Nicknames: Little Bit, Little One, Laffy Taffy, Taffy Delight the Kismet Cat, Taffy Bat, Miss Thing, Munchkin, Poppet, Sunshine Taffy (thanks to Jakey!), Bunny, Duckling
Gotcha Date: June 8th 2009
Birthday: June 8th 1999
Coloration: Van Calico
Likes: snuggling, massages, looking out her kitchen window
Pet-Peeves: eye drops and pills.
Favorite Toy: catnip cigar. she likes car rides and has taken several day-long drives to go camping, and to visit extended family in NC. very content in carrier or on lap.
Favorite Nap Spot: on the big bed, on the Morgan's Bed on kitchen windowsill, in a cat igloo, on a pillow near a heat vent
Favorite Food: chicken broth, Verus, kidney diet catfood are her main food, but she loves ham, steak, deli turkey, broiled trout, almost any human food. we think she lived on table food in her prior home. we just have to be careful because of her kidney disease & IBD.
Skills: persistence in trying to get rescued, being adorable, silent meowing
Arrival Story: Taffy insisted on being trapped the night of 6/8/09 when I was trying to trap Fizzgig for TNR. The second time she went in the trap, I decided there was a reason for her persistence, and I took her to Forgotten Cats the next day. They found she was already spayed, but horribly emaciated, and I took her to a regular vet the following day for a full workup and meds, which started us on a long path of bringing her back to health that continues to this day.
Bio: Negative for FIV and FELV.
Based on condition of her teeth, vet estimated her age at between 5 and 8 years. UPDATE: after ultrasound on 7/7/09, organ condition indicates 10-12 years.
When I found her she had not been reported missing to any local authorities, shelters or vets.
She was a very sick and fragile little cat, extremely emaciated, with highly elevated white blood cell count, anaemic red cell count, and mild to moderate kidney level elevation. Decision made to treat her symptomatically to improve her comfort and nourish her, but not to do invasive testing, as she was not likely to survive biopsies, anaesthesia etc. In first 3 weeks here she gained only @50 grams. I had been hoping to foster her and then adopt her out when she regained some of her health, but as the scope of her health problems became clear that plan was suspended, then abandoned. She truly is a special-needs cat, and inevitably, after months of intensive nursing, we fell in love with her. :) July 3 '09 more blood testing done; white blood count elevated and red blood count very low. More antibiotics; started B12 shots; prescription low-residue diet and Prednisolone to combat likely intestinal or lymphatic inflammation. Abdominal ultrasound followed in late summer '09; differential diagnosis is IBD or intestinal lymphoma, complicated by possible pancreatitis, chronic renal failure, and heart murmur. Continued symptomatic treatment, as she was still too frail for biopsy or cancer treatment. Clavamox for upper respiratory infection; continued Prednisolone; started giving subcutaneous fluids. Epogen treatment was considered for her anaemia in Fall '09, but testing showed she is generating some new red blood cells, and with regular B12 treatment her RBC rebounded to almost-normal, so that plan was abandoned. Winter '09-'10: severe viral infection (probably herpes) in both eyes, had to discontinue Prednisolone Jan '10. Fortunately we already had begun tapering her off it. Nearly lost her left eye due to corneal perforation January 1 '10, but with expert care from Metropolitan Veterinary Hospital and Matthew J. Ryan Vet Hospital (UPenn) and intensive medication at home her eyes were healed by March '10. Summer '10: most of the problems Taffy had when she came to us a year ago have greatly reduced and stabilized. She no longer shows signs of intestinal problems and has nearly doubled her weight, her anemia is very slight, and her kidney levels have been in the high-normal range for months now. She takes Viralys powder in her food every day to prevent herpes and other viral infections, gets vitamin B12 injection once a month to mitigate anemia, and gets subq fluids every other day. By July she had tapered off her antiviral eye drops. She still is highly prone to upper respiratory infections, which depress her appetite and cause her to lose weight alarmingly quickly, and she takes medication for her heart murmur. Retested negative for FIV and FIP; also tested negative for mycoplasma infection August '10, so her anemia is still unexplained, but possibly caused by CRF.
