Tag Archive: cats

Mom's Kitty all the way.

Mom’s Kitty all the way.

I’ve talked about my kitties before. They’ve always been my best friends. Sebastian McAwesomepants came to live with me when I was 16 and passed away last October at the age of 21. It was much harder than I thought it would be considering his age.

Then there was Biggus Sithus aka Sith. He was more my baby than my friend. When we adopted him, we had two other cats (Aravis: 15 years old and Sebastian: 7 years old) and a dog (Grendel: 2 years old).

To explain the title, I have to go back in time a little bit. Grendel was a rescue. A friend of mine and I found litter of dumped puppies on the side of the highway. We brought them to my townhouse and shut them into the kitchen. After rounds of being told that if you rescue them they are yours, basically zero help from either the city or the Humane Society (in that it town should be called “The Extremely Rude Society of People Who Claim to be Humane so They can be Superior and Snarky”).

Anyway, after the “I have way too many dogs” snafu, my husband and I ended up with a new puppy. Our two cats were fine with this development. Sebastian, especially, seemed taken with Grendel. Sebastian had always been great with babies of many species (although not species of birds or reptiles or rodents. Those were for killing.). He helped raise a little litter of kittens in the past, and you’d never have seen a more gentle, patient adult dealing with little kids. The same was true of Sebastian with this puppy.

Grendel, at that time, was about the same size as Sebastian, who at a healthy weight for his stature, pushed 13 pounds. Sebastian would wrestle around with Grendel and let Grendel pin him. They would bat at each other, run, play, pounce, stalk; all in good fun. Sebastian never got aggressive with Grendel and never clawed Grendel or scratched him. Sebastian would groom Grendel and they would nap curled together. It was super cute.

This relationship resulted in Grendel thinking he was a cat. He ended up being about a 40 lb dog with the legs of a much smaller dog. He was never big, but he was very substantial. This dog would walk around on the backs of the furniture and try to perch in the window sills. He would groom the cats like he had a cat’s rough tongue. That mainly resulted in soggy cats, but Sebastian never seemed to mind. There were things Grendel did that were dog-like. He was after all, a dog.

Along came Sith.

Sith was itty bitty when we got him. Sebastian and Grendel liked him almost immediately. Aravis never did care for him, although the open animosity dwindled with time. Grendel took Sith to be his very own right away. Grendel carried Sith around in his mouth, and romped and played the way Sebastian taught him. They groomed one another, resulting in another soggy kitty, and they snuggled and napped together. They were like peas and carrots.

Sith hugging his pal Sebastian.

Sith hugging his pal Sebastian.

So there you see, Sith’s doggie surrogate thought himself to be a cat resulting in the awesomeness that was Sith: the cat who thought he was a dog, who thought he was a cat.

Sith and Sebastian BFFs

Sith and Sebastian BFFs

Sebastian and Sith became the best of buds after Grendel and Aravis were gone. They could almost always be found curled together somewhere sleeping.

Sith began a slow slide after Sebastian passed. He became very needy and clingy. He followed me around needing to be always in my company. He sat on me whenever I sat down. He started sleeping on top of me. He began to eat less. He stopped grooming.

I decided he needed a kitty pal, and that I was ready for another kitty four months or so after Sebastian died. We found a kitty and named her Sith’s Minion because that was her intended role. She made a great minion except for the small fact that Sith did not like her, not one little bit. She didn’t care, but he most assuredly did.

He started eating less.

I called the vet to have him checked over. His blood workup was fine. He was about as healthy as a 14 year old kitty can be, especially one with his severe allergies (he could eat only a very narrow selection of foods: chicken, mackerel, pumpkin. No grains of any kind, no other meats or fish. You try and find food that fits that criteria. Oh, and he didn’t like pumpkin.) But he had some infected teeth that needed to go. And by some, I mean almost all of them.

Sith home after surgery.

Sith home after surgery.

We chose to do the surgery. Dr. Vet did a follow-up blood draw to reassess organ function: still good, but a little worse than before. Nothing alarming; all within normal parameters. He came home a day later still oozing blood from his mouth, but he was happy to be home. He ate  and drank nothing for three days. I called the vet. She came to the house and gave Sith subcutaneous IV fluids to keep him from dehydrating while he healed. He acted like he felt better, but he still didn’t eat or drink and still was oozing blood-tinged saliva from his mouth. His right eye and right nostril started running, and after a couple of days of no bleeding, he suddenly started bleeding from the mouth again.

