nwhiker: (Default)
These are the first photos of our kittens! They were born 31 July, and should be coming home late September. They're Norwegian Forest Cats, and we're all excited as heck!

This is the girl:

'

It was tough. We had a choice between "Girl 1" and "Girl 2". Perry and I thought Girl 1 was cuter, the other three were all for Girl 2. So we lost out on that one. That said, Girl 2 is plenty cute!

And here is the whole litter. We're also getting the cream boy!




At this point, tentatively, the girl will be named Auri, from Pat Rothfuss' _The Name of the Wind_, a favourite book for three of us, and a great character. Also, we thought, a good name. The boy will be Twisp.

Note that they're very little, just a few days old. Linnea was slightly distressed when she saw the photos. I think she expected them to look like cute month or so old kittens. Clearly she has not been exposed to newborns... I mean, you may love them, but they're cuter later on!


nwhiker: (Default)
I have spent most of the morning trying to figure out how to adopt two kittens from a shelter in the DFW -yes, Texas, and yes, I am in Washington state- who won't "hold" cats.

They are SO CUTE. OMG, so cute. I want them. Desperately.

But I cannot figure out how. They won't adopt to someone who doesn't show up, and I don't think I know anyone in the DFW area who would be willing to adopt them for me, and ship them on Alaska Airlines' petconnect. Heck, I'm even looking for someone I'd PAY to go adopt them for me etc.

Two of my adorable children are on board with this lovely idea. The third child and her father are orcs, orces I tell you.

OMG. WANT THOSE KITTENS.

Also, shelter in Texas. WTF do you put pets on petfinder and on your shelter page is you'll only adopt out of the PetSmart in Allen Texas, first come first serve? Seems like a recipe for heartache and wasted trips.
nwhiker: (Cottage Lake snow)
Chloé

09 April 1994 - 22 December 2015


My sweet girl.

It went well, as these things do. I held her. The vet and the tech took her to give her the first injection, the overdose and.... she peed and attempted to eviscerate them. That's my girl! She's been living on pure feist for the past few months. Then they gave her back to me and she fell asleep in my arms, as the rest of her family pet her gently.

It was easy, and peaceful.

The vet and tech were wonderful.

We got a paw print, and she'll be cremated. Private cremation, and as with Gus, we added an envelope with a bit of each of our hair, to go with her.

It was hard.

It was time.

And now a few thoughts and memories, beyond the laugh when she attempted to kill the vet and the tech....

She licked AC's pinky this morning. Cleaning her first kitten, I guess. She used to always lick dh's shins when he got out of the shower every morning, probably wondering why that kitten never figured out not to get himself wet every day. I mean, really? Water? Voluntarily?

It was tears, but it was Perry holding Linnea as she sobbed, and all of us crying,and knowing that she was our cat, and this was our little family's grief.

At the last minute, after her poor sweet frail body was in the back of the vet's car, Linnea and I ran over, and Linnea gave one last cuddle, and I touched the soft little pawpads one last time. Pawpads are my things. Human babies are cute, but the cutest thing in the world to me is still kitty pawpads.

That extra day we got was perfect. A little bit of extra special time just to enjoy her. The lasts were all done.

"We who choose to surround ourselves with lives even more temporary than our own, live within a fragile circle, easily and often breached.
Unable to accept its awful gaps, we still would live no other way.
We cherish memory as the only certain immortality,
never fully understanding the necessary plan."


Irving Townsend.


Goodbye, my sweet Chloé cat. Thank for being there so many times for me, you little empathetic creature. You stayed close when I was in pain, always sensing when I needed you. Thank for helping me teach compassion to my children, for teaching them to care and love. Their pain today is your legacy, and bittersweet as that may be, they are better people for it. David and I will miss you, miss you walking all over us, our bed will feel very empty for a very long time. David will even miss you walking all over his hair, pulling it to wake him up for breakfast! now! it's 6:01! My breakfast is at 6:00! You were the last vestige of our long ago pre-child youth, and this growing up and growing old thing was a fun ride, and I'm happy you and Gus were there with us.

There will be a Chloé shaped hole in all of our hearts for a long time.
nwhiker: (Cottage Lake snow)
Linnea described it best "You mean that Chloé isn't going to die today?"

The vet we like had a family crisis. She couldn't make it today and the one who was replacing her is either a vet I don't know or a vet I HATE. So we rescheduled for tomorrow.

