Wednesday, 22 February 2017

A Paralysed Stray Cat and a Dedicated Carer Experience the Beauty of Unconditional Love

But when a soul, by choice and conscience, doth
Throw out her full force on another soul,
The conscience and the concentration both
Make mere life, Love.
- Elizabeth Barrett Browning

COSPICUA, 19/02/2017 by Alexander Johnson. Sugar’s life started brutally. As a small kitten he was thrown from the roof of a high building on to a hard pavement, a violent act which severed a part of his young brain, causing paralysis from the head down. Somehow, the little tabby managed to drag himself into a dark doorway, where his squeals of pain attracted the attention of a kind passerby who fortunately called a friend, an animal lover, well known for taking care of sick and injured cats. This was the beginning of many years filled with a deep bond of love and commitment between «Sugar» and his human Doris Zarb.

Doris and her beloved Sugar
Even though he could barely move, the traumatised kitten was hard to catch, and still had a lot of fight left in him. Beaming, and with a twinkle in her eyes, Doris recalled, “When I finally managed to pick Sugar up, out of fear he bit me, causing my hand to swell like a balloon”. The weeks that followed involved journeys from one vet to another, the final diagnosis was Sugar would remain paralysed for the rest of his life. Doris told us, “I was recommended to have Sugar put down. However, he wasn’t in pain, and he had life, therefore there was no reason to destroy him, so I ignored the advice.”

Affectionately, Doris continued, “Furthermore, as the days went by, he started to accept me as his friend, and warmly purred when I stroked him. After that I couldn’t let him go. He was so sweet and loving, so I named him Sugar, and decided to keep him with me.” Since then, for the last thirteen years, due to his disability Sugar has had to be hand fed and cleaned several times a day, a chore which Doris lovingly does, besides seeing to any other needs.

Feeding water
No matter where Doris goes Sugar is close by, snuggled in his soft layered basket. “I also have him by me at night”, said Doris. “When he sleeps he lies straight and stiff as a board, not curled up into a soft ball like most cats.” Doris asserted further, “Sometimes, when he’s dreaming, he has moments of spasms, which wake me up.” Extraordinarily, in all those years Sugar has not been sick once! “The fall broke all his teeth, and we had to take them out,” related Doris, “but in the course of the years his gums have become so hard that he can chew dry food. Other than that Sugar, besides his paralysis, has had a very healthy life!” Taking care of Sugar means that Doris has had to sacrifice some of life’s pleasures, such as a holiday. “How can I have a holiday, when I’m needed here with my cats!” She smilingly exclaimed.

Doris has dedicated her life to cats, especially to the most vulnerable of the feline family. Over the years she has worked hard to establish one of Malta’s leading cat sanctuary, CSAF (Carers for Stray and Abandoned Felines), which today is home to over 250 cats. It is at the sanctuary that Sugar and Doris spend most of the working day. Sugar lies in his basket, surrounded by an entourage of cats, who seem to be very happy and proud to be in his presence. “The cats here love him, play with him, and one can see he enjoys it”, said Doris. On hearing Doris’ voice Sugar lifted his head to see where his loving human was. “I love all cats,” said Doris looking down at Sugar, “but Sugar has his own space in my heart.”

It was not expected that Sugar would survive a week, never mind to live all these years, but he proved all the pessimists wrong. Today, he is happy and healthy, with a lot more life to live, a miracle of love and devotion.

You can read more about Doris and the fantastic work of the  CSAF in 'Islands of Cats' on pages 79-85.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

The purr-fect Valentine's story (via Daily Mail)

Lonely stray cat with a big HEART on his chest has found a loving new home - Read the full Valentine's story on Daily Mail Online and let this lovely photo speak for itself:

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Islands of Cats at the 64th and 65th International Cat Show in Smart City Malta, February 11 and 12, 2017

This weekend, February 11 and 12, animal lovers will enjoy the 64th and 65th International Cat Show in Smart City in Malta. "A wide variety of breeds will be on display, including Bengals, Devon Rex, Himalayans, Maine coons, Persians, Sphynx and also household cats." the Times of Malta wrote last Friday in an article announcing the show.

at the 2016 World Cat Show
With more than 350,000 stray and feral cats in Malta and Gozo, our small, sea-locked nation also dedicates a lot of love, time and money in caring for the less privileged felines. The 2016 released photostory-book "Islands of Cats" introduces a representative 22 of the over 1,000 individuals devotedly looking after stray cats in the streets, in cat colonies and in stray shelters on a daily basis. The hardcover book comes with 258 colourful photographs on 128 pages, with interviews, stories, cat facts, it introduces places of interest in our islands, and all of it before the backdrop of mediterranean beauty, in English, Maltese and German. Meet author Alexander Johnson at the Petnutrition House Stand, and get your personal copy of Islands of cats signed.

» MFGC's 64th and 65th International Cat Show
» Islands of Cats at the World Cat Show, Malta, December 2016

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Study: Cats Eating Dry Food Have Increased Risk for Developing Type 2 Diabetes (via VPN)

The study was conducted by the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

On Veterinary Practice News 24 January 2017: "Some cat owners have advocated not feeding dry food to cats for health reasons, and now the science may back those claims up. A recent study conducted by researchers at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences found an increased risk of diabetes mellitus (Type 2) in normal-weight cats that consume a dry food diet.

The study, “Environmental Risk Factors for Diabetes Mellitus in Cats,” was published online December 1, 2016, and will be included in the January/February digital issue of the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine (JVIM), a publication of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM).

“Through our research we found that while obesity is a very important and prominent risk factor for diabetes mellitus in cats, there is also an increased risk of diabetes among normal-weight cats consuming a dry food diet,” said Malin Öhlund, DVM, a Ph.D student of the department of Clinical Services at the Swedish University of Agricultural Science and lead researcher on..." read on.