Bonding takes time!

February 20, 2019

Wow, it’s hard to believe how time flies! Yes I know what a cliché this statement is, but so true! I happened to see an article I wrote seven years ago when I first brought Skylar into my home as a rescue cat. I explained how he came into my life through a local pet shelter, how he lost his excess weight by following me around the house in just six months and how my other cat died soon after he arrived. It was all so sad… losing first one of my fur babies to kidney failure (Hercules in April of 2011) and then my female Judas in January of 2012. Skylar never met Hercules, and he never really bonded to Judas so when she didn’t come home one day he wasn’t upset. Of course I was. I’ve never had human children, but I almost felt that Skylar was an intrusion as I just wanted to mourn my fur baby of 18 years. Yet, I had to attend to him. He didn’t bond to me so easily either. It was a process for both of us.

About 4 years ago Skylar had his first major episode of really being sick. Although he had a tendency to vomit his food, I assumed he had a sensitive stomach and rotated his food until I found a brand and type he seemed to tolerate. In the process, he seemed happier and his weight normalized. Then he had an attack of a bladder infection that set up a major stream of vet visits. I felt like the animal hospital had a swinging door. At the time, the vet I was using was very close by but the various vets kept doing the same things over and over. Needless to say, the bills I was paying were really adding up; that is, until another pet lover at my aerobics class suggested I try a different type of vet – one that uses Chinese Medicines. Dr. Chau turned out to be a lovely person who treated Skylar according to both Western and Eastern medical disciplines. After some testing, she found that he not only was in renal failure but he also had pancreatitis. We started him on sub-q fluids a couple times a week and some Chinese medicine pills, as well as antibiotics for his infection. It wasn’t very long before the cat I thought was dying came back to life. He turned around in many ways. Somehow he recognized that I was trying to help him even though he hated the fluid treatments early on.

After about six months of this process, he started to settle down about the whole thing and cooperated… not fighting me so much. Each time I would take him in to see Dr. Chau, she’d say, “he looks good for a dying cat!” Although she initially gave him 2 years to live, he’s now well past the 4 year marker. So indeed, he’s doing well for a dying cat!

Skylar on my bed looking his adorable self.

Meanwhile, Skylar became more and more attached to me, eventually coming over and wanting to sit near me.  In the evening, he likes me to sit with him while I watch TV. He always lets me pick the show as he normally sleeps through it anyway. His new thing is to curl up between my legs as I lie on the sofa. Sometimes he climbs up on my chest for a hug. It warms my heart when he does this, as he was quite cautious for a very long time. I have to believe that the little guy was badly treated during his early years. Since he’s a rescue, it’s difficult to know exactly how old he was when he first came to my home, even with the vet checking his teeth. I’m guessing that he was about 7 years and he’s now with me 7.5 years making him close to 15 years old this year. This is pretty amazing considering how sick he’s been over the years.  

During the years that Skylar has been with me, I’ve learned to give him prescription medications in addition to the Chinese meds (all of which Dr. Chau has prescribed) to manage his symptoms. What’s interesting about this situation is that I dilute each medication to about 1:7 so that one might wonder how such a small dose could be helping. Apparently, they are helping because without each one (and now there are 4 plus the Chinese tea pills morning and night) as well as the fluids which have increased to daily with the progression of his disease.

The photo is Skylar on my bed, one of his favorite spots for sleeping. And more, recently, he sleeps curled up close to me. I don’t know how long my fur baby has to live, but for now, I’m his pet parent and he’s my little boy. We both seem to like it that way.


Timing is Everything

September 23, 2015

It’s an old adage that we can be successful sometimes and at other times we might do the same thing and we could fail. Translated, this saying is “timing is everything! ” I believe when things fall into place as if it were a script already written, the situation indicates a divine hand at play. I recently had an experience where things fell into place just the way they were meant to so perhaps there was a divine hand helping out as well.

Time1
I was on the fence about travelling and after considerable deliberation, made a final decision against going on this particular trip. No sooner was the plan not to leave the area made but a dear friend became ill. I got a call from her sister informing me that my friend Jessie was in the ICU and that I should visit while there was still time. Getting this call was upsetting to be sure, although some one in her condition could be expected to expire way before this point. In other words, she had lived in a semi-paralyzed state after a stroke for many more years than the doctors had predicted. Still I was disheartened to hear the news. I knew that I would attend to her as best I could during her final time with the living.

The days passed quickly that week as I visited my dear friend in the hospital ICU, taking turns with family members in her room. Fortunately, the timing worked out for me to have blocks of time alone with Jessie to speak to her not just about the everyday common exchanges, but what might be still on her mind. My goal was to be a friend as well as a spiritual counselor during what was known by those close to her as most probably her last hours and days.

