Friday, December 16, 2011

A poem for Lucy

Hello again friends,

Just dropping by to thank you all for your kind words, thoughts and prayers after Lucy's passing. It took Sue a little while to bring herself to read the previous blog post and all your lovely comments, but she was very touched when she did.

The Cat Blogosphere is a very kind place. Not everyone out there in the 'real world' knows how much it can mean to lose a feline companion. Here, we are among friends.

I wanted to share with you a poem that our friend Sheila wrote after hearing of Lucy's passing. A short and elegant poem remembering a long and happy life:

Once upon a time
there was a Lucy cat.
Only once,
but for a very long time.


(PS: Happy birthday, Sheila.)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Farewell, Miss Lucy

Hi friends.

I'm breaking my blogging hiatus (and yes, I still have a few more Pablo posts to do, I can't seem to bring myself to put them together) to bring you some sad news that I feel Pablo would want his friends to know.

Our dear friend Miss Lucy, the feline matriarch of West Hobart, was helped to the Bridge, old and full of years, last month.

While Lucy had been in pretty good health for the majority of her remarkable twenty-three years, she did go downhill quite rapidly in recent months; she developed diabetes, among other complications. Her devoted mum, Sue, made sure she had excellent health care, including daily insulin injections, but in mid-September, Lucy began to let Sue know that she was ready to go.

We all know how heartbreaking it is to say goodbye to a dear animal companion, and to make the decision that it is Time. I'm so grateful that Lucy made it clear to Sue that she was ready, making Sue's hard decision just a little bit easier.

Lucy was a beautiful, gentle, peaceful ladycat whom I had the pleasure of visiting and feeding on many occasions when Sue went on holidays. Pablo was never a very affectionate cat; so I relied on Lucy for kitty snuggles.

Rest in peace, dear Lucy. Thanks for the love you gave to Sue, and to others, over your many years on this earth. You will be missed fiercely.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Moving on

Our old house... in many ways, it's going to be hard to leave.

Hello friends. It's been a while.

My days as a cat blogger seem as long ago and far away as dear old Pablo himself.

I kind of left this blog a bit up in the air a few months ago. I intended to sign off in a more final way, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it.

Alex going on a late autumn romp on the beach, May 2011

Life's been going well these past few months. We're in the midst of a very chilly winter. Our dear baby Alex is now a big, walking, talking, mischief-making toddler. I can't help but think about how he and Pabs would cope with each other these days.

I can't help but think of Pablo a lot lately... you see, we're moving house in a week. It's quite exciting; after years of renting and saving a deposit, we can finally afford to buy a place. We found one that we like a lot. It's old and needs a fair bit of work, and it's in the suburbs, not the city, but it's ours.

The process of packing and cleaning up our current place is stirring up a lot of memories of Pabs... and more than a few Pablo hairs! Many of you would remember that when we moved here in late 2007, Pablo hid in our bed for a week; he didn't come out to eat, drink, or use the litter tray. But he very quickly warmed to the house and its very cat-friendly terraced backyard. (Pablo was a big fan of vertical space.) Pablo was very much at home here.

My dear friend Pablo catching some early morning rays in his beloved backyard, November 2009.

Every room has its Pablo memories, and the yard is just full of them. Saying goodbye to this place - the place where Pablo spent the last few years of his life - is going to be quite emotional. Like saying goodbye to Pabs all over again. Leaving him behind.

As we head towards Pablo's fifth blogoversary on 16 August, I'm going to do a few posts sharing some of my favourite memories of Pablo... and some of our friends' favourite memories of him too. And I'll say a final goodbye on Pablo's blogoversary, with a fun little surprise for everyone. So stay tuned!


Wednesday, March 09, 2011

The Right Time

Sunday marked one month since we said goodbye to Pablo, and I hadn't yet done anything with his ashes.

I knew where I wanted to scatter them.

I was just waiting for The Right Time.

