Keep Muswell Well


Meet Muswell

In the winter of 2006, a cute little stray cat started hanging around my front door. Being of modest financial means and never having had a cat before, I wasn't considering adoption. But when he showed up, I obliged with food and water.

He kept coming, I kept feeding him and soon enough, he wanted to come in. Again, I was skittish, but I let him in—just for a few minutes at first. After a while he was spending more and more time inside, and I found myself growing quite attached to my furry visitor. One day in the early spring, I noticed that the tops of his ears had been squared off from frostbite, and that was the day my resistance melted away. I like to think we adopted each other.

A Brief Medical History

I'd recently visited London, so I named my first cat Muswell after that city's Muswell Hill neighbourhood. From the start vet bills were a challenge, and long before GoFundMe existed, some of you who are reading this now generously helped me fund Muswell's initial checkups, vaccinations and so on. Thank you so much!

The boy was happy and healthy until 2013, when he experienced crystal formation and blockage in his urinary tract. His only hope was surgery, which I couldn't afford. Once again I made an appeal to friends and family, and once again, you came through and essentially saved his life. I remain forever grateful.

In the summer of 2018, Muswell began vomiting and losing his appetite. At first I thought he had a bad case of hairballs, and the hairball remedy I tried helped somewhat. By the fall, though, the vomiting had worsened and he'd stopped eating. Clearly something more serious was afoot. He was in rough shape.

Our Current Predicament

In November 2018, Muswell was diagnosed with kidney disease and put on a regimen of pills, powders and injections. With loving care and extensive veterinary treatment, his condition has stabilized and he's maintaining an excellent quality of life. We have truly been able to keep Muswell well! But this treatment is expensive, to the tune of $1,055 per month (see expense breakdown below). On my salary, I can cover about one-third of that. I need help with the rest, and that's why I'm fundraising for Muswell's care.


What Muswell Means to Me

Muswell is 15 years old now, and he's an adorable, affectionate orange tabby. When I come home from work he greets me at the door, hops on the bed and licks my face. I've often said that he's a puppy in a cat's body, and I've come to realize that he's more to me than a beloved pet. Muswell is my emotional support animal. He brings joy, warmth and comfort to my often challenging life. Over the years we have formed a bond that's deep, loving and profoundly healing for us both. He's my boy and I'm his human.

Keeping Muswell Well

I aim to keep Muswell well, and you can help. Any amount will make a difference:

* $5 buys a month of amlodipine, his blood pressure medication
* $10 gives Muswell a month's supply of antacid and laxative
* $20 pays for two weeks of mirtazapine, the appetite stimulant that ensures he keeps eating
* $35 gives him a month's worth of Aventi, which promotes healthy kidney function
* $60 provides a month's supply of K Gluconate, which normalizes his potassium levels
* $115 pays for two visits to the vet
* $275 covers all of Muswell's injections for a month

Monthly Expense Breakdown

All amounts are in Canadian dollars and include HST.


Cisapride (colon motility)                      71.86                                           
Cerenia (anti-nauseant)                         69.74
Denamarin (liver function)                   61.00
Mirtazapine (appetite stimulant)      41.09
Restoralax (laxative)                                    5.36
Pepcid (digestion)                                          4.80
Aventi (kidney function)                         34.96
K Gluconate (hypokalemia)                  59.44
Phos Bind (controls phosphates)       71.86
Darbepoetin (anaemia)                            69.82
Norvasc (blood pressure)                          6.56
Pill pockets                                                      11.75

Subtotal 1                                                      508.24

Veterinary Expenses

Blood collection/analysis                        88.14
Electrolytes check                                       80.23
Blood pressure check                                57.63
Subcutaneous fluids                                   54.81
Iron injection                                                  82.49
B12 injection                                                  69.31
Veterinary appointment charges    114.13

Subtotal 2                                                      546.74

Total                                                            $1054.98



1. Where will my money go?

All donations will go directly to Muswell's medical and veterinary expenses.

2. Why is your goal so high?

Muswell's treatment regimen is expensive and ongoing. He's likely on these medications (and this regimen) for the rest of his life. $8,500 plus my contributions equals roughly one year of treatment.

3. If you don't meet your goal, what happens?

Well, there are three possibilities. The first is surrendering him to an animal shelter, an option I rejected when he took ill last November and wouldn't consider now. The second is "financial euthanasia," where the pet owner chooses to put the animal down due to the high cost of veterinary care. This I also will not do. The third scenario would entail me spiralling into debt.

4. Have you heard of The Farley Foundation? They help low-income pet owners by subsidizing the cost of veterinary care.

I sure have, and The Farley Foundation is part of what's enabled us to get this far. They subsidized my initial vet bill last November and helped again this January. Unfortunately, my clinic has exhausted their allotment of FF money until January 2020. Once more Farley money is available, rest assured I'll apply.

5. I can give only a tiny amount. Should I bother?

Yes! No amount is too small, and believe me, I've been there myself. Any amount will be gratefully received.

6. I'd like to donate monthly. How would I go about doing that?

GoFundMe is set up to receive single donations, but donors can contribute multiple times. So, if you wish to contribute monthly (or at whatever frequency you'd like), simply click the "Donate" button whenever you're ready. Your gifts are most welcome!

7. Will Muswell get better?

I don't know. He's not "supposed to," but I wouldn't sell him short. In November he was in such bad shape that I didn't think he'd last till Christmas and here he is, eight months later: stable, hanging in there and doing quite well most days. Even my vet is surprised by how well he's doing. I'm willing to do whatever it takes to maintain, renew and restore his health. I believe healing is always possible. I and others have been praying for him, and I believe our prayers are working.

8. Muswell is obviously quite sick and getting on in years, and his care is costing you a fortune. Why don't you put him down?

I've been able to maintain an excellent quality of life for him, and the medical interventions are working. He's my emotional support animal, I love him dearly, and I won't give up on him. I may have to put him down eventually, but the situation would have to be dire for me to do so. I realize some pet owners might opt for euthanasia a lot sooner than I would, and I don't judge. I ask for the same in return.

9. Will you provide us with periodic updates on Muswell's condition?

Absolutely! Updates will appear on this page at least monthly.

10. If I can't make a donation but still want to help, what can I do?

Pray. Send good vibes. Be a friend. Be kind to an animal near you. Do a good deed. Share this page with someone you know who can donate. Whatever you feel moved to do!

11. What will I receive in return for a donation?

Two demo recordings of songs that will appear on my upcoming album, Days of Secret Seeing, and my deepest, heartfelt gratitude.

Donations (0)

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Vern Nicholson 
Toronto, ON
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