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Oliver 1996-2012

My parents broke up the summer before I turned 10. My Dad was going to be our primary care giver and we all moved half way across the province. It wasn’t as hard an adjustment for my brothers and I as for other since we moved to a small town where we has always spent half the summer and all other school holidays there already. We had lots of friends in the neighbourhood upon moving. Our first Christmas in Smiths Falls my Dad brought us home an 8 week old male orange tabby kitten. We named him Oliver after the Disney movie ‘Oliver and Company’ due to his uncanny resembalance to the title character.

Oliver was the first cat our family had owned in 5 years when our previous kitty left us. He was a family pet, but he was really mine. Oliver slept with me under the covers and no matter what I did he always loved me best. I could even dress him in my doll clothing and he never fought or scratched, he put up with it and still followed me around. I could use him as a pillow occasionally and he enjoyed it and would purr all the while. He and my Dad were buddies and he loved sitting and hanging out with my brothers but if he wanted pampering or was feeling sick it was me he came to.

At the beginning of November he turned 16. He’d gotten old. His hips were creaky and he’d gone a little kooky. Sometimes he wouldn’t recognize me for the first little bit when I would arrive for a visit and even would act like he’d forgotten my Dad at times for a bit. Earlier this month he got sick. He was wheezing and having a hard time breathing so my Dad took him to the vets where Oliver was diagnosed with pneumonia and put on medication for it.

Friday morning my Dad called to say Oliver had died. He got to go at home and not in the vets office. Dad told me he’d been worried and was going to take him back tot he vets office Friday because Thursday Oliver had seemed to be having more trouble than before breathing although he was happy and purring when being pet. From what Dad and my step Mom figure he simply fell asleep and never woke up.

I can honestly say I cried when my Dad told me and even writing this makes me tear up a bit. Oliver was my first real pet and had been alive and with our family for over 3/5th of my life. We’d raised him from a kitten to an adult and taken care of him when he was ill, he truly was a part our family. Dad and my step mom buried him in the back yard under the honeysuckle where he liked to lay and she is making him a little stone marker. Part of me feels guilty that I wasn’t there for his passing, but none of us knew it was going to happen. Dad told me he was worried he might have to make a decision at the vets but knew I had always said if it ever came to that and there was time to let me know so I could be there and I would have been, but this happened with no real warning.

I loved that kitty. I love that kitty. Even though he’s gone doesn’t mean the love I had for Oliver is gone. I hope I’ll always remember him and the many many good memories I have of his time with my family and that soon thinking about him won’t hurt as much and I’ll be abe to smile without tears in my eyes.

Anniveraries and Family

I realize I haven’t written an actual post in awhile, sorry, I’ve been busy chasing down a crawler and various other activities. I’m not going to go into a big giant play by play of what has happened but I will say that on top of crawling up a storm Little Miss has 6 teeth now and is standing like a pro. She even can stand unassisted with nothing to hold on to for about 10 seconds. It scares me like crazy sometimes because she always tries to do it when I’m at the other end of the room. She also has decided it’s her greatest ambition at the moment to try and make it to the litter box so she can dig in it (she’s managed to get about a foot away, but she’s determined) and her favourite chore is vaccuuming; she thinks it’s great fun to chase the vaccuum cleaner around the apartment or if she’s in her jumper to try and jump on it. Little Miss is also a full on eater now. She HATED baby food with all the passion a baby can, wouldn’t even open her mouth for it and yet now she eats pieces of meat and bread. We ended up doing a modified version of BLW and it worked for her. She loves to chose her own piece of food and feed herself. The only time she lets us feed her with a spoon is when she’s sharing yogurt with us or something similar from the same bowl. Her favourite foods so far have been breaded baked snapper with rice and pasta with homemade beef sauce while her favourite fruit is half slices of manderin. I’m very much looking forward to Thanksgiving here in Canada this upcoming weekend to see how she likes all the family classics.

We also got Soda-Pop fixed this past week. Not fun. She’s older then most cats people get fixed but it’s because she didn’t go into heat until she was around a year and a half and then it only happened every 2-3 months and as soon as I got pregnant she stopped entirely going into heat until after Little Miss was born. Weird I know, but it’s true. After Little Miss was born she’s only gone into heat again about 3 times, it’s not so frequent that it’s awful and she’s not a howler but her temper is shorter and she’s more apt to scratch. With Little Miss on the more and loving to chase to kitties we aren’t willing to risk Soda accidentally scratching the baby. The surgery went well and she’s been home since last Tuesday but Soda is a licker and must wear the cone (of shame as the other kitties see it) until she’s mostly healed since we don’t want her to injure herself licking the stitches. Sadly it means she’s been having trouble eating and drinking, which has been the biggest concern. She and Pixie prefer cool water that’s running and we do have a cat fountain but the cone makes it nearly impossible to use it. We’ve had to feed her water from one of Little Miss’s food syringes from her hospital stay to make sure she’s getting enough water.

