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Hi, I'm Holly.



A 32-year old Scottish Lass with a love for highlight, heels and homeware.

hollysturgeonofficial@gmail.com

NEWSLETTER

Nalas Law

If you don't follow me on Twitter or Instagram,  then you won't have heard that I lost my wee Nala to Mammary Gland Cancer a couple of weeks ago.  I've really struggled to talk about it without getting upset, so I've decided I'm not going to try and be 'strong', I'm going to get through the story any way I can. Some people might be wondering why it's so important for me to tell the story. Well, I want to help save some lives in her name.



It won't be an easy read for you if you are an animal lover, but it will touch you and if Nalas story can save just one other wee cat or dog from going through what she did then it's all been worth the pain of telling the story. Read on... 

Wednesday 7th August
As I looked at her red, swollen, weeping wounds and kissed her head for the final time, I wept. My family wept. In fact, if I'm honest, we sobbed, as we watched the Vet give our baby Nala an injection which would make her close her beautiful eyes forever and end the pain she was so obviously going through. In the background, the Radio played Beyonce's ' Spirit'. As she laid, still and finally at peace, I whispered into her fluffy ears that I would make sure her death was not in vain and the world would be changed by her.

"Spirit. Watch the Heavens open..."


Let's rewind a little bit...

Nala and Simba were being advertised on the Dumfries Cat Protection website in 2010 as twin tabbys who were the best of friends but who may need to be seperated if they couldn't be homed together. They were roughly two years old and neutered. The cats had been handed into Dumfries cat protection by an elderly man who mistreated them after his wife died.

Always a sucker for a sob story, we couldn't bear to let them be separated, so we gave the Cat protection a call.

We were visited by Fiona at the Cat Protection who came to our home and ensured we had a good environment for the cats. We were informed that they were indoor cats which suited us. We have a large home for them to run around in and we all worked from home, so we could look after them without any problems. Within a few hours, we collected them.


In terms of settling in, Simba was shy and scared. He would hide under the table because he was so afraid of his new surroundings. It took a lot of coaxing,  but he eventually came out and turned into a big friendly boy. Nala on the other hand, was a menace from the very beginning! Bouncing around the furniture, sitting on everyones knees, purring, meowing and playing.

The bond between the two cats never faded. They would sleep together in their bed every night, cuddled up. They cleaned each other and played together all the time.  Nala was nosy, loved a box and loved nothing more than getting into things she wasn't supposed to be in.

Everyday, Nala would come into the kitchen and jump on the unit and walk up it meowing because she wanted attention and treats. I once held a treat up at my shoulder and tapped it while she was on the unit and she jumped up on my shoulder to get it. I then carried her through to the living room and gave her cuddles. It soon became a daily routine and I loved every second of it. I could quite literally spend all day telling you about her quirks and funny moments.


Nala loved my dad. She would roll in front of him, then attack his hand. She chewed her nails and spat them at him. One thing she did daily, was wait for dad to get up off his seat to leave the room. Nala would run to the door and just as she saw him coming back she would run to his chair and sit on it because she knew my Dad would sit on the floor. She loved nothing more than running to him for a cuddle after he arrived home from work everyday.

Christmas was her favourite thing. All the boxes, the paper (she used to rip up paper like a dog) and decorations for her to destroy. She would run up the Christmas Tree every year and often played with the Christmas Tree Skirt where she would hide underneath it then pop her head up through the hole. Her favourite thing to play with was a grubby old foam Christmas bauble.

A year or so ago, we noticed Nala had a lump on her side. It had two wee dots inside and it appeared to be an innocent Abscess. The lump never bothered her, it was just 'there' and it would burst from time to time. A vet said it appeared to be a cat bite. Simba and her were occasionally a bit rough with each other so we accepted that to be the case.


Fast forward 10 months or so, and Nala was limping. We wondered if she had pulled a nail or something and said if it got any worse we would ask the vet to come out to her.

We discovered Nala had another wee lump on her leg. Within a week she was no longer jumping up or being herself. She was hiding behind the couch a lot and we decided it was time to call on the vet.
We always asked the vet to come to us because both Nala and Simba are house cats and would be distressed to leave home, but if the vet ever asked us to bring them in for tests etc then we would.
The vet told us that she had an infected abscess and gave her antibiotics & anti inflammatory injections. We asked him about the other lump and he said "it's not uncommon. The fluid has to go somewhere".

