Black Cat Appreciation Day…

Blackie relaxing

She’s so not a help when it comes to making the bed

Yesterday was Black Cat Appreciation Day or, as Blackie knows it, just another day. She got fed her favourite food and had cat treats sprinkled in front of her. She meowed imperiously from the bathroom and got fresh cold water poured into her nowhere near empty bowl. She rolled onto her back and mrowfed for belly rubs. She got her head skritched and her back stroked. When she got sleepy she napped on my bed or the bench. When she got curious she “hid” in the cardboard box or on a kitchen chair. Life’s good for Blackie.

We need to go back to 2007 to when the kids and I had flown to British Columbia for two weeks to celebrate my sister’s wedding and attend my grandfather’s memorial service. It was a wonderful family gathering of almost thirty people and we came home in good spirits to find a rather distraught cat sitter and a skeletal orange tabby.

“He just wouldn’t eat,” she explained, brushing back tears.

I made an emergency trip to the vet where tests showed our cat Pumpkin had cancer. He was euthanized the next day.

Two months later we were ready to welcome a new rescue into our home and knew just where to go. A friend volunteered with an animal rescue that worked out of PetSmart and offered to go in with us. We quickly fell in love with a three year old grey tabby and set to filling out adoption papers. That’s where we ran into problems. We lived in a high rise with a balcony and even though we lived on the third floor, the owner of the shelter was positive he was going to get out, leap over the chest high concrete wall and plummet to his death. She eventually turned us down.

So we went to the Humane Society. I told the volunteer that we wanted an older cat and she started leading us to the back past all the younger cats. Kait and Colin immediately pointed out a young kitten named Pete. I immediately pointed out that his eyes were both crusty and weeping. That sounded unnecessarily expensive to me.

The lady was waiting for us by the older cats when Kait said, “Mom! Look! This cat’s licking me!”

She giggled as I turned to look at an adolescent cat cheerfully licking Kait’s fingers. Kait bent down and the cat licked her nose. More giggles ensued.

The volunteer started walking toward us. “The older cats are all down there,” she said with a touch of impatience in her voice. She looked over at the cat we were clustered around and the impatience disappeared.

“Oh! You’re looking at one of our black cats! Let me get her out for you! Her name’s Blackie and she’s nine months old. She’s had all her shots and is spayed…”

She continued her speil while we oohed and aahed over the kitten. Soon the paperwork was signed, the fees were paid, and she was ours. We already had Angel at that point and the two of them settled in well together, they still get along.

That was a long time ago. Blackie’s going to be 14 years old in December. We picked Christmas Eve to be her birthday figuring that Christmas Day would be too busy. She’s lived in three different apartments and has had two health scares. One turned out to be her teeth and the other is a mystery, she just stopped eating for several weeks. She’s going a bit senile and sometimes misjudges the edge of the litter box and pees on the floor but otherwise she’s fine.

She has brought me so much joy and companionship over the last 13 years. I hope we have many more years together! You’re amazing Blackie Boo!

Blackie and Lara

Blackie and Lara

 

The Operation…

Yesterday found Colin and I up and getting ready at 7:15am. The cat carrier was ready to Colin’s liking, absolutely stuffed full of blankets so Blackie wouldn’t get cold (she’d overheated by the time she got to the vet). Then he looked at me and said, “Mom, don’t forget your bag!”

My bag? Oh my purse! I’ve never forgot my purse before and reminded him of that. Then we bundled up, stuck Blackie in her nest, and slogged out through the snow. We’d been standing at the bus stop for several minutes before I went to reach into my purse for a Kleenex and my purse wasn’t there. I’d left it at home. At that point the bus was due in one minute so there was no time to run home and grab it. I was pretty sure I could get on the bus, not so sure I could take the bus home. Colin was grudgingly willing to walk home with me but so grudgingly I knew I’d get attitude and snark the whole way back. So I walked home by myself instead, leaving Blackie and him at the bus stop.

I’d barely got home when my phone was ringing. It was the vet. Of course Colin had no idea when Blackie last drank or ate. That got sorted out and we were told to expect a call to pick her up around 4pm.

I’m in the middle of switching meds and am quite depressed at the moment so the afternoon was full of worst case scenarios. I was so relieved when I got the call at 3pm to say Blackie was awake and ready. When we got there, the vet assistant put her immediately into the carrier before giving us her instructions. Apparently her teeth were worse than they thought and she had several more removed than expected. It sure hasn’t stopped her energy though. She literally dove through the air when she saw me, she was so excited.

She’s on three different medications now. She does not take medication well by syringe. She writhes and squirms and contorts herself until she’s wriggled free. But she’s a hungry kitty and is willing to eat all her medication laced food (before wandering around the plate and eating Angel’s normal food).

I am so glad she’s still here and absolutely grateful for the vet and the Farley Foundation. My vet bill would have been $1060. I don’t have that money at all. As it is, I might have to pay $60. I can manage that.

