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NF-Lee's Gildor and Frodo

Why I haven’t been posting lately.

Posted on 2008.06.11 at 18:25
Tags: ,

Note: This post is about “real life" stuff. There's almost no reference to LotR or Tolkien in it. Also it’s picture-heavy, but with pictures of cats, not Frodo.

I feel as though I haven’t posted for years, although I’ve posted twice since I got back from visiting my mother in the first half of May. The thing is, when I came back from my mother’s, I came home to sick cats. So this post is a cat story. I'm afraid only pet-lovers will enjoy it.

Our Cat Story (LONG).

As long-timers know, I grew up with Siamese cats. We had Siamese because they were the only sort of cat my mother liked. She'd been raised with dogs and hadn't liked any cats until she met a neighbour's Siamese. When I moved to NYC after college, I got two Siamese cats of my own, two lovable brothers named Kita and Ira. Eventually, however, I left NYC to go to graduate school. I could only afford to live in the school’s dorms, and no pets were allowed. So I gave my darlings into the custody one of my old friends from high school, then one of my apartment mates in NYC. He loved and looked after them for the rest of their long lives.

I didn’t have cats again for six years. I was graduated, married and had a child, and was living in a small town in eastern Long Island (NY), when I thought it would be nice to have cats again. My husband had met my previous cats. I had been doing an intern year in NYC when their “uncle”, with whom they had lived for three years, went to Europe for two weeks and we looked after them again. My husband fell under the Siamese spell; he just loved them. So when I said I’d like a cat again, he said he only wanted one if it was Siamese. We ended up buying two, litter mates, purchased from a nurse in a nearby Long Island town whose hobby was breeding her champion queen, Bouja. We named our two kittens Arvo (Finnish, for my husband’s side) and Raoul (because I thought the kitten was so handsome in a Mediterranean way). That was in 1992.

~ Raoul at four months in Long Island, NY, April,1992.

~ Arvo and Raoul, just turned two years old, on Dec. 24, 1993.

We loved them both, but Arvo became more “my” cat, always preceding me to bed to curl up beside me, and Raoul became our daughter’s cat. An only child, she made him her constant companion. Raoul was her baby brother, her best friend, her TV buddy, her bed buddy and bathroom buddy (he sat on the bathtub while she took a bath or went to the toilet, or on the sink when she brushed her teeth). She even had him sit and watch her play board games. She’d pretend he took turns. He was a terrific sport. He wasn't as talkative as Arvo, but when he did speak it was in a deep, rich Siamese voice, as if he were lowing. When he was feeling distressed his call had a profoundly melancholy sound.

~ Raoul gets a pretend bath in the sink, March 1993.

~ Our daughter holding Raoul on our front steps, June 1993.

In 1996, we moved to San Francisco. Arvo and Raoul came with us. But they flew there while we drove across the country. The cats stayed with my northern-California sister while we made the trip.

Three years later, in 1999, we moved to Minnesota, where we live now. Arvo and Raoul again flew on ahead while we drove across the country, this time staying with my husband’s parents (who live nearby in a smaller town). They, too, fell for the Siamese charm, but felt themselves too old to make the commitment to have pets.

The next year Arvo became sick. It was a very aggressive cancer. Less than a month from his diagnosis he was dead. Because Raoul seemed to miss his brother so much, we decided to get a kitten. At a Siamese cat breeder north of here, we decided to get two, so the kittens would have someone to play their lively games with. Raoul was rather a couch potato at nine. Our daughter, incidentally, had liked the mother cat better than any of the kittens there. Her name was Pixie. I said to the breeder, should she retire Pixie from breeding and put her up for adoption, we’d love to have her.

It was early 2001 when we brought home the two little brothers, Angelo and Friedrich. They attached themselves immediately to their big, cuddly, warm placid “Uncle Raoul” like limpets. Raoul thought they were exasperating at first, but soon they loved sleeping together in a pile.

~ Raoul with young Angelo and Friedrich, March 2001.

Friedrich was our little acrobat, very tidy in his habits, with a tidy, springy gait and a little blatty voice like a sheep. Angelo was a big loveable goof, long and lanky, with a walk like a lazy cheetah, and a voice that ranged the octaves and produced every sort of sound as he talked and muttered and sang and yowled around the house seemingly non-stop.

~ Angelo posing in the doll cradle grandpa made, Sept. 4, 2002.

In 2002, the breeder called. Did we still want Pixie, the kittens’ mother? Did we!?!?!?

~ Pixie making good use of her breasts with her first litter in 2000 (our guys were from her second litter).

Thus we became a four-cat family:

~ Raoul, Friedrich, Pixie and Angelo in their basket, Dec. 14, 2002.

