Tails of the radioactive cat (or Mouse.) Radio-iodine treatment for hyperthyroidism

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Lilith
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Tails of the radioactive cat (or Mouse.) Radio-iodine treatment for hyperthyroidism

Post by Lilith » Wed Aug 02, 2017 5:59 pm

People who have been following Antonio's Pallina thread will know that I chimed in on the last page with the news that my Mouse, 15, has recently been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism too. I learned a lot from this thread, including the info from Kay that there is a centre for treating HT with radio-iodine quite close to me at Wetherby.

At first I wasn't quite sure which treatment to choose. Meds seemed to be the first option as Mouse is a very shy and timid cat, but after a couple of days she was depressed, fearful, and hid from me. Well, she didn't realise why I kept grabbing her and sticking a finger down her throat did she? There are liquid meds but the little devil's very cute about if there's something alien in her grub.

I considered surgery to remove the offending gland ... but what about pain and convalescence?

On the Pallina thread I made a totally silly mistake over the cost of meds but still they're quite costly, even bought online, and my initial calculation that, should Mousey live into her late teens, the cost of meds/vet visits/blood tests wasn't going to be much less than the cost of a visit to the centre still wasn't far out (although I realise I'm VERY lucky to be able to find that lump sum.) And meds treat the symptoms, not the cause.

Although I'd made the decision to ask for a referral to the centre before I took her off the meds, I still felt very guilty. I needn't have done. Apparently radio-iodine treatment has to be delayed if a cat's on meds (in Mouse's case Felimazole.) Also (and I'm not well-up on the technical stuff) I've since found out that her HT levels are so high that meds might have little effect. As I understand it, a cat's normal thyroid level, known as T4, is under 60. Mouse's current level is 240 :o :shock:

All this has happened rather fast; earlier in the year she was up and down to the vet's and showing no sign of HT. Putting on weight, they said.

And the centre visit has happened rather fast too. We go tomorrow morning :o

I'm shellshocked but hopeful; poor Mousey is wondering why the carrier is sitting in the bedroom with the door invitingly open.

For more info about the centre - http://www.hyperthyroidcatcentre.co.uk/

And if anyone on here has a cat who's going on ok with HT meds, I have a bottle of I think 65 Felimazole 2.5mg going begging, let me know and I'll post them on to you, free of charge - I'd like to think some cat can make use of them.

Wish us luck :)
Last edited by Lilith on Wed Aug 02, 2017 8:46 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Tails of the radioactive cat (or Mouse.) Radio-iodine treatment for hyperthyroidism

Post by alanc » Wed Aug 02, 2017 6:07 pm

Wishing you and Mousey all the best tomorrow. I've only had one hyperthyroid cat (Honey) and surgery was not considered a viable option for her.

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Re: Tails of the radioactive cat (or Mouse.) Radio-iodine treatment for hyperthyroidism

Post by Kay » Wed Aug 02, 2017 6:49 pm

the radioactive iodine has been the treatment of choice for many years in the US, and only the strict precautions imposed in the UK has stopped it being the same over here - and the cost of course

but I think that will change with the quarantine period now relaxed, and I'm sure if cats could chose they'd opt for a few days away rather than pilling for life or an operation - and as you say with pills the tumour goes on growing and the medication has to be upped regularly, and with the op some HT thyroid tissue can be left behind and go on causing problems

HT is becoming so common that I think it is getting to the stage where it is almost worth having pet insurance just for that

so all the best for Mouse, and may she soon be back to normal

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Re: Tails of the radioactive cat (or Mouse.) Radio-iodine treatment for hyperthyroidism

Post by booktigger » Wed Aug 02, 2017 6:51 pm

I'm impressed they have done it so quickly with her levels being so high, fingers crossed for her

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Re: Tails of the radioactive cat (or Mouse.) Radio-iodine treatment for hyperthyroidism

Post by Lilith » Wed Aug 02, 2017 8:15 pm

Thanks guys - it is a quite frightening disease, to see the cat wasting away before your eyes. So sorry Honey couldn't be treated, Alan :(

I'm impressed too at the level of care this centre provides - I've had 3 phone calls today, to check on every little detail, including aftercare, and when the cat's in residence you get a daily phone call/update ... just a great pity I can't explain to Mouse ...