This past Saturday was our anniverary. C and I have been together for 5 years. We’ve been living together for 5 years this coming February but this past weekend was the anniverary of when we decided to become a couple. We met 5 years ago about 2 weeks before we became a couple when C came to Ottawa with his brother to visit his girlfriend, whom I hwas sharing a house with along with 2 other girls. We got to know eachother that weekend and decided we liked eachother well enough to keep in touch and spent the next couple of weeks talking every night on the phone. Finally on the 28th I came down to Toronto for a week to visit my Mama, Bestie and Jor. C and I went on our first full offical date on the 29th. We met up around 9 am at Downsview subway and made our way to the Royal Ontario Museum where we spent a couple of hours wondering around before walking along Bloor street window shopping (and actually shopping) and getting some lunch. It was an all day date. After wondering around downtown we eneded up in Vaughan for dinner with C’s brother and best friend before heading to his friends house where was all hung out until late. I can’t remember exactly when during our date we decided we wanted to be in an exclusive commited relationship and really it doesn’t matter the exact timing so long as we remember the day and the how.

We haven’t had a chance to go out on a real date since Little Miss was born so I wanted to do something special for our anniversary. I got us tickets to see Louis C.K. here in Toronto and we’d planned on C’s mother watching the baby for us. Louis C.K was doing several shows and I booked us for an earlier in the evening show so we wouldn’t be out too late and his mother would be able to get home at a decent hour since she lives outside of the city. Mid-week last week C started to get sick and not just a little tickle in the throat sick;  hacking phlegm cough and poor sleep sick. It was so bad we didn’t know if he would be able to see the show and I had to line a up friend who was willing to do a last minute tag in if necessary. C ended up being able to see the show but we’d had to let his mother know she wouldn’t be the one watching Little Miss due to timing constraints on when we knew what was happening. Mama ended up looking after her for is since we’d been out in the afternoon together. We left and went straight to the show and came right home afterwards. It was awesome for all the worry and hassle we went through. Louis C.K. had all new material and it was great. He always pushes the line sometimes but both C and I tend to agree with his observations. It was definitely wortht he time and money. Going to the show was a good time but it did take a lot out of C, he was no good really for the rest of the weekend, needing to get himself steady enough for work today. We didn’t get to go out too much or do anything extravagant but we got to hang out at home as a family and spend time together, which to us is always the most important thing.

In our 5 years together we’ve had some pretty great highs and some very bad lows and yet we’ve always been able to see our way together and stand as a couple when it comes to the big decisions and obsticles. We’ve had our issues with each others families and friends and their particular quirks as well as learning the in’s and out’s of our own personalities. It hasn’t always been easy or fun but we love each other and our life together and we know that that’s the most important thing, even when it means compromising or letting the other win a fight (we both like to win so it’s not always easy). Ironically enough, since becoming parents as a couple we run more smoothly; less bickering and more laughing. Of course there are disagreements but now unless it’s something we feel is so important that it might put us and our family on hold it isn’t worth the time or effort to fight and get upset; why waste the time and emotion on something negative when it could be used to making happy memories? We’ve gotten better at talking things out and making sure we hear the others opinion and not feeling like we NEED to make them see things our way.

I imagine that things will keep changing and evolving both in our relationship and in ourselves but so far we are doing pretty great and I truly hope that it just keeps getting better!

Kitty Love

Little Miss loves the kitties. When she’s hanging outon or in her various toys and whatnots if one meanders into her orbit she’s ecstatic. She goes off on a burble giggle fest reach for them or if she was free ranging it crawling for all her might to them. Sometimes they let her catch them and others they almost play along walking slowly enough she’s chasing them. It’s hilarious to watch and I’m pretty sure they are the reason she’s been able to crawl for almost a month.

This is from the weekend and Bright-Eyes was lounging above Little Miss and I on the love seat, of course she was spotted and Little Miss just had to touch. Bright-Eyes let her goober and slobber on her as well as paw and tug a little on her. This picture was taken just before Bright-Eyes decided she was done playing with the baby and hopped on to the floor.

