Aby-a-Day – 2 June: Logan’s last cat bed (Swedish Saturday)

When pets are cremated in Sweden, it seems the pet crematoriums return the ashes to you in a simple, pine box. This is how Björn received the ashes of first Olivia and then Pyret, and that’s how we got Logan back from the vet as well.

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Lorelai came to see what was left of the brother and show companion she will never get to meet.

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Bittersweet photo, isn’t it? Hang one, more where that came from.

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To my surprise, when I opened the box Logan’s ashes came in, they were just loose inside! Back in the States, you would get the ashes in a box, sure, but the ashes inside the box were in a plastic bag of some sort.

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Alfred also came to investigate Logan’s loose ashes. Yeah, that’s the more bittersweet thing I mentioned earlier.

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Of course, for Harri and Patrick, I had lovely urns made by Alex in Welderland, and while I love them, another would be too heavy and too expensive to ship from the States to Europe. Gun-Hee didn’t have so much as an urn as a “memorial box” which included a flask of his ashes along with other souvenirs of his short life. I looked online for cat urn options in Europe and eventually discovered Etsy seller 1st4Signs.

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It’s really beautiful. The box is oak, with an engraved slate top and a photo of Logan. Of course, Freddy was on hand to help me put his brother from another mother into his final cat bed.

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I poured Logan’s ashes into the fancy new box. They fit perfectly.

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Then we put the lid back on.

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It fastens with two brass screws. Jacoby came to see what was going on while I was screwing the lid back on.

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Not sure how a screwdriver equals a possible meal, but all right…

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There we are. Logan is in his final resting place.

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Freddy and Jake say goodbye to Logan one last time.

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No Jake…this won’t be you for a very, very long time. I hope.

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For now, Logan is on the windowsill near Björn’s computer underneath which Pyret loved to sleep, next to Pyret and Olivia’s ash-boxes. Eventually we’ll have everyone’s ashes on one shelf somewhere. It just seems so sad that the older we get, the more little boxes of ashes we collect.

(Also…and I am sorry it’s such a depressing post…but, happy birthday, Sherry!)

Aby-a-Day – 1 May: Bringing Logan home

Today Björn and I went to Jönköping to collect Logan’s ashes.

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His ashes came packed in a very nice cardboard box. They even put a little gold heart sticker on it. (It says “Contains wooden cremation urn” on the label.)

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Of course, Alfred came to see what I was doing.

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Is he looking up to StarClan to see if he can see Logan?

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Inside the cardboard box was this little wooden urn. They put a label with Logan’s name on it. This seems to be the common urn for cat ashes in Sweden; both Pyret and Björn’s other cat, Olivia, have identical urns.

However, this little box is not Logan’s final resting place. I’ve ordered an absolutely brilliant little casket of oak and slate with his photo on it from an Etsy seller in the UK (that’s the proof of it above). You may remember my special welded urns for my Siamese boys, Harri and Patrick, but it would cost a bomb to have one of those shipped here to Sweden. But this is perfect for Logan.

And on the way home on the train, it rained…and we saw the rainbow at the top of the post.

Aby-a-Day – 22 April: The Watch that Ends the Night

Alfred was so lonely after Logan went to the Djursjukhuset in Jönköping.

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I got a call from the vet in Jönköping on Friday the 13th, of all days, that Logan was going to die. He had a surgical biopsy of his mesenteric lymph nodes. In his belly, they found gelled fluid indicative of FIP. After Pyret, and the way all the cats paid their respects to her, I knew I couldn’t let Logan die without saying good-bye to his brother from another mother.

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So I bundled Freddy up and took him with me to Jönköping to say good-bye to our Logan.

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We had to wait in the cats-only waiting area first, where there were lots of certificates announcing how cat-friendly the hospital is.

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They also had this awesome poster showing Cats of the World. The Abys were much better than on the last poster I saw in a vet’s office…and there is a Singapura on it, too!

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Eventually, we were taken to a room. Not a hospital room, but an office-type room, with computers and a comfy leather sofa.

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The vet tech brought Logan in, and Freddy was right there to greet him.