~ Angelo, Raoul, Friedrich and Pixie in their basket in the end of March 2003.

Pixie ingratiated herself with the others immediately....

~ Pixie, a little handful, on New Year’s Day, 2003.

I am sure the “boys” had no recollection of her and she didn’t remember them, but she was used to bossing kittens and she bossed Angelo and Friedrich.

~ Pixie parking herself on Angelo on our daughter’s lap, May 15, 2003.

Raoul, fat in a stately way, and everyone’s favourite bed-buddy, was treated with respect and affection.

~ Raoul, stately: Dec. 13, 2002.

~ Raoul, silly: Sept. 28, 2003.

Pixie had a rather wicked-looking face, and a prowling walk like a cougar’s. But she was very affectionate and oozed charm. Sitting on her “bawling chair” (a forty-year old step-stool now in our kitchen), she’d meow her requests in the most Marilyn Monroe-ish sort of high, wispy voice, barely like a Siamese. At the same time she'd lift her left paw daintily, like a gentlewoman lifting her pinky when sipping tea. It always cracked us up, and it always gained its end.

~ Pixie lolling, May 8, 2004.

Going by looks, people sometimes couldn’t tell the three related cats apart, but their personalities, walks and voices were completely different.

In 2005, Friedrich, just turned four, suddenly became very sick. He had been Mr. Health, more fit and active than any cat we’d owned. Yet, mysteriously, he was in acute kidney failure. With frequent trips to the vet's we kept him going for many months, hoping he’d get better, but it turned out he too had a “rare aggressive” cancer. He died in May 2005, the day before my husband’s sister died of a “rare aggressive” cancer. What a month that was!

~ Pixie keeps company with Friedrich, May 8, 2005. He died two weeks later.

So once more we had three cats: old Raoul, Angelo (the remaining kitten), and his mother Pixie.

~ Pixie, Angelo and Raoul, Sept. 2, 2006.

~ Angelo, Pixie and Raoul, March 9, 2008.

After that, until this year, everything’s been hunky-dory. But, in January, at Pixie’s routine check-up, the vet noticed a lump under one of her enlarged nipples. And another. A biopsy on the larger one confirmed she had malignant breast cancer. Since Googling it on the Internet, I've learned that breast cancer is not that uncommon in female cats that have been neutered after they’ve had their first heat, and even more common in females that have been pregnant—just like humans. Pixie has had three litters of kittens. Further, feline breast cancer is twice as common in Siamese than any other breed. Should we have not got her? No, we wouldn’t have missed falling in love with her for anything.

Some shots of Pixie:

~ Pixie with her hair tie (she used to love to play fetch with these before she got sick), February 10, 2008.

~ Pixie having a happy nap, March 1, 2008.

The lumps were small, but large enough to have spread. Yet her health was so good, it was hard to take it seriously that she had a fatal illness. We cried, wiped our eyes and resolved to enjoy each other in the time we had left. Our daughter, who was home from college at the time, suffered more at the news because she was flying away for a semester abroad then straight to her college in HI for the summer and fall terms after that. She might not see her darling Pixie again and she knew it.

In the meantime, Pixie’s problem nipples continued to get bigger and redder, the lumps under them getting bigger, too. Otherwise, you’d still never know she was sick. Angelo and Raoul felt good. We were content.

~ Pixie dreaming on the rug, March 16, 2008, her reddened nipples beginning to show.

~ Raoul dreaming on our daughter’s bed, February 11, 2008.

~ Angelo enjoying a lap, February 29, 2008.

So: May 2008.

Here we bring the story to my May visit to my mother. The visit went great. My mother, 84, has been a widow for fifteen years and lives alone. She has a *great* neighbour who has a drink with her every afternoon that he’s in town, and my brother lives half an hour away, taking care of her household and legal needs, seeing her for dinner every week and calling her every morning on his way to work. Still, she is a lonely person. We have asked her for ten years to come and live with us but she won’t, because of our “awful weather”. She is painfully arthritic and hampered by the effects of a small stroke a few years ago, but she was nevertheless cheerful, loving the little outings I took her on every day, taking her meals with someone she loved, having her house cleaned, her garden weeded, and etc.

~ My mom on her back deck, May 7, 2008.

~ My mom on May 20, 2008, persuaded to come and look at my brother’s boat (that's not his in the picture).

As I said, the eleven day visit went very well, but when I got back in mid-May I saw that Raoul was in decline. Like my mother, he is creaky with arthritis, but, for 16 ½, he has been very healthy. I came home to a cat that wasn’t talking, was in bed all the time, and was eating only half the normal amount of food. (This was a cat we’d put on a slimming diet years before for obesity.)

