The Golden Years – When Your Cat is 15

The post The Golden Years – When Your Cat is 15 by Stacy Hackett appeared first on Catster. Copying over entire articles infringes on copyright laws. You may not be aware of it, but all of these articles were assigned, contracted and paid for, so they aren’t considered public domain. However, we appreciate that you like the article and would love it if you continued sharing just the first paragraph of an article, then linking out to the rest of the piece on

Guinness World Records lists a Texas cat named Crème Puff as the oldest cat ever, reported to have lived to the age of 38. As of 2018, the oldest living cat was a 30-year-old orangeand- white male named Rubble, who lived with his owner in Great Britain.

Clearly, cats are living longer lives. And once a cat reaches the age of 15, she’s considered geriatric by veterinary standards, and her care requirements reflect her advanced age.

Up the checkups

A geriatric cat’s physical health differs from that of her younger counterparts, and your vet will help you provide the best possible care for your pet. Most vets want to see these older animals for health checks every six months instead of every year to make sure the cat doesn’t quickly deteriorate.

“The main focus of geriatric health care is owner education and the early detection and prevention of disease,” says Arnold Plotnick, DVM. “It is important to realize that aging itself is not a disease; it is simply a stage of life. Increasing age causes a gradual decline in the body’s ability to repair itself, maintain normal body functions and adapt to the stresses and changes in the environment.”

A typical checkup for your geriatric pet will likely include a complete physical examination, a blood test to check white blood cell counts and thyroid activity (among other things), and a urinalysis. Your vet may also want to perform a fecal exam. The goal of all the tests is to verify the cat’s good health and hopefully detect any potential problems early. As Dr. Plotnick points out, a geriatric cat’s body is less able to fight off illness.

If your pet has an existing condition, your vet may also want to continue monitoring his health through other procedures such as X-rays, EKG tests or ultrasounds. Your vet will also encourage you to keep up with dental care and may offer recommendations for cat foods appropriate to your cat’s age and health.

Tweak the diet

For a geriatric cat, proper nutrition becomes even more important. “Every nutrient counts!” says Pam Johnson-Bennett, a certified cat behaviorist. She recommends that owners of geriatric cats consult their vets to ensure the current cat food continues to meet the pet’s needs, and to make any necessary tweaks to raw or homemade diets.

And while you may want to tempt your geriatric cat to eat more to keep up her strength, Pam cautions that you don’t want your cat to gain too much weight. “Obesity isn’t healthy for a cat at any age but for an older kitty,those added pounds put extra stress on joints which can be very painful if arthritis is present,” she says. “Obesity can also increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease.”

Watch for behavior changes

At your cat’s checkup, be sure to tell your vet about any unusual behaviors your cat has shown. You know your pet best, and you likely know when she’s not behaving normally. Sometimes these changes in behavior are related to a health issue, but as your cat ages, they may be related to her advanced years. Your vet can help you cope with these changes.

“Understanding the aging process and the most common problems that face the geriatric cat is the first step in providing the best possible care to geriatric patients,” Dr. Plotnick says.

Pam agrees. “Aging isn’t easy for anyone — human, cat or dog,” she says. “As your cat ages, she may develop poor aim when in the litter box, she may become less tolerant of things she used to accept willingly, she may not have the best table manners when eating, she may not groom herself to perfection, and she may not want to give up her side of the bed in order to make room for you.”

To help your cat cope with her changing abilities that come with her advanced age, Pam recommends the following:

  • Offer her a heated bed to help with sore or stiff joints. Make sure she is mobile enough to walk away from it if she gets too warm. You don’t want her to overheat.
  • Replace your cat’s litter box with a low-sided version to make it easier for her to get in and out of the box.
  • Place additional litter boxes near your cat’s favorite spots. Her advanced age may affect her bladder control.
  • Make playtime a priority. Regular activity will help keep her joints lubricated and muscles toned.
  • Gently brush her every day. This will help distribute oils throughout her coat and will allow you to examine her for any changes in her skin.

Most of all, be patient with your pet. “Help her with the things you can, and be tolerant of the things you can’t change,” Pam says. “With your help, your cat can have a wonderful and comfortable life as a senior citizen.”

The post The Golden Years – When Your Cat is 15 by Stacy Hackett appeared first on Catster. Copying over entire articles infringes on copyright laws. You may not be aware of it, but all of these articles were assigned, contracted and paid for, so they aren’t considered public domain. However, we appreciate that you like the article and would love it if you continued sharing just the first paragraph of an article, then linking out to the rest of the piece on

Not-So-Traditional Treatments

The post Not-So-Traditional Treatments by Elizabeth Anderson Lopez appeared first on Catster. Copying over entire articles infringes on copyright laws. You may not be aware of it, but all of these articles were assigned, contracted and paid for, so they aren’t considered public domain. However, we appreciate that you like the article and would love it if you continued sharing just the first paragraph of an article, then linking out to the rest of the piece on

No one likes to see their loved ones in pain. Thankfully, there are many remedies out there to help keep your feline feeling fine. Some are technologically advanced, and some may be familiar to you. Check out what’s available for your furry pal, both for internal and external treatments.

Stem cells

Stem cells are “blank” cells that can be placed into damaged or diseased parts of the body and renew themselves into healthy tissue or organs. There is some debate about this treatment, including within the same veterinarian.

“I would like to say I have more confidence in stem cell therapy. My biggest issue with it is that it is a lot of money for a therapy that may or may not work, money that could have been spent on more conventional therapy,” says Michael C. Petty, DVM, of Arbor Pointe Veterinary Hospital in Canton, Michigan. “Having said that, I performed stem cell therapy on my own dog and was very impressed with the results. Even less is known about stem cell therapy in cats.”

Platelet therapy

Dr. Petty says that platelet therapy holds a lot of promise. He describes the process as: A blood sample is drawn, the platelets are extracted and then injected into painful joints or ligaments.

“Platelets contain many anti-inflammatory agents, which accounts for their anti-pain properties,” he adds. “I have had some amazing successes. Right now there are no systems that are validated for use in cats; however, there are companies working on platelet-rich plasma systems for felines, one of which should be validated soon.”