On Monday, during my first visit, I asked her if she had any regrets; any business left undone. We talked through a couple of things to the point where I felt she was satisfied that all that was possible to do was done. on Wednesday, I held her hand as she was too weak to speak and only occasionally opened her eyes as I guided her in a meditation through a beautiful meadow where her deceased family would be present to greet her. She seemed to relax during this time as judged by the attached monitors and the flicker of her eyes. I could only hope that she was able to let go of any attachments to this earthly realm and go in peace. I said, “Jessie, if it gets too hard it’s OK to let go” to which she nodded in agreement.

Thursday I got the call that Jessie had gone peacefully, surrounded by her family. I had just been about to leave the house and felt bad that I had missed her passing. Then I realized that I had done my part and wasn’t needed for the rest. Everything has a timing of its own. In this case, the timing was perfect. I was asked to conduct the service by the family and did so on Saturday. While preparing, I thought of Jessie and wondered how she was doing on Friday, when a photo fell off the wall. It was my Reiki plaque that said, “Just for today do not worry”… so I knew it was Jessie telling me not to worry. All was happening according to the divine plan. After all, timing is everything.


My Favorite Things – Vitamins this time

February 4, 2013

As we stroll into 2013, I thought I’d do an article about items that I really like; that is, products and/or services that add something positive to my lifestyle. I should add that these are all items that I have intuitively found to be helpful in one way or another. My inner guidance has pointed me in the direction of these products. Read this article to get the whole scoop.

One way to determine if something is good for you is to use the energy test. What is the energy test? Simply hold your hand over the item and sense how much energy it is giving you. I imagine a continuum with a line of say 0-10, with a 5 in the middle. I usually start at the middle point, the 5 and ask guidance whether this item is giving me at least that much or more energy. Then the scale inches up. Is it a 6, a 7 or if I really like it I get an 8, 9, or wow, a 10. Then I put my hand over the next item and do the same thing. Is this item giving me more or less energy? If the first one gave me about a 6, is this one equal to or less than the prior one; thus, it should be an 8 or a 4 respectively. This is how I tell if this product, book, etc. is the right one for me. It’s possible to do this with items online as well but it takes more practice.

So imagine me at the drugstore looking for gummy vitamins and holding my hand over the various bottles. First I had to determine that gummies were appropriate. After all, they do contain sugar. Gummies taste good; hence, we like to eat them rather than large horse pill vitamins. One has to weigh the pros/cons of each type of vitamin. Is it better to take a gummy vitamin with sugar to get the nutrients to ensure a healthy diet (obviously if we could prepare all the right foods, this would be the first choice. I don’t do it, do you?) Or buy horse pill vitamins and rarely take them (I hate taking large pills). It’s my experience that pills taken work better than those left in the cabinet. This is probably true for vitamins also.

After my energy test, I found Nature’s Way ALIVE Multi-Vitamin, Adult Gummies to be a good choice for me. They contain 26 fruits and vegetables and seems to cover a reasonable spectrum of the necessary vitamins and B-complex, but little calcium.

Although I can’t point to better health since taking them, I can point to taking them daily. In fact, I look forward to taking them!

Next, is the calcium supplement, which I found the same way. I selected Nature’s Bounty Calcium with D3. As we know, women need 1500 mg Calcium (hopefully, you get at least one serving from dairy, if not, you need to take two servings of the calcium supplement since one serving provides 600 mg calcium and 600 D3). Did you know that D3 is important for woman for a number of reasons, not just to help the body absorb calcium? Breast health is one area.

I also started taking fish oil/Omega 3’s to help lower cholesterol and here I can say that it worked in just a few months. I chose Iceland Health because it was from a very natural source. Buying it in 6 month supply saves me 50%. I like their soft gels. I get the version formulated for joint health but they have several versions.

I’ve highlighted some natural supplements that are some of my favorite things. In future articles, I’ll reference other things. The concept of how to determine what’s best for you is basically the same. Comments are welcome. Let me know if you try the energy technique and how it works for you.


Another Circle of Life is Complete

February 5, 2012
 

Judas and Hercules come full circle

A circle of life that started almost 18 years ago was completed on Friday when we picked up the remains of my red tabby Judas and laid her to rest. I had already bought a keepsake (4”) cloisonné vase similar to the one holding some of the ashes from her brother Hercules (4/5/11). The one for Judas is white with flowers, while Hercules’ vase has a blue design. They will drape a box holding their collars and which also has a photo of the two of them when they were fur babies.

Fulfilling her life lesson

Hercules lasted almost 17 years and Judas had an additional ten months. She had that time to complete her life lesson to be independent since she’d been subservient to her brother while he was around. She let my new rescue cat Skylar know who was boss when he came on the scene last October. He was only allowed to get so close. They took turns lying next to me on the bed during the night until she lost her strength to jump up that high. In the end, she didn’t care where Skylar was. And, she just wanted to be left alone. It was this behavior that triggered me to know the signs of her being ready to depart this physical dimension.

