All posts in Cats

Losing Thomas

One of the first things my father said to me upon learning that Dylan and I had adopted a kitten was a reminder of the commitment a pet requires.  I know my mom mentioned the length of that commitment early on, too: cats can live 18-22 years, after all.   I wasn’t concerned; it was hard to be when looking at a fluffy black and white kitten with bright green eyes.  Besides, responsibility and commitment are kind of my deal.  In hindsight, it might have been better perhaps to warn me of the possibility of having to let go before I was ready.


I was prepared to feed, pet and love Thomas for as long as he was my kitty.  I was even prepared to forgive him when, as animals do, he ruined furniture and clothing with his claws.  I was prepared to clean up messes and make concessions when he grew neurotic about the litter box being ultra clean.  It was sometimes frustrating, but I had agreed to take care of Thomas and I knew that taking the good with the bad was part of the deal.  This January when Thomas became seriously ill, I was prepared to spend what savings Dylan and I did have to restore his health.  I fed him through a tube; I drove to visit him at vet-camp; I woke in the middle of the night to care for him.

I’ve always remembered my promise to do what was best for him.  Dylan and I are steadfastly loyal and loving to each of our cats.  Somehow, I thought this guaranteed us a happy ending; but then, without warning, the blow came: Thomas had cancer.  Cancer we couldn’t stop.  Cancer we couldn’t fix.  Cancer we couldn’t wish, weep, or love away.   I’ll admit it.  As sturdy as my understanding of my commitment to Thomas had always been, I was not ready for this.

I’m devastated.  I’m heartbroken.  I’m angry.  But I am not prepared.  For me, this is an issue.  I like to be prepared.   I like planning, punctuality, and endeavor to be as prepared as I can for any situation.  My cats have always been a piece of this planning, because I’ve always included them in our future.   Maybe we’ll take a trip next summer?  Guess who’s already making mental cat-care arrangements?  We’re thinking of installing wood floors?  I’m wondering how best to manage our cats during that process.  Because I’m a planner, it is more difficult for me to accept change.  Losing Thomas is a massive and terrible change.  No bright side tempers the sadness or eases what I must make peace with:  now that all is said and done, Thomas is gone.  He brought so much happiness to our lives and now there is an empty ache in his absence.

The last two weeks have been some of the toughest I’ve experienced.  We found out about the cancer last Monday.  Suddenly, years of time with Thomas became months.  There was talk of surgery and chemotherapy and weekly vet visits.  How could we possibly know what Thomas would want?  Thomas has been a source of joy in our lives for eleven years:  a kitty that has made it more palatable to return home from vacation, easier to shrug off a bad day, more fun to snuggle into the couch on a snowy day.  Thomas shared our home and life since I was twenty years old.  Now, when it was most difficult, was the time to honor our promise to him and make the decision that was right for him.  As the week progressed, we realized that we did not have months, or even weeks.  Thomas could not be made to suffer because we were not brave enough to take that final step.  Saturday evening, we helped our friend move on.

It has been hard for me to talk about Thomas, and not only because the hurt I feel is palpable.  It is more because in many ways, Thomas was not really my cat.  While I was the one that wrote the check and signed the paperwork, somewhere along the way an allegiance was made between Dylan and Thomas.  I can only tell you it happened early on and it was heart-warming to witness.  People make a big deal about man’s best friend; a boy and his dog is a well-tread theme.  I lived for eleven years with a boy and his cat.  Thomas rode around on Dylan’s shoulders, greeted Dylan at the door, sat on Dylan’s lap, slept by Dylan’s side, and was most content in Dylan’s company.  For his part, Dylan loved Thomas without reserve and would have taken him everywhere with him, had that been the sort of thing cats tolerated.

Thomas owned a piece of my heart, though I was not his boon companion.  He was my first pet as an adult.  His clever little face greeted me each day as I returned home.  Now there are empty spaces and moments that used to be filled by him.  As time marches on, as it has a habit of doing, I am sure that things will start to seem better.  That I will stop weeping in public.  That music won’t seem so sad.  That the house won’t seem so empty.  That two cats will seem like enough.  But for now, I am just incredibly sad and trying to slowly undo the knot of grief left in the wake of our loss.

