Our Ragdoll cat who died too young: Baby born 14 December 2003 died 8th October 2011

Baby was a Blue Mitted Ragdoll, sister of Ruby who died of Polycystic Kidney Disease.

She developed Feline Gastrointestinal Eosinopilic Sclerosing Fibroplasia. In fact she was only the 8th cat to be diagnosed in Australia. It is a death sentence.

How unlucky was Baby.

A georgeous mature cat.

Baby was the runt of the litter, significantly smaller than the other 5 female kittens she was also a very determined little girl who got her fair share of her mother’s milk and developed into a delightful little cat. When the time came to sell the kittens, one by one they went, I finally put my foot down and said no more, Baby and Ruby were left.

5 weeks

7 weeks

10 weeks

Baby had a great life. Never separated from her parents, a life of luxury, indoors sleeping on beds, wherever she wanted and in the cat enclosure the size of a normal backyard with trees bushes and lots of bark for cats to scratch around in. She spent most of her time indoors and occasionally sitting in the foyer of the doghouse in the cat enclosure. She was never a problem, well we actually had to house train her but she eventually got the message.

Baby always loved to be with other cats, here she is with dad when she was about 12 weeks old

From left Ruby, Caesar, Baby 2005

Like all cats she had her own peculiarities. When I walked into our bedroom she would race in front of me, jump up on the bed and lay with her tummy exposed in my direction, expecting a tummy rub. In the morning before I woke up time she would lie on me, sometimes a lazy paw would advance to my cheek claws retracted, just as a reminder she wanted a pat or many pats. The toilet was another favourite; you could not sit on the throne without Baby in front of you, back arched expecting attention. In the office as you worked she would be there on the desk or as you watched TV, beside you on the couch. When you showered there was Baby in the bathroom on the vanity unit. She was not a lap cat; she preferred to be beside rather than on you. She also needed cat company. When Ruby was alive, Baby always slept with her during the day, no matter where the two of them were, they always snuggled.


A splendid Baby at 1 year




After Ruby died Baby transferred her affection to her father, Caesar. The two of them were always together. Baby was the cat cleaner, always grooming Caeser who luxuriated in it but rarely returned the compliment. She would clean his face ears and head on a daily basis, however this stopped towards the end when she was not well.



Baby always had to cuddle another cat, it was Ruby until Ruby died of polycystic kidneys. in May 2007

After Ruby Died Caesar, her father was the cat Baby snuggled up to.

Her mother however did not want to know her, as much as Baby tried Nefertiti always shooed Baby away, sometimes with a snarl and a swipe of the paw. I expect that Neffi had enough of raising 2 litters and was totally uninterested in other cats. Baby was also the coolest cat. She would often lie on the flat of her back in passageways or door ways. You were expected to step over her, as she knew she was too cute to be stood on.

Baby in typical pose. There was never a more laid back cat.

When Zoe, our latest pup arrived 4 years ago, baby would not run for her. Zoe would slobber all over her face and Baby just turned it aside until Zoe got tired of the game. The same for barking. Zoe could bark and startle other cats but to Baby it was as if Zoe was silent. Occasionally a dog visitor would sidle up to Baby and she never flinched. Thankfully no dog ever decided to take attack her, as her reaction time would have been way too slow.
As an outside cat she was a failure, occasionally on a nice day she would lay in the garden, but mostly it was indoors. Her hunting skills were nonexistent. She never brought wildlife, (like the tiny lizards in the cat enclosure), inside and once when a mouse was in the kitchen, Baby was a disinterested observer as her father hunted it down. I never saw her in a hunting pose. If a bird was outside a window and Caesar would get interested, Baby would just lie there.

Baby Ruby, Neffertiti and Caesar in 1996, the perfect family, no reason why it should change for 10 years but by 2011 both Baby and Ruby were both dead of exotic health problems.

Close to the bitter end Baby’s behaviour changed, In the last two months she would often sneak onto my chest as I sat in a chair. She could not get into my lap as Caesar, her father was always there first.

Baby was about 4 years old when she first started having troubles, her stools were a bit runny and she had an occasional accident. A trip to the vet and blood tests found nothing wrong. We changed her diet to Hills Science Diet, Sensitive Stomach, in fact all cats went onto it and they did not seem to mind it at all. It was not the cheapest food by any means but it did the trick. Unfortunately it did not last. She started losing control over her bowels and the vets were at a total loss as to why. Gradually it got worse, and the indoor accidents increased in frequency. Mind you this was over about a 2.5 year period.

Suddenly it became more serious. She would be sitting near you and would let a “wet fart” (for want of a better term) go. This was a smelly watery pooey patch. We became experts in cleaning up after her. More diet changes, Royal Canin Hypo allergic Feline, Royal Canin Sensitive 33, a diet of chicken and rice. This was all to no avail. Out of frustration more blood tests were ordered, negative again, but this time the vet found a lump on her intestinal tract. Cancer was suspected.

