Lucy

Yesterday, our Lucy died.

Grief is hard, and I need to write about Lucy and how I am feeling, but I am not sure I can do it yet.

I need to write about all the details, how she’s been not quite healthy since January, how it came to pass that we rushed into the vet’s office after dropping That Girl at school yesterday morning, only to have to make the sudden decision that we had to have Lucy put to sleep. I need to write it down, to remember those important parts of her life and our life as a family. But those words haven’t come yet.

I am still feeling raw. It was rough, Monday night and yesterday, coping with Lucy’s sudden illness and then her death. She was my kitty, and I am brokenhearted at her loss. Continue reading

Spoons

So. Cats.

Lucy is an Oriental Shorthair, which means she has very fine, short hair, and is consequently cold all the damn time. Every day, she nags and whines until I put some blankets (That Girl’s old baby blankets) on the bed, so that she can crawl in and sleep the day away in warmth and comfort.

Duncan, who is as large as a mid-sized car, as furry as a bear, and a Pretty Pretty Princess, was getting a little jealous of Lucy’s preferential treatment.

And so it was, the other day, when I walked into the bedroom to find Duncan snuggling up to the bed lump that is Lucy, the big spoon to her little spoon.

P1020804No word on whether or not Lucy approved. Mind you, Duncan’s other attempts to snuggle in the past resulted in him flopping his incredible bulk ON TOP OF the sleeping Lucy, hogging ALL the blankets and thereby causing scrambling cats and flying blankets and wails of protest and no end of upset and tattling from offended parties. So I suppose the fact that she remained, unsquashed, is progress.

 

It’s Gonna Suck

But it’s the right thing to do.

On Thursday, after weeks of waffling and wondering and pilling and weighing and examining, will come the day when our beloved kitty Cinnamon will leave us.

I am so, so sad. But it is time. We had a meeting of all concerned — BDH, myself, That Girl, Cinnamon, our vet — and we came to the conclusion that it’s really all there is to do for her now. Continue reading

Geriatric Pet Care, Part the Second

Internets, you know I have had four cats/now have three cats, yes? I believe you are familiar with them.

In 2009, we had to say goodbye to Opus, our wonderful and nutty Bubby, at the age of 20 (less a month). Well, now we are moving on to the second of our kitties, Cinnamon, who turns 16 next month.

Cinnamon had a vet appointment last month, her annual checkup, and it was determined that she was losing a lot of weight. A LOT. Like, 2 pounds over the year since her last checkup. It was thought that she might have thyroid problems, so we did a month of medication to try to encourage her to put on some weight. Plus, she has for years had a bit of a dodgy heart, so the meds were hopefully going to help even that out.

At her follow-up weigh-in this week, we found she was not gaining weight. And her dodgy heart was getting, well, dodgier. Between that and declining kidneys, the prognosis was not great, and our beloved vet basically let us know that we were starting the long, slow walk to our goodbye to Cinnamon.  Continue reading

Technical Difficulties. Please Stand By.

So, we’ve been doing lots of work around the house, yeah? And I have been wanting to tell you all about our BRAND NEW FAUX HARDWOOD LAMINATE FLOOR OMG.

We were careful to take lots of pictures of our floor-in-progress — pulling up the carpet, all the schmutz underneath said carpet, cutting the flooring, putting in the flooring, admiring the flooring — because we wanted a record of our work and our progress.

The problem is… most of the pics are on BDH’s new Crapberry phone device thingy. And for some reason, he’s having difficulty sending them to me. But when he does, I WILL POST OHYESIWILL.

Until then… enjoy this adorable picture of Duncan, today at lunchtime.

P1020486(SPOILER ALERT: That napping spot is in the room with the new flooring. You can even sort of see it there, underneath the cabinet. Kind of.)

 

Not A Valid Excuse

OH MY DOG I HAVE SUCKED AT POSTING RECENTLY. I really haven’t got a good excuse. I don’t. There’s just been a lot of stuff going on and it’s been hard to find the time.

