Goodbye

We had to say goodbye to a friend yesterday. One who’s been with us for 18 years. She suffered from anxiety — eating large chunks of our blankets as a nervous coping mechanism— and later, an eating disorder — overeating as a way to deal with stress — and came out the other side as a survivor. And she taught me about forgiveness.

When she was eating blankets as a kitten and a young cat, I would get frustrated and angry. Blankets weren’t cheap and we were newly married, just starting out and money was tight. I saw that as something she was consciously doing and not as a response to her environment or a coping mechanism. In fact, it wasn’t until years later, when we had kids and met some kids who had similar habits that I started to understand more of why she might have been doing that and begin to empathize. But at the time, I used my physical presence to try to get her to stop. I was the owner and this was “bad kitty” behavior. I would stomp or yell or use my body to scare her into stopping. When we came home to chunks of our blanket missing, i I would vocalize my frustration. And, as a result, she was terrified of me for years.

For a long time she avoided me. And I got to live with the repercussions of what my anger and frustration caused. Eventually, after a few years of putting her into a large kennel at night so she wouldn’t eat the blankets, we started leaving the cat food out all the time, and this seemed to help. She replaced blanket biting with overeating, and we decided that was somewhat better and stopped putting her in the kennel. She went from avoiding me to merely tolerant of me.

She never really got on particularly well with our other cats, and as she outlasted all the cats we had had when she was a kitten, she had less in common with the younger and more playful new additions. Getting a dog didn’t help, nor did taking in a stray male who liked to assert his dominance over the other cats. She became reclusive and antisocial. But at night, when the kids were in bed, she’d come and hang out with us while we watched TV, finding a comfortable lap to sit on. Usually it was Erin’s, but eventually mine, too. I remember thinking when she started sitting on my lap that I couldn’t believe that she actually liked me, after all the horrible shit I did, scaring her when she was a kitten.

When we moved, we found new homes for those animals and she became far more sociable, coming out to greet visitors, even, when previously she’d avoid everyone. Even with two young kittens for the kids, who seemed to see her as a weird grandma, she was visibly happier. And when she hung out with us, it was me she looked for first. In the morning, I woke up every day to her meowing in my face and licking my beard to tell me that she needed more food in her bowl.

She always seemed to have poor eyesight, something that obviously got worse as she got older. She also seemed to have difficulty moving around — we suspected maybe she had arthritis or something similar based on how she walked and favored certain paws. But she always sought us out. She always wanted to be around us.

She fought for so long through so much and forgave me when I’m not sure I even forgive myself.

Yesterday was hard. She was in so much discomfort, she couldn’t eat, she could only walk a few feet at a time before she needed to rest. We spent the day with her, trying to make her as comfortable as possible. Talking to her and recalling memories and stroking her. And through her pain, she purred. Until the pain was gone.

Goodbye Kendra. I love you. ❤️

MOOSE!!!

d00d.

we just saw a m’f’ing MOOSE in the park that is one block away from us.

that might not be much when you live in the middle of nowhere, but this is downtown salt lake city (okay, not quite downtown, but close).

that moose-shaped object in the picture is, in fact, a moose.

objects in the image are more moose-like than they appear
objects in the image are more moose-like than they appear

Puppy!!!

 

say hello to our latest addition!

i got off work last night and we drove from PC to Henefer which is another 30-45 minutes north of Park City to pick up our new pug puppy that i’ve been twittering about.  he’s a 9 week old fawn pug and so far loves chasing the cats and playing with us and the kids.  we haven’t picked a name yet, so far the best suggestions have been samosa and monroe.

Update:   We decided on Samosa.

cat-shaped hole

so, erin and i went to see my parents over the weekend and came back here on tuesday. when we came back, we found frida, one of our 3 cats, was very sick. we talked to meara, erin’s sister who’d been feeding them, and she said that frida hadn’t eaten in what would be 3 days the night we got back…we tried to feed the cats, but frida wouldn’t eat. the other two seemed fine. we thought maybe she just caught something somehow, but that didn’t make a whole lot of sense since neither of the other two cats were sick at all…

so we’re going nuts. i run out to get some wet food for frida and we try to feed her that, but she won’t eat. so erin dilutes it with some water and uses a dropper to hand feed frida — she seems to take that okay, and seems to be doing a tad better after cleaning her up a bit. panic mode subsides and we figure she’ll be good, we just may need to hand feed her for a while until she gets better.

the next day is wednesday, my first day back to work, but i’ve already decided i’m working from home because there’s too much crap to do with the just getting back and now frida stuff. in the morning she looks worse than the night before and now she’s not eating. we’re back in panic mode again. there’s a vet up the street so i walk down the block to see the name and look up the phone number online. i call to see if they accept walk-ins or if we need to make an appt. and the doc isn’t in on wednesdays but we could definitely walk in thursday or friday. i ask if there’s any other vets in the neighborhood that might be open and he says “well what’s wrong?” so i explain that frida hasn’t eaten in now 4 days and looks horrible. he says “well i’m here now, can you bring her in right now?” so we get our shit together and go.

he looks at her and i am off distracting gavin with the big yellow lab, orange tabby and big parrot all of which gavin is very excited about, while erin talks to the doc. he does a quick check and says he thinks it’s probably her kidneys and generally that type of stuff is congenital, there’s nothing we could have really done to prevent it, cats are just prone to kidney problems. he will run a blood test that will get back in an hr and call us. in the meantime, frida stays at the clinic. he gave us a range of numbers, x is normal, y is bad, z he would normally recommend euthanasia, and xx is the highest he’s ever seen.

when he calls us back an hr later, he talks to erin and says that frida set a record. her toxicity levels were almost 2x higher than the xx number he gave us. so we run down there and say goodbye……..

we cried a lot and when this stuff started going down, i told my work i would not be able to do the work from home thing, and just made it a personal day. it’s still painful to think about, but we’re both much more able to deal with it now. it’s sad. frida was the first cat we took home, our first foster, we nursed her to health when she was a kitten and she used to just curl up on my chest and purr because she was too sick and weak to do much else and i just couldn’t bear to give her back to the humane society. now she’s gone and she was only 5 yrs old. /sigh.