Mitsy

Mitsy was the first cat I got after moving in to my own place and I rehomed her from someone who was advertising her on Gumtree. I knew we'd be the best of friends as soon as I saw her at her previous owner's house as she immediately jumped on my lap and didn't move until it was time for us to leave.

Mitsy was an extremely friendly and affectionate cat, and she used to come for a cuddle whenever I called her. She was also very clever and was able to learn how to use a Litter Kwitter.

Not long after Mitsy came to live with me she became very ill and had to be rushed to the vet. She was found to have a very serious gum infection and she had to have most of her teeth removed. She was only about 8 years old so I was shocked that her teeth and gums could be in such bad condition and so set about finding out what had caused it so that I could prevent her losing any more teeth.

After reading numerous books and online articles about cat health, I discovered that gum and tooth problems are usually caused by bad diet. I checked the ingredients of Mitsy's food and was horrified to find that it only contained 4% meat. The rest of the ingredients were grains and other things you wouldn't expect to find in the food of a carnivore. I felt terrible that I had been feeding Mitsy such poor quality food and immediately switched her to the raw meat diet recommended by the people whose books and articles I'd been reading.

As she'd lost most of her teeth she was unable to eat chunks of meat with the bone in but she could manage the bone-in mince and she loved it. Her gums quickly healed up and she never had any more problems with her teeth. An unexpected benefit was that her dandruff also cleared up.

Needless to say, all my cats now eat now eat a raw meat diet and I highly recommend it to all cat and dog owners.

Unfortunately Mitsy's health problems didn't end with her teeth and a few months later she started losing weight and suffering from frequent bouts of diarrhoea. We went backwards and forwards to the vet for about a year but they could never find any cause for her problems and I started to feel like I was being a nuisance.

One evening in February 2011, however, I realised that she was seriously ill when she jumped off my desk and her legs gave way. She already had an appointment scheduled at her usual vet for the next day but she was too ill to wait for that so I took her to the out-of-hours vet. On examining her they immediately found a large mass in her abdomen and warned me that it was very likely to be cancer.

The cancer was confirmed the next day when we saw Mitsy's usual vet and they advised me to have her put to sleep. I could tell that Mitsy still had the will to live though so I refused and asked for a second opinion. We were referred to the veterinary hospital at Cambridge University and after having tests done there, which confirmed Mitsy's cancer to be intestinal lymphoma, they recommended a course of chemotherapy. I decided to give it a try and was thrilled to find it worked. After each treatment, Mitsy was much brighter and had more of an appetite so she started gaining weight.

After a few sessions of chemo Mitsy had to have a 2-week break to give her body a rest. During this time the tumour very sadly grew back and started spreading to her other organs. It became clear that we were fighting a losing battle and so I made the heartbreaking decision to have Mitsy put to sleep. Even on her last day I could tell she still wanted to live but her body just wasn't strong enough and I couldn't bear to see her frustration when she tried and failed to jump up onto the sofa or other pieces of furniture.

Mitsy was put to sleep on May 16th 2011 and there's not a day that goes by that I don't miss her.