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Then I cradled my baby and cried over him.

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Being on his back was uncomfortable for him, so I held him turned over. I wore my Porg T-shirt because Logan was my little Porg.

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Freddy didn’t care that Logan was wearing the Cone of Shame. He was just happy to see his brother from another mother.

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Logan struggling to get into the carrier with Freddy after the vet tech took off the Cone of Shame. I have no words to express how much I miss his love of Freddy. And his funny facea.

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We had to wait a while before it was out turn. We didn’t mind.

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Logan was so weak and tired. He had had surgery, blood tests and so much else done to him those last few days. But still he hung on.

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He was happy to be with Freddy.

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Finally, the vet tech came back with all the syringes. Because the doctor was tied up with an emergency, she was going to administer the drugs.

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She flushed out his port with saline before starting the euthanasia procedure. I didn’t take photos of that. I wouldn’t normally have taken as many photos of all this as I did, but Björn was away that weekend on his Hemvärnet exercises, and he couldn’t be there to see Logan that last time. So I took these for him, and also for Lisa, his breeder.

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All clear.

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He started receiving the sedatives first. While they started to work and make Logan drowsy, Freddy was right there with him.

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Brothers to the end.

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Finally the last needle was given, and Logan left us. They gave us a blue towel to wrap him in, and Freddy said his last goodbye.

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I hated to leave him alone in that empty room, so I left one of his favourite fishes with him. It’s been just a little over a week since he died, and Freddy and I are so lost. He was our little dude, and we miss him.

Aby-a-Day – 19 April: Keeping his weight up

Logan’s weight went from 3.4 kg on 4 March to 2.9 kg on 8 April. At first, I didn’t think much of it, all the cats eat a little less and seem to lose wight when spring comes and there’s more daylight.

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But the last weekend, Logan wouldn’t eat anything. Not even freshly cooked chicken or lamb. He also wouldn’t drink – and he used to love to drink from the fountain.

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So I had to feed him and hydrate him. I fed him a gruel of Hill’s A/D and Royal Canin Convelescence, and gave him Oralade to hydrate him and give him electrolytes.

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When Gun-Hee was sick, we were told to give him Pedialyte…but they don’t seem to have that in Sweden (and I have no idea what one would do if they needed to give a baby electrolytes, either). But Oralade is actually better, since it’s balanced for cats and includes taurine. And it’s chicken flavoured!

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Logan really didn’t want to eat, and he hated having to eat from the syringes, but he tolerated it so well. The least he would do was push my hands away. But I think he knew I was trying to help him.

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I had a routine: One 10ml syringe of Oralade, then one 20ml syringe of the food mixture, and then another 10ml of Oralade.

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It could get a little messy. I know that bothered Logan, too, because he was such a fastidious little guy.

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Oh, I miss his expressions!

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You have to go slow while feeding like this. You have to give the cat time to swallow, and make sure he doesn’t accidentally inhale any of the food or liquid.

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We also took clean-up breaks.

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Come on, little Logey! Just a little bit more…

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…and, we’re done. Good job!

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Wipe the chin a little bit…there we go.

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Okay, now just one more little syringe of the Oralade…

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…there you go. Good!

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See how he’s holding onto my arm? I miss those little hands…

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…and that funny, funny face.

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The whole feeding process took about 20 minutes. I fed him every four to six hours starting on the first Friday night (6 April) until Wednesday when we went to the Djursjukhuset in Jönköping (11 April).

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This is how he looked on Sunday, 8 April, after eating. He really didn’t look like an FIP cat. And the best news is, I was able to hold his weight steady at 2.8-2.9 kg by our scale until we went to the animal hospital on Wednesday. I haven’t accomplished that much in my life, but this is one of my proudest achievements.

Aby-a-Day – 18 April: Wordless Wednesday (Brothers from another mother)

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Aby-a-Day – 15 April: A post I never thought I’d be making this soon (Serious Sunday)

Logan joined StarClan yesterday around 17:20 in Jönköping. Alfred and I were with him at the end. He was killed by FIP, ten years after my first Abyssinian, Gun-Hee, was murdered by the same virus. Ten years of research, and we still lose our cats to this horrible disease.