I also discovered blood on the dust sheet on our daughter’s bed. Was anyone injured, I asked my husband? Well, he said, Pixie had been chewing on her nipple. I picked her up and looked. For heaven’s sake, she’d chewed it off! The bleeding had stopped, but the place was raw and red. How irritating and/or painful had that breast become to have made her do this to herself? I made an appointment for both Pixie and Raoul in the morning.

Pixie was scheduled for surgery the next week. The vets would take off the three problem breasts. As for Raoul, he had blood work done—fine, x-rays—fine, and a needle aspiration of a lump on the side of his neck I had found—not fine. It was cancer.

To top things off, our last healthy cat, Angelo, *also* got sick the week of Pixie’s surgery. I was beside myself.

~ Angelo, before he became sick, May 17, 2008.

Angelo, a cat who inhales food off a plate like a dog, and who never throws up, had thrown up repeatedly and stopped eating, actively refusing all food as if he feared it. He whimpered when he spoke and sat hunkered down, usually under tables or chairs. This had gone on four days when I took him to the vet’s, too, the day after Pixie’s surgery and Raoul’s second trip for tests. There was blood work for Angelo, then x-rays, then back again for a barium test to see if he had a blockage in the small intestine. It turned out he was acutely constipated, probably from the stress of all the household routines being in disarray because of the other two sick cats. He’s a high-strung, extremely other-oriented cat, in constant need of company and affection. He was given an enema at the vet's, which cleared him out. I changed his food so he wouldn’t avoid it.

After two more bouts with painfully impacted stools (the last one resulting in a post-enema trashing of our kitchen, where I had to leave him while I went to work—every flat surface was tracked with poop, and Angelo himself was a very poopy, distraught cat), he is doing excellently with the help of a stool softener I give him by mouth two times a day. I will begin tapering it off after Raoul dies and see if he can be brought back to normal.

Yes, it remains that the noble, good-natured Raoul is rapidly diminishing towards death.

~ Raoul, outside for the last time? (the weather’s been terrible). May 18, 2008.

Pixie, although she is far more comfortable after having the problem breasts removed, and her surgical sites have healed up nicely, continues to recover slowly. First constipation, then days of diarrhea and terrible appetite, but she finally seems to be coming round.

~ Pixie in a doctored-up pink baby shirt she hated, coming to eat, May 27, 2008.

~ A few minutes later, Pixie deigns to eat.

~ Angelo and Pixie waking up after a nap on our daughter’s old Mickey and Minnie blanket, June 6, 2008.

So that’s what I’ve been doing. My life has become what seems an endless series of visits to the vet’s (we don’t like dwelling on how much it all has cost—and will continue to cost), making different meals for each cat, hand-feeding my sickest, holding little plates under their chins, making cajoling noises to get them to eat, administering meds, cleaning cat boxes and washing bedding. I sound like I’m complaining, but these acts are actually a comfort to perform. When one knows one cannot cure a loved one, it can be a consolation to do the things one *can* do for them.

More bothersome has been doing the things that normally need to be done. Now fully spring, the yard and gardens want my attention, there’s my job to go to, plus all the usual household stuff (I’m the shopper, laundress, cook and cleaner). And during April and May (with a bit more to finish still), we’ve been helping my husband’s parents move house. There still has been choir to sing in, birthdays and anniversaries to celebrate, and so on. I’m also the primary letter-writer and news-bearer, whether by phone, emails or regular mail. The hardest part has been knowing how much to tell our daughter. It's been agony for her, being so far away. It was bad enough, leaving knowing that was Pixie sick, but now her darling “Raoully” is sick and dying, too. It hurts her to know she almost certainly won’t see one or both of them again. How she loves those two!

~ Raoul and Pixie (in her the more comfortable “convalescent shirt” I made her) after her surgery, May 24, 2008. She had to wear the shirts so she wouldn’t chew on her sutures.

So, the point is, LJ-wise, I haven’t had a spare moment. Except for the post I had already prepared before I went to my mother's (the one about Blossom's site), I've only managed one short birthday post. Heck, I am still reading the same book I began reading when I got back from my mother’s in the middle of May, and I’m a reader! I haven’t made a screencap, worked on a manip, written in my fic, or done any writing except letters and updates about the cats and our daughter.

Oh, did I mention? Our daughter has had a change of heart regarding her intended career: she has discovered she does not want to be a nurse; she doesn’t even want to continue college. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Far better is it to discover this sooner than later. Why waste precious time trying to study for something one does not want to do? Work consumes so much of our lives, it would be folly to spend years (and go deep into debt) preparing for a career in which one could take no satisfaction. But, even though we are glad she has admitted this to herself and to us, thinking about it all and talking it through has been a taxing experience.

