An update from my last post: I must be living right. I feared the beginnings of a cold on Tuesday would turn into a knock-down, drag-out fight for weeks on end. Instead, I have kicked the dirty dog (or cat butt, to be fair) germs to the curb. The 72 hour cold will be a memory by tomorrow. (I typed tomorrow correctly…the first time. Improvement!) My brother will be happy that I am not coughing in his face the entire weekend.
I was going to write a silly piece about Mr. Gibbs and his inability to leave me alone when I’m trying to take a nap. (Apparently, mom’s day of rest was not his.) I decided he’s had his 15 minutes of fame, plus an extra 10.
Not today, buddy. I’m going to talk about other kitties, so put your paws over your ears.
When I drove home from Door County on Monday, I told one of my girlfriends about my last three cats – Willie, Ace and Harley. They lived with my former husband and I for many years. Each one had a special personality, a special story. Sadly, they are no longer with their mom as, one-by-one, they crossed the Rainbow Bridge within an eight month period. All three hold a very special place in my heart.
Harley, the old guy.
Harley was the most laid-back, not-afraid-of-anything cat that has owned me. Harley was not afraid of the vacuum cleaner. He was supposed to be my husband’s cat, but in the end, he wanted to be near the human that fed him, cleaned out his little box, and cleaned out his ears. Harley had allergies – to what I don’t know. When he was a young cat, a growth appeared in his ear along with icky black stuff that coated the inside of his ear. The growth and the black stuff only subsided with prednisone treatments. I gave Harley a prednisone tablet, twice a week, for years. Many years. Harley allowed me to give him pills with ease. I would set him on a table, tilt his head back, plop in the pill, and off he would go without too much complaining. I wonder if he knew those pills kept him from misery?
Harley came from a barn, as did the other two to follow. He was among horses, dogs, other cats, and people. I believe that he learned quite a bit about socialization. Harley was never afraid of people and he was never obnoxious, always rolling with the punches as long as he found a warm lap or place to sleep. Toward the end of his life, Harley suffered with arthritis and he spent winter days placing his right hip against the heat register. He would lay his hip down very slowly and moved like a turtle when it was time to get up and eat. Harley never overate, he was always a thin cat. It was tough to keep him at a good weight when I was trying to keep the food away from Willie.
I had to put Harley to sleep the week I separated from my husband. The stress was too much for him. He was shaking like a leaf and not eating. As laid back as he was for most of his life, this was too much for Harley. I had to say goodbye and let him get his angel wings.
Ace-the-Face, a/k/a Psycho Cat
I rescued Ace from the fate of certain death. When I got him, he had been running wild on a farm. His eyes were almost shut from upper respiratory crud. No one was paying attention to him or taking care of him. He needed the vet and a home.
Ace was a tuxedo Manx. He had the butt end of a tail and as you can see, the most adorable white markings. He grew to be a very stocky, muscular 15 pounds. At first, he didn’t want to be held or lay in my lap. That was not going to fly with me, so I kept picking him up and putting him in my lap. At first, he would stay for a few seconds. I kept picking him up. As the months went by, the lengths of his time in my lap would increase. Ace eventually came to sleep in my lap. I was his alpha, his mom, his protector.
Ace was afraid of everything. People and the vacuum cleaner were at the top of his list. If my in-laws came to stay for a few days, you might see his face peeking around the corner of the living room after day two or three, only because he was getting bored with hiding in the bedroom until everyone went to sleep. If you were a visitor for the day, you would never see him except when he was an obvious lump under the covers of the bed. I could not change this behavior in Ace. He wanted nothing to do with humans that weren’t me or that guy I was living with at the time. It was obvious that running wild on the farm did not serve his social skills. Ace was also deathly afraid of the vacuum cleaner. He went wild every time that monstrous whirring machine was running rampant around the house. Ace would take flying leaps to get away from that horrible thing. He went so far as to run right through the patio door screen to get to the safety of the patio.
I often wanted the ability to put my hands on his little head and make him unafraid. I felt so sad for him and his uncontrollable fear. Ace started having loose stools before my separation. When he moved with me to my new place, he was doing a little better, but it did not last. Ace went downhill very quickly, succumbing to what the vet believed was cancer. He was the last of the three boys to leave this world.
Willie, a/k/a Wilbur
Willie was the result of Patches, his calico mom, meeting up with a Siamese boy. When my friend asked me if I wanted a white cat, I said “sure”. By the time she delivered Willie to me, his tail was already turning tan. As you can see, he had orange points, tan fur, and beautiful blue eyes. He was my big buddy. Willie grew to be 19 pounds.
Unlike Ace, Willie loved everyone. He never met a lap he didn’t like. He was a lover, not a fighter. His only issue was food. Willie loved to eat. He loved food. He didn’t meet a piece of kibble or kitty treat he didn’t like. I tried to curb the food in his dish, but he would eat his kibble, plus whatever the other two left in their dish. Harley picked at his food and Willie would take advantage of the leftovers, not understanding that Harley was grazing, not gobbling.
When Willie was younger, he played “fetch” with a little red rubber ball. I would throw it, he would run after it and come back to me with the red ball in his mouth. One day he grew tired of fetching and dropped the little red ball off the edge of our second story patio. He wanted mom to fetch and she did. Several times. The red ball came up missing one day and I couldn’t find it in any corner of the apartment. I believe Willie dropped the ball off the patio when I wasn’t looking and it made a new home in the bushes below. After the fetching days and packing on a few pounds, Willie became somewhat sedentary. His size started to become a hindrance to his playfulness. It did not help that the neighbor down the hall would come over when I wasn’t home to chitchat with the husband and feed Willie half a bag of cat treats. I had to ask the neighbor to stop.
Willie developed diabetes and within two weeks, his liver failed. He was very sick and could not be saved. I was very heartbroken when Willie died. I wish I could have saved him. I will always remember his blue eyes and loving personality.
It was tough to say goodbye to all three kids within such a short period. The day after Ace was put to sleep, I told myself that I was going to wait awhile before having new babies in my home. I wanted to give myself time to heal from the loss of my three angel babies.
That lasted two weeks.