Help - how do you take care of newly diabetic kitty and live your life

Discussion in 'Feline Health - (Welcome & Main Forum)' started by KatieBDZ, Feb 20, 2020.

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  1. KatieBDZ

    KatieBDZ Member

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    Feb 15, 2020
    Hi everyone this is kind of a random post but I'm finding myself having major anxiety and not being able to see the way forward..my kitty Arya was recently diagnosed and had DKA/HL she's doing so much better now and I'm beginning to get the hang of injections and glucose testing but does anyone have any advice on how you balance taking care of your cat and your life/other commitments ? Like is there any flexibility with changing dosing schedule on weekends or on days I might need to do something after work, what do you do when you have to go away? Even just for a night? My mom offered to watch her when I travel for a longer time and will give injections but is afraid to glucose test..hoping I can change her mind but what else do people do? And if someone will give the injection but not test do you ever go with that option? I'm in an anxiety spiral right now feeling like I can't ever leave her :(
     
  2. Dusty Bones

    Dusty Bones Member

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    Oct 20, 2013
    You'll slowly get comfortable leaving her with someone else, comfortable leaving the house, and comfortable living your life, it just takes time. Many of us tend to hover over our diabetic kitties and worry about how much they eat, drink, poop, BGs, insulin, you name it, it can get crazy but after awhile it'll all become normal and you ease off a bit. In the end your life and health need to come first otherwise you can't care for your kitty.
     
  3. Bron and Sheba (GA)

    Bron and Sheba (GA) Well-Known Member

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    Hi Katie, with both DKA and HL you have been thrown in the deep end with this journey. It will get easier, once Arya improves and you don't have to be on such high alert for everything. It should become just routine..

    With going away, if your mom will help you out when you go away that would be a great plan to have in place. Try and encourage her to learn to test. That would be the best case scenario. If she won't, then we can help you decide on a safe vacation dose for her to give Arya..

    Does your mom live close? Can she give the doses when you are late getting home?
    Lantus likes consistency and dosing at 12 hour intervals is best but up to 1/2 hour later is acceptable and you can stay on schedule.
    If you are going to be later, best thing is to post and ask for advice while you are learning how to handle that issue and we can try and sort something out. Dosing later than 1/2 hour throws out the schedule and you have to work your way back..but it's doable..
    You will learn to work around it. You have to live your life and keep well so you can look after Arya.

    Do you have an automatic feeder? A lot of us have them and find them invaluable for when we are not home. As you have another cat, I would get 2 and set them for the same times so both can eat and you will know that Arya is getting her share.

    Try not to get anxious about it.......I know it's hard when you have had Arya so ill, but it sounds as if she is getting better now so things wil settle down. You have done an amazing job looking after her!
     
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  4. KatieBDZ

    KatieBDZ Member

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    Thank you both I really needed to hear this. I've been a bit of a mess crying a lot and just really struggling to figure out a plan forward/the future. I'm so grateful that she's doing better and that this is something that can be managed it's just a lot of responsibility and I want to be perfect for her to give her the best chance. She's only 4 but so many people have told me they would've just put her down. I could never do that if there is a chance and today she is happy playing and in my lap purring.

    Its good to hear that you all would help me figure something out for my mom to watch her, unfortunately she does not live close but I'm hoping that I can find friends willing to help or a pet sitter that can do injections too for anything shorter term.

    Also good to know that there is a half hour window..I will obviously still try to be as consistent as possible.

    Thank you again really needed some perspective/encouragement ❤️
     
  5. Bron and Sheba (GA)

    Bron and Sheba (GA) Well-Known Member

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    :bighug::bighug::bighug:
    it is hard in the beginning for everyone as it is a steep learning curve and some life adjustments need to be made, but you have had the added DKA /HL which adds a lot more stress. But the good thing is it gets much easier and just routine. Test, feed, shoot, get ready for work, have breakfast, fill the auto feeders for the day, do a test before you walk out the door... etc

    We have all had friends who tell us to just put the cat down. Some of my best friends thought I was crazy treating a diabetic cat. I just feel sorry for them that they can’t feel a connection to an animal ... they are missing out on so much. Ignore them is my advice.

    Some people use friends to help with times you are not there, some use pet sitters. Look around so that you have something in place before you need it.
    Ayra is very lucky to have you.

    We all Understand here what you are going through at the moment. Treat yourself to a box of chocolates or something yummy.
     
  6. Chris & China (GA)

    Chris & China (GA) Well-Known Member

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    Also, if you know you have something special coming up, like a date night or a special concert you've been waiting for 10 years to get tickets to, you can adjust your shot times in advance by moving them 15 minutes per cycle or 30 minutes per day....then after your "special something", you can move it back to your chosen time the same way
     
  7. Deb & Wink

    Deb & Wink Well-Known Member

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    None of us are perfect. Although we may want to be for our diabetic cats.
     