I know there are far more stressful and eventful things going on in the world and in other people’s lives: in your lives, in fact. I know from your LJ’s that some of you have been dealing with sick pets, sick loved ones—even the death of loved ones—or have been sick or are sick yourselves. And some of you have far less time than I do, and more responsibilities. I really don’t have it too bad. I know that. I just feel a little ... stressed.


One of the things I’ve thought a lot about during this latest sick-and-dying-pet crisis is the way the Elves were said to refrain from making friends with mortals. Every time they became close to a mortal, it must have been in the backs of their minds that they would, eventually, have to go through the grief and heartbreak of watching their mortal friend age and die. Maybe that was the reason so many resisted seeking out friendships with people from the mortal races.

~ Frodo with Glorfindel, detail, from an illustration by Alan Lee.

I talked with one of the vets about the special sorrow involved in loving pets. He noted that however much we love our pets (he has pets, too), we love them always knowing that until we are dead ourselves we will continue to outlive our pets, because their lives are so brief compared to ours. Every pet we love we will lose, and grieve for, over and over, with each new pet. I mused that maybe it was a sort of practice for the deaths of the humans in our lives, and the loss by death of really long-term love relationships. Maybe it was even practice for our own deaths. He said he thought that might be so.

He added that he found that, over time, the experience of living through and with the deaths of beloved pets changed his own attitude about death, helping him to accept it as inevitable, and that he need not feel compelled to stave it off by any means possible. That made me think of how the Numenoreans originally had had the gift of laying down their lives freely, when the time was right, rather than having their last breaths torn from them through dire sickness and the ravages of extreme old age, which was what happened to Men later.

Well, I've said enough. This has grown very long. But I am planning to post again on my favourite topics. I just don’t know when it will be.

I do feel relieved, now that Angelo has recovered and Pixie is beginning to feel better, even though Raoul is dying. Heck, I'm relieved enough to write this long post, and it was a pleasure to be able to do so again. I just wanted you “regulars” to know that my LotR ship (with Frodo as captain) hasn’t foundered or anything like that. I’m just unable to pull into port at the moment because of choppy seas.

~ Mechtild


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maewyn_2 at 2008-06-12 13:35 (UTC) (Link)
Oh, you poor thing. You are certainly having a terrible time at the moment. It's unbelievable that you had three cats sick at the same time.

I remember when Friedrich became sick and died - is it really three years ago?!

Raoul has lived a long and happy life. He's had a wonderful family to look after him, and who will continue to care for him until the end. Pixie is obviously a fighter too. How cute she looks in her little shirt!

Take all the time you need to get through this and your human family matters. Remember to take care of yourself too. Real life always takes precedence over the virtual one.

However, here are some virtual ((((((hugs)))))) from afar.

Edited at 2008-06-12 01:36 pm (UTC)
mechtild at 2008-06-12 15:47 (UTC) (Link)
Yes, already three years ago! That was one heck of a week: Friedrich died on the 21st, Glen's sister Carol on the 22nd, and the 23rd was Rachel's birthday. I felt we were nearly reliving it.

Pixie is feeling better this morning, which is great because Raoul needs her. Just as she was with Friedrich, she's a very soothing, gentle companion for a sick cat. Perhaps it's all her mothering experience. She's a regular Nurse Pixie. Angelo means well but he's such an oaf he'll lie all over the invalid and not even notice they can't breathe or get up.

Thanks for the virtual hugs, Maewyn. And regards to your own little kitty.
Gentle Hobbit
gentlehobbit at 2008-06-12 15:39 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you so much for telling us the stories of your lovely, gentle cats. I am so sorry that you have been grappling with the sickness of all three of them, and I understand very well what it means to lose a beloved pet.

I do hope that you will continue to tell us about Raoul, Pixie and Angelo. I care very much about them now.

*hugs you and extends a finger to each cat for them to sniff*
mechtild at 2008-06-12 15:51 (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for your kind support, Gentlehobbit. Some people don't care for cats, Tolkien seemed to despise them, for instance. I've had two friends who not only didn't care for them, they were positively terrified of them: froze with fear if a cat was in the room. Odd. I think cats are such lovely animals, not including the occasional bad egg. Even when they don't have much personality they have a soothing, graceful presence.

I was just telling Maewyn that Pixie is finally feeling better and has been back on the job as Nurse Pixie to Raoul. She's a very good care provider to her fellow cats when they feel low. When they're well she can be very bossy, but when they don't feel good, she's extremely calm and comforting.

