Sunday, March 29, 2009

Saying Goodbye, Again

So, to go through the loss of your three cats that you've had for 16 to 19 years, then turn around and lose a baby kitten, no older than 3 and a half months old after only a week of knowing him, well, let's just say that it's not something I ever want to do again in my life. Losing Charmer was perhaps harder than, no, it was harder than losing any other pet I've ever lost. I barely knew him, but I loved him, dearly. He had stolen my heart in an instant, and he'll always have that chunk of it that he took.

Charmer was a bright happy kitten the day we brought him home. He was fearless and all he wanted to do was explore the house. He was so calm and didn't even seem to notice the fact that there were two squealing little boys that just wanted to jump up and down every time they saw the kitties. He had a big house to explore, and by golly, he was going to explore it. We had brought the kittens into the play room with a child gate in the doorway, to keep them in and the boys out, but Charmer decided he was having none of that and he climbed right over it! We discovered he liked to play in sinks, as you can see from a picture below.

The next day brought a different story. Charmer fell ill and we thought it was a simple cold, after all many of the kittens in the shelter had an upper respiratory virus, as Abby had, so we figured, no big deal, we'll get him some treatment and he'll be fine in a few days. How wrong we were. Within days he was deathly ill and we were fighting for his life. We did everything we could for him, sub-q fluids, assisted feedings, medication after medication, vet visit upon vet visit. Our vet said we'd done everything we possibly could, and unfortunately Charmer was resisting the heating pads and warming treatments that would warm his chilled body. My frisky little bright eyed boy aged to a fragile, weak shell of a cat within a week.

Sadly we knew that we had done all that we could and as shocking and unbelievable as the thought was, we had to let him go. It was incredibly difficult to lose one so young, so full of life, so eager to explore and so darn cute! I'll never know just why I had to lose Charmer to the calicivirus, what lesson exactly I was meant to learn; I can say it's an experience I don't ever want to have again.

I will never forget those bright eyes, that silver fur, those hugely long whiskers, or that adorable little trill that made me fall in love in an instant. I look forward to the time when I will see my Charmer again and will have an eternity to know him, to love him, and to share my love with him and all of my loved ones, both human and of the furry variety. Until then, there will be others to fill the void, but none will ever claim that little chunk of my heart that Charmer has stolen, for he was a special little cat. I wish I had known him longer.

Saying Hello

It's actually been a while since we've welcomed our new furry crew to our home, but it's somewhat difficult to write, and yes, I'll admit it, I've been busy, okay, lazy too. We adopted three beautiful kittens not too long after our beautiful old ladies passed. We decided it was time for the boys to experience kittens and the joy of watching them grow, and what little bundles of energy they could be. So, down to the local animal shelter we went. The first little kitten to catch our eye was a little white a grey, that we came to call Nandi. She is named in honor of a friend who helped me night and day through the most difficult of times, and the best of times, with Ebony's illness. She had a cat named Nandi and I always loved the name, so this is our beautiful little Nandi, and she helps me to remember everything that my friend did for me and the charity she showed. Nandi has claimed Thane as her personal human and my if she isn't a daddy's girl. Nandi is very quiet and hardly ever meow's. It's usually only when Thane leaves the house that she'll meow for a few minutes, as if to ask where her daddy went, or "hey! take me with you!"

Next was the tiniest, sickliest, most pathetic looking little kitten in the whole place. She was adorable though. But I'll admit, there was part of me that couldn't help but figure that the boys would fall in love with the most pathetic looking scrap of cat out of the bunch. We figured she had to be a runt she was so tiny, even the animal control people said she was small. We called her Abby the tiny Tabby, for her nickname, and Abby is her name. It came about because Galen kept asking what kind of cat she was and we kept telling him she was a tabby, but it kept coming out Abby instead. We thought it was rather cute, and it stuck. Here is our little runt after she fattened up with a week or so of good eating. She was so skinny when we got her home and it was adorable to watch her little belly pop out with a steady diet. She has now grown into a gorgeous cat! No longer the pathetic looking little runt. The boys still adore Abby and she is their favorite. Thankfully she is calming to their 'affections' and becoming more and more tolerant of their love. She was quite skittish when we first got her and it took about a month for her to just come out of our bedroom. If you could see how she reacted to the television! I think it took nearly 6 months before she realized it wasn't something that was going to eat her!

