Julia Roberts' cat, Poppy

An anxious week


My week has been dominated by my cat Poppy’s continued ill health. I mentioned on last week’s blog that she hadn’t eaten since the Wednesday lunchtime and that she had been vomiting. She seemed to be rapidly deteriorating so I took her back to the vet on Saturday morning where she had to stay for the weekend on a drip.

The vet wanted to scan her stomach to try and find out what the problem was. Poppy is a nervous cat anyway and wasn’t keen for the vet to do an ultrasound so was obviously quite tense. This led the vet to believe that her stomach lining had thickened, which she thought had a 90% of being lymphoma. To confirm that, she wanted to perform a biopsy on Tuesday lunchtime.

I insisted on bringing her home on Monday night for a little bit of home love. When Chris took her back to the vet on Tuesday they sedated her to do the biopsy but performed another scan while she was calmer and decided the stomach lining wasn’t thickened after all so they didn’t do the biopsy. Throughout this time Poppy had nothing to eat or drink at all so was being kept going by the intravenous drip.

Poppy portraitI fetched her home again on Tuesday night and decided that I was going to feed her through a syringe just to get some nutrition into her as she was getting increasingly wobbly on her feet and felt just like a bag of bones. It did the trick. On Wednesday morning she was attempting to lap water from her bowl and lick minuscule bits of food… at one point I think we had six tins and sachets open just to try and tempt her to eat.

She is by no means out of the woods yet but patience, cuddles and more than a few tears seem to have given her the will to try and get better … Not to mention the steroids, antibiotics and appetite boosters the vet has administered. I would never want to keep her alive if she was in pain but we have had lots of purring so I’m hoping it was a stomach infection that just went too long before getting treatment. I’ll give you an update next week.

So to happier news. Tomorrow I am going up to Nottingham to celebrate my brother’s wedding. He and his new wife Remy were married in Las Vegas as part of their American holiday to celebrate his 60th birthday, so the family get together is tomorrow.

It will be lovely to see my mum and my sister who I don’t get to see that often as she lives in Scotland. Unfortunately we won’t be able to stay for the evening ‘birthday bash’ as we need to get home to Poppy but, to be honest, I could do with a relaxing evening in.

I am out again on Tuesday night – we are finally going to see Les Miserables (my birthday treat), it’s only taken us three months to co-ordinate our diaries!!

I have a slightly shorter break than usual as I am back in for QVC’s 21st birthday on Wednesday. Watch out for presenter pictures being shown on air from when we were 21 …. there are some corkers! This was me celebrating my 21st birthday with my mum and dad.

Julia Roberts at 21


Also my friend Nat has put together a montage of clips of me from the last 21 years on air, which I think we are playing out at 6pm but if you miss it I will put it on here next week.

Hope you all have a fab weekend

Much love,

Julia x


  1. Sue September 26, 2014 at 6:36 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia, Sorry to hear that Poppy your cat is ill. Try feeding her some tuna (preferably in spring water) warmed slightly in the microwave. This always works when our cats are off their food. Hope she is better soon. Sue

    • Julia roberts October 2, 2014 at 10:28 pm -  Reply

      Hi Sue
      Thanks for your advice. It has been a real struggle tempting her to eat but gravy style meaty food seems to be more to her liking than fish. I did wonder about warming it but believe it or not I don’t have a microwave!
      Julia x

  2. Angelina September 26, 2014 at 8:03 pm -  Reply

    Poppy is so sweet and has such a knowing look about her eyes,they say cats are protecting the household with there presence.Shes gorgeous I hope she is back to herself soon.PoppyX

    • Julia roberts October 2, 2014 at 10:32 pm -  Reply

      Hi Angelina
      Thanks for your kind wishes for Poppy. She is still on two types of medication but she is eating a bit more now and seems to be more like her old self
      Julia x

  3. jane bridges September 26, 2014 at 10:04 pm -  Reply

    i can really feel for you regarding your lovely Cat Poppy….i unfortunately lost my VicVic this week he was 18, had been diagnosed with thyroid disease about three years ago he eventually just wasted away to skin and bone but still enjoyed being outside catching mice and would eat me out of house and home , he unfortunately last weekend became very frailand weak and went out on Sunday night and never came back , I had given him a big hug that night before he went out and he kissed my nose, like he knew it was goodbye. The next day I looked everywhere , called him , he was not in the garden later that evening we found out that he had been found dead on the tennis courts behind me and a lovely builder had taken them up to the vets . Today Friday , i got him from the vets and he’s been buried in the garden. it’s a very sad thing that we have to say goodbye to them, they become our family and they enrich our lives with so much too…
    I really hope Poppy gets better….i had spoilt VicVic over the last months, and i like you, had many tins and food snacks open just to tempt him, steamed chicken was his favourite. That bit of your blogg made me smile .
    Ok people may say they are just a Cat , but they are ‘ours’ and we love them ……