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Re: Tails of the radioactive cat (or Mouse.) Radio-iodine treatment for hyperthyroidism

Post by Antonio » Thu Aug 03, 2017 12:38 pm

Lilith,
Thanks for thinking of me in a thread of yours! ;)
Well, your trip to I-131 has been faster than mine. Hopefully everything will be fine for Mouse, it seems you made a wonderful choice.

We will leave on Saturday, in 48 hours from now, to Ghent, in Belgium. I have decided to split the trip in two, 11 hours drive is too long for a cat, so we'll stop in France for one night, then leave to Ghent on Sunday.

Pallina's last blood test was fT4 30.7 (5-20 pmol/l) and T4 124 (19-65 nmol/l).
Some say that with those levels a cat isn't a good candidate, but we didn't manage to have much better levels.
The doctors at the Ghent University didn't discourage us abou it and accepted Pallina when she showed worse levels, so I am positive.

Good luck Mouse, good luck Lilith!

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Re: Tails of the radioactive cat (or Mouse.) Radio-iodine treatment for hyperthyroidism

Post by Lilith » Thu Aug 03, 2017 4:28 pm

Thanks Antonio :D

Mouse went to Wetherby this morning; the centre is on the Thorp Arch Trading Estate and I expected nothing but concrete and metal but the semi-rural site has been adapted from a WW2 munitions site and the original grassed-over bunkers and prefab buildings have been preserved, with a lot of grass and trees, which means that once a cat leaves the hospital setup where the radio-iodine injections are administered, it moves into a cattery with spacious split level pens and an outside view with squirrels and birds to watch.

Every little detail is gone into, from 'does she prefer jelly or gravy?' to suggesting the provision of a 'comfort blanket' (I supplied a used pillowcase) to every eventuality such as if she falls ill; to guidance about aftercare (paper plates for food; radioactive dishes can't be washed normally. Water bowls are best emptied down the loo and topped up from a jug.) They are meticulous. I can't recall everything just now, but I will, but the whole approach is extremely efficient and caring.

The fee of £1800 allows for 14 days, so that's what I booked her in for; cats can be boarded for longer at a charge of £18 per day. The owner gets a daily phone call to report progress.

She's had a blood test which showed a lower level of T4 - it's either 127 or 177 - can't remember, apparently labs can differ - a bit more encouraging, and she starts treatment tomorrow.

She was amazingly calm; on the examination table she started to purr. I know cats can purr under extreme stress but her blood pressure was being taken at the time and Julia, the vet, said it had gone down from 70 to 40 and that she was relaxing at an amazing rate.

It was awful leaving her there but I feel she's in good hands.

It's very strange without her.

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Re: Tails of the radioactive cat (or Mouse.) Radio-iodine treatment for hyperthyroidism

Post by alanc » Thu Aug 03, 2017 7:09 pm

That sounds an amazing place, Lilith. I'm sure Mouse will worry far less than you do! Hoping for a successful outcome.
Sadly Honey was considered too frail to have an operation. She did respond to the medication though, until she succumbed to lymphomatic cancer and osteoarthritis 7 months later. That was 8 years ago, so treatments have probably improved since then.
You are right about the rapidity of them wasting away - Honey went from a portly 5.5kg matron to a skinny 3.3kg cat in a few months.

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Re: Tails of the radioactive cat (or Mouse.) Radio-iodine treatment for hyperthyroidism

Post by Antonio » Fri Aug 04, 2017 7:21 am

Lilith, so Mouse will receive her I-131 injection today?
The place that you described sounds great, inviting!

