Blu

Our eldest cat, Blu, passed away August 3rd at around 19 years of age.

It was almost 14 years ago that I spotted her picture online while looking for a cat to adopt. We thought she looked so pretty with her big green eyes, and it wasn’t long before the adoption papers were signed and we were bringing her home. The shelter had named her Blue because she didn’t like being there and had become depressed, but after trying to come up with a name more fitting, we simply decided to drop the “e” and Blue became Blu.

She wasn’t always the easiest cat to love. She had weird litter box habits, and would sometimes pee outside the box if it wasn’t clean enough to suit her. It got so bad at one point that I took her back to the shelter, only to feel guilty and go get her the next day.

She drooled when she purred, didn’t really care for the other two cats we added to the household, and rarely ever wanted to be held. But despite her flaws, she was one of the most beautiful cats I had ever seen.

A few months ago, her health started declining. One side of her face became paralyzed, and she started losing weight. We suspected a stroke, but the vet felt like facial paralysis or a tumor was more likely. We tried everything to get her to eat, but her appetite kept dwindling.

The week before she died, she spent several nights in the hospital getting fluids and medication through an IV. We visited her every day, and although she seemed better initially, it was clear after a couple of days that she wasn’t really improving. We brought her home on a Friday afternoon, and realized we had to do what we had been hoping to avoid.

The vet arrived Saturday afternoon, and after telling her we loved her, we held her one last time as he put her to sleep. It was one of the hardest days of my life.

This beautiful animal came into our lives just after Honey and I met in 2005, so we have known her almost as long as we have known each other. She was a member of our family. We chose her, we loved her, and we will miss her terribly.

Rest in peace, baby girl.

Cat dilemma

There is a female stray cat outside that I’ve been feeding for several months. She is quite pretty – black with big green eyes. Her downfall is that she has never been fixed and is constantly getting pregnant. She had kittens last fall, but we didn’t see them until they were almost weaned. Only one survived and we fed him regularly until he disappeared a few weeks ago.

Momma Cat got pregnant a couple of months ago and had her kittens in an undisclosed location. A few of the neighbors reported seeing kittens following her around, but we never saw any of them. It would seem that these kittens suffered the same fate as the previous litter.

This evening, I looked out the back door to see her mating with a strange male cat in the neighbor’s yard. I know she needs to be fixed, but we would have to trap her in order to take her to the vet, and to be honest, I don’t want to spend that kind of money on a cat that I really don’t want in the first place.

The three cats that we have inside are enough to deal with. There is constantly something to do – like cleaning up cat vomit, scooping litter boxes, vacuuming up clumps of fur, and trying to keep them from doing things they aren’t supposed to be doing. It’s also expensive to have three pets, when one considers the costs of veterinarian visits, flea and tick medication, litter, and quality pet food.

The outside cat uses the bathroom in the yard and the gravel driveway (which means that we are constantly having to evade piles of smelly poop), she kills songbirds and leaves their half-eaten carcasses lying around the back patio, and she scares off our usual backyard inhabitants. We know she is to blame for this being the first year that bluebirds didn’t nest in the house we provide for them.

Our vet has also warned us about the dangers of having outdoor cats in close proximity to our exclusively-indoor cats. He said that not only could fleas and ticks pass through the cracks around the back door, but that my indoor cats could actually catch deadly diseases from the cats outside.

So, now, I don’t know what to do. I know if we trap her and take her in for spaying that we will still have to care for her when she returns. I know if we take her to the animal shelter that her days will be numbered. I know that three indoor cats is more than enough and I don’t want an outdoor pet. I know that I have absolutely no idea what to do at this point.

Any suggestions?

Blogbits

Debt – As of yesterday, I am officially free of credit card debt! I had over $6000 of charges racked up this time last year, so the relief I feel is exquisite.

Cats – I cannot stand having pets in the house. Don’t get me wrong… I love my cats, but life has become a constant cycle of lint rollers, cleaning up cat vomit, and scooping litter boxes. I’m beginning to think that it’s really not worth all the effort.

The Strangers – This was one of the most suspenseful, terrifying movies that I’ve ever seen. I screamed so loud that we were afraid the neighbors might call the police.

Neighbor – Our 90-year-old neighbor took an ambulance ride to the emergency room last night because she was feeling really bad. Turns out the bottom number of her blood pressure was only eighteen! This resulted in her temporarily losing her vision, but after a full checkup and some fluids, she was able to return home around 1 o’clock this morning.

