08 April 2009

Remembering Gimli on the Anniversary of his Death

I woke up this morning not intending to dwell, but the memories of last year - on this day - came flooding back fresh and raw. As I lay in bed trying to wake up, reflect on my feelings, and try to move past them, Bilbo (Godz Bilbo Bombadil - our 4 year old cream point & white Sphynx boy, and Gimli's litter mate) came bounding upon the bed, pawed me on the head (so I would raise up the cover), climbed inside and into my arms, settled comfortably, and began to purr. He was followed closely by his own little shadow, Rosie (PR Godz Rose of Sharron - our 16 month old dilute calico girl who is Gimli's niece).

Both nestled warmly against me and - unbeknownst to them - gave me exactly the kind of comfort that I needed more than anything in the world. Rose's sister, Lily, (PR Godz Junipurr Lily - our 16 month old red & white girl who is also Gimli's niece) tentatively came to see where Bilbo and Rose had gone and, after allowing me to hug her without squirming away (she's a daddy's girl wholeheartedly) she settled into a warm spot by her two favorite non-humans.

I wondered, this morning, if Gimmie would've liked the girls, especially since Rose is so much like him.
Gimli's little mirror, Rose

I wonder if he'd be pissy over the way Bilbo now tries to take his place (I'm betting yes on that one). I love these sweet little creatures so very much. They're all different and very loving, but there's a part of my heart that will always be Gimli's - my special boy.

Our loss was not forgotten by friends today or yesterday. In fact, over the last several weeks, and inparticularly right after the SBEN's issue #2 was released - where my story along with an issue dedication to Gimmie offered others a chance to remember with me - I have had numerous emails from all over the States, Europe and Africa. So many kind souls who deeply understand this sort of pain, loss, and love... and some, like myself, who have experienced unnecessary loss through the ignorance or apathy of a trusted vet.

This past weekend my husband and I attended a CFA show where Lily was shown in Open Premiership and Rose, already a Premier, worked on her Grand points. Bilbo was along as their moral support. I was benched by a Sphynx breeder that I know from online and from seeing at shows. He brought two little kittens to show and we had time, during the lulls, to talk about many things "Sphynx". I mentioned today's upcoming "anniversary" and how I was still angry about the use of Ketamine by the vet. He told me that he'd had two Sphynx (whole cats used in his breeding program) that were killed due to Ketamine use. One was pregnant and needed to have a C-section to deliver. She was given Ketamine and it killed her, along with all her kittens. He had her necropsied and the pathologist declined to say the cause was Ketamine although all signs pointed that way. Another of his cats had a medical issue and the same vet needed to put it under and gave it ... guess what... Ketamine. It also died, was necropsied. The pathology report stated that its heart was enlarged (pointing to HCM), but it was enlarged, not from the disease, but from a "chemical". This cat was a particularly beloved cat and we both shared our vivid, unforgetable memories of having to place these loves in our refrigerators and ice chests as we prepared to go, or were enroute, to a pathology lab.
Like us, he also changed vets and banned the use of Ketamine on his cats... and like us, he experienced an apathetic response from his vet in regards to the deaths.

At the show this breeder sold one of the little kittens he had brought to a very nice looking couple. I heard him tell them that he would have the kitten spayed but that he did not use Ket/Val and did not want it to be used on the kitten in future. He said that he included instructions on anesthesias in the adoptive parents Take-Home kit. How I wish the breeder we used had either known, or advised us that way.

I have to hope that these horrible experiences that some of us have shared though the ignorant and unnecessary loss of life will help someone else, some other beloved Sphynx, and most certainly our own. Never again will what happened to Gimli happen to any of my cats. I can be grateful for that, at least.

So, on this sad anniversary date of my Gimmie's death I dedicate my day to happy memories of this incredible, wonderfully loving and beguiling little Sphynx boy.

From my friend, Jeanette, in South Africa:

Just so you know I have never forgotten you, altho I post very very seldom... I have several photos of Gimli, since you started posting them and he is also stuck in my mind. He was a special special baby and I feel your pain....across the ocean! You stay strong!!!!! and know your angel boy is with God..and in God's hands he is safe and loved, and he will be waiting at the gates of heaven, to welcome his mother home!!! He will never be forgotten as far as South Africa.

Thank you to all who have written and remembered my sadness and loss this day, this month, this year. I am proud to be a member of such a loving community, especially proud to be a part of the Sphynx community. Special cats, special people.

07 April 2009

Memories of Things Much Treasured Still

No new spongy balls, no special treats.
No hugs or kisses, no standing on mommy's feet.

No chirping at the birds, no watching down the street.
No happy little boy, so proud, so cute, so sweet.

What's left but memories of things much treasured still.
What's left but fighting to prohibit this drug that kills.

Happy, Would've-Been, 4th Birthday, Gimmie. We miss you sweet boy.