Herbal remedies

Herbal remedies are popular with people and pets alike. According to Rachel Barrack, DVM, CVA, CVCH, and founder of Animal Acupuncture in New York City, Chinese herbal therapy can be used to provide the best possible quality of life for animals on palliative care, among other conditions.

herbal remedies for cats

Dr. Petty cites some must-do’s with herbal therapies. “Always consult with your veterinarian before starting an herbal therapy. And always let them know if you are already using one, as some can have dangerous interactions with drugs your veterinarian prescribes.”

Laser treatments

Dr. Petty says that although laser therapy (more specifically called photobiomodulation therapy) has been around for more than a decade in veterinary medicine, it is an emerging modality able to treat an increasingly larger variety of ailments, including both acute and chronic pain conditions.

laser therapy for cats

Laser therapy is used to treat both acute and chronic pain. This is a Summus Medical Laser.

“Acute uses, such as post-surgery, ear infections and painful skin infections, respond well to laser therapy,” Dr. Petty adds. “Chronic pain control due to osteoarthritis is where laser therapy can really shine, especially for those cats that don’t tolerate other hands-on therapies like acupuncture.”


Speaking of which … “Acupuncture (and Chinese herbal therapy) can be used to treat an endless array of conditions in both humans and animals,” Dr. Barrack says. She adds that common veterinary applications for cats include:

  • Degenerative joint disease
  • Neurological disease (seizures, disc disease)
  • Gastrointestinal issues (anorexia, diarrhea, vomiting)
  • Cardiovascular and respiratory disease
  • Renal disease
  • Skin disease
  • Urogenital disease (incontinence)
  • Immune-mediated diseases
  • Chronic ear infections
  • Neoplasia
  • Post-operative healing
  • Behavioral issues

Dr. Petty is a personal proponent of acupuncture and cites additional support. “I am certified in acupuncture, and I cannot imagine trying to run a pain practice without it,” he says. “The 2015 Pain Management Guidelines put out by the American Association of Feline Practitioners and the American Animal Hospital Association recommends the use of acupuncture for chronic pain.”


A massage might make you purr, but what about your cat? “Massage helps with any chronic pain state, as muscles are often involved as part of most pain syndromes,” Dr. Petty says. “And this is something that the owner can do at home.” He recommends the book Canine Medical Massage by Narda Robinson, DO, DVM, MS, FAAMA, for dog massage techniques that also work on cats.

massaging cat

Massage helps with chronic pain that involves muscles.

Before you get started

It may help to know that cats of any age are candidates for these therapies, but older cats with kidney or heart disease may have some limitations. So how do you know if one of these treatments is right for your cat? Don’t guess — work with your vet. “I recommend a complete physical exam by your veterinarian before starting any pain therapy, and lab work prior to starting most drug therapies,” Dr. Petty says.

And know your cat’s limits behaviorally, too. As we all know, new things can be scary, and many cats feel the same way. If your cat is anxious about new things, you may want to use a medication that can help cats be more receptive to a new remedy.

Dr. Petty has three recommendations: “Feliway is a pheromone therapy that provides a relaxing atmosphere for cats,” he says. “Owners can buy Feliway wipes and apply it to the inside of the carrier prior to going to the veterinarian. Gabapentin is a drug that is also useful for calming cats down by giving it an hour or so prior to getting in the car to go to the veterinary office. For cats that don’t respond well to gabapentin, there is an anti-anxiety drug called trazodone that works well.”

What doesn’t work well? “I never recommend tranquilizers, as they have been shown to only sedate cats but do nothing for their anxiety,” Dr. Petty says.

Dr. Petty also doesn’t recommend a popular therapy that you may have heard of for dogs — hydrotherapy. “Few cats enjoy water,” he says. “Some may tolerate it, but I find it of limited use with cat
patients. I don’t believe in stressing out my rehab patients.”

Now what?

Once you have begun treatments for your cat, there is a keen desire to determine success. So a common question is, “How long will it take to notice a difference?” As with many things, it varies.

“Depending on the condition being treated, some animals will show marked improvement immediately following the first treatment, but most animals typically improve after three or more treatments,” Dr. Barrack says, advising patience. Chronic or tenacious conditions may take longer, she adds.

Your cat may be able to “tell” you the therapy is working with, say, increased mobility in arthritic cats (improved use of stairs, no longer avoiding the litter box, jumping on the couch for pettings or soaking up the sun on the windowsill). Some conditions require your vet to determine success via improvement in blood test results, Dr. Barrack says.

Seeing pets in pain is no fun for cat or owner. With all these non-traditional pain-relief treatments to pursue, there’s a good chance your cat will be doing some additional purring as a thank you.




Like the proverbial potato chip, when deciding which treatment will work best for your cat’s pain, you don’t need to stop at just one. “A multimodal approach is the best way to treat any pain condition, acute or chronic,” confirms Michael C. Petty, DVM, of Arbor Pointe Veterinary Hospital in Canton, Michigan.

A specific combination you might be familiar with is traditional Chinese medicine, such as acupuncture, with Western medicine. “Acupuncture and Chinese herbal therapy are completely safe to use in conjunction with conventional Western medicine,” says Rachel Barrack, DVM, CVA, CVCH, and founder of Animal Acupuncture in New York City. “Acupuncture and Western medicine have the same goals — to eliminate disease and support the best quality of life.”

Dr. Barrack does cite different treatments for different ailments. “Western medicine is ideal for acute disease diagnostics and surgery,” she says. “Acupuncture, which has been utilized for thousands of years, can be very effective in treating chronic conditions that Western medicine can help but not cure. Conventional Western drugs act quickly but sometimes come with unwanted side effects. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal therapy can be used to avoid or ameliorate some of those side effects. By combining Western and Eastern medical knowledge, I strive to provide
cats with the most appropriate and best possible care.”

For more information about traditional Chinese medicine, go to American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association.

The post Not-So-Traditional Treatments by Elizabeth Anderson Lopez appeared first on Catster. Copying over entire articles infringes on copyright laws. You may not be aware of it, but all of these articles were assigned, contracted and paid for, so they aren’t considered public domain. However, we appreciate that you like the article and would love it if you continued sharing just the first paragraph of an article, then linking out to the rest of the piece on

Tips For Choosing A Boarding Facility For Your Cat

white cat lying on table

(Picture Credit: Getty Images)

Life moves quickly, and last-minute vacations, business trips, and emergencies will pop up periodically. The holiday season might make it difficult to find a pet sitter or travel with your cat, too.