    • Julia roberts October 2, 2014 at 10:45 pm -  Reply

      Hello Jane
      I was so sorry to hear of your loss. I’ve heard it said that cats know when their time has come and just go away from their homes to die. It is terribly upsetting to lose them but I wouldn’t want any invasive procedures at this stage just to prolong her life by a few months particularly if she was suffering. We have been so lucky to have her for so long so every day is a bonus now.
      I hope you have been able to focus on the happy times you had with Vicvic
      Julia x

  4. Jackie September 26, 2014 at 10:40 pm -  Reply

    Julia, so sorry to hear about Poppy. We had the same problem trying to get our ill cat to eat and we found a tinned liquid food in the form of a chicken soup particularly for older cats and those recovering from illness. It is called Liquivite and you can buy it on line. It may be worth a try. Hope Poppy is soon out of the woods. X

    • Julia roberts October 2, 2014 at 10:49 pm -  Reply

      Hello Jackie
      Thanks for your suggestion about the liquid food – fortunately we managed to get her taking solid food in minute quantities at first and she is now upto a sachet a day. She is still very light at just 2.8 kilos but there is a huge improvement on this time last week
      Julia x

  5. Diane Collett September 26, 2014 at 11:00 pm -  Reply

    Sending get well soon wishes to Poppy. I think that pets can become poorly very quickly, but believe if you are positive and give lots of cuddles, it really does promote a quick recovery and the positivity rubs off on them and gives them the strength to fight that little bit harder to get better. Met you at the RBS Butler and Wilson party which was the most fantastic afternoon and evening. I felt very proud to be invited, surrounded by lovely people, my favourite jewellery, best QVC presenter and of course Simon Wilson, who is the most genuine person you could meet. Happy 21st Birthday to QVC next week. X

    • Julia roberts October 2, 2014 at 10:53 pm -  Reply

      Hello Diane
      I truly believe that whispering in Poppy’s ear that we weren’t ready for her to go yet somehow made her at least make an effort to get well. She is still not 100% and still on steroids and antibiotics but I can see improvement every day.
      So pleased to hear how much you enjoyed Simon’s tea party at RBS and thanks for your kind words.
      Julia x

  6. Alan Harrison September 27, 2014 at 3:10 am -  Reply

    Please Julia ask your vet to check the kidney’s and water movements if you know what i mean the bladder and all its functions because i’ve had a couple of cats with similar problems, i won’t mention the outcome but…not good, but i hope that your cat really improves, really improves.

    • Julia roberts October 2, 2014 at 10:57 pm -  Reply

      Hi Alan
      The vet checked Poppy’s urine on the first visit – she was surprised to see that her kidney function was excellent. Our old cat Dylan was 23 when we lost him to kidney failure. I suppose like us bits of their bodies just wear out in the end.
      Julia x

  7. Ros September 27, 2014 at 8:09 am -  Reply

    Glad to hear she is better !!

    • Julia roberts October 2, 2014 at 10:58 pm -  Reply

      Hi Ros
      She’s not quite out of the woods yet but much better than she was thanks
      Julia x

  8. Joanna Downey September 27, 2014 at 8:18 am -  Reply

    Dear Julia and Poppy, What an awful week full of worry and upset, made worse by the fact that Poppy is obviously a gentle soul and totally bewildered by what she has been through. We have been there many times so I understand how you must be feeling; I too have opened many tins and pouches, bought expensive free range chicken – not easy for a veggie – and offered the smoked salmon that was for Col’s sandwiches just to get a sick cat to eat. I hope Poppy is continuing to improve and regain her strength. Your 21st photo shows that you look the complete blend of your parents and you have your dad’s smile. On the very rare occasions when I look at me as I was in the 70s and 80s I look quite middle-aged and I wonder if it is because hairstyles were so fixed and rigid. I have always worn my hair in a bob in some way, shape or form it was gorgeous on our Wedding Day but does make me look like a brunette Lady Penelope… My run of annoying things happening is continuing as someone has hacked into my bank account, emptied it and sent all my salary to an investment company, it was extremely embarrassing to have my card declined in a very busy Sainsburys and means I will have to wait to buy my second pair of Rieker ankle boots from the Q. Hoping for better times for all, love from Jo x

