Sunday, 29 June 2014

Cat Insurance Advice

Thank you so very much for all the lovely comments and good wishes for Magic. I am touched and very grateful for your support. Magic is improving but very slowly however I am grateful for any improvement. She is still being tube fed, receiving her antibiotics and hepatic medicine and insulin. Her mood remains very quiet and flat but there are little flickers of interest as time passes. I am writing up a proper post of everything since she came home and will publish it once I've organised my thoughts as it is a bit of a chaotic diatribe right now. In the interim, I wonder if  I can push my luck and ask if any UK readers can offer advice on cat insurance?

Neither of the cats are insured. This was a choice made when I was much younger, there were fewer treatment options were available for cats and I was more financially solvent. I did consider insurance with my first cat but having carefully looked into some policies I realised the majority of things offered under them were not relevant, too limited to be of value or useless when a cat got older. I also once had an experience where a vet was planning all sorts of expensive and invasive immunological testing until he found out the cat was uninsured. The condition turned out to be a simple itchy rash and not a major connective tissue disorder!

In the light of Magic's life threatening and very expensive illness I have realised I am not as  financially flexible as I once was and I need to rethink my options. It is too late for Magic. She is 11yrs old and now has a chronic health condition that it would be easy to imply was responsible for any new illness as a means of not paying out. For Red I think I need to get him insured and just take the financial monthly cost as a way of off-setting a massive and unexpected bill while he is still technically 'young' at 4yrs old and pre-existing illness free.

I've done some comparison price shopping but that only tells part of the story. So far I think a lifetime policy would be right with as high coverage as possible balanced against the monthly cost. Other than that I am a little stuck as there are so many providers out there. With car insurance I can easily ask around regarding good providers but cat insurance seems to be a much rarer thing especially for a non-pedigree. As you may have noticed, like everyone who blogs about their cat, these two are ever so slightly adored. While I don't relate an animal's value to how much I paid for them, insurers do and some policies seem geared towards valuing animals by their initial price or weighting the policy benefits to this. I just want reassuring coverage for illness.

So I would love to ask if any of you have UK cat insurance advice, have had experience of making a claim and how helpful/hassle-free the insurer was. I'd also welcome any relevant advice or information that might help me make a decision? If you can answer any of these questions in a comment or privately by email at irishredsetter AT live DOT co DOT uk I'd be really grateful for your shared wisdom.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Our Week - Part One: Magic

This is a seriously long story and I think I've written it as much as a personal download as to let you know what has been happening to us in a whirlwind week. I could not write this before as I was too busy coping and reacting to what was going on. I will write Red's Tale and my own as other posts but this one is all Magic's.

Friday 13th was the start of what has turned into a very scary rollercoaster. I was clearly over optimistic when I wished everyone a happy 13th! Magic was not herself, nothing specific, just 'hingy' as we say locally. So that evening off we went to our vet with me hoping that she'd laugh at me being an overanxious owner and send us home.

Instead the vet thought her conscious chest x-ray looked like she had cardiomyopathy and bilateral pleural effusions. Naively, stupidly, I was utterly winded by the idea that she was so ill. My last cat was a walking medical miracle/disaster zone and lasted till she was 16 and a half and we told ourselves that she lasted so well because of our fabulous care and adoration. So to be faced with losing Magic at only 11yrs old seemed to knock the wind out of my sails. More vet visits ensued but didn't manage to get to the bottom of it but they still thought it was her heart and that the prognosis was poor. A very bitter irony as one of my private names for her is 'my wee heart's ease'.

I was sick with worry for her and broken hearted as I thought we were heading to the end of our time together. My girlie looked so sad and she just seemed to be deteriorating with tiny, brief rallies. I'd had to begin syringe feeding her on Wednesday on the vets advice and thought I was winning but she began vomiting the kitten milk and the vet food I'd been given for her. By 01:00hrs her breathing became a little noisier and she was crying out when she vomited. I knew she couldn't wait for the vet appointment in the morning and I felt that even if her condition was ultimately untreatable she was becoming a medical emergency and had exceeded anything I could do for her. So, after a brief call to warn of our arrival, we set off with all due haste for the Small Animal Hospital at the Glasgow University Vet School. Luckily it is nearby and we immediately saw the loveliest vet. She examined Magic then admitted her to be assessed and promised she'd call me.

