Tuesday, September 30, 2008

To All the Pets I've Loved Before

This will be a sad posting. Treble has passed away. :(

It started about a month ago, as mentioned in a prior post. Treble didn't eat 3 meals in one day, which was totally unlike him, as those of you who have met him know. He was a black cat and I fed him in the bathroom, and he would wait in there in the dark and when someone went in to use the bathroom he would go, "MEOROWWWWW!!!!!" and scare the poo out of them. I found out a year ago that Mandy and Kevin had been feeding him anytime they went to the bathroom at my house, because they were intimidated by him. :)

We did some bloodwork and his glucose was slightly elevated, but everything else was fine. Normal temperature, good teeth and eyes, no palpable lumps or bumps, heart sounded good, etc. The vet said to try him on a diabetic cat food and if he wouldn't eat it we'd see about using an oral medication or insulin shots, depending on how his glucose did. Well, he didn't like the food so I went out and got him several kinds of canned cat food to tempt his tummy.

This seemed to work, and his appetite returned and he again came running to the food bowl at feeding time. We tried traditional loaf style, chunks and bits, organic, and finally settled on our favorite, Meow Mix varieties. He loved the fish, loved the beef, loved the chunks of chicken. He played. He came for affection and slept on the bed with the dog and me. The vet said canned was better for him than dry because it had more protein.

But then after a couple of weeks, his appetite started to dip again. He would not eat the entire serving of food. He wasn't cleaning his paws anymore. He would join us on the bed sporadically. I decided to take him back in and have the glucose tested again. So Saturday we went in and had blood drawn. The vet said his glucose was still slightly elevated, but the thing that troubled her was that his potassium was quite low. Potassium affects everything in the body, especially the musculature, which is why diabetic cats sometimes have weakness in their rear legs - and of course it also affects the heart's ability to pump and the lungs' abilities to breathe. She prescribed potassium for him and said if the low potassium was the problem, I would notice a definite change by Monday.

But the deterioration was rapid. He ate a bit on Saturday, but by Sunday morning I had to force feed him. I had to use a dropper to give him water. He was having difficulty walking and by Sunday night he could hardly stand up. I could tell that he desperately wanted to drink because he kept going to the water dish, but he didn't seem to be able to drink. He meowed a couple of times, frustrated, I think. He threw up in the middle of the night and again in the morning. I took his box from the computer room - he'd always liked boxes and I'd put a pillow in this one and put it behind my chair at the computer desk, and he always slept in it when he was healthy - and I put him inside. He remained in exactly the position I'd placed him and I drove him to the vet's office like that and he didn't move at all.

They put him on fluids with potassium in the IV and settled him in ICU on a heating pad. I visited him in the afternoon on Monday and he had enough strength to turn around with his back to me. He wouldn't close his eyes. I think he was annoyed with my hovering. I petted him and told him what a good kitty he'd always been, and I cried. The doctor didn't know if he would make it through the night, but hoped that if he did we might be able to do an ultrasound to see if we could find anything operable.

But by Tuesday morning, she said she was not encouraged. His condition had not changed. She said we could do an ultrasound, but at this point it would probably be more of a fact-finding exercise than anything else. I went in mid-morning and they brought him to me wrapped in a blanket. I held him and cried and petted him. I told him I was sorry. I said I loved him and he'd always been the best boy, never a health problem, never a scare of any kind. He was shy and sweet and gentle.

I put him on the table and smoothed him out, petted him from head to tip of the tail, arranged his whiskers. I gave him kisses. Then the vet came in and administered the drug to stop his heart. I wanted to be with him and I didn't want him to suffer. It might have been a matter of hours or days, but it would have been a wasting away, gradually starving to death, and I just didn't want to do that to him. There was no way to tell if he was in pain or not, and when he'd been trying so hard to drink I felt like he was fighting but when he crawled into the corner of the cage and turned his back to me, I felt like he was trying to disappear to die alone, as cats try to do.