And if you can’t take your cat with you and can’t find a cat-sitter on short notice, it’s good to have a reputable boarding facility on standby in case you need it.

Here are some tips for finding a good boarding facility that will care for your cat while you’re away.

Don’t Panic, It’s Not So Bad

In some cases, it’s easiest to have friends or family visit your home periodically to refill food and water, change the kitty litter, and let your cat roam on the catio if they’re the type to venture outdoors.

But if it’s not possible, don’t fret. Boarding doesn’t have to be rough. After all, you don’t have to coop kitty up in a travel carrier for too long like you would if they came with you on your travels. Plus they’ll get social interaction, exercise, and attention from trained personnel.

Of course, for every wonderful boarding environment, there’s another one that’s overcrowded, stressful, dirty, and staffed with untrained or unprofessional employees. So, how do you find the right one?

Get A Good Recommendation

two happy girls talking on sofa in home interior

(Picture Credit: JackF/Getty Images)

A great place to start your boarding facility search is with a recommendation. Ask fellow pet owners, your groomer, or your vet for businesses they trust.

You can also do a quick search online for boarding facilities near you and check out some customer reviews. See what other people are saying and what kinds of services the business provides. This can be a good way to find a facility that fits within your budget, too.

It’s also a good idea to check with the Better Business Bureau for complaints about a boarding facility you are considering.

Once you’ve narrowed down the candidates, your next task is the most important: a site visit.

What To Ask When You Arrive In Person

Visit the boarding facilities you’re considering in person before you bring your cat along. This will help you find out if it’s right for your cat and help you answer a lot of important questions.

Be sure to see all the places your cat may spend their time, including play areas, walk routes, and of course, kennel space.

Your essential checklist of questions to ask should include:

  • Is the facility clean in both appearance and odor?
  • Are the kennels well-lit and ventilated?
  • Is the temperature controlled in hot or cold weather?
  • Are the employees caring and professional?
  • Is proof of current vaccinations required (rabies, feline distemper, etc.) to protect your cat and others?
  • Does each cat have their own adequately sized indoor-outdoor run or an indoor run and a schedule for exercise? Will your cat’s stay include an individual run (indoor/outdoor or indoor only with scheduled play and exercise time)?
  • Are outdoor-exercise and play areas protected from the elements?
  • Does the kennel area have bedding and raised areas so your cat can rest off the concrete?
  • Are animals boarded separately according to species? (i.e. cats and dogs kept in separate areas)
  • Are the kennels spacious enough for your cat?
  • What is the feeding schedule, and are you allowed to supply your cat’s own food?
  • What emergency veterinary services are available?
  • Do they offer grooming, training, bathing, or medication administration?
  • What are the fees and how are they determined?

If possible, have your cat spend the day there or even sleep over, especially before a long trip. This could be the best test of whether this kennel–( or any kennel–is right for you and your kitty.

Has your cat ever stayed at a boarding facility? How did you find the right one? Let us know in the comments below!

The post Tips For Choosing A Boarding Facility For Your Cat appeared first on CatTime.

How To Make Veterinary Visits Easier For You And Your Cat

cat in a vet's office looking frightened

(Picture Credit: Getty Images)

Regular veterinary visits are important to your cat’s health, but these visits often become a hassle for you and a nightmare for your cat.

Most cats aren’t particularly fond of going to the vet. If your cat makes a fuss or leaves you with some fresh claw marks at the mere mention of a vet visit, you’re not alone!

Fortunately, there are some steps that you can take to make veterinary visits easier for both of you.

Before The Visit: Get Your Cat Used To The Carrier And The Vet

cat in a carrier

(Picture Credit: Image Source/Getty Images)

A secure cat carrier is an absolute necessity for traveling with your cat. Transporting your cat without one can be dangerous for both of you.

However, simply throwing your cat in the carrier and heading out the door is not a great idea either. Prepare your cat for the next vet visit in advance by making sure their carrier is a safe, secure place.

Start by placing the carrier where your cat can enter and exit at will. Arrange a soft blanket or bed inside to make it comfortable.

Try using treats to entice your cat to enter it, or even feed them regular meals in the carrier. You can also spray Feliway inside the carrier to make it more desirable. You can even use catnip to encourage your cat to go in the carrier, too.

Once your cat is accustomed to the carrier, consider taking your cat to the vet for a “get acquainted” visit. This will give your cat a chance to get used to the office without associating the hospital with injections and other unpleasant experiences during each visit.

Talk to the hospital staff to find out if there is a slow time during the day when your visit will not be disruptive. Staff members may even be able to spend some time making friends with your cat.

You can find a highly-rated cat carrier on Amazon here!

At The Veterinary Hospital

Cropped image of beautiful female doctor veterinarian with stethoscope is examining cute white cat at vet clinic.

(Picture Credit: Vasyl Dolmatov/Getty Images)

Ideally, the veterinary hospital will have a separate waiting area for cats. Take advantage of this area, if available, so that your cat does not have to experience contact with dogs or other unfamiliar pets in the waiting area. If this area isn’t available, a towel draped over your cat’s carrier will block their view while you wait.

Most hospitals that cater to cats will try to keep the time spent in the waiting area as short as possible. You should move to an exam room with your cat as soon as practical.

Once in the exam room, your cat should be allowed to exit the carrier voluntarily if they’re willing. As long as the exam room is secure and your cat can’t escape, you may allow them to explore the room.

If your cat doesn’t exit the carrier willingly, having a carrier that disassembles so that the top of the carrier can be removed will make handling your cat easier for veterinary staff members—and less frightening for your cat—than being pulled through a small cage door or “dumped” out of the cage.

Look for a veterinary hospital whose staff is gentle and patient with your cat. They should be experienced in dealing with cats of any personality type. If your cat is overly frightened, sedation for the examination may be an alternative worth considering.

How do you keep your cat calm during vet visits? Do you have any special techniques or tricks? Let us know in the comments below!

