another angel kitty.

Fi in 2003

Fi was my first cat. I’d lived with others, but he was my very own. He was a Christmas gift from Chris in 1999. We had no business with a cat. We were drowning in debt, lived in a loud apartment on the Ohio State campus, and my job was stressful and paid just OK.

His name was Fiona because the person told us he was a girl. They also told us he was healthy. LIES, all of them. Fi turned out to be a boy, he had two types of worms, and was dehydrated. But he was my new baby, the all black kitty I’d always wanted for myself. Once treated, he was great. His sleek shiny fur, his bright green eyes. He was a sight to behold. He was also a bit of a diva. Would get so mad if I got on the computer. And if he was in a place and I came and sat by him, he’d get up and leave. Every time.

But he was so patient with Aidan. Baby Aidan loved to lay on Fi and Fi would just lay there and let him do it.

Squish The Cat!

When Chris and I separated and I moved out, I left Fi with Aidan because he’d gotten quite attached. But Fi came to Chicago to live with me and Adam in 2010 or 2011, and he began purring as soon as he saw me. He remembered me! And he was here in his forever home. And one day, he asked to get on my lap. I lifted him up and told him it was OK. He had no issues asking for and/or taking cuddles ever since.

Fi Relaxing Under the Tree
Fi in 2011

He used to be right by me while I worked. All day every day. Right by my side, or on my lap. Always purring. I miss those days.

Fi’s health started breaking down in 2015, when he stopped pooing in the litter box. And he was puking a lot. We tried everything. Medicine, diet. Nothing helped. After Helena’s sudden passing last year, I took Fi in, but again. Medicine. Diet. No luck. We spent years cleaning up poo. It was mostly Adam. To be honest, Adam did a LOT of the dirty work with Fi, all because he knew I wasn’t ready to let him go until Fi was ready to go.

We knew it was a matter of time. He’d stopped bathing himself, and suddenly he was having a hard time eating the dry cat food (canned food, treats, and people food turned him wild, though). He could barely walk. Adam thought it was time to take him to the vet for That Visit weeks ago, but my gut told me that was not the right thing to do.

(Plus, I’d taken a kitty to the vet only to unexpectedly walk out without her ten years ago, and I never wanted to make that choice again.)

Fi’s mind was well even though his body was failing more every day. He still wanted to cuddle, jump, and climb, he still knew to ask for treats and to be held. He was still trying to follow me everywhere. But his body would not let him do it. His quality of life was declining rapidly, but he still wanted to be around us, he still talked to us, he still wanted to hang on.

Fi in 2013

We knew it was coming, so we spent the past months spoiling Fi and making him as comfortable as possible. He got loads of treats. He got cuddles. We cleaned him best we could, but it was to the point where if we’d tried to wash him too thoroughly, he’d lose hair that wouldn’t grow back. He had a sore on his leg that wouldn’t heal, but we knew a trip to the vet would be too stressful for him. So we dressed it the best we could, which probably wasn’t enough.

I’d put him on my lap and rub lavender into his fur, to calm him so he’d sleep OK. And more treats before bedtime. When I was out from under my weight of work/illness/depression, I carried him around so he wouldn’t have to walk so much on his little leg.

He was stinky all over, but the top of his head was not. I kissed him there all the time. I’d just pick him up and carry him and kiss him until he was done.

Then, it was time. Saturday, Adam found him having collapsed. Fi was gasping. I picked him up and held him as he took his last breaths. I kissed the top of his head. I told him it was OK for him to go, and that I loved him so much. My sweet old man passed in my arms.

I was prepared. He was 18 1/2 years old. He’d been sick for a long time. It still hurts though. I miss him and his cuddles and his little meows. I miss him.

Goodnight, sweet Fi. You had a long life. It wasn’t always easy. But you were so, so, so loved. I hope you’re resting now.

that time we randomly got a new kitty.

It started off as a normal Wednesday. I was tired and cranky because of having to wake up early. I had meetings at work, and work was busy busy busy. And freelance work came in. I was so glad when the workday was over. Adam suggested we hit the Noodles & Co. for dinner. That came from the fact that we needed to get the kitties a new bed—their oldest one was falling apart and really gross. So we picked the Noodles & Co. by Petco.

Dinner was yummy—I went for the spaghetti & meatballs instead of the mac & cheese + crusted parmesan chicken I usually go for. We had our food, and then headed to Petco, where I picked up a new bag of food, and then we headed (in the wrong direction) to find the dog beds. (Cat beds are just too small for our fine fellas.)

