear. Shall I get off the bus, return home and miss the appointment? I don’t,  as I have to pick up medication. These appointments are always on time. I shouldn’t be out long.

Arriving home, I realise that I’ve forgotten to collect the medication.


I find little Daisy snuggled under my duvet. She greets me with a cheery ‘prerp’ and stretches out a front paw contentedly.

I make an appointment for her for the next day. And I think. Hard.

She’s not closing down, I conclude. Since the heat wave, she’s always pleased to see me. She pops into bed for a fuss every night. In the morning, when, after a shower, I wrap myself in a towel and lie on the bed to dry off, she hurries over to lie on my chest and purr. Her eyes are bright.She is very alert.

“She’s just like her usual Daisy self,” I explain next day to the vet, “but with a bad gut.” The vet concurs. Again, Daisy is given a thorough examination. No lumps are found. Her  mouth, ears and temperature are O.K. Her heartbeat is strong.

She is given another blood test. We wait for the result, which the vet interprets for us. The thyroid reading is stable, the calcium count is now at the top of the ‘high normal’ range. The kidney function has deteriorated. This is not unexpected since her strict renal diet has been set aside.

The vet spends a lot of time with us, and carefully explains his thinking. Daisy’s kidney and thyroid functions are compromised and she has persistent diarrhoea. He thinks that at the moment we must prioritise stabilising her gut and increasing her weight.

He advises changing her over to a Royal Canin gastro-intestinal diet. If this does not help, the next step is to scan her, searching for cancers.

I leave feeling reassured. We have a plan. The diet may work. We’ve agreed to see what happens over two weeks, then, if there’s an improvement, gradually add in the renal diet over a further week. If all goes well, we’ll return in three to four weeks when she needs more thyroid tablets.

I try not to raise my hopes, but that’s difficult, of course.

We start her on the new diet immediately. She eats it, thank goodness. Amazingly, by the end of the following day, Saturday, there’s already an improvement.

I’ve not had to change her tray since yesterday. She’s eating her new food, seems comfortable and contented, and, after six weeks of worrying about her imminent demise, I am relaxing a little myself.

These animals!


*Daisy was homed when she was six weeks old. Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact or

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