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Do Cats Cry? What to Know and What to Do About a Crying Cat

The post Do Cats Cry? What to Know and What to Do About a Crying Cat by Denise LeBeau appeared first on Catster. Copying over entire articles infringes on copyright laws. You may not be aware of it, but all of these articles were assigned, contracted and paid for, so they aren’t considered public domain. However, we appreciate that you like the article and would love it if you continued sharing just the first paragraph of an article, then linking out to the rest of the piece on

The world of cat behavior may seem mystifying. However, if you take the time to pay attention, how your cat is feeling is quite apparent. There are many ways that cats convey their emotions and needs to their people and each other. Feline vocalizations have been documented and analyzed by scientists and behaviorists so we can understand our cats better. Babies, some sacred statues and according to one pop star, doves may cry, but do cats cry? Let’s find out more about cat crying and what to do about a crying cat.

Do cats cry? Not in the way that humans do.

A kitten crying or looking upset, annoyed or tired.

If your cat has watery eyes, it’s usually because of an injury or illness. Photography © 2002lubava1981 | iStock / Getty Images Plus.

So, do cats cry? A cat’s eyes may tear and water, but this isn’t an emotional reaction. Cats resoundingly do not cry the way humans do. In an article from Parade magazine, veterinarian Dr. Sheri Morris of Oregon emphasizes that cats do tear up, but it’s exclusively in response to an injury or illness, usually associated with their eyes. Irritants like disinfectant cleaners or allergies could also be the culprit. If you’re noticing a crying cat with persistently watery eyes, a trip to the vet is best.

Certified Cat Behaviorist and author Mieshelle Nagelschneider echoes Dr. Morris’ assessment that cats’ eyes don’t open the floodgates when in pain or upset. Rather, cats vocalize when something is bothering them.

There are a variety of crying cat sounds

A kitten crying or making sounds with mouth open.

Cat crying is usually expressed vocally. Photography © Martin Poole | DigitalVision / Getty Images.

The next question you have after, “Do cats cry?” is probably, “What does cat crying sound like?” In the popular YouTube video, 7 Sounds Cats Make and What They Mean, there are two segments that sound a lot like a cat crying. The portion on yowling sounds like a cat crying out in distress. According to the video, the crying can be a considered a warning to cats encroaching on claimed territory. The yowling could also be interpreted as an invitation to mate (talk about mixed signals!). The final segment shows mewling kittens — their cries should be familiar to every mother. “We’re over here,” they seem to scream.

Do cats cry when they’re kittens?

In addition to the crying mentioned above, kittens will cry out when they’re scared, hungry or cold.

Do cats cry more when they’re stressed or due to changes in their environment?

Stress can’t be stressed enough as a cause of crying cats. Seemingly innocuous alterations in a cats’ environment can cause stress — sure you love the new sofa, but is it an invasion of malicious intruders? Some cats aren’t sure!

Feeling stressed yourself? Check out these proven stress relief strategies >>

Do cats cry more as they get older?

Aging can cause excessive vocalization. Senior cats, like people, experience cognitive dysfunction and can become disoriented. Mental confusion can certainly lead to a crying cat who is calling out to his people for help.

Is your cat crying because of a health issue?

Do cats cry due to health issues? Illnesses (such as thyroid or kidney disease) can cause cat crying. With so many reasons for cat crying, it’s important that pet parents be aware about their feline’s mental, physical and emotional states. A cat who is sick or injured can’t just say, “It hurts when [and] here,” but if your cat is excessively crying there is a reason, and it could be a medical issue. Dr. Jean Duddy, DVM, indicates that an escalation of a cat crying can be a real cause for alarm.

If you think your cat is crying, check him out:

  1. Pass your hand over his body (checking for any wounds, lesions and lumps).
  2. Check his mouth, nose and eyes for discharge.
  3. Make sure he’s breathing normally.
  4. Examine his private parts for anything unusual.
  5. Investigate his litter box.
  6. Is he or she intact?

Is your cat crying due to changes in his environment?

If your cat doesn’t seem physically hurt, it could be a change to his environment that’s causing him to cry. Here’s how to get to the bottom of the issue:

  1. Have you added anything new to your home? A new roommate, sofa or floor plan could cause panic!
  2. Did you switch up your brand of kitty litter?
  3. Has the litter box or food been moved? (This is important if there are now stairs involved – cats can suffer from arthritis and other ambulatory problems as they get older)
  4. Do you have new neighbors with free-roaming pets?
  5. Is his dinner different?
  6. Remember: Cats, unlike most dogs and people, can get anxious and stressed from even the smallest of changes to their homes, routines and communities.

How to help a crying cat

Another question that follows, “Do cats cry?” is — “What can I do to help a crying cat?” Well, whatever you do, do not reprimand your cat for crying! If the crying persists for a long time and you can’t identify the issue, take your cat to the vet. In the case that your cat is not neutered (or spayed, if your cat is a female), get him fixed immediately.

For many cats, the anxiousness of something new will subside over a few days. It may help if you put him in a secure, safe spot — your bedroom with the door closed and his favorite toys, cat tree and comfy bed for a few days should help him readjust. If you’ve moved his necessary items (litter box/food bowl) to a different floor, return them to their usual spot. Consult a behaviorist if the situation worsens.

Remember, there will be some instances where the caterwauling is just your cat’s way of saying, “Pay attention to me.”

Tell us: Does your cat cry? What causes or has caused your cat to cry?

Thumbnail: Photography © NiseriN | iStock / Getty Images Plus.

This piece was originally published in 2018. 

About the author

Denise LeBeau is a writer, editor and photographer with almost 20 years of experience of creating content for animal-related issues, endeavors and events. She worked at Best Friends Animal Society for 12 years where she had two columns in the Best Friends Magazine, and held multiple content creation roles including web managing editor and outreach campaign editor. Denise has been an ongoing contributor to Catster since 2014, writing for the magazine and website. The self-professed poet laureate of the pet set is currently the manager of development for an animal welfare agency, where she works with a team to create content across media platforms. She lives in Hampton Bays with her two rescue Siamese mixes – Flipper and Slayer, and her LBD (little brown dog), Zephyrella.

Read more about cat behavior on

The post Do Cats Cry? What to Know and What to Do About a Crying Cat by Denise LeBeau appeared first on Catster. Copying over entire articles infringes on copyright laws. You may not be aware of it, but all of these articles were assigned, contracted and paid for, so they aren’t considered public domain. However, we appreciate that you like the article and would love it if you continued sharing just the first paragraph of an article, then linking out to the rest of the piece on

4 Feet Of Worms Pulled From Stray Kitten! Now “Filled With Love” By Special Mama Cat Healing From Her Own Losses

This story isn’t about one special cat having overcome the all-to-common struggles to survive in this world. It’s about two felines being filled with love they almost never got to experience this life. They both found themselves at the same place though–and not a good place at that. Their “tails” begin at the county kill shelter near Tampa, FL. 

