its been an eventful weekend already. this will be a lengthy post … so be ready.
it started thursday morning. i had maggie and thor in the cat room, where they go on their own now when i nudge them a bit, and usually wait patiently. as i was bringing nozi in thor did the unexpected and broke his pattern. he dashed out of the room. when he did, my reaction was to try to shut the door before he reached it. he got mostly clear of the door … all but his tail. ouch! well of course he cried out, but ran again when i reopened the door. he didnt act any differently than he ever does when trying to escape the inevitable, and ran back into his room after a lap around the house. that evening when we got home, we saw he was acting like he had a problem. his poor tail had a gash in it, and was obviously paining him. so next morning, since the beau was on the first day of his first week vacation, after dropping me off at work, dropped thor off at the vets. he had a dental on his plan, so the doc put him under, cleaned his teeth, and stitched up his tail while he was out. that little ten pounds of cat is all muscle, and like a small tiger when he doesnt want to cooperate. we had to give him a rinse off when we got him home, as he had pissed in his carrier. that was more difficult than i thought with him still loopy from the anesthesia. maybe worse as he was all freaked out from being dizzy. we got through it mostly unscathed, except for the scratches on the beaus hand. then off to the cage to recoup.
this is the second tail we have had to have repaired this year. gizmo had his tail bitten by nozi in a scuffle not long ago. it gave him quite the abscess, which he licked enough to drain it, and then the vet cleaned it and bandaged it. his was bandaged for over a week, and had to have wet and then dry compresses, along with antibiotics. but he left his tail alone, and didnt need to wear the collar which he wouldnt stand for any way. thors tail, on the other hand, is in open air, and he wont leave the stitches alone, so we have to put the collar on him, and keep the little tiger caged because he runs all over the house banging into everything with the collar on.
friday wasnt over yet. we had purchased a storm door from lowes, and scheduled the installation for friday, when the beau would be home. apparently, for a 36″ door they will send the contractor out to pre measure the door jam to make sure there will be a good fit before you ever buy the door. but for a 32″ such as ours, they do not consider it necessary. i dont know why. the contractor took one look at our doorway and knew it was not going to fit. the door wouldnt fit into the recess properly. this caused us no little trouble. it was my early friday, so i was off work by then, and at my hair appointment when the contractor arrived on schedule at home. so he and the beau, most displeased by now, went to lowes to see what alternatives were possible. none of the doors were suitable, mostly because they either wouldnt fit as well, or were not what we wanted. the beau was really pissed off when he found out about the pre measure policy for larger installs, because he wasnt even told he could choose that as an option. it is standard on the larger doors, but available on the smaller ones for a mere $35. available, that is, if youre told about it. which we were not. so the clerk that sold us the door made the decision to save us $35 without even asking us. this resulted in the beau, and me too really, being really irate, demanding a refund, and getting $100 cash from the store manager for all the trouble it caused us, the time it used up unprofitably, and the personal aggravation. so we did not get the door installed, we did not have time to work on getting stuff ready for the neighborhood garage sale happening the next day, and we still had to bring thor home from the vet.
saturday went better than i thought it would. the beau took some boxes to the post office, and by the time he got back there were hundreds of people going from house to house that had sales going on. we werent ready at all, but started putting stuff out anyway. people started coming up and buying stuff before we even got things organized. it was crazy, but in a good way. we made over $200 in the first couple of hours, and got rid of a lot of stuff, and all with a later start than every one else.
so now its sunday morning, and we have no plans except going out to the bass pro shop later today. i still have today, monday, and tuesday off, and the beau is off till next monday. a well deserved vacation too. we both have had really busy days at work.
ahhh … long weekends.
cats have much more to them than people often think. at least mine do. let me introduce you to the furrier members of my family.
gizmo – favorite pastimes are bugging us in the bathroom, eating ice cream, and chewing on plastic.