I owe Dr Hanna a big thank you. She normally wouldn't be working tomorrow, but was willing to come over for this. I hope the tech, Rachel, can be there too.

I feel stupidly glad. I've gotten through the lasts, and it's ok. Now the extra 24 hours feels like bonus time, a bit of a gift.

Plus, eh, not my anniversary, which is always nice.

She isn't in pain, or suffering so I don't feel bad about being happy. That said, if she were in pain, I'd take the other vet etc.

Damn, I love that cat.

What I wrote elesewhere: I can't explain, but I don't have the same dread looking at tomorrow today as I did yesterday looking at today.
nwhiker: (Cottage Lake snow)
So many sad lasts.

We're waiting on the vet, she should be here in an hour or so.

My baby slept between dh and me last night, her favourite spot.

She's in Perry's lap right now, he and Linnea are petting her.

I love my children.

I am going to miss my sweet Chloé.

I'm going to have a little black cat shaped hole in my heart.
nwhiker: (Cottage Lake snow)
I made the final vet appointment for my sweet old lady.

Next Monday, the 21st. Which also happens to be my wedding anniversary, but it was the day both the vet AND the vet tech we like would be working, so I thought that made sense.

She isn't ready, and I'm thinking she won't be until she actually collapses, and with the long holiday weekend approaching... I didn't want a cold table in the emergency vet to be her last curl up spot. Instead, I hope, it'll be our bed, the bed she's pranced on her whole life.

God I'll miss that cat.

I hate adulting.

I couldn't make the call, I actually had to go to the vet's office. It's easier to understand someone weeping when you're right there rather than over the phone... And it had to be me. Dh wouldn't be able to.

When they came and gave Gus the final injection, he glared at us. Dh remembers that glare, and still feels we acted too soon for Gus. We did not. It was time. I called the vet as soon as he stopped eating, as soon as he refused to eat Pepperidge Farm goldfish from our hands, his favourite treat. This is different. Gus gave us a clear indication that he was done. Keelee before him did as well (he died that night, I was going to call for the appointment the next morning). She has not, yet. I fear she might not, until things got too bad.

I feel so very sad.

I got that cat in my twenties. She's been with me though my thirties and forties, and into my fifties. She was at my wedding, that winter day so long ago. She was there as I laboured with Anne-Chloe, and stayed with me all though my labours with Perry and Linnea. I sobbed into her fur when my dad died, and held her close in times of depression. She's been there for me, this is the least I can do for her, allow her to go before things get dire.

She -and Gus- taught my children the love and compassion that will make them better human beings. It is to their credit, I think, that all three of my children opted to be there. They'll see this through, this final responsibility we have to the small creatures that make our houses our homes.

The night we moved back home, in the middle of a rain storm, the cat found her spot at the bottom of our bed, at that point just the futon on the floor. She curled up and went to sleep. Anne-Chloe came to say good night, and gave the cat a cuddle and started to cry, repeating over and over "She made it home, she made it home." She did, she came home with us, and an echo of presence will always be here with us.

My sweet Chloé cat.
nwhiker: (Cottage Lake snow)
I wrote it all up, so I figured I'd post it here.

Though I must add that today, Thursday, both cats are peeing blood again. FML, ya know? My poor sweet stressed out kitties.

OMG. OK, pop the popcorn and prepare to laugh.

Because OMG, this was such a freaking ordeal, I'll laugh about it... someday.

So. We've been waiting for permits for the remodel for over a year. Yawn. We kinda never thought it would happen. Then blam. Can you be out of your house in three weeks?

Ummm... We can. Yah. We can.

It may kill us, but we can.

Now, when we realised, in early January, that we might get permits soon, we figured they'd set a start date around March. Which would have been fine. But no, they wanted to start now-now-now-now, and quite honestly, we weren't about to say Wait! because of the fear that some other project would slip in before ours.

So first we have to find a house. Which is not self-evident, because short term rental. I had one woman say "We don't do that type of thing" in a tone dripping in condescension, as if I'd asked if they rented whorehouses or meth labs.

We finally found a place. Total rip-off on rent, BUT it's very close to our other place. The landlord -this is important- is Indian, and lives near St Louis. His brother lives around here.

We had a place to move, now we just had to move 20 years of accumulated CRAP to the new place. The idea was to pack anything we wouldn't need for 5 months into boxes, and store those in the ground level rooms, and just move in with the stuff we'd need for the next months.

