Louis the Mischievous

It took a while to move on after putting Guy Noir to sleep.  Picking up his kitty paw print was hard.  It actually still sits on my bookcase with his old collar (that he actually never liked but looked fantastic with it).  Every time I look at it, I’m a little bit sad.  Actually, let me be truthful, whenever I have to explain to people that I’ve adopted three cats but I only have two, I start to get that same sad feeling I had the day we took him to the vet. I sit there and remember how we took him with his favorite blanket. I remember how he purred and kneaded the blanket and butted heads with us before we left the room.  I’m actually tearing up now.  My point though is that no matter how much time passes I think I’ll always be saddened by the memory of having to put little Guy to sleep.  I have to say that it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.

All of that said, I don’t regret having Guy or taking care of him or putting him to sleep.  We made all the right decisions in trying to give him a comfortable, loving kitty life.

He’s a riot. This is one of his rare still moments.

After several weeks we decided that Pippa (not to mention the two of us) had moped enough. So after breaking the news to Jeanie (who we had adopted both Guy and Pippa from) we broached the subject of adopting another boy kitten.  Jeanie, who was I think equally heartbroken as we were, was a complete sweetheart and offered to help us adopt a second cat and without the additional costs.  We looked EVERYWHERE for the perfect little boy when we both realized that we were looking for Guy all over again. Needless to say, we weren’t going to find him and it was useless trying.  Instead, we ended up at the place furthest from the environment through which we originally adopted Guy and Pippa.  Jeanie directed us to the Caswell County Animal Shelter.  It was a sad little place where the kittens were literally caged.  You could tell that the volunteers there were so sad and made so much effort to make the lives of their little charges better. We petted, played with, and snuggled endless boy kittens.  I was starting to get worried that we were going to leave without a cat.  Part of me wanted to save all of them, but we could only take one home so we had to find the perfect one.  I thought we might have to go home and think about it when the lady at the shelter walked out of back room holding “Dart.”  Dart was evidently due for his playtime and he wasn’t really even on her radar to show to us.  But when Ben held him and he started purring, we were both goners.  So we left that day with Dart the kitten.

Dart was renamed multiple times in the car and when he got home.  Several of his name variations were: sherlock, skippy, skippy jon, and fritz.  We settled on Rambo for a day before deciding that didn’t work either.  Finally we decided that this little man was definitely a Louis (pronounced frenchyfied).

When we brought him home, Pippa was much more blase about the whole thing but Louis was completely rambunctious.  Finally free of a metal cage, the little black and white kitten ran back and forth across the apartment with boundless energy while Pippa watched perplexed.  When he hopped up to her aggressively with his back arched, she was shocked but took it in stride by batting him to the ground with her paw and stalking off.  Point made, Pippa.

They are quite the pair now.  They snuggle together and play together.  Sometimes I think his idea of snuggling is a little bit different from hers though.  Hers: let me hold you and groom you.  His: let me flop on top of you and bite your neck.   Well….I’m sure it’s just a miscommunication!

Guy Noir: April to August 2012

So today, Ben and I took Guy Noir to the vet for the last time.  When we got there, the vet we saw (Dr. Marin, another wonderful Vet at the clinic) confirmed what we already knew: Guy most likely had FIP.  Even if that wasn’t what he was, he was extremely sick with something else.  That said he was a textbook case of FIP and no matter what he really wasn’t going to improve.  His quality of life was going down.  Ben and I had already noticed that Guy had been mewling in pain a lot more, his energy had flagged, he was despondent, he wasn’t pooping, and his abdomen made a lot of things uncomfortable for him.

Even though Ben and I were prepared for the inevitable when we went to vet, I still burst into tears when we asked Dr. Marin if she thought it might be kinder to just euthanize Guy.  She told us that she thought we were making the best decision for Guy and for ourselves.  The poor thing was still purring while I signed the form, but I do know Ben and I made the right decision.  We gave him a few last cuddles before we left the room (I couldn’t stay).  We’ll be receiving a pawprint in clay (at no extra charge) from the vet in the next couple of days.