Yesterday was a warm, humid day (26C/79F). The warmest day we've had in a month or more. It was fairly cloudy all day, but towards evening the sky cleared and there was a lovely pink sunset. The air had cooled a little too.

It was just the kind of evening that Pablo loved, particularly because it was garbage/recycling night. Pabs always escorted me as I took the garbage and recycling from the backyard to the front kerb and we spent a little quality time together outside afterwards.

So after I put Alex to bed, just as the sun was setting, I knew that it was time.

Nick said a prayer to thank God for the life of our dear Pablo. Through tears, I then scattered his ashes in his favourite hangout spots in the backyard:

Under the apple tree...

...on the grass...

...under his favourite leafy plant... the daisies... the pot of the lovely memorial tree that
Nick's mum Judy bought for us...

...Nick even thought to scatter a few over the neighbour's fence,
where Pabs did spend quite a bit of time!

Then I spent a bit of quiet time outside by myself in the lovely balmy garden. It wasn't hard to imagine Pabs slinking up beside me, rubbing himself against my leg.

It was most certainly The Right Time.

I'm so glad I waited.


Friday, February 25, 2011

The saddest gotchaversary of all...

Today marks nine years since Pablo came to live with me.

On a warm evening in February 2002, I drove around to my friend Heidi's house with a brand new cat carrier in the back seat and a joyous smile on my face. I was picking up Heidi's two-year-old cat, Pablo, who was coming to live with me. For good.

Heidi was soon to move into a new house where cats were not allowed, so she needed to find somewhere for Pablo to live.

I'd known Pablo since he was a kitten; he had a reputation for being wild and untamed, and I'd had many a bite and a scratch from him over the years in my attempts to convince him that I was a friend. Still, I'm not sure that my housemate Rachel and I knew what we were in for when we decided to take joint ownership of Pabs.

Pablo was sunning himself in a chair on the front porch when I arrived at Heidi's. He was most put out when I picked him up and wrestled him into the carrier. He yowled and yowled during the short trip from West Hobart to our sharehouse in Sandy Bay. He peed in the carrier too.

As soon as I let him out of the carrier when he arrived in his new home, Pablo nervously scuttled to the safest place he could find - under the couch in our living room. He stayed there for a number of days, only coming out to nibble on a bit of food and pee in a corner of the dining room. Pablo hadn't exactly taken to being toilet trained in his kittenhood.

I sat patiently next to the couch for those few days, trying to win Pablo's trust and goodwill. Every now and then I slipped my hand under the couch to give Pabs a little pat on the head. It took the best part of a month to convince him that I was on his side (and to toilet train him). But he slowly became more comfortable in our house, and with our housemates. And I knew that I'd won him over one night when we chased each other up and down the hallway. When I moved out of the sharehouse to get married a few months later, it was a given that Pablo was coming with me.

One of my friends who knew Pablo in his kittenhood described him as Byronesque. He may have been mad, bad and dangerous to know, but somewhere inside of Pabs was a shy and nervous kitty who wanted to be loved on his terms. It was my great honour to have been that person for nine years.

Missing you today, my dear friend.


Monday, February 14, 2011

A week without Pabs

Pablo's chair...

... and a detail of the beautifully embroidered tea towel
on the chair, made by
our friend Debbie who stayed
with us a few years ago.

Hi everyone,

Well, it's been a week (and a day) since we said goodbye to Pablo.

Life without Pabs has been even harder than I thought it would be.

Everything, everywhere around the house reminds me of him. He had his own 'spots' in pretty much every room (like his chair in the living room, pictured above with all his pillows and blankets gone), and many favourite hangouts in the garden. His absence is painfully palpable. Many tears have been shed.

But I've been so touched by all of the lovely comments that our friends have left on Pablog, and the tributes somecats posted on their own blogs. It's a comfort to me to know that Pabs is being mourned and celebrated all over the world. Thank you all so much... I'll get to each of your blogs to thank you personally. I've helped Pabs write many words of condolence on others' blogs when someone has gone to the bridge... I didn't realise quite how much it meant.

