November 8, 2012

Meet @NewtTheCat


Like Isaac Newton's apple, my furend @NewtTheCat fell into the life of his mom, Lisa, and became the apple of her eye. Newt has an interesting story, and I'm pleased he agreed to share it here on my blog. Please welcome Newt!

How old were you when you moved in with your family? Were you a rescue?
The shelter vet said I was three weeks old when I was rescued – a foster bottle baby.

What breed are you?
Some folks have said with my spots I might be part Egyptian Mau, but my purrents and my vets say that I’m a miracle cat. Do you know what breed is a miracle cat? Is it like an Ocicat? They have spots, too.


What inspired your hoomans to name you?
I was found wedged inside of a building wall, with no other cats in the area. It was assumed that I had fallen from an upper floor. Mum named me Newton, based on my experience with gravity. This was immediately shortened to Newt. Cat Daddy says that mum is a geek. Not sure what that means, except she says weird stuff sometimes.

Do you have siblings? Do you get along?
My BFF is a dog! We have been best friends ever since the first night I was diagnosed with my liver shunt, when my purrents decided I would stay here for as long as I wanted. We have other fur folk in the family, but they are shy, so we try to keep the pupperazi away from them. (No offense, mind you!)

How would you describe your personality?
I don’t know, I’m just … Newt. Cat Daddy began calling me their Little Lion when I was still a bottle baby. He said I was fearless and ferocious. My vets have also commented on how unafraid I am. Mum says I don’t know what fear is, and that’s not normal. Something about back home, they would say “That boy ain’t right.”

All I know is that I love being Cat Daddy and mum’s Little Lion, especially when they play me the lion song, and we all sing and dance, and The Dog bites mum on the butt. Ooops, I don’t think I was supposed to tell that part, can we erase it?

A weemaway a weemaway ::squeaks and warbles:: Iiiin the jungle, the mighty jun … oh, sorry. I got distracted. Where were we?

Do you have a mischief incident that is still talked about?
My purrents say I am ridiculously spoiled, but it’s THEIR fault! When they catch me doing things I probably shouldn’t be doing (like mountain climbing in the refrigerator), they usually yell “Get the camera!”

Tell me about an Awww moment.
I don’t know, my purrents seem to say that word a lot. For a long time, I thought one of my names was “Awwwwwwww.” They’re pretty smitten with everything I do. But Cat Daddy has said that the cutest thing in the world is when I climb on mum and clean her chin. I have to do it a lot. She always has SUCH a dirty chin! Mum will tell Cat Daddy “Look, my chin is clean now, thanks to Newt.” And Cat Daddy will reply “No, it’s not clean. It’s just covered in Newt spit.”

Complete this sentence: If I had opposable thumbs, I would…
Be able to open the refrigerator and get my own chicken!

Who are 3 famous animals you’d most like to sniff?
1.      Lassie. She looks like my dog, and I bet she smells like him, too. Except maybe better, since she’s a girl.
2.      Trigger. I’ve never sniffed a horse before.
3.      Oh! Oh! Oh! I know! There’s some creature called Big Foot. I REALLY want to sniff Big Foot, because I LOVE to sniff feet. Makes my purrents laugh when I sniff their footie paws and tickle ‘em with my whiskers.

To bite?
1.      That giant chicken, Mr. Foghorn Leghorn. Mmmmm chicken!!!
2.      Charlie Tuna! Mmmmm tuna! (It sort of tastes like chicken.)
3.       Mighty Mouse. Mmmmm mouse! (By the way, what does mouse taste like? Does it taste like chicken?)

What is the most interesting place in your home and why?
Oooh, this is a hard one. I have lots of Annex Boxes, but my favorite is probably my two-story Annex Box. My lair is on the bottom, and the penthouse is on the top. Depending on what my mood is, I’ll hunker down in my lair, or survey my domain (Newtopia) from the penthouse.

Have you ever caught something edible? Did you eat it?
I catch my dog all the time when we wrestle. And I always, win, too! Except, he’s not very edible, though, and he really doesn’t taste like chicken. Except maybe a really big, really hairy chicken?

Do you have any health issues?
Yes, I have a liver shunt - portosystemic shunt (PSS). It is a condition where the blood vessel bypasses the liver, preventing the blood from being detoxified. It’s pretty rare in dogs, and seen even less often in cats. But, there is Hope! I have bunches of friends from around the world, and each of us is living proof that liver shunt cats can lead a normal, happy life!

Do you like to be brushed, have your nails trimmed?
Am not really a fan of either. Mum and Cat Daddy sneak in brushy brushy and toe trims when I am a seeeeeeeeepy New New.