this is the little prince of the house. he is going on 10yrs now, he came to us right after our little 8yr old siamese died of heart failure. we were in shock from it, and werent planning to get another cat, but the vet where we were inquiring about her sudden death had this little drop off in her arms. he was about 2 months old, and suffered from malnutrition. he was fearless, quite the jumper, and had these enormous ears. she handed him to me, and he captured my heart. he had a voracious appetite, and soon was looking sleek and healthy. but he was really demanding of attention, and his way. he doesnt comprehend the word ‘no’. he thinks it means ‘now’. we call him sassy, and saucy boy (among other names) because of his attitude. he really thinks he’s a prince.
maggie pie – favorite pastimes are stalking nozomi, insisting i pet her now, and competing for ice cream.
we found this one while on a walk one day down by the river. there among the river stones was a rock with copper eyes. then it meowed. and it was fluffy. that was about 8 years ago. she let us pet her, and obviously wanted loving, but was skittish too. we tricked her, and caught her, and brought her home. i gave her the only bath i ever have given her, which she took surprisingly well. her eyes are copper in the sun, but emerald in the house. she lives in a world of her own. we call her crazy maggie, because she can be so, uh, nuts. she often comes up to me and meows in this clearly inquisitive tone, asking to be petted. but if i pick her up, her voice instantly changes to a clearly perturbed complaint of ‘nooo!’ and she has a whole dictionary of syllables she says. sometimes she will come into the bathroom when im in there, lay down and flip over, and then get up and walk back out.
thor – favorite pastimes are stealing warm spots just vacated, cuddling with nozi, and being a tease.
we brought thor home from the plant where the beau works before his eyes were open. he and his littermates were about 3 weeks old, and their mother had been killed. he found homes for the rest, but this one was really vocal. he said he liked that about him. we weaned him, and maggie helped raise him – or maybe just enjoyed playing with him. he was tough to feed from a bottle, because he was feral enough by birth, and just got all frantic. he has always been full of energy, and used to jump 5-6 straight up during play time. he still likes to play, and loves the laser pointer best. he runs from me when he thinks i want him for something, but will come up to on his own to be petted. he doesnt like to be held. he’s a beefy 10lbs + with a sissy little ‘mee?’ voice. he loves all the other cats, and the dog. he thinks he is a tiger.
nozomi – favorite pastimes are eating and being held.
nozi is our special needs kitty. her DNA was a bit scrambled when her mother ingested some antipsychotic drugs during pregnancy, and she has a hair lip and isnt real bright. she has one syllable that she says … a lot. she really likes to be held, and likes thor. the other two have been less than civil to her, so she is defensive to them. she can hold her own, and bit gizmo on the tail giving him an abscess. he doesnt pick fights with her anymore. maggie likes to stalk her about once a week, and then they scream at each other. its an unearthly sound. then its over. i can delay it when i see maggie gearing up, but she will follow thru eventually. i figure they are discussing princess status. we call her our chupacabra.
cinnamon – favorite pastimes are eating, playing, and sleeping on her bed.
cinnamon is all about playing and eating. she’s silly and she knows it. i think. when we are having dinner, she is either begging for a scrap or guarding our meal from the cats. she guards the grocery bags while im putting stuff away too. she likes being outside, but only when its nice out. fair weather dog. her first home was a lot with a small bare doghouse with a 6 foot chain holding her to it. she has a nice dry bed now. she’s all dog, but is happy to be part of a pack made up of cats and people.
thats the main body of our household. its never dull here.
it occurred to me today that i have to let my friends – or i should say sammys friends – grieve her passing too. not that i wouldnt. but when i dropped off gizmo for re bandaging his tail, and cinnamon for vaccinations, one of the girls i hadnt seen since her passing came out to say hello. she asked how i was, and spoke of her affection for sammy.
at the vet clinic she was a star. everyone loved her, and thought she was amazing for her fortitude, her happy mood, her attitude. she was always a real people kitty, preferring humans to other cats. however in her older years, she warmed up to spook, who passed four years ago, and more recently thor, who adored her. but she remained very drawn to people.
