It was a little over a year ago that Murphy died. He was only 5 years old when he was diagnosed with kidney failure. I always joked about how paying $20 for him was $20 dollars too much. Like I said, that was just a joke.
I had seen an advertisement in the newspaper stating that there was a litter of black and white kittens for sale. I phoned and got directions to the house. I stood in the doorway of a stranger's house, making small talk while the son went to look for the kitten. I heard all about how there had been 5 kittens in the litter, 2 boys and 3 girls. And how the mama cat, who was only a barn cat, had been impregnated by the Manx from the acreage down the street. I smiled politely as I took it all in.
Then it happened...
This little squirt of a kitten came running into the room. He had such gusto. A kind of wild excitement that seemed uncontrollable, perhaps even to him. (The word 'spaz' comes to mind right now) I was in love.
I had never before seen a kitten that looked like he did. He had a little curl of a tail, a somewhat squished-in face and big blue eyes (like those cartoon children in the 1970s paintings on black velvet). The stranger told me that the kitten was a Manx. I named him Murphy.
When my mom first saw Murphy she said that when he ran he looked like a hotrod. His hind legs were very long and his front ones were short by comparison. Indeed, he resembled a hotrod when he ran. And he ran a lot. He was full of energy and fearless, this unstoppable ball of fluff.
It didn't matter to Murphy that Ouija was the biggest, crankiest, cat that he would ever meet. Quite clearly Ouija was put on this earth to entertain Murphy; to be his 'play-thing' for the next five years. In time, Ouija would get used to this annoyance that dared to set up home in his territory. Ouija would learn a little bit of tolerance.
Then there's Benny. Benny is the consummate Mother Hen. Benny coddled Murphy right from the second they were introduced. At one time, Benny was a shy cat and not very trusting of people. He didn't even trust me. Murphy would soon change that. When Benny saw that I was just as concerned for Murphy as he was, he started to trust. I suppose Benny figured that since people weren't torturing this small, defenceless kitten, they must be alright. It took some time but Benny has learned to trust people.
When it became clear that Murphy would not survive much longer, I made a most regrettable decision to take him back home one last night, thinking that somehow there would be an exchange of kitty-cat goodbyes. What I saw confused and upset me.
I held no hope for Ouija to take any interest in Murphy's situation so I was not surprised when my expectation was met. What did surprise me was Benny's reaction. It seemed as though Benny was avoiding Murphy. Every time I picked Benny up and placed him near his ailing buddy, he would make a prompt retreat. I did not expect that reaction from Benny at all.
I've been around cats long enough to witness emotion in them. I've clearly seen fear, excitement, annoyance in my cats. Why not compassion? Why is there no compassion?!
The next day, through teary eyes, I recounted to the Veterinarian the behaviour that I had witnessed amongst the cats the night before. It was explained to me that instinct was at play in that situation. The explanation was so simple that it seems obvious to me now. Instinct would prevent a healthy cat from getting too close to a sick cat simply because the sick cat could have a deadly, communicable disease.
I wish I hadn't learned that the hard way.
The little hotrod is missed.
(I haven't posted in my blog for so long that I almost forgot how to do it. Anyhow...)
I sleep on my back most nights. Often I'll have one, or even both arms up so that my forearms and hands are resting on my pillow, against the top of my head. On occasion, I'll wake up to Monkey licking my armpit. It doesn't feel bad so I'm not startled awake or anything. I worry for his health, though, because it can't be good for him to ingest deodorant, can it? I think not. So, I'll shoo him away as soon as I realize what's happening.
(It's weird how some cats are so clean that they have a compulsion to clean others too. Don't get me wrong, I love that cats are clean animals. Love, love, love it. Anyhow...)
You know how it can be difficult to get out of bed some mornings? Well, sometimes I'll throw the covers off in an attempt to inspire myself to get out of bed. Usually this act meets with little immediate success. Twice now, in the dawn of my waking moments, when I'm not quite conscious and my eyes are still closed, I've felt something touch my belly button. When I'd open my eyes, I'd see Monkey sniffing around there... as if he was about to clean my belly button! I may have even felt his tongue but I can't say for sure since my sense of feeling is very poor around my navel. (This was a good thing back when I had it pierced - hardly felt a thing. Anyhow...)
I'm able to dismiss the fact that he's trying to clean my armpits. I justify his actions by telling myself that he's just trying to clean the deodorant off me. Perfectly okay since, in a cat's mind, deodorant is the equivalent to 'dirt', I suppose.
My navel, on the other hand, is just plain dirty. What other explanation is there? Anyhow, it took not one but two feline notifications for me to start paying closer attention to my navel when showering. Now before you judge me, ask yourself, when was the last time your navel felt a soapy finger poking around in it?
Yesterday, the dog and the puppy went to the Animal Clinic to have the porcupine quills removed. About 300 quills in all.
Most of the quills were on the head and in the mouth (even under the tongue) of the dog. The puppy got off lucky because he only had a small number of them stuck in his fur along his ribcage and a few stuck in his front paw.
It took a little over 40 minutes for two people, doing nothing but pulling quills, to get them all out.
Now, because the dog and puppy were at large, Animal Services captured them and took them to the Veterinarian's. The owner has a sob story of being a single Mom and not being able to afford the costs incurred. Consequently, the dog and the puppy will soon be up for adoption.