What is your relationship like with your veterinarian?
::ears perk:: I LOVE my veterinarians! Mum loves my veterinarians. Cat Daddy loves my veterinarians. We ALL love my veterinarians! My purrents think my vet team is amazing. My holistic vet gives me acupuncture and was the first vet to approve my home-cooked diet, so you know why I love her - mmmm chicken! My other vet is the one who saved me when I had the urinary blockages. My vets are pawsome!

Do you like certain hoomans outside of your family?
Haven’t met a hooman yet I didn’t like.

What are your favorite foods and toys?
Chicken!
Spaetzle!
Chicken!
Sandwiches!
Chicken!
Cheese!
Chicken!

My favorite toy is my Bouncy Bee that was a gift from my best cat buddy - another liver shunt kitty.
Newt LOVES chicken

Have you ever eaten anything that your hooman thought strange? Besides SPAETZLE?
Cucumbers. I eat a lot of those. My diet is all human food, so when mum and Cat Daddy were first experimenting to find things I might like, they were pretty surprised to find out that I really like cucumber.

Since my diet is all home-cooked, I eat human food for tiny snackies. To me, it’s not strange; to other folks, it might be weird. But, I thought everybody loved pizza and cookies?

Have you ever chewed or destroyed something that upset your hooman?
Four watchbands, three Zoom Grooms, two pair of jeans and one large office chair. And that was just when I was a tiny baby. They didn’t seem too upset them at the time. Now I limit my artistic expressions to the couch.

Although, there was this one time; Mum was pretty upset when I bit and swallowed the entire nipple from my bottle. She was NOT amused. Hmmmm, come to think of it, I did get weaned from my bottle right after that …

Holy Smoked Salmon, pal...you got some amazing chompers! Such destruction! *proud ears* Okay, so what is your birth date, or Gotcha Day date?
Well, we celebrate them both on the same day. My birthday was probably March 15, 2008, and I moved in when I was three weeks old. About two months after that is when I got diagnosed with my liver shunt, and the vet said I was probably going to die any day. My purrents decided they would keep me for however long as I had left.

Do you celebrate your special date?
Oh yes! If not on the actual day, we always do something. Presents and a new Annex Box. And a special meal, usually fresh chicken!

Big shocker on the fresh chicken, Newt! MOL! When did you join Twitter and what clubs do you belong to?
Mum first started tweeting for me on August 14, 2010.

Am a very proud #WLF comrade. And I was so excited to be able to help #nipclub Oktoberfest as a guest DJ. Purrents are discussing whether or not I will be permitted to apply for #pawfleet. Mum and I always have so much fun with my anipals at all the twitter pawties!

What are you known for on Twitter by your Anipal furends?
Folks usually comment on my unusual copper eyes. And I suspect they may think I’m obsessed with chicken, but have been too polite to comment on it.

Do you have a blog or a Facebook page? If so, please give the addresses.
I only write on Twitter, but mum has made several places to help me promote awareness of liver shunts in cats, including my website: www.CatLiverShunt.com.

Is there anything you’d like to tell us about you that I didn’t know to ask?
Just want to say what an honor it is to be intermewed by you, and to say a big thank you to all my Twitter anipals for helping me to promote awareness of liver shunts in cats. There is Hope!

Yes, Newt, there is Hope. And all of your Anipals are now surrounding you with support and pawprayers. Now let's met Newt's mom, Lisa J. Dupree, RMT

Tell me about yourself, outside of your passion for animals, such as your family, hobbies and interests.

Newt and Jake
Well, let’s see if I can narrow it down a bit ;-) Have enjoyed lots of different things over the years. Current hobbies include crocheting pet beds and blankies to donate to animal rescues. That has morphed most recently into trying to learn to spin my own yarn. I enjoy experimenting to see what alternative types of things might be re-purposed or used in unexpected ways to make new things, e.g., turning old blankets or t-shirts into yarn, melting plastic serving trays into jewelry, or using dog fur as fiber for spinning.

(Herman: My mom’s blog Married with Cats is featuring Newt’s mom’s dog fur knitting, so please stop by to read. It’s very interesting. Thankew.)

What type of work do you do?
By day, I’m a technical writer; by night I am a holistic practitioner, specializing in companion animal care. Both have served us well in caring for little Newt. Researching what few articles we could find on his condition, and being able to translate “scientificese” into English helped us to formulate a plan; and, using an integrative approach by combining traditional protocols with complementary care (such as human-food and acupuncture) has proven to be an effective way to medically manage him.

