Ponderings from a Procrastinating Prognosticator

Posts Tagged ‘cats’

National Pet Day

Posted by samatwitch on April 12, 2016

Today is – or was, since it’s after midnight – National  Pet Day, so I’m posting pictures of my current rehomed calico, Ariana.

These are my previous fur people.

My last rehomed cat, Tabitha.  She was 10 when I got her and 13 1/2 when she died of a very fast-acting oral cancer.

Samantha at about age 17

Samantha

Samantha lived to be 22.  She was my first cat as an adult. I ‘inherited’ her when she was a very small ball of fur in Trenton, ON. I had to euthanise her two weeks after her late-in-life companion, Matilda, was killed by a raccoon.  Here’s the last picture I have of both of them.

Matilda hugging Samantha

Matilda hugging Samantha

Matilda was a stray who adopted me when Samantha was 17.  Matilda had been abandoned several times within the building and had been living ‘on the streets’ when she adopted us one very cold, very rainy February night.  It turns out she was also pregnant!  Only one of the kittens survived and Miss Molly brought such joy into our lives for the two and a half years she was with us.

Miss Mollyph-10180

A few months after Miss Molly left us, I found Tabitha as a kitten, born in our neighbourhood. Years later I realised that she thought she was going to be an only child – instead she became a young companion for two older cats, one of whom (Samantha) was starting to look a bit decrepit!

Tabitha lived to be 17 and managed to share her life for 12 years with Natasha, my second small Tuxedo cat, who also brought unexpected joy to my life.

ph-10186

Natasha (my Little Rutabaga) and Tija (the Great Radish) actually applied for the Evil League of Evil!

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For Siberia and Jaguar

Posted by samatwitch on November 26, 2014

A beautiful story that could almost be Tabitha’s except that she had never met any of her ‘sisters’ until Monday afternoon, but I know they were there waiting for her and it was the last thing I said to her, listing their names so she would remember when she arrived.

kittenkamkattery

“Look! There’s another one. Beat you good, brudder!”

“Aach…what’s the score now?”

“Three all…”

The two young cats lay on their backs in the meadow, watching the night sky for shooting stars. It was a particularly good night for them – clear and nearly cloudless, the merest hint of a breeze rustling the leaves in the tall elm under which they lay. They had been playing this game since the moon came up, revelling in the mild night air, the fragrance wafting off the grass and, above all, each other’s company.

Jaguar had been stalking shadows through the undergrowth that morning when he had suddenly stopped still and sniffed the air. There was a change in it somehow. Not a scent as such, but a change in the texture and the feel of the air in his nostrils. He rolled his tongue and opened his mouth a little, employing his…

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TABITHA IS 13!

Posted by samatwitch on October 25, 2014

I picked today as Tabitha’s birthday because she was apparently 10 and a half when she was rehomed to me on March 24, 2012. As a treat, she got tuna water (drained from tuna packed in water) and a few flecks of tuna.  She may also get some catnip if she decides to come out of the bedroom later. 🙂

Tabitha is a very loving cat, although she still doesn’t really like to be picked up and cuddled.  The longest she’s ever let me do that has been nine minutes – yes, I time them!  She does love to be near me, though, and if I don’t sit beside her for cuddles in the evening, she complains loudly and sometimes leads me into the bedroom early – which for me is a good thing!  She likes to come for a cuddle before I go to sleep but usually wakes me with a loud mwroar and jump off the bed, just as I’m dozing off. 😀

She seems to have adapted well to life in my home – even coming up to lean against me while I’m sitting in the chair a couple of times in the past few months.

Thanks to Denise G for trusting me with her and to Christine M for driving me to pick her up – and looking after her when I was out of town.

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POEM: SAMANTHA II

Posted by samatwitch on January 12, 2012

Samantha had a special place in my heart, not just because we were together for 22 years, but because she was very special – and I brought her halfway across the country.  She liked to travel with me – by train or plane or car – as long as she could be with me, she put up with the rigors of travel.

