Hi everyone. I sincerely hope you’re doing as well as can be. My apologies for missing one of my fortnightly blogs but I’ve been rather preoccupied with my dear little Pixie.
I know some of you follow me over on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook but many of you only keep up via the blog. I can’t tell you how overwhelmed I always am at all of the support, friendship, sharing and caring you so freely afford me. Another apology… I’m so sorry I find it so hard to keep up with replies but please do know that I read everything. An exception to this is when I get hundreds of comments. I try to keep track but, inevitably, I will sometimes miss some. I want you to know this is not personal and is just a result of me still running all of my own social channels. There’s just one of me but thousands of you lovely people. You are appreciated more than you know.
Those of you who are animal lovers, like me, will relate when I say that pets become family members. I’ve always loved animals. We often had pets as I was growing up, but cats always seemed to have an extra special place in my heart. My feline friends have been too many to mention but their memories all remain with me.
Pixiecat and Popsiecat are sisters who joined our family around 13 years ago. For at least the last two years I think I’ve been saying they were 10 years old but when I recently looked at their vet records, I see that they’re actually getting older than I thought.
They have their own funny little ways. Popsiecat has always been very timid and her friendship and trust have to be earned when you meet her. I know her so well. Prior to stroking her I know I must first hold my hand near her so she can grant or deny permission. She sniffs, then pauses, then it’s either an obvious refusal as she turns her head away and her expression tells me “I don’t feel like being touched right now” or she will rub her face along my hand and let me tickle her chin and purr like a jet engine! So, so sweet.
Pixiecat, on the other hand, is one of the most laid back, placid, easy going cats I’ve ever known. She’s never been bothered about vet appointments or strangers. When I was doing lots of building work on the house she could sleep through diggers, pneumatic drills and angle grinders without a care in the world. To be fair to Pops, the building work didn’t bother her, either but a trip to the vets in her cat carrier do. Pixie lets me shake her paw and do ‘triangle face’. Triangle face is hard to explain but I’ll try. I put the palms of my hands either side of her head and smooth the fur on the sides of her face with my thumbs. Because they both have very furry faces, they look very round but when I smooth the fur down Pixies face looks like a little triangle. I don’t know if that makes sense, but she loves it and so do I. Triangle face ends with a little head ‘boop’. This is where our foreheads meet for a very gentle bump. It’s like a little kiss. She melts my heart.
Despite regular, daily triangle face sessions with Pixie I failed to notice a marble sized lump on the side of her head. I felt very guilty about this at first, but I realise it wasn’t actually in the path of my thumbs when I stroke her that way. It also was very easily missed due to her puffy fur disguising it. My wonderful son, Tom, was the one who pointed it out to me.
I immediately booked an appointment with our vets. I have always loved our veterinary surgery. They are a family run practice. Our vet, Andy, his wife and their daughter are all vets there. I’ve since heard some very sad stories from people who haven’t been as lucky with theirs but ours are wonderful, kind, compassionate and responsible people whom I have unending respect for.
Several years ago, Pixie had a lump removed from the middle of her nose which turned out to be benign. Andy’s demeanour was very different on that occasion. He had told me how it was up to me if I wanted it removed as he felt pretty sure it would turn out to be nothing to worry about. To be on the safe side I decided to go ahead. This time his face said it all as he returned Pixie to me. Due to social distancing we are asked to wait outside in our cars, and they come and collect and return our animals to us. I hung on his every word as he told me he didn’t think it looked good.
A few hours later she was having the mass removed under general anaesthetic. When I collected her Andy told me the lump was growing into the bone and took away as much as he could. The histology report would take a week or so to come back. We went back for the post op check and her results were in.
Andy looked very sad as he told me “I’m afraid it’s not good news”. Pixie has something called osteosarcoma. In other words, bone cancer. He told me there was no treatment due to where it is. Had it been a limb, amputation would’ve been an option. I asked about referral to someone such as Noel Fitzpatrick, aka supervet, and he said in truth he wouldn’t recommend it and explained thoroughly the reasons why. I asked how long she might have left, and he said he’d like to see her again in three weeks and didn’t want to put a number on it. I pushed him a little more and asked “months?”. His reply was “maybe”.
Obviously, I was devastated. I looked down at her little face, so innocent and unknowing of her situation. The tears flowed as I drove home wondering how I’d break the news to my son and daughter. They’ve not yet suffered a bereavement and have shared around half of their lives with our dear Pixie.
I pulled it together and prepared myself after a quick call to my bestie, Steven. It was very sad to have to share the news and feel. Of course, I discussed how it’s sadly all a part of life. Death is as much a reality as birth. We just don’t discuss loss as openly. Some of you know that I’m a proud ambassador for The Good Grief Trust, a bereavement charity run by the bereaved for the bereaved. I feel passionately about communication. If we can talk about things, we can get through them together. If you’ve suffered a bereavement of any kind you may find it useful to visit their website.