It was 3am but I couldn't rest and knew I certainly wouldn't sleep so I sat out in the still warm garden with a coffee and the home and mobile phones watching the dawn rise until I got the call from the vet at 04.30hrs. I had been right, Magic had become critically ill. It turned out to be due to Diabetic Ketoacidosis which is life threatening and she had been taken into the Intensive Care Unit for very intensive treatment for her new diabetes and all the physical derangements that accompanied it while it was uncontrolled.

I had the strangest reaction during the call; although I wasn't cold I sat and shook and rattled involuntarily and my teeth chattered while I tried to hold a sensible conversation with the vet. I hadn't realised how viscerally stressed I was and this was like a release. I was both very scared because she was so desperately ill but bizarrely relieved because, if she survived this critical period, diabetes is a lifelong but TREATABLE condition. Very little sleep was had afterwards but lots of praying did happen.

Through the Thursday they tried hard to stabilise her as so many of her organs and her bloods, fluids and electrolytes were all in disarray. Somehow she managed to rip out her nasogastric tube and had a 'hissy fit' according to the vet. I remain mystified as to how she managed it as it was stitched to her nose and forehead AND she was wearing a lampshade collar! On Friday and Saturday, Magic had very bad days including having a general anaesthetic. Her potassium and phosphate remained off, she wasn't able to eat, she had hepatitis and cholangitis, pleural effusions and all the other issues that go with DKA.  On the good side her blood glucose was improving on insulin therapy and her one peripheral IV line remained patent. She had more scans and surgery to place an oesophageal feeding tube. The central IV line could not be inserted and post-operatively her respirations were giving serious concern. I was unable to visit her as it was not in her best interests to have her disconnected for a visit but the vet's gave very detailed update calls and I was reassured with their care.

By Sunday her breathing had improved and she was holding her own. I was able to have a few minutes visit. Although I was bursting with joy to see her, she was still clearly very ill and just lay quietly beside me. She looked so miserable and barely able to look at me seemingly mortified at her IV lines and missing fur. The only thing I saw was a beloved little girl cat and the heartfelt hope that our time might not be at an end.

On Monday she continued to improve and they had established tube feeding, she had been changed onto the longer acting insulin and we had a longer visit where she was significantly brighter. She'd also been deemed fit enough to be moved to the cat ward which is quieter. When I visited, as the vet lifted her from the carry box, she got quite agitated and only after I had lifted her onto me did I realise her agitation was because she was having a widdle! Hey ho, I've endured worse! The vet left me with a bowl of Magic's favourite treats and when I did my super-bright "SWEETIES!" she sat up and voluntarily took her first oral food in a week. I was overjoyed. Obviously a special diet will be needed but the big deal was just to get her to take something by mouth. She was showing interest in the room and trying to jump down for a look but she was still rather weak so I cut off her vague escapes. While the vet was chatting with me he commented on what a lovely nature she had and how she had been a pleasure to look after even though she was so ill. I wondered if he'd forgotten about the NG tube incident but knew what he meant as Magic is a delight and seems to have a very old wise spirit in her nature.

Tonight I visited her and she was bright and communicating with her big green eyes but happy to just cuddle up beside me as I chattered sweet words to her and stroked what fur has not been shaved. She's eaten a little today and although her blood glucose is not well controlled this is thought to be due to the change from short-acting to longer-acting insulin and will stabilise.

The plan is to get her home on Thursday. She will need blood glucose monitoring, twice daily insulin and will need fed through her oesophagostomy tube dependent on her oral intake of diet. I know I can learn to do all of these for my sweet girlie but am not surprisingly a little daunted to make sure I do everything right that she needs. Thursday is going to be a steep learning curve for me.

We are not out of the woods yet but compared to last week the future looks a lot brighter.

Friday, 13 June 2014

Happy Friday 13th

A rare pic capturing Magic's sweet colours to wish everyone a good Friday.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Giveaway results

Thank you so much to everyone who entered and I was really touched by your lovely comments. Like Cathy Keisha the first time I saw the tarts I was a bit confused too. A tart is a cake here as well but the word is also used to describe what my grandmother referred to as a 'lady of light character'. So you do have to be careful about contextualising your offer of a tart! Ok, no more chat as you probably want to know if you were one of the winners.

