Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Moth Post (Furry Moth Alert Especially For Seagull Suzie) and Sudden Onset Retinal Degeneration In Cats

The box has been out the last two nights and yielded some Good Results. 

Two nights ago, it poured, and most of the moths very sensibly remained indoors watching the tele with their feet up. A few brave souls ventured forth and were kind enough to grace the box. These included a Common White Wave, a Chocolate Tip, an Engrailed and a Green Carpet...

Furry choc tip

Common White Wave

Engrailed

Green Carpet

Today's visitors were more varied and plentiful, despite a 5 degree over night temp (but there was no heavy rain, which helps). The majority were from the Kitten Family, a group of moths who are blessed with furriness to keep them warm, but there was also my First Hawk of the year- a Poplar, a giant even among the Hawk Moths. I was very pleased to see him. I have a soft spot for Poplars because we get lots here  and they were the first Hawk Moths I ever saw.

I will never forget L coming down to breakfast last summer, opening the door and rolling his eyes at the general number of moths, but specifically at all the Poplar Hawks who were Pretending To Be Various Integral Parts Of The House: swinging on blind chords, sleeping on plugs, sitting on door handles and (rather comically) on Waitrose Recipe Cards, not to mention the one who'd wandered over to L's school rucsac and had dozed off on the zip.......

He has actually gone to school with a moth in his bag before (and somehow managed to bring it home intact), as well as discovering a dead one in his water bottle.... Professional Hazard when you're the son of a moth-obsessed mother :-)

Here are today's Mothy People....

Brindled Pug (I think- Pug's are Tricky Folk to ID)

Brown Silver Lines
I found this Buff Tip asleep on the fence, having being lured there by the light from the moth box. Buff Tips are surely the most impressive of moths when it comes to camouflage adaptation. They look more like a silver birch twig than the thing itself. Last year, L was so convinced I was having him on and had put five twigs in the box that he nearly fell over backwards when one of them moved!

Buff Tip

Buff Tip head-on
Another Good Example of Evolution In Action- below is my first Cinnabar of the year, whose appearance has been Timed Perfectly with the ragwort (food plant for their pillars) that is currently growing by the pond. That it is still growing there is testament to my Powers Of Persuasion, as M considers it a weed and thinks I am balmy (or even barmy) not to get rid of it, and even Ma remarked on it with surprise when she popped over yesterday. I kept protesting that it was for the Cinnabars, so thank God one has now turned up :-)

Cinnabar

Knot Grass
Poplar Hawk- see how big he is?

Poplar Hawk
 
Poplar Hawk

Demonstrating 'The Dangle,' a Highly Technical Manoeuvre which entails very nearly sliding off a pencil...

Pale Prominent
Also Great Camo- Pale Prom's look very like a sliver of wood until you look at them closely...

Pale Prom
This is a Moth I have been wanting to see for ages...The Puss Moth. It is HUGE (and fluffy- hope you approve Suze?), as can be deduced from the fact it is sitting on my finger and taking up most of the room......

Puss Moth

Puss Moth

Puss Moth


Puss Moth

Scorched Wing

Spectacle Moth. Wonder how he got his name?

Spectacle Moth

I've now reached over 50 moth species for this year, some new for the garden, which is exciting. Last year's total was a little over 300, so I'm taking bets on what this year's will be- 500? Be nice.

One other bit of news: Cleo, my puss cat (also known as the White Faerie Queen), who has been with me for 15 years since she was rescued as a kitten, went blind yesterday. In the morning she was seeing, by last night she wasn't. It was very distressing to realise that the reason she seemed unperturbed by the presence of the dogs, and wasn't looking at anyone and was very nearly bumping into things and was following all the walls was because she couldn't see. She's also very athriticky in her back legs and spine, so I passed a very teary night and morning expecting the worst, and even managed to cry all over our lovely vet Mr Fletcher this morning. He must see this all the time and was marvellous.