  8. JOJI and Kit

    JOJI and Kit Well-Known Member

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    Dec 19, 2019
    Katie, I hear you! We are struggling with this. I commend people who are doing this solo. It's a lot! We will be hiring a vet tech from our Pet Hospital for our summer vacation. She'll come in 2x a day to do BG and feed/insulin shots. Even with that I know we'll be stressed. The love for our Kit was big before diagnosis, and now it has skyrocketed (along with her BG...ha). This forum has been a godsend, and people you'll never meet will become your lifelines and friends.
     
  9. Noah & me (GA)

    Noah & me (GA) Well-Known Member

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    I could give you some lecture on how Arya depends on you and this is the choice you made but you already knew that and guilt serves no purpose. You're already a hero in Arya's eyes. Like Dusty Bones said you'll eventually get comfortable trusting other people and you deserve to live your life. We all want to do what's best but that doesn't mean house arrest. Due to a medical condition I missed many of Noah's PM shots and didn't beat myself with a stick over the guilt, life went on as it always does. The only time I freaked was having to board him late in his life. I left instructions not to call me if the worst happened. Instead he came home happy, healthy and even gained some weight.
    The only serious mistake I made was not getting my wife more involved. She's smart and not squeamish but because of my Y chromosome I continually told her "I've got this Honey". That was a mistake. There are plenty of disabled members here and many have no support network other than your new friends here.
    Where there's a will there's a way means something here. Welcome to the club.

    Also, see my signature? It means something to me and it will to you too.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2020
    Reason for edit: forgot
  10. Callie & Patches

    Callie & Patches Well-Known Member

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    Jun 18, 2016
    I understand how you feel. 3 weeks after Callie's Dx, I had to go out of town to care for my stepmother. My vet borded her fir a reasonable amount and took good care of her. When I need to go somewhere in the evening, I either give the dose a little early or get my daughter to care for her. Both my daughter and 24 yo granddaughter have learned to test and give insulin. This was a lifesaver when I had to stay in the hospital for 4 days. They would both call me to verify her dose.
     
  11. Deb & Wink

    Deb & Wink Well-Known Member

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    Jan 31, 2013
    What do you love to do for fun? What would help to relieve some of your anxiety right now, right this minute? Connect with nature? Watch a funny or romantic movie? Get some takeout so you don't have to cook? Some nice dark chocolate? Yoga or active exercise? Watch the sunrise or sunset? Mindfulness breathing, meditation? Whatever it is, remember to take a few minutes now and then to enjoy life.

    There are 5 major life stressors. Death of a loved one, divorce/failed relationship, moving to a new home, job loss. major illness or injury. You have hit life stressor #5, not as good or as welcome as Chanel #5 for sure. Major illness includes anyone in your life, human or feline. Family member or coworker or neighbor or close friend. Still so difficult to deal with any kind of serious illness.

    Feline diabetes is manageable and very treatable. You simply need to figure out how. But right now, you are so anxious and fearful, it's not simple for you. You got hit with a triple whammy. Not simply feline diabetes but DKA and HL also.

    You must be reeling, from the body blows. As if you had gone ten rounds in the boxing ring with heavyweight champ Mike Tyson. But you have not lost, you get back up and keep fighting.

    You are overwhelmed. Absolutely and unequivocally overwhelmed right now. It will get better. Truly it will.

    Build your support network. Family, friends, coworkers, online support groups, vet techs, cat sitters. Whoever you can think of that might be willing to help. "It takes a village to care for a diabetic cat." We are part of your support network now. Those of us here on the Welcome & Main forum, as well as the people in the Lantus ISG where you have started posting, have a ton of experience to share. The only "stupid" question is the one you don't ask.

    Yes, there are members here who have a long commute to work, long work hours and can not always be there to test. Maybe the primary caregiver works night shift or irregular hours. The person may not know even what days they will be working until a few days before. Their other family members are either scared or unwilling to test. Doesn't really matter why. The guys seem to be more reluctant to BG test but are ok with giving the cat insulin.

    Learn to dance in the rain, don't wait for the rain to stop. Life hands you challenges and you learn to deal with them. Treasure every day.

    p.s. What @Callie & Patches forgot to mention, is that her first diabetic cat Callie recently passed away and her other cat Patches is a newly diagnosed diabetic cat. Two major life stressors for her right now.
     