I have a lot to process (and not just photos)…but I will tell the whole story over the next few days. But to summarise, after the judge at the Winners Show said she thought Logan was thin, I weighed him as soon as we got home. And yes, Logan had lost weight since the last time he’d been weighed (I weigh all the cats every other week, when I clip claws), so I took him to our vet here in Skövde. I called on Tuesday, and the first appointment we could get was on Friday. They ran blood tests, but we didn’t get any results until very late Monday night, and the rest of the results came in Tuesday afternoon. They said he needed to go to the nearest big animal hospital, which is in Jönköping, an hour train ride from Skövde. So on Wednesday, Logan was admitted for more tests, feeding and hydration, and a possible biopsy. For a while, we thought it might not be FIP, since he had enlarged lymph nodes and anemia, and didn’t show the classic signs of FIP, like the swollen belly that Gun-Hee had. But on Friday the 13th, after they opened his abdomen up to surgically biopsy his mesenteric lymph nodes, they found the tell-tale fluid in his abdomen. It was a gelly rather than free fluid, which is why is wasn’t so obviously FIP.

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So on Saturday, Freddy and I took the train to Jönköping to say goodbye to our friend. The vet tech (whose name I sadly did not get) brought him into the room and Freddy went right over to him.

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Then I got to hold him. I wore my Porg shirt because they always remind me of Logan.

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He didn’t like being held on his back, so I turned him over and Freddy was back to check on him.

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Freddy went back into the carrier, and the sweetest thing happened. Logan started squirming in my hands. I wasn’t sure what was wrong, but the tech exclaimed, “Oh! He wants to go into the carrier with Freddy!” And he did. I made a short video of the two of them (click the above image to view); Freddy hissed a little at Logan’s funny smell, but they cuddled together like they always have.

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Up until that moment, I thought I brought Freddy to say goodbye to help Freddy deal with the loss of his Brother From Another Mother. But bringing Freddy was as much – if not more – for Logan.

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Turn up the volume…Logan was so happy to see Freddy and me he was purring! (Click image to play.) The tech was called away for an emergency, so we had a little more time together. Logan was so tired, though.

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Finally, the tech returned and the sedation and final injection process began. We stayed with him until they confirmed he was really gone.

My heart has joined The Thousand, for my friend has stopped running today.

Goodbye, my little dollbaby. May StarClan light your path. May you find good hunting, swift running, and shelter when you sleep. There will soon be a new star in the night sky.

SE*Melur Vide “Logan” – 9 March 2017-14 April 2018

Aby-a-Day – 12 April: The bravest Angel (Thursday Things)

Ever since we moved to Sweden, Angel has been blossoming. Always the low cat on the totem pole with Tessie and Kylie back in Boston, she was bullied and hid…a lot. She didn’t do herself any favours by, as Jackson Galaxy says, “acting like prey” when they went after her…which only made them bully her more. She is stronger than either of them; she could have easily kicked both their tails. But she never did.

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Cats tend to be matriarchal, with the oldest female being the dominant cat. Moving away from Kylie and Tessie made Angel the second oldest cat in the household. Pyret was the oldest…but Angel, with her history of being bullied, she wasn’t about to challenge the queen.

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And now that Pyret has left us, Angel is top cat. And she’s still getting used to that. So every time she walks through the middle of a roon, every time she plays in the sun, every time she acts like a normal, pushy Aby…it’s wonderful. Like the other day, when she owned this bed usually slept in by Pyret, or the boys. When the sun is just right, the light is wonderful.

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After the camera distracts her, she goes back to grooming…

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“Are you STILL taking my picture?

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Something flew by outside, catching her attention mid-tongue.

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She may only have one eye, but her vision is 20/.

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Visions of sugarbirds dancing in her head, no doubt.

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Every day she is just a little more…Abyssinian.

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That IKEA cat bed is very popular. Logan and Alfred are very politely waiting their turn (although if Freddy weren’t there, Logan would go and “share” the bed with Angel).