myself, i had been passing through the grief for a couple of months already before she faded. since her diagnosis of diabetes, she had had several episodes of a strange kind of seizure that rocked her for several moments, much like epilepsy. it always left her kind of unsteady for a few hours, and each time left her hind legs with a little more neuropathy. otherwise she always recovered. they werent too frequent, at least. then in early january we came home to find her hypothermic, rather stiff and unable to stand. she still had an appetite, and seemed in her ever good spirits in spite of it. i fed her, and bathed her in warm water, and we sat with her by the fire till she was all toasty again. she still seemed limp, even so. and her legs were a little worse again. that night, i held her on my chest while i tried to sleep, but i cried quietly into my pillow while she slept soundly. that night, thats when i really let go. i had let go for her sake long ago, letting her know i would let her go when she was ready to go, but would do all i could to help her along till that time. but that one night i faced the reality that i would go on living without her soon. and i grieved most of the night. every day after that was a step in the process. when the time finally came, i had already gone through much of the anguish, and was braced for the inevitable passing of my little gray companion. it still stung, but i was alright.
so when i encountered a girl who was still stinging from the loss of one of her favorite patients, i was almost surprised. maybe i just didnt realize how much some of them adored her. it touched me. so, i retraced my own steps a little, and grieved again, with her.
i will remember this, the next time i must face the loss of a loved one, that i must allow others to grieve the loss as well, and join them in it to help them through it. grief is something we all face alone in some ways, but we also share it with those with whom we share the loss. God said we as believers didnt have to grieve as the world grieves, but He didnt say we wouldnt ever encounter it. rather, it didnt have to be that debilitating thing that cripples some, and wounds many, and destroys a few. He goes through that valley of tears with us from the inside out, and enables us to face the demons of loss and conquer them. its way more then merely easing our emotional distress. its an empowering of the highest kind. it changes our perspective, and that can make all the difference in the world.
im beginning to get used to being without my little gray companion of 18 years. sort of. my time had really been wrapped around her the last 7 years since she was diagnosed with diabetes. im still getting up at 330 am to get my shower before i get the beau up at 4, since he is working 6 to 430 all week while one of the guys is on vacation. normally he only goes in this early on wednesdays. for so long i got up to get her breakfast, then i got ready, and then i got the beau up so he could get ready for work. only on weekends i went back to bed for a couple of hours. ive really never kept a conventional schedule anyway. i may not be able to sleep later than 330 for a while. i still wake up between 12 and 2 am, when sammy would wake up and have to use her box, since most nights she slept with me. when she could get around on her own easily she got up on her own. but the bed is high, and after she began to get a bit too old to jump down safely, i got up and took her to her cage, where she spent the rest of the night. now the cage is empty. but i still wake up. i still have to go right home after work to let the dog out, and feed everyone. but it isnt as urgent anymore.
im getting used to the new glasses too. took about a week to learn to see with them. and a few adjustments to make them fit right. i havent got any pictures taken yet, but i will. i do like them. the most dramatic thing was the depth perception difference. i had to be careful going down stairs, because it was quite different and i wasnt sure where to step. but ive got it now. bifocals. a whole new outlook.
the office manager is retiring in two years, so she has made some changes at work. some of her duties have been delegated between two coworkers, but she is still the boss. i dont know who will be the new OM after she leaves. as long as its not me. not that i couldnt do it, but i dont want to be boss over my coworkers. i would rather come in completely new to a place as manager.
everything else seems more dramatic than it is because my personal space is so different. i have always had cats, and still have four now. they are pets, and i love them dearly. but sammy was more than a pet. she was my companion. she loved me more than just wanting attention. she missed me when i was gone. she greeted me when i came home. she followed me around, and loved me to hug her. she kissed me often. she always answered me when i called her name. she shared yogurt with me. she enjoyed my singing. she slept with me. she trusted me. she really loved me.