Here a mama cat was sadly about to be euthanized with her newborn babies. And a few months later, another sweet girl was about to be let loose back on the streets instead of living safely indoors. Her chance at happiness about to be passed up, just because she weighed the legal minimum 2 pounds–barely. This is the struggle in the “R” of TNVR (Trap/Neuter/Vaccinate/Return), especially whey they turn out to be friendly. But finding fosters or adopters is not as easy as people think.

Snowball and Mercy

So how did these two gals go from a heartbreaking shelter environment to being filled with love? 

Teamwork, compassion and an unwavering dedication to save the homeless felines whenever possible is how. 

It began in August 2019, when the Urgent Cats of Tampa Bay Facebook page shared a photo of new mama cat “Fancy”. She had been brought into the shelter pregnant and ended up giving birth shortly after arriving. There’s no information as to whether she was stray or abandoned. Her friendly persona lends legitimacy to the latter possibility unfortunately.

They were only a few of the approximate 900 cats to cross the doors of the Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center each month. But Urgent Cats reminds us all of one VERY important thing though. 

***Please do not call HC-PRC and complain about animals being euthanized. It is the COMMUNITY that fills the shelter. By law, they must take every animal brought to them or picked up by the Animal Control Officers. The staff and volunteers work very hard to save as many as possible. If it upsets you how many animals are euthanized at this shelter, take action! Volunteer to foster a shelter animal, become a volunteer, work with a local rescue, educate people about the importance of spay/neuter, or share the animals on this page to get them as much exposure as possible!

A new mother and her infants are a big responsibility and the shelter does not have the time or resources to care for them. To top it all off, ALL of the kittens came down with severe URI’s they picked up in the shelter. Devastatingly, the entire family was scheduled for euthanasia. The shelter environment is no place for newborns though (or any animal), and only 1 of the 4 kittens survived.

But it was the community whose hearts were filled with love now, and they donated enough for a local rescue group to rescue mama and her remaining kitten.

As soon as her kitten was old enough, she was scooped up by a happy adopter. But that left mama, now named Snowball, patiently waiting in her new foster home. Fortunately her foster mom, Colleen Drury, has lots of rescued felines and family cats to help cheer her up.

And as wonderful as that was, there was something missing for Snowball after the losses of her babies. She wasn’t a sad or depressed cat by any means, but when they saw what happened next, they knew she was finally whole again.

It was a young female kitten who’d been trapped living on the streets near Busch Gardens in Tampa. She was just about 2 pounds in weight, which is the minimum for a feline to be spayed/neutered in Florida. And if she wasn’t rescued by an official non-profit or registered rescue organization, back out on the streets she would go. 

Fortunately, St. Francis Society Animal Rescue stepped in and saved her from (a likely short) street life. She joined their foster program and ended up at the welcoming home of Colleen, who named her Mercy. Thankfully Colleen has plenty of experience helping suffering cats, because Mercy also picked up a URI during her shelter stay.

“Mercy Me!” is likely what I’d have said when the young kitten was later found to be “filled” with something much different than love! 

The sweet kitten underwent the normal foster protocol and was given deworming medication right away. But little Mercy had a shocking surprise she was holding in!

Mercy had one of the worst cases of spirometra tape worms they’ve ever seen! More than FOUR feet of worm came out of that tiny body… We can’t imagine how she would have survived out there on the streets! 😳

Mercy enjoying catnip filled cat toys by Accessorati.

*She also had hook worms too! 😢 … this poor little girl had lots of parasites eating her food. This is why she lost so much weight while she was at the shelter waiting to be fixed (and dumped back on the streets!)

Thankfully there are NO photos because I’m squirming at the thought of this regardless. But after being given the necessary medication and Colleen and Snowball’s attentive fostering, Mercy was soon on the mend.

When Snowball met Mercy it was as if the pieces of their broken hearts and wounded bodies fit perfectly, allowing their souls to heal.

The two girls have formed a beautiful bond with each other over their time together. 

Although they came to their foster home a couple months apart, they’ve become fast friends with their shared background tails to tell. We feel Snowball has become the surrogate mama that Mercy was longing for. And Mercy has helped Snowball’s heart heal from losing almost all of her kittens. 😢

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this pair of survivors could find their PURRfect furever home together?!?!

We’d be over the moon if we could make this happen for these two deserving girls!! If you are interested in opening your hearts and home to the pair, please visit

Cole and Marmlade’s own dad, Cat Man Chris has seen these two cute ladies through their transformations. You see, Colleen is also the foster mom who has helped us with a few other special kitties who’ve been guests in our “Catty Shack”! 

They’re currently being fostered by my friend Colleen, the lady who’s fostering Alfalfa [story coming soon!] and also who cared for Sam the hydro kitten before her road trip [see below] <3

Photo: Cat Man Chris – Alfalfa

Thank you so much to Colleen Drury, Urgent Cats of Tampa Bay and St. Francis Society Animal Rescue for all you do!!! 


Related Story: First Leg Of Lifesaving Road Trip Completed After Lucky Black Kitten Crossed Paths With Famous Cat Rescue

Related Story: Bonded Cat Sisters Born Into Foster Care; Finally Adopted Four Days Before Their 3rd Birthday!




The post 4 Feet Of Worms Pulled From Stray Kitten! Now “Filled With Love” By Special Mama Cat Healing From Her Own Losses appeared first on Cole & Marmalade.

Can a Cat with FIP Survive? Cat FIP Cure – a Cat That Survived

Written by Alicia Hughes

As someone who has faced FIP with 3 of my own babies, unfortunately I’ve come to learn far more about this disease than I’d ever hoped to know. I hope to be able to help spread awareness of this wretched virus and the options available to any cat-parents who are faced with this dreaded diagnosis.