The vet came to get him to see what she could see and give him fluids until he could start eating again. She did a blood work up to assess organ function. She took xrays to see if there was something going on with the extraction sites. After nearly a week in Dr. Vet’s care, we went to the office to talk about Sith’s health.

The x-rays showed what Dr. Vet thought was a tumor behind his right sinuses. She felt that was the reason for the almost completely blind right eye, runny right nostril, and continued bleeding that she could not find the source of, as all of the extraction sites were healed. To top that off, he was in renal failure. The third blood draw showed significant deterioration from the second, post surgery draw, and that, she said should not have been the case even with the potential tumor and continued bleeding.

We had choices, she said. We could ignore the potential tumor, mainly because of it’s location and likelyhood of Sith not surviving surgery due to his age and now his kidneys’ condition. While ignoring the surgery, we could treat him for renal failure which requires a low protein diet and subcutaneous fluids every three days or so, meaning a vet tech visit a couple of times a week. My first thought was of Sith’s food allergies. They were severe and as hard as it was to find food he could eat, I couldn’t imagine there was anything out there that was low in protein that he would tolerate since most forms of protein and vegetable nutrition were not available to him. But, you know, I was willing to try.

Sith and Minion. Not quite snuggling.

Sith and Minion. Not quite snuggling.

Problem was. He still wasn’t eating or drinking. He acted like the food bowl was a vicious bully who was just waiting to poke him with knives if ever he opened his mouth near it. He literally jumped backward from the food bowl every time he wandered over there to eat. I had started feeding him with a syringe filled with watered down wet food paté. He HATED that, but at least it was something.

Another problem was the steep decline of his kidney function. It wasn’t slowly getting worse. It was rocketing downward at an alarming rate. Dr. Vet felt like the decline would continue, and rapidly. She felt like he had, with treatment, a month at most. A miserable month.

So I brought him home with the intention of keeping him with us for the three days before he’d need another IV influx and then letting him go with dignity.

So. Hard.

He was only 14! Sebo was 21. Aravis had been 20. I just assumed Biggus would be with me at least that long. I still can’t fathom that he’s gone. I still miss him, achingly.

Sith's last photo.

Sith’s last photo.

He came home, he purred the whole way in the car just snuggled up in my lap. Hubs and I slept on the couch with him that night because he was still oozing blood. He slept right next to me whenever we weren’t up dealing with his bleeding, which was quite a bit. At around midnight, Sith started pacing around in the kitchen and calling to us. I went in and gave him a bowl of his favorite food and he chowed down! First time in almost two weeks! I was ecstatic, over-joyed! And then the bleeding started. It was awful. In the end, he’d made a horrible, grotesque mess, and had eaten very little. I was beside myself with my selfishness. How could I DO this to this wonderful Super-fuzz who has never done anything but love me?

I called Dr. Vet near 2am to let her know I couldn’t watch him suffer like this for three days and that I’d call her in the morning with my decision.

The next morning, Sith was waiting in the kitchen with Minion for morning foods. So I fed him. Why not? Regardless of the mess, he wanted to eat and I wasn’t going to nay say him. There was no mess and he ate the whole bowl of food. He even tried to drink some water after. Then he got back on his pallet on the couch and began to groom himself. He hadn’t groomed himself since Sebastian died! I was so happy! I decided right then that I would do whatever I had to give him the best rest of his life that I could! The rest of the day was much the same. No blood and he at 5 separate times for a total of 3 oz of wet cat food.

I slept downstairs with him again, but it was a much quieter night.

The next morning he was waiting in the kitchen, again. Food, drink, groom. Again, everything seemed great. Then, while he was grooming, he collapsed. He went completely limp. His breathing was shallow and extremely slow. He didn’t respond to any stimuli. I gathered him to me and he stayed limp for almost 5 minutes. Five excruciating minutes. It took him fully a half hour to come completely back to himself. I knew, then, that yesterday had been an anomaly. A gift. A last day of Biggus being himself to hold on to tightly.