NO THAT’S NOT A EUPHEMISM, EVERYTHING IS FINE. Really, there’s just been a lot of actual stuff going on. It’s been not exactly busy, but I’ve had a lot of things taking up my brainspace and my time recently.

One of those things has been getting back on the fitness wagon. Again. Remember I mentioned that Cinnamon was upset because, during the Christmas holidays, we rearranged and redecorated the basement, “her” basement space? Yeah. Well, what we did, as cheaply as we could, was create a little exercise studio down there.

Now, our basement is not finished (yet) and we haven’t a ton of money to spare (yet), but over the holidays we took advantage of the Boxing Day/Week sales and decided to do a few things to make a space to work out and do yoga. So, we cleaned out excess junk, reorganized the rest of the junk, and then cleaned a space for our exercise machines (bike, treadmill, elliptical). We then hung some curtains to create another space where we put down some industrial carpet tiles and an area rug, and that’s our yoga space. As the year goes on and if we have a little free cash, we’ll probably think about putting in electrical and putting up some drywall if we can, but for now, it’s a cozy, welcoming place to do our yoga.

So what that means is that every day, we’re diligently exercising and logging our exercise online, and logging what we eat, and along with some family members, we have a little group to encourage each other along a more fit and healthy path. It takes a fair bit of time, but we’re starting to get into the swing of it a little bit. Still, it does take time and effort to keep yourself honest and update your numbers each day. As well, it’s an hour or so a day of exercise, but like I said, that’s been quite fun because of our new space. Which we really love, and that Cinnamon hates.

Which brings me to another time-suck: the perils of the unhappy peeing kitty. As you know, Cinnamon has taken to peeing in her beds, and on one occasion, on my bedroom floor. We suspected she was freaked out by the changes, as she often is, but just to be on the safe side, we took her to the vet for a full checkup. And, happily, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with her except she’s a little old lady. But, unhappily, that means we have a behavioural problem that is a little harder to troubleshoot.

But thanks to our awesome vet here, as well as an awesome vet who reads this blog who chimed in with some fabulous advice, we’re trying a couple of things to see if we can help her Cat Up and adjust to the new place. It’s still too early to tell, and she has peed a couple of times since starting her new “meds”. But on the plus side, she’s been coming and joining us in our yoga space in the last couple of days, happy and purring and chirruping at us, or curling up in a bed under the TV and just hanging out. Either way, it’s a marked improvement. AND, for those of you keeping score, SHE PEED IN HER LITTER BOX, RIGHT IN FRONT OF US, LAST NIGHT. AND THEN AGAIN THIS MORNING. So. Fingers crossed she is getting acclimatized.

The other thing that has occupied my time, or rather not, is being sick. Stinkerbelle was down with a cold for a week, as I mentioned, and it was one of those colds where she had a fever and just wanted to lie around. And that’s fine. But what’s taken my time is that she then ever-so-generously gave it to me. And so I just wanted to lie around. That was fun.

That, combined with a lack of sleep — my new exercise regime has meant the aggravation of my knee issues, which means I am awakened at least once a night and often three and four times a night by pain that needs dealing with in some way, with stretching or massage or getting up and walking about — has made me a treat to live with, let me tell you. But, we’re getting ice on it, and I am taking copious amounts of the strongest analgesics we own, and soon I’ll be starting physio again, so you just get on with it.

So, yeah. I don’t really have any excuse for not posting recently other than I’m a right bastard. But you know, I’m a more fit, more Zen, kitty-managing, cold-fighting, pain-tolerating bastard these days, so that’s got to count for something, right?

Kitty Management

We have three cats.

We used to have four; our old girl Opus died in 2009 at the age of 20. For a long time, Opus was old and poorly. She had lots of health issues, and then when old age set in she began to get a little senile. Kitty alzheimers, if you will. Anyway, we were childless then, and were both working, and we could spend lots of money on vet bills for this and that for Opus’s many problems.

