One Year as Cat Ambassador

Willow enjoying the garden

It is now a year since Willow was launched as the 1st brand ambassador for Natures Menu cat food, a role he takes ever so seriously as he tucks into his several meals a day! The tasty menu of feasts, hide a multitude as I endeavour to sneak in his medication. I had just opened a sachet of Country Hunter chicken and goose and said to Willow, would you like some juice from the goose?!!

Willow appeared in the October edition of Cat World magazine to mark another huge milestone in his life, it was 7 years since his diagnosis with feline lymphoma.

With the hot summer weather behind us and the fact we can now step outside without it feeling like a furnace, Willow has finally been able to spend more time in the garden although it has to be said he does not like the dew on the grass! This morning was simply glorious, and Willow was chilling on the lawn with the warm sun, shining down on his back and the breeze gently blowing over his fur. His glare was intense as a collared dove was literally a few feet away from him, thankfully it saw sense and few off and Willow made his way over onto the rockery as that is prime bird watching territory! Next to the rockery is a huge buddleia which attracts bees as well many types of butterflies, which fascinates Willow immensely and he sees it as his opportunity to play! So, he slowly started to move nearer but with his beedy eyed mother close by his plan is foiled! For some reason Willow became rather attached to the dragonfly solar light, he repeatedly rubbed the side of his face on it, a sign that he feels safe and relaxed as this action releases feel good pheromones.

It is suffice to say that Willow does not relish a trip to the vets, incessant drooling and sickness are the norm but needs must. Willow went for his regular lymphoma check and had his bloods taken, there were a couple of anomalies, so his vet advised that they should be repeated again in a month’s time. Fast forward a month and everything appeared normal on the repeat blood tests.

The last 2 weeks have been an incredibly stressful and worrying time. 10 days after the last check up, I noticed that Willow’s respiratory rate was faster than normal, he was fine in himself, but something was not quite right. I noticed during the night that they were even more elevated, so we rushed him to the vets as soon as they opened. They were marvellous with both of us. His vet Mark Buxton wanted to admit him for further tests and would ring me later, then came the phone call from Mark as he confirmed that Willow has the early stages of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, he said that as a result of me knowing what the normal respiratory rate was for Willow, it has been detected early. Willow is now on medication and his holistic vet Tim Couzens has also put him on alternative medication to support the heart muscle. #sothankfultoWillow’svets #theyarethebest

Mark prescribed Fortekor and he has 2 tablets once a day, thankfully they are small and can be split in two, first day and Willow spotted the lot so I had to roll the food into pieces with the tablet in the middle, he soon got wise to this and by day 5 it was taking 8 minutes per half tablet. Now for plan B! Since I had used this medication before on the rabbits I knew it could be crushed, so that is exactly what I did and sprinkled it onto his food and added a small amount of water and he never noticed!
I am monitoring his respiratory rate on a regular basis as well as weighing him frequently as this can alert me to any potential problems. So, whilst Willow can enjoy his walks in the garden, we decided that it was best that he did not play with the laser mouse as this requires a fast surge of energy.

Willow is used to having Reiki having enjoyed its benefits for many years, he decides when he wants it and for how long, the last few days he has let me know in his own way that he needs more at the moment and I am more than happy to oblige.

Willow is less than impressed with his new ‘fur cut’, a shaved neck for his blood tests, a shaved leg where the cannula was inserted and to add insult to injury a partially shaved belly where the heart scan was. He is rather worried about how it is affecting his looks but as you can see from the photo he still looks as beautiful as ever!

More about Willow, Natures Menu's first Cat Brand Ambassador

How did Willow become the first 'cat brand ambassador' for Natures Menu cat food? To cut a long story short, Willow was a stray found wandering the streets when he came into the sanctuary where I was a volunteer. I fell in love with his endearing personality and adopted him, however a couple of months later he was diagnosed with the very early stages of feline lymphoma and embarked on 18 months of chemotherapy which was combined with alternative remedies, Reiki and a high meat content diet. Fifteen months into his treatment I contacted Cat World magazine to see if they would be interested in his story and from then on, he has appeared regularly in the magazine for the last 6 years and been on the front cover 3 times! Since he simply adores his Natures Menu cat food I approached Natures Menu to see if they would be interested in me writing a blog about Willow and his story. It was then Willow was given a huge accolade and made the 'first cat brand ambassador' and the rest they say is history!