A magnificent cat

Long-time readers are familiar with my companion cat, Minky.  After all, it is her regal portrait that appears as my icon.  Three years ago she was diagnosed with asthma and a collapsed lung lobe.  Three years of twice-daily prednisone and bronchodilators later her fur quality had become coarser, and Minky’s beautiful chocolate pointes had faded.  Her devotion never flagged; each morning I read blogs with Minky in my lap.  She wouldn’t miss it for the world.

December 22, 2010 she came and sat by my feet in the early evening.  As I contemplated her, I realized she was once again in respiratory distress.  Dear Dr. Jason, her veterinarian, had given me his cell phone number several hospitalizations ago.  Cats, like human children, seem to have a pronounced tendency to get sick after office hours, you see.  We went into our emergency drill,  which included my injecting Minky with the syringe of medicine stored for such occasions, and met Dr. Jason at his office.  She was an exemplary patient when she was really ill (don’t  bring that stuff near her when she felt better!).  The mood was calm and efficient as Dr. Jason gave her the usual medicines, and prepared the oxygen cage for her.

As I said, we’d done all this three times before.  The next morning she would be weaned off oxygen and I could bring her home.  This time, she was again in trouble  without the oxygen, so back in the oxygen cage she went for another night away from home.  Dr. Jason marveled that most cats struggle against the oxygen, but Minky just stretched out her neck to be nearer the flow.  In fact, the usual behavior for a sick cat is to go off and hide under the bed, not present themself for treatment.

The second morning, December 24, it was clear that there had been no improvement.  Even the oxygen wasn’t giving Minky comfort.  She purred at my arrival, but couldn’t really hold her head up. I’ve always prayed for the wisdom to know when quality of life was no longer present, and that time had arrived.  DH and I signed the euthanasia  papers,  consenting to the one gift we could give Minky.

Today, one week later, I have written of Minky’s passing both in tribute to a magnificent cat and to share our experience with you.  It would have been easier to say something sanitized about “losing” my dear cat; yet I know many of you have fur children and may have to make such difficult decisions in the future.

Our priest, Fr. Chad, sites C. S. Lewis, who believed that God, who gave us the companionship and love of our fur children will surely have them waiting for us with Him in heaven.  Rest in peace, dear friend.

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Bouncing Back

Thank you for so many kind wishes and prayers for my beloved Minky. She spent an overnight stay in the oxygen cage, then was able to come home on an even higher daily prednisone dose.

Dr. Jason is so in love with this cat!  He keeps saying she is such a beautiful person, such a joy to treat.  Five months ago, when we went through another crisis, he said if she required oxygen we would have to take her to the LSU Vet School Clinic, as he didn’t have the capability.  Now he’s gotten an oxygen cage to treat her.  That is so wonderful, as our vet’s new office is a short two blocks from here, at the edge of our subdivision.  The Vet School is a 20 mile ride, which would be enough stress to push a sick cat over the edge.

Minky’s x-rays showed progression of her lung disease.  The sad truth is that she probably won’t be one of the meezers that lives two decades.  The good news is that we had a wonderful day yesterday, with Minky being more social and happy than she has been in months.  As I write this, she is stretched out across my knees, supervising all typing.  Do you know how hard it is to type with a paw and a chin on your left wrist?  I love it!

A Minky emergency

Minky, my companion Meezer, has a history of asthma and one collapsed lung lobe. She woke up at 5:30 in her spot between our pillows and stepped over me to stretch out along my left side.  I realized she was breathing rapidly, about 60 breaths/minute, and waited to see if her breathing would settle down.  It didn’t. Normally she gets her morning medicines at 7 am, but I decided to go ahead and give it at 5:40.

By the time I picked her up she was in full-blown respiratory distress, foaming at the mouth in a most unbecoming manner for a lady.  I alerted DH, and we headed for the kitchen and the medicine drawer, where there was an emergency syringe of medicine for just such a situation.  Now, I should fess up that in my lifetime I’ve given injections first as a paramedic, and then as an RN.  This was my first cat injection, though, and it is still difficult to treat a “family member”.  Minky tolerated it with good grace, as she does all treatments when she is ill.