    • Julia roberts October 2, 2014 at 11:08 pm -  Reply

      Hello Jo
      Poor old Poppy is not a fan of strangers so it has been a traumatic time for her with multiple vet visits and overnight stays. Thankfully she is more like her old self now and taking her food without eyed in to be ‘encouraged’ if you know what I mean.
      So sorry to hear about your bank account being hacked – one of the downsides of all this computerisation! Hopefully your bank will cover any losses but I know what you mean about acing your card declined being embarrassing. It happened to me once in Aveda but at least my bank had realised something was not right and so had blocked my card.
      People often say I’m a mix of my mum and dad – I certainly have his colouring although I think my sister is more like him looks wise. I think my hair looks really old fashioned in the photo and is probably the shortest I gave ever worn it as an adult.
      Speak soon
      Julia x

  9. sandra morgan September 27, 2014 at 8:59 am -  Reply

    Pleased to read that Poppy is feeling a bit better and responding to lots of TLC. I have cats and when they are unwell they can’t
    tell you what’s wrong and is very worrying. I have been to my
    vets so many times with Harry who seems to suffer quite badly when he is moulting, from fur balls which seem to settle in his
    stomach and sometimes require drastic removal.
    Good luck

    • Julia roberts October 2, 2014 at 11:12 pm -  Reply

      Hi Sandra
      Poppy has been steadily improving this week but still on both lots of tablets. She has been moulting like crazy for ages and the vet said it is common in older cats so maybe that’s why your Harry has the problem with fur balls? We do try and brush Poppy daily but she still sheds.
      Julia x

  10. Tina S. September 27, 2014 at 3:06 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia,
    I was so sorry to hear all the upset you have had with Poppy. I know how heartbreaking these things are as I recall my own when my cat Chloe, was poorly.
    She had gone missing overnight and I just knew something was wrong. I had to go to work not knowing where she was. People always say ,oh its only a cat not understanding the the love we feel for our pets. They are part of our family. As I have no children she was my “baby”. It has been 13 years now since we had to have her put to sleep and I still miss her. So I have every sympathy with you. Hopefully Poppy has turned a corner and is on the mend. I do hope so.
    My very best wishes for Poppy are sent to you.
    Love Tina (S.Wales)

    • Julia roberts October 2, 2014 at 11:24 pm -  Reply

      Hello Tina
      I think every pet owner has experienced the anxiety of having a sick animal at some point. It is like having a sick baby as they can’t tell you which bit hurts. It’s dreadful to make the decision to have them put to sleep but better than having them suffer needlessly.
      I hope you have some really happy memories of Chloe, I know we do of all our cats.
      Poppy is a lovely old girl and I’m hopeful that we will have a bit longer with her.
      Speak soon
      Julia x

  11. Linda Wigman September 27, 2014 at 9:22 pm -  Reply

    SO sorry to hear about little Poppy Julia. Having had many cats over 36yrs of marriage, i have been there, as you can imagine. You are obviously doing all the right things and Poppy i’m sure is receiving wonderful Vets treatment. They are after all part of our family. Keeping fingers and paws crossed for little Poppy. Great picci btw,Julia! Please give Poppy a kiss and gentle hug from me. Best Wishes. Linda.x

    • Julia roberts October 2, 2014 at 11:30 pm -  Reply

      Hi Linda
      I have dutifully administered lots of kisses and gentle hugs to Poppy over the last couple of weeks. She has experienced lots of changes over the last four years, moving three times and sharing her space first with Wilfie and now with Milo but she’s a tough old girl and has dealt with it just like she is coping with this bout of I’ll health … we have been very lucky to have her.
      Julia x

  12. Kim September 28, 2014 at 8:38 am -  Reply

    Dear Julia I truly hope Poppy gets better. I am sure she is very much loved and she will want to stay with you. I am going through a similar experience my gorgeous tabby bear Chookie has heart disease and it will break my heart when he goes. Best wishes to you and you adorable Poppy x

    • Julia roberts October 2, 2014 at 11:34 pm -  Reply

      Hello Kim
      Thanks for your good wishes for Poppy and hoping your Chookie will give you plenty more happy times.
      Sometimes I look at Poppy and wonder if she has simply had enough but I don’t think she’s quite ready to leave us yet.
      Sending love to Chookie
      Julia x

  13. Debbie Coyle September 28, 2014 at 3:45 pm -  Reply

    Oh your poppy is just soooo cute and i wish her well, it’s a trying time when your pet baby gets poorly and coz they can’t tell you it makes it even harder …. believe me i’ve been there too many tears … so poppy baby get well soon with love xxxx :)

