Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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And One More Time, Mr. Sunshine!

black cat on blue table
Mr. Sunshine reflecting.

So Mr Sunshine decided he wanted to visit his friends at Rivers Veterinary Urgent Care again; he decided to pretty much stop eating over the course of the last week, and was a little more lethargic as well, though no 105° temperature this time as he did a month ago. We found out a little more this time, and I think we’re coming closer to an answer to what may have been there all along.

He was very pleased with the sign on the exam room door that showed everyone his name and what a star he is. And he tried his best to get that wrap off of his leg from where they’d drawn blood.

black cat with bandage
Trying to unwrap the wrap.

I’ve been tracking all his activities since this episode began in April, it’s the best way to remember when something started and what was happening, what he was eating, other conditions.

A few weeks ago he had a little low spot as I noted on October 8, and what I had on hand to care for him worked right away.

This time it did not, and I decided not to let it get to the point where it did a month ago when I ran around for four days and couldn’t find an emergency placement for him. This time we had more blood tests plus x-rays, and next is an ultrasound.

With each stop we learn more, and it looks like something is developing with his liver or his pancreas or both, things that weren’t present on his initial blood tests in April when we first started this. Are those changes happening on their own and causing his symptoms, or are they happening because of something else that’s causing his symptoms? So we treat symptoms and keep him pain free and eating until we find an answer. Pancreatitis? Liver disease? Gallstones? Deep infection? Lots of things are on the table for this.

I knew his health journey wasn’t over when what had seemed like a mass on his flank pretty much disappeared. With all the inflammation and lymph glands involved, something was happening.

In the meantime I’m glad he’s in such good hands and such compassionate and skilled care is available for him, including not only the veterinarians experienced in weird conditions, but all the well informed veterinary technicians who listen to my explanations of what’s been happening, listen to my stories, love on Mr. Sunshine and make the sign for his door, and handle him so gently through all the unpleasant, painful, scary tests that he needs to have, and he comes back to me purring.

And it’s good to see him lining up with the crowd for lunch.

six black cats
Six black cat lineup!

From Instagram: “Celebrating one of many #blackcatappreciationday events? No, it’s just your average Sunday afternoon here in the kitchen!

“Hamlet, on the far right, has been joining in more group activities lately. I was a little surprised to see him there, but he fits right in. He’s been here since September 2017, but there’s no deadline in socialization.”

Mr. Sunshine was in good shape on Friday when I got home with him with another Convenia injection, fluids and an appetite stimulant, and he ate well that evening and the next morning. But by mid-day Saturday when they get their senior lunch special he still had an appetite, but was eating less, not finishing his food, even a small portion. By Sunday morning he was only licking his food, though he was hungry, came right over and got his face in the bowl. I associate that with GI upset, possibly reflux, so I tried a few other ways to offer food, then gave him a dose of famotidine. Then I remembered that one of the side effects of the pain medication he’s getting, buprenorphine, an opioid, is nausea, and he probably would have benefited more from Cerenia for nausea. But he was back for food an hour later, then in the evening he had a great supper and even ate more later.

A big event coming up for me

I didn’t finish out posting last week for following Mr. Sunshine around and one of my regular quarterly large design jobs in house for the week—and getting ready for a big event at the end of this week and over the weekend. The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) is in Pittsburgh for their annual conference, and I’m going there to market my Custom Pet Memorial Votives and other memorial and pet loss items to veterinarians and other animal professionals, and to a certain extent my artwork and gift items. I’m not selling anything, unless by chance someone buys one of my samples or one of the paintings or prints I’ll have, but I’ll hope to find a few customers among the crowd who would want to order votives for their patients’ families.

Custom Pet Memorial Votives in Autumn
Custom Pet Memorial Votives in Autumn

I’ve never taken my work to a trade show of any sort, and this is a big step for me, and an expensive one. I have always wanted to go to this conference with my artwork and greeting cards, but traveling with that is expensive. Seeing in February that the conference was in Pittsburgh this year I couldn’t believe my luck! I let them know I was interested, but the booth fee was $2,250 and even if I had it I would never be able to recover that amount with the small things I’m selling. They offered me a reduced fee that I could afford and I started getting ready, but when Mr. Sunshine was first diagnosed with cancer in April I knew I couldn’t do both. I focused on Mr. Sunshine and hoped for the best.