*they sniff your finger appreciatively*
not_alone at 2008-06-12 15:59 (UTC) (Link)
I have always been a cat lover and have rarely been without at least one, though I've never had more than two at the same time. So, I can really sympathise with what you've been going through with yours - and although it's so sad in parts, I did enjoy reading your story. I do hope that dear Raoul's remaining days will be peaceful and that you will have Angelo and Pixie for a long time yet:) Our one remaining cat, Beatrice, is 17 now - she seems to be getting more human the older she becomes!! When she has gone, I really don't think I will ever have any more - for me the upset of parting has just become too much.

ust wanted you “regulars” to know that my LotR ship (with Frodo as captain) hasn’t foundered or anything like that

Very happy to know that:)
mechtild at 2008-06-12 16:37 (UTC) (Link)
Beatrice is seventeen? She may live a long time still. I've met cats that are more than twenty. I am sure Raoul would have lived at least another few years if hadn't got cancer. His blood work showed that his kidney function was excellent, he had no diabetes or any of the chronic ailments that plague seniors. Your Beatrice sounds like a lovely cat, in any case. "Getting more human the older she becomes" - I know! I know!

When she has gone, I really don't think I will ever have any more - for me the upset of parting has just become too much.

We are sort of thinking that, too, Not Alone. Our daughter asked if we will be getting a cat to keep Angelo company, but I said that at least for now, we'd probably been through enough, if only financially. Not that their care has been outrageously expensive, or even unusual coming over the life of a cat; but coming to all three, all at once, it has been a burden. But the emotional thing is a factor, too. Both my husband and I have been tried by this. I didn't mention him much but my husband adores the cats, too. I am thinking that after Angelo gets over the transition to being the only cat, he will learn to adjust. Perhaps he will even prefer it, receiving the undivided, fawning attention of two devoted humans. *g*
(Anonymous) at 2008-06-12 16:35 (UTC) (Link)
Oh dear Mechtild! I have been checking your LJ regularly and thought it strange that you had not posted for a while. I was only thinking earlier today I would e-mail you later to ask if things were OK, but checked your LJ just now and saw your explanation.

I'm so sorry to know that your beautiful, beautiful cats are sick.

I don't have any experience of the Siamese breed, but your Pixie, Raoul and Angelo are absolutely gorgeous! The photographs are really lovely, but what a horrible situation, to have them all so sick at the same time. They are obviously well-loved and have the best of care ~ but I feel so much for you, having to deal with it all physically and emotionally. It must be such a drain on your energy, with everything else in RL having to carry on as normal. I feel for your daughter too ~ will she be coming home now that she has decided against staying in college? Perhaps she will see her dear cats again.

Apart from our two Giant African Land Snails (who are interesting but not exactly cute!) we only have a dog, who we adore ~ but once upon a time three cats lived with us(ours were your normal, everyday moggies). We lost Polly to cancer when she was ten years old. She had two operations, but the tumour kept recurring and she did not recover. Her
brother, Spike, lived to be sixteen ~ as did our sweet Willie (real name Wellington, who had extra toes on each paw). They both died as a result of liver-failure associated with old age. Our Jack Russell Terrier, Holly, came along as a puppy when Willie was our last, lone cat. He was like her big, patient brother, putting up with all her playful moods when he would much rather roll over and enjoy a snooze!

I'm glad to hear that Angelo is recovering, and Pixie has at least improved a little. Poor Raoul ~ I hope that he will not suffer overlong. I'm sure you are showering them all with as much love and attention as possible. Hugs to them, and to you too.

You'll be in my thoughts. Take care,

Love ~ Blossom.

mechtild at 2008-06-12 18:21 (UTC) (Link)
Giant African Land Snails??? I'll have to look them up! I'll bet they have pretty shells and cute antennae.

Your story about your three cats was great, and so familiar. Poor Polly! It doesn't matter if they're Siamese or not. The best, most devoted cat my mother ever had was her last one. It was not a Siamese at all but a half-tailed stray she adopted. But that cat died at 7 or 8 of cancer, too. So it happens across all the breeds, just as it happens to all sorts of people.

Rachel will now be coming home in September, so she may very well see Pixie again, but Raoul will not last that long. I am thinking it will be a week or two at the most, but then again I never thought he'd last this long!

Thanks for the message and thoughts, Blossom. Have a lovely June!
golden_berry at 2008-06-12 17:48 (UTC) (Link)

Tears in my eyes writing this brief comment, dear one. Thank you so much for sharing with us, your friends, the lives of your beautiful furry companions. It hurts so very much to lose them, and to see them suffer.