Despite the fact I have known the love of so many little furry friends throughout my life, the one thing I’ve never had to face is the responsibility of their fate. For various reasons I have had to rehome a couple of cats over the years, but they went to loving homes and it was the best decision for them at those times.
Any pets I have ever lost through them crossing the ‘rainbow bridge’ were lost when I was a child and, therefore, I was shielded from some of the more difficult realities of their passing.
This time it’s down to me. I have been researching thoroughly, and I mean thoroughly. From knowing when pets are suffering to what to expect when they take their final sleep and even what choices there are for their final resting place. I brought her into this family, and I’ll be there for her all the way through to the end and beyond. I want to be prepared so I can be the very best I can for her throughout. With love and without fear of the unknown.
Having said all of this, I have since contacted my vet again and asked if he could refer me to his veterinary oncologist, whom he rates extremely highly, just so I can rest easier knowing I have at least had a discussion with them. He was very gracious and characteristically kind and immediately arranged it. We have an appointment booked for next Monday and we are on a cancellation list in case anything comes up before then.
In all honesty, having done copious amounts of my own research, I’m almost certain their findings will amount to the same as dear Andy’s. Even if it’s just to confirm what I think I already know I feel it’s worth a few hours of our time. I’m actually being pretty pragmatic about the situation, and I will certainly not be putting her through anything which is more for my own benefit than hers. Believe me, I take the weight of this responsibility very seriously and any decisions will be fully informed and with her very best interests at heart.
It’s not all doom and gloom, Pixie brings us joy on a daily basis. She’s utterly adorable and I refuse to waste the precious time we have left by being miserable. I am beyond grateful that she is a part of our family.
I am hugely thankful that she is showing no signs of being in pain. The only thing she’s not keen on is the buster collar or ‘cone of shame’. The vets gave us a rigid plastic one, which she really disliked. A very good friend and colleague, Stacey, has a gorgeous cat named Monty. He also disliked the traditional hard collar, so she bought him a soft, flower shaped one. I decided on her recommendation to do the same for Pix. She seemed a lot more comfortable in it. One day, I put the new flower cone in the wash, so she had to have the original one back on again. To my surprise she has decided she prefers that one now! Funny little fickle things, aren’t they?
Popsiecat is being very sweet and staying close to both Pix and myself. I’m having a bit of time off at the moment but will be back again soon.
I’d just like to share a couple of things which are going on at QVC right now. Firstly, three interest free instalments on Elemis and Ultrasun by using codes ELEM3Z and ULTRA3 respectively at the checkout. For full terms see here.
Secondly, look out for a gorgeous offer coming up from Ruth Langsford. It’s a midi dress Today’s Special Value offer for Saturday the 20th of June but it’ll be available to buy ahead of the day. I love Ruth’s style and have bought many of her clothes, myself, so I thought you’d appreciate a heads up.
Finally, June is Beauty Month, if you didn’t know already. We are featuring some exceptional offers so, again, worth taking a little browse.
Thanks for taking the time to read this and please do look after yourselves. See you soon on the tellybox.
Lots of love,
Oh Catherine, I’m so sorry. Pixie is a much loved member of your family. You’re doing a marvellous job – stay strong and know that her final days will be happy ones, surrounded by those who love her. Lots of love xxx
Hi Catherine Awwwww poor Popsiecat, bless her. So sorry to hear that, bless her heart. How lovely and cute does she look in the flower collar. Enjoy spending you time with both your cats – they are both gorgeous and stunning. I fully understand your sadness at the news but you are so right not to be all doom and gloom. Sending you all love and a big hug xx
Oh Catherine I am so sorry about your Pixiecat, nothing propares you for bad news like this. I send my love to you and your family at this sad time. Xx
My thoughts are with you, Catherine. You will know when its time and you will proudly stand by your pet when its time because you, like me, have a fantastic vet. You will be understandably upset but overall you will be very grateful of the unconditional love your pet has given you. Its also okay to cry xxx
With everything that is happening right now, like so many people, I spend much of my time teetering on the edge of tears. News of your dear little Pixie has completely sent me over the edge. It’s very difficult but we have to accept the fact that the price we pay for the love and companionship of our furry friends is that they will one day leave us. Take comfort in knowing how loved she was and what a good life she has had. I know that thought has helped me through the losses I have suffered.
Take care of yourself Catherine. I will be thinking about you. Much love.
