Category Archives: Milly

Dearly missed departed small kitty. Original omega and littermate to Philly and Rheilly. Daughter of Emily. RIP 25 Oct 05.

We can haz girth

These photos are not demonstrations of how to fatten your cat. Because roly poly isn’t cute, unless you’re a whale stocking up for summer. Scrawny isn’t always a good sign of health either, so never crash diet the moggie either! The key thing is balance.

Instead, these are to show that like people, cats do have weight problems too, especially home cats. But it isn’t the end of the world… sometimes fat is better than flat.

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Philly (left) and Rheilly (right) girths

Philly weighs 7.6 kgs or so. Despite being much smaller than Philly, Rheilly is only 1.5 2.5 kilos less than Philly.

We did ask the vets (who think their lumpiness is still on the correct side of acceptable) and we do watch their diets (more so than we watch ours). But even though both are overweight and refuse to shed anything more than a few grammes, they are still agile and so while we’re mindful of not letting them expand too much, we’re not too worried.

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Especially for Rheilly, who’s FiV and FeLV positive. The vet sees her appetite and her rotundness as a good sign! Given the way Milly, Rheilly’s late sister who was also FiV positive, wasted away almost overnight, we’re happy that food remains a top priority for this short round one.

Does any life deserved to be ended just for being AIDS positive?

Foster Mum was troubled. She told us that vets have told her something she could not comprehend: it is common for people who run shelters or boarding houses to request for, nay, insist, cats under their care who have tested positive for FiV, or feline AIDS, to be put down.

We were equally perturbed. As with human AIDS, or HiV, testing positive for FiV does not mean the end of the world for the cat. Look at Angel – no one can deny she’s ALIVE, being FiV positive notwithstanding. Yes, she was sick and it was what led to her diagnosis, but so what? Why should she or any cat like her be denied the right to breathe just for being an FiV cat?

If you’ve followed our blog, you know our Milly was also a FiV positive cat. She had only 3.5 years of life. But was it any less worthwhile for her to live because she’s FiV positive? We hope not. She didn’t seem to think so. Thankfully, she did not suffer much pain, even at the end, when gastro-intestinal cancer took her on 25 Oct 06.

Now we have Rheilly, Milly’s littermate. She’s gone one better than either Milly or Angel. She’s both FiV and FeLV positive. She’s 4 years old. Her son, Kheilly is 3 (incidentally, he’s FeLV positive). She’s probably been FiV/FeLV positive since Kheilly’s conception. But looking at her, you wouldn’t know she’s positive for both these viruses. She shows absolutely no sign of illness. She alive and well despite being positive for FeLv and FiV. And by the looks of it, she’s got a few more good years to go. She can go on living them without help or fear.

Does she deserve to die just for being positive?

We don’t think so, because like we’ve said: if there is one thing to keep in mind about FiV, it is this: Like HIV, it doesn’t do the killing, it weakens the body and destroys the immune system until the victim dies from another illness, like Milly.

Before then, there is NOT enough justification to end a FiV/FeLv cat’s life.

Outside of Singapore, we hear of Cat Lovers Stepping Up & Adopting Animals With FIV. Afterall, what’s so bad about FiV cats? FiV is more a disease stigma and misconceptions. Can we hope for the same in Singapore? We can only keep our fingers crossed.

Foster Mum has a brood of advanced-FiV cats. They are slower, and less active, and they need regular medication and a bit more love and attention. And Foster Mum gives it to them as best as she can. As an experienced care-giver, Foster Mum is very aware that caring for FiV cats, even the ones in advanced stages of illnesses, isn’t too much hassle. The only regret she has is that she can’t devote more time to cuddling them.

Residents of Foster Mum’s FiV cat room:

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Looking at these 6 lovely cats, we found ourselves going quiet for a minute, a silent lament for the ones who are killed because their care-givers find it a hassle to continue caring for them once they test positive for FiV.

Remembering Milly

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Milly – the sweetest small cat

At this time, on this day last year, I was hugging Philly and sitting in a daze. It was a Tuesday, and Milly had passed somewhere between 10am and 12pm, on the operating table.

We never got to bide her safe journey.

The surgery was an exploratory operation – to find out exactly what are the lumps the vet had felt in Milly’s tummy just the Saturday before.

The verdict: Milly suffered from multi-cystic intestinal lymphoma. Cancer. And very aggressive it was too. Her intestines were so riddled with cysts of all sizes that the vet determined it was better to just let her go. This was especially in view of the fact that many of the cysts were pus-filled, and could break any moment.

Milly would likely not last more than 1 month in the most optimistic scenario. Reviving her meant that she would have to go through the healing process of recovering from surgery, and it would be a struggle she may not survive, given her weakened and debilitated state of health.