Can a Cat with FIP Survive Cat FIP Cure - a Cat That Survived 20180919_132256_Burst01
My FIP angels, Lily (tortie) and Jack (buff)

Prior to October 9, 2018, I’d never heard of FIP before, despite having cats for 40+ years. It was on that day that my sweet little Lily was diagnosed with and died of wet FIP at only 12.5 weeks of age. Her brother Jack would later be diagnosed with dry/neurological FIP and pass away 2 days shy of his 8 month birthday. The same day that Jack died, March 15, 2019, the anti-viral known as “GS441”, the cure for FIP, became widely available in the black market. One day too late to save my baby boy.


If you’re not familiar with Feline Infectious Peritonitis, it is a virulent virus that occurs when the otherwise benign Coronavirus mutates, either due to an immune deficiency or a genetic predisposition. Nearly every cat in the world is exposed to the benign Coronavirus (FCoV), but 90-95% will clear the virus with a short bout of diarrhea, cold-like symptoms or no symptoms at all. In 5-10% of those cats, the virus goes thru a sequence of mutations that essentially tricks the white blood cells into spreading the virus rather than fighting it.

The benign FCoV is highly contagious and is spread among cats via feces to oral route, and it is currently believed that a mother cat can transmit FCoV to her babies via the placenta. Cats can carry FCoV for days, weeks, or even years without ever developing FIP. Cats may also be chronic or intermittent shedders of FCoV and never display any symptoms or go on to develop FIP. In fact, the vast majority of cats will never suffer the mutation into FIP. For the 5-10% who will progress from FCoV to FIP, once the mutation has occurred, the virus is not horizontally transmissible nor is it contagious, and the FIP cat will no longer be shedding FCoV in its feces.


When cats have no immune response to FCoV, they develop the wet form of FIP, which is characterized by a vasculitis that allows fluid to build up in the abdomen (ascites), around the lungs (pleural effusion), and/or around the heart (pericardial effusion). Early symptoms include a high and persistent fever, inappetence, lethargy, and in the case of ascites, a pot-bellied appearance that feels like a water balloon. When pleural effusion is present, the cat’s breathing may sound congested or otherwise labored, typically with open-mouthed breathing. In the case of a pericardial effusion, the cat may develop an acute heart murmur, increased heart rate, or have a clear watery nasal discharge.

Wet FIP is the simplest of all forms to diagnose, although still far from perfect.The cat’s history is considered, e.g. cats from breeders, catteries, shelters or anywhere where numerous cats are living in close quarters are at the highest risk. The most common age for FIP is under 2 years, or over 8 years, although it can strike at any time. The vast majority of FIP cats are in the 5-9 month range, presumably because this is typically the age when several stressors occur. Cats and kittens who have recently been adopted/rehomed, vaccinated, or spayed/neutered are at a higher risk because these common stressors disrupt and weaken the immune system which, coupled with concurrent exposure to FCoV, creates the perfect storm that is FIP.

In addition to a patient history and physical exam, a CBC and Chemistry panel are usually run. With wet FIP, classic markers are typically present, which include high white blood cells, high TBIL, high neutrophils, high protein, low red blood cells (non-regenerative anemia), low albumen, and high globulin. Typically a fluid sample is drawn and may be observed for color and texture, or may be sent out for a PCR. Often a simple inspection of the fluid is enough for a vet to make the diagnosis. Fluid that is straw or honey colored and sticky is a clear indicator of FIP, though fluid of a different color or texture does not rule out FIP. If a PCR is sent out, a positive result is a conclusive diagnosis; however, a negative result does not rule out FIP since there is a 30% chance of a false negative.


If the cat has a partial immune response to FCoV, he or she will develop Dry FIP. This form is much more difficult to detect and diagnosis, because it does not follow the same pattern from cat to cat. The dry form is characterized by lesions and granulomas on the cat’s organ(s), and the virus may end up in any or all organs, depending on how it travels thru the cat’s system. Outward symptoms will also depend on which organ(s) are affected. The most common early symptoms include a low-grade, persistent fever, inappetence, lethargy, and third eyelid protrusion, all of which are fairly non-specific. Other symptoms may include anemia, jaundice, dehydration, diarrhea or vomiting. Again, fairly non-specific. Vets will start the diagnosis process the same as with wet FIP, by evaluating the cat’s history, symptoms, CBC and Chemistry panel. The classic markers seen in the labs with wet FIP may or may not be present with the dry form. An ultrasound is recommended to look for thickening of the GI tract, enlarged mesenteric lymph nodes, free fluid around kidneys, enlarged organs, lesions or granulomas on organs. Tissue samples may be sent out for immuno-staining but more often than not, this isn’t necessary if the classic markers are present. Immuno-staining, like every other diagnostic for FIP, can also yield a false negative so it’s not 100% conclusive.


Ocular and/or neurological symptoms can accompany either the wet or dry form, and indicate a more advanced stage of the virus. Once the virus crosses the blood/eye barrier or the blood/brain barrier, it usually progresses quickly.

Ocular symptoms may include uveitis, keratic precipitates, aqueous flare, or retinal vessel cuffing may be present.

If the virus has affected the central nervous system or brain, neurological symptoms may include ataxia, tremors, seizures, or nystagmus (darting eyes).

There are diagnostics available, e.g. PCR on aqueous fluid of the eye or spinal fluid; however, these procedures are rather invasive and given that they are not 100% accurate or conclusive, most people decline to run these tests.

The Prognosis

FIP is technically still a death sentence, but THERE IS A CURE. Vets are not legally allowed to prescribe Gs441 because it is not FDA approved. Some are not even aware that it’s readily accessible, while others openly refer their patients to the FIP Warriors group for help locating the medication. More and more vets are becoming aware, following an article about the FIP Warriors that was published in Veterinary Info News (VIN) in August 2019.

GS441: The Myths and the Facts

GS441524 is a nucleoside analog that cures FIP by acting as an alternative substrate and RNA-chain terminator of viral RNA dependent RNA polymerase. In layman’s terms, GS441 interjects itself into the chain reaction of the virus, stops it from replicating, and cures the cat of FIP.