How brave she was

Amazingly, she never cried even though the squamous cell carcinoma (oral cancer) that wracked her mouth must have been painful. She was stoic until the end. I gave her pain medication on the advice of her doctor so that she could be as normal as possible during her last days.

Judas lived her life according to her rules and didn’t want to be bothered with fussy treatments like sub-Q fluids or forced feeding. So I had to just let her tell me when it was time to say good-bye. When a blood vessel in her lip burst on Tuesday January 31 and the bleeding just wouldn’t stop, I knew the decision was in God’s hands. Judas was not meant to see February. Events fell into place quickly with me taking her, aided by a dear friend, to be put to sleep and then cremated.

A lovely ceremony

Judas Celebration of Life Service

Being an ordained interfaith minister, I wrote a celebration of life ceremony to remember Judas, similar to the one that I’d done for Hercules ten months prior. Her service was on a lovely winter day, at 2pm. It was sunny and about 50 degrees with the days before and after being much more dismal weather. The ground was soft due to the rain the day before making digging a hole for her ashes easy. God’s plan was in play and all went smoothly. I read a letter that I’d written to her extolling all her virtues and how much I loved her. Then my friend and I buried her ashes next to the same rock where we buried her brother’s remains last year.

Together again

Now the two of them, Hercules and Judas are reunited body and soul to play in the meadow together waiting for me to come at Rainbow Bridge.

Another circle of life is complete.


Judas crossed Rainbow Bridge

February 1, 2012

ImageYesterday at 2:10 p.m. EST my gorgeous red tabby Judas crossed over the bridge to meet her brother Hercules (4/5/2011). Judas had the same chronic renal failure indications that Hercules died of, but what actually took her down was oral cancer. When I couldn’t stop the bleeding in her mouth, I knew it was time to take her in. God was with me as my pet sitter had come over to say good-bye and so could run and get me some cloths to wipe her mouth. My guy friend, who normally doesn’t come over on Tuesdays, decided it was a better day and showed up exactly when I needed him to take me to the VET for the 2pm appt I was able to get just minutes after all this occurred. Everything fell into place once the decision was made. Thus, as I was crying hysterically, I knew I was being guided to do the right thing.

 Prior to this point, I was concerned that I might take even one precious day from Judas. How could I cut the life of such a beautiful creature by even one day if she was meant to have it. But it wasn’t in my hands. When a capillary broke in her diseased lower gum, the blood was pouring out. I carried her into the Vet in my arms with blood all over my shoulder where she had tried to bury her face. Up until the end, she looked to me for comfort, something she’d done since she was a kitten all the years ago.

 Both Hercules and Judas were found in my backyard the summer of 1994. He was named for coming to me first, being the brave one and she was named for being sneaky, grabbing the food I put out and then running away. I loved them both dearly, but each had different personalities. Judas, being a female was subservient to Hercules until her passed. She’s now had about 10 months to be the top cat, independent and stubborn until the end. She refused to allow me to do the fluid IV so I put Normysol solution in wet food 4 times a day. Then a few days ago, she started to refuse the doctored food (also with many supplements to try to overcome the cancer). So, I yielded to her will and gave her the plain wet food. She still barely ate.

 Yet, yesterday morning, she got up a bit brighter, had her pain medication, and ate more than usual. But the second meal at noon was fatal when a capillary broke and blood poured out. I had to take my beautiful girl in. She died in my arms with me telling her what a wonderful girl she had been, and how she couldn’t have been loved any more. I knew her soul had left when I saw her body lying there.

 I took her home to show my new rescue cat Skylar, whom I got in October. He hadn’t bonded with her yet and so seemed unimpressed. I haven’t noticed any change in him but I wanted to do this any way. Then I took Judas in a little box, with the help of a friend, down to be cremated. I will pick her up on Friday and hold a ceremony for her. Her ashes will be buried next to her brother so they can play forever at Rainbow Bridge. Already Hercules is telling me that she is there and not to worry about her. Still my heart is breaking for my beautiful girl.


Time to Say Good-bye

January 29, 2012

I can tell that it’s almost time to say goodbye to my beautiful girl; my precious Judas that has been with me since I first laid eyes on her almost 18 years ago when she was a little red tabby kitten.  I found Judas with her brother, whom I eventually named Hercules, and several other litter mates playing in my backyard one summer day. These little babies were so cute, but fortune was to give me just the two. The others went different ways. Hercules and Judas were named for being brave and for being sneaky. The names just popped into my head as I played with them over the summer until they became friendlier and lost some of their original feral behavior.