I feel horrible because in some ways, this came on so suddenly.  When we got home, Pippa greeted us and started sniffing the crate…which of course led me to burst into tears again.  I don’t know if people understand if you’ve never had an animal, but Guy was a loveable companion in my house.  I know he’s just a cat in the long run, but he was sweet and caring and fit in perfect with my little family.  I don’t know how I could have gotten through this without Ben by myself.  I’m sure I would have just broken down at the vet and then buried myself in my bed.

We’ll miss Guy, and I feel horrible that his little life was so short. But what Ben reminded me does make me feel better: he was a shelter cat. So giving him a loving home, even if just for a little while, was the best gift we could give him.  He knew he was loved, because he sure was.

Kitty SOS

First of all, I am so glad that I decided to get my first cat: Pippa.  She’s a sweetheart and a joy.  I’m infinitely happy that I got my second cat: Guy Noir.  Guy Noir is a 5 month old black kitten with a penchant for mischief and a purr as loud as a motorcar.  Unfortunately, the sweet ball of black fuzz that’s taken over part of my heart may have FIP: Feline Infectious Peritonitis.  We’ll be finding out for sure (more or less) tomorrow when we take him back to the vet.  The poor thing has a swollen and distended abdomen and belly but is quite boney up top.  He seems to have less energy and sleeps more.

You can find out more about the horrible FIP here: http://www.vet.cornell.edu/fhc/brochures/fip.html.  I found this website to be the most informative and helpful website.  I am by no means trying to diagnose my poor kitty myself though.  We took Guy Noir to the vet yesterday where the vet (at Carrboro Plaza Animal Clinic with Dr. Anne Gavin, the best vet I’ve had yet) told us the possibilities for Guy’s symptoms.  A) he could have a parasite (i.e. worms).  To be safe they went ahead and gave him a dewormer.  B) he could have a liver problem that’s causing fluid build-up in his abdomen.  C) he could have FIP.  The plan of action tomorrow for when he goes back to the vet is that they will take x-rays to see what’s going on inside and take a fluid sample that they can send off for testing.  Unfortunately, there is no definitive test for FIP.  FIP is essentially fatal in most cases, but cats that contract it can live 2 to 3 years.  Depending on what lil’ guy’s got, we’ll see what happens.  However, through this experience I have now learned that FIP is about the worst acronym you can drop to a cat-owner.  When I emailed the foster mom I adopted Guy from to let her know what was going on, she sent me back a sympathetic email: “I truly hope it isn’t FIP!!!”

Because I’m feeling on the pessimistic side at the moment, I’ve already had a couple bouts of crying into Ben’s chest while Guy mewls plaintively at my feet.  Unfortunately, I feel like the meows aren’t so much “Mommy, pick me up!” as they were “Mommy, I hurt….”  My heart breaks every time.  I’m also trying to resign myself to the possibility that Guy may need to be euthanized.  Such a sweet kitty!  Ben has been reassuring me by reminding me that at least we gave him a wonderful, happy home for a while.

I’ll keep my fingers crossed that it’s something less serious that Guy can push through.  In the meantime, we’re loving him up, and Pippa is constantly bathing and snuggling with him.  At least the circle of love in my house isn’t broken by a few tears from my sentimental heart!

Pippa

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Welcome to my new world.  In my new life, which began almost a week and a half ago, I became the very proud owner of Pippa: a one year old brown/grey tabby with the look of a mouser about her.  And she doesn’t just look like a mouser.  See that pink thing in the bottom right hand corner of the picture?  That’s one of the pink feathers of one of her toys.  That one is pretty much destroyed by now.

When Pippa first arrived at my apartment, she was almost unbearably shy.  When her foster mom left, she immediately retreated under the ottoman.  So there Ben and I were with our cheeks to the floor trying to coax out an extremely frightened cat.  Now, she’s gotten much more used to us.  After Ben figured out that maybe the whole apartment was too much for her, we looked up a little information about adapting a cat to it’s new environment. Hint: give them a little of their own space.  So we installed her in my extra bedroom since I have no roommate.  Having gotten used to that, she now comes out and plays every night when I get home and Ben comes over.  Then when Ben goes away and I get in bed, here she comes ready to play some more.  Her new favorite game to keep me awake all night is to drag her toys into my room and hop up on the bed with them.  It’s a funny mixture between cute and scary to wake up with a cat sitting on your chest staring at you while she has a feather toy hanging out of her mouth.