Thank you Dr. Kelly Kirkpatrick for destroying this life so needlessly and with the enormous lack of remorse or ethics that you displayed.

08 February 2009

View the March/April Sphynx Breeders / Enthusiast Newsletter - and tell your friends

The information in the newsletter would be helpful and enjoyable to most owners / breeders of cats in the exotics line. In fact, a representative from the Devon Rex Society has already requested that an article on Nebulizing be reprinted in their own newsletter.

The entire cat fancy can benefit from the SBEN - but most profoundly benefited are Sphynx and other exotics.

Here's a direct link. Click on the image to download the PDF.

Thank you for reading this blog and the SBEN newsletter!

07 February 2009

A Willingness to Help... A Voice Being Heard

I often wonder if anyone, anywhere has truly been touched by my outcry over Ket/Val and our breed. It is something that I wonder about from time to time and especially as I continue to find myself staying up well into the early morning hours plugging away at this cause.

Just last week a supporter and friend of mine reminded me, quite accurately, that medicine is an art.

She very wisely said that, "Living beings are very complicated and there is no ONE recipe for success. And people are human and mistakes are made. I've learned to accept that over time. And that acceptance came with lots of tears, for sure. But reality is reality. And there is so much we can't prevent no matter how hard we try. Fighting that truth takes up a great deal of energy and the end result doesn't usually change much."

*sigh* Yes. I do agree with that assessment of the medical arts and our hearts; but let me share with you my reply.

"There is certainly much truth in your statement and I know you mean well to share it with me. However I can't let the Ketamine issue drop. I sorely wish I could as my life, my free-time, and my mental health would surely find relief.

My life has gone from being somewhat joyful to somewhat depressed and I find I am uplifted and encouraged as I in push onward with my little quest. I agree and I'm afraid, as you've eloquently stated, that all my efforts will be in vain in the long run ...BUT... if we don't TRY then we have to deal with complacency, apathy, indifference and, ultimately, more loss. I just don't want to do that.
So my plan right now is to continue bashing my head against the forces that be... a lack of vet knowledge, much indifference by the vet community, and a great possibility that I'll never really make a dent. But I'm trying, and at some point in time, perhaps I can stop and say... well, I gave it my best and I feel good about that.

Maybe it is a teeny bit different when we are owners and not breeders. Breeders see a great many babies go in and out of their life. Some share time at other catteries, some go to new homes, and some go to the great beyond. I realize attachments are made with each and every one, but due to the cycle of life and, sometimes death, that breeders witness there may be an adjustment that gives you all a better perspective.

For me and my husband, having two Sphynx was not something we would normally be able to afford but Fate saw a way to put our first two firmly in our hearts. Losing one so quickly and after such a commitment of our time and emotion has been tough and, for me at least, I've not found the solace in another little one that quenches the hurt and the missing.

I do appreciate your words and I know I have support among many here and w/in the Sphynx community. I also know that my intentions may be somewhat naive - but they're honest and I have to honour them."

Another supporter and friend wrote:

"Please don't forget: thanks to you, I (and I am just one or many!) know about the danger of Ketamine, and that means that my vet knows. This means that my Sphynx will not share Gimli's fate (I'm not sure if I am spelling his name correctly, so please let me know), nor will my Devon Rex, another breed that should not be given Ketamine. It also means that my vet has been alerted to this situation and will never give any other Sphynx or Devon Rex Ketamine. I hope he will alert other vets in Basel and even other Swiss vets. I have let Victoria in Austria know, so her Sphynx should also be safe from this scourge. We can also tell the whole Sphynx Friends group, and I think that it is indeed possible for ONE voice to make a huge difference! Look at articles in magazines that feature some person who has changed everything for a whole society or country or whatever! I very much admire you for not giving up on your "quest." Just don't listen to anybody who discourages you.

I also agree that medicine is an art. And, as my dad once pointed out to me: doctors practice medicine! And although practice makes perfect, perfect doesn't exist in art."

This week alone I was contacted by two people - from two different countries, both asking if I would kindly send the information I have on Ket/Val, and Gimli's story, to them. They both wanted to read the infomration and print it out for their vets. That makes me feel purposeful and proud.

As I am now being head-butted by Gimli's brother, Bilbo Bombadil, I must cease my ponderings for today and find something for this boy to nosh on.

05 February 2009

An Exciting Debut for the National and International Sphynx Community

It is my extreme priviledge to be a small part of the newly released Sphynx Breeder/Enthusiast Newsletter. Our first issue, for February/March, made its debut today.

The contents of The Sphynx Breeder/Enthusiast Newsletter is open to a number of topics of interest covering Sphynx health, breeding, showing, feature articles, history and more. We’d like to have sections of interest to everyone from around the world, but we need your help.

