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Monday, September 23, 2013

Demetrius


I came to the sudden realization the other day that this month will be the fortieth anniversary of the day my first show cat came into my life. The 23rd kind of sticks in my mind, as well. I think this is the day he was born but I don’t have that written down anywhere, just in my faulty memory.

Nile and Gunnar, my German Shep/Lab mix
 He was born a barn cat, little Demetrius. That tiny blue kitten with a very long name. Nile was his mother. She was just the sweetest black cat you could ever imagine. We’d found her a short time after we moved into our first house in the country. She emerged from the culvert along the gravel road, an old flea collar securely fastened around her neck and her right front leg. We cut it off and washed up her wound but it had been there so long that a good amount of scar tissue had formed around it. She walked with her “elbow” pointing out the rest of her life but seemed happy enough to have a family.

Back then we weren’t allowed to have pets inside the house, except for my mom’s Siamese, that is. Oh, and my fish. Not knowing any better we let Nile have kittens to fill up our acreage and she was a good mom. Unfortunately the neighbor’s German Shepard began killing Nile’s kittens one by one. Finally one day little Demetrius was the only one left. Since he was mine, unofficially, I swept him up and took him into work with me.

You see I’d been working as the part time kennel person for a local veterinarian. He was new to the area having just moved from California. He’d bought the practice from a retiring veterinarian. But he wasn’t new to Iowa, he’d actually grown up here and graduated from Iowa State University. I learned early on that he was a cat-lover – and a sucker for a sob story.

I walked in through the front door of the clinic with the crying kitten and begged the doctor to take him in. He had inherited the cat that lived at the clinic. But that cat wasn’t very social so I convinced him that he needed Demetrius. He agreed without much thought. I could tell that our morning receptionist wasn’t so happy about the deal but what could she do?

Well it didn’t take long before he grew into a new name, Demon. They said they’d shortened it because the clients couldn’t remember Demetrius but I could tell there was more. Seems Demon had taken to climbing up clients’ legs to get to their shoulders. I’d always carried him around on my shoulders so I guess it was my fault J. As soon as he was big enough Demon lost his front claws.

For a time after that he’d stand beside people and just scream at them until they either left or picked him up. His name grew with him. Soon he became Screamin’ Demon.

But that wasn’t good enough. He learned how to climb up on people using only his back claws! He was a determined little cuss and I loved him so much. Eventually he lost his back claws too. But by then he’d grown big enough that he could jump up on my shoulders. Doctor told me not to let him, but when we were back in the kennel room by ourselves he rode on my shoulders all the time.

He soon learned of new ways to irritate the morning receptionist. One day when his least favorite receptionist was working he decided to take a nap on top of the patient files. She was mad enough at him for getting in her way but when he finally decided she’d had enough he “christened” the files in one box in his own aromatic way and left. He was banned to the kennel room for a week after that. (And Doctor’s son told me recently that was the first time he’d ever heard such curse words!)

But the clients all loved that boy and asked why he wasn’t out. So he got a reprieve.

Demon knew how to push his luck though. One of his biggest fans was a woman who had beloved cats of her own. She’d come in to buy food or meds for her cats and sit down to talk with Demon. Almost invariably he’d nip her hand and she’d squeal then laugh. But one day he bit too hard and the receptionist banned him to the back rooms again.

I think she more reasons though. I heard that they’d been finding little piles of turds in strategic places all around the clinic. Most were found around the reception area. Do you think he was sending her a message?

When Demon was almost 2 years old the other receptionist told me about something called cat shows. I’d never heard of them before but she had Persians and showed them once in awhile. Turns out the Iowa State Fair was going to hold their first ever cat show and the afternoon receptionist thought we should take Demon. He was used to being around other people and their pets so he surely would be able to handle the environment.

Next time I’ll tell you all about that experience and maybe add some pictures as I find them. Unfortunately I was using a 110 Instamatic back then and didn’t take very good pictures so there aren’t many to find.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

What is going on here?



Hey, everyone. I’ve never posted here before but my person isn’t getting it done so I thought I’d take over for a bit. She sits in front of the computer day after day but never gets anywhere. I think it will happen eventually but until then – here I am.