One of those problems was that she peed everywhere. Long-time readers of this blog are more than familiar with The Perils of Opus. It started as a massive infection, a medical issue. But it took us a long time to realize she was doing it, a small cat in a multi-storey house, and so by the time we actually found the problem, found the cause, and treated it — well, the medical problem had become behavioural. We felt horribly guilty, and she was an awesome cat, so we put up with it.

We tried everything and anything to fix the problem. For years, we tried. We cleaned up after her. And then, she got elderly, and there was no fixing the problem by that time. But we could not have her euthanized just because she had gotten old. We kept her, and the problem, contained in her last few years. Also, by that time, we had a baby, and we could not have the two of them together, or have Opus peeing in places the baby might be.

After Opus had died, and we began to clean up the house in preparation for our now-toddler to be roaming around. The damage was extensive. Opus had peed on and destroyed almost everything we had in storage in the basement — books, electronics, you name it. She had destroyed baseboards and carpets in the house, bookshelves and chairs. We purged everything we could, and lived with the stained and damaged but cleaned remnants we could not afford to replace.

And now, we have three cats.

The eldest, Cinnamon, is 15. She is, and always has been, incredibly nervous — the textbook definition of a “‘fraidy cat”. She’s afraid of her own shadow. She is very sweet, and thought of Opus as her mom and protector, and was bereft when she died. After Opus was gone, Cinnamon was reclusive for the better part of two years because of her fear of Stinkerbelle. In recent months, though, she’s gotten braver and more social as Stinkerbelle has gotten older and less noisy and unpredictable. It has been nice to see her.

She used to flee and hide in the basement, but now that she doesn’t and now that Stinkerbelle is older, we decided to make use of our basement space. In the last couple of weeks, we’ve spent lots of time and as little money as possible cleaning, putting down carpet, reorganizing, hanging drapes, and making the basement into a little exercise studio and yoga space. We want to get fit, and so we’ve been spending the time and money to make it a welcoming space to go to work out, someplace we want to be.

We love it. The problem is that Cinnamon most decidedly does NOT.

Cinnamon does not like change. We have moved things and changed things and she has completely freaked. We know this because she was so scared to go down into the new space, she peed. In her beds.

She has two little cat beds on the main floor. Cinnamon is the most dutiful little kitty soul I have ever met. She still, after 15 years, responds to commands we taught her as a kitten. She has in the past been trapped in a closed bedroom for a full day, and rather than pee or poop somewhere on the carpet — because she KNOWS she is not supposed to — she would find a scrap of paper or a bit of kleenex or whatever on the carpet and go on that. She’s THAT good a little girlie.

This is why she peed in her beds. Because she had to go, and she would never go someplace she’s not supposed to go unless she got really desperate. So she picked her beds, her favourite place in all the world, her own space.

I almost cried, I felt so bad for her.

But I almost cried, too, because she is an old girlie, and I had visions of the 10 years of pee we endured with Opus. And honestly? I cannot do that again. We cannot go back to that life again. We love our pets so very, very much, but we just can’t. We haven’t got the money, or the time, or the energy. And, frankly, we are coloured by the experience.

So I saw the pee, and I was so upset. I thought perhaps she might be sick, but she seemed in all other ways healthy and happy. She’s due for a vet check up soon, so we will have to check it out, but I know Cinnamon. I know her M.O. This was desperately avoiding the change occurring in the basement she has known for 12 years.

So I washed the beds, kept her restricted, watched her. She did it again, around the same time the next day — the only time she was alone in the playroom where her beds are, and not coincidentally the same time all three of us were downstairs in the basement doing some organizing and decorating. I also found a poop, in a corner of the kitchen, on a stray piece of tissue paper. That’s how we knew FOR SURE it was her, and probably not a health thing, but a fear thing.

Thus, we decided on some tough love.

Cinnamon has been sequestered in the basement for the last 24 hours, and probably will be until tomorrow evening. We’ve gone down and checked on her, and spent some time visiting with her, and exercised while she is down there. But we want her to be down there and spend some time alone, exploring, and getting used to the changes, and seeing that it’s the same space it always was — just looks a little different. We want her to get more comfortable with it. But most importantly, we want her down there with the NINE litter boxes she has used for most of her life, and to PEE IN THEM.

