Tanya's Support Group
Tanya's Feline CKD Support Group is a group I have set
up for people with a CKD cat where they can offer support and hope to each
other during the bad times and celebrate the good times together. It's been
going since 2006, and is a small, friendly supportive place. Membership is open to
anyone who wants to help their CKD cat — we don't care about your race,
religion, nationality or anything like that, all that matters is that you
love your cat and are willing to be polite and kind to other members.
There are a lot of different types of groups
available online, and if you are not used to how online groups work, you
may find it a little confusing at first, so this page explains more about
how the group works and how to join it. Don't worry, it's not as
complicated as it might appear!
Does the Group Work?
It is an online group which is completely free
to use (I pay the costs associated with running it, though in 2019 a kind
group member who wishes to remain anonymous paid). The group is hosted on groups.io, and has its own
website separate from Tanya's website. You can either click
here or copy and paste this link into your browser:
I own and run the group, but I am ably assisted by
three moderators, Anne, Rekha and Sandra. They help with membership
queries, approve messages, and do lots of boring admin stuff behind the
scenes to help the group run smoothly for the members, and even find time
to respond to members seeking help and support on the group forum
For most people, the group's message section, or forum,
is the most important part of the group. The group has two forums:
On the CKD Support forum you can ask for support, vet
recommendations, or hear how others are coping with a particular problem.
Other members then respond if they can. All messages sent to the group are
stored in a message archive which members can search if they wish.
The group and forums are private, i.e. messages
sent to them are only visible to members, so people are not posting to the
internet at large.
You cannot obtain veterinary advice on the group.
Although we do have a few veterinary members, nobody on the group can
diagnose or treat your cat. What we can do is make suggestions for things
to discuss with your vet, provide tips on how to pill your cat more
easily, tell you which foods our cats seem to like etc.
Joining the Group
Please visit the group's homepage:
or enter your e-mail address in the box below and click
on the Subscribe button.
Then proceed as follows:
If you have visited the group homepage, click on the green Join This Group button.
If you've applied via the Subscribe button above, you will be asked to
confirm your e-mail address.
In either case, you
will be advised that your membership is pending but
will be invited to visit a page where you can create your account and choose your message options
Please don't worry about providing lots of information on the account
page, we don't see it.
You will be sent two e-mails and it is important that you respond to both
to become a member of the group.
The first is from groups.io asking you to confirm that your e-mail address
is correct and that you definitely want to join the group. Until you do
this, you will not have full access to the group, even if we approve your
The second is from the group moderators asking for
some information about you and your cat. This is to weed out spammers and
to help us to help you. We will not approve your membership application
until you respond to this e-mail.
You may have already filled out lots of information on
the groups.io page where you created your account, but we can't actually see
that, so we need you to respond to the e-mail from the moderators please. The
questions in the e-mail are:
your first name — so we know what to call you.
your country of residence
— this helps us make suggestions for treatments
we think you may be able to obtain in your country.
your CKD cat's name and age
— this helps us consider possible
causes of your cat's problems.
why you would like to join the group
— this gives us an idea of your main
Once the account is successfully set up, you will be
taken to the group homepage. Once you are on this page, you can join the
Loss subgroup if you wish.
If you do not respond to the membership questionaire
within around three days, we will reject your application. Please don't
worry, this is nothing personal, and does not mean you cannot join the
group! The rejection notice will tell you how to respond to us so we can
get you into the group, e.g. if you are having trouble responding to the
message asking you to confirm that you want to join, we may be able to
send you an invitation instead.
Message Delivery Choices
This sets up how you will access
messages that are sent to the group.
The main forum is extremely busy (up to 100 messages a
day). If you're looking after your
CKD cat, you
want support but you probably don't want a full inbox all the time. To
help you manage this issue, you have three options for messages, and you
can switch between them all as you wish:
Web only (no e-mail)
This setting means that as soon as somebody
sends a message to the group, it is sent directly to your inbox. It's a
good choice if you might want to know immediately if somebody has
responded to you, or if you would like to store some of the group messages
for your reference. It's also good for being able to quickly delete
messages which don't interest you.
The downside is that this is a busy group,
averaging 50-100 group messages each day, so your inbox can quickly get
full. One solution is to create a folder to use for group messages. All
messages sent to the group have a tag in the subject line [tanyackd] so
you can filter all messages from the group to a new folder using this tag
if you wish.
This means that you receive e-mails from the group, but
groups.io waits until there are about 25 messages available
and sends them to you all in one go. With this option, you would therefore
only receive 2-4 e-mails a day from the group, but it means you have to
wait for responses (though you can still check on the group website for
messages) and it can be more difficult to find what you are looking for
within each digest.
With both individual e-mail and message digest
options, you can also choose the format of messages sent to you, either Fully Featured (html, pretty colours etc.) or Traditional
(plain text, my favourite).
Web Only (No
This means that you receive no messages at all
from the group. This is a wise choice if you are using a work e-mail
address (though we would recommend that you use a private e-mail address), or if you cannot cope with the group's message volume. With this
system you simply go to the group's website and read the messages that
interest you there. Even if this is not your usual choice, it can be
helpful to use this option if you are going on holiday.