Sending you much love, Catherine. Be assured that Pixiecat is having the most wonderful life with you, and any decisions you make are totally in her best interests. The final act of love you can do for anybody – animal or human – is to put them before yourself when their time comes. Remember the good times, and give Popsiecat all the love and cuddles you can! Pixiecat will always be with you, in your heart. xx
iam sorry to hear the news of , Pixie they give there love. it is like on of the family. all my love to you all
Hi Catherin, I am so sorry to hear your news. Your blog has really touched me. My thoughts are with you and your family. Please look after yourself too. Take care Frosoulla Michael
I am so sorry to hear about Pixie. I lost a dog to cancer a few years ago. It is devastating, but you have to remember all the joy and happiness they bring while they are on this earth. I do now have another wee dog called Poppy. She too has just had a major operation but is recovering. My love and thoughts are with you. Take care xx
Hi Catherine, Thank you for sharing your lovely blog. I want you to know how sorry I am to hear of you lovely cat. My heart goes out to you. I myself are a animal lover so I do know what you are going through. Please enjoy every second with your beautiful cat. God bless you. Antoinette x.
Oh dear, I have just read your blog. I am so very, very sorry to hear about Pixie. My thoughts are with you Catherine just keep loving, caring and doing the best you can for sweet little Pixie; stay with her, love her as much as you possible can and enjoy every moment with her. Take care, give Pixie a big XXXX from me.
So sorry to hear about Pixiecat they are the most beautiful cats, they really break your heart. Hope you can get her some help. You couldn’t have done anymore for her xx
My heart goes out to you and both kitties. As an animal lover and owner I really feel for you. I hope it’s a comfort that she has so much love and a wonderful catlife with you. Lots and lots of hugs and kisses to pixiecat and popsiecat!
I always read your blogs and was so sorry to read about Pixie.
Animals lives are extremely short but the pleasure and memories they give us are everlasting.
We as a family had a dog for seventeen and a half years the to lose them is awful but enjoy the time you have left and always remembers nobody could have done more than you have for your beloved cats.
Kind regards and keep strong.
Dear Catherine, my heart is broken for you all, our precious pets are the world to us. I really do know how you are feeling, our darling cat Poppy who we lost a year ago, we had the same very hard and heartbreaking decision to make, they are so precious and give us so much love. God bless you and your family Catherine, I will be thinking of you. Much love x
Hello Catherine, Oh what sad news for you all, nothing I can say will take that pain away, I have had cats all my life I am 76 so guess how many fur babies a dog and 2 budgies i loved them all and I think they loved me. I held them when it was time to leave me and go over the rainbow bridge. It is heartbreaking for us but a release for them. I like to think of them meeting up and running around and talking about me, no pain just fun.
You have my love and understanding Catherine also your family hug each other.
Catherine, as someone who has loved and lost cats over the years just promise me one thing. Don’t, please don’t, beat yourself up. Cats are notoriously stoical, as you will know. There’s only one thing which matters. She loves you, you love her, and nothing, NOTHING else matters. Love her as long as you have her and love yourself too as the wonderful human you have been to her. It’s not easy, of course not, but bear it with her. Love, lots of love.
I’m so sorry Catherine. We lost one of our fur babies this year so know what you are going through. They are definitely family and mean the world to us. You are doing everything right for Pixie and being there for her. Enjoy the cuddles with her and take one day at a time .Love and hugs to you all xxx
Hi Catherine, I have commented on Facebook when you first told us your sad news but I wanted to write again here after reading your words. Having also had 2 shorthair blue brothers, I know what an absolutely beautiful breed they are. Always ready with a purr, head bump or snuggle. Such gentle and laidback creatures that sneak their way into their very deserving and important place in the family. One of my boys died suddenly and too young but to be honest, if he’d been 25 it would still have been too soon for me. I can say that your words and the way you describe your love for them and their place in your family, will resonate across all us animal carers as how we feel about our fur babies. It is very hard to explain to someone who is not an animal ‘caretaker’, the bond we feel and that all bereaved fur mums and dads, grieve just as much for them as we do our human loved ones. Thank you so much for sharing and for putting into words, what all parents of fur babies feel. Enjoy her time with you and much love to all of you, her family. Sian x
I never reply to blogs normally but this one made me cry. I had to sign the forms and have my cat put to sleep in January. It was incredibly hard and I still miss him all the time, despite the arrival of two new gorgeous fur balls into our household – they are a lovely and loved distraction, but not a replacement. One thing I found comforting was how peaceful and quick the actual process was. I saw my cat slip away without the slightest stress or effort and I’m sure that your vets will ensure the same for Pixie, when the right time comes. Take care.