I'm just devastated about this. Treble was 15 years old and I'd had him since he was 6 weeks old. He was with me through my marriage to Scott, after the divorce when we lived in a terrible little apartment, in a rental and our current home when I was with Mitch. He made it through Mitch's horrible departure and didn't exhibit any signs of lasting trauma even though it took us three hours to find him when we returned to the house that night and found the mess Mitch had left behind. He liked Kevin. He was there with me when I worked at the animal hospital, when I worked part time at Wicks-N-Sticks and Kohl's, when I worked for the secretarial service, and since I've worked at the library. He was a comfort to me when I was sad, when my grandparents died, when my circle of friends changed. He was a constant, a calm and steady presence, silly at times with his tail kinked as he ran through the house, quietly purring as I suddenly realized there was a cat sitting on my lap and wondered how long he'd been there. When Hollie died, I still had Treble. Now all my baby kitties are gone and all the serene cat energy has left my home.

I got Treble and his littermate Lily when I worked at the animal hospital, the first year Scott and I were married. We already had MacGuyver, an Italian Greyhound we'd adopted when his owner decided he was too big for his breed and could not be a show dog anymore. He'd always lived in a kennel and at 2 1/2 years, he had an arrogant little prance and lifted his leg on everything. Mom and I thought he should have been named Poindexter or something else appropriately nerdy, and we could imagine him in a little doggie bowtie. He loved his sweaters and was so happy when we got a new one for him and made a fuss over how handsome he was. Dad called him Gucci dog, because he looked so refined, and from that came Gooch Pooch, our favorite nickname for him.

I had always wanted a black cat and one of the hospital's clients had two cats that had just had litters and one had a black kitten. I was not impressed with treble when I met him. He was very shy and didn't know how to be held. His sister Lily was much more personable and loved to be cuddled. I took them both home with me and they were perfect playmates for MacGuyver.

We went on for a few weeks and then lily started to exhibit symptoms of something being wrong. I knew another cat in the house had FIP, which is an untreatable disease that affects cats in the brain, heart, or lungs. The cat had been affected in its lungs and the owners were bringing it in every day to have the fluid drained so the cat could breathe. They tried to keep it alive as long as they could but in the end, with no possible cure, mounting medical bills, and a cat who had to fight for each breath, they finally decided to euthanize.

Lily was diagnosed with FIP shortly thereafter. It affected her brain. She started trying to eat kitty litter, cried if you put her on her back, and became unable to walk. It was horrible; she was so tiny, only a couple months old. She was the first pet I ever had to put to sleep.

We waited a couple of months to make sure Treble wasn't sick and when the vet said we had passed the danger we started thinking about getting another cat. I always felt there should be two cats. Around that time I gave notice at the animal hospital, and on my last day there was introduced to a kitten who had been discovered on a country road with a wound in her neck. The people who found her had brought her in to be euthanized, thinking her constant meowing was a sign of her pain, but the vet said she was in perfect health except for a grub in the wound on her neck, which he removed. He asked the couple if it was all right with them if he tried to find her a home and they said yes. The other receptionists were calling her Grub. I decided to name her Hollie.

Hollie was a beautiful long-haired calico. My friend Wes once said of her that she was not as pretty as she thought she was. :) She did consider herself to be a princess. She liked to balance on my shoulders while I walked through the house, and it was her special treat to ride upstairs on a freshly-laundered basket of warm clothes. When she was a kitten, she would play outside the bedroom door at night and swat a penny down the wooden staircase, then bring it back up and swat it down again. I went into the hall and took it away from her. The next night she was swatting something down the stairs and when I went out in the hall to take it away, she had moved about three feet from it and was looking at me sweetly and purring - she knew I was going to take it away and she was trying to divert my attention! When she was older, I would put the cat treats in a drawer in the kitchen and come home to find the cabinet door under the drawer open and the drawer pushed out from inside, and the cat treats gone from their sealed bag.