Dr. Vet came that day, just before the noon hour. She talked sweetly to my Sith as I held him close to myself. We talked about how this scrawny, black kitty had picked me when I went to get an orange tabby with orange eyes. We talked about how that kitty perched on my shoulder in the car on the way home with his paws tucked under his chest and purred while the world whizzed by. We talked about how that scrawny kitty could leap fully 4 feet into the air from a standstill to grab whatever you were teasing him with. We talked about how that scrawny kitty, who was sleek and black when we adopted him turned grey and a little fuzzy for a while before sprouting longer black hairs. He was very odd looking for a while before he became the Super-fuzz that was Sith. We talked about his great friendships with Grendel and then Sebastian and how Sebastian and Sith were such great buddies. We talked about how Sith would lick you like a dog and how he had zero catlike instincts. About the first time I let him outside after we bought our first house with the fenced in backyard, and he had not the foggiest what to do in the out of doors. We talked about how he walked the perimeter of the fence upright on his back legs, following the fence with this front paws. How he watched Sebo and Aravis eat grass and how he munched on some and then looked around, as if in disbelief, with grass sticking out of his mouth before he spit it out. I told the vet about the time we had a mouse in our kitchen, Sebastian was too old to care at the time, but Sith went in the kitchen and just watched. He never had any intention of hurting that mouse.

He was my favorite in the end.

He was my favorite in the end.

I told Dr. Vet about how much Sith loved to sit in my lap, but never wanted to be held. I told her the story of Sith and my Grandad and how Sith turned around so Grandad would be petting him head to tail. I told her how Sith opened cabinet doors and kitchen drawers and how he knocked on doors instead of scratching at them. I talked about this substantially sized cat with a tiny kitten’s voice.

I buried my fingers in his fur and pressed my nose to his head and told him I loved him the mostest.

And then he was gone.

It has taken me a long while to get all of this out. Sith passed away on June 6th. Losing Sebastian was hard, but losing Sith has left an abyss that even the adoption of two new kitties hasn’t been able to fill. I miss him so much.


Sebastian thinking about napping.

I seem to acquire cats that live FOREVER. Aravis was almost 20 when she passed and Sebastian is pushing 21. Sith is merely 13. I have had the oldest cats more than half my life. I was a KID when Aravis was born (4th grade) and I was 16 when Sebastian came into my life. That’s just CRAZY!

Geriatric cats are a lot like demented old people. They forget what a litter box is and just sort go where ever they happen to be. So now I have a litter box in the living room. Nice, yes? But it takes the old man such a long time to go UP the stairs that he just says ‘eff it’ and goes where ever is most convenient.

He (Sebastian) also sort of does odd things.

He can’t jump or land on his feet anymore so he just sort of falls places. He works really hard to get up high (his climbing skills are impaired, too) so he can fall over something he should have been able to just jump, like a baby gate. I stop him and stop him and stop him, but he is very single minded. He makes the effort until he wins because he needs to eat any crumbs off the floor left by my kids (He is not allowed to do this and he isn’t a dog. This is a new development.) He acts like he’s a starved creature. I assure you he is not. Still, he will steal your food right off your plate. This is also relatively new. My cats have always been very picky and they will sniff something to death and maybe lick it, but never eat it. Watching him snarf a bit of pizza crust is very odd as it isn’t meat (so he just about attacks me when I have tuna salad or something), but there you are. He tries to drink my coffee and he walks around on the tables in the living room, knocking things off and generally rearranging the photo frames and various other knickknacky sundries.

Also, he smells. He doesn’t clean himself anymore and so I have to wash this domestic short haired cat and/or shave him. He is extremely docile about the whole process. I don’t even have to hold his scruff, he just submits.

He is mostly deaf and this cat who talked and talked and talked is mostly silent. He’ll meow every now and then but it’s like a person hard of hearing who refuses hearing aids: he yells. He will get very loud indeed, especially if he thinks you need to feed him. One good thing about it, though, he isn’t scared of the vacuum cleaner anymore.

He’s still just as loving as ever, although like extremely old people, he has no meat on his bones. In fact, he is mostly bones and saggy skin. He seems to weigh almost nothing these days.

He is still my favorite. (Sorry, Sith)

Los Gatos

I am a cat person. Cats who generally don’t like people seem to like me. I can spot an excellent cat at thirty paces and I can pick the kittens that will make the best lap kitties every. time. This is not bragging, it’s just truth acknowledgment.

Aravis. Super Awesome. Lived to 19. Secret to longevity: look both ways before crossing the street. True Story.

***The secret with cats is to let them pick you.

There was this local pet store that took in kitty litters from the local shelter, had them checked over by a vet and given their initial rounds of shots and then sold them. They had a room about 10′ by 10′ covered with kitty climbing areas from floor to ceiling. I had been wanting a kitten for a while and went in on a whim and sat down in the middle of the floor. I wanted an orange tabby that was solid orange with eyes to match (not picky at all).

Of course, most of the kittens immediately bounded over to me. I spent some time petting and cooing and picking a kitty up here and there. I had my eye on a particular orange kitty and had held him and petted him,

Biggus Sithicus

but he kept popping away only to sneak back over and attack a nearby kitten. He let me hold him, but only in the most aggrieved sort of way.