They are good looking, reddish-brown, Husky-type dogs. Hopefully, they will go to good homes, or better yet, the same good home (probably couldn't be worse than the home from which they came).
Company came to visit this weekend. Burritos were on the menu.
My nephew tells me at dinner time that he and his sister only like the "inside" of a burrito. So, as per their Mom's instructions, I place a little bit of seasoned ground beef, shredded cheese, and lettuce into two bowls. "I don't like tomatoes" he says. Okay. "I don't like tomatoes" he reiterates. Okay. "Do you have any ketchup?" he asks. Hmmmm.
"Mommy," she whines, "what's this?" as she picks at something in her bowl. Mom walks over and answers "That's just onion". "I don't like it" she continues to whine. So don't eat it. "Mommy, I don't like tomato" she continues. "That's not tomato, that's carrot in the salad". She insists, "I don't like it!"
Why do the simplest things seem so difficult for children to overcome? Why? At what age do they gain common sense?
Another "dog story"...
Puppies. Aren't they just so very, very cute? My friend's Shitzu cross had SEVEN puppies on December 24th. That's a lot of puppies for such a small breed.
Today, these puppies had their first veterinary check-up. They also had their dewclaws removed. Have you seen this happen? I have; it's not pretty. I saw it again today for the second time.
The puppies are only a few days old and cannot handle general anesthesia, so they simply don't get any. The Veterinarian snips off the little dewclaw with a pair of scissors, then, if applicable, takes a scalpel and digs out the piece of bone that's left behind in the leg. Finally, the newly created wound is sutured closed.
The puppies yelp A LOT during this procedure. I would too. I would also bite, scratch, kick, punch...
Okay, this isn't for the squeamish...
Ouija's an old cat and isn't tolerant of the cold like he used to be, so he usually doesn't go outside at night. Last night, however, he wanted out and since the temperature is unseasonably warm here, I let him go. He was outside all night.
Within a minute or two of being inside this morning, he vomitted on the kitchen floor (something he's been doing a lot lately, being that he's terminally ill). Now, I've cleaned up plenty of cat vomit in my time - no big deal. This morning was a totally different experience.
I mean it, stop reading now if you have a weak stomach.
Seems Ouija had eaten out last night. He had graced the kitchen floor with what, I would guess, was a mouse just a few hours prior. If I'd have had a hazmat suit on hand, I would have donned it. Alas, I had to rely on a plastic bag for a glove, the upper part of my t-shirt for a respirator and a paper towel as a biohazard recepticle. The worse part being over, I stared disapprovingly at the pool of bloody stomach fluid left behind on the tile floor.
Monkey, having shown a little too much interest in the unfamiliar scene, cried out from behind the closed bathroom door. What to do, what to do? Clearly plain old water is insufficient to clean up this mess, right? Well, I could get a tile layer to come in and replace the offending tile with a new one, but that might be an over reaction to the situation. And still, Monkey cried out from his make-shift jail cell.
Then *poof*, it became clear what was necessary. First, more paper towel to soak up the ickiness, then water ...pat dry, then Sunlight dishsoap ...pat dry, then more water ...pat dry, then bleach ...pat dry, then, FINALLY, more water ...pat dry.
Now if only I could clean my photographic memory as well as I cleaned the kitchen floor.
Well, I'm off to eat supper now...
My oldest cat, Ouija, was diagnosed with lymphoma a few months back. His illness is showing signs of progression. I hope I don't have to deal with euthanizing him over the Christmas holidays.
He's been a great pet. The community that we live in is about 7 years old and remains somewhat undeveloped around the perimeter. I've heard neighbours complain of troubles with rodents making their homes inside people's houses but I've had no such issues.
The only issues I've had with mice and the like is having to pick their dead, cold, stiff little bodies up off the deck after Ouija's done "playing" with them. Sometimes I'm left picking up mere pieces of critters.
I'm so proud of him for keeping vermin out of the house since that's not something I'd ever want to deal with. Ick.
It's a dog story...
This German Shepard was vomitting and what not... just showing signs of being sick. His x-rays revealed a blockage in his colon and his owners wanted the blockage surgically removed. In cases like this the surgery is called an exploratory. It took a while and the dog had to lose a portion of his intestine that had "died off" because of compromised blood flow, etc.
The item removed from the dog's intestine was triangular, each side being maybe two and a half inches. It was quite flat and thin, a quarter of an inch, at the most. It was hard, as if it was petrified and it was etched with a curv of sorts. It was determined to be a piece of tennis ball.
This is why dogs should not be given hollow balls to play with. Very few people believe that tennis balls can pose a threat to a dog's health so getting this message out is tough.
This is the story about a cat named "Campbell" (as in Campbell's soup).
He was found as a stray by a woman who took him into the Veterinary Clinic and asked that he be euthanized immediately because he was in such bad shape. He was skinny and weak, and his fur was dirty, but what stood out the most was the fact that he had a food can stuck around his neck. Both ends of the can had been cut off and the label removed, as if it was to be recycled. Judging by the cuts on the cat's neck, it looked like the can had been there awhile.
Anyway, the cat was anesthetized and the Veterinarian had borrowed a tool from the car repair shop next door to remove the can from the cat. Off to the Humane Society he went. He was adopted out and that was the last I heard of Campbell.
Is this a better story than the "penis" story?