At this point most people would have their cat put down as you can buy 2 or 3 pedigree kittens for the price of one operation, but as we loved Baby, and felt she deserved a chance, the operation went ahead. She came through with flying colours. The biggest problem was post operation, trying to give her the antibiotics without a pill popper. The first try resulted in several puncture marks on my fingers. Needless to say a pill popper was purchased immediately. Baby recovered. But the pathology came as quite a shock. Feline Gastrointestinal Eosinopilic Sclerosing Fibroplasia. This is a recently discovered disease so rare she is only the 8th diagnosed case in Australia, and baby was unique as the other cats were dead. Treatment is Cortisone with antibiotics to ward off infection. When Baby had the operation she was 2.5 kilos. Never a big or overweight cat she was seemingly healthy except for the obvious bowel problem and her lack of control. An excited call from an academic in Sydney wanting to record and study baby was one result. Mind you we were not thrilled at all. We did manage to find details of the disease through the Internet. Fortunately Meredith is employed by Monash University and has access to medical databases that the normal person does not. What we found was far from cheering. They do not know why it starts, there is no cure and Baby was unlikely to grow a lot older.

In the first month after the operation she returned to the old cat she was with full bowel control. She did however have a strange stooped way of walking and sitting. I guess the stitching inside must have tightened her up, or that is what it looked like. The second month was good too. So good that it was decided to try her on a half dose of cortisone instead of the full dose. Now I cannot remember if this lasted one or two months, but suddenly she lost 400 grams in a month. The cortisone dose was increased to full strength. We started offering her chicken on a regular basis and she loved it. Next month her weight was stable, She had also gone off chicken and I had been trying to get her to eat fresh Kangaroo, which she loved, but it used to play havoc with her. I figured anything eaten was better than nothing. But the following month she lost another 300 grams. Down to 1.72 kilos. By now we had a skin and bones cat whose coat looked dull. She also could not jump like she used to. Previously to get onto kitchen bench she would just look at it and land perfectly where she wanted to go. Now she could not jump that high.
There was even worse news. When the 300-gram loss was measured the vet Rob of Peninsula Animal Hospital examined her and found another lump. Devastation is how I felt when I left from that appointment. This was the 5th of October 2011.



5th October 2011 looking very undernourished

5 October 2011 not a happy, well looking cat at all. Note how she sat.

From that point on I did not witness her eat more than a couple of mouthfuls of food. She still followed me around; in fact she was sitting by me on the desk as I typed this on 6th October 2011 through teary eyes.

The really disturbing thing is that earlier she was walking around the house making an aimless Yeow sound. This was a sound I had not heard in the past. Something new. I just knew the end wasnear and it really hurt me.

Pets bring such joy, their company is soothing, their love is unconditional, they make you a better person. But you share their pain as well. They are not as robust and long lived as we are and when their life is ending in an unnatural way it is very painful to experience as an owner. The only time I have not felt that pain is when a pet has died of old age and you know they had a good life. It has rarely happened like that to my pets. Each time it happens prematurely my heart gets wounded. Baby has brought a lot of joy into my life and will be missed and I dreaded the moment when she goes to sleep forever. I simply could not understand how both the kittens we kept could succumb to rare medical issues. I only hoped the other 6 we bred are ok.

On the night of the 6th it was bad, Baby had a vacant look in her eyes and moved like an automon, slowly, mechanically. During the night a couple of times she got up making the aimless Yeow sound, but the rest of the time she was restful.
A decision, do you put a cat in this condition down or do you let nature run its course? In the morning she was on the end of the bed and I called her and slowly she came and sat on me like old times. But no matter how much I patted there was no purring.
The 7th was a long day. I checked her regularly and there was no change. She seemed rested and reasonably comfortable considering the circumstances. She even joined me at the computer as I typed this. She took a little water but no food. I tried tempting her with chicken, kangaroo and pellets. I made the decision to let nature run its course unless she had obvious pain. I knew the act of putting her to sleep would be painless, however the insertion of the needle and the trip to the vet, would be very traumatic for all concerned.

That night she slept on the bed and Caesar snuggled her all night.

7th October, 11.30 pm Sleeping, with dad as usual.

8th of October 2.30 AM Zoe Caesar and Baby. Baby was dead 21 hours later.


She was peaceful and in the morning I called her and she came and sat beside me. She was however very unsteady on her feet and it was the furthest she would walk that day. The 8th became a deathwatch day.

Evening of 8th October 2011 on the desk beside me, it is almost over.

Last photo I took of her, 8th October 2011 notice how emaciated she is!

She lay on her folded towel and I kept her near me nearly all day. A couple of times I was not near her and I heard her call out in that “Yeow” sound but when I came to her it stopped. She never did it when I was near by, instead it a "Reow" type sound, quite different, not so loud. I was sure it was a do not leave me alone cry. Worried about dehydration, I gave her a few drops of water with an eyedropper, which she swallowed, but when she tried to walk she just fell over. She did seem peaceful and pain free as she lay there. She was so still that on a number of occasions I had to closely look to see if she was still breathing. When I was patting her, all I could feel was bones. On the night of the 8th October 2011 she passed away peacefully in her sleep in bed beside me. The same bed she was born in. On our kitchen scales she was 1.6 kilos in death.

How can I describe the pain of losing Baby. I cannot invoke religion, as I am athiest, but I can decry the cruelty of nature, Baby has done nothing to deserve this ending. Ragdolls are the most wonderful of cats. Baby was buried near Ruby. We have lost a gentle soul who deserved a long life in the luxury she was used to. Rest in Peace Baby, if there is a cat heaven you will be a chief angel.

9th Feb 2004. Baby was the runt of the litter

18 Feb 2004


20th Feb. 2004 such a beautiful kitten.

Baby you were special.

A stunning mature cat

Both now dead, Ruby and Baby, how could we be so unlucky!

To read Ruby,s story, click Here

Return to Easels Galore Index