Hi Catherine, I was so so sorry to read your account of what your family is currently going through. I don’t mind saying that its brought on a few tears here as our cats are such an important part of our soul. Having heard you talk about your cats before I was looking through all the presenters to see who to message about my serious concern about that when lillies are sold on QVC I would love to see that the seriousness of how poisonous any part of the plants are if cats come in contact with them. I didn’t expect to be so moved at your sad story. Please if its possible can you make sure that any presenters selling lily bulbs make the point so that anyone buying will be made aware that it’s not just the pollen that’s irritant but eating the plant can cause serious kidney damage and death. Sorry to be so serious when you have so much on your mind at the moment but I’m sure you understand how I feel and then we can prevent serious unnecessary harm.
Hi Catherine so sorry to hear about Pixie. They are a part of the family & they don’t ask for much but give so much love back. I am sure both your cats will feel very loved.
One of our cats came to us because my husband’s Auntie died & her daughter was going to put Snowy the cat down (!!) so we adopted her along with our other two cats at the time. Unfortunately he got cancer of the ears common In a white cat. He had to have them removed & our 8yr old daughter at the time used to carry him in if she saw people looking at him she was very protective. He lived out his life with us & fitted in with our hectic family well.
Our oldest cat Moggy lived to be 21yrs.
It sounds like you have an excellent and caring vet so Pixie has a great family & support team.
Sending you love & thoughts to you and your family from me and my family from Julia xxx
I am so sorry about Pixie Catherine. I am a total cat lover and have lost many a furry friend in my time. It’s devastating . I hope you can enjoy your time with her, she’s a gorgeous girl. That’s a great picture of her! Praying for her and you.Take care, xxxxx
Catherine,Wishing you and Pixiecat all the luck and love in the world
You are doing everything you can for your darling girl
I have two cats and love them dearly,I have lost let’s in the past and have experienced the pain of the loss
I love all animals,they bring me much happiness
Take care and stay strong,you truly are a lovely lady
Love Gill xxx
Catherine, so sorry to hear your sad news about your beautiful Pixie.We love them so much and sometimes we have to make heartbreaking decisions , which is best for them.I really pray you get some good news when you see the oncologist, stay positive x
Oh Catherine crying (again)as I read this although I know about it as I follow you on Instagram and have already messaged you. My heart breaks for you as I lost my darling Mimi, 13yr old Lhasa Apso 2wks ago with only 24hrs of illness. I would give anything to have had more time with her so hold dear to the time you have with your precious Pixiecat. She knows how much she is loved. Lots of love xxxxx
Hello, its me again. Just hope everything is okay with Pixie ? I can only mention what other people have/are saying, take care enjoy the time you have with her and be there for her.. of course that goes without saying. Much love to dear little Pixie and, of course Popsie…and most importantly you must keep strong as every day is a bonus.
Hi Catherine so sorry ,it’s a sad decision I have had to make a few times. Thinking of you and your family.
sorry to hear your fur baby not to good , i feel for you as sadly i have lost my partners fur baby to cancer a week before lockdown then 2 weeks ago my fur baby was fine then within 2 days went down hill rushed to vets turns out it heart murmer a poss throat cancer , and yes conducted in the street with other people around im crying my eyes and heart out to make the decision to say goodbye , im still kicking myself for doing it but could not let him suffer , but he gone to rainbow bridge but remains in my heart , so stay strong and hugs to you and your beautifull fur baby x
Your news has moved me to tears! I love reading about and looking at your photos of your beautiful furry friends. I remember when you got your cats..
My last cat was 20 when he died last year, his brother died the year before, and I miss them so very much. You are such a devoted cat parent I know you will do the very best for her. Just enjoy every second.
Thank you for your lovely posts. Thank you for your wonderful contribution to QVC, they are very lucky to have you on their team.
I am so sorry – I have had two british shorthairs and both died at 13. One with melanoma on the eye and one with
lymphoma. So sad – I know what you are going through but sadly pedigree cats seem to live shorter lives. Thinking about you and her sister who will miss her.
I have never answered one of these blogs before, but your story has really touched me. Well done for being so pragmatic and stepping up for Pixie. I have had many cats over the years & faced some heartbreaking decisions at the end of their lives. I truly believe just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. My advice is take as many photos as you can of her & of the both of them & feed her anything she wants. You will know when the right time is because her little face will tell you & you are tuned in to her body language. Well done for being such a special cat Mummy. Make the decision re after the end before you go to the Vets. I found myself agreeing to everything with one of my cats, paid a small fortune for a wooden box with a brass plaque, that just sits on the side. I hope you can be with her at the end in these uncertain times. I don’t believe in all the rubbish about rainbow bridge etc. Take the time now to enjoy her & after to mourn. I have at the moment a 5 cats, 18, 14, 13, 12 & 8, so I know it won’t be too long before I am in the same boat as you. Take comfort in the rowing 🙂