Feline Diabetes

I mentioned in my introductory post for our cats that our oldest kitty Bright-Eyes has feline diabetes. She was diagnosed just over 3 years ago. It hit her hard and fast. She went from being a pudgy but slowly losing her excess fat kitty to so skinny you could feel her bones protruding under her skin and we thought she would die in less then 3 weeks. I got so desperate I called a local vet office and told them I was bringing her in, I didn’t ask I told.

The vet office saw her and took her into the back where we couldn’t follow. From what I gather they ran several blood tests and a swath of various other tests. It took around an hour. The doctor finally came out and brought our poor kitty who’d had patches along her shoulders and sides shaved off for the tests. She was PISSED. They told us they were nearly 100% sure of the diagnosis of diabetes but had to wait for extended results to be sure and then if it was she would need to be dropped off for a day so they could monitor her blood sugar level to decide how much insulin she’d need.

All I can say is pet insurance works. By the time we’d finished with the testing and getting Broght-Eyes set up with the first bottle of insulin and box of needles we’d easily spent over $500. I know that’s no small amount, but the year before she’d been ill and afterwards we decided upon getting insurance. After the initial deductable annually all of her medical expenses are covered including blood work and needles and insulin. It’s more then paid for itself. We share a plan with my mom and last year her cat was diagnosed with cancer. She spent $2700 altogether just on the surgery and testing amd meds for that in 3 months. ALL of it was covered. They give us more money back annually then we spent on our monthly premiums.

When we first stared giving Bright-Eyes her insulin it was every 12 hours and 7 units at each dose; 14 units a day. We give her her needle at food time which is also twice a day and only wet food. This always happens at 5:30. Yes even on weekend one of us, usually me, gets up and feeds, waters and gives her a needle. I’m not gonna lie and say it’s easy; it took several months before I could do it without flinching and now it’s just a part of our morning routine, but it’s worth it since she’s ours and family.

In the 3 years she’s been diabetic we’ve gone from 14 units a day of insulin to 2 a day as of yesterday. We’re hopeful to send her into full on remission within a year or so meaning that hopefully she’ll get to spend her last few years not being constantly pricked and poked. Cats are unique in the diabetic world this way. It’s most likely if it’s caught early and properly treated.

We’ve also gotten her weight firmly under control. When we adopted her she weighed in at 22 lbs. Yeah 22. She was 11 when she was dropped off at the Humane Society and came out a year later double that. Before she got sick we’d gotten her to about 18, pudgy but a lot better and able to move around and climb on the furniture. When she got sick she went from 18 to 11 in 3 weeks. It was so quick and drastic the doctors thought she would have permanent muscle damage and loss in her hind legs. When she walked it looked like she was wearing giant clown shoes the way her lower legs flopped as she moved. It was scary and so very sad. Now I’m so happy to be able to say there has been some slight loss in muscle but she walks normal and is almost fully back up to par in her leg strength. She is now 16 lbs 8 oz and has been for a year.

We never imagined anything like that would or could happen to a cat we owned and now that it has we’re just very greatful we caught it in time and that we’ve been lucky enough to keep it manageable. Of course there are some sacrifices, like going away requires a lot more planning but it’s now to the point we can at least be a few hours later in giving her a needle and are even able to give her dry treats sometimes. The vet’s are very impressed with how well she’s doing and said to keep doing whatever it was. They even asked which foods we’re using assuming it was one of the special(expensive) vet brands, nope, we use Friskie’s indoor wet food brand. We get all the flavours to mix it up for her but it’s working and we’re very happy about it. I highly recommend it to anyone with a diabetic kitty.

If anyone else out there has a beloved pet with diabetes or another daily illness I feel for you and hope everything is doing well.

Bug Hunting

I don’t bug hunt. I’ve spent years perfecting the art of ‘Don’t look at it and it will go away’ when it comes to bugs in my apartment. I avoid them as much as possible. I leave out raid traps and let them do my dirty work or I let the minions handle it. I grab a cup of water or coffee time depending and sit back and watch them like its a prime time UFC cage fight in my living room.

