Lara and Max

three adorable Birman cats .

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Christmas 2002
Happy New Year
Max is a year old

Prizes and snow!
One year on!
Water feature
Climber and adventure
Play days
New cat on the block
Becoming friends
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Garden Fun
Bumble bees!
Lazy, hazy Summer
Water everywhere
Oscar's day at the vets
Garden visitors
Moving House
Christmas is coming!
Christmas 2003

New Year 2004

Max's birthday
Oscar's 1st birthday
Cat dancing
Two years on
Easter 2004

May Day

Oscar's First Year

Summer 2004
Oscar a PAT cat
Carpet fitting
December 2004
Christmas 2004
2005 and birthdays
Winter Fun
Three years on!

Sunshine and showers
Hot and humid
Window safety
Tree collars
Artist's models
Halloween Fun
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Christmas 2005

2006 has arrived

Brrr! Where is Spring?
Warmth and Sunshine
Glitter balls
Our own book

Summer Games
Having the Builders in!
Busy, busy
Christmas 2006
Posing Prettily
New Pictures

Dangerous Hairball
Christmas 2007
Birthdays etc
Senior Cat
A Puppy in the house
Update July 2011

Dangerous Hairball

Scroll down to read about the drama we have had recently

Kitten adventures - click to go to our kitten web site

Links page

Cat accessories - favourite things!
Facts page - shows details of our breeding


Amy - my first Birman

Katy and Lucy's page

Great Danes

Video Clips - See the trio playing with 'Panic Mouse'

Comparisons - how we have changed over the years

Dangerous Hairball

You might have gathered from the title of this latest page that we have had a drama in the household recently.  In fact it is fair to say that the last ten days or so have been a bit of a nightmare.

It all started when Joan came home from work one day and spotted that one of us had been trying to be sick.  It didn't take her long to realise that it was Max who was struggling to bring something up as he was sitting there,  bunched up and looking very sorry for himself indeed.  Joan was concerned,  she knows that we sometimes bring up furrballs around the house but somehow this seemed different,  Max has produced nothing more than a sort of clear foam and he clearly wasn't feeling at all well.  She knows that cats can be very 'stoical' when ill so she was concerned about Max's demeanor and thought it was best to get him checked over by a vet.  We were staying away from home at the time so she rang a vet local to where we were and arranged to take Max in to see him.

The vet gave Joan some fluids to try to get them into Max and gave him an antibiotic injection and an antiemetic to stop him being sick and suggested that he would like to see him the following morning if he was no better with a view to taking x-rays.  The following day Max was not much better so Joan took him back and saw a different vet who took the view that the best course of action might be to wait and see how Max did before taking further action.


Max sitting by the window
Max sitting by the window

Later that night it became clear that Max could keep nothing down,  he wasn't eating and although he tried to drink even water was coming back about five minutes after he drank it.  Joan was acutely aware of the seriousness of the situation and decided we needed to head for home and an appointment with our own regular vets so the following day we travelled home and Joan took Max to our favourite vet,  Paul,  at the Stowe Veterinary Group.

Paul quickly understood the situation (and Max had helpfully been sick in the carrier on the way over so that he could see how bad he was!).  Max was admitted to their veterinary hospital and a blood test was taken to assess what was going on.  The bloods showed nothing of real note and he was still unable to keep anything down so he was scheduled for x-ray and endoscopy to get the bottom of the problem.

It meant an anxious wait for Joan but a very difficult procedure for the vets to undertake.  The endoscopy showed a blockage in the oesophagus which they painstakingly removed.  It turned out to be a hairball,  very dense and tightly packed which had become wedged in his throat.  Three vets worked for a long time to remove it but finally it was removed and Max was brought round and allowed to recover.  He was kept in overnight and the following morning before he was finally allowed home.

To say we were relieved to get him back was an understatement.  He was pleased to be home but had lost weight and was shaved on his throat and his front leg where he had been put on a drip and had bloods taken.  But he was home which was all that mattered and he was on a light diet of Hills i/d which he seemed quite happy to eat.

The problem from my point of view,  and from Oscar's was that he wasn't allowed outdoors which meant we had to stay in and our bowl of dry kibble was taken up in case he ate that!  It was a bit of a shock to our systems but we have got over it now.

Three days after his op Max went back for a check up and was pronounced well enough to eat ordinary food again so things are now getting back to normal.  The question on Joan's mind was how had it happened and how we could stop it from happening again.

The vet said that what had happened was actually quite unusual and he had never seen anything quite like it so he believed it was likely to be a 'one off' incident.

Lara with a feather
Lara has fun with  feather

Oscar up to mischief
Oscar having fun

He had been concerned that there might have been some soreness following the endoscopy which might lead to a 'stricture' in the throat but they had put Max on medication to try to prevent that and because he was now eating well he was optinistic that he had avoided that issue.

Obviously the whole incident was quite frightening but we are pleased,  and very grateful to Stowe vets,  that we had a happy outcome.  A friend of Joan's in America was not quite so fortunate when her kitten ate some string which got tangled in her intestine and she died after surgery to remove it.

Joan thinks that she will give a dose of Katalax each week to try to ensure that hairballs pass easily through our systems should they happen to form and we will also be getting some hairball formula dry food on a regular basis.  We love being brushed and Joan grooms us regularly anyway so that should help in keeping us hairball free for the future and I have no doubt she will be watching us very closely in case we get any signs of an issue.


If you are reading this page because you are concerned about furrballs or intestinal blockages here are a few tips to help you stay out of trouble

  1. Regular grooming helps to remove loose hair which if ingested can cause fur balls to form so try to get into the habit of grooming your cat frequently
  2. Never let your cat play with cord, string or thread which could cause serious problems if swallowed.  Similarly rubber bands can cause really serious problems so don't let your cat play with them.
  3. Watch out for signs that you cat has a hairball,  straining to be sick or straining to pass a motion.  It might be that a little Katalax can help lubricate the passages and will help the cat to pass it.  It this doesn't help seek veterinary advice.
  4. If your cat can't keep food down seek veterinary advice as soon as possible and make a note of the improtant things you vet will need to know.  How soon after eating are they sick,  are they drinking,  have they used the litter tray etc.  The more information you can give the more it will help your vet to know what is going on.
  5. Finally don't panic - if you think you have a problem speak to your vet.  Early intervention is better than leaving it too late but do remember that what happened to Max is rare but thanks to a great vet he is doing well - oh and if I ever doubted the value of having him insured I realise now that it was money well spent!


Max is back
Max recovering from his ordeal

Page created: 5- Oct-2007



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