We grabbed a waterproof pad (for the drooling),  put it in her favorite chair and waited and watched.  By the time her vet opened at 7:30 I had her respirations  down to 30, and she was washing.

You know your cat is sick when there is complete silence on the ride to the vet’s office!    Dr. Jason saw her promptly, bringing her straight back to the cat exam room so she wouldn’t stress over dawgs in the lobby.  Just like an emergency room visit for a child, she got a breathing treatment and some oxygen…only her oxygen was in the form of an oxygen cage.  Well, I guess that’s not that different from a crib with an oxygen tent.

The tech came out to the waiting room to tell me how well she had tolerated it all, and to say what a wonderful cat she is.  Now we wait for several hours while she rests in the oxygen.

I came home to tell DH all the news, and as I glanced out the window near his shoulder I saw this. There is the egret in the tree on the right, but do you see the second bird?  I went out on the shore, and the sun came out from behind a cloud.  Here, see the blue heron in the tree on the left? That’s a lot of bird for those two little scrub trees!

Please keep Minky and those who love her in your prayers.  St. Francis, remember this beloved cat.

The Persian’s Done!

The Persian Ulmus is done, in spite of me.  I mean, how hard can it be to simply slog on until it is time to add the lace border?  Not at all…unless you slog way past the point.  I thought this was being one of those instances when you knit and knit and the thing just doesn’t seem to grow.  Finally, I counted stitches and found out I was way over.  Much frogging, then tinking, and the edge was picked up without incident.  We’ll not speak of this again, I think.

The weatherman was forecasting a day of rain yesterday, a spin-off from Florida’s tropical storm.  Early in the morning I hustled the Persian off the blocking board, and began considering sun spots for a photo shoot.  They were taken!  The Meezer Ulmus was photographed in the apricot wing chair, but now Minky was napping there,  with her head on my “If I’m sitting, I’m knitting” pillow. Torrie was in the cat seat, just beyond the keeping room table. I took the camera to DH’s office to show him our cuties, and when I returned to the keeping room, Torrie had piled in with Minky. There was nothing to do but wash her – what Minky does best.  (I just love how Minky always washes with her eyes closed.)

I got the message, “meezers rule”!  No meezer was thrown out of their chosen nap spot during the taking of these photos.  The Persian simply spread its wings over the table to be admired by all.  It has a more subtle beauty than the high contrast of the Meezer Ulmus.  Different moods for different days, eh?

A time for change

Want to change up your interior decor?  Tired of the sad old sofa?  Then leave a sale catalog in the bathroom for “occasional reading”.   After spending some time “reading”, DH asked me if I liked the chairs on the cover of a catalog.  I hadn’t really noticed them, but yes, they were nice.  He liked them enough that the set (2 swivel rockers and a matching footstool) were ordered as his Father’s Day gift.

Those of you who are wise in the ways of the world know full well they didn’t come for Father’s Day.  In fact, they arrived two days ago.  Not feeling compelled to be conventional, we threw out the old sofa and put the two chairs and their footstool in its place. We now have a seating group of four upholstered chairs, and room to pull in more should the occasion call for it.  Minky and Torrie have staked out their spots, and peace reigns.

So, what catalogue are you going to strategically place for reading?

She said WHAT?

It’s been a quiet week  here on the lake.  I’ve sewn two of three straight skirts, written thank-you notes for gifts received last week, and pampered the cats.  Mostly, I’ve pampered the cats, who tell me that they “suffer greatly” when we are away. ( Never mind that our eldest daughter comes twice a day to give Minky’s medicine and pet all who will come out. )

I thought you might enjoy a picture puzzle today.  It’s called “She said what?”  The lady on the left is our friend, Betty.  She is talking to our DD and they are waiting for the doors to open for a banquet.  Now, what on earth did Betty  say?

Leave a comment with your guess.   I’ll tell you the rest of the story tomorrow.

