Friday, February 14, 2020

Goodbye Sweet Norm (2006-2020)




We let our formerly feral Norm go to the Rainbow Bridge Thursday afternoon.  He had been winding down, losing weight and eating less over the past few months.  In April 2018 he was diagnosed with either IBD or lymphoma. He had swollen lymph nodes and a thickened intestine. After two vet consults, I decide against exploratory surgery to find out what is wrong.Often they don't find out anything and Norm would have to heal from surgery.









We got him eating again and moved him into our home from the cat house.  He thrived for a good year and a half but over time he was slowing down.  I had been treating him with natural remedies for cancer and IBD to cover all bases. Last year he had a bout of not eating in July but we got him going once again.  This time even with appetite stimulants, slippery elm and other things, he was not responding.  He had almost two years of quality life after his diagnosis.


Snowball giving Norm h*ll.



Snowball and Norm snuggling



Snowball after he came home form the vet hospital.  Norm was so happy.



What can I say about this great personable cat.  Living in the cat house he was a shy, reserved cat. Except for Snowball for some reason. They were not from the same litter (Snowball was the only survivor of Lily's first litter)  but he loved Snowball and was with him every second, much to Snowball's chagrin.  They fussed and fought but Snowball still let Norm be his buddy. I have a theory - that Norm secretly wanted to be head cat but Snowball was, so Norm accepted being was second in command.  

Eating with Snowball, and Sam

When Norm moved into the house without Snowball, he became the head cat he wanted to be - without even trying.  All the cats deferred to him or gave him a wide berth. He was never aggressive or pushy. He was not lonely as Woody was his litter mate and they often along with Tabitha napped together.  Norm's name came from the Cheers show - Norm, Sam and Woody were all in Lily's second  litter along with Georgie.  We had many nicknames for Norm - Normy, Norm Norm, and Norman as they called him at the vet.


Food face




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Norm always seemed to get food on his face when he ate and in later months he was not grooming as well so it was obvious. He would come into the kitchen and ask for his food.  Such a personality!

My nurse





Inside the house with us, Norm became an outgoing love bug who loved cuddles with us or the other cats. He disappeared when anyone came to visit..  He was still quiet but had a way of letting you know what the wanted. He snuggled with me on the bed when I was reading or not well.





The past few months he had taken to spending all his time with Woody and Tabitha - napping in a pile, coming on the bed to wake me up in the morning or sitting on the couch with Don.  I called them the three mouseketeers.  Norm loved being on the porch or looking out the window.






A few months back

Chester the Maine Coon mix we adopted in July 2019 became Norm nemesis.  Chester was not aggressive but I think was afraid of Norm even tho Norm was smaller.  When they met up in the hall, it became a silly game of who would let the other by first.  Norm never really did anything except maybe stare intensely at Chester but Chester would get all worked up and dash by Norm.  Often even swatting Norm but Norm just ignored him.

Norm watching Chester



Norm and Chester in the hall

A rare time when both were on the porch but the door to the house was open in case.


I thought I would let Norm go last week but he rallied over the weekend with appetite stimulants.  By Wednesday I could see he was floundering, and getting weaker.  He was spending all his time sleeping in out of the way places cozy places and not coming out to eat.  On his final day, he slept on the bed with Woody.  Don and I spent time with him and told him how much we loved him. 

Norm Thursday with Woody  - you can see how much weight he lost.


We usually have the vet come to the house but he was booked until Monday.  We did not think Norm would make it until then so we drove him to our other vet.  Norm sat on my lap and enjoyed the sun on him and curiously watching people and things go by.  Don said he was surveying his options as to what he would return to life as. He dosed a bit before we arrived at the vet.

Norm's grave

 His passing was very peaceful in a room with a lovely wooded view. I was leaning over him sending Reiki and love with his head cradled in my hand.  I think he was  gone as soon as they administered the sedative.  He is buried with some catnip and treats (his favorites) in our cat cemetery next to Only who passed a year ago next week.  We will miss this quiet mancat so much.  I know his momcat Lily and siblings Georgie and Only were there to welcome him to the other side. This is the hardest thing about rescue - to have to say goodbye to so many wonderful animals.


