Thursday, June 29, 2006

Moving On

Various people have asked how the boys are handling their Aunt Emily's absence.

Emily preferred to associate with people, not cats.

The boys were reactive to her, but didn't seek her out, and learned not enter her personal space, which usually extended over a foot in every direction. The buffer was allowed to shrink for a respectful Whitey, or made to expand for a stalking Billy. Billy was chastised by her more than once even though he was half way across the bed. Napping also shrank personal space requirements, but Emily didn't do kitten piles.

They did seek her food, but either tiger coveting her food in a public space or crowding her in a door could be in for the Paw of Death (which never actually landed on them, to my knowledge).

None of this was conducive to them attaching themselves to her, especially since they were raised from birth together to happily sleep, play, and eat with each other. Mostly they automatically check her haunts to avoid stumbling into her by mistake, and proceed on when the coast is clear.

The short version is they have nothing to deal with, and we're glad of that.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Last Supper Lunch

Emily's last day was not all gloom.

We cleaned up various items from her residency when we got back from the vet. This included retrieving her upstairs food dish.

Now, Emily's food has been coveted by Billy and Whitey since they were kittens (long before Emily changed diets). The boys were on the prowl every time she snacked in one of the offices. As for her more formal meals in the master bedroom, Whitey in particular upon hearing the door open could sprint all the way from downstairs to sneak in. Then he would slink under the bed until the coast was clear for him to raid her dish.

As a bequest from Emily to the boys, I gave them each a small serving of her dry prescription food in their normal bowls before I dumped the rest back in the bag. Billy chowed down. Whitey, however, checked it out and then walked away, leaving it in the bowl.

I guess it just didn't taste as good if he didn't have to hunt for it.

Monday, June 26, 2006

The (Cleanup) Beat Goes On

Just so we remember our place in this organization, Whitey gave me a hairball to clean up Friday night. We know it was him because Katherine almost tripped over him in the upstairs hall one minute, and literally the next minute when I came through there it was.

Billy was downstairs for this tiny window, so he's in the clear. This time.

We're relieved by the way. Emily had real diagnosed medical problems for over a year, and for time for a last week was getting both her special diet and seven doses of various prescriptions a day. But we also noticed her increased litter box issues as a sign of her worsening condition without proving they were all actually hers. (We knew many were). With her gone, the issues are gone as well, so we did make not a horrible mistake in blaming her for issues with one of the boys.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

A Song for Emily

"... A dragon lives forever but not so little boys
Painted wings and giant rings make way for other toys.
One grey night it happened, Jackie Paper came no more
And Puff that mighty dragon, he ceased his fearless roar...."
-- Lipton/Yarrow

Compared to little cats, humans live forever. Things will be grey for a while, even with the boys to lighten our mood.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Tiger Town

The boys have been pretty active in the last day or so, doing everything from cave diving into a new briefcase I was transferring stuff into and playing on the couch with computer cables I was organizing, to jumping on the bathroom window sill (the only window open during some rain).

(Or maybe it's their normal level, and I just have not been paying attention.)

They also both visited the dining room table. In response, we demonstrated to them that the Mist of Doom lives. (Okay, we used it on them.)

Their youth and vigor remind us both that some do live well past their prime, and that our kitten farm remains very well stocked.

Friday, June 23, 2006

References for Pet Euthanasia

I found a couple of articles that might be helpful to people struggling with a pet's terminal illness. This one is about the euthanasia decision, and this one is about the euthanasia procedure and the grieving process.

Photo Friday: Emily's Last Day

I took several shots of Emily this week, including her back on her sun deck in my office yesterday morning, less than a couple of hours before she went to the vet. As usual, she was grumpy with me for pointing a flash camera at her.

Emily on her last day

I noticed lately that Emily's fur no longer laid as flat. She was still regularly grooming, but we wonder if her illness affected the make up of her fur, or perhaps she wasn't as quite as complete in taking care of herself as she once was.

This morning, at the hour of Emily's usual visit, both boys were at my office window watching and listening to the birds. Whitey is still here after an hour. I don't know if Emily would approve, but I do.

I miss her.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Requiem For Emily

It is with great sadness we announce that Emily was put to sleep today at ~ 9:35 AM at Stoneham Animal Hospital. Katherine and I were both with Emily as she slipped away.