So why isn’t this miracle cure available at the vet’s office??? The GS441524 molecule was patented by Gilead Science for use in the human ebola drug, Remdesivir. In 2017, Dr Niels Pedersen was given access to the molecule for FIP research. The various field studies proved that GS441 cured 25 out of 26 cats with naturally occurring FIP. Moreover, it cured all forms of FIP, including the toughest forms, ocular and neuro FIP. As of today, the 25 cats that survived the field study are alive and thriving, with no recurrence of the virus. But the fact that GS441 could cure our cats was never the intent of Gilead Science. In fact, they don’t even have a veterinary division so they will never produce this medication for cats. In September 2019, field studies of Remdesivir for the human ebola virus failed and Gilead withdrew their FDA application. Gilead is now researching alternative human applications for the molecule. If and when Gilead creates a human anti-viral drug with this molecule AND gets FDA approval for it, only then will they consider releasing the veterinary-use patent to another manufacturer that has a veterinary division. This could be years, possibly a decade, before it comes to fruition. Meanwhile, thousands of cats are dying needlessly while the cure sits on Gilead’s shelf.

The raw chemical compound for this drug is readily available from several bio-labs and the instructions for the diluent are thoroughly detailed in the GS441524 Safety & Efficacy Study. It’s not exactly something a layperson could whip up in their kitchen, but it doesn’t require a PhD in chemistry either. It didn’t take long once the field study was released before there were several China-based labs and universities that were manufacturing black market versions of GS. While these drugs are unregulated and non FDA approved, they are not illegal. They are discussed quite openly online, in veterinary publications, at FIP seminars and symposiums, etc. One of the manufacturers recently participated as a vendor at the NYC Vet Show.

GS is currently available in 2 forms: an injectable and an oral capsule/tablet. With either form, the treatment protocol involves 84 days of daily dosing, followed by an 84 day observation period. The daily dose depends on the weight of the cat, the form of FIP, and the concentration of the medication. During the initial treatment period, it’s recommended to recheck labs at 4, 8 and 12 weeks, and the same during the observation period. If there is no relapse during the 84 day observation period, the cat is deemed cured. If there is a relapse, the cat will need to extend treatment further than the initial 12 weeks. Overall, the success rate for curing FIP with GS is in the 90 percentile. The cost of treatment ranges from $700 – $10,000, again depending on the cat’s weight, type of FIP and the brand of GS used. The vast majority of treatment falls into the $1500-3000 range over the course of 12 weeks, excluding diagnostics and/or vet exams. Pet insurance cannot cover the GS due to it being non-FDA approved; however, the insurers will cover all other FIP-related expenses.

There are no significant side effects with GS. With the injectable form, the diluent is acidic so many cats do develop minor sores at the injection sites, the vast majority of which heal on their own without complication or intervention. Occasionally, we’ve seen some sores that got infected and required a course of antibiotics. With the oral form, the capsules may cause vomiting,especially early on in the course of treatment. As far as long term effects, we can only go back as far as the field studies in 2017, from which there have been none reported.


In the summer of 2019, I was finally ready to adopt again after grieving the loss of my 2 FIP angels. My Siberian Forest Cat Petey came home on May 25th and was the picture of health and perfection. A month later, I fell in love with and adopted a DLH rescue kitten who had been hand raised by a vet-tech after his litter was found abandoned The 2 boys bonded immediately and were inseparable. Everything was great until they went to the vet on July 23rd for a wellness exam and each got their FELV vaccine.

Two weeks later, August 6th, Petey missed a meal which was completely unlike him. He was 5.5 months old at the time and would normally eat his body weight in food if I’d let him. He went to the vet that afternoon, fearing the worst, but my vet assured me that I was having FIP Paranoia. His fever was 104F and his CBC and Chem panel looked fairly normal except for extremely high WBC and neutrophils. He was diagnosed with a bacterial infection, given a Convenia injection and sent home. Whew, it was nothing! But no, that would change soon enough.

The next morning, his fever was 106.5, he again refused food and water, and he was extremely lethargic. I admitted him into the hospital and for the following 4 days, despite 3 antibiotics, IV fluids, nutritional support, and cooling pads, he got progressively worse to the point where he was just laying face down in his litter box and he was not expected to survive the week. On Aug 11th, the dreaded phone call came. Petey had palpable fluid in his abdomen. A new CBC and chem panel were run, and abdominal fluid was sent out for a PCR. All of the classic markers were present and he was diagnosed with wet FIP.

After Lily and Jack died, I’d stayed involved with FIP Warriors largely because I found it cathartic to help other cats beat this monster. I never imagined I’d be needing the support of the group first hand again. Thankfully though, because of my involvement I knew that experimental GS from China was readily available. I told my vet that Petey was going to try black market GS and that I fully understood if she could not be involved with his treatment, but her response shocked me. “If there’s anything we can do to save him, I’m not going to let this baby die needlessly. How soon can you be back with some GS?” I found some that was located about 2 hours from home, jumped in my car and drove to NY that night to get it.

Can a Cat with FIP Survive Cat FIP Cure - a Cat That Survived Petey before
Petey, inpatient before GS

He got his first dose the next day. Within 12 hours, his fever broke and his temp was normal again at 102. After dose #3, he ate the full plate of food that was left for him during the night and was crying for more the following morning when the hospital staff arrived. After his 5th dose, he looked and acted like a perfectly healthy kitten and he was discharged home, where he continued to do amazingly well. We continued to go to his vet every day to check his weight, temp, and administer his injection. Petey’s entire team was 110% supportive and thrilled with his miraculous progress.

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Petey day 3 on GS
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Petey coming home on day 5 of gs

On day 25 of treatment, his CBC and chem panel showed tremendous improvement, but he still had some liver and kidney values that were irregular. We stayed the course with his daily injections and on day 65 of treatment, he had a new CBC, chem panel and ultrasound done. The results of all diagnostics were absolutely flawless, with no trace of FIP whatsoever!

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Petey on day 8 of GS

After consulting with Dr Niels Pedersen, we decided that Petey would be neutered during his GS treatment. He’d matured right around the mid-point of treatment and was becoming extremely aggressive and dominant. He was neutered on day 72 and continued his injections for the remaining 12 days, the theory being that he’d be protected by GS while his immune system recovered from surgery.

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Bird watching with friends

He finished his treatment on November 3rd and I’m happy to say that he is officially FIP-free! Today he is a perfectly healthy, crazy, 8.5 month old kitten with boundless energy, a voracious appetite, and an endless desire for belly-rubs. The 84-day journey wasn’t easy…but giving my baby boy the chance at a long healthy life was totally worth it!

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Petey at the end of treatment, cured!


