Sunday, August 28, 2016

Aug. 28 - Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day 2016

On our second annual Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day we want to honor  those beloved animals who came into our lives, changed them and left indelible marks on our souls for however short or long they were with us.  Thank you to Deb Barnes of Zee and Zoey blog fame, for hosting this special day.


Because this is such a hard post to write, I am reposting the copy from last year and adding a few more names to it.  I have lost so many cats (and dogs) over the years with more to go as they age.  This, to me, is the only drawback of rescuing animals. But with each heartache comes a special gift or lesson that each animal has for us.

Micky and me

I have a few memories of my mother's dog, Micky, a purebred cocker spaniel who passed when I was a toddler.  My mother told me so many stories of him that I feel like I did know him.  She was so worried about bringing me home after having Micky as the only dog/child for so long but Micky took me in like his own.  He would sit outside my room and howl when Mom let me cry myself to sleep.  I fed him off my plate from my high chair so he got lots of goodies.  I would lay with my head on him, sukcing my thumb and rubbing his fur.  Micky developed cancer in his final years.  His gift to me was his unconditional love.


I had one dog Bunny, a cocker/poodle/terrier mix, when I was a teenager who died at age 11 of cancer.  She was extremely intelligent, funny and energetic.  She taught herself to alert me of any new sounds in the house if I was home alone since I was hearing impaired.  She left me her gift of exuberant joy.

My first cat didn't come into my life until Chica, who found me in Florida in 1991.  Maybe because she was my first, she was my heart and soul cat.  Yoko join us two years later and then in 1998 we moved to the North Carolina mountains and my work with feral cats began.


I worked with a local vet to trap, neuter and release the ferals living in a colony in the woods behind our farmhouse.  So many were not even named, their lives with us were so brief, as it often is with ferals. Bob and Leroy just vanished on different days when they were both about six months old.  I have to think that some wild animal got them.  The ones that survived and thrived became a part of our lives and as they aged we took them into our home.

Momma Kitty was the first to leave us in 2003 on my birthday.  She had been ill during a really hard winter but had eluded my attempts to catch her.  When I did, we took her to the vet and he said she was just days away from dying.  He body was filled with tumors.  We let her go surrounded by our love. She left behind her nurturing peaceful nature.

Big Guy, the cow cat and Nick

After two hurricanes blew through our town in early fall 2004, I noticed Big Guy, the head feral mancat was getting weaker as the days went by.  He lay limp on the second level of the feral shelter we built, unable to move.  I rushed him to the vet but there was nothing we could do - his huge benevolent heart was giving out.  He died peacefully in my arms, the only time I was ever able to hold him.  Big Guy taught me compassion and benevolence, watching him rule over his beloved colony.


Two weeks later our most recent addition Clarence, a regal stray who wandered into our yard, not part of the colony, died in his sleep under the bedroom chair with a faint glimmer of a smile on his face.  He lived with us just 18 months and had been ill for the last six.  At least he knew our love  for a short time. He showed us how to live with dignity no matter what our circumstances.


Nick, one of the few ferals still outside at this point, became ill so we took him inside and nursed him.  He had lymphoma and  left us in 2006. Nick's gift to us was his eternal goofiness and love of play. Manny, Mamacita's son, followed him a few months into 2007 after a vet badly handled a urinary blockage.  He was only two years old.  This was getting harder to lose so many but we did have a few years of health and longevity.


My main man Joey left us for the Bridge in 2012 suffering from cancer.  He was the one cat welcome committee to all newcomers. He was a gentle boy who loved everyone. Everything was a wonderfully fun  to him. He left us his zest for life.

Then we come to the hardest loss - my dear Chica who lived to be 22 years old.  I didn't want her to leave and I guess she didn't want to either.  She passed from heart issues on my birthday in March of 2013.  She was a part of me like no other cat could ever be.  We went through so much together.  A piece of me died with her but I know she lives on in my heart.  She taught me to speak up for what I want.  She never lacked for anything - she just took it.  She made me smile.


Yoko was the quiet one and her favorite was my husband. She was our Buddha cat - doing everything very slowly, methodically and focused.  She ate deliberately, savoring and chewing every bite.  She even made biscuits slowly, with her eyes closed in a blissed out state of contentment. We lost her to oral cancer in December of 2013.  Being with her, taught us patience - to sit, and not rush around, to be still and savor each moment.


Lily was another loss that was almost too hard to bear.  She was our mother figure - giving birth to all the white cats before we could trap her.  Even while living in the house with us she was forever caring for us - sitting with us when we were not well, ever on the alert to noises and the goings on of the other cats.  We lost her at age ten to oral cancer in April of 2015.  Her gift was her love and caring.


My sweet Ivy left this world suddenly on July 27, 2015 at age 17 after throwing a blood clot in her hind leg.  I still hear her funny quack and look for her in the TV console, expecting her to be napping on the receiver snug and warm. She was funny, silly and loved to play.  Everything about her was comical.  She left a big hole in our hearts.  Her gift was the laughter and smiles she brought to us all.


Shortly after Ivy left us, Minnie was diagnosed with late stage renal failure and succumbed in October 2015.  She was a curious intelligent and mischievous cat, always getting into something.  She loved boxes or any tiny space she could get into for that matter. . She loved to play and did everything with such abandon.  Minnie gave us the gift of living in the now, this moment to the fullest.  She was chock full of joie de vivre and it spilled over into our lives


In November of 2015 I heard a knock on my door.  It was a neighbor asking me if I had seen her cat Jack.  He vanished without a trace and has not been seen since.  Even though he was not our cat, he spent so many days in our yard with us, entertaining us, hunting and being his silly self.   Jack, as a cat, did swagger through a fun, exciting, adventure filled life. I often feel his spirit with me as I hike his woods.  He left us his love of adventure.