Then there was Charmer. He charmed his way into my heart, and into our home. I saw him in his cage, off away from the others, with a gorgeous orange cream tabby that was his brother and something about him just really caught my eye. I asked to see him and the moment I held him he just leaned into me and purred. I was probably a goner at that moment, just didn't know it. I brought him over to the boys but they didn't give him a second look - they were in love with Abby and couldn't care less about any other cat! Thane thought he was beautiful, but Abby and Nandi growled at him. I was bummed and based on the reaction I decided to put him back. We adopted Abby and Nandi and went home. Something about him though... I just couldn't get those eyes and that purr out of my head. I told Thane I thought I had to go back, so the next day I did, and I adopted my Charmer. Little did I know that I would be saying goodbye to my little boy a week later. We lost him to a severe cold that struck with a vengence. But I'll talk a bit more about that in a subsequent post.

After the difficult loss of Charmer it took a little while, but I had a gaping hole that felt needed filling, and this beautiful little Black and White kitten did the trick. Her name is DivyUmi and she's all spunk and love. She's definitely claimed mom as her human and she has taken up Ebony's old job of being mom's shadow as she goes from room to room. If you're wondering about the name, which everyone does, DivyUmi stands for "Divided - Whiskers" She is both divided in color and has a perfectly divided lip, half pink, half black, and UmiUmi in Hawaiian means "whiskers" and she has very long white whiskers, much like Charmer did. So, she is our DivyUmi, whom we often call Divy for short. She's a little huntress and loves to drag her latest catch (cat toy) to the water bowl and drop it in to wash it off, or just haul it around the house to show it off. She is quite adorable.

So, that's our new kitten crew. Part of me thinks we may still be missing one. I'm not quite sure. I'm so happy with the wonderful trio we've got, but I think I'll have to poke around Pet Integrity just to be sure. There's always enough love for four!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Saying Goodbye

This past summer was a rough one for us and our pets. It actually started April 1st when we lost our Miety, our "Me-Too!" kitty. She was our mama kitty, mother of Ebony and Curlie Sue (and a host of other cats belonging to my mom and dad). Miety was 18 years old and would have been 19 on July 3rd, but sadly she would not see that day. On May 31st we realized she was starting to leave us, and by April 1st we said goodbye. We had 18 wonderful years, with a couple challenges here and there (she was our irradiated kitty!), but all in all they were good.

I got Miety as a kitten shortly after coming to Ridgecrest. She was abandoned by her mother and a neighbor down the street was trying to find a home for her. Miety was my 'foot' kitty. She started out not liking to be petted, only willing to rub herself against a foot. Then she decided that hands were good, but only if you held it still for her to rub against. Then she finally figured out (probably around age 10 or so) that getting scratched felt really good! So it only took a decade. She earned her "Me-Too!" name by always wanting to get in on whatever petting, scratching, brushing, loving action was going on. If you were petting one of the other cats, well she wanted to be petted too! So, Miety (Mee-Tee) we decided stood for "Me-Too!" We were very sad to say goodbye to our little Miety Mama, Me-Too girl.

Next came, or went rather, our Curly Sue. Ebony's little sister, and Miety's youngest. Curly had been diagnosed with Chronic Renal Failure in the spring of 2007 so we knew that it was only a matter of time, just like it was with Ebony. Curly took a turn for the worse and started getting anemic and was having problems with her blood levels. We tried what we could, and she like her sister had been on sub-q fluids for over a year, but unfortunately she just kept spiralling downwards and we had to say goodbye. Curly left us on June 23rd.