Anyhoo, it turns out she has Sudden Onset Retinal Degeneration, which is not uncommon in cats. We think she has a very small degree of vision left when she is really close to something. He said he'd never yet had to put a cat to sleep for it and there was every chance she'd be perfectly alright given time to adapt, as most cats are. She'll be helped by the fact she has her own small room away from the dogs and knows the ins and outs of it like the back of her paw, so as long as we don't move anything around she shouldn't be too disorientated. We've felt bad over the last couple of years that she was consigned to that room (a dog-related thing) but it actually turns out it is the best possible thing for her because she won't have to navigate the whole house and therefore will adapt more quickly, which will be less distressing for her.

I knew last night that she wasn't seeing, but it was still quite a shock to hear the vet say that she'd lost her sight. It is such a traumatic thing for people to go through that I guess we assign the same emotions onto our pets, but Mr Fletcher said it just isn't the same for cats, who hunt at night and have excellent hearing and of course their whiskers as extra sense organs. I've had time to think about it now and I am feeling a little calmer. He's given her some painkiller meds for her arthritis and otherwise she has a clean bill of health. She even purred when we got back home, which was a Massive Relief, because she wasn't purring last night which upset me all the more.

I'm off to do some healing for her eyes and tell her she will be OK. I can't tell you how relieved I am. Cleo has seen me through some of the worst points of my life and I owe her so much. She looked after me when I needed her most, and now it's my turn to take care of her and help her through this new stage of her life. 

Animals bless us, don't they?

Hope you're all well,

CT x

30 comments:

  1. We had an almost blind cat - she could still detect movement so went on hunting! She managed four house moves and always coped. Mind you, she was a tough little alley cat!

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    1. Oh that's so good to hear Celia, thank you :-) It's a new experience for me. We've had so many cats over the years and never had one go blind before, so it's new and slightly scary territory, and therefore very reassuring to hear coping stories.

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  2. Oh my what a lot of moths, your poor cat I hope the pain killers help ease her pain. As you say her own room will help her get round with her blindness. Take care

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    1. Thanks Joanne, and thank you for the follow too :-) Finger's crossed Clee finds her way over the next few days.

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  3. Could you explain the moth box? How do the moths know to go in? I did not know there were so many different kinds of moths.

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    1. It's basically a large plastic open tub with a sloping plastic neck which has a hole at the top over which a very bright light bulb is suspended. The moths are attracted to the light and funnel down inside the box where they settle on egg boxes and sleep out the day. In the UK there are over 2500 species of moth :-)

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  4. So many beautiful moths! I`m not surprised you are obsessed by them :-)

    Poor little Cleo Cat. I hope she adapts well and that her nose and whiskers tell her exactly what is going on around her.....

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    1. Moth-wise things are just starting to get interesting at this time of the year with numbers and colours and shapes and sizes. I should have lots more interesting ones to show you by mid/late June.

      Thanks re Cleo- she is already looking more like her usual serene self this afternoon. I make sure I tell her who's coming into her room so she knows and isn't worried. I guess she's so used to us all she already can tell footsteps and smells apart, but it makes me feel better to let her know :-)

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  5. I am sorry to hear about Cleo, but it sounds as though the vet was pretty optimistic that she will be OK so that is good, the most important thing is your love which she will have in bucket loads I am sure!

    The moths are amazing!! That scorched wing one is fascinating, I have never seen or heard of anything like that one. The twig look alikes are so funny to see close up, they somehow look even more like twigs! xx

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    1. Thanks my dear :-) She is a much-loved girl and is in her own environment which she's known for years, so I hope she will adapt well.

      Glad you are enjoying the moths. The Scorched Wing is amazing - there isn't another moth that looks quite like it. You do sometimes see them during the day so you may find one in your garden. They rest with tails turned up, which is unusual for moths. And the silver birch twigs really are incredible close up- such brilliant convincing camo x

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  6. My poor old Fred has ingrowing eyelashes, probably through in breeding and had ops on them so he didn't see too well but was content to sleep most of the time. I'm sure she'll be okay.
    I just love these moths, so beautiful but how do you get them to stay on your finger or pencil? I'm intrigued...
    Briony
    x

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    1. Thanks Bri- I know you are a cat lady too :-)

