Did you celebrate by giving your furry friend an extra treat or perhaps a new catnip toy?
Our morning began with a scoop of pumpkin laced with cat treats. (Pumpkin is really good for cats.) Four new catnip toys, springs and a pipe cleaner kept everyone busy after breakfast.
While the kitties played, I retrieved the scrapbooks that are all about the kitties who I am blessed to have come through my life.
Tevyeh is a New Jersey boy. He wasn’t too keen about the relocation to South Carolina. Fortunately Cat Fancy magazine published an article on Moving Long Distances with your Cat just about the time I signed the papers to relocate. Tevyeh walked on a leash. I could never get him into a pet taxi. And remain in one piece. As the article suggested, we would sit in the car for a few minutes, extending the length of time each day. We brought in a few toys; but, never really knew if it was working. Piece of cake. He found a spot on the floor of the back seat and never looked back. FIV positive along with other ailments, cancer took him across the bridge just before his 18th birthday. Named after the milkman in Fiddler On The Roof because he was all white with a few patches of orange in his fur pattern.
Sophie is a born and bred Southerner. Pam Jackson/Carolina Cats rescued Sophie from a bad situation. While my first intent was to adopt a kitten, Pam explained everyone wants a kitten. The older kitties are more frequently euthanized. With no other cats in the household, Pam felt Sophie would be a good choice for us. After an extensive background check – home visit; letter from my vet that I was timely with vaccinations and check-ups for my previous kitty; references who knew me as a good cat ‘person’, she may have even called my employer! A week later, Sophie was brought to us. Sophie suffered a stroke and was unable to recover. She crossed the bridge in February 2013.
Tennyson and Smiles are uncle and nephew. Once Sophie forgot about the ‘bad’ people and began to trust again, I felt that she needed a friend. Pam Jackson brought several potential candidates to the house. Tennyson is the only one who walked out his taxi, laid down on the fireplace and proceeded to take a nap. Sophie wanted nothing to do with Tennyson and I felt so bad for him because he wanted to play all the time. I ran in to Pam at a cat adoption weekend and told her that Tennyson needed a friend. Smiles came home for a “test drive” to see how the three would get along. Sophie wanted nothing to do with Smiles either; but, he and Tennyson were best buddies. Tennyson and Smiles came from a 90 cat rescue Pam Jackson and her volunteers conducted. All 90 cats, surprisingly in good health, had the best purrsonalities. Sadly, inbreeding and constant breeding brought health issues. Tennyson had heart problems. He crossed the bridge after a heart attack in January 2006. Smiles had other health issues through his life and crossed the bridge in May 2014 after a battle with renal failure.
Diamond was a rescue by Dr. Shawn Verbrick at The Cat Clinic. It was difficult to say “No” when she asked me to take him and give him a new home. This brown marbled tabby would be kitty #4 in the house. At his heaviest, Diamond weighed over 20 lbs. AKA “Alpha D” because he was, without a doubt, the Alpha, his weight fit his large frame and Dr. Verbrick never recommended a low-cal cat food for “The D Man.” He was a gentle giant. Infants could pull his tail or ears, scream and throw toys. He never flinched or moved. Dr. Verbrick saved his life and she would always be his first person. When health issues hit Diamond at the end of 2014, I learned how to administer IV fluids along with other medical procedures, in between his visits to The Cat Clinic. Shawn, Gary and I said our goodbyes and let Diamond go across the bridge on June 29, 2015.
Catamaran just showed up at my house. A long-haired cat with all of his fur knotted in hair balls, he appeared emaciated, but, he had a collar. I put food out for him which he gulped down. He was back a few days later, without a collar. The same day a moving van was parked in front of a neighbors home. I kept feeding this stray cat and then letting him sleep in my garage when it started to get cold at night. Catamaran wasn’t too keen with my attempts to cut the hair balls off. It was later confirmed that this beautiful full-bred Maine Coon once belonged to the neighbors who moved. We had four cats before, off to the vet we went. He needed to be hospitalized for a respiratory infection before any other treatments could be done. It was touch and go for a few days. Catamaran pulled through. Finding no microchip, I had one implanted along with a “nip-tuck” procedure. Pure bred or not, we had no intentions of breeding him. He is our “old man” now.
Except for Catamaran, everyone had crossed The Rainbow Bridge. The house was empty. We had just said good-bye to Smiles and Diamond and were still mourning. A trip to PetsMart to purchase cat litter and a day later this 6 month old orange tabby was in a pet taxi on the way to meet his new brother.
Catmandu, named for Kathmandu, Nepal, was a lively addition to the household. I’ve never
had a kitten in the house and wasn’t quite used to the energy. The old man, Catamaran, wanted nothing to do with this kitten. It was Sophie and Tennyson all over again. When I asked Dr. Verbrick for guidance, she told me to get Catmandu a kitten, about 6 months in age. And we always do what Dr. Verbrick recommends.
Catseopeia, named for the constellation Cassiopeia, and also a Pawmetto Lifeline rescue, came to keep Catmandu occupied and away from his older brother. We thought her age was in error because of her small size. A check with Dr. Verbrick confirmed she was 7 months old. I noticed Catseopeia was quiet one evening. Maybe she was just tired. The next morning she was sitting in a chair and would not move, even when the food came out. I carried her to the food bowl and nothing. I flew to The Cat Clinic. She became their patient for a few days. Blood work showed problems. The numbers were off the chart. A referral to South Carolina Veterinary Specialists, advanced testing and the bad news. Her kidneys never fully developed. The prognosis was not good. We were told, “She could live two weeks to two months, but expect the shorter.” Catseopeia came home and we followed up with Dr. Verbrick. No one expected her to be alive on her first birthday. She made it! Supergirl made her first birthday! Following a recommended treatment of Dr. Verbrick, IV feeding and fluids, and a couple of prescriptions, our Supergirl lived 7 months longer than anyone expected. On August 17th, I made another difficult decision to let Catseopeia cross the bridge and join her brothers and sister.
In Spring, 2016, Dr. Verbrick rescued two kittens from a drain pipe. No mother cat was ever located; one kitten had a ‘bad’ leg, possibly caught in a vine when he tried to crawl away. The guardian angels who work at The Cat Clinic took turns bottle feeding the kittens. It appeared Dr. Verbrick would need to amputate the ‘bad’ leg of the smaller kitten. Named Cheerio and Alex P. Kitten by the staff, I visited and played with them when in the area. I posted their information on social media hoping someone would come forward and adopt these two brothers. This was part of the dilemma. Cheerio could survive without Alex; but, Alex would not survive without Cheerio. The two had to be adopted together. The brothers needed socialization skills and to learn about “house noises” like televisions and ice makers. I offered to bring them home for a few days. Cheerio came out of his pet taxi like he had always lived here while Alex made his home under a bed. It was a few days before Alex felt comfortable enough to wander around. We let him do his own thing. A week later I called The Cat Clinic to tell them “The boys” were not coming back until it was time for their annual check-ups. Since they had not been micro-chipped, we did take them in to make the adoption final.
Alex P. Kitten
Ending on a positive note, in the end, Alex did not have his leg amputated.
Happy National Cat Day!