When my darling Sammie cat died, a friend I had met through LOTR simply said "All you can do is cry, and give thanks for all the love". Since then, whenever a friend is going through the same grieving process, I think of those words.
mechtild at 2008-06-12 18:22 (UTC) (Link)
Awwww, Goldberry, thanks for your comment. Poor Sammie, but what wise, kind words your friend said to you. I will hold those words in my heart.
maeglian at 2008-06-12 18:53 (UTC) (Link)
Dear Mechtild, despite the sadness of the illness and/or deaths of some of your beloved cats, I found this an uplifting post. Your cats have had good and rich lives, enjoying themselves with others of their kind and with owners who cared for them - and continues to care for them - in every way. By means of your photos and loving narrative your Siamese all come across as charming and distinct personalities. Thank you.

I can relate to what you're going through, perhaps especially at this time. I've had to pay the vet many a visit too, over the last few years, and time passes so fast.

I wish you and yours and the cats the very best, and grace and strength to face what's ahead.
mechtild at 2008-06-13 12:34 (UTC) (Link)
Good morning, Maeglian. Thanks for your sensitive comment. And thanks for seeing the positive part, since it is possible to be sad about something yet grateful for the circumstances in which the sad events happened. I know you understand. You've been through a lot with your darling dog, not to mention human illness with which you have had to cope. *smooches*
whiteling at 2008-06-12 21:24 (UTC) (Link)
Oh, Mechtild. I'm so sorry to hear what a terrible time you all are having at the moment. But I agree with Maeglian, it *is* an uplifting post, even if it is about illness, loss and death. I think it is because the love shines through it so clearly. We form such strong loving bonds with our beloved pets, I think, we do for them what we do for any human beloved. And to accompany a dying pet is not only a painful experience, but a gift also (that was at least my feeling every time I had to do it). Those little pure souls do know what we are doing for them, I am sure about that.

I'm sending soothing and bracing thoughts your way.
mechtild at 2008-06-13 12:37 (UTC) (Link)
Good morning, Whiteling! I agree with you and Maeglian, for although I am grieved, I am so happy to have known and loved these animal friends. I wouldn't have had it any other way.

Pixie has improved in the last two days, by the way, and has been back on the job as Raoul's nurse, sitting with him a lot in a quiet, consoling way, licking his face now and then, and making him very comfortable.
Lavender Took
lavendertook at 2008-06-12 21:52 (UTC) (Link)
Your babes are all gorgeous, human and feline alike. Raoul has had such a long loved life--16 wonderful years--how long to 17? And he'll be surrounded by loved ones until the end who will do all they can to minimize his suffering--he's a lucky being, truly. And I'm so glad Pixie found such a loving home after years of the breeding life--I'm not fond of cat breeding and I'm so glad she got a real home--she sounds like such a sweetie--I'm glad you have her.

And I love your telling of their voices--siamese's can have such different voices. My meezer, Saki Took, has a voice just like Frederick--I call it a Stevie Nicks voice. My Storm, my previous meezer, and one of the meezer's I grew up with, Pye-Pye, had ranges like Angelo, though Stormie was a little softer, probably like Pixie.

I'm glad Pixie is doing better. And Angelo sounds like he'll be with you a long time still. I can't imagine the work of 3 sick babes though. I lost my 12 year old Milli, the kitty in the icon, in Februrary after a year of care and recovery until the final downward swing with lung cancer her last week--I know what you mean about the good part of caring for them--I'm glad I got the chance to pamper her for her last year.

I've lived with cats all but 2 of my 46 years, and with siamese's all but 4. I grew up with meezers and my parents never had any other kind of cat. My mom and brother together live with 2 siamese sisters my Dad insisted they all get and named Aurora and Borealis a little less than a year before he died--they'd sit in the pockets of his sweater.

I'm the cosmopolitan one out of the bunch in that I also have domestic shorthairs. (-; I can't live without cats for housemates, and I don't think I'm fully happy without at least one of them being siamese--I need those possessive little talkie guard cats. I never planned to be more than a 2 cat household, but a couple of strays,a mom and a kitten, had other ideas and moved in with us almost 2 years ago now so Milli and Saki and the strays made 4. Now, after losing Milli, we're down to 3. My meezer Saki is 10 and I hope she'll be staying around for as many more as possible.

I adore that pic with Pixie sitting across Angelo's impossibly long body! And Raoul balancing that glass on his belly!

I was wondering if you have anyway to make films or have a live feed for your daughter to view the kitties with? My heart goes out to her being so far from her family cats.

I'm so sorry it's been such a difficult spring for you. Remember to take good care of yourself, too. Keep us updated on your dear furry ones--you've got plenty of flistmates here who love trading cat stories.
mechtild at 2008-06-13 13:41 (UTC) (Link)
Lavendar Took, I loved reading your response this morning. I want to answer it more fully when I get home from work. See you later, fellow cat-lover! ("Meezers" - I love that for Siamese; I've never heard the expression before.)
frolijah_fan_54 at 2008-06-12 23:17 (UTC) (Link)
I can certainly see how you would be stressed - having all 3 of your cats sick at once sounds VERY stressful to me.