      Most moths are very biddable people, sleepy and content to rest during the daylight hours. I have a secret theory that they like the warmth of people's skin because once sitting on you they can be hard to persuade to move! Some are very flighty though and take off the second they see you x

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  7. Poor Cleo it must have been so distressing to see especially when it happened so suddenly. Pleased to hear the vet was so positive. A lovely selection of moths too. Sarah x

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    1. It was very upsetting to see her last night, but I am really hopeful that with time and our help she'll be OK x

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  8. What a great range of Moths, they look amazing,(do any moths bite ?) can't afford a moth trap at the moment, but going to have a go at putting a sheet up one evening with a bright light...have you ever done this ?
    Hope your cats doing ok.
    Amanda xx

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    1. No biting moths as far as I know :-) I have done the sheet and torch trick- last summer, and 2 mins in an enormous privet hawk moth flew down- we were all amazed! So it does work and is well worth trying. Thanks for concern re Cleo- she seems a bit more settled tonight x

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  9. Oh I do approve CT, what a great moth the Puss Moth is and very large too. I love all these photos, aren't moths great.
    So sorry to hear about Cleo, I hope she's going to adapt very quickly and settle down to life as normal. Pets are such a joy but a worry too.

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    1. I opened the box this morning and the first thing I thought was: all furries- Suzie will love these :-) So very pleased you did!

      Yes, it'll take time for Clee, but now we know what we're dealing with we can help her better x

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  10. It's always a wrench when the four legged companions become ill, they give so much so it's not much to ask when they need us to care for them
    Great moths... Love the hawk moth...huge.

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    1. I think we have to adjust to Cleo's loss of sight as well, but each day is another day when that is the norm, so it becomes a little easier.

      Glad you like the moths- there will be more :-)

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  11. Hello there!
    I've popped over to your blog on the advice of Sarah from Down By The Sea. I've been having a read and am now following.
    I have a question: yesterday I was walking on the cliff path just outside of St Ives, Cornwall, where I live. I spotted a very small moth or butterfly (I think it must have been a day flying moth). She was bright yellow with black spots. I was unable to take a photo. She didn't stay still for long enough. I'm starting to think that I imagined it, because I can't seem to find her anywhere on the internet or in my field guide books. She was not much bigger than my thumbnail.
    Do you have any ideas? I would be most grateful. And I love your blog!
    Thanks,
    Leanne xx

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    1. Hi Leanne, lovely to hear from you and thanks very much for the follow :-)

      I suspect it was a Speckled Yellow moth. Have a look here (http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/species/1909.php). I can't think of another day flying yellow and black moth for this time of year the sort of size you mention. Do let me know if you think that's right, and if it isn't I'll put my thinking cap on again! :-)

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  12. Lovely moths CT - love the Poplar Hawkmoth - an absolute beauty :) I am so sorry to hear about Cleo - I hope she adapts soon and glad to hear the vet was so positive.

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    1. I'm so glad the Poplars and Buff-tips are back- feels like summer :-) But I'd love to get a Lime like the one that visited you recently- never seen one of those before :-)

      Thanks re Cleo, she seems much more comfortable in herself which is a relief, and went straight to her breakfast bowl of fish this morning without knocking into it, which made me smile (instead of wanting to cry as I did yesterday). x

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  13. Was late with the rounds.
    Animals do indeed bless us don't they .
    I like to think sometimes we bless them too.
    What a good mom you are to your animal friends.

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  14. Fingers crossed for Cleo, I do hope she will cope okay.

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    1. Thanks Ann, she seems calmer today :-)

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  15. Wonderful photos. Usually I'm not very fond of moths, but that's probably because I haven't seen such beautiful examples. I like the twig-looking one :)
    I do feel for you and your Cleo ... It's always so sad when a darling pet loses sight. My own dog lost hearing and sight a little when she was around 15, I was devastated. I do hope Cleo will be ok.
    Marielle

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    1. There will be many more moths here before the year is out :-)

      Thank you re Cleo. It has upset me hugely, but we are slowly learning how to look after an animal with no sight- a huge learning curve, but we are getting there.

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Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x