Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Farewell Only (2006 - 2019)

Only crossed the Rainbow Bridge peacefully a few days ago at home nestled on my lap while the vet gave him his final injection.

Only Christmas 2018

We noticed last summer that Only had lost some weight and muscle mass. No other symptoms were evident. The vet checked him out and his blood work was fine. No tumors were felt and the scan did not show anything amiss.  A GI panel showed his B12 and folate low - an indication of either IBD or lymphoma.  We began a protocol of B12 shots, prednisolone and CBD oil with herbal and nutritional immune boosters. Being a rescue, we could not afford chemo for him, so we did not want to subject him to exploratory surgery.  We treated it as if it was lymphoma, the worst case scenario and hoped for the best.

Only a couple of weeks ago

 None of his treatments worked for long term. He began to lose more weight. Hiss appetite dropped severely and he developed diarrhea in his last few weeks.  We suspected cancer and knew the end was approaching. Only enjoyed his last days, going out on the porch, napping on Don's lap,  and cuddling with his siblings.

Only had a larger than life personality.  He was our Eddie Haskill (from the old TV show Leave it to Beaver) - always causing trouble with the other cats but acting all innocent when we came into the picture. 

Only sitting on Lily

When Don got the cat food ready, Only would get on the shelf above the counter and persistently tap Don's hat as if  he was saying "Hurry up".  If Only wanted to sit someplace other cats had already acquired, nothing fazed him.  He would just plunk himself down and put up with bites, swats and abuse until the other cat or cats left.  Only always got what he wanted.

Only on the right
Only in front with his litter mates and Lily

Even his name was unique.  As kittens, born under our back porch in Lily's third and final litter, Only and two litter mates were all white with smudges of black on their heads like paint got smeared  
on them. Two Spot had two smudges of black, Smidge has just a trace of black and Only had only one smudge - thus the name Only.  Little did we know that these bits of black fur would fade away as they got older!

Only in front, Two Spot behind

Only and Two Spot

Only bonded with Two Spot as kittens.  They were inseparable, even sleeping together.  All ears and long thin bodies. Two peas in a pod. When we caught them to bring them inside as young cats, we trapped them together before we caught the other cats and Lily.

Only with Two Spot

Only had large bedroom eyes - sleepy and intensely green.  I called him my Lounge Lizard.  I could see him making girls swoon, playing some musical instrument in a bar if he was a human.

Only loved to cuddle with us or his siblings but was very shy with others or if there was any unfamiliar noise.  He hid at the first sign of something new - burrowed under blankets, opened the old cabinet and hid in it.  Once at the vet Only tried to hide in the basket of dog toys before the vet came into the room.

Only with the whitesters

Under a blanket

In the toy box
A few weeks ago

We were his family and with us he was so easy going.  He would patiently let me pose him for holiday photos.  He even came when I called his name.  He even came for his nicknames - Only Baloney, Own Balone.

Only's gift to us was his ability to be totally himself all the time. He answered to no one but himself. He even had a goofy walk uniquely his, wiggling his hips from side to side.  Only was extraordinarily, uncommonly, singularly himself.

Snuggling with Tabitha on his last day.

On his last day, he was very unsteady on his feet but still stopped to play with his ball, and used the cat scratcher on the floor. I spoke to our animal communicator and she said Only wanted to be with the cats outside in the shelter one last time.  We had moved only inside with us a few months ago to better care for him. Don swaddled him in a fleece blanket and carried him out to see Snowball, Two Spot and the others.  Only seemed to settle down a bit once he had been with them.  

Napping on Don

We took turns talking to him, loving him up and telling him how much we will miss him. He napped on the sofa next to Don or myself.  Once the vet came, things went so peacefully and quietly.  Only was gone in a second.  We buried him with his favorite toy, wrapped in a soft fleece throw in a grave above Darby on our land with a red rose on his grave. We will get a stone with his name and dates in a few months.

We will never forget our little man and his enormous personality. We love you and miss you so much!
Until we meet again dear Only.

If you cannot see this go here.


Saturday, August 4, 2018

Go With Bast, Sweetpea 1999 - 2018

Sweetpea had been declining these past  few weeks in spite of increasing her sub c fluids to twice a day. Her symptoms indicated either liver issues or lymphoma.  Due to her age and frailty, we decided against testing and opted to let her go before she suffered more.  We had the vet come to the house yesterday afternoon and her passing was peaceful.  I held her in my lap with her head cradled in my hand as she crossed over.