Are you an outdoor person, or an indoor person, and why?
Definitely outdoor. Grew up with horses, sheep, pigs, even a few chickens, as well as cats and dogs, so was always outside doing something. Was always outside riding, repairing fence, welding a feed trough, etc. Adapting to life in suburbia was quite a challenge.

Do you blog or Facebook? Tell me about it and give addresses.
I blog about Newt, and whatever other random things are on my mind:

Facebook Community Page for Cat Liver Shunt Awareness. Mostly just cute kitty pictures, and links about the condition: https://www.facebook.com/CatLiverShunt

What genre of books do you favor? What is your favorite book, favorite author?
Science Fiction and mystery are probably my favorite genres. Can’t narrow it down to one favorite book. Favorite author was the inimitable Dick Francis.

What TV shows do you enjoy?
Current comfort TV is The Big Bang Theory. Game of Thrones is pretty interesting, and True Blood is a lot of fun.

Do you have a favorite movie?
Narrowing down to one would probably be a toss up between Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Wars (New Hope), or Star Trek.

What type of music do you enjoy?
Love Alpen Rock. Nothing in the world like a well-played accordion and a thumping rhythm section to force you to get up and dance!

Do you travel? What is the most memorable vacation you’ve ever taken?
We don’t get to travel together as much as we did before Newt. I’d say the most memorable vacation was our trip to Tirol. Breathtaking scenery, fantastic people, and the best coffee I have ever tasted.

Tell me about your town and what makes it special to you.
The Washington, D.C. area is so multi-cultural. I love the fact that in our immediate vicinity, we have neighbors from at least six different countries, and anytime I visit with them, our conversations may include at least three languages.

Who are the 3 famous people you’d most like to have dinner with, and why?
1.      Dick Francis. Had the pleasure to chat with him and his wife once, and they were just so charming.
2.      Michio Kaku. He makes physics FUN, and explains things in such a way as to get folks interested and excited.
3.      Eddie Izzard. Because laughter really IS the best medicine.

Do you believe in ghosts? Have you ever experienced a ghost?
I think that energy works in mysterious ways, and we don’t quite have the tools yet to measure it in all its facets. Newt definitely sees things that we don’t. If you’ve ever seen the movie “Constantine” where he says cats are half in, half out, our Newt is ¾ out!

Have you ever traveled with your pet? If so, please give me an adventure story.
We traveled with Newt once, but it wasn’t really an much of an adventure - just knowing that we wouldn’t be able to enjoy ourselves, if we were worrying about “the baaaby,” so we took him with us. Newt enjoyed it, and hubby was happy that he actually got me away from the computer for a little while. We keep saying we’re going to do it again one of these days.

Tell me about your first pet, and how many have you had in your lifetime?
First pets were a dog and a pony, and my life has been enriched with numerous fur friends over the ensuing years.

Why did you choose Newt to Tweet for instead of another pet?
It started as a quick, daily journal to monitor his status, and as another venue to help promote awareness of liver shunts in cats.  

Do you have other Twitter accounts?
Oh, goodness, no. I have a hard enough time keeping track of Newt’s!

What is a typical day for you, starting when your pets want breakfast?
Typical? LOL It all depends on what project I’m working on at the time. Some of them involve me working for 20 hours at a stretch; others are not so crazy. Right now, our current version of normal is that I wake up with Newt snuggled up next to me, The Dog at my feet, and our other cat purring on my head. (Beats any other alarm clock, no?)

I do Newt’s morning tweet while I’m having my coffee, then prepare his meal, and feed the rest of the zoo. While they are eating, I will check for any activity on his support group, and catch up on my web surfing. After breakfast, wash their bowls, and if I am telecommuting, I start work. If I’m on site that day, then I have to put on grown-up clothes and head into the office.

If I’ve been at the office all day, when I get home there is much hugging and wiggling from all of us. Newt is adamant about getting at least an hour of NewtSnuggles in the evenings when I’ve been gone, so I usually fall asleep holding him in my arms.

Is there anything you’d like to tell us about you that I didn’t know to ask?
Just want to say how much you are appreciated for interviewing Newt, and a big thank you and hug to all of his friends. Liver shunts in cats are pretty rare, and the more opportunities that folks have to “meet” normal liver shunt kitties, the more Hope grows for others to be diagnosed and go on to lead normal lives.

Thankew Newt and his mom, Lisa, for a truly wonderpurr intermew. Below are all the links Newt’s mom has made available to learn about shunt kitties.

Visit Newt's website: www.CatLiverShunt.com
Follow Newt on Twitter! http://twitter.com/#!/NewttheCat
Join Newt's Support Group: www.CatLiverShunt.org


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