I am so looking forward to moving into my new apartment with Blackie leading the way for the other kitties; she truly is the queen of our household. I’m looking forward to her nose licks and her imperious walks to get more wet cat food. You’re only twelve Blackie, I don’t want to lose you this soon.

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Not worth my time…

I recently wrote a blog post about trolls and their poor reading comprehension skills but, honestly, they’re not worth the time. My life and my time deserves better people involved in it.

behind you for a reason

For my┬áreal readers. I’ve been struggling a lot these past two months while my medication is slowly being adjusted. I’m sure it will get better eventually, I just have to get there. And having everything buried in boxes doesn’t help me either. But the day will come when they get moved and I’ll finally be in my new place. I just have to be patient (easier said than done).

Oh and Blackie’s grant has been approved. She’s got her blood work done, then antibiotics on the 10th and soon we’ll be on to her extractions on the 14th! I can’t wait until she’s happy and comfortable again.

It’s a gorgeous day out there, albeit cold. Go out there if you can and enjoy the sunshine. I’ll be out there as soon as I get the dye rinsed out of my hair.

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My new building. I’m assuming they’re working on an underground lot. I can’t wait until I move!

Is this goodbye?

20191021_102325_hdrIt was 2007 and our cat Pumpkin had been put to sleep due to cancer two months earlier. The kids were begging for a new cat and, I must admit, there was a hole in our home that needed some extra purring and love.

I decided we’d adopt an older cat and told this to the lady at the shelter. Of course the kids had other ideas.

“Mom! Look at this one!,” Kait said and then she giggled. “She just licked my nose!”

“Those aren’t our older cats,” the lady informed me. “They’re… oh… you’re looking at one of our black cats!!! This one’s Blackie, she’s 11 months old. Would you like to hold her?”

Would we like to hold her? One of the silliest questions ever. I looked at the joy on Kait’s face and decided that was the one.

Blackie smoothly moved into our home, making friends with our oldest cat Angel, then befriending Oreo when he arrived. Colin and I moved with her to this apartment where she got adopted as Mommy Cat by Lara.

I can’t picture our home without her marching imperiously to the kitchen to be fed… her scurry to the front door to greet me… her happy nose licking… and her snuggling under the covers with me in the winter. Right now she’s sprawled in boneless bliss across the bottom of the bed, her sleep punctuated with slight snores. It doesn’t seem imaginable to picture her gone. My greeter of people and stander on keyboards.

I weighed her last week, first by weighing me holding her, then by weighing me alone, and finally subtracting the two numbers. She weighed 5lbs, which is worrisome. So I made sure she got the biggest portions of wet cat food, even at 2am. If Blackie’s hungry, she’s fed. Then I weighed her yesterday and was shocked to see her at 3lbs.

Blackie sees the vet this Wednesday, first thing in the morning. I’m hoping there’s a simple solution… but I don’t see one. And it feels so weird to mourn someone who’s still here and has no idea of the gravity of the situation.

I will update this post on Wednesday when I get more information.

Growing old…

There was a faint growl behind me and I turned around to find Angel standing on her hind legs, front paws on the top mattress. She can’t jump that high anymore but wanted to sink into my memory foam topper and rest her 14 year old joints. Mornings are tough, I get that. I gently eased her onto the bed where she slowly lay down, hissing and growling the whole time, looking around as if she was trying to find who was attacking her, as if age could be seen. All I could do was drape a small blanket over her hips. She hissed for a second then stopped when it didn’t hurt. Several minutes later she relaxed and stretched out as the heat soothed her joints. I’ve looked into pain medication but cats don’t metabolise it properly so heat’s her only option.

Oreo, our 12 year old needs a lift onto the bed too and he occasionally starts wailing because he can’t see his people and he’s lost in the middle of the living room. Lost despite the fact we’ve lived here since 2012. I carry him into my room and place him onto the bed, where he snuggles down and immediately falls asleep.

And then there’s Blackie, our 13 year old. She’s lost so much weight again this winter but hasn’t gained it back, despite me feeding her wet cat food twice a day… alone in the washroom so no one can steal it from her. She’s cheerful as heck though, racing to the front door so she can sneak into the hallway and climbing all over my computer desk (usually when I’m writing). I pet her and feel every bone in her spine plus her hip bones and she purrs loudly because she’s getting petted.

I hate watching them grow old. The pain, the senility, the knobby bones, the occasional bout of incontinence (thanks Oreo). I know no one lives forever but they’re so small and innocent that aging just feels unfair.

I don’t know how long I’ll have with them but I’ll cherish every minute and know that whatever amount of time we have will be too short.

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Turn around bright eyes…

I gently stroked my hands down Blackie’s back, paying close attention to the prominence of her spine and how her hips sunk in. And I thought to myself, “Oh no, not again.”

