When we took this terrific trip around Oregon with an RV, that seemed to provide me with enough material to last a month or more. It still would but life has been intervening, and it's hard to write positively about anything when I really just want to have a good cry. The stresses are coming from multiple areas, none of which might seem like disasters to someone else.
So here are some pretty pictures from years back in Wyoming, the sort that inspire me even when I am sad; and if your own life has been sad lately, read nothing on the other side of the bear sculpture, come back next Saturday when I hope I have a better personal handle on it.
Here's the gist of it. When your children grow up, and maybe even for those who never had children, your pets become your family. They are your kids, and although you know they won't likely outlive you, you want for them a good life, one that is long as possible and happy. That's what we try to provide our cats here. For years it even worked...
But in the last four years, I've lost too many cats for me to be sanguine about the loss I now face of a young cat we got two years ago from a kitty rescue group. She was the replacement of a cat I had lost in 2009 of old age.
2006 digital painting of me and my shadow
A year or so later, I looked outside and sleeping in our garden was a little cat who looked just like Persia. She came into the house as though she had lived here, and sat on my lap immediately. That was when I discovered something wasn't right, a drainage of some sort. We were already scheduled to go down to Medford where our son-in-law is one of the best veterinarians I know and not just because he's our son-in-law. He's just gifted and has instincts I respect very much. We thought he could figure out what was going on.
He did x-rays, showed us what he found. She had massive mastitis which probably had been made worse because her interior body, spine, all of it was out of alignment. Someone had either beaten her badly at some point or a car accident but whatever the case, he said we could never fix all that was wrong. The mastitis was too advanced but the reason it developed was because of the internal damage. We respected his diagnosis. I cried but we had him put her to sleep. We brought the body back here and buried her near my Persia.
I am not sure how many months later it was before I thought I wanted a female cat. So two years ago, a Saturday in November, we'd gone shopping. While Farm Boss took the groceries to the car, I headed for the Pet store.
There in the cages were rescue cats. I knew her instantly. She was long-haired, black and white like Persia and the kitty who had mysteriously appeared. She was 2 1/2 years old, born right when Persia had died. We filled out the paperwork, took her home, and named her Pepper. She happily adjusted to the other two cats, taking no guff off either, and settled into life here. Us and the cats were going along fine.
Readers here know we lost BB this summer but again, it was old age. I cried over that too, but you know old age is old age and he just went to sleep as Persia had done. Another burial.
So in October when we got back from our little trip around Oregon, I realized my beautiful Pepper, was getting thin. We thought at first worming hadn't worked and wormed her again. When it didn't, we took her into our local veterinarian (who has been our veterinarian for 30 years) for blood work and to get his analysis. She'd lost four pounds since last spring when she had her rabies shot. He was mystified but when the blood work came back, it looked like an infection with high white cell count. Organs though seemed all right. So she went onto an antibiotic. By now she was hating us handling her, terrified to be touched with so many medications as this was a particularly bad year for fleas and she was being driven crazy by them. So handling her, medicating her, and she began to hide and kept losing weight.
We took her back into the veterinarian on Tuesday and by then I was very worried that we were going to lose her. We are but not from anything I'd have expected. The most likely diagnosis is a congenital defect. Something that could have killed her long ago but had only expanded into life threatening in the fall. It's (not a techie term for it) a herniation of her diaphragm which has her organs going up into her chest cavity. It's catastrophic and unfixable.
I've cried for her short life where she got dumped by someone twice and where she should have had a long happy life with us, but she won't. They said that she eventually might have problems breathing. Right now she just wants to sleep, nibble a bit but most of all she wants to go outside where she loves being so much. Now, with so little energy, she sits and just looks.
By Friday I finally realized I am not prolonging her life but rather her dying. Next week, if she's still alive, we will have our veterinarian come out to the farm (he said they make such visits) and help her die here where she loves being. I don't want her to ever feel she was dumped again. We'll bury her near where Persia's body is.
I've cried for me over this cat who I thought would be here for a lot of years. I've so enjoyed her beauty, her feisty personality (we jokingly called her ricochet for how she bounded around the house), the way she slept on my shoulder with her chin down flat so relaxed, so much everything I could want in a cat. She was my replacement for Persia except she isn't going to be.
This is not only painful but such a shock as this summer she was apparently totally healthy. She had never been outside in her previous homes, but Farm Boss secured two fenced yards where she could be outside and still safe from the road. She loved to be out there more than anything I know. She certainly does savor life even as hers will be a short one.
Pepper in August rolling in the dirt
I have also cried for Blackie who now will be an only cat until we find a new kitten. We will get a younger cat this time so he can teach it the ways of this place and not be browbeaten by an older one. I will get one as soon as possible, not though for me because I need to grieve now that I have finally accepted that I can't do anything to change the situation based on the words of two veterinarians up here but even more of my son-in-law, who I know would do anything he thought he could to save her. He's that kind of man, but he also is someone who doesn't kid himself about reality. It's how I try to live but sometimes it's harder than others.
I love cats. Dogs too but right now we aren't in a situation where a dog works out. We will get another kitten, maybe two more before it's done but I will always miss the ones I lost. They are so loved but anyone who has a pet knows we can't keep them forever at best. Just longer would have been good :(