If anyone has topic ideas or would like to contribute an article, would like to submit a question for the editors to consider for the Readers Q&A Section, be involved in editing or gathering information for specific topics please contact us at:

Sphynx.Newsletter@gmail.com privately or join at http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/sphynxnewslettersubscribers/ to receive new issues.

If you have any interest at all in the Sphynx breed I would like to encourage you to subscribe to our newsletter and become a part of the community of Sphynx lovers world-wide!

04 February 2009


In the hopes of establishing an official home for Gimmie's Fishes domain and hosting set-up was completed today.

This blog will still be in use but mirrored at the official site.


31 January 2009

A new year... a new determination.

January hit the ground running. I'm finding it incredible that the month is almost gone. Seems like 2008 was never-ending... for me... it certainly had a lasting affect.

So, the holidays are behind us and the tree is tucked away in its box for another year. Now it's time to roll up the sleeves and get back to work.
Determination can be an odd companion. At times it is never-yeilding; at other times it is ever-wanning. But if it's truly there then deeds can be done.
[ photo of Junipurr Lily and Rosie Rosebud, titled "We're Pal's!" ]

I've had a few things impose themselves upon the temporary "retirement" from my cause - and all have been positive.
Back in early December I had an email from a vet that works at the Paris, France corporate office of Royal-Canin.

I doubt anyone is actually following this blog, but if so one might recall that I had attempted to contact a vet at RC for help and was told that she was moving to Brazil and a new vet would be taking over her position. The vet I contacted promised to give my emails and contact information to the new person. Days, then weeks, then months passed and nothing... and then in came an email from the new veterinarian.

She wrote:

C. Galli sent me your e-mail and your request. First of all, I'm sorry for this late answer but it took time to collect some information and because of personnal issues I couldn't send you this e-mail before.

In fact, I haven't found other researchs written by Dr Houard or scientfific research related to ketamine & sphynx. It seems that his paper was the result of his personal experience, as he has a private practice near Paris.

I've searched for people you could contact on this subject: it exists some veterinary associations specialised in anesthesia . They may have observed the same thing as they are specialised in this field and they consult a lot of cats & dogs.

These are the contacts I've found in the USA:
Veterinary analgesia and anesthesia support group
American college of veterinary anesthesiologists

Hope it will help you, Best regards
S. Rivière


I found her email encouraging and it gave a renewal to my quest... if only for the sake of having someone remember and feel it important enough to respond. See? I am so desparate for any success that even the slightest thing is a milestone.

So, then I had not one, but TWO emails sent from Sphynx owners. One in South Africa, and one from the USA. Both had heard that I had documents on Ket/Val and Sphynx and asked if I could provide them literature to give their vets. Which I most happily did. Oh, but to save one life, one heart from breaking. Encouragement!

On 07 January I was contacted by a fellow Sphynx lover who happens to be a very successful breeder as well; Arden Gaitlin-Andrews, of AngelFire Sphynx cattery. She said that she was starting an International Sphynx Breeder/Enthusiast Newsletter - for the SX community - and asked if I would be the Editor of the owner's section.

I jumped at the chance.

Now.. bear in mind I jump at chances regardless of if they have a monetary value to my time. For years I've bashed my head in, locally and w/in my own apathetic community, to bring about a community band, a community dinner-theatre, and a 5-county non-profit arts council. All were successful but back-mind-and-spirit breaking experiences. After resigning as president from the arts council I took a solomn (well other than my rants to exceptionally close friends) oath to NEVER, EVER put myself out for my unappreciative community again.

But this is different. This strikes a cord. This would allow me a platform, a voice, and a way to help countless others know more about the Sphynx breed. It would allow me to share my findings directly with others who are interested.

So.. yeah, well.. you see where this is going. :-)

Our first newsletter - Volumn 1 - will be distributed digitally and will cover the months of March/April 2009. Some of the topics covered are:

  • Safram Sphynx - by Sandy Adler
  • Nebulization - by Diana Scott & Carolyn McGuire, DVM
  • With or Without the Necklace? - by Carlee Marrer-Tising
  • Genetics 101 - by Paul Patton
  • Bath Time - by Cyndee Gause
  • A Special Goodbye [Sue Gleason] - by Paul Patton
  • Feline HCM - by Judy Webb Gunby
  • Judging Sphynx Across Associations - by Mary Perfitt-Nelson
  • Sphynx Multiples - by Kay Marshall
  • Showing Sphynx in Switzerland - by Carlee Marrer-Tising
  • B.A.R.F. - by Judy Webb Gunby
I would like to encourage you to join our FREE subscription list at Sphynx Newsletter Subscribers Yahoo Groups (mention this blog in your request to join), or you can visit us online at our Sphynx Breeder/Enthusiasts Newsletter Blog and on Facebook.

I do appreciate any readership this blog has. If you are reading it ... thanks.

Bilbo and Gimli watching birds - January 2008
Artwork copyright of K.Marshall