  12. KatieBDZ

    KatieBDZ Member

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    Feb 15, 2020
    You are lucky to have them, so very sorry to hear about your Callie ❤️ I hope patches is doing well, it's so scary when theyre first diagnosed. I didn't even know cats got diabetes until Aryas diagnosis ☹️
     
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  13. Julia & Bandit (GA)

    Julia & Bandit (GA) Well-Known Member

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    Dec 28, 2009
    Things seem really stressful right now because all of this is new and scary, but once you start getting some more data on your sheet, you'll start to get more confident with the decisions you'll make in these situations.

    Testing is stressful for both you and your cat at first, but after a while it becomes routine and easy. Bandit fought me tooth and claw the first month or so I tested him and I used to have to burrito him with a blanket in a basket. But after a while (once he figured out a diabetic safe treat came after every test), he would come running to me when he heard the glucose meter beep on, and sit patiently and purr through his test to get his treat. Once you're feeling more confident about testing Arya, perhaps invite your Mom over at testing time to show her how easy it is (and trust me, it definitely will get easier with practice)? A lot of resistance to testing is fear that the cat will get upset, but if she can see how calm and routine it is, she might change her mind.

    Normally I would say that doing the shots without testing at a lower dose for a week or so while you're away also wouldn't be the worst thing in the world, but given Arya's history of DKA I'm really hesitant to recommend that for you, at least right now. Are there any veterinary/medical/nursing schools in your area? I bribed many a poor vet student back in the day (one particular amazing vet student was very happy to be paid in free concert tickets, so I didn't even have to pay her actual money) to come by to get BG tests for Bandit if I was out of town. Depending on where you live, you might be able to find someone on rover.com who doesn't mind learning to test ($30 for two drop-in visits a day is a pretty standard rate where I live). And you can always check out boarding facilities that will be willing to do monitoring/shots in your area. I was also fortunate that many of my friends are cat people, and there were a few that were totally willing to do shots/testing while cat-sitting after I showed them how. And it's generally cheaper to bribe friends than strangers. :)

    Boarding/cat-sitting may add another couple hundred dollars to your vacation, but the way I always looked at it was that if I couldn't afford another couple hundred dollars, then maybe I need to save up some more before going on vacation. And I won't lie, I definitely traveled a bit less when Bandit was receiving insulin or his heart meds, but I don't regret that at all.
     
  14. KatieBDZ

    KatieBDZ Member

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    Thank you so much for your thoughtful responses, I was seriously tearing up reading everyone's replies yesterday. It means so much to me to know that I have everyone here to vent and talk to and get advice from and that you all understand what it's like and can relate. I showed some of my friends the replies I got here and they were so happy I've found you all ❤️❤️

    It brings me some relief to know that you can work around people being unwilling to test too..this was my biggest fear since many people only seem to be comfortable giving the injection. I will continue to work on my network and contingency plans because I think this is where my biggest anxiety is coming from now that she's doing better.

    Tonight im having a glass of wine some pizza and watching trashy reality TV to relax hoping to ride my horse tomorrow and see some friends..going to try to have some fun moments/stress relief while of course being there for my Arya hoping I can figure out some balance!
     
  15. KatieBDZ

    KatieBDZ Member

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    Feb 15, 2020
    Yes my mom is willing to try now - will be here this weekend to see a test/a shot but she lives very far (12 hours, several states). Hoping to find a reliable and trustworthy pet sitter willing to learn too. My vet does boarding so I'm definitely considering that for longer trips - I just worry more about the shorter duration trips/what if something comes up on a given day etc. What kind of treats worked for you? I've been trying freeze dried chicken and sometimes shell eat it but she's definitely not excited by it my other boy Charlie won't even touch them
     
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  16. Julia & Bandit (GA)

    Julia & Bandit (GA) Well-Known Member

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    Bandit LOVED freeze dried salmon so he was very easy to motivate. :)

    Any treat that is just freeze dried meat will be diabetic safe, so you might need to get a few different types and see what your cats really go for. Bandit loved salmon, but my current boy Orpheus loves freeze dried chicken. If you search for freeze dried cat treats on Amazon, a lot of options will pop up. Check the ingredients and just make sure there's no added sugars or grains, and you're good to go! PureBites and Halo were usually had quite a few options other than salmon or chicken (like whitefish, duck, chicken+catnip, turkey, etc.) Both of my cats also really liked the Origen freeze-dried treats and they use a lot of novel proteins in those (like boar, lamb, or venison). The Tundra, Boar, and Regional Red flavors were the big Origen winners at my house.