We ended up passing a set of four cages that housed three kittens. Adam and I fell hard for one named Tweetie and Tweetie seemed to like us too. He was two months old, seemed calm, and seemed taken with us.

But there were a few concerns:
1. We had just lost Helena, and honestly, going through a pet loss SUCKS and I wasn’t sure I wanted to do it again
2. Did we *need* another kitten, with Fi being so sick and fragile?
3. We were no longer outnumbered by cats; the household was fairly stable despite Fi’s health issues (which we are working on managing with diet and probiotics, puppy pads, and lots of cleaning and patience)
4. Tweetie is FIV+
5. Kittens and elders? Would that work? (Crookshanks just turned 16. Fi will be 18 in a few months)
6. The adoption center was closed

So we decided to talk about it. Go home and sleep on it. (But by this point, Adam had already named him so…). Thursday morning, as I logged in to work, he said, “We don’t need another cat,” and I said, “I know.” And he said, “But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t get another cat.”

I could barely concentrate on work as we waited for lunchtime to arrive. And once it did, we hopped in the car and drove back to Petco. Adam had the carrier out and everything. He was ready to bring home that little guy.

When we got to Petco, they directed us across the street to PAWS, as they were the ones officially handling adoptions.

We’d adopted through PAWS before (that’s where we got Helena in 2008), so we kind of knew the drill with them. PAWS is a no-kill shelter, and the cats are not in cages—they are together in rooms that are filled with toys, things for them to climb on, and friends.

We filled out the application, and then got led to the back…where they informed us that they did not allow people who already had cats to bring home one that is FIV+. The worker had to have seen the disappointment on our faces. It was really sad because we’d already gotten attached to the little guy. But then she said that eight new kittens had arrived that morning, two months old, would we like to take a look?

So we went into the little kitten room to see what would happen.

Some of the kittens were terrified and growling and hissing. One was in a basket with a blanket covering her, and she sang a constant chorus of distress. Some of them would not stop fighting, and a few just lay low, but recoiled if I reached my hand out.

But then, as I was watching and waiting and chatting, a tiny grey tabby kitten played beside me and kept bumping my leg while she was playing. Then she sniffed my fingers and went back to playing. Suddenly, she was climbing into my lap. She hissed at any other kitty who tried to get near me. And then she fell asleep as I stroked her little back.

Adam was becoming partial to a little black and white kitty named Kit, but this little grey one, whom they called Zig Zag, didn’t even have a collar, stole my heart as she napped on me. Adam asked if he could hold her, and so I passed her over. She settled right on him and dozed again.

But now even more roadblocks were coming up. There was talk about us needing to have Aidan with us before we could take her home. There was talk about us needing to have a copy of our lease. But we explained that Aidan is away at school, and that we already have cats. So those were easily taken care of.

They asked if we’d like to move forward with her, and with a tiny nod from Adam, I said YES.

And Adam immediately started thinking of names for her. He was considering Halsey, which would have been cool but didn’t seem to really fit her.

When we left the room for our adoption counseling, she looked around like “but but but where are you going?” And once the counseling was over, we went out to pay. She cost $125, came with all her up-to-date shots, is fixed, and is in great health. They also gave us a bag of Merrick kitten food which she loves.

When I went to pick her up, she was in another person’s lap, which says to me she is affectionate and cuddly. And she IS. On the way home, I sat by her in the back seat, and she showed us she is also very talkative! And when we got her home, she was not having any “safe room” nonsense. She was all over, establishing her place here. She tired out quickly. She’d had a big day! From foster, to shelter, to forever home in the span of hours!

She slept a lot her first afternoon here, curled up in my arms for the most part. If I needed to go to the bathroom or something, she was right behind me. She hissed and growled at the other cats (and she still does). Fi takes it in stride. He’s always been chill like this, and couldn’t care less as long as he still gets his share of the loving and food. Crookshanks is a more sensitive soul, and his feelings were hurt. He gives her space when she needs it, but he really wants to be her friend!

By the evening, I’d picked out a name for her. Because with all the cats I’d had, I’d never gotten a chance to name one. I ended up picking Charlotte, which suits her more than I even anticipated. And she answered to it right away.

This sweet girl was the most random impulse I’ve ever given in to, but she’s already enriched our lives in a million ways. She’s brave and curious and astonishingly smart. Her little mew is the cutest thing I’ve heard in ages. Her purr is powerful and strong, and she is so very affectionate. We are very excited and happy and grateful to have Charlotte as part of our family.

back to the grind.