They told me nothing (so far) about the use of disposable dishes for the aftercare at home, the only guide line they gave me says about disposing of the litter in a bin to be stored away from the house for at least 3 months before throwing it away to the waste management.

Please, give us daily update on how Mouse is doing.

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Re: Tails of the radioactive cat (or Mouse.) Radio-iodine treatment for hyperthyroidism

Post by Lilith » Fri Aug 04, 2017 10:53 am

Thanks Alan - poor Honey, so sorry she had such bad health :(

The centre really is a brilliant place; I'm really impressed by its high standards.

Hi Antonio, for extra info you might find it useful to read the centre's brochure, which you can download via that link, but yes, when Julia told me that about the dishes I said it had never crossed my mind, but of course everything that comes out of the cat during the quarantine, including saliva, is radioactive. I've got some disposable plastic plates on order with my next shop; if they prove messy I've already got a store of small plastic freezer/microwave food containers. I could use the latter for water. The floor of her room's bare boards; the rugs will have to be taken up and scentless puppy pads laid down for any spills or drips or pukes - also because she's a bit absentminded and leaves the tray before she's done ... her father was just the same lol.

I didn't quite grasp how important it is not to be in close contact or even proximity with a radioactive cat; on her return she must travel in the boot :shock: I was shocked by this; it would be traumatic for her, I said, and (worst-case scenario) if we got rear-ended it didn't bear thinking about. At least the car is a hatchback so we can remove the lid of the boot but still I'm not happy. But if she's on the back seat she's going to be too close to us during the journey. I'd be willing to take this risk but I don't want to expose Adrian (my ex-husband who is providing our transport) so I suppose we'll have to take her home in the boot. Julia said that they will wedge the carrier in securely with a sack of cat litter - they give the cat a big sack of flushable litter to go home with, so no storing cleaning-outs for weeks, but I must use thick rubber gloves when cleaning/disposing of everything (buying an extra pair for handling food/water bowls.)

The guidelines seem to vary from country to country; in the UK anything contaminated is safe to dispose of after 6 weeks; when she gets out of purrdah (sorry :oops: ) after 2 weeks, if for instance she pukes on a rug, I must mop up the sick - and then roll the rug up and put it in my cellar with the rest of any unflushable waste until the 6 weeks are up, when it will be safe to return it to the house.

Lol I'll certainly post updates, and any other info that I remember too, and hope to hear from you on Pallina's thread too - it will be interesting to compare notes.

I'll still have forgotten a load of stuff - there is so much to think about, but I've got 2 weeks to get ready for her return and get my head together ... a difficult task where I'm concerned lol :)

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Re: Tails of the radioactive cat (or Mouse.) Radio-iodine treatment for hyperthyroidism

Post by booktigger » Fri Aug 04, 2017 11:34 am

Wow, I didn't realise the aftercare was so involved!!

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Re: Tails of the radioactive cat (or Mouse.) Radio-iodine treatment for hyperthyroidism

Post by Lilith » Fri Aug 04, 2017 5:15 pm

Hi Booktigger, yes, it IS daunting - it's even too dangerous for her to sleep near me on her favourite chair in the bedroom, but you sort of get used to the idea of it all. You find yourself working out a routine. I've found some smaller lidded disposable plastic dishes, just the right size for food and water, that can be wiped of any leftover food, lidded and put into the radioactive wastebag to minimise smell (wipe-up goes down the loo.)

Good news from the centre, she's had her first injection today and is settling well. My chief worry is, when she comes home, will she scream the place down when she's ahut up in one room, as this is a tiny terrace house. I shall find out, I'm sure. I can't even sit with her for any length of time, and leaving a radio or tv on I don't think will do much to make her feel 'at home', as I never have a radio on and don't even own a tv.