    • Julia Roberts October 3, 2014 at 4:18 pm -  Reply

      Hi Debbie
      It sounds from your comment that you’ve had similar experiences with beloved pets. I’m pleased to report that Poppy has rallied at the moment so hoping we will have a few more years with her before she goes to pussycat heaven
      Julia x

  14. Lisa September 28, 2014 at 5:26 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia. I really feel for you right now. I’ve had several furry children over the years, and when they get ill it is so upsetting as they can’t tell you what is wrong.
    It sounds like you are doing an amazing job with Poppy, doing absolutely everything to make her better.
    Sending you best wishes, and really hope Poppy makes a full recovery soon. Keep up the snugly buggly’s with her, that will help!
    Love, Lisa x

    • Julia Roberts October 4, 2014 at 2:46 pm -  Reply

      Hi Lisa
      I can’t lie, last week was awful but this week has been marginally better. Poppy hates having her tablets and buries her head into my leg as soon as she realises what is about to happen. She is so much improved over the last few days which is a huge relief and I’m sure all the positive thoughts have helped so thank you.
      Julia x

  15. Jean P September 28, 2014 at 9:42 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia,
    Oh poor Poppy I hope she is going to be alright. What a worry especially as she will not eat. Hopefully with lot’s of love from Mum she will get better.
    Hope you have a great time when you go to your brother’s.
    Lovely picture of you with your Mum and Dad.
    Looking forward to watching the shows on Wednesday, especially Molton Brown.
    Take care, and hope Poppy will be okay.
    Love Jean XX

    • Julia Roberts October 4, 2014 at 2:51 pm -  Reply

      Hello Jean
      You will probably have read about my brother’s wedding ‘do’ on my latest blog. It was lovely to catch up with family members and just a shame we couldn’t stay for the evening party.
      Did you manage to get the Molton Brown TSV before it sold out? The birthday was more low key than last year but. Hope you enjoyed it nonetheless.
      Poppy is much better now, almost back to her old self
      Speak soon
      Julia x

  16. Gill September 29, 2014 at 6:14 am -  Reply


    • Julia Roberts October 4, 2014 at 2:58 pm -  Reply

      Hello Gill
      Thanks for your good wishes for Poppy. She has responded really well to the steroids and antibiotics along with the TLC. People keep saying that nineteen is an incredible age for a cat, but my old Dylan was twenty three and I was kind of hoping for a similar amount of time with Poppy … fingers crossed.
      Wishing Rosie well
      Julia x

  17. Julie Rogers September 29, 2014 at 7:37 am -  Reply

    Hi Julia
    My thoughts are with you I have 4 rescue cats and I know exactly how you are feeling my Dillon swollwed grass and I had him ill for weeks but lots of tender care and loving paid off and I am sure it will with your Poppy
    Take care
    Julie rogers

    • Julia Roberts October 4, 2014 at 3:03 pm -  Reply

      Hi Julie
      Poppy is doing much better now, almost back to normal and putting on a little weight thankfully.
      I thought we had a houseful of cats when Wilfie stayed over a couple of weeks ago … I’m not sure I could cope with four. How funny that one of yours is called Dillon, albeit spelled differently.
      Julia x

  18. Pauline Johnson September 29, 2014 at 1:11 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia sorry to hear about Poppy hope your perseverance pays off,just had to tell you we are going to be Great Grandparents in March well pleased got to get the crotchet hook out for another shawl ,should be great fun with our new cat,look after yourself
    Love Pauline

    • Julia Roberts October 4, 2014 at 3:07 pm -  Reply

      Hello Pauline
      Congratulations … what lovely news for you. I’m just imagining you with a ball of wool and a cat in hot pursuit!!
      Poppy is much better now thankfully.
      Julia x

  19. Dee September 29, 2014 at 3:13 pm -  Reply

    so sorry to hear about poppy Julia, we have been going through the same with our cat oscar, the vet found a mass in his stomach last week and we were told it was lymphoma but this morning the biopsy results are back and the vet is now saying although the cells are slightly changed it is inflammation of the stomach which can be treated with steriods. We go back tomorrow to find out more

    • Julia Roberts October 4, 2014 at 3:13 pm -  Reply

      Hello Dee
      How is Oscar? Perhaps it was a similar situation with the stomach wall appearing to be thickened because he was tense. I hope he is responding to the steroids.
      Poppy is much much better now thankfully.
      Julia x

  20. nicola walton September 29, 2014 at 3:45 pm -  Reply

    Poor sweet poppy i wish you all the best and good recovery for her.Stay strong julia xx