Now during all this. Anne-Chloe has a her major writing research paper due and a gym meet. I'm taking a class at UW and I have the first draft of a paper due. Perry has a big take home exam. So we ended up piece-mealing a weekend of packing. I ended up writing most of the first draft of the paper by myself, it was a group project, since I figured that the NEXT weekend, I'd have even less time. That was the weekend of the 7th/8th.

Sunday evening, we notice that BamBam is peeing drips of blood. Monday morning, it's a trip to the vet for him. No infection, stressed out cat is the diagnosis. Great.

AC's research paper was turned in and the following Friday of President's Day weekend, we rented a truck to do the major move. We'd been hauling boxes over etc, but there was still A LOT of stuff.

I had school Friday morning, but -and I find this quite impressive- when I came back, AC and David had moved about half of the furniture into the truck. I helped as best I could, and later we got 2 hours of work out of Perry, but both moving the PIANO and everything out and in to the new places? Most of that was done by my spouse and my teenage daughter. :)

We moved the cats on Friday too. BamBam was still occasionally peeing everywhere, and the little brat peed all over my comforter that evening. I was NOT happy.

Saturday: move more stuff. A lot of stuff. We're all pretty tired by then. I managed to do a teeny bit of work on my group paper, but didn't feel too guilty about leaving it to one of the other guys since I'd done so much of the work for draft 1.

Sunday: move more stuff. We were getting to the bitter end, and we probably had a few hours left when Perry and I drove a load over. And found the house covered in bloody pee. It was the OTHER cat this time. She's 20, will be 21 in April, so that ended moving for that evening, and it was straight to the ER vet with her. Same as BamBam, no infection, too much stress. She got happy drugs.

We got everything out by Monday evening, totally exhausted. The kids were off school that week, so at least I had some help. We spent Tuesday in a stupor, only moving to run after cats mopping up dribbles of pee. Since the older cat is in kidney failure, her urine is pretty much water, so at least that.

We limp through the week. We still have boxes and bags of stuff all over, the kitchen cabinets are teeny tiny, and don't fit a lot of my stuff, but we'd started to get some organization in place.

And then. Friday. It's time to do laundry. Earlier that week, we'd run a short load through the washer and everything worked fine, so I put in a full load of stuff, and went to the Microsoft Store with David and Perry to pick up his replacement computer (easy painless process. He spilled tea on the previous one, we had insurance, they replaced it. It would have taken 3 days had we not been so busy and putting weeks between trips to the store. He had a loaner from school during that time). Anyhow, just as we were pulling into the mall, my phone rang.

It was Anne-Chloe. Water ankle deep all over the ground floor. Which is where ALL OF OUR STUFF IS STORED, along with the piano. CRAP. We're about 30 minutes away, we head home, David talking AC through basic diagnostics(she determined it wasn't the drain, so he was able to get her to put the machine on spin and stop the situation from getting worse.) I was driving, I had Perry call my MIL, who lives 10 minutes from us, to see if she could go over and help AC. No, she's playing taxi for SIL again. Never mind. We'd manage on our own.

Anne-Chloe, btw, dealt with the situation perfectly. Except for not putting on shoes when wading in, she did everything right, and when we got home, she'd managed to get a good amount of the water up, mitigating damage.

In a stroke of absolute luck, and thanks to the three pallets we had a lot of our stuff on, our only loss was a futon we were planning on tossing anyhow, and one rug got wet and will need to be seriously cleaned. Water wasn't quite ankle deep, but probably an inch or so in areas.

The landlord's floor, otoh? Not so great. We finally get in touch with him, and he sends his brother over, with a dehumidifier rented from Home Depot. He and David rip up the laminate flooring, there is water under pretty much everything. Friday evening is long. On Saturday David moved all our boxes from one room to the room that had been dried, ripped up the rest of the flooring, and got the second room drying.

At that point, we're exhausted and I'm irked at how much my spouse is doing. The landlord admitted they hadn't checked the washer and when David moved it later, and looked more carefully, he found loads of rust raining from it. Sigh.

Still, it could have been MUCH worse.

Sunday, we got back to the mall to finally confirm the computer for Perry.

We got back, had dinner, and Linnea -who'd eaten out with friends- came to tell us that she hadn't seen BamBam for quite a while.

Huh. Let's search for the cat.

It's quickly obvious that the little brat is AWOL, he probably escaped when the landlord came to pick up the dehumidifier. CRAP.

We spent a few hours searching. We made lost cat posters. AC went to bed in tears, he's her special baby. David and I drove around putting up flyers.

