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.
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.
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.
Last week x-rays at the vet showed a large abdominal mass and fluids in Mamcita's tummy. She had been off her food and vomiting more. It was most likely lymphoma but with her still being so feral any further testing and treatment was not an option. We had to sedate her to handle her for anything - medications, putting her in the carrier.
Rosa was with her all last night and morning today.
We pampered Mamacita for this past week with catnip, milk, anything she would eat, telling her how much we loved her and how special she was. She spent her last night curled up with her daughter Rosa who seemed to know something was going on. This morning we let Mamacita go at home. She was sitting on my lap with Don next to us. Both of us surrounded her with Reiki light and love as the vet gave the final injection. It was peaceful and easy. Before we buried her, we laid Mamacita's body on the floor in a blue blanket for the other cats especially Rosa to see and knowledge.
Five month old Mamacita
I had contacted an animal communicator a few days ago to find out how Mamacita felt about this turn of events. Mamacita , the communicator told me, was very independent, strong willed and always had to be in control. She preferred to let this illness take it's natural course and trusted me to not let her suffer. Mamacita was so appreciative of us letting her be who she was during the years we had her. She was glad we respected her boundaries.
Left to right Mamacita, Rosa and Manny
What can I say about this sweet, stubborn and determined girl? She came to us as a tiny young five month old mother with two kittens. (Rosa and Manny who passed in 2006.) I trapped all three cats when I saw that the kittens had terrible URI's. We treated the kittens and got them all spayed and neutered. Shortly after this procedure, Mamacita lost the use of her front legs. If you picked her up they would dangle down. She would slide on her belly on the floor propelling herself forward with her back legs. We were devastated but already had planned on keeping her and her kittens.
After many vet visits to find out the cause of this paralysis, we went to our holistic vet as a last ditch attempt to help Mamacita. Dr Maggie gave her a homeopathic remedy and within a few hours Mamacita showed movement in her front legs. We increased the dose and she was able to move the legs in an awkward walk. eventually she was able to walk almost normally. As she aged her gait was a bit stiff in the morning but improved as the day went on. We gave her CBD powder for the stiffness and it helped.
Mamacita loved boxes, napping kitty piles with Rosa and Angel Joey. She was quite the hunter and loved to chase spiders, ants and moths.
The sitting on screen porch or next to an open window brought joy to her days. She was not a lap cat but on rare occasions, she would slowly situate herself on my lap or sit with tow paws on my leg next to me. If I moved too fast, she was gone.
Being a plus sized girl, Mamacita had a cute habit of hooking her claws on the back of the chair before she groomed herself to keep from rolling over when she was reaching to her tummy and below!
She allowed us to pet her eventually but only when and where she picked. If friends came to visit, Mamacita disappeared. She was the cat most people never saw.
She was a devoted Mom to Rosa and they were inseparable. I have saved some blankets with Mamacita's scent on them for Rosa.
She loved to roll on Don's smelly sneakers!
She had a special place in our lives and we will always remember her. She is buried on our land next to Mr Kitty with the catnip and treats she loved so much. A bouquet of wildflowers graces the grave. Say hi to Manny and Joey dear girl. We will see you all soon.
We lost our handsome 18 1/2 year old ginger boy Sunday night. It was unexpected but Don and I were sitting on either side of him on the sofa talking to him and holding him when he passed.
Sleeping with utter abandon
He had hyperthyroid (on Felimazole) and odd bouts with nausea, vomiting and loose poop off and on since we had him but nothing showed in tests. I managed his symptoms with natural remedies. Then a few weeks ago his left back paw and later his front paw became swollen and sore. All tests were inconclusive. We will never know what took him.
Begging for food.
Mr Kitty was only with us for two years and nine months but he ensconced himself into our home and hearts like he had always been here. True to his Maine Coon background his intelligence, friendliness, playfulness, curiosity and ability to live in the now captivated us.
Mr Kitty at his first home.
Mr Kitty grew up in a household with two human brothers, Nate and Jason and their parents, Deb and Barry. Mr. Kitty was a gift as a kitten to Nate for his tenth birthday. Mr. K was so very loved and spoiled in his home. When Barry had an organ transplant they were not allowed to keep pets so I offered to bring Mr Kitty to our house for however long he lived. He joined us at age 16 and adjusted well for his age.
Mr Kitty and Don
Mr. K was a social guy who loved people, especially men, greeting all guests with an opportunity to give him some love. Our ginger cat loved my husband Don with a passion. They bonded on the two day trip to our house. Mr Kitty always had to be sitting next to or on Don. If Don went out, Mr. Kitty was on alert for the sound of the back door and would be right there to greet Don as he came in. When Don wore his baseball cap, Mr Kitty rubbed his face against the visor purring with pleasure.
He did not care for the other cats but Mr. Kitty tolerated Sweetpea for some reason. They could be found spooning each other on the sofa while napping, Sweetpea was with us on the sofa on Mr. Kitty's last night.
Mr Kitty with Sweetpea on the sofa
A purrfect model for holiday photos and special occasions, wearing costumes or bow ties, Mr. Kitty tolerated the fuss. He wanted all the attention good or bad. He had a habit of pushing things off the coffee table with his paw if no one was paying him attention. He was a true attention hog.
His favorite place was in the office on the window seat catching the morning sun. or on cold days in front of the heater. His time on the back screen porch was something he cherished no matter what the weather.
In his window
On the porch with Tabitha
In front of the heater
Always curious, Mr. Kitty loved to check out the grocery bags when we came home from shopping. Once he pulled a full loaf of bread out of a bag on the floor and ran down the hall, dragging it. The cat toy basket was a source of fun for him. He would pull out several toys , digging around to find one that caught his eye to play with.
These past few months his personality was mellowing out. He was less and less active. He had a couple of good days on Friday and Saturday. He spent time on the back porch, was treated to cooked chicken liver, and sat in all his favorite places. He enjoyed his time with Don on the sofa watching TV. We did not expect to lose him on Sunday.
In all his gorgeous glory
We wrapped him lovingly in a soft fleece blanket with is catnip flower and buried him on our land next to the others we have lost. Rocks cover his grave with a bouquet from our holiday wreath. I have ordered a stone for his grave site to be put there later.
This big beautiful boy with a larger than life personality left a gaping hole in our hearts. I am forever grateful we were able to have him in our lives for the time we did. He brought us so much joy, laughter and love. Rest well Mr. Kitty, until we meet again at the
P.S. This morning before I woke I dreamt I woke up and Mr. Kitty was sitting on the end of the bed in all his glory looking so content just like in the photo above in his window seat. When I did get up I saw him again in my peripheral vision next to my feet in the kitchen where he always sat waiting for his breakfast.. I know in my heart he is safe and young and happy once more on the other side of the veil watching over us.