Within a week, we noticed she was still not herself. She was upstairs on a blanket, sleeping on her side all the time, so this time we called another vet, Nithsdale Veterinary Centre.
Matthew and nurse, Lesley, came to our home where he gently checked her over. We were then told he thought there was something more sinister going on and he asked to take Nala with him to the vets to have her hair shaved underneath to check on any other lumps, for blood tests & other tests to be done.

We then received a call to say the lumps were extensive and Matthew requested our permission to have a Biopsy done.

We anxiously waited the 4/5 hours for Nala to come home. Upon arriving home, we could see the extent of the growths. Right there and then we were heartbroken. How didn't we notice these other lumps? how hadn't the other vet noticed?



On top of the lumps, she did have an infection, so she was prescribed more antibiotics & anti inflammatory medication which we were to administer twice daily.

A week went by, and the phonecall from Matthew came with the results from the biopsy. We were then informed that she had Mammary Gland Cancer, it was aggressive and terminal. We were told she didn't have long and the signs to look for if she was in pain.

We decided to give Nala medication for the next two weeks and monitor her. We always said if we thought she was in too much pain we would have to make the painful decision to put her down.

Over that two weeks, my family and I took turns to stay awake all night with her to keep an eye and to ensure she didn't pull her stitches out from her Biopsy. Every night, I prayed and pleaded with God to save her.

Within two weeks, Nala wasn't eating as normal. She could barely walk, struggled to sleep and laid on one side 24 hours of the day.

Nala still had some stitches from her biopsy and we wondered if they were making her uncomfortable, considering she could barely walk, so Matthew came round to remove them, where he noticed how much her cancer had advanced in that short time. We were advised that she was in pain and recommended to make the heart wrenching decision sooner than later. 


After a solid two hours of crying and discussing it with each other, our family made the decision to have her put to sleep that day. We asked Matthew to come round and he agreed it was the most selfless thing to do.

Here we are, back at that moment at 4.30 on Wednesday 7th August. Each of us embraced Nala for one final time individually. We held her and stayed with her while she took her final breaths and finally found peace as she gained her angel wings.

As she laid in a wee box, looking peaceful, I whispered into her beautiful fluffy ears that I would make sure her death was not in vain and the world would be changed by her.

"Your destiny is coming close. Stand up and fight..."

Mammary Gland Cancer is the fourth most common cancer in female Cats & dogs yet up until Nalas death, I had never heard of it. Her death was avoidable. If you have your pet neutered prior to six months old, they are more than 90% LESS LIKELY to get Mammary Gland Cancer.

I'm not here to tell you to neuter your pet. That is entirely your decision, but if you do decide to, then doing so prior to six months of age will reduce that risk by more than 90%. If Nala had been spayed prior to six months old, she would still be here right now. I can't bring Nala back but I CAN fulfil my promise to her.

I want the whole world to know about Mammary Gland Cancer and to inform new pet owners about the risks & statistics of prevention.

I don't want to raise money or get attention to myself, I want to make a difference by raising awareness.

If you have a spare minute and if you agree with me, then could you kindly take a moment to sign the petition called 'Nalas Law'?

Click to sign Nalas Law

The petition is to make it the law that all vets, cat protections & breeders must issue an information leaflet regarding Mammary Gland cancer at the animals first visit to the vet or at 3 months old.  This way, everyone will at least be informed about it and can make their own decision, with the correct knowledge.

I don't want to change the world. I want Nala to.

Our lives have been shattered by her passing. I miss her more than words will ever be able to describe. To anyone who says 'it's just a cat' - you obviously never met Nala and compassion has obviously escaped you.

I took pictures of Nalas wounds in the lead up to her death. They are much to distressing to post on here for my younger readers, but if you'd like to see them for whatever reason, please don't hesitate to get in touch - hollysbeautybox1@gmail.com

Thank You
H x

2 comments

  1. So sorry to hear of the tragic and preventable loss of Nala.
    While I'm aware of the risks of pyometra in unneutered cats, I was much less aware of the risk from mammary cancer.
    I breed Maine Coon cats very occasionally, and do things properly - so they're registered, vaccinated, microchipped and neutered before they leave at 14/5 weeks. I also ask that if circumstances change cats are returned to me, rather than going to a rehoming shelter.
    Occasionally people ask why kittens are neutered before they leave. I already have many answers to this question.
    Nala's story has given me another reason why neutering before sexual maturity is so important.
    Thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for getting in touch! Maine Coon cats are beautiful and it's so refreshing to see you care so much. All I want is to spread the word and I'm really so happy that Nalas story has touched you.
      Thank you again!

      Holly xx

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