Sunday, April 19, 2020

Until We Meet Again Snowball (2005 - 2020)

We said goodbye to beloved Snowball on Thurs. April 16.  A couple of weeks before we notice his breathing was hard when he got excited or was very active.  Suspecting heart issues, we got an appointment with our mobile vet as soon as possible.  Test showed his chest and abdomen filled with fluid and a mass in his prostate.  More tests showed it was not his heart but was cancer. We kept him comfortable with diuretics for the remaining days and spent as much time with him as we could.

Snowball was a very important part of our lives and of all the white cats we took in.  Let me share with you his story from the beginning.

Kitten Snowball

In January of 2006, neighbors alerted us to a couple of white kitties, a mom and kitten, roaming the area searching for food.  It was Snowball and his mom Lily, barely out of her own kitten hood..  I heard that there were three other kittens but we never knew what happened to them. We put food out on our back deck and Lily and Snowball showed up and took up residence there.  Lily was often off on her own pursuits and left two - three month old Snowball on his own.  We set up a shelter of sorts on the deck in a dog kennel cage with food and water. We gave Snowball  toys to play with, towels to lay on and lots of attention through our porch window. He would sit on our Tiki  carving and chatter to us throughout the day.  If we stepped outside he was gone in a flash.  Feral to the core still.  We tried many times to trap Lily and Snowball but they eluded us.

Talking through the window

Lily had a second litter in the spring of 2006 giving birth to Norm, Sam, Woody and Georgie.  Snowball still stayed with the group even as a teen boy cat. He went off on his own but never for very long.  Lily still avoided the trap I set out. 

With his nip frog

Sometime before the next litter in the fall of 2006, I trapped Georgie and brought her indoors.  A short time later I was able to catch Snowball, Norm, Sam and Woody as they fed in the kennel cage on the deck. A neighbor let us use her heated storage shed with an attached screen outdoor area to house the boys.  Our house was full of older cats at this point in time.

Under the lilac tree

Snowball took all this in stride and claimed his head cat position over his brother cats. We finally caught Lily and her  last litter of Smidge, Only, Two Spot and Tabitha.  We moved to our current place in 2008, taking 21 cats with us: ten of them were in a separate cat shelter with a large screen porch.  This included Snowball, Norm, Sam, Woody, Al, Smidge, Two Spot, Sam, Only and Georgie.

Always the confident gentlemanly cat, Snowball ruled the group with a firm paw but with calmness and kindness.  He and Don formed a close bond.  Don had the same calm personality as Snowball and his presence seemed to energize Snowball.  Over the years, Snowball had many serious health issues - UTIs, and a urinary blockage, chronic constipation which evolved into mega colon but his even keeled personality never faltered.

 Snowball was a portly mancat with a round face and jowls.  His eyes were large almond shaped and an incredible green. He was such a handsome boy.

Snowball loved boxes and in spite of his heft would squeeze into any box left out for the cats.  He also loved to climb the ramps and shelves Don later added to the cat house, exploring the views from up high.  His weight gave him issues with his hips as the years went on but he was stubborn.  He avoided our attempts of put steps to help him get up and down, preferring to use his usual route. He did things his way no matter what.

On the shelf over the porch door

Norm became his best buddy from the get go.  They were pretty much inseparable.  If Snowball was there, Norm was right beside him even if he had to squash himself into the same space. They fought at times and this was the only time I saw Snowball be anything other than serene with the other cats.  Norm would push him so far and he would retaliate.  The bickering never lasted long and they would be napping together again a short time later.

Snowball chastising Norm

Norm and Snowball

Two best buds

Snowball was never a lap cat - he was too dignified for that but he would sit next to you on the loveseat.  He loved to be petted but got a bit too excited and would swat if you were not careful. He allowed us to love on him on his terms.

Snowball loved to eat and enjoyed treats.  We got him to slim down a bit after the urinary blockage by just feeding wet food.  His favorite toy was the Bizzy Kitty - the round plastic donut shaped toy with a ball inside.  

Always handling himself with dignity, Snowball would not let me dress him in costumes but would allow me to put one item of clothing, usually a hat on him for a brief time to take a photo.  I could pose him with props as well  if I was quick about it.

Sam, Snowball in center and Only

As the numbers in our cat shelter went down with loss and illness, Snowball could be found napping on the love seat with all the white cats in a row - Only, Norm,  Sam and Smidge. Snowball loved sitting in the sun and would lay on the floor next to the window on the screen porch or on the hammick.

With Sam on right

When Norm became ill in 2018 and we moved him into the house, Sam took his place next to Snowball. 

Snowball spent his last days lounging in all his favorite places with Sam right next to him. He ate well and seemed to enjoy our attention. I spoke with our animal communicator during his last week and she said he felt it was a fulfilling job to be the "ambassador" as she put it to the other cats for all these years.  They looked to Snowball for comfort, calmness and guidance in all things cat. He was their benevolent leader. Snowball helped them feel connected to each other and to us. He wanted to pass at home on his own as he did with everything but with his breathing getting worse we did not want to put him through that.  He trusted me to make that decision for him and I did.  