Often when I've thought of Pablo this week, I've thought about the song 'Strangers' by The Kinks. It's a beautiful song. Here are some words from it: we will share this road we walk
And mind our mouths and beware our talk

’til peace we find tell you what I’ll do

All the things I own I will share with you

If I feel tomorrow like I feel today

We’ll take what we want and give the rest away

Strangers on this road we are on

We are not two we are one.

I'm going to wind this blog up in a few weeks, but I've got a few more posts planned before then. Stay tuned!


Sunday, February 06, 2011

All things must pass

Pablo sunning himself in the garden yesterday. He seemed so sad.

Dear friends,

It's with a very heavy heart that I have to tell you that we said goodbye to dear Pablo this morning.

His kidney disease advanced quite rapidly in the past few weeks, to the point where he was eating very little, even when on appetite stimulants. His mouth had become ulcerated and the vet said she thought that he probably had ulcers down his digestive tract and in his stomach too.

I wanted to give him the weekend to improve, but it became obvious to Nick and I last night that Pabs was in real trouble. We found him huddled in a corner in the garden and carried him inside to a special bed in our room, where he lay all night, not really sleeping, but not making a fuss.

This morning, I made an appointment with the vet and took Pabs in. He didn't sing his normal 'I don't want to go to the vet' songs; he just sat very quietly in his carrier. The vet was in no doubt that there was nothing more that could be done for him. He was down to 3.9kg (from an unhealthily heavy 6.6 kilos just four months ago), he was dehydrated and his mouth ulcers had gotten far worse, despite being on medication for them for a week. He looked so sad and small.

The vet gave me a bit of time alone with Pabs before she gave him the needle. We were all in tears as he very quickly fell asleep with his dear little head cradled in my arms.

I am utterly heartbroken, yet at the same time quite relieved. It's been a difficult few months for Pablo, with his urinary blockages and then his kidney disease. He'd been through an awful lot, and wasn't his usual gruff, manly self. But what on earth will we do without him?

Rest in peace, my dear, sweet friend. You were a mighty, mighty cat.


Saturday, February 05, 2011

La Bella

My last post was about the oldest girl on the block, my 23-year-old friend Miss Lucy.

This post is about the newest girl on the block, the lovely Bella, pictured above.

Bella has just moved to West Hobart to live with our friends Em and Gwyd. Em and Gwyd have wanted their very own kitty for ages, but their landlord kept saying no. Happily, the landlord changed his mind a little while ago, and Em and Gwyd raced straight to the Hobart Cat Centre and chose Bella, the beautiful mountain lioness.

The aptly-named Bella is around a year old, and has already been a momma to her own litter of kittens as well as fostering some others.

And now she's found herself the best forever home she could possibly have hoped for.

Bella, as President of the West Hobart Tigers, I welcome you to the 'hood.


Tuesday, February 01, 2011

(Twenty) Three times a lady

What were you doing back in 1988?

If you're a non-human animal like me, chances are you weren't even born. I was still 12 years away from making my appearance in the world.

But this week my good friend Miss Lucy, the Grand Matriarch of West Hobart, celebrated her twenty-third birthday! Her mum, Sue, held a lovely afternoon tea in Lucy's honour, which Kate and little Alex attended. Here are some photos of Lucy from that day:

She's in pretty great shape, for an *ahem* older lady. Like me, she's on a special kidney diet. She's also on blood pressure tablets, and is stone deaf, but she's still got a great quality of life, and is very well loved.

Lucy started her life as a rescue kitty. I'm sad to tell you that her kitten siblings were flushed down the toilet because homes were not found for them. Thank goodness that Lucy found the perfect forever home!

Happy birthday, grand old girl! And many, many more.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Sad times

On Monday, my good friend and fellow Aussiecat Gypsy had to he helped to the Bridge. We can be thankful that he lived a great life with his mum Karen and his sister Tasha, but it's always so hard to say goodbye to friends. Gypsy and Tasha were my first Secret Paws buddies... our mums have even had dinner together in Melbourne!

