Our most important crew member is unwell 😿

Some of you may already be aware that Millie has not been well. She stopped eating and lost a lot of weight in a short time.

We took her to the vet on Monday where numerous blood tests were made. The results were generally good, but indicated she might have a problem with her pancreas. We left her with the vet on a drip for several hours and she came back to the boat full of the ‘oh-be-joyfuls’.

‘Get me outta here!’ Millie clings on…

Forty-eight hours later she stopped eating and became lethargic again.

Anyone who knows cats will be aware that the biggest killer is kidney failure. The only test worth a cat taking is the relatively new (2 years) SDMA test. It detects kidney failure early. Luckily there is a clinic here in Miri, which is where we went  on Friday.

Caged and on a drip

Millie had blood taken from her jugular. Jamie held her while the vet’s assistant gently pushed her head up and the vet coaxed her to accept first a razor (to remove some fur) and then a needle into her neck. Millie was unbelievably relaxed about the procedure. She has scratched and bitten in the past when anyone has come near her with a needle, but this time just blinked and waited.

Half an hour later we had the results.

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Turned out her pancreas is fine.

Instead, she’s been diagnosed with stage two kidney failure (there are four stages, so she’s at the lower end of the scale, which is good). Changing her diet is the only way to prevent further deterioration. The veterinary surgeon said that for eleven (‘old’ for a cat in these parts) she is doing very well indeed and that the Hill’s Senior food we’ve been feeding her for so long has kept her kidney deterioration at bay. Phew.

Waiting in the shade outside Miri’s Live Animals Medical Centre

We’re first of all trying her with the top notch Royal Canin Renal range. We have hard, wet and liquid versions to tempt her with over the weekend. Luckily we discovered yesterday that she likes the dried version.

We’ll be watching and coaxing her to eat and drink over the next few days. She’s still not drinking as much as we would like.

So the plan now is to stay in the marina here in Miri until we’re sure she’s on the mend.

All by myself 🎵🎵

The next thing I have to do is get an uncontaminated urine sample from her for further tests. Not quite as difficult as it sounds because, as you already know, she uses the heads. There’s a sterilised bowl in the loo at the moment, ready to collect her pee. Good times.

Love and thanks for all your support of we three,
Liz, Jamie and Millie ❤️


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18 Comments on “Our most important crew member is unwell 😿”

  1. we had the same prolem with our cat abord, too much dried food and not enough drinking. we gave to someone in matinque who had a nice garden with lots small lizards aruond and loved it and recovered well.

    1. Hi James,
      So sorry to hear your cat was also ill, but I’m pleased you were able to solve the problem. It’s slightly different with Millie. She has kidney failure, which cannot be cured but can be stopped from developing further.
      Since hers has been caught early, we can prevent it worsening with the correct diet. She’s always been a big water drinker, so we’re lucky there. Turns out that dried food in itself is not bad for pets, it’s the brand which is important (most off-the-shelf brands do not have all the nutrients required for the animal). Millie’s been eating Hill’s Science Plan – Seniors for years, which the vet says is the reason why her kidney problem is not as bad as it could be. The Royal Canin Renal food she’s now on (dried, wet and even liquid) is available only through vets, so we’re stocking up.
      The bad news is that she is no longer allowed to eat fish!!! We have to control her protein intake and fish will screw up the balance. We haven’t told her yet…

  2. Aww Millie ❤🐈. Have you checked out the IRIS kidney website….lots of useful info for you 😊. Might be worthwhile asking your vet if you can learn to give fluids and B vitamins to Millie by injection given your itinerant lifestyle? Best wishes Millie…keep eating your RC renal 😊

    1. Thanks for the heads-up! We’ve given her shots in the past (which was quite easy, she was very well behaved) and have discussed doing this with the vet. At the moment the vet thinks it is not necessary, so we’re just monitoring her reaction to the new diet. So far so good. I’ll have a look for the kidney website you mention…

  3. Jamie, Liz, and Millie, Beaming love and positive energy to Miri. We are multiple cat & dog parents and feel for you guys. Thanks for keeping us updated. Millie has been a very important part of the journey that you have shared with us. Please know that friends around the world are sending healing thoughts to the Esper Crew. Thinking of you now and for the holidays. Brian/Ohio

    1. Thank you so much! Yes, Millie is such a character and a big part of followtheboat. We’ve had some lovely messages from everywhere. x

  4. I remember when we met you in Kale Koy, Turkey, and Millie was catching fish in a bucket 🙂 Hope she stays well. Best wishes to you all

    1. Oh that’s when she learned to love fish, haha! Poor little cat isn’t allowed fish anymore, we’re gonna have to let her down gently. 😉

  5. Big hugs for Millie (and her parents of course) from Randy & Summer (and their parents). Liveaboard cats, currently in Greece, adventurers since 2 yrs now.
    Randy refuses fish, so please tell Millie, there is good life without fish, even when living on a boat!

    All of us are looking forward to meeting you out there, so stay safe and as healthy as possible! They will put some treats aside for Millie. 😘

  6. Glad to hear the prognosis is good with diet! We lost our beloved 15 year old Bichon Frise Annabelle (dog not cat) to kidney failure in July. Sadly, her progression from chronic to acute happened too quickly to really do anything to stem the proverbial tide. We were blessed to have her as our sailing companion all those wonderful years. We fed her a Hills prescription diet for most of her years and we found them wonderful to work with. We are glad to know that you have a way to manage her condition! Fair Winds and love your vids! Doug & Beth Tate on WS42 Ketch – S/V Harmony

    1. So sorry to hear about Annabelle, you must really miss her. Millie’s responding well to the renal diet, so we’re hopeful there will be a big improvement soon. xx

  7. Poor Millie! I’m glad it can be managed with diet at this time, and she has some liking for the new food offerings. I know you will take the best care of the most important member of the crew and I hope she has many good years left with you, losing a beloved pet is hard. Refuah shelemah (complete and total healing) to Millie and strength to you two. All the best, Dovid

    1. I think some of your strength and total healing has made its way over here because Millie is starting look like her old self. Thank you! xxx

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