After 90 days that included major surgery, recovery from that surgery, author visits, writing, lots of Netflix and DVD bingeing, travel, a writing workshop, visits to family, signing with an agent!!, losing my sweet Helena, and freelance work, tomorrow I head back to Humana. The DayJob™ is back.

I have mixed feelings! On the one hand, it’ll be nice to make money again, and after what happened the past couple of weeks in/on Amazon, Anderson’s Bookshop, Target, Whole Foods, Sephora, The Disney Store, Memebox, Planner Chick Designs—you get the idea—this is a good thing. I have a few credit cards to pay off, I want to start saving big time again, and also buy fun stuff.

I’ll once again have some structure to my day, which I’m both sad and happy about. It’s a good thing to have structure, right? But also, I’ll have structure, and accountability, and expectations, and sometimes that is scary. It shouldn’t be. I’ve been doing this a long time. I know I’m sad about losing the ability to keep my own hours. My body naturally wakes up between 1030am-12noon, and I tend to stay up until 3 or 4am. That’s just how I work best, and going to bed early tonight for a 745am alarm is going to feel weird. I have some melatonin to help with that!

I plan to continue working from home the majority of the time, which will help. Except my kitty cat has turned the living room into his giant litter box. We took him to the vet, and since he is so old, we opted not to do the biopsy. Instead, I’ve switched his food. I want to get him on all prescription food, but I need to get a MedCard since the vet is always out of the stuff. In the meantime, I have him on single ingredient food–the expensive stuff from Petsmart. Money is no object when it comes to my remaining kitties. I couldn’t stand a loss so soon after Helena. Maybe I’m overcompensating, but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

My brain is all over the place, apparently. Sorry, but not really. I will have to spend mornings cleaning up after Fi before I can begin working. I have puppy pads everywhere to help with the clean up. He’s old—nearly 18—so I can’t be too mad at him.

I’m finishing up the revisions for my agent (!!! This is still very thrilling to me !!!). I have a write-in this weekend at Rena’s place (YAY I get to see Rena!), so I plan to really buckle down and knock it all out. I told my agent I’d have my revisions to her by 4/17. So I have time… but this weekend I’ll be in a place to really focus. I’m excited!

But for now, I’m going to spend my last night of “freedom” eating fish and chips, watching the OC on DVD, and reading. I’m going to take a long bath, do a face mask, and get everything laid out tonight so I won’t be a mess in the morning. I’m so glad tomorrow is Friday, which means I have a weekend to look forward to right away!

Wish me luck!!

angel kitty.

Beautiful Helena

I lost my precious Helena Tuesday, March 14, 2017. I was out of town, so Adam found her. He said she was acting drunk the night before, and she was gone the next morning. The vet thinks it was as a stroke.

Helena came to live with us July 12, 2008. She was a special case. She’d come from a hoarder’s house, had dental issues, and obvious psychological issues. She’d been returned to PAWS, a no-kill shelter, numerous times.

But her first night, she and Crookshanks bumped noses and got along right away. She also trusted and loved Aidan from the first moment she set eyes on him. It took her a minute to warm up to me, and then to Adam.

Pretty Helena

Helena was a naughty kitty. There is no way around it. She peed everywhere, she bit people, she was always on the counter or stove. She would use the litter box only if we were watching. And sometimes she wouldn’t even go then. We’d considered taking her back, but we just could not. I simply refused to give up on her.

Once she realized we weren’t going to take her back, she relaxed and warmed up to us big time. When I came out of my bedroom, she’d run to to me and rear up on her hind lets so she could get pet. She howled when she was ready for her canned food, or simply a head rub. She followed me into the bathroom almost every time I had to go, and she’d lie on the floor and roll around meowing until I rubbed her belly. She loved cat treats and she loved eating.

She also loved us. She’d cuddle with me every chance she got. She wasn’t a lap kitty, but she loved to lie behind my head when I was working. She’d roll down my back when I leaned forward. Or, she sat next to me, purring like a purring thing that purrs. I got the long blinks from her, and she licked me a lot, which meant she thought I was part of her family. She trusted me, and that’s a big deal for a cat.

Beautiful Helena

She was also so beautiful. Female orange cats are very rare. So she was special in more than one way. I did love her, idiosyncrasies and all. And I miss her every day.

I hope where ever she is, there is a lot of canned food, cat treats, and pets for her.

RIP my second sweet angel kitty.

Now I have two.