Wearing my big girl pants…

Today was my first appointment at the anticoagulation clinic, and I was fairly stressed about it. I knew it was only a finger stick, and having performed several of these on myself, I also knew that they don’t really hurt. Still the tiny voice in the back of my head kept insisting that it might, and needles just freak me out anyway. But I managed to be a big girl about it, and now I don’t have to go back for three more weeks. Nice. I finally seem to be making some steady progess towards getting well. I also got my steroid dose reduced on Monday, which has been wreaking little havoc emotionally, but hopefully will squelch some of the physical side effects I have been experiencing.
Today was the kick off for the bank’s United Way campaign. I volunteered to be on the committee this year, and spent the morning parading about distributing information packets. It was generally a good time, and it is for a worthy cause. Hopefully our efforts will be successful.
Tonight Dylan and I are having dinner with my mom. I am excited about it for two reasons: 1- we are having chicken happy meals (not from McDonalds , but of the roasted chickens you purchase at Safeway variety) and 2- I will get to see her new kitty. All in all, it should be a nice night.

Yea…Time to Read!

I have been reading a lot lately, and really enjoying it. It is perhaps one of my favorite things about working part-time. Mostly I have been reading books that Jamie (my mother-in-law) has lent me. She has quite the collection and has been very generous about lettimg me borrow them. It is nice that we have similar taste in books. Right now I am in the middle of “In Her Shoes”, which they made into a movie last year I think. I’ll admit that I thought the movie looked kind of dumb, but the book is very good. I will probably have to rent the movie now…sorry Dylan (since he will most likely end up having to watch it with me). After I finish this book I have two more by the same author that I think I will read.
I finally seem to be on the mend for good. I got my picc line removed on the 4th, so it really was Independence Day for me. I was completely freaked out about having it taken out, and felt like a big dork afterwards because it took one second and I didn’t feel a thing. So I frettted for nothing. I will start going to the anticoagulation clinic next week to have my blood tested and I will only have to go every other week…yea!!
Dylan and I are attempting to train our little ginger cat by using a spray bottle. So far it seems to be working. He has this peculiar habit of howling and pawing at the windows. It wouldn’t be so bad if he didn’t insist on doing it at 4 or 5 in the morning. I feel bad about squirting him (or I suppose I should say Dylan squirting him) but our previous method of dealing with this behavior was to shut him in the garage, so I guess this is a better alternative.
I am still happy about my new job. I might go full time which would reduce my reading time, but it would be nice financially. It is funny because I get confused now when my personal phone rings. It is hard not to answer it like I do for work. It always takes me a few rings to remember how to answer it. I’m a dork.

Wild & Crazy Weekend

I traveled with Dylan’s family to Boone, NC this weekend to see Jon graduate. It was a very nice trip…I had never been to North Carolina before, so that was cool. We stayed at this little cabin that was off the beaten path and had a good view of the mountains. We also had some pretty bad mexican food, which I felt sad about because I should have known better. If you go too far East in this country mexican food starts to taste more like Chef Boyardee concoctions than anything else. Think ketchup and BBQ sauce instead of chile and salsa and you’ll be on the right track. Eew. So, you’ve been warned….don’t do it, just don’t.
It was also kind of hectic because our little cat Beda got sick right before we left to travel to Boone. We took her to the emergency vet in the middle of the night Wednesday because she wasn’t doing so hot. It turned out that she just had an upset stomach, but we had to isolate her on Thursday and limit her food and water intake to make sure that she didn’t have an obstruction in her digestive system. Poor kitty… and poor Sarah and Dylan, we were super exhausted for traveling all day Friday. Plus it was hard to leave her, but I knew my mom would take good care of her, because she is a crazy cat lady like me.
We arrived home late last night, so it was a full, long weekend. And today I start my new job at the bank. I will be working in the call center in the afternoons now, I am pretty excited about it. It is nice to have a job again, and it should work out well with my schedule this Fall as well. Yea for me.