Hollie and Treble and MacGuyver were the best of friends. When Scott and I got divorced, he did not want to keep any of the animals because of the responsibility, and I wanted to keep all of them but could not afford to move to an apartment where I could keep three pets, and there were other issues with trying to keep MacGuyver as he would bark when left alone. Mom and Dad adopted Gooch, and though it was difficult at first for all of us to adjust, pretty soon he had a special corner cushion on the couch and his own pile of blankets, which my dad instructed me how to cocoon MacGuyver with. They fed him grapes and orange sections and bought him squeaky toys - he always knew when they had one in a grocery sack - and lots of cute little sweaters to keep him warm. He liked to nestle under blankets until he'd come out panting from the warmth, and he would howl along with you while you sang.

Mom and Dad were still caring for MacGuyver when he started to become ill and eventually when he passed away. I visited him every Sunday and he was always the big-eyed, nervous, affectionate little Gooch Pooch. He would chase his tail until he became dizzy, then grin at you. He was a determined squirrel-hunter (though he never caught anything). He would cry at the first sight of the nail trimmer, before anyone had even touched a paw.

Hollie passed away two years ago. She'd eaten a large chunk of black nylabone that Logan had chewed and left on the floor. The vet said he didn't know how she'd managed to swallow it. They did x-rays and saw the blockage and did surgery to remove it. A month later she started having the same symptoms - not eating, throwing up, losing weight - but this time when they did an x-ray they found a stomach mass. It had not been present on the x-rays a month before, and in that short time cancer had developed. I often wonder if somehow she felt it or sensed it, and if she ate the piece of nylabone in an effort to get the cancer out or to bring it to our attention. It just seemed too coincidental.

These were my pets throughout my adult life. They would greet me when I arrived home, snuggle with me at night, cheer me when I was down. They were with me through so many things, always loving, never judgmental. They will always have a piece of my heart.

And, hopefully, you won't find the fact that I've added a poem to be too cheesy. I thought this particular poem fit the occasion well.

Cat Poem

They will not go quietly,
the cats who've shared our lives.
In subtle ways they let us know
their spirit still survives.
Old habits still make us think
we hear a meow at the door.
Or step back when we drop
a tasty morsel on the floor.
Our feet still go around the place
the food dish used to be,
And, sometimes, coming home at night,
we miss them terribly.
And although time may bring new friends
and a new food dish to fill,
That one place in our hearts
belongs to them. . . and always will.

by Linda Barnes

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My Sweet Geriatric Cat

Treble has been sick, or maybe just getting old. I took him to the vet because he did not eat 3 meals in one day, which is totally bizarre for him. His teeth, ears, eyes, temperature, and a palpation of his tummy were fine, but he had l;ost 3 pounds in the last year, which is huge when you only weight 12 pounds to begin with. His levels on everything were fine except his blood glucose was 300-something and normal for cats is 156. She said he was still in what they considered the pre-diabetic range and gave me special food for him and antibiotics in case he had an infection of some sort. Do you know that is the first time I have ever had to medicate him?

So he really did not like the new food. Just to get him to eat, I went out and bought a bunch of canned foods, and he DID like those! I discovered, much to my surprise, that Meow Mix actually has the best ingredient label. If it was trout and tuna, the first two ingredients on the list were trout and tuna, and they also included things like peas and carrots, added vitamins, and fewer of the chemical stuff. It is also one of the less expensive cat foods.

The vet said the canned foods actually have more protein in them than the dry, so that eased my mind a bit on the concern that I might be feeding him the wrong thing. I'm going to take him in this weekend for a second blood glucose test after an 8-hour fast. She said if the number is below 450 he can take oral medication but if it's over he will have to get insulin shots.