Memo to self - order some Zylkene just in case. Order extra beer for me ... :shock: :lol:

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Re: Tails of the radioactive cat (or Mouse.) Radio-iodine treatment for hyperthyroidism

Post by booktigger » Fri Aug 04, 2017 7:44 pm

The crying was my concern with Lucy, when I first adopted her I intended to keep her in one room for a few days, we managed 8 hours and only because I went out for 3 of them, so I was worried about keeping her in one room for a week, she did 7! As she was in the kitchen TV/radio weren't an option, so hopefully Mouse will be the same

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Re: Tails of the radioactive cat (or Mouse.) Radio-iodine treatment for hyperthyroidism

Post by Antonio » Fri Aug 04, 2017 9:12 pm

Lilith,
it seems to me that they gave you too strict rules!
Mouse has to travel in the boot! What when you are home? Will she have to stay in the shed far away from you? ;)
Sooner or later you'll have to stay close to her.

Our floors are tiled so they will be easier to wash. I will think about disposable dishes, but anyway I want to hear what their (Ghent doctors) opinion is.

Two weeks ago our local waste incinerator was halted because the sensors revealed a high dose of I-131 in the waste. It seems that a local hospital had disposed of contaminated diapers from oncologic patients without respecting the rules.

However someone had told me that when a person goes under the same I-131 protocol for their thyroid they lead a normal life along with their family and friends and don't have to be quarantined. That's why I think that some rules and guidelines give in our cases are too strict.
Dr Peterson had also written that we get higher doses of radiations from a medium range flight :D

I'll be updating my thread soon :)

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Re: Tails of the radioactive cat (or Mouse.) Radio-iodine treatment for hyperthyroidism

Post by Lilith » Sat Aug 05, 2017 2:16 pm

Lol Booktigger - the centre says that when Mouse comes home she'll be so used to isolation that she'll accept it ... I replied that we may be reckoning without Mouse! She's not feisty like your Lucy; she comes across as so gentle and dozy but if she wants her own way ... she goes on and on and on. And then she says a bit more. Then she says a bit more after that. And then she adds on a bit more at the end ... then she draws a deep breath and starts again at the beginning. In a voice like a raucous parrot fitted with Nicam stereo. I DO hope the centre is right.

Hi Antonio, I think the UK regulations are different as human patients here are under 'house arrest' for 2 weeks after the treatment too (I don't know how they go on if they share a house.) But Mouse won't be in a shed; she'll be in my spare bedroom. It's just that I can't let her snuggle up to me, or spend any length of time near her, or let the poor girl nuzzle and gnaw on my fingers as she likes to do. She does actually spend quite a bit of time in that room - don't know why as it's more comfortable in my bedroom. But of course if the door's closed and she can't do as she chooses ... :o :shock:

The only good thing is that all this is going to be temporary, I hope :D

Edit, forgot to add, she is settling in well and eating ok and allowing strokes :)

You'll be on your way to Ghent with Pallina now? I do hope she's feeling and eating better and isn't too fazed by the journey and heat - good luck! :)

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Re: Tails of the radioactive cat (or Mouse.) Radio-iodine treatment for hyperthyroidism

Post by Antonio » Mon Aug 07, 2017 5:26 pm

Lilith,
Any updates from your clinic?
How's Mouse doing over there?

I have just updated my thread... Things don't seem to be good at the moment :(

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Re: Tails of the radioactive cat (or Mouse.) Radio-iodine treatment for hyperthyroidism

Post by Lilith » Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:51 pm

Hi Antonio, have just read your thread, all the very best to you and Pallina - but cats are tough, hoping and praying she gets through this!

Mouse is doing ok thanks; I get a phone call every day and she's been a bit constipated which as you'll know isn't unusual for a nervous cat in a strange place but owners are encouraged to bring any favourite foods along and she has her fibre response biscuits and she enjoys the Gourmet pates (I bought some because I was sick of her licking the juice off the Felix and Sheba and leaving the rest) and they have a very laxative effect in her case and last night they did the trick I'm told. She's about as relaxed as she can be, allowing fussing and, apart from the daily injection, living the life of a pampered princess.