While Emily had regained much of her former energy in the past two days, her recent illness reminded us how close to the edge she was with kidney disease and her almost 17 years (~84 human years) of age.

We don't know if we acted too soon; we only know we hope she finds the heaven of her dreams wherever she has gone on to.

Rest in peace, our lovely calico.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Billy: 14 lbs 12.5 oz

Whitey: 13 lbs 8 oz

Emily: 7 lbs 2.5 oz

Into the Sunset?

Short of being a parent, adopting a pet is one of the most humbling responsibilities a human can accept. You're promising another living creature that you'll be there, that you'll make sure it has food, water, shelter, and affection for the rest of its life. That doesn't seem like so much -- the needs of most household pets are really pretty simple -- but it still makes you think. Or should, though the number of abandoned pets suggests that many people don't.

Pet owners also face an even more humbling responsibility, one that few parents are unfortunate enough to experience. Household pets get old and sick, and eventually their humans have to decide whether and when to help them into the next life. That's where Emily is now. The antibiotic she got Friday seems to have wreaked havoc with her digestion -- causing massive diarrhea -- without actually curing the low grade infection that she went to the vet for in the first place. We took her off the antibiotic last night and her digestion seems to have settled down, but that only brings us back from "really sick" to "kind of sick," not all the way back to "Emily norm," much less truly "well."

Let's just say playing God isn't a whole lot of fun.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Emily Under the Weather

We took a long weekend to join MINIs on Top of Mt Washington, NH. It was almost cut short before it started because Emily lost control of her bowels Friday morning, and left a multi-part mess on the bed.

We got the bedroom cleaned up, and Katherine scooted off to the vet with our queen. They got back with a prescription for Emily in time for us to leave for a convoy (which I had organized) to NH. So off we went, returning Sunday afternoon.

Unfortunately, that's not the end of the story. Emily was hiding from the cat sitter by end of the weekend. More importantly, since the weekend she has gotten worse. She's still got a very loose stool, and she is going by (not in) the litterbox ~ 50% of the time.

We have a call into the vet as our next steps.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

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Saturday, June 17, 2006

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Look Into my Eyes

From the BBC ... A cat which was dumped in a river as a kitten has been nominated as a national feline hero for its ability to predict its owner's epileptic fits.

Mighter Hunter

In case you missed it last week, some cats are even mightier hunters than Billy. Take for example Jake, who hunts black bears if they trespass.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Photo Tuesday: Sundeck, Interrupted

Emily wants a bodyguard; someone needs to keep those pesky photographers away when she's enjoying a nap while sunbathing.

Emily on the Sundeck, Interrupted

Monday, June 12, 2006

Report from the Trenches

We've been lazy posting, and of course, no one missed us. *sigh*

A bigger sigh is because since Memorial Day we seem in one long litter-box crisis upstairs.

Billy is intermittently stalking his Aunt Emily, who then hides behind the litter-box to do her business. She's leaving a solid miss as often as everyday. She has also had a soft stool, like stress is giving her diarrhea

One (or both) of the boys is missing the litter-box up to once a day, soaking the cat paper. We're going through that stuff at an amazing pace.

This morning hit a mew low, with someone missing even the cat papper. Katherine had to empty the closet to clean out under the plastic blanket boxes.

I just don't see an end in sight.

Monday, June 5, 2006

We're saved!

Regular readers (and other cat owners!) will know that litterbox misses are one of the most frustrating aspects of sharing your home with a cat. Billy -- aka Tubbo -- does exactly what he's supposed to, and yet sometimes his tubby butt is completely inside the box and sometimes it isn't. It's hard to be mad at him, but no one likes cleaning up messes.

Enter CatPaper. It's just a layer of superabsorbent paper on a plastic backing, but it makes cleaning up after a miss miraculously simple. Fold up soiled sheet, handling from the completely unsoiled plastic side. Throw it away. Put down a fresh sheet. Done. Go order more CatPaper to make sure you never run out.

(No connection with the company, just a very satisfied customer.)

Friday, June 2, 2006

A Not Very Weekly Weigh-In

It's been a while since we posted a weigh-in. Everything is pretty much as before, though the boys seem to be creeping upward again.

Whitey: 13 lbs 8.5 oz
Billy: 14 lbs 9 oz
Emily: 7 lbs 5.5 oz