    If you don't find a freeze dried treat that works, I've been seeing cooked salmon/tuna/chicken filets pop up in the pet store lately (I know they're interspersed among the different brands of cat food at PetSmart--Fancy Feast makes some for sure as well as some other brands). Those are diabetic safe and you could cut them up into treats as well if she's really not digging anything freeze-dried.
     
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  17. Deb & Wink

    Deb & Wink Well-Known Member

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    Jan 31, 2013
    Rotisserie chicken from the supermarket.
     
  18. Panic

    Panic Well-Known Member

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    Apr 10, 2019
    Aren't those seasoned though?

    I was using Purebites Turkey and Chicken flavors, my girl really liked them but she was eating so many and they're so expensive! I tried Bonito flakes but none of the cats liked them so I fed them to the dogs. xD At this point I just buy raw chicken from the store, bake it and freeze it. Much easier, cheaper, and longer lasting. Kitties love it.
     
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  19. JL and Chip

    JL and Chip Member

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    FC31A1D7-2026-4AB8-80D2-60A1A64EDBE9.jpeg
     
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  20. Noah & me (GA)

    Noah & me (GA) Well-Known Member

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    You forgot stressor #6 Deb. Being chained to the sofa and forced to watch a romantic comedy.
    Doctor "What happened? You look awful and these reading can't be right. It says here you're 62 but honestly you look like you're 92".
    Me "My wife tied me up and we watched the Bridget Jones box set, then Sleepless in Seattle. After she made me eat Kale, she propped my eyes open with toothpicks and we watched When Harry met Sally"
    Doctor "Get this man a private room and then call Social Services".
     
  21. Deb & Wink

    Deb & Wink Well-Known Member

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    Jan 31, 2013
    Katie, As you can see, humor can really help you deal with the stress and anxiety you are feeling.

    Hope you enjoyed your "trashy reality tv" and riding your horse. Restoring the balance will help you with managing the diabetes with Arya. :bighug:
     
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  22. KatieBDZ

    KatieBDZ Member

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    Feb 15, 2020
    TV was great! Staying with Arya until 12 or 1 then going to see my horse
     
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  23. Judy and Freckles

    Judy and Freckles Well-Known Member

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    Oct 20, 2019
    Horses are definitely therapy animals (as long as they are healthy!). I've got a couple myself. Go for a ride... closest thing to flying and feeling totally free of everything.
     
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  24. Aleluia Grugru & Minnie

    Aleluia Grugru & Minnie Well-Known Member

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    Dec 21, 2019
    Hi Katie! I second what everybody already said, Arya is lucky to have you (is she named after GOT’s Arya by any chance? ❤️) and you’re lucky to have found this forum so soon after diagnosis. I made all sorts of mistakes and I’m just now home testing so you’re definitely doing all the right things. 2 things, I have no family in the US so when I travel I have to get a petsitter. I have 2 cats and I don’t personally like boarding so I get someone who stays at the house. Ive been lucky with getting great pet sitting references via the Nextdoor app. I’d suggest joining the one for your zip code and asking for references. You’ll get more than you’ll know what to do with ha! And for treats, Minnie loves the freeze dried minnows from Vital Essentials. I tried everything else chicken, turkey, tuna, and this is the only one that works. She liked the liver giblets freeze dried too but that affects her stool so I stay way from it. I actually get the dog version because it’s a bigger bag and a bit more economical.

    The important thing to remember is you’re not alone in feeling stressed or freaked out. I still feel that way from time to time and I’m a basket case when I travel. The sitter has to send me multiple videos throughout the day and I live a 20+ page instruction booklet for her Sometimes I’m late an hour with Minnie’s shot, I try my best but there are days she wakes up and doesn’t want to eat because her IBD flared up and I have to pill her and wait for the nausea to go away and for her to eat before the shot. You do your best and it’s more than most people would do as verified by all the folks out there suggesting we put our diabetic pets down.
    Good luck and you got this girl!!!
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2020
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  25. Deb & Wink

    Deb & Wink Well-Known Member

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    Jan 31, 2013
    Hang gliding. Sky diving with a long free fall. Paragliding.

    p.s. No you will NEVER catch me trying any of these 3 things.
     
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  26. Aleluia Grugru & Minnie

    Aleluia Grugru & Minnie Well-Known Member

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    Having done all of these. I’d have to agree!!
     