I got home and started getting a craigslist posting. David got his sleeping bag ready. We'd left BamBam's food in the garage with the door barely cracked. I posted my ad, David went down to sleep in the garage hoping that the bait would attract the cat and-- He opened the door to the garage, BamBam is in there, clicks the garage door down and the cat is back and trapped.

I deleted my craigstlist posting, and we head around the neighbourhood AGAIN to remove all the flyers we'd just put up. We got to bed at 2am, at 4am I was woken up because the cat had peed on my bed and it soaked my side of the comforter. Again, kidney disease, so very dilute, I spray it with Nature's Miracle and attempt go get another 2 hours of sleep.

So that was our move. It's been freaking exhausting, and that's not even mentioning all the crap about a fuck up in the house plans, and some unexpected changes there.

We stopped the cat's happy drugs today and she's back to using the litter box, so hopefully that's no longer an issue.

The new place is fine, it'll work for the time we have to spend here. I still have crap all over the place because last weekend was spent mitigating flood and not settling in. It'll be fine, though.

And dear heavens, next time we move, back into the other place? WE ARE HIRING PEOPLE. This college move is crap when you're no longer in college. The whole damn move cost us $208, including the truck, packing paper, and tape. We can afford to pay to get someone else to move the crap next time, damnit!
nwhiker: (Default)
I won't be able to write about my Gusling yet without crying, but I did want to write about something I saw today.

I saw Anne-Chloe breaking down in tears and sobbing, and Perry hugging her, and patting her hair. And Linnea going to Perry, to hold him, and Anne-Chloe picking up her little sister when it was time for the final pet. They held each other, and hugged each other, and consoled and supported each other.

Gus's death showed me the depth of compassion my children are capable of, and the love and careing they have for each other.
nwhiker: (Default)
Gus, a cat

April 9, 1994 - September 16, 2011

I'll write more later, there are many wonderful things to write about that boy, but I wanted to say that he was a good cat, a great cat, and that we loved him and will miss him.

July 2011 032
nwhiker: (Default)
Gus has outlived even the vet's most optimistic prognosis. This has been wonderful.

Last night we fed him late, when we got home from the concert. He didn't eat much, but that wasn't really a concern: he's been eating the same amount as before, but in much smaller quantities, and it takes him longer. We fed him late, so he didn't get much time to eat before bed.

Today, he didn't really eat much of his breakfast. Any, really. I just got him to eat a few bites, literally, but that it is.

It is time to call the vet, I think.

And tomorrow is AC's bday.

I can't do that to her.

I don't know what to do.

I guess I'm going to try to help him make it until Thursday at least.

I just called the mobile vet and "set things up" for 9:30 on Friday. We have back to school crap on Wed and I want to spend some time with him. I think he'll make it that long. I hope. She said to call if he takes a turn for the worse.

My poor little boy. My poor kids.

:(
nwhiker: (Default)
I called the mobile vet people, and we are in the area where they'll do at home euthanasia. They'll take the body after for a private cremation and we can pick up the urn later.

I didn't want him to have to make that final trip to the vet. He hates vets so much, lots of h-words and g-words and I didn't want that.

Still don't know how we'll do this. So far, he seems good. His abdomen is definitely fluid filled, but he's eating and begging for more water (in the right hand dish only).

Such a love of a cat.
nwhiker: (Default)
I called the mobile vet people, and we are in the area where they'll do at home euthanasia. They'll take the body after for a private cremation and we can pick up the urn later.

I didn't want him to have to make that final trip to the vet. He hates vets so much, lots of h-words and g-words and I didn't want that.

Still don't know how we'll do this. So far, he seems good. His abdomen is definitely fluid filled, but he's eating and begging for more water (in the right hand dish only).

Such a love of a cat.
nwhiker: (Default)
Well, the cytology showed... nothing, and his blood work was... close to normal, for kidney function, and not waay off for liver function.

Which really doesn't matter, because it's either cirrhosis or liver cancer, and not-totally-out-of-whack blood work means nothing when there is fluid in your abdomen.

Treatment options are nil, but we knew that. There is only treatment if the cancer is a lymphoma, and we're pretty sure it isn't that. I'm not sure why she mentioned that, actually.

We're looking at, if my understanding is correct, weeks if it's cancer, maybe a few months if it's cirrhosis. But all bets are off, and nobody really knows.