sammy has the strongest will to live of any cat i have ever known. all she has been through, and she refuses to leave. even the vets where we take her say ‘that cat is going to live forever’. i know that will not be the case forever, but i believe when she does go, it will be peacefully and not because of sickness.
most recently she contracted a respiratory virus, which settled in her sinuses and eyes, with it came a fever, and loss of appetite. at 5 lbs she cant afford to lose her appetite. she lost even more weight, and became listless. this twisted me up of course. we had some antibiotics on hand, and she improved after we gave her some – because of course this happened on the weekend, and our vets isnt open on sunday. still, getting her eat was a challenge for several days. i have often fallen back on force feeding plain yogurt at times like this. this morning she ate like normal almost. and the virus is gone, and almost all the symptoms are gone. shes doing much better, almost like her old self again.
its funny and sad at the same time to watch her walk. she has some neuropathy from the diabetes, and her back legs are weakened, so she shuffles along. when i pick her up, her legs dangle. it doesnt really slow her down though, she still follows me around like the puppy cat she has always been. her eyes are cloudy looking now, but she seems to be able to see as well as ever. a good deal of my life is spent in caring for her now.
i have had many cats in my lifetime. most have been pets. and one always has some kind of relationship with their cats, if they love them. but sammy has been a friend to me as well. we have a bond i havent had with any other animal ive ever cared for. she has cared for me in return, and has been as devoted as one sees in good dogs. she knows she is loved.
eighteen years we have had this friendship. when i do have to say good by, its going to be very hard indeed.
LiveJournal Tags: cats
since 2001, when sammy was first diagnosed with diabetes, many things have changed in my way of life. back then we also had spook, lee’s black cat of the same age. they were both fourteen then. spook, because of tartar and resulting gingivitis, developed acute kidney failure and almost died. the vet gave us two days at best. that’s when we first began to stand on psalm 145. we claimed spooks life back, and he recovered, although we did have to give him a new diet to accommodate his loss of kidney function. he went on to live for two more years.
sammy, during this time, was contending with the diabetes, or rather the treatment of it. we tried humulin, and she kept crashing. she was on a restricted calorie diet because she was overweight, and she was constantly hungry because of the insulin. she became dehydrated, and then her kidneys and her liver crashed, she got down to 4lbs, and she nearly died. we continued to stand on psalm 145, and she began to recover. eventually we settled on .5mg of glipizide before meals, twice daily. this, and lee’s work schedule, resulted in my getting up early every morning to feed the two elderly cats before getting him up to get ready for work. a schedule i still maintain, even though spook is no longer with us.
recently i had to put her on insulin again, because her kidneys began to fail again. she had been on a low carb high protein kitten food diet along with the oral medication to keep her blood sugar down, and it was working fine. but years of high protein had taken a toll on her kidneys. this meant a new diet for her, sort of upsetting the balance we had maintained for so long. the new diet was lower in protein, but higher in carbs. i was apprehensive about the insulin, but now feline insulin was available. she tolerated it well, and we moved on again. soon we had to start giving her subcutaneous fluids at home, because her kidneys dont do an adequate job hydrating her. so she gets 200ml three times a week.
another thing a diabetic cat encounters is neuropathy. her hind legs do not work like they used to. she walks okay, but her hind legs do not have the strength they once had. this also contributes to some recent incontinence. its all because of nerve damage due to the higher levels of glucose that we cant avoid now. she sleeps on the couch in the evenings, after dinner, and sleeps so deeply she doesnt know she has to pee. she starts to pee before she wakes up. this is a problem, obviously. she can get into the big litterbox, but doesnt always make it all the way in before she starts to go. so i have a rug under the box, with a rubber bathmat under the rug, to save my wood floor. she has been hard on the floors over the last seven years. it works out, but there is the couch to consider now.
so, i looked up pet diapers online – handicapedpets.com – and found a site that offers a free sample to try first. i ordered one for sammy, xs plus up to 4lbs. of course.