As for her name, yes, she is named after famous sister-to-the-princess Pippa.  Evidently, she and her litter were found the day of the Royal Wedding last year.  And I must say, she is quite the elegant kitty.

Also very inquisitive, Pippa seems to put real meaning into curiosity killed the cat.  She’s already attacked the sewing machine and the printer (while working).  I’m also pretty sure that if I ever actually opened my window she might fall out of it trying to get to the birds she’s been stalking from the sill!

A Week in New Hampshire

For Spring Break this year, I didn’t venture to the southern shores for glorious seventy-degree weather.  Instead I trekked north to New Hampshire to enjoy a crisp breeze and high-quality, warm, beautiful friendship and fellowship.  On Saturday, the 3rd of March, I flew into Boston Logan international airport to see the beautiful and fantastic Jane Martyn.

When I arrived in Boston around noon, the sky was clouded and misty so there wasn’t much of a skyline to witness. So… no Boston on Saturday.  I’m ok with that, it wouldn’t have been a real full day anyway.  Jane and I of course substituted the original plan with what we do best: eating Mexican food and shopping.  One thing you should know about our trips is that they are ALWAYS based around food, and somehow the most important meals for us are the “welcome meals” — the one right after one of us gets off the plane.  It’s usually Thai or Mexican.

Upon arriving at Jane’s house, I got to meet the four day old King Charles Spaniel puppies.  A wriggling mass of black, white and tan the puppies were at the stage of being so small, rat-like, blind, and ugly that they were cute.  Amazingly enough, by the time I left, the little creatures had already grown and one had even started to open its eyes!

While staying at Jane’s home in Southern New Hampshire, we did a lot of cooking, eating, and shopping…it’s what we do best together after all.  We also stepped outside of our boxes a little and when ice-skating.  At first neither of us could remember how, but by the end of an hour we were both gliding around semi-confidently with the company of two hockey players and a recovering figure skater.

While on the road to Connecticut to the coast there, Jane introduced me to the wonderful store: Charming Charlie.  It’s the most colorful, most organized, most creative store I have ever seen.  Simply put, it’s an accessory store organized by color shades and combinations.  They have all types of hats, scarves, wallets, rings, purses, EVERYTHING you could ever accessorize.  And it’s all grouped by color combo. Just imagine…not only is there a table for hot pink….there’s also a completely separate area for lighter pinks and tan.  I don’t usually like to talk too much about clothes but I highly recommend this store to everyone who likes to accessorize anything.

While at Niantic, we discovered that not only was there a severe lack of conch shells at the beach, but there was also an extraordinary number of social sea gulls.  Jane, however, kindly refused their company as they were rude and didn’t understand the concept of personal space.  We spent just enough time to appreciate the view before scampering back to the car.  The gulls and the wind had finally gotten to us.

We also took a trip to Northern New Hampshire to see my aunt and uncle, Steve and Brenda Jones.  Their property is a haven on earth of quietness, peace, and serenity.  Even with the goats, donkeys, miniature horses, chickens, sheep, two dogs, and three house birds, I am completely serious.  Brenda and Steve are two of the world’s sweetest and most welcoming people ever.  Their dogs are pretty welcoming too!  Brenda has Collie and a new Collie puppy at three months old.  The beautiful blue Merle puppy is much bigger than I thought she’d be, but she’s crazy energetic and playful.  She’s also incredibly soft and lovable.   Long story short: I want a collie someday.  Specifically Blue Merle.