Me, I'm a wreck, I miss that gaunt accusing figure with its rusty screech of 'feed me!' all through the night. It's awful without her. You'd think I'd be sleeping better but I'm not. But I'm so thankful we could access this treatment as soon as the condition was diagnosed, unlike poor Pallina, thinking of you both and all the very very best x

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Re: Tails of the radioactive cat (or Mouse.) Radio-iodine treatment for hyperthyroidism

Post by Mayday21 » Tue Aug 08, 2017 1:31 am

Hi Lilith seems Mouse is handling things better than you - isn't that always the case albeit the black paw when finally home. I've been keeping my 4 up to date on a Mouse & Pallina. And both your posts take me back to Elsa's experience. Sending +Ve vibes & lots of fusses when you finally get to see Mouse. Vivian

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Re: Tails of the radioactive cat (or Mouse.) Radio-iodine treatment for hyperthyroidism

Post by Antonio » Tue Aug 08, 2017 7:56 am

Lilith wrote:She's about as relaxed as she can be, allowing fussing and, apart from the daily injection, living the life of a pampered princess.
Daily injection? :shock:
They told me it's one off injection and then waiting for the radioactivity to decrease...

Glad to read that Mouse is taking the thing as a luxury holiday, with all the fusses and treats :D
Best of luck to both of you.

I'm waiting for the phone call which should come in an hour... My stress level is at its maximum!

It is raining... Even sadder... :(

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Re: Tails of the radioactive cat (or Mouse.) Radio-iodine treatment for hyperthyroidism

Post by Lilith » Tue Aug 08, 2017 1:10 pm

Thanks, Vivian - you're right; the cat takes it in its stride while the owner goes to pieces lol.

Yes Antonio, here it's a series of injections; a sedative is used beforehand because of the possibility of the cat struggling; guarantees that the process is over as fast as possible, which is good for both cat and vet staff. I think there are five injections but it can vary with different levels of T4 so with any luck she'll be moving into the cattery soon - not home by any means but more interesting for her than a hospital enclosure.

Everything still crossed here for Pallina - including Shahi's tail! (I think he thinks he's a cat, bless him.) Hope the phone call is good news :)

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Re: Tails of the radioactive cat (or Mouse.) Radio-iodine treatment for hyperthyroidism

Post by Kay » Tue Aug 08, 2017 2:02 pm

my Trigger only had one injection, but his levels were only around 100, so that is probably what makes the difference - he was only 11 too, so age might be a factor

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Re: Tails of the radioactive cat (or Mouse.) Radio-iodine treatment for hyperthyroidism

Post by Lilith » Tue Aug 08, 2017 2:17 pm

Hey Kay I wonder if I've got it wrong then - when they've talked about 'the injections' I've assumed it's a series? I must ask them; there is so much info to absorb - also being me, not the sharpest nail in the box lol.

Latest update - last night she decided to sleep in her tray and covered herself in radioactive wee! Oh no, I said, the little horror!

It could have been worse said Joanna (nurse) it could have been ... :o :shock: :lol:

She's transferring to the cattery in a couple of days - after a sponge bath. Dozy Mousey!
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Re: Tails of the radioactive cat (or Mouse.) Radio-iodine treatment for hyperthyroidism

Post by Kay » Tue Aug 08, 2017 2:42 pm

could it have been the sedative followed by a single radioactive iodine one? I must admit I have never heard of the actual treatment being other than a single injection

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Re: Tails of the radioactive cat (or Mouse.) Radio-iodine treatment for hyperthyroidism

Post by Lilith » Tue Aug 08, 2017 3:51 pm

I'll ask them tomorrow when they ring me :)

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Re: Tails of the radioactive cat (or Mouse.) Radio-iodine treatment for hyperthyroidism

Post by Antonio » Tue Aug 08, 2017 7:46 pm

Lilith,
I asked the vet this morning. He said that they do only one IV injection of radio-iodine.
Don't know whether other facilities do different things.