Recently eating baby food.

This past week we pampered her with fresh salmon, grilled hamburg and other favorite foods which she ate with gusto.  She even played with her feather toy if only for a few minutes.  She asked to go out on the porch and enjoyed the fresh air. It was as if she was doing everything one last time. She spent a lot of time on our laps even tho she was not much for that normally.  We refrained from giving fluids and meds for the last two days - she was resisting them lately and we preferred to not upset her.

As a kitten

Sweetpea was a feisty girl  from the get go as tiny as she was.  I noticed her with the feral colony back in the winter of 2000 - a tiny fierce kitten with matted fur and skin issues. She was all black, long haired with a white locket of fur on her chest and long white ear tufts.  After a heavy snowfall Sweetpea and the others didn't show up at the feeding station for a few days and I was worried sick about her. I made plans to trap her as soon as she came back.


Sweetpea was the first of this feral group to be brought indoors. She was so wild that the vet who examined her had to sedate her to do it.  Still groggy from the sedative, we bathed her at home in the bathroom sink and treated her skin.  Sweetpea spent weeks in the bathroom while we worked hard to tame her.

Kitten Sweetpea in her bathroom

Once she accepted us and life inside, we introduced her to our two cat Chica and Yoko, ages 7 and 6 at that time, respectively.  Sweetpea was so in your face with a larger than life personality, she intimidated the two older cats. Eventually they all adjusted. 

Sweetpea on left, Chica and Yoko

Sweetpea was very independent, innovative and self sufficient.  Her tiny size was not an obstacle for her.  She had minimal jumping skills but she could hook her claws on to something and shimmy up to where she wanted to be. Climbing was her super talent and she used it often.  During her first Christmas inside with us, she found a quiet spot to nap in the upper branches of the Christmas tree.  I panicked thinking she got out but finally found her there sound asleep, hardly visible being black.

Her extra long fangs showed

She preferred to be up high and I would find her on the top of bookshelves, cabinets etc. She had a habit of falling asleep sitting up and would fall off her high perch to land safely right side up on the floor wondering how she got there. 

With Chica and Don in 2000

She chose when and where we could pet her.  She came to us when she wanted affection.  She preferred Don for some reason.  I think it was because he ate meat and I didn't.  Sweetpea would sit next to him as he ate with her paws on his leg or TV table waiting for a bite.

A few weeks ago

She was inquisitive and very playful. Everything was a game to her. I caught her once sitting on my dresser puling the clothes out of the partially opened drawer and dropping them on the floor!  She loved helping me make the beds, hiding under the sheets or chasing the billowing sheets as I spread them on the bed. Sweetpea played "attack" with the clothes on the drying rack while laying on the floor.  She did this with our jackets over the back of the kitchen chair.

Playing on a chair

Rearranging my dresser drawers

Playing with the laundry

In 2016 she was diagnosed with late stage renal disease and severe hyperthyroidism.  The vet did not think she had much time left as she could not tolerate the meds for hyperthyroid cats.  I found herbal blends to treat both and she did well on them with sub c fluids for two years. Last fall she began losing weight and muscle tone.  She stopped grooming and we had monthly appointments to let the vet trim her wonky claws and  shave her mats. I knew she was winding down but her indomitable spirit was still in her.  I called her my Energizer Bunny as she kept going and going.

Pensive moment recently

We spoke to an animal communicator this past week and Sweetpea was ready to go to Spirit.  She was tired and felt that all I was doing for her was not helping her be comfortable anymore. She asked to pass at home with us  and that was how we did it. Sweetpea was the last of my first feral colony.  I hope that they were all there to welcome her to the other side. She lives on in both of our hearts until we meet again.

Her grave

Sweetpea's gift to us was her ability to live in the moment and always find joy each day no matter how sick she was.  She loved life and would have liked to stay with us longer but it was not meant to be.  She is buried next to Darby above Mamacita in our pet cemetery.  Losing three within six weeks has taken a toll on me. Bear with me as I get back to you with thanks for your support and comments during this sad time.