Today, I feel as if it is 25 Oct 2005 again. My eyes ache with tears, but they will remain uncried, for the most part.

Since her passing, there is a tugging on the heart whenever I think of Milly. It is now a familiar sensation.

Among the slackers, Milly is the smallest – where Bam Bam, Teddy, Joey and Philly weigh upwards of 6 kilos, Bams the lightest at 6.3 or so and Philly/Joey between 7.5 to 8, she is less than 4. She is also the omega, giving way to all and sundry.

Being used to large cats, there is something very different about holding a small dainty cat like her, a welcome difference of soft, effortless affection compared to the (back-breaking) grunting strain of cuddling the large heavy ones – though in fairness, their bulk do make for very comforting mass, especially when they purr, it resonates so. Still, Milly was the most obliging cuddle of the brood, until Philly joined us.

At the time that Milly joined the slacker club, there was only Teddy, Bam Bam and Joey. We had not intended for Milly to be a slacker. But that is a story for another time. For now, I just want to remember her.

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Wondering

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Tenderness – Joey loved having a younger, and smaller cat to fuss over. Milly was already full-grown here.

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When Philly, Milly’s littermate, joined the slacker club, Milly took to him like they’ve never been apart.

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Sisterly love

When Milly passed, she was only 3.5 years old. She died from cancer, but the cancer was likely to have been even more aggressive than usual due to her being an FiV cat. Did the fact that she was an FiV-cat change anything? Well, yes, we did have watch her a bit more carefully the others. But nothing else was different – FiV, like HiV, is more a stigma disease than anything.

Despite being more observant of her health and daily habits, we still failed her – though the vet has said that gastro-intestinal cancer is very difficult to detect, and we had in fact brought her in earlier than most.

It is small comfort.

One year has gone, but I still find myself looking around for her.

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Milly waning – one of her last photos, just 2 days before she left

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Good-bye, Milly.

Your mum doesn’t say it, but she misses you like crazy too.

Your loving aunt,

PS Your littermate, Rheilly, and her son Kheilly joined the homeslacking crew this year on Mar 18. They don’t fill the void you left behind, and we don’t expect them too, but it is a joy to have them at home. We thought you’d like to know that Rheilly, after a lifetime of being a homeless cat, now has a home too. She and Philly hit it right off, just like you did with him. We know you three recognised and remembered each other. Too bad you did not get to reunite with Rheilly. Btw, Philly and Joey still think of you too.

Angel’s care, and adoption hope

I’ve just written to Angel’s sponsors, to discuss the possibility of them helping out with Angel’s medical bill, and sponsoring of Angel’s medical/health needs in view of her FiV status.

As I said to Cat, we’re no strangers to FiV. Milly, our own slacker, we lost last year to extremely aggressive gastro-lymphoma at the young age of 3.5 years. Her sister, Rheilly, whom we brought home with her son Kheilly, this past March, is FiV AND FeLV +ve. Kheilly is FeLV +ve.

As long as they are well, everything remains status quo. We do need to watch out for their appetite, behaviour and so on. But it’s no biggie. ) There’s a lot of needless worry and stigma associated with being FiV+ve. And BestFriends.org’s FIV: Catching a Bad Case of Rumors sums it up perfectly.

Angel’s recuperating now from her mouth problem that triggered the vet visit, and thus the FiV test. The thing is, with her being an FiV cat, I feel it would be unfair not to let potential adopters know, when she’s ready for visitors again. Certainly, it takes someone with a big generous heart, who can afford to give attentive affection. Whether one is an experienced cat guardian or not is secondary – we all learn along the way after all. But I did not think A, Angel’s young then potential adopter, would be ready or able to commit to caring for a FiV cat, even though we know how minimal the special care is likely to be for a long time yet. But then the key word is “likely”, and Milly is a very stark example.

And given how stigmatised HiV is, what hope is there for a FiV cat yearning for a home?

Still, i’m not going to stop trying to look for a home for her. anyone knows someone with that big-heart?

Feline Lymphoma/Cancer/Tumours

Yes, cats do get cancer too, and like humans, a compromised immunity system makes them more suseptible too.

Like humans, cats may get cancers of many differnt kinds too.

Milly, tested FiV positive at age 2.5, died from multi-cystic intestinal lumphoma at age 3.5. It's important to note:

Intestinal lymphoma is now the most common form of lymphoma in the cat. The average patient is an elderly cat with a history of vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, appetite loss or any combination thereof. Patients are generally older cats (median ages ranging from 9-13 years depending on the study) with a tendency for male cats to be more predisposed to development of the condition than female cats. source

Researchers previously believed that all cats with lymphoma were infected with the Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV). However, most cats in the past decade diagnosed with intestinal lymphoma tested negative for FeLV. Exposure to second-hand smoke, not a virus, is now viewed as a contributing causative factor to intestinal lymphoma. source

Whatever the cancer though, it is important to remember cancer doesn't have to be a death sentence, unless we're talking about the hapless ones like Milly. But even then, don't give up hope, not unless it's truly the end. Get with the program, and play your part well – your cat's well-being depends on it.