I'm a cat lover but currently live in a no-pets apartment so don't have a cat at present. I miss having a cat so much. I loved seeing all the pictures and hearing about all the wonderful memories you have of your cats. I've not had Siamese cats before - I love the piercing blue eyes (reminds me of a certain hobbit and the actor who portrayed him)!!

It was so hard when my last cat died - her name was Whitney. It was not a peaceful death and that still haunts me to this day. But I have many, many wonderful memories of her as well. I hope Raoul's death is a peaceful one and that Angelo and Pixie keep you entertained for many years to come.

Take care of yourself - I'll be here whenever those choppy seas settle down and you can pull Frodo's ship into port. *hugs*
mechtild at 2008-06-13 12:44 (UTC) (Link)
A no-pet apartment! I know about that from my dorm days, and even my apartment days. In the apartment I moved to before I went to graduate school, you couldn't have pets. People did, since I saw little dogs smuggled in and out for their walks. I was terrified a neighbour would turn me in, for it was a "middle income public-assisted" co-op with a big waiting list to get in it. I had heard of people getting rid of dwellers with illegal pets so they could get people further down the list into the empty units. You probably know what noisy voices Siamese cats have. But they also sound a lot like human babies to those who don't know better. Perhaps people thought I was a single mother, lol. I suppose I was.

But when it comes time for them to die, quietly or in distress, it is always so hard. My mother won't have a cat anymore, partly because she's too old to care for one in the practical sense (can't stoop to clean the box or carry bags of litter, etc.), but mostly because she doesn't want to suffer another broken heart. The deaths of the cats she's had that died badly still haunt her. It sounds like you and your Whitney.

Thanks for sharing that, Frolijah Fan.
(Anonymous) at 2008-06-13 01:03 (UTC) (Link)
no cat ever had a human that loves them more than your kitties do, dear Linda. Your love and sorrow-delayed shows in every word, every picture, each as beautifully arranged as if you were putting together a bouquet of heart-flowers. You've been blessed to have this sweet and rogue-ish gang in your life. But not, I reckon, as blessed as they've been to have been a part of your family. Death may be 'the gift of man' but it seems a bitter gift indeed when our little pets, who can't understand or fight much against it, are taken from us. The other gift we have supports us then: our loving remembrances of these not-so-wild-hearted friends. Peace to you and them and may you yet have many more moments in which to enjoy each other.

mechtild at 2008-06-13 12:46 (UTC) (Link)
Jan, what a beautiful comment. I want to thank you here for being such a support and caring ear, reading all my distressed emails these past weeks. I like that: my "sweet and rogue-ish" gang. They are that.
eandme at 2008-06-13 08:02 (UTC) (Link)
I think one has to be a an animal lover to understand just how pure and deep this love can be. I adore cats, I grew up around cats, but my husband had a scare with a wild cat as a child so he is afraid of them. That's why we don't have a cat. And that's why I loved reading about yours! They are beautiful! Thanks you for letting us share these stories, I enjoyed it very very much!
mechtild at 2008-06-13 12:54 (UTC) (Link)
I'm sorry your husband had that traumatic experience, Eandme, partly because it means you can't have a cat, but also because he will never have the opportunity to learn what a delight a cat can be as a pet and animal friend. I can easily see how a cat could seem frightening, even if it hadn't actively scared him. There is an inscrutable something in their eyes, something that is in human eyes if you stop and think how much the "tameness" of other people is there only because we assume it's there from custom. Sometimes when I look at one of the cats - or some other friend's dog - it occurs to me what an amazing thing it is that they have come to live with us, trusting us, giants that we are, willing to love and serve us. I imagine the first people who domesticated cats thought of them as beneficial spirits, beautiful soft-footed big-eyed creatures that caught and destroyed the creatures that plundered their food stores, offering food to the cats when the mice and rats were gone to persuade them to stick around. Maybe it was the same way with dogs. In biblical stories dogs are portrayed very unfavourably, no different from jackals or four-legged crows, living off the bodies of the dead. It must have been later that people there learned what friends and allies dogs could be, feeding them, urging them to stay.

I think that people learn to alienate themselves from animals as they grow up, perhaps so they won't have to feel as bad for eating them. But in so many cultures children and characters in tales are shown living in a world in which animals are the friends and companions of humans--animals that even can talk--there has to be some deep sense of the communion and connection that exists, or should exist between us.
pearlette at 2008-06-13 09:16 (UTC) (Link)
Your cats are beautiful. :)

Cats are the best creatures on God's green earth. Some of the best, anyway: horses and dolphins rival them for beauty and grace. But cats rule the world, and know it. They have never forgotten that they used to be worshipped as gods. ;)

((((hugs for Mechtild and her poorly cats))))

Hope all goes well with Rachel and her change of direction.

mechtild at 2008-06-13 13:00 (UTC) (Link)
cats rule the world, and know it. They have never forgotten that they used to be worshipped as gods.