Curly Sue was the cutest little kitten. She was a little stinker though! She was born with a crooked tail (thus earning her name), and she had a devilish little personality. She loved to cause trouble. She was full of life and a ball of energy. In her latter years Curly became a little, uh, neurotic I guess? As Thane puts it, every household has that "one crazy cat." Well, Curly was ours. Our poor little girl had continual skin irritation issues and sometimes I wonder if that's what drove her mental. Who knows, all I know is that she decided that hiding out in the bedroom, particularly from the kids, was the best thing. I'm glad though that she would usually come out at night and snuggle with me. I had lots of good nights with my little (okay, big) Curly girl with her beside me kneading (usually with sharp little pointy claws!). I called her my Little Miss Big-Paw because she had really large paws. She was such a beautiful kitty and she took after her father. I miss my Curly Sue.

It was hard enough losing Miety, harder still to lose Curly Sue only a couple months later, but nothing prepared us for what came next. Exactly two weeks to the day from when we lost Curly we lost our Ebony. Ebony had been battling Chronic Renal Failure for 3 years and had amazing, if not miraculous, recovery from her initial 'crash' back in 2005. We called her our 'Trooper' for putting up with nightly sub-q fluids, being force-fed for months, then given meds every night for 3 years. She did it all for us. Unfortunately though her battle came to an end on July 7th when we discovered that the breathing difficulties we'd noticed were actually a major condition. Her chest was filled with fluid and it was crushing her lungs and I knew that no medical conditions that caused that would be a positive outcome for my girl. We knew then that it was time to say goodbye and to let her go so that she didn't have to fight any longer. She'd been through enough, she fought enough battles for us, it was time we fought the final one for her.

Our Kitten-Boo as we called her often was a very special cat indeed. Ebony always seemed to know how I was feeling, and she knew when I needed love. She was our only lap cat and particularly loved Thane's heating pad matabolism. I had formed a strong bond with Ebony as a kitten when she was burned running across my parent's stove upon which burned her front paws. The care I gave her helped us to really create a special connection that we kept until the very end. Ebony was my shadow, always following me around the house. She would be waiting by the garage door every day when I got home to welcome me. She would sit on top of the monitor as I'd teach my online class. How I miss my little black shadow!

We miss our girls dearly, and we've brought them home now to stay until we are reunited forever in heaven. I've written a couple poems that you can read here: ("To Be Free" was written after Curly passed, and "Kitten Boo" was written for Ebony)

As a final note, I want to thank the wonderful people at the Feline CRF Support Group and at Tanya's Feline CRF Information Centre for everything they do. It was with their help that we got Ebony and Curly through everything we did, and without my friends and the help of the angels there we would have lost our Ebony in 2005.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Fireworks Abound

A collage of the night's firework displaysSo we may have gone a bit overboard on fireworks this year. In fact, I know we did because we still have some left over... But, it was fun. We started off the fireworks festival with the typical hometown fireworks show and then we went to Gramma and Grampa's house to light off a bunch - and I mean a bunch - of fireworks. We had so many that the kids actually got bored. I definitely learned a lesson there - the small ones that make the loudest bang are the ones the kids like most, and the big ones are the ones that they don't really care too much about.

It didn't help that we had bought a large family pack of fireworks, and my parents had bought an even larger pack of fireworks! We had fireworks coming out our ears! It was funny because I thought the kids would just think it was awesome... I guess they haven't hit the pyromanic age yet. They enjoyed it for the most part though; but hey, after the 20th some-odd one, even I was getting a little phased. All in all it was a fun night, filled with lots of color, patriotic melodies, love for country, and appreciation for life, liberty and freedom... oh yeah, and outright incendiary fun!
Grampa, Galen, and Liam watch with surprise as one of the fireworks go off
Galen puts on his 'rainbow' glasses for a prismatic firework display Daddy and Liam relax and enjoy the show Liam watches with an adorable bemused look

Sprinkler Fun

Galen gets Liam with the sprinklerThe boys were introduced to the world of "sprinklers" recently. My mom bought a fun yard sprinkler recently that wiggles all over the place and sprays water in all directions. It's great fun and the boys have had lots of laughs, squeals, giggles, hoots and hollers over it.

