Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Poem for Phoenix

If you happen to see my cat
(even though it’s been two years)
his coat will be glossy black
with just a hint of auburn.

If you happen to see my cat
(even though it’s been two years)
his eyes will be copper-penny bright
with a mischievous sparkle.

If you happen to see my cat
(even though it’s been two years)
you can call him Phoenix and
he will answer with a soft meow.

If you happen to see my cat
(even though it’s been two years)
his favorite toy is a straw,
especially the colored ones from McDonalds.

If you happen to see my cat
(even though it’s been two years)
don't think him odd when he
sleeps in your laundry basket.

If you happen to see my cat
(even though it’s been two years)
please whisper to him that I still miss him,
I still think of him,
and he will always have a place in my heart.

"Good St. Francis,

You loved all of God’s creatures.
To you they were your brothers and sisters.
Help us to follow your example
of treating every living thing with kindness.

St. Francis, Patron Saint of animals,
please watch over my pets and
keep my companions safe and healthy."

(Prayer to St. Francis for pets)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Letter to Phoenix

Dear Phoenix,

You were born in January 2008 and for some reason your owners decided that they did not want you and took you to Kempton Park SPCA.  You stayed there until we decided to look for a kitten and you came home to us on Saturday the 31st of May 2008.

It didn't matter that you were so tiny because you soon proved that "size does not matter" as you took over the flat, climbing on everything and running around like you have always been there. 

You grew into a beautiful and strong cat with a mind and a will of your own.  You taught us what is was like to have a cat in our home, in our bed, in our cupboards and even in the tumble dryer.  You played "hide and go seek" with your food, scattering it all over the kitchen floor.  I might have grumbled as I cleaned up after you, but secretly I always chuckled as I scooped kibble.

We bought a basket and a blanket especially for you but you preferred to sleep in the laundry basket until the early hours of the morning when I would feel you settle down on my feet, sleeping there until our alarms went off.

You loved to play in the garden in between the flowers, chasing bugs.   You would roll around on the ground until your shiny black coat was covered in dirt and I had to dust you off.  Your favorite toy was a plastic straw, you would carry it around and beat it up until it was unrecognisable.

We spent many Saturdays building a "tree" for you so that you could climb and jump and get a manicure.

Then, on Monday 17 August 2009 at 15:20 you awoke from a long nap on the bedroom cupboard, came to me for a head rub and walked out the door.  This was the last time I saw you and touched you.

We went looking for you, walking around the neighborhood whilst calling your name.  We posted fliers and classified ads in the newspaper wanting to know if anybody had seen you.  I drove around the neighborhood day after day, hoping to catch a glimpse of you.  I checked and re-checked websites for lost and found pets, but you were still missing.

We still do not know or understand why this happend.  Perhaps you were needed more by another family - if so, we hope that you are happy and that they are taking good care of you.  If something else happend, we know that we will see you again someday on the Rainbow Bridge.*

We still miss you and think of you, even though it has been a year.  You might be gone but you will never, ever be forgotten.

Mom and Dad

*Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge...

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food and water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable. All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.

The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing: they miss someone very special to them; who had to be left behind. They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. The bright eyes are intent; the eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to break away from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster. YOU have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Kittens with Cerebellar Hypoplasia - part two

In February 2010, Ian and I took in two kittens that were diagnosed with Cerebellar Hypoplasia (CH). This condition affects their motor skills and makes their movements very uncoordinated.  This was Daisy and Minnie when they first came to us, two tiny undernourished and very shy kittens.

At first I hand fed them to ensure that they got the nutrition they needed to become stronger.  Daisy was soon able to eat on her own and little Minnie realized that if she lay down with her paws in the food bowl, she could eat on her own.

Things went well until April when their tummies started to give trouble. They were not growing or putting on weight, and after trying several different diets, we took them our vet.  After spending almost half an hour with the kittens, the doc gave them strong antibiotics and put them on a specialized prescription diet.

Within a week we noticed that their coats were getting softer and shinier and that they were both gaining weight.  They were also playing a lot more.  The problem seems to be sorted now although we have to keep them on special food as their tummies just seem to be very sensitive.  (The equivalent of a human having irritable bowel syndrome.)

After the initial introduction and integration period our resident empress Amy accepted the twins as though they were her own sisters.  These days, they are inseparable and we will often find Amy and Daisy fast asleep next to each other.  Amy now regularly grooms the twins, which is great as they are not able to do a very good job themselves.  Daisy tries to copy everything that Amy does and most of the times she succeeds. Other times we have to pick her up from the floor where she landed in a very unladylike manner.

Minnie pretty much does her own thing and her favorite sleeping spot is on the couch under the duvet.  We occasionally get the use of the duvet when we are watching television in the evenings.

Don't think because Minnie is the smallest she is also an angel.  A couple of times we have found her busy with something naughty with her sister watching from a distance.  Minnie was the first one to learn how to escape from the play pen and it took Daisy a while to figure it out. Now every morning (yes, even on weekends) Minnie escapes from the pen at 05:30 and comes waddling and squeaking into the bedroom for a cuddle on the bed before we get up.

I think there is something to be learned from Minnie.  Even though she often falls over and cannot really keep up with her sister and Amy, she does not give up and it does not stop her from trying to climb into cupboards or chasing toy mice.  If she falls down, she just gets right up and keeps going until she has reached her goal. 

Whether we adopted them or they adopted us, they are now a part of our lives and even though it has been only 4 months, we cannot imagine life without them.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Chew toy

Come on, I dare you, grab my tail!

It has taken a bit of time for everybody to get used to each other, but big sister Amy is now playing with Daisy and Minnie.  We sometimes have to duck and cover when they are playing chase - first Daisy will chase Amy into the bedroom and then Daisy will come charging out with Amy right on her tail. 

Nothing on TV

After doing some channel surfing, Daisy and Minnie decided it's better to take a nap as there is nothing to watch on TV...

Santa kitty

Tonight when you are sleeping, that camera is going to get flushed down the toilet...

We couldn't resist the temptation taking this picture of Daisy with a Santa hat.

Shopping bag cat

What?  You didn't buy any tuna for me?