One option is some steroids, which might make him more comfortable. The other is draining the fluid using an ultrasound, which might also make him more comfortable, and depending on how fast the fluid comes back, for a while.

I need to talk to dh, and then we'll make a decision. My inclination is to go with the ultrasound guided draining as fast as possible: right now, he has good quality of life, and if we can extend that time until we have to make the final choice, I think that would be good.

But it'll depend on what dh thinks as well, and talking to the vet again. I thought she was supposed to call dh, so I wasn't expecting her, and was too shell-shocked to really react intelligently. It's not like I didn't know that the only answers would be crappy, I didn't expect to be so affected by hearing it directly, I guess.

I'm a mess, folks.
nwhiker: (Default)
Well, the cytology showed... nothing, and his blood work was... close to normal, for kidney function, and not waay off for liver function.

Which really doesn't matter, because it's either cirrhosis or liver cancer, and not-totally-out-of-whack blood work means nothing when there is fluid in your abdomen.

Treatment options are nil, but we knew that. There is only treatment if the cancer is a lymphoma, and we're pretty sure it isn't that. I'm not sure why she mentioned that, actually.

We're looking at, if my understanding is correct, weeks if it's cancer, maybe a few months if it's cirrhosis. But all bets are off, and nobody really knows.

One option is some steroids, which might make him more comfortable. The other is draining the fluid using an ultrasound, which might also make him more comfortable, and depending on how fast the fluid comes back, for a while.

I need to talk to dh, and then we'll make a decision. My inclination is to go with the ultrasound guided draining as fast as possible: right now, he has good quality of life, and if we can extend that time until we have to make the final choice, I think that would be good.

But it'll depend on what dh thinks as well, and talking to the vet again. I thought she was supposed to call dh, so I wasn't expecting her, and was too shell-shocked to really react intelligently. It's not like I didn't know that the only answers would be crappy, I didn't expect to be so affected by hearing it directly, I guess.

I'm a mess, folks.
nwhiker: (Default)
So Gus is very sick, either liver cancer, or -huh?- cirrhosis.

He's been... totally 100% normal. He's active, eating and drinking normally, jumped up to the desk to steal my lunch yesterday (he managed to snag a bite). Then last night I noticed that his abdomen was distended. Knew that was NOT good news. We got him into the vet this morning, they confirmed fluid, that it was bad, and an US later in the day was the final bit of bad news.

We're waiting on cytology from some of the fluid they aspirated, and blood test results. We'll talk to teh vet then to see what happens next. We may request a biopsy if they can do it, if the cytology is negative.

Obviously, there isn't going to be a good outcome here, it's just how much *good* time we might be able to expect. Right now, he seems happy and healthy, and it was really only a fluke, I think, that we noticed something was wrong.

I'm not looking forward to telling the kids.

I'm very sad. He's such a sweet cat, such fun to have around. He incubates our electronics -ie lies on them to keep them warm, just what your cell phone needs- plays fetch, caught a poor field mousie who'd ventured into the house the other day -his first mouse! At 17!-, and appears to have figured out that if he blocks the exhaust fan on Dh's laptop, the computer gets warmer. :P

Here is my beautiful boy this afternoon after we brought him back from the vet:
IMAG0542.jpg
nwhiker: (Default)
So Gus is very sick, either liver cancer, or -huh?- cirrhosis.

He's been... totally 100% normal. He's active, eating and drinking normally, jumped up to the desk to steal my lunch yesterday (he managed to snag a bite). Then last night I noticed that his abdomen was distended. Knew that was NOT good news. We got him into the vet this morning, they confirmed fluid, that it was bad, and an US later in the day was the final bit of bad news.

We're waiting on cytology from some of the fluid they aspirated, and blood test results. We'll talk to teh vet then to see what happens next. We may request a biopsy if they can do it, if the cytology is negative.

Obviously, there isn't going to be a good outcome here, it's just how much *good* time we might be able to expect. Right now, he seems happy and healthy, and it was really only a fluke, I think, that we noticed something was wrong.

I'm not looking forward to telling the kids.

I'm very sad. He's such a sweet cat, such fun to have around. He incubates our electronics -ie lies on them to keep them warm, just what your cell phone needs- plays fetch, caught a poor field mousie who'd ventured into the house the other day -his first mouse! At 17!-, and appears to have figured out that if he blocks the exhaust fan on Dh's laptop, the computer gets warmer. :P

Here is my beautiful boy this afternoon after we brought him back from the vet:
IMAG0542.jpg

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