As soon as his cancer surgery was cancelled for lack of cancer, I got in touch with AAFP and got back to preparing for this. It’s not a farmers market or a pet expo, and I want to look less cluttered and more professional. Aside from my votives and garden flags and sympathy cards, I will decide what I take with me as far as handmade goods and artwork. My goal is to be able to start building a clientele that I can expand and generate a stream of income from orders, something I need to be able to manage my household with more regularity than my graphic design and illustration along with vendor shows over the spring and summer.

I know I’m always asking, but until I get a return from this show…

Mr. Sunshine does need his ultrasound along with more bloodwork and an uncertain amount of other treatment. Mewsette desperately needs a dental, Jelly Bean could use one, and Giuseppe hasn’t even been in for his senior exam yet. Then I’ve got all the others who need to vaccines, Basil needs his yearly for his asthma x-rays, Simba and I are still dealing with some rounds of urinary issues and he really needs another exam to determine what’s best for him before I even start integrating him again, let alone looking for an adopter. That’s a lot of cat care to pay for. Spending on this conference is a matter of faith that it will actually come to something that can help sustain us here.

Visit my website, www.PortraitsOfAnimals.net, and do some shopping! I am currently rebuilding some of my galleries so some pages may look different from others. I am placing my handmade goods for sale in holiday gallery displays and a few stores and deciding on the holiday markets that are available.

Also consider a portrait, or a portrait certificate for the holidays! It would make me very happy to pack and ship things to you in return for money.

As always, thanks for following us, and thanks for caring! I always appreciate hearing from you, no matter how that happens.

And if you did want to donate, my Paypal address is bernadette @ bernadette-k . com and my Venmo is @Bernadette-Kazmarski. And thank you for caring, whether you buy something or donate or not.

I hope to be able to share some news this week—I know there’s a portrait I’ve been waiting for this week to share! And my stories, and some artwork. And I hope to post from the conference too! If I post during the conference, you’ll see it on Instagram if you’re there, and my posts automatically share on my portraits of animals Facebook page with the link at the bottom of each post.

Gifts featuring cats you know! Visit Portraits of Animals


Fine ArtPhotographyGiftsGreeting CardsBooksCommissioned Portraits & Artwork

Custom Pet Memorial Votives
Custom Pet Memorial Votives

I prepare and print your photo or artwork of your pet onto a frosted vinyl label, then burnish it onto a cube-shaped glass vase 3″ in each dimension. A sympathy card and an LED tea light are included. The price includes shipping, whether to you or a friend, within the continental US. Read more and purchase.


All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission, although links to your site are more than welcome and are shared. Please ask if you are interested in using and image or story in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of an image or a product including it, check my animal and nature website Portraits of Animals to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.

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Weekly schedule of features:

Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life

Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters

Tuesday: Rescue Stories

Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork

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From health and welfare to rescue and adoption stories, advocacy and art, factual articles and fictional stories, "The Creative Cat" offers both visual and verbal education and entertainment about cats for people who love cats, pets and animals of all species.

7 thoughts on “And One More Time, Mr. Sunshine!

  • 15andmeowing

    They are all in my prayers I know how it is to have more than one cat that is ill.

  • Of course he is a STAR! We’re all sending purrs and prayers his way, poor guy.

    • He’s always been sure of that! We’ll take all the purrs too–it’s almost as if he needs to experience more symptoms to give us more clues.

  • Mary McNeil

    We send Mr Sunshine purrayers and Power of the Paw.

    • Thank you so much, Mary! We can never have too many paws involved.

  • I have a somewhat but not quite similar thing going on with Little Girl. Vet visits, meds and lots of loves. I hope Mister Sunshine remains content and pain-free. I know he’s in good hands.

    • Mimi had a similar condition and misdiagnosis went on for a few years through lymphoma and IBD and so on. It turned out she had a deep kidney infection and a food sensitivity. There were times she was so lethargic I really thought I’d lose her. In 2020 I was able to get her to a new veterinarian who prescribed two months of a very expensive but very effective antibiotic and she was like a new cat afterward, even the food sensitivity isn’t much of an issue–and she’s 19. I’m thinking it’s the same thing with Mr. Sunshine. Hope Little Girl has the same outcome!


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