He still has his little bulging tummy, but you can see his hip bones now and he looks more like an older cat than he used to. He's still playful and affectionate, but not as good about keeping his paws cleaned, and he walks like he might be hurting in his back legs, so maybe arthritis? He's 15 years old and I've had him since he was about 6 weeks. My baby!

Thursday, September 11, 2008


And the classics from Doc (circa 1991 and 1992). Doc was our nickname for our Wind Ensemble conductor in college. Most of these quotes are in reference to a piece of music or the band playing a piece of music, and if you've never been in band they might not make much sense to you.

"Aw, diddle"

"You diddleheads!"

"bup, bup, bup, bup without varying a diddle."

"I sound vague because I don't know what I'm doing and I'm making it up as I go along."

"You sound like menopausal mothers."

"You flutes are getting off too much on that trill."

"B damned natural--and don't quote me on that!"

"Light in the sense of not heavy."

"And when you get to seven, you've arrived at seven!"

"Me hit things--make happy."

"You've got to stroke the bass drum like this."

"Just ignore me when I do that."

"I can't stand up here and emote all over the podium."


"What's the pervert?"

"We met the enemy and it was I, or whatever that quotation is."

"I mostly screwed up myself."

"You must sort of flip it off."

"Nowhere is it written 'thou must watch with pleasure.'"

"Pumpin' singin' sound"

"I want you to wait with your crescendo-hickey until 5."

"Don't be so quiet you scare the poo out of me."

"That was a joke. Obviously a poor one."

"The fact that no one had the wookies to come in after he missed his entrance scares me."

"You get to the piano and just go slug on me."

"Shut up, Frank."

"So if you could just grab ahold of yourself"

"I have not fortissimo, I have fortissississimo--very loud."

"Them that knows are by that time sayin' "Whoa!'"

"I will continue to bitch at you because I think you're old enough to handle it, and besides, it's fun."

"I wish I were Mr. Offenbach. No I don't, he's dead."

"Meno mosso. Many mosso. Little mosso."

"Sort of a Rite of Spring for whales."

"And if you don't read lips, I said, 'Silly fellow.'"

"This is something that must be felt in the gut, not the intellect."

"Whoopee! 180!"

"You people over here have got to get down. And you people have got to get...louder. Boy, I dodged the bullet on that one, didn't I?"

"Have you ever had that experience--ooh, they're growing--puberty!"

"You've just got to belch it out!"

"Just a fraction of a section--second. Boy if I had a playground I'd be so articulate."

"Horse puckeys!"

"Not to dump on you. That comes later."

"It has to make little bitty goosebumps pop up all over me body."

"Look, please, with a pencil."

"It's like falling out of the womb or something"

"You're going to have to have tongues, my sweet ones."

"Don't overdo it, it becomes barfy."

"For some unknown reason, I was entertaining myself."

"My stick doesn't work, and I can't see."

"And I'll retard more or less every time we do it."

"Rather than upchuck on me, go home."

"Oh God! Pull it out please!" (someone out of tune)

"All the emotional impact of an earthworm."

"Let's all regroup at 140."

"It was just a weird, unexpected sound, and I thought you'd commenced to hurt somewhere."

"I was going on instinct there because I really didn't know where I was."

"Sound, dammit! But pianissimo."

"Some of you, some of you, one of you's off."

"A certain sax player finally found a woman over 21. I know why, though... he got tired of paying a quarter every time a tooth came out."

"Herman my orangutan plays much the same way."

"Until you fell in the mud, that was pretty neat."

"What was I going to say? It was really intelligent."

My Friends

Yes, you people at one time or another actually said these things. I figured, why keep these gems to myself? :)

* * *

From my co-worker Ciara, about two books:
"We have a Hot Pterodactyl Boyfriend and an Amish Vampire in Space! What a great time to be alive!"

From my co-worker Terri as we were leaving work:
"Today was a good day... Except for the screaming."

Becky: A mom got a stripper for her son's 16th birthday.
Terri: Well, kids are afraid of clowns.