SAMANTHA I

That cosy ball of fur curled up beside me
Twitches slightly in a dream
What kind of dreams do cats have, I wonder?
Chasing mice? Pouncing on toys? Eating catnip?
Or is she dreaming impossible dreams?
Wondering what it would be like
To soar like a bird, scamper like a mouse,
Or dart here and there like a dragonfly?
Could it be she’s dreaming of the kittens
She’s never had nor never will?
Or what life would be like with someone else?
Who can tell what dreams a cat has?
Who will ever know?
But when I move, she opens one eye
And purrs when I pet her,
Seemingly content with the life she lives.

SAMANTHA II

Soft tread of furry paws
Lightly touching the floor,
A faint ring from the bell around her neck,
Then a questioning ‘mrreoow’
As she looks for me,
Even before going to her food dishes.

Always she wants to be near me,
Following me around the house,
More like a dog than a cat,
Then indignant if I trip over her.

Her long silky tabby-striped hair
Needs to be brushed every day,
And she purrs as I hold her on my lap;
Unlike nail-clipping time,
Which started out as a war
For the first few years,
When I had to be covered from head to toe,
Including thick suede gloves.
But as she grew older, she mellowed,
Until it is quick and painless for both of us.

Round green eyes look into mine
And she winks at me.

This is Samantha, whom I taught to sit
In both of Canada’s official languages.
Samantha, who always reacted
To the fridge door being opened,
Right up to the end.
Samantha, who comforted me whenever I cried,
Even if it was because she was sick.
Samantha, who at 21, struggled
To return to health after a stroke and succeeded.
Samantha, who at 22, looked at me
With those round green eyes
And asked me to let her go
And I did.

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REMEMBERING MISS MOLLY

Posted by samatwitch on December 8, 2011

I wrote this a couple of months after the death of my youngest cat, Miss Molly.  I can’t believe it’s been that long, but then Tija is 16 1/2 now and I acquired her a few months after this.  Miss Molly brought much joy into my life even though she was with us a short time.

REMEMBERING MISS MOLLY

On September 16, 1994,  I came home to my apartment after a wonderful warm, sunny day out of town, to discover two messages on my answering machine.  The voice was that of an unfamiliar woman.  In a sympathetic tone, she identified herself and told me she had my cat, it had been hit by a car and she was sorry, but it was dead.  The second message was from the same woman who told me not to worry about how late I got home, but to phone them whatever time it was.  Since my two older cats had greeted me on my arrival, I knew that it was my youngest, two and a half year old Miss Molly – my “wee little Miss Molly” as I often called her – and the tears began to flow.

She wasn’t really that small, she just appeared so.  She was actually taller than her mother Matilda, although slimmer, and bigger than my oldest cat, Samantha.  But there was something about Miss Molly that always made me think of her as “wee”.  Perhaps it was her large green eyes, which made her pointed face appear smaller, or just the fact that she was still very kittenish.  Or maybe it was because she was a gift I had never expected and I still have vivid memories of her as a newborn kitten, especially when she was ten days old and I had to feed her with an eye dropper when Matilda took off for the day.

That was the day Samantha officially met the yet-to-be named kitten.  After 16 years of being the centre of attention in our household, Samantha had not taken kindly to Matilda’s unexpected intrusion into our lives and her subsequent adoption of us.  Consequently, Samantha was noticeably wary of this small black and white wriggling object, no bigger than the length of my hand, yet one whose scent designated her “cat”.

I had had Samantha spayed at six months as I did with Miss Molly, but Matilda was already pregnant when she decided to stay with us.   Miss Molly was the only one of the four kittens to survive and I had decided to keep her.

I called Gayle, the woman who had left the message, and her husband Michael came over immediately, carrying Miss Molly, wrapped in a towel in a square rubber basin.  I stood on the top step of my apartment building, in front of a neighbour I had never met, weeping over the lifeless body of my youngest cat.  It was ten o’clock at night and I didn’t know what to do next.  Michael said my neighbours who lived in the house across the street had offered to help me in the morning with whatever arrangements I wished to make.  He pushed back the towel from Miss Molly’s face, but advised me not to turn her over as the other side of her head and her eye were damaged quite badly.  I thanked him and took her inside.