You should have been given a choice of message delivery
when you joined the group, but to make or change your choices, click on
the Your Groups link at the top left of the groups.io website, then click
on your message choice for the relevant group under the Delivery tab.
Message Options: Sending Messages
You don't have to post, you can just lurk if you
prefer. Nobody will know you are a member if you never send a message to
If you wish to send a post, these are your choices (you need to be
a member of the group to use them):
Starting a Discussion (Thread)
You can simply send an e-mail to ask your question by sending it to
You can go to the group website and click on the New
link to the left.
On the main group, you must use at least one hashtag in each discussion
thread's subject line. See below for more on this.
Hashtags are little markers that are used in the subject lines of every
post sent to the main support group (they are not necessary on the Loss
group). A hashtag consists of the # symbol plus a word with no gap between
the two, for example #nausea.
The purpose of hashtags is to make it easier for people to see which posts
they can help with, and to help people searching the archives for
information on particular topics. You can use more than one hashtag if you
wish, for example if you are writing about your cat with anaemia who is
not eating, you could use the subject line Fred has anamia and is not eating
You cannot create a hashtag yourself, there is an approved list of
hashtags available on the group's website. You must still use a subject
line, and the hashtag goes after the subject line.
Some people find the hashtags confusing at first, but
we had a vote and the majority of members wanted to keep them because they
find them helpful. Therefore you will need to use
them (groups.io will automatically reject any messages without at least
one hashtag, but you also can't use more than five).
Don't worry, you will soon get the hang of them.
Replying to an Existing Message
Messages sent in response to another message on the
group also go directly to the group, not to the individual to whom you are
replying. Therefore if you wish to respond to a message somebody else
has sent, you can simply click reply on your e-mail programme. If you reply via
the group website, you can click on the message on the Messages page, then
click reply which is top left above the message.
If you are changing the subject, or replying to a
Digest (which have the subject line of Digest No. xxx), please change the
subject line appropriately to something more meaningful. And please remove
everything in the body of the message except that to which you are replying. So
if, for example, somebody asks about anaemia, heart issues and pancreatitis,
and you are only responding to the paragraph about anaemia, please delete the
rest of the post about heart issues and pancreatitis.
If you wish to reply privately to somebody via the group
website, you will see a little envelope over on the right under the person's
name. If you click on that, your message will go to that person. If you wish to reply privately to somebody
via e-mail, you will need to press reply in your e-mail program, then delete
the group e-mail address and paste their personal e-mail address into the To:
You are welcome to discuss anything relating to
care of your CKD cat. We do have a few guidelines we ask people to follow
Please do not refer to vets or vet clinics by
name for legal reasons. Just say "my vet" or "Dr J".
Please do not ask for money or other donations.
Since this is a very busy group, we ask that
condolences are sent privately to the bereaved group member. Certain
other messages should also be sent privately e.g. birthday
congratulations, short "me too" messages, off topic posts etc, basically
anything likely to only be of benefit or interest to the person to whom
you are responding.
Please trim your posts, i.e. only include a short amount of the post to
which you are responding. If you use gmail, it may hide the rest of a
thread, so do please double check you have trimmed your post.
We do not accept links that use dropbox (for some strange reason, I cannot access such links).
When you first join the group, your messages
will be moderated for a short while. This means that they will not reach
the group immediately, but will first be read and approved by one of the
moderators. We do this to ensure that:
you are not a spammer;
you are keeping to other group guidelines
(e.g. not naming your vet publicly);
you are trimming your messages appropriately.
If you comply with the group guidelines sent to
you when you join the group, you will be taken off moderation quickly. The
main reason people stay on moderation is because they do not trim their
posts or use hashtags or subject lines incorrectly. So please read up on this in the group guidelines. If you get
stuck, just ask for help.
Some people decide to leave the group. Perhaps they
simply decide it's not the place for them, but the most common reason for
leaving is that people find the message volume is too much.
you're thinking of leaving simply because you cannot cope with message
volume, please consider
changing your message options first, such as by
going no mail. This
means your inbox will not be full, but you can still reach out for support
quickly when you need it.
Because Your Cat Has Died
If your cat has died, you may decide to leave the group. However, since we know how hard it is to lose a cat, we strongly
recommend that you join our CKD
Loss Sub-group (which welcomes anyone who has lost a cat, whether to CKD
or for some other reason), where people who know exactly how you feel can
help you with your grief journey.
Because the Loss group is a sub-group, you must
remain a member of the main CKD Support Group in order to access it;
however, you do not have to receive messages from the main group or visit
it at all.
Of course, you do not have to leave the main support
group if you would like to stay. Some kind members continue to post and help on
the main support group even after they have lost their cat. The choice is
I do hope you've decided to join Tanya's CKD Support Group! It can give you support, it can give you hope. It can make
you smile too — where else would people share your thrill at hearing that
your constipated cat has pooped? (Believe me, when you've been dealing
with CKD for a while, things like this are real triumphs which can
absolutely make your day).
I personally read every message sent to the group. I
don't respond to many posts these days (my priority is running this website)
but I do keep an eye on things and post occasionally if I can add to what
has already been said.
Group Quick Links
Some of these only work if you are already a
member of the group.
Sending a message to the group via e-mail:
Group owner e-mail address: email@example.com
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This page last updated: 13 September 2020
Links on this page last checked: 29 August 2020