From Kevin Wells
Somewhere over there is that CD by that one band who sang that cool song."

How younger am I are you?

I am speechless in more ways than one.

(watching the Olympics) "This is either it or there's more to go."

(watching the Olympics) "So he'd better do really good. Otherwise he won't do very well."

(watching the Olympics) "Let's see if the girl who did the funny dance does any well."

"You've just read too many movies and stuff."

“I’ve been very quite like this for some time lately.”

“What do I say to ask you make question for me?”

“I am just a frickin' prickly fanged amoeba skittering around the deep end of the gene pool.”

“I can still make computers sing.”

Kevin's texts: Why translating voice to text can be confusing
Dispatch like a pothead icing on it doesn't it's not heat resistant

Marra Honeywell (co-worker)
When asked by a salesperson what she was looking for in a wedding dress: "I'm getting married in a barn and I want to be able to pee by myself."

From Kay Spears
"What a worse piece of acting I have never seen in my life was him."

"Because you're my husband and I the cooked."

From Edith Helbert
"I need someone to hold this baby so I can go get some tequila."

"It's some kind of cock."

From Lynn McKinlay Hall
“I realise a trip into my brain must be a terrifying experience but bear in mind - you are only visiting, I am trapped in here for life.”

From Matt Kanka
“It is a mean ole queeny jungle out there.”

“Oh, my gay stars!”

Kellieisms (Kellie Coy Hockemeyer)
"Tight little guys in white pants."

"Was he in Charter Beater too?"

"The G-force has got me!"

"When you get to run your fingers through it, then you can have a say."

"Must have been that amaretto sour."

"I am women, hear me roar."

"I am my own psychology experiment.”

"If I see a goat, I call it a goat, dammit."

"I think I'm glad you think you are, because I know I am."

"Why does everything always happen to me? Well, except for what happens to everyone else."

"I'll have boo hoo tears running down my face."

From Nicole Chandonet
"Flattery gets you laid."

"He's a male. He's supposed to feel inferior."

From Sara Lochner
"I'm not masculine. I carry a purse."

"You've got a really big scalp under there."

From James Lowe
"You can violate my aura anytime."

From Jeremy Kaylor
"If you have it in your mouth, you're halfway there." (about playing a piece of music on the clarinet)

"It's still there when we're now."

"That's me. I'm a big pink dot among a whole bunch of green ones."

"If you were a tree, I would want snow to stick to me too. But I wouldn't want to be concrete because snow doesn't stick to that."

"Jenny, Jenny, he's our man, if she can't do it, yaay!"

"I no no know what I say."

"I was hard laughing."

"How does it feel on the other end of the stick?"

"You hit the nail on the button."

From Stacie Pickett
"I wanna play with somethin.' Well, not that something, although it would do."

From www.smartbitchestrashybooks.com
“Try not to pee yourself with anticipation.”

From Sandy Screeton
“Look at all the butt heads in there.” (in reference to a smoking hut with cigarette butts scattered around - but also people!)

“Wow, I have a big rack!” (in reference to a new coat rack she'd just put up)

(sounding surprised) “They marked me as normal.” (in reference to a police report regarding a car accident she'd been in)

From Greg Motsinger
(Greg comes up with stuff on purpose and it's just too good not to be recorded somewhere.)

(from his e-mail signature, November 2008) The goat is a python institution. It seeks to inform, educate, entertain, and culturally enrich the entire pigeons by providing stoats and wily goat materials, prongs, and professional punks for tame triumph by all itchy.

From Sarai Spears
"He's at the Dicken's Dinner, doin' that Dicken kind of thing."

“You’re such an old stogie… I mean fogey.”

“My, but there certainly is a plethora of pop in the fridge.” (Which resulted in YEARS of teasing at family dinners)

And I have a couple of real beauts from Edith Cummings and Mandy Rush, but they aren't appropriate for family viewing. :)