Not in the playroom, not in my room, nowhere else in the house. In the litter boxes.

Sometimes, we put Duncan and Lucy down there with her to keep her company, so she’s not lonely. Also, they’ll help make the place more familiar, and get their scents and fuzz all over everything so it will not be as scary. They don’t care — THEY’LL lay on the new carpets and roll around and all that. And they’ll use the boxes too.

We’re hoping that after a day or two to get used to things, she won’t be as scared about going down there, and therefore won’t be as scared to go down and use the boxes.

We hope. We hope she will respond, and adjust, and things can go back to normal. We hope we can see our sweet old girlie, who has otherwise never given us a lick of trouble in all her 15 years, back up in the main floor, chattering to us at breakfast times. We hope she will Cat Up, and be brave, and use the litter boxes.

We hope, because we could not bear the alternative. But at this point, as much as we love her, if faced with the alternative… it’s a decision we would be loathe to make. But we’d have to make it.

Bad Touch

So, I have posted in the past about how Stinkerbelle loves her kitty Duncan, and how they are OMG BEST FRIENDS 4EVAH. In the beginning, it was about how Duncan had decided Stinkerbelle was His Baby, and would sleep outside her bedroom door (which he still does) and, occasionally, steal her toys.

Then, the tables turned, and suddenly That Girl was All. About. Her Kitty. She would call him, and follow him everywhere, and play with him. And, occasionally, steal his toys.

Well, they are best buddies, and that’s a fact. Well, except the other night, when he snuck into her room when we were checking up on her, and got stuck in there for a few hours, and then jumped up on her bed to sleep. And she was all WAKE ME AT YOUR PERIL YOU FELINE BASTARD.

So friendship has its limits. But the boundaries can be, if you pardon the pun, fuzzy.

This morning, Stinkerbelle and I were preparing to head out for a quick trip to the store. Yesterday, she began to sneeze and cough and by nighttime, her cold was full blown. So last night, when I put her to bed, I filled her humidifier reservoir and put it on for the night.

It’s the first time we’d used it this year, and, like everything involving water in this city, it died a slow, gunked-up death. The mineral buildup from our very tasty yet crazy hard water caused it to leak during the night, and so we binned it this morning. So we needed a new one.

Anyway, we were getting our gear on to go out to the store this morning, shoes and coats and such, and Duncan came by. He climbed up on a step to watch. And Stinkerbelle called out to him, “Bye, Duncan”.

And then she walked over and began hugging him. “BYE, DUNCAN! BYYYYYYEEEE!”

He was very tolerant, for a cat. He sat there with a look of mild disdain on his face, fur all fuzzed up backwards where she was hugging on him, eyes slightly bulging from the squeezing, as she called out her goodbyes. “Bye Dunc! See you later! Byeeee! Drive safe!”

Nobody knew what was coming next, least of all Duncan.

For Stinkerbelle, in her love for her bestest kitty friend, grabbed him about the head and neck, and PLANTED A KISS on him. RIGHT SMACK ON THE LIPS.

He sat there, stunned, for a moment, with a look of OH MY DOG WHAT THE FUCK JUST HAPPENED on his face. And then, he shook himself and ran off, with wild eyes. “NOOO! NO! BAD TOUCH! BAD TOUCH!!!”

It was like one of those moments in Peanuts, where Snoopy kisses Lucy, and she’s all “AAAAUUUGH DOG GERMS! GET THE DISINFECTANT!” If he could have spit and sputtered, he would have done.

And I have to tell you? I DIED. I laughed so hard I could not breathe. I CRIED from the laughing.

Stinkerbelle giggled and then carried on about her business.

Duncan, however, sat in the middle of the playroom floor, staring off into space. Looking stunned and slightly traumatized.

And somewhere in the house, Lucy and Cinnamon, who have endured YEARS of his chasing them and harassing them and his general being a weenie boy cat-ness… somewhere, they are LAUGHING THEIR FUZZY ASSES OFF.