And finally, our Georgie, age eight,  was the last to go to the Rainbow Bridge in December 2015 from complications from hepatic lipidosis. She had developed diabetes in late fall of 2014.  The vets treating her were never able to find the correct insulin dose to keep her stable.  She was in the hospital more than out for the year she lived after the diagnosis.  Even with all this turmoil in her life Georgie's gift to us was her patience, sweetness and trusting nature.  She calmly let me do all the diabetic procedures to her without a fuss.  Her vets loved her for always letting them do their job.  She was like water, bending and flowing with life's daily movements, always unflappable, unperturbed.

We miss you all dear ones and know that you will be there at the Rainbow Bridge to greet us when we arrive.  Until then, we will see you in our dreams.


Brian's Home Blog said...

Yes, it is difficult and we didn't have the heart strength to do it. Such a lovely tribute to so many beautiful Angels.

Cat and DOG Chat With Caren said...

as hard as it is to lose them, you were blessed to have them all in your heart, then as well as now..........filling it to the brim (((hugs))) catchatwithcarenandcody

Summer said...

Many purrs to you as you remember today.

The Swiss Cats said...

Beautiful tribute to your angels ! Purrs

Mariodacat said...

Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful furbabies with us. M sends big HUGS to you as you have lost so many She can't imagine. It tore her up to lose only 4 furbabies. What a beautiful tribute to all of them.

Deb Barnes said...

So many beautiful pets, memories, and gifts of life lessons. Thank you for sharing on this special day. Purrs from Deb and the Zee/Zoey gang

Fuzzy Tales said...

Words fail us -- you've had so much loss, yet so much love, with and from all the Beings. Our purrs and hugs to you, as you remember them all.

Deziz World said...

Such bootyful kitties and woofies. Loss is very hard and mommy says you never get over it, you just learn to go on in spite of it. Da life saving dat will eventually give you da experience of loss also comes with a lifetime of love. However long dat is, it's a life time. Sendin' big hugs.

Luv ya'

Dezi and Raena

Jans Funny Farm said...

We can imagine how much they are all missed! A lot of memories in this post.

My Mind's Eye said...

Cheryl what a beautiful post...all your angels are surely smiling and each one was lucky to be loved by you.
Hugs madi and mom

Melissa, Mudpie and Angel Truffles (Mochas, Mysteries and Meows) said...

Beautiful memories...thank you for sharing. {{{Hugs}}}

Katie Isabella said...

I am in tears all over again with the passing of these precious loved ones. I remember many and I also remember their passing. It hurt me too.


We shared so many of your losses and how painful it is to say farewell. This was a lovely bittersweet tribute to your beautiful angels. All deeply missed.

Cathy Keisha said...

*head bowed* to remember Chica and Georgie and all those who left way too soon. xoxo

meowmeowmans said...

So many beloved animal companions who've passed. Thank you for loving them so much, and so well. And thank you for sharing them with all of us. Hugs to you, dear friends.

pilch92 said...

Lovely tribute to all your beautiful angels. I am sorry that you didn't get more time with so many of them, but at least they got to feel your love. XO

A Tonl said...

We agree - what a hard post to write! So many beautiful creatures, so much love. Purrs to you.

The Island Cats said...

Purrs to you as you remember all your fur angels today.

Momma Kat and Her Bear Cat said...

What a beautiful tribute to those you've shared your life with. I especially liked you mentioning what you learned from each one ... those lessons, love, and the memories last forever as we hold them in our hearts.

Fur Everywhere said...

Cheri, you do so many wonderful things for your feral colony. I can't even imagine how difficult it must be to lose so many precious babies. They are so lucky to have you in their corner. *hugs* and purrs to you.

Hannah and Lucy said...

Thank you for telling us about all your beloved cats. We know you miss them all with lots of love but will always have their memories.

Athena Cat Goddess Wise Kitty said...

Thanks for sharing all your beautiful kitties. Wonderful tribute.

Purrs xx
Athena and Marie

Sweet Purrfections said...

It is very difficult to lose one of our fur children, but oh how lucky we are to have had them in our lives.

Memories of Eric and Flynn said...

This is a beautiful tribute to all your loved ones.

Marty the Manx said...

Your Memorial post is so sweet and poignant. Thank you for sharing such love and beauty.

Three Chatty Cats said...

This is such a beautiful tribute.

Eastside Cats said...

How did I miss this post? It is a beautiful post, full of love and life. Love never dies.

Unknown said...

Such a nice blog!!! Thanks for writing so nice about your loving cats!!! They will always be a part of your heart. Beautiful memories!!!

Nancy said...

Thank you for posting this beautiful memorial to your cats. I care for two feral colonies (and sometimes a third!), and enjoy reading about your cats. Sadly I just lost my fifteen year old FIV feral "Maggie" on Sunday, August 28th. She had been failing for several weeks and, as they do, let me know it was her time. I brought Maggie home to live in my office two and a half years ago, as the winters were getting to be too tough for her and she needed frequent medical intervention. She was a sweet and gentle soul, and we miss her terribly!

Again, thank you for posting this tribute to your kitties. I love hearing about them through your blog posts!



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