If you haven't done so already, please go visit Gypsy and Tasha's blog and leave some kind words, hugs and purrs.

Gypsy, mate, we will miss you.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Kate ain't no Annie Leibovitz...

Kate likes this picture of me, even though it was an outtake. I'm not sure why she likes it. You can see the bit of fur that they shaved off my front leg when I had my IV fluids a few weeks ago. It's growing back... slowly.

Lots of you have asked how I'm feeling. Thanks so much for caring! I'm kind of ok, but I'm still not eating enough.I have appetite stimulants that I can take every 3-4 days, but we've noticed that about a day after I take a tablet (and I'm only taking 1/8 of one tablet), I have a vom. We don't know if it's the tablet that makes me sick, or the fact that I have more food in my tummy that makes me sick. So, once again, Kate's 'keeping an eye on me' and will take me back to the v-e-t if need be.

But I am getting out and enjoying the summer sun in my garden. And snuggling with Kate in bed at night. So life's pretty good.

Kate likes this picture too. I can't for the life of me work out why.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

That's more like it!

After days of wet, dismal weather, and floods across the country, it's been great to get a few gloriously sunny and warm days down here at the bottom of the world. (That's the view from my backyard.)

Aaah. Dappled shade on a warm day. It doesn't get better than this!


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Sending our thoughts north

While I'm resting in the l-o-n-g grass in our backyard, I'm thinking about the people and animals of Queensland. Three-quarters of the state, in north-eastern Australia, has been declared a disaster zone due to devastating floods. Many people, and no doubt animals, have lost their homes, and even their lives. It's a sad time.

I'm still doing ok, although I had a bit of a vom at 3.30am a few mornings ago. Nick gave me another dose of appetite stimulant today, to make sure that I continue to eat my renal diet. Here's hoping it continues to work! Thanks again for your good wishes, purrs and thoughts.


Sunday, January 09, 2011

Pablo's progress

Hi everycat,

No photo today, sorry, but I thought I'd let you all know that I came home yesterday afternoon. It's so great to be home, hanging out in the yard in all my favourite hiding spots.

I can't believe how many lovely comments I've had from my blogging buddies, old and new. Thanks so much for all your support.

The IV flushout went well; I came home feeling pretty good. And the renal diet food is pretty tasty... although I'm not sure how much I'll like it when Kate stops giving me the appetite stimulants.

So now we've just gotta wait and see if the renal diet is enough to save my kidneys. And hope, hope, hope that going off my urinary health diet doesn't mean that I get another blockage.

Oh, boy...


Friday, January 07, 2011

In treatment

Well, guess where I am.

Yep. In THERE.

They took some bloods from me the other day to do a 'wellness profile', and they detected a high level of toxicity in my kidneys. So I'm in overnight you-know-where having my kidneys flushed out with IV fluids.

The v-e-t is switching me to a kidney-friendly diet, so I can't be on my urinary diet anymore. Apparently we have to take a chance with that, because if I don't switch to a kidney diet, I might not make it.

One day, I'll get to blog about something other than my health.

One day...


Sunday, January 02, 2011

Cat. Mat.

Call me a traditionalist...

Long time no blog, everycat! Sorry.

Things have been pretty good around here. Even though it hasn't been a very warm summer (yet), I've been spending most of my time in the garden, in my usual sweet hiding spots. Christmas was great... Nick, Kate and Alex went away to visit their family and left me with Fiona, who is an AWESOME house-sitter because she lets me sleep on her bed WHENEVER I WANT.

Healthwise, I'm still not 100%. I'm not eating heaps, and I'm pretty skinny. I think I'm in for a checkup you-know-where this week. Uh-oh.

I really hope that everyone's had a great Christmas holiday. Here's to an awesome 2011 for all of us!