It always amazes me watching kids experience things for the first time. Galen tends to be so careful while Liam just jumps right in, and yet other times Liam looks to Galen for guidance. I think all kids need some sort of sprinkler though - it really let's the true kid come out! And hey - it's a great way to beat the summer heat!

Liam gets Galen with the Sprinkler Galen reacts to  being 'sprinklered'

Synchronized sprinkling Galen having fun jumping - as usual - through the sprinkler Liam enjoying the sprinkler

Monday, July 28, 2008

A Day at the Museum

Galen & Liam looking through the sheets about local plants and wildlifeWe took the kids to visit the Maturango Museum not that long ago. They thought it was pretty neat. We introduced them to local artwork in the gallery, which had a really neat show featuring pottery that integrated antlers in some of the pots. The show was called "Ancient Clay - Desert Legacy" by artists Twyla and Hal Wardell. There was some really neat pieces and it was nice to expose the kids to fine art.

After visiting the art gallery we took the kids through the museum itself. They thought it was neat to see some of the desert animals on display and both of them really liked the Saber Tooth Tiger skull and special effects display. Galen thought the missiles were pretty neat for the NAWC display and we reminded the boys that their grampa and a couple of their uncles work on the base where they make the missiles.

Liam checking out some local rocks and mineralsLiam liked looking at things, but I'll admit it - Galen got a bit restless. He especially decided it was time to go when we suggested he stick his hands in the "touch and feel" boxes that have hole in them so you can't see what you're touching. The contents are things like local rocks and minerals, but oh my was that ever not a good idea! Liam thought it was great fun - my adventurous little one. The boys also thought the mammoth bones were kind of neat but you could tell Galen was slightly freaked out by them. (We've since asked him if he'd like to go to a museum to see dinosaur bones and he's said "NO").

The most fun part of the event, at least judging by how many trips they did, was the rock labyrinth next to the museum. You can walk around it until you reach the rock at the center. They have some solstice marks indicated and in several areas around it are desert gardens. I sat on a bench in the garden and watched as the kids took several trips around the labyrinth. They weren't happy to leave because they were having too much fun! However, promises to return and walk the labyrinth again coaxed them into the car where we had fun talking about our little trip to the museum. I look forward to future trips as they grow and can learn more about our local habitat and history with each visit.

Thane and the boys walking the labyrinth

Ringing the bell The boys make it to the center of the labyrinth! Posing with some of the petrogylph sculptures

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Knights Abound!

Galen blows out his candles as Grampa and Liam look onSince Galen's birthday party wasn't on his actual birthday we had a family dinner and birthday cake celebration on his birthday. That's when Gramma and Grampa Karnos gave Galen his birthday presents. Nana came to visit with Cori's cousin Emily, and Grandma Ratliff joined us for dinner too. Uncle Clint and Aunt Laura were there for a while as well to wish Galen a happy birthday.

Galen and Liam were both excited to see that they both got Lego Knights outfits from Legoland. They proceeded to have an epic battle in the living room. Clint was quite impressed with Liam and his natural fighting abilities and decided that he could be his new squire! I really wish now that we had video taped it because it really was impressive, and Liam was being so serious about it! It was really adorable. Of course it was also kinda funny because Nana was rather shocked to see that we were willing to let them be so enthusiastic, okay maybe violent would be a better word, and she was worried that they were going to get hurt. I guess my attitude has always been that boys will be boys and hey, I wish I'd had these kinda toys when I was their age! We started counting up all the swords we have in the house for the kids and realized we have about 12 swords, a few daggers, about 4-6 shields, a few different knight outfits, etc.. So, do you think we're raising a couple of warriors or what? I dunno, they look pretty innocent and sweet to me :^)

Liam and Nana Galen and Nana