How did they managed to bathe your Mouse? I knew that during the isolation period nobody should or could touch the radioactive pets. The contact with them is limited to a quick change of food and water bowls and a litter tray swapping. Even giving a pill is out of discussion, that's why they prefer to treat cats with good health conditions and with no special needs, because they wouldn't be able to perform anything on them.

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Re: Tails of the radioactive cat (or Mouse.) Radio-iodine treatment for hyperthyroidism

Post by Kay » Tue Aug 08, 2017 7:59 pm

That's exactly how it was for my Trigger, Antonio, but it may be that as this centre in Yorkshire is for HT patients only the staff wear special protective clothing, which wouldn't be feasible in a veterinary hospital which treats other conditions

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Re: Tails of the radioactive cat (or Mouse.) Radio-iodine treatment for hyperthyroidism

Post by Lilith » Tue Aug 08, 2017 8:36 pm

Ah. Looks like I've been having a senior moment then.

Been having senior moments for 65 years ... :oops: :)

Glad she doesn't have to have an injection every day then and the nurse just said that they would sponge the urine off her and that she'd be ok by the time she went home. Of course she'll wash herself. She (the nurse) didn't sound too worried about it, paws crossed.

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Re: Tails of the radioactive cat (or Mouse.) Radio-iodine treatment for hyperthyroidism

Post by Lilith » Wed Aug 09, 2017 3:43 pm

Yup, sorry guys, it IS just the one injection :)

Apparently she only got wee on her stomach; her radioactive levels are going down fast; she's eating well though still shy and Joanna says she's gone into the cattery today which will give her more interest - and she's doing well :D

Hope Pallina's doing well too, Antonio :D

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Re: Tails of the radioactive cat (or Mouse.) Radio-iodine treatment for hyperthyroidism

Post by Antonio » Wed Aug 09, 2017 8:12 pm

Lilith, cats usually do sleep in their (dirty) litter when they're in the cages at a clinic. My Lola would do the same.
Hopefully Mouse won't repeat the experiment after being sponged :)

I have no news for Pallina... Yes, it drives me nuts when they don't do what they promised to do.
Anyway, I think that if something was wrong they would have called me, so if they didn't is because there wasn't much to say.

We're going to think to the post-treatment, at home, with all the precautions.
I don't know how I will manage the thing that she won't be able to stay with us for long periods. At night she wants to stay ON us and watch TV while love-biting my hand. How will I tell her that she can't?
And how will I tell her that she isn't allowed outside for two weeks? She will kill me with her meows!!! :D

Hope to read more good news about Mouse!

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Re: Tails of the radioactive cat (or Mouse.) Radio-iodine treatment for hyperthyroidism

Post by Lilith » Thu Aug 10, 2017 10:48 am

Lol Antonio, it reminds me of the time I bred Siamese and (very occasionally) showed them - I didn't really care for the show world; it's about people, not cats. But I had a really promising boy, a chocolate point called Joey (aka the Outlaw Josey Wails - because he did.) The show was a couple of hours' drive away and as soon as we set off, he started bawling. And it got no better. So in the end I got him out of his carrier and cuddled him on the front seat - which was TOTALLY STUPID, I know.

Karma soon rewarded me. Joey weed on me. Niagara! When he got to the show, worn out by his exertions, he spent the day asleep in his nice dry litter tray, apart from when the judges came round. He had a very relaxing show. And he got a first too. But I have to admit he was the only one in that class :oops: :lol:

I'd offered to help. giving out rosettes and so on; I spent the day skulking round in sodden denim, hoping the smell would be blamed on the used litter trays ... cats eh?

Mousey sends love and purrs to your Pallina x

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