After a while, I noticed that this little, scrawny black thing was curled up on my leg and pressing his face into my stomach. I petted him and picked him up and talked to him. I turned him onto his back and rubbed his tummy then I set him on the floor and played with other kitties. Invariably he ended up right back on me; asleep. I decided he was the keeper because he so obviously just wanted to be with me.

Well, that was 12 and a half years ago, and he is no longer little or scrawny. Although, he is still definitely black. In fact, he’s huge. He’s bound to be, at least partly, Maine Coon. His name is Sith, although it has morphed into Biggus Sithicus because Sith isn’t very fitting for him anymore…unless Hutt’s were known to be Sith, too?

***Best. Cat. Ever.

Sebo. 19 years old.

It was spring and I was sixteen. My friend, Raye Donnovan, had a farm cat (that’s a cat that works for a living and isn’t a pet) that had kittens. The litters of cats on this farm always had one kitten that looked siamese, and this litter was no different. There was one, and I fell in love with his little face with the sealed shut eyes, who looked siamese. Seal point. I named him Sebastian (after the lead singer of Skid Row, not the composer (WHAT?!? I was 16!)).

A few weeks later I was spending the night at Raye’s house and it was raining. There was Sebastian, plastered to the back glass door wanting in with the peoples so, so badly. Raye assured me her dad would have kittens if I let Sebastian inside the house. I assured Raye that I would keep hold of him. Raye wasn’t so convinced that Sebastian would stay where I wanted him once inside, but he just curled up in my lap and purred loudly.

The next morning I called my dad and asked if I could have another cat. He consented and Sebastian moved to my house where my dad promptly renamed him Bingo. Only my dad and occasionally my brothers called him Bingo, but eventually he would earn the nickname Sebo as kind of a  hybrid of Sebastian and Bingo.

Sebastian: wow, cameras DO add 10 lbs.

Sebastian is super cuddly and will let you hold him any ole’ which way you want (er, well, he did until he got OLD and arthritis ridden). He talks. A lot. (Well, not so much anymore due to the deafness). But he used to have conversations with me. I could just talk and he would respond. He was the awesome uncle kitty who never had kids of his own, but loved to hang out with yours. That rule applies to human kids, kittens, puppies…not so much with the snakes or rodent pets. He tried to eat those.

Hubs and I rescued a dog right after we were married. He was a cute terrier-ish type mutt of a puppy and only as big as Sebastian. Sebo let Grendel (that’s the dog) carry him around in his mouth. He let Grendel roll him around on the floor and Sebastian didn’t do that whole cat thing of attacking you when he’s done playing. He regretted letting Grendel man-handle him as Grendel got bigger, though. Grendel made a habit of just laying on Sebastian. That, Sebastian didn’t care for.

***Cats will always pick the lap of the one person in the room who wants to have absolutely nothing to do with them.

My maternal grandparents were visiting. Grandad is notoriously NOT an animal person, and it’s only notorious because one of my mom’s older sisters WAS so very DEVOUTLY an animal person. Anyway.

Grandad was sitting in my living room and Sith, of course, decided Grandad needed to pay him some attention. So Sith jumped up into Grandad’s lap. Grandad began petting Sith as I made sputtering noises about how Grandad should just push Sith down. Grandad smiled, continuing to pet Sith from tail to ears over and over, and said, “It’s okay, if he doesn’t like it, he’ll get down.” I just shook my head.

Sith? He didn’t appreciate being petted in the wrong direction so he stood up in Grandad’s lap turned to face the opposite direction and laid back down again. Thus, making Grandad’s repeated tail to head stroke, a head to tail one.

***Oh, right. ALL cats DON’T like me. Especially ones inhabited by demons.

I have a friend, Shanny, who had a cat that was part bobcat. True Story. She was beautiful. She was bigger than average. She was MEAN. And SCARY. She stalked the front door and would attack any who weren’t her people whenever they walked in the door. (Heck, she may have attacked them, too.) She hid under things and randomly growled that wild bobcat thing she could do and she would lash out for no discernible reason.

Never have I been so scared of a cat. And I slept in that house. On the living room floor.

I woke up in the middle of the night with that mean ass cat standing on my chest, growling into my face. I don’t remember what happened next, but I walked away unscathed so my petrified imitation of a rock must’ve fooled her.

Her name was Isis. Moral of the story? Never name your pets after deities. Or maybe, bobcats, even diluted ones, make scary pets.