Wal-Mart Sucks – I know I shop at WM way too much, but what other alternatives do I have in this pathetic town? Anystore, I found a bed-in-a-bag set that I really liked and bought it last night. Today, after washing the sheets twice with fabric softener to get them nice and comfy, I discovered that a Wal-Mart “queen” must be a completely different size than anywhere else. The sheets wouldn’t even begin to fit on our bed.

Just in time for Halloween

We started feeding a stray cat that came up this past summer, and it wasn’t long before we noticed she was getting rather fat and decided that she must be pregnant. Sure enough, several weeks ago she had a litter of kittens, and although we didn’t know where they were or how many, but we could tell she was nursing. Finally, our neighbor discovered them under the wheelchair ramp at the front of her house, so we peeked under and saw several gorgeous balls of fur. Unfortunately, they were completely feral and scared to death of humans.

Fast forward several weeks and only one kitten is still around. We have no idea what happened to the rest of them, but he and his mother frequent our back patio to take advantage of the food and water. It is impossible to touch them, but I am gaining their trust on a daily basis. Surprisingly, the kitten is the most trusting of the two, and he almost turns cartwheels trying to get to the food bowl when he hears kibble pouring in.

It’s rather cute to see them together, because he is the spitting image of his mom – only smaller. Both are pitch black, which seems just perfect for the season. Imagine how festive it would be if I could train them to sit motionless on the front stoop beside the big yellow mum and jack-o-lantern…

Blogbits

Caffeine – I’ve done pretty well with cutting caffeine out of my diet. In the last week, I’ve only had two Dr. Peppers and a few glasses of tea. Other than that, I’ve mostly had water.

Cats – I’m a big softie when it comes to starving or needy creatures, so it wasn’t a hard decision for me to start feeding the skinny feline who showed up outside. She typically shows up for kibble after I get off from work, and she rewards me for being big-hearted by pooping in the driveway.

She must have kittens tucked away somewhere, as she appears to have been nursing. I wonder how long it will be before she brings the kids over for dinner?

Wal-Mart Buggies – Every stinking time I go to WM, I get a faulty shopping cart – one that squeaks, rattles, wobbles, or wants to veer to one side or the other. I suspect those smirky door greeters are to blame, since they always select which carts are up front. I bet they pick out the most raggedy buggies they can find and laugh behind their false teeth as we try to push them into the store.

Prilosec OTC – Two words… miracle drug. It’s made a huge difference in the way I feel and pretty much eliminated the pain that I was feeling in my chest. I always assumed that acid reflux would have a burning sensation, but it turns out it can feel like pressure, too.

Blessing in disguise

After arriving home from work yesterday, I went through my usual routine of gathering the mail and coming inside to unwind after a long day. Thursdays are Honey’s day off and he was next door visiting the neighbor. As I stood at the kitchen table reading the mail, I heard a loud “glug-glug” noise coming from the direction of our water heater. I immediately turned my head to see a pool of water spreading across the floor in my direction and panicked, seemingly incapable of making a decision on the course of action that I needed to take.

water_heater_explosionI’ve heard of water heaters exploding and causing tremendous structural damage (see photo), so my first instinct was to flee the scene. As I ran towards the door, I distinctly remember thinking about the potential demise of my cats from the pending appliance bomb, but I quickly decided that self-preservation was in my best interest and ran outside and across the yard to the neighbor’s house. Honey was still laughing hours later about the look on my face when I yanked open the door and announced, “The house is flooding!”

After turning off the water, cleaning up the mess, and assessing the situation, we realized that purchasing a new water heater would be necessary and headed off for the nearest home improvement store. Twenty-four hours later, Honey is under the house rerouting water lines so that we can install our latest purchase.

Even though this experience is far from pleasant, I am utterly thankful for four things.

1. It happened while I was home from work, thereby preventing extensive flooding and damage to our house.

2. We just got the incentive check from the IRS and were able to cover the unexpected expense. It does make me a little suspicious that Bush was somehow responsible though, since I intended to pay off debt with the money but had to spend it on improving the economy, just like he intended. Darn Republicans.

3. This was the perfect opportunity to move the water heater from its incredibly inconvenient location (cramped under a kitchen cabinet and wedged between our refrigerator and the wall) to a more appropriate and safer place (the utility room). It will now be sitting on a concrete slab so that leaks won’t be so potentially catastrophic.

4. Our neighbor allows us to use her shower, so going without hot water for a couple of days isn’t as terrible as it sounds.

So, even when experiencing these little “joys” of home-ownership, it’s easy to see that there is plenty to be thankful for.