Well, there was another discussion huddle with my fluffy friends with Red paying particular attention
but as you can see, I haven't added any of your names to the raffle bowl....
Clearly this is rather shocking, surely I haven't reneged on my offer

Of course not! The reason is that we have agreed that everyone should be a winner. So all nine of you will be receiving a bracelet and a tart (a WAX tart!). I'm just going to email you now to get your details. Thanks again for joining in.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Model poses

Little Magic doing some stretching and posing in that totally self assured way only cats can
 Now I'm up and stretched will I come off the sofa back and come for a cuddle or some food or just snuggle down again. Oh, it is such a pressure being a cat.
Our giveaway finishes tomorrow at noon our time so if you haven't had a chance to pop your name in the frame please feel free to join in by clicking here

Friday, 6 June 2014

Heading to the weekend

If you haven't joined in our giveaway please feel free to do so
Well, they say porridge is good for your heart
  and having a pet to stroke is good for your blood pressure
 so, I'm hoping that is us set up for the day and that you are having a good Friday too.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Cat blogger hug day, a return and a giveaway

I loved Hug your Cat Day yesterday and it was the impetus I needed to restart my posting over here in honour of all the wonderful cat bloggers and cat lovers who deliver the hugs!
If you read my other blog as well you'll know both went quiet. I just lost heart for blogging as I've been struggling with pain and immobility because of my knee. Things have improved and although, I am still very limited in what I can do that needs me to stand or walk, I'm working hard to get back to normal. I've been reading your posts and occasionally leaving comments but these have been all rather sporadic for which I apologise. Magic and Red have been wonderful in trying to purr me better.
 This degree of proximity has never happened before, or since. Magic normally refuses to tolerate Red in her personal space but she just pretended he wasn't there so that they could both be close to me.
It was only last year that I came out of my blogging chrysalis with the help of the lovely cat bloggers Jacqueline and Hannah and Lucy's Mum who found my blog, reached out and introduced me to the wonderful world of the Cat Blogosphere. This was a revelation. Blogging has been a fabulous window on the world, quite literally, as I have been stuck at home through illness or injury for significant portions of the last year. I absolutely adore the beautiful header generously created by Ann at Zoolatry which I couldn't be any more delighted with. I want to list all the wonderful bloggers I read or who come to visit here but I don't want to inadvertently miss someone out and offend them.
So in honour of all of this Magic, Red and myself got into a little huddle to discuss how we might mark our return to cat blogging and to thank you. Strangely there were no smacky paws or hissing but I think this might just have been another temporary cessation of hostilities given the gravity of the discussion! We decided that a giveaway was ideal as were delighted with being winners over at Glogirly's recently which cheered us up immensely so we thought we'd share the love.

What would we giveaway though....? Initially, we thought we'd give a gift to our feline friends but realised the lucky winner might actually be a woofie or a human who likes our blog but doesn't have a cat and we wanted to be very inclusive. So it was decided that 'we', that'll be me then as there is a distinct lack of opposable thumbs on my two furry co-conspirators, would giveaway a piece of handmade jewellery.

I swithered and dithered as I've never made for someone I don't know. Then as I was rooting about in my bead box trying to decide what to make I came across some new Yankee Tarts and the colours really inspired me.
So the giveaway will be a stretchy bracelet and scented wax tart for three lovely readers who leave me a comment to let me know they wish to be in the draw.
Although I've made up the bracelets I will check with the winners so that the wrist size can be tailored to themselves or someone they plan to gift it to.
If you do have a cat there is a fair chance there might be a mousie, mousie sneaked into the parcel as well. This is more to forewarn you in case you get startled by a furry critter falling out unexpectedly!
This is open to all our readers who leave us a comment to let us know they'd like to be in the draw. There are no restrictions on where you live as I will post anywhere but please make sure you leave me a way of contacting you if you win. I will draw the names at noon BST on Sunday the 8th of June.

Good luck and thank you so much for being such wonderful people.