When we only had Bright-Eyes the bug hunting didn’t really happen. She’s older and upon first adoption very FAT, there’s no nice way to say it, she had/has no real interest in bugs unless they are crawling on her or her food. Then Pixie came along and that summer was the Invasion of the Ladybugs in Toronto. They were everywhere. We  could see them circling our living room light like it was the Empire State Building in King Kong. I don’t remember who thought to lift Pixie up into the air and hold her there but since she’s always focused intently on bugs she was staring up there constantly already, we just brought her closer. That kitty took to batting bugs out of the air like it was her job and dinner depended on it. She looked like one of those old cartoon men trying to swing a punch. She was our secret anti-bug weapon that summer and one or two times a day we’d hold her in the air Simba style and let her do her thing. To this day she still stares up longingly at the living room light fixture.

Later we got Soda and Pixie went from being a solo hunter to one half of an elite bug hunting team. They actually work in tandem now. We haven’t had any issues with lady bugs in a few years but lately flies have been sneaking in through the apartment hallway. Every now and then I’ll come across a dead fly gifted to ‘C’ and I on our counter top or even on the bed once or twice. As if they are saying ‘Look what we did!’ and every now and then when ‘C’ is home they get mean and will flying tackle the bug and hodl it down on the ground crying for ‘C’. They don’t want him to see what they’ve done, they want him to join in, they want him to drop the axe on the by then wingless fly.

That’s not to say flies are the only insects that dare to enter those portals, they’re just the most brazen it seems. Ants are more subtle and try to hide as if they know there are cats on the prowl. What got me writing this post today is in the last 24 hours I watched one member of the E.B.H.T face plant a wall in her effort to catch a spider out of her reach; she failed miserabley and instead spent 2 minutes clawing her way out of the corner and shredding the spines of a few books and the other half jump on and ravage a pair of those weird bugs that always look like they are in the middle of doing the dirty. She didn’t just attack and kill, she ate them too, alive, she’s kind of hardcore that way.

Our kitties offer endless entertainment and sometimes I think they would be truly offended if they ever realized a pass time they took so seriously offered us endless laughs. The flips and crashes we’ve witnessed are America’s Funniest Home Video worthy and the little bit we save on not having to buy raid anymore is inconsequental compared to the happiness and laughs they bring us. This cat house is pretty fun.

Favourite Mommy Moments So Far

I know these will change as the Little Miss grows and masters new skills but I do have a list of some of my favourite Mommy moments so far. They aren’t just one time memories but the things I get to see or hear or experience that make my heart swell with pride, love and joy.

1. Her Laughter. This is a newer one and she’s still working on it. There are two very different types of laughs so far. The I’m So Happy It Just Falls Out Of Me Kind; which is when she’s just so excited or happy and it takes her by surprise, it’s more giggly. You can see the shock on her face when this one happens and can tell it was totally unexpected. The other is her I’m Doing Something I’m Really Having Fun With laugh. This one is more belly style laughing and usually happens when Little Miss is playing with toys or hopping about in her Jolly Jumper.

2. Watching Little Miss and ‘C’ sleeping together. This one is a double whammy for me; the two people I love most cuddling together so contentedly. Here, is one of the ones where my heart swells with love and happiness. Even in sleep ‘C’ holds her like she’s the most precious jewel in the world and she clutches his shirt (or chest hair if he’s not wearing one) and nestles her head close to his heart. They always both look so peaceful. I take both normal pictures and mental of this to keep dear.

3. When Little Miss and I are cuddling together and she wants to hold my finger. She always does this sleepily with her eyes almost fully closed and gropes around for it. Sometimes she tries to bury her head in my chest (it’s big enough I have this irrational fear she’ll smother herself) but for the most part she just likes to clutch my finger close like she does with her monkey blanket in her crib. She’s such a Linus.

4. Bath time. When she was really little she would just sit in her tub and let me wash her. We have one of those Spa Baby Eco Tubs and she loves that it keeps her submerged and warm. She already takes after me and cannot stand being cold. Now that she’s a bit older though her is discovering the fun in splashing her arms about. the look of wonder as water spashes up at her is great. And who doesn’t love babies in tubs covered in bubbles?

5. When one of the Minions kisses her and she smiles. Again this is new, but all of the kitties like her and will lie next to her when she’s on our bed but only in the last month or so have they started seeking Little Miss out to lick her on the top of her head. She does the little owl eyes, I imagine because it’s the whole tiny sandpaper tongue thing that causes this, but still so very sweet on both sides.

I can’t wait to see and know her as she grows up but there’s this part of me that will always love these memories of her so young and wish that Little Miss didn’t have to grow up.