Ha! Thanks for that, Pearl. I was just commenting to Eandme that the first humans who "tamed" cats must have seen them as helpful, spirit-creatures. People plagued by rodents that stole their hard-won food saw the cats silently catching and dispatching them must have thought, wouldn't it be great to have these creatures around always? Maybe they started leaving little tidbits out for them so they'd stay, rather than leaving to go on to the next place with a lot of juicy mice to eat.

I hope things go well for Rachel, too! My husband and I agree that it is probably the best thing. He left college after his first year, too, wanting to go out and do things in the Real World. He didn't finish his degree until twenty years later. I did my undergraduate degree, but I squandered my time in school a lot, not taking it seriously. I wasn't ready to be a serious student for ten more years, when I went to graduate school.
julchen11 at 2008-06-13 21:12 (UTC) (Link)
Oh sweetie! Sometimes it isn't easy to go through all this... Having 3 cats sick at the same time must be very hard.
I lost 12 cats the last 3 years and every time it was hard to accept it. They are all different, they all have their own characteristics and they all capture our hearts in a very short time.
For me cats are family members that why we suffer so much when they become sick and you just have to wait and see.
You're a wonderful cat mom but I'm sure you can't but being, caring just like this.
Take all the time you need, sweetie. Take very good care of yourself, too.
All the best for your beautiful cats and for you, my dear.

Lots of love and hugs,
mechtild at 2008-06-14 02:58 (UTC) (Link)
Julchen, thank you for the heartfelt reply. I knew you had grieved the deaths of cats this last year or so, but twelve in three years! That must have been devastating. I have only owned seven cats in all these years, and I thought that was a lot! (My mother has owned five.) I know you live on a farm and have lots of space for animals. It must be great to have so many, although it means you have that many more to sorrow over when you lose them.
stillscarlet at 2008-06-16 01:07 (UTC) (Link)
I'm very sorry to hear you're going through all this heartache, my dear. Do remember to take good care of yourself, as well as your feline family members. *big hugs*

Cats are always perfect, like the sky. :)
mechtild at 2008-06-16 13:26 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, Scarlet. *smooch*

Things have got calmer. Pixie seems nearly recovered, which is great. She's eating normally and doesn't have any more diarrhea. She still has cancer, but at least she's not sick yet, and not having any symptoms of her illness. Angelo is still doing great with his stool softener. Raoul continues to weaken. Frankly, I'm surprised he's still doing as well as he is. We had made an appointment to have him put down Saturday the 7th, and here he still is on the 16th. He still eats a little, drinks, uses the box and walks a little. He doesn't look very happy, of course, but he doesn't look miserable. We could let him go on like this for weeks, I suppose, except that we are leaving for a week on June 28. We absolutely must go: it's a once-only mini-family reunion. I don't want Raoul to die with strangers, so we will have to steel ourselves to having him put down before we go, or else hire a vet tech to come to our house everyday to see to the cats and check on him.

Yes, cats are always *perfect*. Except one my mother had, which bit. ;)
frodosweetstuff at 2008-06-16 21:16 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you for the update about your RL! I didn't know you have cats!! :) The pics of them all are gorgeous and I must admit to being a bit envious since our two cats (coming from a very very very bad place from which we more or less rescued them) never have been the cuddling type much, especially not with each other.

Still, we love our cats dearly and a few years ago it looked as if our tom cat might have cancer and for days until we got the results we suffered so very much. It turned out that it was just something harmless and so we haven't had to say goodbye to a beloved pet yet but we know that the time will come. Our cats are both 8 this year.

I loved to read your descriptions of the cats' characters, walks and sounds. And I hope for a small miracle so that you won't have to say goodbye again so very soon.

*hugs you and the cats tightly*
mechtild at 2008-06-16 23:16 (UTC) (Link)
What a caring reply, Frodosweetstuff. Thank you. Your cats sound like they've found a lovely home with you. Although it is not likely they will ever become cat-snugglers, they have their own dignity, personality and beauty. And 8 is not old! Our Raoul, the one who is dying, is sixteen and a half, more than twice as old as your cats. I've had many friends that have had cats that lived into their late teens, even to twenty. You will probably have many lovely years together.

What a story about waiting for the test results for your tom. So much worry to go through! Yet what a relief it is when it turns out to be something that can be fixed. Thanks for sharing your story. I hope our Angelo will continue to have the same fixable ailments as the years go by.


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