Last year my clue had been how awkwardly she curled up to rest. I hadn’t noticed the weight loss until then. Black fluffy fur hides a multitude of sins and she prefers head scratches, not over all pets. This year was different. I knew the vet couldn’t offer much other than an appetite enhancing injection and a can of food Blackie hates. Plus I was still feeding the cats wet food that she liked.

I immediately separated a portion of each can for Blackie, microwaving it for 15 seconds so she could smell it better, adding a tiny bit of water so she could lap up more, and serving it in a different room. At the beginning she needed to be coaxed to eat. I had to carry her bowl and her to my room, often after searching out her hiding place. Then I’d have to follow her around the room with the bowl until she finally got tired of running and started to eat. Every time she startled she’d bolt from the bowl and needed to be coaxed back. And she startled at the smallest things, a slight foot movement could send her running.

She’s still skinny but she’s moved up to eating half a can now and is hurrying to the room to be fed. She’s also eating her whole meal, something she wasn’t doing even a few days ago. I’m so glad she’s turned around. She’s 12 years old but she’s still feisty and I’d like her to be here for years to come!

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The cutest excuses for an unmade bed ever!

Reality is just a word…

I woke up this morning feeling discombobulated. Well actually I woke up feeling like I had to pee but as soon as that got sorted out I felt discombobulated. Like the rest of the world took a step to the left and I misread the instructions and took a step to the right. Everything looks the same but there’s something off. Chances are it’s me. Meanwhile life goes on, even if it doesn’t feel quite like my life. As if I’m running after normal… kind of like when I was a kid and tumbled off the wagon at the apple orchard. Running as hard as I can and hoping someone will reach over and help me back up.

My eleven year old cat Blackie has lost a bunch of weight, like half her body weight. I didn’t notice at first because she’s fluffy and has a big round tummy. Plus I usually scratch her neck and chin. But last week I ran my hand across her back and felt backbone. I did more rubbing and found her collar bones and her breast bone. I’d originally called that her keel bone but that’s in birds and I’d have to take another step to the right to get that far from reality.

Last night I sent Colin out to get wet cat food and he came back with Whiskas Duos. My plan was to get a small plate and open the tin in the bathroom. Colin pulled a Oprah instead, snapping off cans and handing them out willy nilly. Here’s wet food for you, you, and especially for you. They all loved it and, most importantly, Blackie immediately started gobbling it down. Then I looked closer and realized she was only eating the broth, not the chicken bits.

This morning, Blackie was sitting by the electric fireplace, just relaxing, so I got her a container and spooned it out on a plate. And today she started eating the chicken pieces. I don’t have a “way to go you’re eating chicken bits” award but if I did, she earned it. Then I made the fatal mistake. Smudge likes to lick peanut butter off my finger while I eat breakfast. She’d been there before I served Blackie but wandered off.

“Smudgie… Smudgie-pants… I’ve got peanut butter for you!” I called.

Smudge ran over, sniffed my finger and walked away. Behind her came Lara, Angel, and Oreo… while I blurted “I didn’t call you”. Soon they were all crowded around Blackie. I went from eating breakfast to turning into a cat bouncer. And all the while, Blackie gobbled away. When she stopped, Angel (our 12 year old) was the only cat left so I let her have a shot at the plate. Ten minutes later, the sounds of retching filled the air. I followed the sound to the bathroom, where Angel was busy vomiting.

“It’s okay baby. Sometimes food is like that,” I assured her as she gagged. It didn’t come back up last night so I’ll give it another chance, maybe it was just a coincidence. Maybe she took a step to the right too. Maybe the food’s different here. Whatever it is, she gets one more chance with wet cat food, otherwise she’s staying 100% dry.

I don’t know what time Colin went to sleep last night but I woke him up at noon and just now, at 12:40pm. Hopefully he’ll stay awake now because I want to clean up the living room today and all the mess consists of his computers and two chairs which he insists we need and I insist we don’t need… especially in the middle of the floor.

One weird thing I’ve noticed is I don’t rock when I’m typing. But today I’m rocking all the rest of the time. Maybe typing counts as stimming? Maybe that only works a step to the right?

I’ve got a prescription to give to my pharmacist. My psychiatrist does not like the sheer number of pills I’m taking a day, which would be ten. I just counted. So he’s switching out the clonazepam for another pill that also works as an antidepressant and will continue to drop and modify my prescription with each appointment. He also knows my blog address now. I don’t know if he was just reading it that once or if he’s checking in every once in a while. It was probably just a one time thing but, just in case, hi Dr. K.

With any luck, Colin will be willing to drop off my prescription today. Otherwise I’ll have to do it tomorrow. I’m not going out feeling like this. I have to cross an intersection of two fairly big roads and I don’t feel connected enough to my body to do that. I’ll stick with dishes and standing in the living room saying, “I’ve got half a computer tower here. Where do you want it? No, the centre of the living room is not an option.”

But maybe I’ll cuddle with Blackie-boo first.