Lily with Only, Norm and Georgie

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Godspeed Rosa (2005 - 2019)



Yesterday morning Rosa left this earthly plane to be reunited with her mom Mamacita and her brother Manny at the Rainbow Bridge at the young age of 14.

A recent shot showing her weight loss.

Rosa's appetite had been off for a couple of weeks so last week we had the mobile vet look at her.  Her urine showed bacteria in it and her blood work was a bit wonky probably due to an infection.  She was put on antibiotics but did not improve so the vet stopped by on Monday to take an x-ray of her tummy and organs.  She had fluid in her abdomen but no noticeable masses. Her belly had increased quite a bit in size since last week. The vet took a sample of her belly fluid when he drained it, sending it off to the lab.  The results were inconclusive but with her symptoms he assumed it was cancer. The past week she was incontinent, not eating or drinking on her own and the last night she gagged when I tried to feed her.  When she began to have trouble breathing  we made an appointment for the vet to come on Friday.

Don and I spent her last morning with her, telling her how much we loved her and what a wonderful girl she was.  I asked the spirits of Mamacita and Manny to be with us to comfort and guide Rosa in her passing.  The vet sedated Rosa as she lay on the sofa next to me. She purred while I gave her Reiki and she seemed to let go before the last injection was given.  Rosa is buried next to Only and Sweetpea in our pet cemetery with wildflowers marking her spot until I order her gravestone. Rosa was the last of our black cats.


We caught Rosa back in 2005 as a tiny kitten along with her brother Manny and mom Mamacita.  The two kittens were living in a rickety old shed on our neighbors land,  Both little ones had severe URI's. I knew they had to be caught and treated or would not survive the infections.  The little family lived in our bathroom for several weeks while I administered the eye ointment and antibiotics to the kittens.  

Rosa is in the center between Manny right and Mamacita left.

I knew they were getting better when while playing they accidentally turned on the bathtub facet and got all the bedding in there wet!  They were so wild!  We got them spayed and neutered and moved them to our kitty room in the house.  (Manny later died in 2007 from complications due to a urinary infection and blockage.)

Rosa with Angel Georgie

Rosa was a shy quiet little girl who grew up to be a plus sized ladycat like her mom. She was a big girl with a tiny meow!  As a youngster. Rosa gradually made friends with the white kitties who were a year younger than her.  Once we moved to our present house, she became more attached to her mom, never leaving her side for the first few years.


Hiding form guests.

They were the kitties no one ever saw since they ran and hid when we had company.Both remained quite feral even thought we had them for over a dozen years. We could pet them but not handle them to pick up or carry.


Rosa and her mom

Rosa and her mom would cuddle and groom each other gently but then the emotions would become too intense and a scuffle would ensue with both cats in a swatting battle!  Poor Mamacita never got a break from Rosa.

Rosa making biscuits on Mamacita the lazy way
Rosa loved to be toasty warm, sitting in the sun, looking out the window or getting fresh air on the porch. Her favorite place in the winter was right on our Monitor heater!





On the screen porch


On the heater!

Christmas was a fun time for her and she would sit next to the tree and stare into the lights. 


 Rosa and her mom preferred to sit on the same chair in the living room.  Often Rosa would hang her front paws of the chair arm to watch golf on TV with Don.


Watching golf!


As all cats, Rosa enjoyed napping in the pile of fresh from the dryer laundry before I put it away.  problem was she got black furs all over it all!


When Mamacita passed
last June I was worried that Rosa would not adapt but she became more social with the others, especially Woody and Tabitha and sought us out when we were in the living room.  Don was the first to get up in the mornings and often Rosa would sit on the sofa with him, enjoying her one on one time..  Soon all the others would pile on there too, getting in on the loving.

With Tabitha and Woody

 
With the gang in the mornings
We took special care to make sure Rosa was included in everything as much as she felt comfy with.  At meal times, I would call her name and she would pop up out of her napping spot to answer me. I would fix her a plate of food and bring it to her.  If she wanted another flavor, she would sniff and back up a bit. It was my cue to try something else.  When she was ready to eat but not in that spot, she would run over to her chair or her nook under the counter and wait for me to bring the plate over.  She had us well trained!



We will miss her quiet gentle presence in our home. I know that Rosa and her little family are together once again and watching over all of us until we meet again.

I leave you with a sweet video of Rosa...




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.






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