My name is Jabberwoky Glitter, no, that isn’t a misspelling. Check out my registration papers. No ‘c’. Okay, so I’m not a registered pedigreed cat, just a technicality. I mean I know my pedigree. Where do you think my aqua green eyes came from? My daddy-o had that blue-eyed, lynxpoint Siameezer gene and me ol’ mum has a touch o’ the Ir-r-rish in her jade green eyes and patches o’ red hair. Just because none of that is on paper doesn’t mean I can’t be an award-winning cat.

People say that I win ribbons because I don’t have “torti-tude” like others of my ilk, or color and the judges are pleasantly surprised by it. But they don’t know what I’m like at home. Nobody pushes me around there, no sir-ee! I just make nice in public so the cameras can catch my good side.

The reason I’m writing tonight is because something really strange happened here last week and I wanted to tell someone about it. Here’s a video of the dumb little imp, Gooseberry, meeting a bag of mulch for the first time, before it all happened (he such an idiot making a fool of himself on camera):
video

Did you notice the grass? It has become all tan and crunchy, not at all fun to walk on like it used to be when it was green. The trees even started to lose their leaves several weeks early for some reason. I’ve heard some humans saying it is a self-preservation thing so they don’t die – they are going into dormancy. I think you can see the prairie plants in the background too, they’ve already lost most of their flowers. The butterflies are having a hard time finding any flowers to feed on.

Anyway, soon after this video, I think it was Wednesday, it happened. The sun didn’t really come up that day, or at least I couldn’t find it in the sky. In the afternoon I thought I heard some rumblings, like a noisy machine starting up but it sounded like it was getting closer and closer. Then suddenly Tourmalina came skittering downstairs yelling that the sky was falling! Well, the rest of us ran back upstairs to have a look out the windows to find out what she was talking about.

I didn’t see anything at first but as I stood looking out, I felt something hit my nose. Lady must have felt something too because she shook her foot and jumped down from the window. Then I noticed Two-ey, that outside cat, shake his head and look upwards. He must have felt it too. Then he shook all over and headed for the cover of his lilac bush. None of us could figure out what was going on but our person decided to close the windows. I headed downstairs.

Two-ey under his lilac bush
An overhanging porch protects the back door so she left it open for a while. Some of us decided to set up a lookout there and boy did we get an eyeful! First we heard the crackling of that crunchy grass like someone was walking on it. Then all the birds disappeared and grew very quiet. The rumbling increased and loud cracks broke open the sky!

The leaves on the plants and the lilac bushes started bowing. Obviously something was hitting them but what? No longer protected by his bush Two-ey ran for his life across the street. He has another hiding place but I don’t know where it is. Finally Tourmalina’s forecast came true – the sky truly was falling! Something fell in sheets out of the sky through the trees and all around us nearly flattening all the plant-life around us and making the cement look wet. Blizzard, that weirdo dog, started dancing around like he had to go outside (he refuses to use the litterpans, in fact, he likes to eat out of them!) but when our person let him out he wouldn’t go past the porch. I just laughed.

Blizzard bustin' in on Mewdy Blues' photo session
I had no idea what it all was but something niggled in the back of my mind. It all seemed a little familiar but it had been a loooooooonnnnnnngggggg time ago. Our person didn’t act at all concerned so we just settled in and waited for it to end. The cracks and booms startled us every now and then but nothing damaging really happened. By Friday it was all over and life has gone back to normal again.

Has anyone else ever heard of anything like this? Can you help me remember what this wet stuff is that opens up the sky and falls down on the earth outside? The plants seem to really like it. They’re standing up again and the grass has even grown a little. Maybe it’s a good thing but I can’t stand anything I don’t understand, do you?
Aren't I gorgeous?

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

September-July



Here it is September and I’m still stuck in July. I want to thank all of you who responded so kindly to my post after losing my boy, Mewdy Blue. I am still devastated by his absence. I see a long, lonely road ahead.

Some things around the house have not changed but others have changed in odd ways. I just read a post by fellow blogger Deb Barnes ( http://zeezoey.com/blog/ ) where she mentioned that her house still looks like a hospital after the loss of her precious cat, Jazz. Well, if you look around mine you’ll see those same signs.

