Friday, August 5, 2022

Peace be with you Timi

This is a sad day, in that we had to say goodbye to Timi, who in many ways was the matriarch of our family. As with many families who have multiple feline members, it is clear that they often times rule the roost. That was Timi.

Timi was the Mother of our five kittens, born fifteen years ago. She outlived three of them. Most recently, her first born was my Ryan, the best cat that ever lived in my view. I just lost Ryan last March and still miss her more than I can say. 

Timi gave us the greatest gifts in those little bundles of fluff she birthed in a box on the front porch on a hot July day in 2007. Timi was a special cat who used to take walks with us. She was a stray initially, but kept looking in the windows until we gave in and let her inside. Once we did, she broke out of an ill-fitting screen and came back pregnant. 

I’ll never forget when she climbed the window next to my computer desk, her little belly bulging, to alert me that ‘it was time.’

I met her on the front porch where I had already prepared with a birthing box for her and a baby box for the little ones.

I had read up on what to do in case our young Mother-to-be was unsure of how to proceed with the birthing process. I was fully prepared to help her any way I could. 

Timi did great. She was such a trouper. And she raised her girls well. I have been so happy with this little feline family we melded into our own. As empty-nesters, whose kids live far away, John and I considered the girls our second family.

Now, with the loss of Timi, we now have only two of her kittens. Rusty, the runt of the litter lived only 11 days. Boo died two years ago with a respiratory ailment. She was a special needs kitten, in that her entire right side was not fully developed. She basically was a three-legged cat, but she never let that stop her. Kenni and Kasey are doing great. And, we have taken in a new little girl, Sally. But this mom and her five babies can never be replaced. 

Timi may have been somewhat demanding, but she gave so much more than she took. When we went for walks, Timi would always walk with us, her tail high in the air. She loved our walks. She wasn’t strictly an inside cat; she still liked to go outside. After all, she was an outside cat. She made friends with the other animals, opossums, skunks, foxes, and deer. Strangely, she was my cat outside, but she was John’s cat inside. She often slept with him. When he was sick, he called her his nurse.

It has been an absolute joy to have shared our lives with this cat family. Each and every one of them was special. We will never forget Timi, who really did give us the greatest gift. So, R.I.P. my little mama; you will always have a special place in our hearts.


Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Goodbye my sweet girl

For a week I have rattled around the house, feeling somewhat lost; I’m almost afraid to look at the floor, the window sill, pillows on the couch, my quilts... A profound sadness floats around like an invisible specter, void of the joy that once was but is no more. A week ago I had to say goodbye to my beautiful Ryan.

Ryan was more than a cat, more than just a pet. Ryan was a part of my soul. She understood my moods; she shared in every part of my life. She brought me so much pleasure. She made me laugh. And now I cry.

Ryan was born, along with her four litter mates on July 11, 2007. I will never forget the day her mother, Timi, summoned me for help as I sat at my computer. She climbed the window screen next to my desk, her belly bulging. I knew it was time and I was ready. I had read all about cats giving birth. Timi was young, so I was ready to help her if needed.

Timi came to us as a stray. We resisted the urge to feed her and bring her inside, but one day I’d had enough of her peeking into the windows at us, so I decided it was time to bring her in the house. Shortly thereafter, she pushed out the screen and jumped onto the ground through an open window. She came home pregnant. I was elated.

I had already made her a birthing box on the front porch. She was eager to hop into the box and set out to deliver her kittens. When the first kitten was born, Timi knew just what to do. Like a good feline mom, she licked the baby until she was clean and dry. When Timi turned her attention to give birth to the second kitten, I picked up that first baby, who I had already named Ryan after my favorite NASCAR driver, Ryan Newman. I had a second box lined with newspapers and baby afghans from my own kids on the porch as well, but I just couldn’t let go of this perfect little bundle of gray and white fluff. Her eyes were closed; her ears lay flat on her head. She had the cutest little pink nose and tiniest little paws. She was magnificent. I fell completely in love with her.

Five babies were born that day almost 15 years ago. Only two remain along with their mother.  

Rusty, the runt of the litter, and probably the prettiest one who resembled her mother’s muted Calico colors, lived only 11 days.

Boo died three years ago. She succumbed to a respiratory infection, which she had often. Boo, a.k.a. Junior was our three-legged cat, born with a deficiency on her entire right side, including her front paw which she could not use. She was very small, and often sickly, but feisty and the toughest one of the bunch.

As the kittens grew, it became clear that Ryan, pictured in the kitty condo in the top left, was my favorite. She and I were together all the time. She joined me at the computer, often times walking on the keys or climbing into a file drawer. She helped me fold laundry, often times jumping into the dryer and trying to make a nest in the clean, warm clothes. I couldn’t make a bed without Ryan hiding under the sheets. When I took a bath, she was intrigued by the bubbles. She walked back and forth on the side of the tub as if pacing. Sometimes she put her paw on my shoulder. It appeared as though she wanted to jump in, though she never did. She was light on her feet and very agile; she only fell in once. What a surprise that was!

Ryan enjoyed my favorite pastime, quilting. When I hand-quilted, she sat beneath the folds of fabric on my lap or on top of my work, so as if to say, “stop quilting Mom, time for me.” When I worked at my machine, I had to take lots of breaks as she insisted on my paying attention to her. Often times, she curled up in a pile of fabric in a basket just to be nearby. Our favorite time was when I sat in my recliner to watch TV. I never had an empty lap.  And when I finished a quilt, she always showed her appreciation
for my handiwork. I think she figured I made quilts just for her.

About four years ago, Ryan got very sick. No one really knew what was wrong with her. She was diagnosed with Bobcat Fever, but I don’t think that was what ailed her. She started losing weight and ran a fever, but she recovered, though never completely. In the next couple years she had good days and bad days until one day she got very sick again. A new vet diagnosed her with possible lymphoma. She continued to lose weight, but on medication, she remained active and seemingly recovered again. This roller coaster went on for some time. She no longer used her litter box. She became a very finicky eater. She was no longer anxious to be cuddled. And, she enjoyed time by herself. Then a couple weeks ago, I knew. Normally a small cat, Ryan weighed only three pounds. I knew her time had to come to an end. She stopped eating and no longer enjoyed her life, so there was no longer a choice. I had to say goodbye to her.

A piece of my heart went with her. I’m grateful to Dr. Sarah Shedenhelm of Baxter County Animal Clinic for her kindness and understanding.

The house and all the places Ryan frequented is empty now, despite her two remaining sisters Kasey and Kenni as well as her mom Timi. As much as I love the others, they are not my Ryan. The bond between us will never be broken as she will live in my heart forever. She will always be my best girl.