And the years passed. Hercules was part of the family for almost 17 years when he succumbed to chronic renal failure last April. Judas, on the other hand, has hardly ever been ill, or even needed to go to the Vet other than for routine visits. She’s been such a good girl over these many years. Right from the beginning, she looked towards me for protection. I remember once when her brother was picking on her and she jumped into my lap and wagged her tail as if to say, “Ha, now you can’t get me!” Even now, she comes to tell me when she wants more food or when her pain is getting intolerable.

You see, Judas has been diagnosed with a kind of cancer of the mouth. It all started in early December when one of her big teeth fell out. I didn’t think much of it; I took her to the vet, got antibiotic, came home and let her eat what she wanted. She didn’t seem to lose her appetite even though without her big front tooth it was more difficult to eat. But the empty space didn’t heal; in fact, the whole got bigger… a lot bigger. By the time I went back to the Vet about 4 weeks later, several more teeth fell out and there was a huge hole in her mouth. That’s when I was told of the diagnosis – squamous cell carcinoma or oral cancer. In addition, the left eye was shifting. There’s something called a third eye lid that can come down. Sometimes it shifts back by itself, but not in this case. Because the cancer is eating away at the jaw bone, the eye socket is weakening and the eye is literally shifting. Poor Judas can barely see out of that eye. Ok, so one eye is enough right?

Well yes, but I’m also told that there’s lots of pain this this type of cancer, so I’ve been giving Judas lots of pain meds…. Very expensive pain meds I might add. Of course, she’s worth it, but I started to wonder if the medication was just covering up a cat that was ready to let go and I was keeping her here. Much like putting someone on pain meds to keep them alive in the hospital when their bodies are racked with cancer. Wow… it’s the same thing.

Like many pet owners who adore their fur babies, I spent many hours researching this disease on the internet, ordering supplements, Chinese medicine and any nutritional concoction that might help Judas. I set up a vitamin container that I got from the local pharmacy, the kind with multiple bins for each day with flip lids so that I could prepare a week’s worth of her regimen at a time. For the last few weeks, Judas seemed to be stable and I was very happy… and perhaps a bit proud. I was going to beat this thing. Beat death? Denial? Yeah, I guess so. For in the end, the Chinese medicine billed to stop bleeding did so for a few days, but the bleeding is back today with a vengeance.

I thought I might get another month for Judas, but as of tonight I’m not so sure. She’s had a good life. She’s been loved as much or more than is possible to love anyone or anything and she’s loved me in return unconditionally. Up until a few days ago she was still jumping on the bed and sleeping next to me. Now she’s staying closer to her little beddy although she still can walk around the house. I knew that when the right time came I would know and I’m starting to feel that it may be time to say good-bye.


The Second Time Around

November 7, 2011

Just to recap, in my last blog article, I noted that I had to give a cat rescue back as she had a biting problem. This scenario occurred at just about the six month marker of my darling Hercules’ passing. I totally believe in synchronicity and when I got the itch to get another cat as a fur pal for his sister Judas, I went with the feeling. Ok, so the first try didn’t work out for her, but it did work out for the foster lady and for my coaching her. All wasn’t for naught. It just wasn’t the right situation for Judas.

My initial reaction after this mean cat was out of the house was, whew, I’m so glad it was gone. However, the itch to get another cat as a companion for Judas didn’t stop. Perhaps it was Hercules in spirit letting me know it was time since I really felt him guiding me to another cat that coincidentally looked a lot like him. Initially, I didn’t like the idea of getting another cat that reminded me of my precious angel, but I went with what I sensed would be best for Judas.

How did I pick this new rescue cat? I did a thorough search of the available rescues within 50 miles for about 2 weeks, looking at what must have been hundreds of photos and even talking to some people about the best gender and type for a fur pal for my 17 year old female. I was advised to look for a male about 5-7 years old, since a younger cat might be too rambunctious for an older cat, and a female, as I had found out before would be too competitive. Whereas before I had looked at the outside beauty of the animal, this time, I looked at the face to determine how sweet and sensitive I felt the creature would be. After all, beauty is only skin deep. My prior experience with Athena taught me that although she was a gorgeous Tortoise shell, she had a really mean disposition. This time, I looked at the temperament first and that he should just be healthy.

Out of so many, one became a clear choice. His name was Spike and he is a brown tabby with a white blaze down his face. He just looked so cute and sweet. Somehow I knew he was the one. Next, I contacted his foster and began the process to meet him. The rest went well. His foster family had him with two other males for the last three years. This was both good and bad news. He had never lived with a female but he had shared a 10×8 cat house with two other male cats. Ok, so he knew how to share. I was willing to take a chance on him. He’s a sweetie, but all didn’t go well right away!

More on how he adjusted in the next article.


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