I confiscated the dog’s kennel for Mewdy Blue while he was on I.V. fluids to make sure the I.V. didn’t come out. Today, I still can’t open that kennel for Blizzard. He is puzzled when he looks around for solitude. I can just hear him asking, why can’t I get in? I did take out the litter pan and water bowl but I haven’t washed the blanket he last slept on.

It wasn’t until just last week that Mewdy Blue’s last two pills made their way into the trash. I had set them out that Saturday morning as I tried to fool myself into thinking he would be able to take them. The metoclopramide bottle still sits beside the microwave ready to give a dose. His empty sodium chloride bag still hangs on a hook beside my desk. I just can’t throw it away yet.

Misha Baryshnikat
His own carrier, the one he ate in and the one I used to transport him wherever we went, still sits in its place atop two others, the door closed and the decorative pad still inside. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to use it for anyone else. After Misha Baryshnikat left for the Rainbow Bridge one cold, snowy winter evening, I didn’t use his carrier for many years.

Then there are the intangible or invisible things that remain. For instance, every night the very last thing I did before going to bed was to give him his Denamarin and a kiss. The box sat next to the sink in my bathroom so I wouldn’t forget. I donated those remaining doses to my vet so some other patient might benefit from them yet every night I look to that spot as if to take out another dose. That leads to a new tear each and every night.

I used to weigh all the cats once a week and send that data to my vet for their records but I haven’t been able to do that…………..since that day. I can’t handle making any list without his name on it. I can’t even take down the note taped to my kitchen cabinet listing the meds I give out twice a day. If I make a new one it wouldn’t have his name on it.

 

However, now every night Glitter has taken over my lap even though it has been way too hot for such close contact. Mewdy Blue used to be there. I think she’s happy about it. She fought to be there before but my special boy refused to back down.


Sky Voice
Sky Voice seems to be happy he’s the only blue kitty left. He demands more attention all the time even lying in Mewdy Blue’s spot on the bed at times. It is hard though to see his blue fur popping up onto the bed or slipping into my office. For just an instant (shorter than a second) my heart leaps in joy that is quickly cut off. It’s not that I don’t love Sky but he isn’t Mewdy Blue.



Who me?
Mulberry Spot has stepped up to demand more of my attention. He meows at me all the time unless I pet him, I guess I am reinforcing that behavior. Whenever he meows I pet him over and over. I also got the ingenious idea to start taking him outside on a leash in hopes of creating a more calm show cat. Now he wants out more and mostly after dark! Come October we’ll see if my plan works.

I guess the cat most affected by Mewdy Blue’s absence is Gooseberry. He used to follow Mewdy Blue around as if studying his moves. If Mewdy Blue got into something, Goose was right with him, much to the elder cat’s chagrin. When Mewdy Blue came to me for a treat or for attention, Goose always worked his way between us rubbing Mewdy Blue on the face for effect. Now Gooseberry is noticeably absent during most times. After his meals he goes right upstairs and stays there until the next meal.

When I get a toy out he’ll come down to play but he hasn’t been very energetic about it. He used to be extremely crazy when playing. But I’m not going to worry about that just yet. We’ve had a horrendous heat wave of late that has kept me pretty inactive as well. Now that things have cooled down a bit we’ll see if he improves.
 
Lady Butterfly in a playful moment

And finally I think 18-year old Lady Butterfly is enjoying her extra attention now. It used to be when she would jump on my lap Mewdy Blue would jump up and lie on top of her. She’d grumble and run off in a huff. When she slipped under the blanket at bedtime, he’d do the same and slowly nudge his way between us. He was kind of a passive aggressive type with her. While we haven’t been using the blankets lately she has been sleeping next to me for a time.






So some things have changed and some stay the same. My life will never be the same without my buddy beside me. But it was a wonderful life while he was here.


[Thanks to a recent post on my friend Bernadette’s blog (http://thecreativecat.net/ ) I found a nearby pet funeral home that is having services this Sunday, Sept. 8, for Pet Remembrance Day. I plan to attend. If you live anywhere in central Iowa see www.lovingrest.com for the details. If not, look around your area for similar events.]