Reno’s Birthday

So today is my little ginger cat’s 1st birthday. And yes, I am one of those obsessed cat people who knows their cat’s birthday, but not one of those psycho cat people who bakes them a cake and throws them a party. There is a slight difference there, you know…
Anyhoo, I finished the wax mold of Dylan’s new wedding band and invested it today. I will cast on Thursday, so everybody needs to keep their fingers crossed for me. I am very nervous about whether or not it will be a successful casting. First of all, I spent a ridiculous amount of time creating the wax model, and practically went cross-eyed working on it. Also, a reasonable amount of my grade for this class rides on this project. And lastly, it involves lighting and using a fairly big torch. So, should you think of it around midafternoon on Thursday, say a little prayer for me.
Only a week and a half left of school…tralalalalala. I am very ready for a little break. I only have the casting (dum-da-dum-dum-dummmmmmm), two tests and a pretend grant to write before I am finished. Not too bad, although I would honestly really enjoy not having to write a pretend grant…oh well. C’est la vie, I suppose.
I am going to go smother some vanilla icecream with chocolate syrup now, and then I am going to bed.

Superstar Sarah is Sleepy

I was a such a superstar yesterday, I actually made it to all my commitments. I realize that doesn’t sound like a great accomplishment, but it has been about three weeks since I have felt well enough to get everywhere I am supposed to be in a day. I went to both my classes, observed at Central, and visited my Mom’s house just like I was planning. Plus, I took the mid-term I missed before Spring Break. Good for me eh? Oh, and I bought the supplies I need for my jewelry project. I was quite productive…though I didn’t have a lot of time left over to do my homework.
So that is what I am trying to do this morning…it is not super fun. I am only behind in one class, but I need to keep up with my other work, too. One of my classes is pretty heavy on reading requirements…blech. Textbooks get old. Plus, I have this wretched project that is just, well, wretched. I hate research, and I mean hate with a capital H, and this project requires me to pull together information on a lot of different subjects. It is due next week, so I will hopefully finish it this weekend and stop whining about it.
The kitties were restless last night…and my stupid skin lesions made me uncomfortable so I am sleepy today. It is making for slow progress on the school work, but I suppose I better get back to it.

Crazy Puddies

My cats are driving me nuts today. They have been at each others throats since I got up this morning. Beda is being a sensitive little cus and Reno is being his persistent self. It has been one fight after another…forget kids, cats are enough. Dylan shut Reno’s tail in the dishwasher earlier, and he let out the funniest sqwak. I felt bad because he was obviously startled, but at the same time it was hilarious. Good news: his tail was not broken, although he held it at a funny angle for several minutes just to cause us worry.
I have become addicted to Snood, which doesn’t look good for my studies. It is so much fun…but so frustrating. Level 12 is just dumb. That’s all I have to say about it.
I remembered to take all my pills today…my 9-1-5-9 mantra seemed to work. I think it also helped that I wore a watch, so I was actually aware of the time all day. I hate wearing watches because they totally turn me into a time-watcher, and that’s no good. But I suppose if it helps me to take my medication I’ll just have to deal with it. It’s funny…because I am completely anal-retentive about a lot of things, but I hate to be concerned with the time. I’m silly.

Reno is a Demon

I made it through the Friday of Doom, and even got some possible answers as to what has been making me feel ill. I have some new medication to try out, and if it does I’ll be taking 12 pills a day indefinitely. I am also not allowed to have any milk, icecream, yogurt or cheese for a few weeks, which is sad for me. I love dairy products, but I guess it is only for a short time. At least I wasn’t deemed lactose intolerant, that would have sucked.
Other than the big event of going to the hospital on Friday, this weekend has been fairly mellow. Just watching movies, doing some homework and trying to supervise Reno, the unruly little hellion that somehow passes for a kitten. He has been into everything the last few days; it kind of makes me wonder what he gets away with when we aren’t here all day.
Back to school and work tomorrow. But it’s only a three day week…we leave on Thursday for Vegas. Yippee!

School and other Random Thoughts

School is crazier than I remembered. I am carrying 18 credits and I have to spend 89 hours observing in classrooms this semester. I was planning on 35 of those. It’s amazing what those little class descriptions neglect to mention. It is going to be nuts. Other than the sneaky, hidden work loads, most of my classes seem like they are going to be okay.
My kitty, Beda, is sitting on the top of the desk as I write this and she is being so charming. She is usually the little cave-dweller. And by that I mean hiding under the bed or in the closet somewhere, which is slightly inconvenient as she is a black cat. I have discovered, now that I am home more during the day, that she is actually quite sociable when somebody is here to distract from studying.
On a completely random note, I listened to the new Me First and the Gimmie Gimmies cd this morning while running around doing the typical back-to-school errand scramble, and it was very amusing. Everyone should check it out.