    • Julia Roberts October 4, 2014 at 3:16 pm -  Reply

      Hi Nicola
      Thanks for your good wishes for Poppy. She is much better now which means I can start to relax a bit.
      Julia x

  21. Denise September 29, 2014 at 8:49 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia, poor Poppy what a worry for you – I do hope she’s on the mend very soon.
    That’s a lovely photo from your 21st – nice memories to look back on. One of my favourite photos is one of me and my dear Grandad on my 21st.
    I’m sure you will enjoy Les Miserables. I am going with some friends to see it on a theatre break in November and also Phantom of the Opera which unbelievably we have never seen. I will be interested to see what you think. I have seen the film and also a youth version on stage but we are all so excited and looking forward to it very much. It was my Birthday at the weekend and I so want to see Miss Saigon and am thinking of spending my Birthday money on tickets for that.
    I will be watching the Birthday shows at QVC this week so Happy Birthday to you all there.
    Denise x

    • Julia Roberts October 4, 2014 at 3:26 pm -  Reply

      Hi Denise
      Poppy is on the mend thankfully.
      You may have read about my trip to Les Mis on my latest blog? We all really enjoyed it – very different from the film but in a way I was glad I had seen the film first. You’re not alone – I have not seen Phantom either, nor Miss Saigon … I need to get out more!
      That picture of my 21st is the only one I could find. My mum and dad came over to stay in Guernsey where I was working and we all had dinner at their hotel before going to watch a show.
      Hope you enjoyed our QVC 21st birthday – next biggie will be the 25th, if I make it!
      Julia x

  22. Ginny September 30, 2014 at 1:25 am -  Reply

    Hi Julia and Poppy. It’s been so hard for you but things seem to be turning a corner thank goodness,fingers crossed. Your story touched many of us who have loved ageing Kitties and my heart goes out to Jane Bridges on her loss.
    You have a lovely cat. Her poorliness serves to remind us life is about love 2

    • Julia Roberts October 4, 2014 at 3:32 pm -  Reply

      Hi Ginny
      Thanks for your kindness towards myself and Jane. Poppy is a lovely old girl and still very agile for her age. She runs and jumps and purrs and cuddles …. while she is still doing all that we have to do everything we can to help her through illnesses.
      Julia x

  23. Beth M September 30, 2014 at 4:30 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia,
    What a lovely photo of you and your Mum and Dad :) I hope you enjoy ‘Les Miserables’ – I’m not particularly a musical person but I saw it a few years ago and really enjoyed it.

    Last but not least, you are doing your very best for Poppy and like everyone on here, we know how much animals give us and what they mean to us. I found Jane’s description of her cat very touching – animals do decide when to go. My cat Jessica hadn’t been the same since her Mum Molly passed away and she had had ill-health but seemed sort of ok, However, there came one evening when her body was doing ‘strange’ things, she was in pain and she just looked straight up at me and I knew it was time.
    It doesn’t sound like Poppy is ready to go yet and it’s not her age, it’s her quality of life and she DOES have that with you and Chris.
    You take care and I hope you had a nice time with your family in spite of everything,
    Beth XXXX

    • Julia Roberts October 4, 2014 at 3:43 pm -  Reply

      Hi Beth
      We really enjoyed Les Mis …. I love musicals but haven’t seen that many as Chris is not a big fan, despite being a musician.
      Well the good news is that Poppy seems to have got past her health issue …. the vet was never really able to diagnose what caused the sickness but by prescribing steroids and antibiotics she covered all bases. I suppose animals are just like us really … age is just a number, but as we get older we need to treat our bodies a little more carefully. While Poppy is happy we’ll do all we can to help her with the odd ‘hiccup’.
      The wedding get together was good – pics on my latest blog
      Speak soon
      Julia x

  24. Charmaine September 30, 2014 at 6:25 pm -  Reply

    Best wishes to you your family and of course Poppy.x

    • Julia Roberts October 4, 2014 at 3:44 pm -  Reply

      Thanks Charmaine, Poppy is much better now
      Julia x

  25. admin October 3, 2014 at 5:08 pm -  Reply

    Hello everyone, just a quick note to let you all know that Julia is having some technical issues with responding to the comments on this blog post. Hopefully this should be resolved by Monday.


  26. Carrie Clifton Owen November 8, 2014 at 10:28 am -  Reply

    Only just read your blog about Poppy, and hope she is now fully recovered. Am sure your vet told u to give her Lectade to rehydrate, but my own remedy for stomach probs is one tbspoon Onken live yoghurt every day, without fail My dogs love it, and it helped one recover from a terrible bout of Colitis.

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