We had the mobile vet come to our house but with the pandemic going on we had to be satisfied with doing the procedure in the van. Don  brought Snowball out and went in the van with him.  It was a quiet peaceful passing and Snowball slipped away without any distress. According to our communicator Snowball was met by Lily his mom and Norm of course. There was a sense of deep peace about him. Snowball requested that we call the cat room in our new house the Snowball Room so he can still watch over the cats.

His last week
We let the other cats sit with his body for a bit before we wrapped Snowball with his favorite mouse toy in a soft fleece blanket and buried him next to Norm in our graveyard. A bouquet of spring flowers graces his burial spot.  Snowball left this Earthly plane two months and three days after Norm.  I know they are all together again - Lily, Norm, Georgie, Only, and hopefully the other three kittens from his litter if they have passed on.

We will miss you Snowball.  You were our rock, our calm in the storm - for us and for the other cats.  No one can replace you. Until we meet again....


The Creative Cat said...

I'm so sorry he's gone. He seems to have done it all on his own terms. What a wonderful purrsonality to have lived with, and he'll continue to share your days. It's clear he loved and trusted you from the beginning. And he does have huge eyes!

Marg said...

So sorry about Snow Ball. He was such a good boy. Sending bunches of hugs.

Memories of Eric and Flynn said...

I am so sorry to hear that Snowball has passed. He sounded like a wonderful boy and influence on the others.
You have written a lovely tribute to him. My thoughts are with you and Don.

Brian's Home Blog said...

Such a special and sweet guy with a wonderful rescue story. We're so sorry it was time for Snowball to depart. Love and hugs from all of us.

pilch92 said...

I am so sorry for your loss. Snowball was such a handsome boy. XO

Milo and Alfie Marshall said...

Thank you for loving Snowball so much and giving him a wonderful home for as long as you could. He was a very special cat. X

Unknown said...

So sorry to hear about snowball he sounds like he was a very independent old man who liked his secret cuddles I'm sure he has had a long and loving life in such a caring environment. I'm sure you will miss him treasure the memories xx

Lily said...

We’re so sorry for your loss of sweet Snowball. Purrs and hugs.

Kea said...

I'm so sorry for Snowball's passing. You wrote the most beautiful post and tribute to him, you always are able to do that so well. My thoughts and prayers to you and Don. Godspeed to Snowball; Peace to you all. ♥

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

I'm so very sorry for your loss. Snowball was such a beautiful boy.

Lola The Rescued Cat said...

We're so, so very sorry for your loss. Snowball is a beautiful angel now watching over you. Godspeed, Snowball.

Catscue Cat Mom said...

I am so sorry for your loss. This post is such a touching tribute to such an amazing cat, I feel I know him now and am so sad he is gone.

Alastriona, The Cats and Dogs said...

We are so very sorry for your loss. Mom says cats names Snowball are very special her first cat was named Snowball and she taught Mom all about being a cat. Purrs of sympathy and paws of comfort for your loss of the handsome Snowball.

Mark's Mews (Marley, Lori, Loki, and Binq) said...

Our Best Purrs Of Comfort to you...

Forty Paws said...

We are so sorry that Snowball got the cancer bug. It is so difficult to lose one, even when we have a lot of them. Many hugs and purrs from all of us at Forty Paws.

TimberLove said...

Safe travels kit-cat,


My Mind's Eye said...

Dear Mom, Dad and siblings of Snowball,
I send you my deepest condolences at the loss of your
Handsome Furry White Prince Snowball.
I know he was greeted with the open arms of his
Angel Siblings and Friends
Hugs Cecilia

Mickey's Musings said...

We are so sorry to hear about the passing of your sweet companion.
We know you will miss Snowball so much, but take comfort knowing that she had a wonderful life with you <3
Purrs,Georgia and Julie

da tabbies o trout towne said...

Godspeed your journey to heaven Snowball; we send hugs N loves to you, mom, dad and the family you leave behind. Mom wrote an amazing tribute for you ~~~~~~ we are truly sorry ♥♥♥♥♥

Sandee said...

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

Author unknown...

Gidget Blue Sky said...

wat a sweet hansum boycat, he had a wonnerful life

catladymac said...

Fly free sweet Snowball! You certainly were loved and had many friends waiting at the bridge !

John Bellen said...

What an astounding character, so full and alive. I am glad that he knew love, and had a home. I am glad that he had his name. Godspeed, Snowball. You will indeed be watching out over all your family.

Peachy, Stippie, Angel Binky and Granny said...

Soft Pawkisses on the loss of your sweet Snowball. So sorry :'( Fly free beautiful Soul💗

Katie Isabella said...

I came to see the boys again. They were so beautiful. The photos are loving and I aim glad to see them all again.

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