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  27. KatieBDZ

    KatieBDZ Member

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    Feb 15, 2020
    Hi! Yes that is who she is named after - you are the first one to get the reference - everyone at the vet's office can't pronounce her name/get so confused by it she is a fighter/spunky just like GoT Arya I will look for those treats/references that way. I have a pet sitter we've used for 20 years (she previously watched my family dog) and I'm trying to see if she'd be willing to test or at the very least do the injections since I do trust her. I'm going away in the beginning of April for a few days for a wedding in CA (I live in NJ) so want to get a plan in place soon! And I would prefer she be home she's much happier/more comfortable here obviously. Does your pet sitter test BG too? Thanks for the encouragement ❤️
     
  28. KatieBDZ

    KatieBDZ Member

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    Here she is with my GoT sweatshirt
     

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  29. Sienne and Gabby (GA)

    Sienne and Gabby (GA) Senior Member Moderator

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    It really and truly does get easier. It also helps enormously if you have friends who are animal lovers. My friends would understand if I needed to run home and get a test in order to insure that Gabby was in safe numbers. (She was a bit of a diva and could plummet into low numbers.) I also found it told me a lot about people if they didn't. understand the value I put on Gabby's health and how I couldn't comprehend the, "She's just a cat." attitude.

    I also adjusted my shot schedule so I could get a test or two before I left for work. I shot at 5:00. If I had late meetings at work, I would schedule them at 5:30 so I could run home and test/feed/shoot and go back to the office for a meeting rather than get totally off schedule.

    I found wonderful pet sitters. I wasn't kidding when I said Gabby was a diva. She would not permit anyone except me to test her. She would hiss and spit and scream if anyone tried. Other times, she would get so upset she would lose bowel control. As a result, my pet sitters, all of whom were experienced feline specialty vet techs, would shoot blind. Whenever I travelled, I would lower Gabby's dose to compensate for their inability to test prior to giving insulin.

    If you opt to board your cat, make sure the vet has 24/7 coverage. Likewise, make sure they will shoot every 12/hours. Some vets will shoot in less than 12 hour blocks which can be problematic. Also, your kitty will probably like being at home vs a boarding facility but you have to do what you need to do to keep Arya safe.
     
  30. Aleluia Grugru & Minnie

    Aleluia Grugru & Minnie Well-Known Member

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    Dec 21, 2019
    I love it and only a GOT fan would get that but I’m surprised there aren’t more of us out there ha! Can you imagine if you had named her Daenerys or Cersei?? That’s a great idea. If you have someone you trust already just see if she’d be okay with coming over so you can teach her how to do the insulin shots. My pet sitter already knew because she has other clients with diabetic cats. I’m not sure if she’s tested but I’m going to ask her if she’d be willing to learn. I have a backup who is a bit more pricey but she does both so worse case scenario I’ll go with her. Oh I forgot, Minnie also really enjoys the Purebites freeze dried shrimp. Have you tried that? It smells super “shrimpy” and both my cats go crazy for it!! Whoever you end up using, asking if they can send you videos via text. It really helps me see she’s doing well and not just getting texts. A picture is worth a thousand words so a video has to be at least 100,0000 ;-)
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2020
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  31. Aleluia Grugru & Minnie

    Aleluia Grugru & Minnie Well-Known Member

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    <3 <3
     
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  32. Judy and Freckles

    Judy and Freckles Well-Known Member

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    Oct 20, 2019
    no thanks... I'll stick to my previous comment of horse back riding is the closest thing you can get to flying and feeling free. :p
     
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  33. Noah & me (GA)

    Noah & me (GA) Well-Known Member

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    Dec 3, 2016
    You have a horse? Problem solved! There are a few people here with horses. When I rented a house on a tree farm my neighbor had a corral and my two Toms would walk between the horses legs like they belonged there. Is that horse/cat bond thing true? I've never owned one but learned to ride at a summer camp at age 8 and never forgot how special that was.
    Cynthia's dad managed a working heritage farm with Clydesdales so she's the same as me. Every year for 20 years now we go out of our way to get our Christmas tree from a guy that shows a team of Belgian Draft horses. He swears every year will be his last and every year he comes back.
    What would the world be without horses. Camels and donkeys? Forget it!

    Not a big Stones fan but Marianne Faithfull is in on this
     
  34. Judy and Freckles

    Judy and Freckles Well-Known Member

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    Oct 20, 2019
    I just finished reading/watching Gabby's Legacy. @Sienne and Gabby (GA) said it so eloquently in the 7th post of this thread of the strengthened bond with our sugar cats and how some people just don't "get it". :bighug:
     
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  35. Noah & me (GA)

    Noah & me (GA) Well-Known Member

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    Dec 3, 2016
    This core group of people who actually care has always been here, we were just invisible until the internet finally served a good purpose and brought us all together. We'll always be here and your life will go on. It's not a tragedy, it's just a slight adjustment.
    Some new members cry for a month, make sure everyone knows it and then one day they're gone. You've been here for just nine days and have moved past all that.
    You're doing the right thing Katie and we all know it. No more tears.
     
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