Music in the air

This week I am finalizing my music for performance next week at Louisiana Grand Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star.  It will be four days of performance for me, and run the gamut from classical music for church services to Louisiana Jazz and Dixieland to entertain our out-of-state guests.  As you can imagine, my biggest problem is organization, and trying not to take every piece of music I own. I am very aware of time passing, so I won’t be posting much this week.  I’ll be away at Grand Chapter next week, then write all about it when I get home.

In between rehearsals I am continuing to work on the baby blanket for Emmanuel.  It is now up to 33 inches of the 40 inches for its finished length.   Hopefully I can get a bunch done as car knitting as we travel to Alexandria, LA for Grand Chapter.

How about a cat picture?  Here’s the entire “Pride”, declaring a truce and napping on DH’s lap as he naps, too. (Left to right, that’s Victoria, or “Torrie”, Minky, and Casper.)  Naps are a good thing…especially with cats to relax you.

A Spring Fling in January

There have been so many interruptions (by my choice and otherwise), but I have finally finished the second sock of my Spring Forward  socks.  They are knit of Fleece Artist merino, Rose Garden.  I hunted high and low to find this colorway available, because last year I knit Fiddlesticks Knitting’s Spice Caravan Robe with their Rose Garden as the main color, and a loden green as the borders.

With that much eagerness to find the yarn, you would think I would have just gotten on with it.  I did, in a way:  yesterday I knit from mid-heel flap to beginning the shaping of the toe.  This morning I finished the toe, and was ready for a photo shoot in the nice sunshine.  One snap seems to be my quota before the photo shoot superviser shows up.  Casper arranged himself tastefully and remained for his picture, thank you very much!

In this household, Victoria, “Torrie”, fancies herself to be in charge of everything.  Never mind alpha male, she is alpha female!  So, when Torrie saw Casper getting his picture taken, she jumped right in – literally.  Easy, Torrie…you don’t have to subdue the sock!

The Battle of the Bedcovers

Today began as a quiet, lazy morning.  I planned to sleep in, as I have a lab appointment at 9, and can’t have morning coffee until after the blood has been drawn.  The meezers had other ideas.

Victoria, the tortie point, aka our Warrior Princess, asked to be let under the covers.  I was laying on my side, and she curled up in the C of my body.  That was lovely for about three minutes.

Then Casper, our big flame point, landed on the foot of the bed.  I was hopeful that he would curl up by my ankles, as he often does.  Silly me, Casper was on his own goofy mission.  He began walking up the ridge of my legs, on to my hip.  “No, don’t do it, you big doofus!  This is a mine field!” I thought.  On he came, seemingly blissfully unaware that Victoria was under the covers.  (Well, that’s his story, and he’s going to stick with it.)  Casper put one big paw down on the blanket that covered the “innocent” Victoria, and she exploded out from under the covers, boxed his ears, and sent him packing off the bed!

As for me, I was just an innocent victim of war.  The worst part of this battle is that it has happend before.  I feel like I’m living in the movie Groundhog Day.

Sebastian, the Siamese Bandit

Our first cat was Sebastian, a seal point Siamese cat (1966 – 1984).  Sebastian had a sweet tooth and the cunning to indulge it.  When DH was in graduate school, I bought a bakery birthday cake for him (you know the kind, with “Crisco” icing).  That icing turned out to call to Sebastian louder than catnip!  He discovered that if he sat on the top of the cardboard box (ruining the top of the cake) the side of the box would bow out, and he could lick the frosting off the side.  I had to buy a Tupperware cake carrier just to defend against Sebastian!

In later life, he often embarrassed me at this time of year.  You see, Sebastian’s other love in life was pumpkin pie filling.  Really!  No matter how carefully I would guard a cooling pie, sooner or later I would have a multi-tasking moment and slurp!, he would have a lick out of the dead center of the pie.  I must admit if we didn’t have guests, I would just put a nice big plop of Cool Whip over that spot, thinking everybody would get only a tiny bit as we cut the pie.  After all, we all hugged on him all day, anyway.  It became a much bigger problem when Godparents or grandparents were celebrating with us.

He was a wonderful cat.  I love the company of my trio of Meezers, but I will always miss the ones gone on.

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