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)

Does FIV look familiar? Reminds you of HIV doesn't it? That's because FIV, Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) is AIDS, feline AIDS.

But like the human variety, it is transmitted in the same ways, but does not mean an immediate death sentence. Cats testing positive for FIV may still lead healthy long lives.

Our Milly, who died on Oct 25 2005, and Rheilly, tested positive for it, but Milly did not die from it. She died from multi-cystic intestinal lymphoma – cancer of the intestines, a very fast-developing and aggressive cancer.

Old school thinking was that isolation is a must, but luckily for Milly, and now Rheilly, the thinking is that it is not necessary. BestFriends.org's FIV: Catching a Bad Case of Rumors sums it up perfectly.

If there is one thing to keep in mind about FiV, it is this: Like HIV, it doesn't do the killing, it weakens the body and destroys the immune system until the victim dies from another illness, like Milly.

Trivia Information ’bout Cats

Nice compilation by Chaos In The House Of Cat. (Those are my thoughts in italic btw.)

Cats are either left pawed or right pawed.
I read somewhere that handedness distribution in cats is about 50-50 – unlike humans’ skewed 90-10

When in a hurry, cats can run over 30 mph.
I just doubt the home slackers are going to win any medals on this.

Cats don’t sweat.
Actually, they do, through their pawpads.

Cats eyes comes in three shapes: round, almond, and slanted.
So cute! One of the Clan members, Macy look like she’s got inverted semi-circles though. Gives a permanently pissed look. But she’s actually a sweet little thing.
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Cats lick themselves to calm down.


Or as a delay tactic it seems, especially when they’re schemy like Bam Bam, our resident coot.

Cats that lack a certain gene will ignore catnip.


Teddy‘s one of these, I think.

Cats were brought to North America by the Pilgrims.

All cats are born with blue eyes.
That’s how Teddy conned us!

The first cat litter, a dry granulated clay, was “invented” by Ed Lowe in 1947.

Most cats do not have eyelashes.
Then it must be pseudo lashes we see on the monsters.

A kinder is a group of kittens. A clowder is a group of adult cats.

Most blue-eyed white cats are deaf; cats with one blue eye are deaf in the ear closest to the blue eye.

Aspirin and chocolate are toxic to cats.
So’s raisins, and a number of things (ref: here, here and here), including some houseplants.

Cats’ jaws cannot move sideways.

Each kitten in a litter can have a different father.
Teddy and Bam Bam are the testament to that. Milly, Philly and Rheilly would be the anti-thesis.

The first cat to live in The White House was Tabby, who was one of Abraham Lincoln’s cats

Cats have a third eyelid (haw) which is rarely visible (usually when the cat is ill).
So don’t wait if it shows.

Cats should not be fed tuna on a regular basis as it lacks taurine, an essential nutrient.
SIGH, them slackers love it though. Have to balance their taste with their health

Scientific studies show that petting a cat will lower a person’s blood pressure.
D.E.F.I.N.I.T.E.L.Y!

Sir Isaac Newton invented the swinging kitty door.
Not surprised, he DID discover gravity.

All cats are members of the Family Felidea.

A polydactyl cat is one with 6 toes (one more than the normal 5).

Cats’ whiskers are called vibrissae. They grow on the face and the back of her forlegs and…

The top two rows of a cat’s whiskers can move independently of the lower two rows and…
They look blooming cute when every whisker’s tuned forward.

The whiskers act as a sensor, helping the cat to judge whether he can fit into a space.

Cats can’t see directly under their nose (making it seem they sometimes have trouble finding treats on the floor).

95% of all those who have cats talk to them.
*raises hand*

Cats ears can pivot 180 degrees.

People who are allergic to cats are usually allergic to cat saliva or cat dander.

Cats can jump up to seven times their height.

Julius Caesar and Napoleon were among those who suffered from ailurophobia, the fear of cats.
Bad people do, it seems.

Cat urine glows under a black light.

Orange peels and lemon rinds are offensive to cats.
yeah, that’s why cat repellents have citrus essence, or so I read.

Besides using their noses, cats can smell with the Jacobson’s organ (located in the upper surface of the mouth).

If you’re interested in a easy-to-read quickie guide to cat behaviour and physiology like vibrissae, Jacobson’s organ, check out Catwatching by Desmond Morris (Review). It’s also available in the nlb.