Happy birthday to a very special cat

Tahlia wasn’t expected to survive kittenhood, but thanks to the love and dedication of Blue Cross Foster Carer Sue Gurney, she has just celebrated her fourth birthday. Sue updates us on Tahlia’s story…

Tahlia celebrates her fourth birthday on Thursday 9 June, 2016

Tahlia is still doing well and she has had a very good year, with her health remaining stable. She has only been to the vets twice during the year, once for her yearly check up and vaccination in the autumn, and recently to discuss me taking her with me, when I visit my parents in Wales.

Tahlia still only relates to me and continues to be frightened of even familiar people (with exception of her vet who she seems fine with), so I could never leave her with my pet sitter. If I fall asleep on the sofa and am late going up to bed, she calls for me from the top of the stairs. And if I am out for a long day and she doesn't see me all day, she begins to go into herself and shut down. I would never go away and leave her.

Safe and comfortable

Tahlia still stays mostly upstairs in my room, which is her ’safe place’.

She sleeps mostly during the day and in the evenings she wanders around her room, the landing and bathroom, grazing on her dry food and playing with her toys in her own little way.

A few times lately, while I'm getting ready for bed, she has ventured slowly downstairs, when it's all dark and quiet. She has a little wander around and then comes back up. I'm hoping she may soon come down in the evenings, as I really miss having her there with me. I often find her sitting at the top of the stairs, so you never know.

We still have our morning cuddle in bed and if I am not rushing out, Tahlia will settle down on her blanket and have a sleep with me.

Tahlia enjoys playing with her toys in her own little way

TLC

Tahlia can't groom much of her fur as she cannot lift or turn her head, or twist round like other cats can. So I groom her every few days to keep the matts out, as her fur is quite long; she's semi-long haired.

Tahlia responds to her name and the sound of my voice by flicking up her tail, which is nice. She snuggles into me when I cuddle her and puts her front paws over my shoulder, but sadly she hasn't purred for a long time. She continues to sleep in her unusual position, which scares me sometimes as she is almost face down.

Last year Your Cat magazine saw Tahlia's blog on the Blue Cross website, and they contacted Blue Cross and asked if they could do an article on her in their  magazine. I was so happy that they wanted to do that and very proud of her. It was in the February issue.

Tucking in to a plate of tasty fish was a new experience for the four-year-old cat, who has come such a long way thanks to Sue's love and support

An awfully big adventure

In May Tahlia had a very big adventure.

For the first time ever, and after consultation with her vet, I brought her out of her home environment and we travelled all the way from Kent to South Wales. Her vet prescribed a calming tablet to help with her fear, panic and anxiety, to be given half an hour before we set off. Tahlia travelled so well in her soft pet carrier, next to me in the car. She slept a lot of the way, and just lay quietly, and I kept reassuring her that I was there.

I brought all her things from home, the blankets that she sleeps on, her puppy pads, bowls and toys, so that she had her familiar smells around her.

Tahlia has settled in really well. From day one she has eaten, drunk, and used her puppy pads as normal. She has continued the daily routine that she has at home, and this has shown me that she is fine. I was worried about giving her such a big change but she has been amazing, and it's been so lovely for me to have her here.

New experiences

She has even eaten her first ever fish, which she loved. She will mostly only eat her dry food now, but I thought I would try her on some fish as we were having it. She eats very slowly as she has difficulty with picking up food, but she perseveres. She kept returning to the fish until it was all gone.

She has since had some chicken too and ate all that (she had stopped eating chicken at home). So I'm very pleased and hopefully she will continue to enjoy some fresh food now.

I am so glad that Tahlia came into my life with my second Blue Cross litter. I feel very privileged to be able to protect her and care for her. She is a special member of my furry family and is very, very precious to me.

Happy Birthday dear Tahlia.

You are such a little treasure.

Tahlia’s story

Tahlia the cat has a condition called ‘hydrocephalus’, which means she suffers from a build-up of fluid in her skull. It is not a common condition, and sadly means Tahlia is likely to have a shorter lifespan, and her brain damage does cause her to be wobbly on her feet.

Sue fostered Tahlia and her littermates from when they were 10 days old. Tahlia was half the size of her sisters, so it was obvious she would need extra care. Sue has adopted Tahlia and has turned her home into a safe haven for the little cat with special needs.

Without Sue, Tahlia would not have reached her fourth birthday. The love they have for each other is obvious to all who meet them.

— Page last updated 9/06/2016