February 2011 - another eye problem led to diagnosis of a fast-growing cranial tumor which rapidly moved into her sinuses, vascular tissue, and throat. After 2 weeks of palliative care Taffy showed signs that her illness was progressing to the point where she could no longer be kept comfortable. She was helped across the Rainbow Bridge the night of February 24, at home in front of her fireplace, in her Mama's arms.
These past few months I have been a free-lance Guardian Angel, visiting many sick kitties and sprinkling angel healing-wish stardust wherever it is needed. But this week I found a furry special kitty for me to look over full time.
Mindy is a friendly 11-year-olde kitty who recently lost her first home because her human had to go to the Rainbow Bridge. The family of my angel furriend Mr. Sam adopted Mindy and her two sisfurs. Mindy's vet records showed that she has had trouble with one of her eyes for her whole life. Finally, after years of herpes infection and scarring and medication that didn't really keep her comfortable or end the chronic problems, her new vet decided Mindy would be most comfortable if the bad eye was removed. Mindy met Sir Jerry last week, and now is recovering well.
When I heard Mindy's story, I knew that since I also made a specialty of eye problems, she and I have a lot in common. So I am going to watch over her from now on!
Being a full-time Guardian Angel is an important job, and I want to do it well. I will still send lots of healing-wish dust to any kitty who needs it, including TONS to the little rescue kitten that my Jakey's Mama is trying to bottle-feed. But I will make sure to look in on my new friend Mindy every day.
It has been about two and a half months since I came to the Rainbow Bridge, and this week for the first time Mama felt able to work on photos of me. She enlarged 5 of her favorites, and had 2 mounted and laminated while framing the other 3. Two of them are almost life-size. Of course, life-size me was not that big anyway!
Mama has been wanting to make a Shutterfly book about me, and working on these pictures was sort of the first step, but getting even the first 5 photos cropped and edited just right made her sadder than she thought it would after the time that has passed. It might be awhile longer before she can weed through all my pictures and write down my rescue story to accompany the best of them. I'll be watching over her as she does it, and not let her work on it more than is good for her. A little bit is wonderful purrapy, but she needs to focus on all of my earth family more than on me. I am fine, and I don't need all that attention any more, and it is good to see her doing some other things now instead of having to keep up with my medical schedule all the time.
I sent her a little stray boy to keep her busy, and some of you have been keeping track of him on the Book-facey thing. He is a cutie, and he is getting friendlier every day. I keep urging him to go sniff Mama's hand and let her scritch him, but he's not quite brave enough yet. One of these days! I know he wants to!
Mama also wants to make some big portrait pictures of all my other siblings, so that she doesn't just have a Taffy Memorial Wall in her office - it will be all of us, her angels and earthlings alike, with our treasures. I think it will look very pretty.
For the past few days Mama has had a sad stuck in her throat, eating all her words. She hasn't been able to help me write a diary and translate it from Meow to English. But we both feel that it's time to try.
On Thursday I had a sleepy day, and Mama gave me some ham, and some trouts, to nibble on. She also sat down on the floor near my hut and scritched my head for awhile, but I really wanted to sleep. Late in the afternoon I got a little more energetic and walked around the house a bit. Dougal decided he liked my fire, and stretched out right in front of it, but Mama nudged him so I would have some room too.
At night I was dozing in my hut when I heard Mama and Daddy talking to a lady with a soft voice. The lady came to peek in my hut, and then they talked some more. Then she gently reached into my hut, and looked at my eyes and felt my neck, and said that Mama was right - the swellings on my neck were lymph nodes, and they weren't really swollen but they were being pressed outward by my tumor.
Mama took Cow!Cat to her bedroom so he wouldn't get upset, as his job is to protect me and there was no way for the humans to assure him that I would be getting the best protection there is. Then Daddy took Lady to the big bathroom, because her job is to help in every task, but the soft-voiced lady didn't really need a helper, no matter how well-intentioned.