ah how things have changed for sammy and me over the years. but i will continue to do what i must for her to live comfortably and retain as much freedom of movement as possible. she is more than a pet to me. she is, on many levels, my friend.
its saturday, and my second four day weekend in a row. i have a few more days vacation around Christmas, and then the year begins all over again. i like saturdays. the world opens up to me on saturday.
yesterday i washed the canine and feline kanji off the windows while the beau organized the computer room. he isnt done yet, but he made much progress. this room hadnt been really organized since we moved in, because we were focused on the rest of the house first.
nosomi is in the hallway singing to her plastic milk carton ring. she loves to carry it around and caterwaul. its ridiculously funny. the feline hierarchy has turned out as i predicted. thor loves her, and they play together all the time. gizmo doesnt like her, but he doesnt like any of the other cats too much. maggie sometimes likes her and attempts to play, and sometimes is her little psycho self and runs up at her, hisses, and runs off. nosi is likely to let out a most unearthly banshee screech at such times. usually late at night. cinnamon just keeps track of every one, and then wants to play with us.
i went out once yesterday to price an iron arch i had seen in a shop near here. it looks like a good item to make the head board i need so i can turn the bed diagonal in the bedroom. they are asking $249 for it. i am still considering it. its a black wrought iron, simple, and about the right size. i didnt measure it, although i probably should have. it looks right. a regular head board for a king sized bed will be too wide. the problem is how to attach it so it will be a back for the pillows, since the bed wont be flush up against the wall. hmmm …
the weather has finally gotten cold, and the sky this morning is overcast. much to my liking. its not that i dont like the sun. i just get tired of it. cloudy days offer a whole other feeling to the world. i welcome the cold as well. now i can get out my boots, my sweaters, and the long stockings that i love.
today i must tackle the remaining few boxes in the front room. with them cleared out, i can finally finish putting up mirrors and pictures, and get my workout room ordered to my liking. the beau probably thinks i have lost interest in my treadmill. but i havent. that, like everything else, has to have a routine for it. i am looking forward to getting this last thing done. pictures to come, of course.
i am pleased to say that i have maintained my 15lb loss of weight, and am about to shed more. i have a goal to reach 130lbs. i like that weight. one of my coworkers believes once you reach a certain age certain things have to happen. i do not subscribe to that thinking. i believe all things are possible to him who believes.
well, im off to my tasks.
this quiet green reflects how i feel at last. there are still a few things to put away, or hang, or find a place for. there is mail to sort, warrantees to file, magazines to read or put somewhere. and there is still some sweeping to do in the front room. but for the most part, its home now. and i love it. i look around me every day, and thank God for this beauteous place. its beginning to sink in that its really mine.
sammy is at the vets today, having had her teeth cleaned. the doc also took a bone marrow sample to send off for review, as she has become quite anemic. i find myself bracing, knowing every day with her is a gift these days. the results should be back in a couple of days, they tell me. as always, as long as she tells me she wants to live, i will continue to do what i must to help her to be at her best. i still use my faith as my primary, nay, really my only source of help. but if she gets tired, when she is ready, i will let her go. i wont keep her here just to soothe my feelings.
on a lighter note, nosomi is fitting in fine. there are still some kinks to be worked out in the order of cats, but mostly everything is settled. gizmo tried his paw at putting her in her place a week ago, feeling a bit jealous he was. he stalked her three times before they lit into each other. she promptly kicked his butt. a bit humbled, he has given her as much respect as he is capable of since.
cinnamon is doing fine as an only dog. she keeps tabs on the cats, and has the run of most of the house during the day. now its the cats who have their own room, and are kept in it while we are at work. seems to be working out well.
today, tomorrow, and wednesday i have off, so i am getting little details taken care of around the house. and the beau has many items to list, so his evenings will be spent on line for the next few days.
i have missed my time here, and while im home i quite plan to make up lost time! pictures to be forthcoming.