Our cemetery

Monday, July 2, 2018

Slan Darby Until We Meet Again (2000 - 2018)

Darby threw a clot on Sunday afternoon July 1st.  She had been diagnosed with hyperthyroid in December 2017 but in May she was having trouble breathing.  The vet put her on Lasiz to drain the fluid around her heart.  She was feeling better but last week we took her in again as she was coughing and wheezing.  The fluids were gone in her chest so the x-ray gave us more information - she had an enlarged heart - cardiomyopahty.  Her blood pressure was normal, as was her thyroid. Along with the Lasix and Enalapril, the vet prescribed a very low dose of aspirin to prevent clots.  She had a good few days but then Sunday morning I noticed she was very restless even tho her breathing was normal. She wanted to be off the bed so I put her on the floor. She was walking in circles, falling over. She had had a stroke/a clot in the brain.

Darby terrorized poor Yoko in her early years.

We took her in to the emergency vet. They were very busy as usual. While we were waiting to be seen, Darby had a saddle thrombosis.  Both Don and I were holding her when the vet gave her the final injection.  I had hoped to spare her this pain and confusion but it was not meant to be.

Just after her spaying

Darby was a little spitfire of a cat from the beginning. A neighbor alerted us during the winter of 2000 that a small grey and white cat was living under our rental house in the crawlspace.  We began putting food out for her and were able to trap her on St Patrick's Day.  Because she would chase off all other cats outside, I thought she was a boy and named her Darby.  Once she was spayed I realized my gender mistake but the name stuck.

Celebrating her Gotcha Day

Darby took a long time to tame, spending weeks in our bathroom while we worked with an animal behaviorist to calm her fears.  She would swat our hands if they came to close.  We eventually got to pet her through a towel and then just with out hands.  She still was quick to swat if she did not like what we were doing to her.  She did bond with me over playing and petting.  She preferred people to our cats. She tolerated the other cats more so in the past few years.

Darby loved playing with a ribbon, catching it with her paw as it flew over her.  She napped in the funniest places - perched high on several pillows in the spare room like the Princess and the Pea story.  Often she slept face down in our clean laundry, snoring, whistling and chirping as she dosed. 

A favorite game she liked was when the sun came in the western side of the house in the bedroom I would make shadow puppets on the wall for her to chase. She would go and sit on the bed, waiting for the puppet show to start even on cloudy days! She also delighted in the laser toy, chasing hte red dot until she was pooped.

Catching the red dot

Playing shadow puppets with me

These last few weeks, Darby enjoyed sitting in the bedroom window watching the birds and goats outside. The window had always been a favorite place to sit.  In autumn, she would try to catch the leaves as they fell in front of the window from the maple tree outside.

The other cats were afraid of her - she would run at them growling and swat them. if Darby wanted the couch , no one dared to sit there so she would have it to herself.  Her favorite place was the office chair  at my computer desk.  We had to share the chair with her or let her sit next to the computer if we wanted to work there.

My Princess and her Pea

We were treated to a free session with an animal psychic for the blog in 2014.  This is what she said about Darby then - She described Darby as a happy cat who gives much love back to us: she is very affectionate. Nancy did not see anything negative with Darby.  She stated that Darby had deep feelings and was very intuitive.  Darby can pick up on things without being told - she reads our energy.  In this way she felt that Darby is a healer, a cat that stays with us when we are not feeling well.  Nancy explained that Darby needed companionship, to be constantly reassured.  She learned to be quick and very sharp living on her own outside before we took her in.  She can take care of herself in spite of her small size. 

By Lou Belcher

Darby was beautiful with tuxie markings and eyes that were either green or gold depending on the light.  Artists and blogger Lou Belcher did a drawing of her a few years back.  I will treasure it always.

Sitting in her window recently.

I thought we had more time after last week's vet visit and so did the vet.  My time was spent caring for her, making sure she got all her meds each morning and evening.  Sweetpea is the last of the older cats.  The house seems so empty now. 

Darby is buried with her blue paid ribbon next to Mamacita and Mr. Kitty on our land. I will always remember my feisty little grey tuxie for all of my years.  Until we meet again sweet girl..

PS - I apologize for not visiting all who commented on Mamacita's post here and on Facebook.  I will get to all of you eventually but my heart needs to heal from all this loss.  Thank you for stopping by and for caring.



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