When I entered the apartment, the other two cats immediately sensed something was wrong.  I put the basin on the floor and let them look at her.  Matilda, who had seen one of her kittens die and the other two disappear (they had to be put to sleep), took one look and sniff and jumped back from the container.  But Samantha kept bending closer, finally reaching out a paw as if to move the too-still body of her young companion.  After all, Miss Molly was hardly ever totally still.  She had a seemingly endless supply of energy, always on the go.  My most often-used expression with regards to her was, “Where did Miss Molly go now?”  Although very affectionate, she did not really liked to be picked up and cuddled, usually squirming free in 30 seconds or less.  However, twice in what turned out to be the last week of her life she had actually jumped up on my legs, while I was reclining on the sofa with Samantha on my shoulder, and stretched out for a long nap.

I phoned long distance to one of my closest friends .  As soon as she heard my voice, she asked what was wrong and was it Samantha?  With Samantha being 19, her death would not have been unexpected.  I explained that it was Miss Molly and my friend sympathized with me over the phone, letting me talk and cry.

After a long night, in which I spent a lot of time just stroking Miss Molly’s face and paw, I realized that her body was now stiff and the essence that had made her my “wee little Miss Molly” had really left.  I held her on my lap in the basin and called the other two to come near.  Samantha sat on the arm of the chair beside me, Matilda on the floor – close, but with her back to us.  I sang – or tried to – a couple of my favourite hymns and said a prayer of thankfulness for the unexpected joy and love Miss Molly had brought to all of us during her young life.  Just as I finished, Theresa phoned from across the street to ask me if I was ready to make a decision about what to do with the body.  She and Maureen drove me to the SPCA where, for $15, they cremated the body.

The next day Theresa and Maureen came over with flowers and a beautiful card to make sure I was okay.  They explained how Michael had found Miss Molly in the middle of the road in front of their house, while walking his dog and, ignoring the blood, picked her up and took her home.  He and his wife, Gayle, had called Theresa and Maureen (who are nurses) to see if they could help, but Maureen assured me that Miss Molly must have died instantly and, thanks to Michael, she was not run over afterwards.  Gayle had stroked Miss Molly into a more natural position and wrapped her in the towel.   I shall always be grateful for having such caring neighbours who made such a difficult and painful situation a little bit easier.

I had three days to grieve before I returned to work, but even there it was made more bearable because of the caring and support shown and expressed by almost every one I work with.  Most have cats of their own or had at one time, and most of them have gone through similar experiences.  And most of them had heard of Miss Molly, while quite a few had seen pictures of her.  Nobody laughed at me for caring so much about a cat or belittled the grief and loss I felt.  I truly feel blessed to have been so fortunate as to have friends, family (my sister and her family in the Kootenays sent me hugs over the phone), neighbours, and co-workers who empathized with me and, for those who knew her, grieved with me.

The pain is not so constant now and I look at the many pictures I have of her.  (She was not only photogenic but seemed to love having her picture taken.)  I think about her high-pitched, and sometimes quite demanding, meow – which sounded much like the woman’s cry in the opening sequence of “Mystery”.  I think about how she tried to effect a fierce growl when she didn’t want anyone near her when she had brought home a mouse, or worse, a bird, but the noise she made was so un-fierce that I was always hard-pressed not to laugh even when I was scolding her.  I think of how I tried to stop her crossing the road but, short of locking her in the apartment all the time, which I was not willing to do, I had to live with the knowledge that she liked to cross not just one, but two busy streets to find a quiet yard where she could relax and run around without fear of being chased herself.  I think of how she would follow me as far as the alley, across the street and half a block from home, when I was on my way to work, and cry so piteously (or so it sounded) that I could hear her over a block away.

I remember how she liked to snuggle under the covers with me, or lie on my arm at night.  I remember the time I woke up and found a small pink nose pressed against mine and two big green eyes staring at me, while a small paw gently batted my face to wake me up.  I remember how she would jump up onto the bathroom counter as soon as I started to brush my teeth and try to get her head between my arm and my face.  There are still tears when I think of Miss Molly and her shortened life, but there are smiles when I remember the joy with which she lived, and I do not, for one moment, regret loving her.

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