While at Steve and Brenda’s we stopped by Hanover, NH to see Dartmouth.  It’s a beautiful campus with a lovely downtown, but let me tell you: the people are so snobbish, it’s ridiculous.  Yes, you’re at an ivy-league.  No, that doesn’t mean your sperries and your hair are made out of gold.  Get over yourself!  Lunch at Molly’s and an exploration of the Rauner Special Collections library were fantastic however.  The featured exhibit in the main reading room was about the Japanese student Nubo Mitsui at Dartmouth during WWII and the era of internment camps.  Backed up by the board, Mitsui was allowed to stay under surveillance.

We left Steve and Brenda’s to head to Boston.  While we didn’t leave as soon as we would have liked, we still got a pretty good deal on parking in the North End.  Jane took me through the North End where I saw zillions of genuine Italian restaurants and experienced the biggest little city on earth.  We visited the North Church were the lanterns were hung: one if by land, two if by sea.  First of all, let me say, that the pews in this church (and all the subsequent ones) were absolutely astounding.  They look like the inside of carriage with a plush, cushioned bench and a footstool or two in front if you want.  Seriously?  I don’t know how they fitted everyone in there!

We also visit Revere’s statue and tomb along with those of Sam Adams and Phyllis Wheatly.  On our way, we walked reverently through the Boston Holocaust Memorial.  A sobering walk, the memorial is made up of several tasteful stone markers at the entrance and exit of the walkway.  The path itself is comprise of four or five glass rectangular prisms rising into the sky with the internment numbers of victims inscribed.  Inside each pillar was a grate from which steam emitted as the passerby can read two quotes from survivors on either side.  The quotes are both moving and heart-wrenching.  We took the time to walk through and read all of the plaques, and thus entered our first annoyance of the day: a lady hurriedly walking, nay striding not on the sidewalk going around the memorial but straight through the memorial without glancing at what she was passing through.   Perhaps she didn’t have time and perhaps she’s seen it a million times, but I certainly believe the memorial deserves more respect than that.

In the same vein of historical investigation we also visited the cemetery at King’s Chapel and the church itself.  Another astounding work of art, the church had a pew box adorned with overhead hangings which was reserved for the royal governor.  George Washington later sat in the same pew at a fundraiser.  Let me tell you, there were LOTS of places that George Washington visited in Boston and they are all CLEARLY marked.  After stopping through Fanieul Hall and Quincy Market (the world’s worst tourist trap), we tripped over to the Irish Famine Memorial (especially important to my friend’s direct Irish roots) and the South Meeting Hall.  A museum worth paying to go into, it’s a tribute to revolution and free speech, no matter what end of the spectrum it falls on.

We intended to stop at an Irish restaurant to partake of traditional Irish fare and Boston atmosphere so that Jane wouldn’t have to cook for me if we didn’t have time.  The Purple Shamrock, however, was a waste of time apart from the time we had to sit down and relax.  First the boiled dinners that we had come for weren’t ready yet because the delivery man had JUST brought them.  Next, they didn’t have their soup of the day.  After that, we found a long, thick, black hair trailing out of the Boston Clam Chowder.  Disgusting!  Needless to say, we were NOT impressed.

After walking all across Boston, we took the T back to the North End and drove out to go get massages.  A day well spent, we drove exhausted back to New Hampshire where we promptly collapsed.

The next day was slow but wonderful.  We got up…and I really mean Jane got up and began preparing a traditional Irish meal: corned beef with cabbage, carrots and parsnips, mashed potatoes, and white sauce.  Incredibly delicious and filling!  I’ll be sure to try and imitate it, though I don’t know that anyone can make Irish food like the Irish!

The trip wasn’t over though until I’d actually made it on the plane.  Everything that could go wrong, went wrong when I went through security.  First my hairpins set off the metal detector so I had to get a pat-down.  Then my purse set off red-lights. Turns out, I had forgotten about removing not only my pepper spray but also my multitool.  Both were confiscated, but on account of the pepper spray, the state police were called in as it is an illegal item in Massachusetts.  Lucky me.  One pitiable and remorseful explanation later, I’d finally made it to my gate with fifteen minutes and a bathroom break to spare.

All in all, it was a fantastic trip and even though I’m sure I haven’t done any of it justice, I had a truly wonderful time with wonderful people.  Pictures to come soon…maybe.