Mama sat down with me in my hut on her lap, and said that my being sick was almost over, and soon I wouldn't need any more needles or pills or anything else annoying. Then the soft-voice lady pinched my leg with a needle. It stung a little, even though I had taken my pain meds earlier, and I twitched, but then I was quiet. Mama scritched my ears, and I relaxed, and finally I did a face plant and was sound asleep. Mama took me out of the hut then, and wrapped me in a fluffy towel to keep me warm, and cuddled me and kissed me and rocked me, and I snored a little. She told me I was going to not need my pretty little sick cat suit any more, I was going to a place where I would be pure energy, not tied down by a bad tumor, or a weak heart, or broken kidneys. Then the lady gave me a second stick, this time into my liver, because she said my veins were so small and thin it would be gentler to inject into an organ. And Mama kept snuggling me, and I felt her leaking on me.
I stuck around for awhile, and I heard the soft-voiced lady say I was a tough little girl, and I felt Mama smile when she answered that being a tough little girl was what kept me alive through everything. Silly Mama. PURRS kept me alive! Purrs, and love, and Mama's touch, and the skill and dedication of my wonderpurr docfurs and nurses.
But eventually I let go, because I saw Thomas waving to me at the foot of a shining Bridge. I was so glad to see him again - he always was so gentle with me. I'm afraid I gave Mama a little bit of a bath then, as I slipped off my heavy earth-cat suit and went to join Thomas. And there was Calvin, right next to him, making sure I had my heart basket.
Once they greeted me, and Thomas licked my new-angel ears, I looked around some more and saw so many beautiful, shimmery, strong angels coming to meet me. I knew the Bridge had to be a busy place, but still it's a bit overwhelming to a newcomer! Tyler and Spunky were waiting to tell me their eye stories. Then Mr. Sam and Misha introduced themselves and said that when things calm down a little, they want to show me the meadow where we can hang out in the sunshine and breezes and chase bugs. My dear friend Lola wanted to give me flying lessons - which is funny because I hadn't been measured for my wings yet! And Freckles and Emily Felicity and Alaidh and Princess Penny and Jazzi and Miss Mittens and Sugar and Little Cat and Samantha And Alex were waving to me, along with Reuben and Simon and Glowy Bear and so very many more angels. Then I noticed Catsy and Taag and Lucinda and Tutti all sitting in the shelter of a big tree, peeking out at me shyly, so I went over to say hello and give them whisker kisses. There are even some tiny little kitten angels, rolling around and playing in the grass, chasing their tails and each other. I am so glad they are having a proper kittenhood here in eternity, since their enjoyment on earth was cut so short.
There are so many things for a new angel to do, and what's truly wonderful is that angels never get tired! If we are resting, it's simply because it feels good. But I have been taking it easy the past few days. I have eternity, after all, so there's no rush to do everything at once, and I have a lot to learn. For now I've simply been sitting on the soft grass, nibbling it occasionally, and looking through my heart basket, treasuring all the love I find there - much of it from kitties and humans I didn't even know of while I was living on earth.
I also found my little vial of sparkly angel stardust tucked in the basket. Thomas tells me that the more you use the magic dust, the bigger the vial gets - and the dust never runs out! That's a good thing, because I have so many earth furriends who can benefit from a healing sprinkle.
I'll get better at using the dust once I learn to fly, but I know some of it already has landed on Mama, because she's been sleeping a lot after weeks of only getting naps, and each time she wakes up her mind is a little clearer. She gave me a heart-shaped crystal in my last days on earth, to keep in my hut and look at and touch with my paw, or to sleep on top of when I wanted. She put it aside for me after I came to the Bridge, but yesterday I let her know that she can carry it with her. It connects her aching heart to my angelic energy-heart, and it lets me know when she needs a little extra healing. Healing my healer a little seems to me like a very good new-angel job.