  • FIP Warriors (facebook) – Provides assistance with diagnosis of FIP and treatment options, including GS
  • – The founder is the dad to one of the original survivors in Dr P’s first study with GC376. Zen By Cat is a non-profit that raises money for FIP research and cure thru donations and affiliate sales of cat related merchandise.
  • – My website, which includes current news about GS and FIP, treatment options, supportive care advise for FIP cats, etc.
  • – Dr Pedersen’s website that chronicles his 50+ years of FIP research

The post Can a Cat with FIP Survive? Cat FIP Cure – a Cat That Survived appeared first on Floppycats.

4 Inexpensive Ways To Create Extra Room In Your Home For Your Cat

Brown striped Bengal cat/kitten with paws outstretched sitting on a cushion/pillow.

(Picture Credit: Mark Liddell/Getty Images)

Is your feline feeling a bit cramped?

Cats can really benefit from a few simple additions to their homes, such as well-place cat beds and blankets, boxes and condos, ramps, walkways and steps, and cat doors. These improvements make the house feel roomier for the cat and alleviate territorial competition in multi-cat households.

Here are four inexpensive ways you can provide some extra room in your home for your cat to stretch, move, and get a bit more enrichment from their living space.

1. Provide Some Cozy Places To Nap

(Picture Credit: Shutterstock)

(Picture Credit: Shutterstock)

Cats love to luxuriate in the sun for their naps, but they also often like to change spots throughout the day and night. In multi-cat households, cats may even “timeshare” good spots so that one uses a particular bed in the morning and another later in the day.

It’s easy to add new sleeping spots because cats seem to have an innate need to sit on just about anything that youput down. So just placing a cat bed or a small blanket on an end table or shelf may be enough to attract your cat to the new spot.

A little catnip may help with some cats, or a treat or two placed on the new bed.

2. Set Up Some Boxes And Cat Condos

(Picture Credit: Shutterstock)

(Picture Credit: Shutterstock)

Many cats love to check out boxes and will sometimes turn them into new beds, as well.

You can put shoeboxes and other cat-sized delivery boxes around the house and see which your cats enjoy. Adding some small pillows or blankets can make them even more attractive.

Cat condos also add space to a house and come in all kinds of styles and looks. When purchasing a cat condo, make sure it’s extremely sturdy and will not easily tip over. That way, cats won’t get injured if they jump on it after a full speed run.

3. Give Them Some Walkways

(Picture Credit: Shutterstock)

(Picture Credit: Shutterstock)

Agile cats often find ways to get up onto the tops of cabinets and roam around, and some feline gymnasts have fun walking on banisters.

Cat people who want to go the extra mile to indulge this habit can install additional high-level walkways around the perimeter of a room, or even across it, by using shelving or beams.

While many of us will not go to such lengths, just clearing off a shelf or the tops of cabinets so that the cats can use those spaces for travel can be fun.

4. Install Some Cat Doors

(Picture Credit: Shutterstock)

(Picture Credit: Shutterstock)

Cat doors can provide access to rooms where the door is usually closed so a cat has somewhere else to explore or hang out without the cat’s staff—oops, I mean people!—having to open and close the door all day long.

That new access may pique kitty’s interest for exploration or may just offer a good place to sleep for a bit.

Finally, it’s always fun to have the kitties help when making the changes; just keep an eye on them for safety. Of course, cats are creative, so if you don’t make any home additions yourself, it is quite likely that your little helper will do so for you!

What other inexpensive ways can people make their homes more cat-friendly? Where does your kitty like to hang out most in your home? Let us know in the comments below!

The post 4 Inexpensive Ways To Create Extra Room In Your Home For Your Cat appeared first on CatTime.

Tips For Keeping Pets Safe In A Natural Disaster

woman holds cats at natural disaster shelter

(Picture Credit: Getty Images)

Wildfires, hurricanes, earthquakes, and other natural disasters can occur without warning, forcing thousands to flee their homes. Evacuation procedures have improved in recent years, and more plans are including pets.

Keeping pets safe in a natural disaster can be difficult, especially because many relief shelters cannot accept animals due to health and safety concerns for the public–though some do accept pets, which is why you should check in advance and have a disaster plan.

In southern California every year, wildfires force evacuations–floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes affect other parts of the country, and the world. Evacuees are often left with little time to gather their loved ones and belongings and get out.

Many credit the lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina for helping states and communities come up with plans for pets in the event of a mass evacuation. Since then, the Humane Society has helped spearhead a national movement to make sure animals are included in any broad emergency relief effort.

As a concerned pet parent, you should have a disaster plan that includes all of your family members, including the non-human ones. Here are a few tips.

Protect Your Pets In A Natural Disaster

The fire in the eye. In an eye of a cat is reflected a fire

(Picture Credit: Astrid860/Getty Images)

The best approach to dealing with any disaster is to be prepared.

Here are the steps the Humane Society suggests you take now in the event of a natural disaster that forces you to leave your home with your pets:

  • Ready your pet’s crate, or carrier. And if you don’t have one, get one. Be sure it’s large enough for your cat or dog to comfortably stand up and turn around in. Introduce your pet to their crate by occasionally putting treats or toys in it. Your pet’s positive association will make a speedy exit easier.
  • Set aside supplies. You should have enough pet food and water for at least three days. Also, have a leash or and harness on hand. Keep your pet’s vet records handy. Having them on a USB drive will save you space and time.
  • Know your options. Find out which disaster relief locations in your area accept pets in the event of an emergency or evacuation (most do not), and identify which hotels or motels in the area allow pets, or make exceptions in emergencies.
  • Arrange backup. Make plans with trustworthy neighbors or friends to get your pets in case you can’t get back home quickly when disaster strikes.
  • Microchip. Your dog may get loose from their collar, but their chip will remain with them their entire life. If you’ve got a cat, microchip them, as well.
  • Keep a recent photo of your pet on hand. In the event you become separated from your pet, you’ll want to be able to provide a picture, as well as prove the animal is yours once you’re reunited.
  • Leave early. If there’s even a small chance you’ll need to evacuate, just go, and take your pets with you.

For more information on how to take care of pets in an emergency, contact the Humane Society or the ASPCA.

Do you have a disaster plan for your pets? What do you keep in your emergency to-go bag? Let us know in the comments below!

The post Tips For Keeping Pets Safe In A Natural Disaster appeared first on CatTime.

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