Wednesday, November 26, 2008

For Love of Cats

went down to animal house calls last night to talk about our new writing project and show off two very very cute kittens

new set distracted me a bit but all in all I think it went well

I will say nothing could ever have made me comfortable in the spotlight except for advocating for animals. It helped that I had a nice steady start - first working behind the wings on shows like the Pet Project and Zooboomafoo then little panel gigs like the cat vs dog debate on Studio Two, then bits of news shows then finally Breakfast TV and I really don't feel nervous at all - even when the show isn't as smooth as I want..

the kittens were pretty much perfect!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The King is Dead: Long Live the King

Dumont was a people cat, he was a dog cat, a cat cat and just an all round patriarchial kind of soul; heck everybody who met him loved him. He was ever the gentlemen - greeting all who came to our house with an inquisitive sniff and quite often a lick and a cuddle. He was glossy and beautiful - black with a lovely even, perfect tuxedo of white marking his legs and face. He was playful and compassionate - chasing toys and entertaining the animal baby fosters in the house for hours or simply lying with an older or sick soul, no matter the species. Patient to a fault he taught many a small child how to interact politely with a pet and why it's important to pat in the direction of the hair. He loved going to our friends houses for visits and would make himself quite at home anywhere. He taught dogs, cats and even large parrots our house rules and he will be sadly missed. He liked to be held, enjoy sitting on laps but was content to sit beside you or along the back of the couch too. He was part of an epic - a piece of 36 years of loving individual cats for me.

We adopted him the day after my first cat Rum died - I was in university and had gone to the clinic to pay the bill. The vet asked if we were looking for another pet and I said no. I was told the sad tale of this adorable four month old who had been abandoned when the owners couldn't pay for the needed surgery to remove a foreign object from his throat (time has faded the memory or the object - it was either a coin or a bone). The humane society arrived to pick him up and they were sent away. I left the clinic empty handed and when I got home my new hubby asked how it had gone. (He had never lived with any animal apart from his brothers before meeting me!) I told him the story of the abandoned soul and he looked behind me for a new addition. When I realized he was serious we raced back to the clinic to pick up Dumont.

(The original Dumont was Gabriel Dumont- Louis Riel's right hand in the Rebellions - we figured our Dumont had to have a bit of rebel in him to have ended up on our doorstep)

Dumont lived with us for 18 years - more or less a few days - he was the picture of health - right up to a little crisis last fall. He had surgery to remove a tumour on his midline at that time - our vet was sure it would be a mammary tumour but it turned out to be another tumour - a tumour common to dogs but rather unusual in domestic short haired cats. The surgery went well and he blossomed quickly - gaining weight and going back to sleek and active until about a month ago.

He had a bad episode of digestive upset and when I took him to the vet the blood results showed he had critical renal failure. We did aggressive fluid and antibiotic therapy which he responded well too then I took him home with fluids - he happily accepted occasional sub q fluids til last week then he started resisting. This was a cat who didn't resist anything so I felt very strongly he wanted the fluids to stop. It nearly killed me but I honoured his request and he continued to eat, purr and sleep on my head until Thursday.

I contemplated calling for a mobile vet for euthanasia - or taking him to our much loved vet for the procedure but he seemed quite determined to lie on the bed I set up for him in the kitchen and hold court. He wasn't in pain and he derived great comfort from having his family around him. I have some Valium and pain meds on hand but didn't need to give him any of either. I sat (and lay) with him non stop from 10 pm on ... he would fall asleep and wake up to find one of the cats gently touching him - licking his head, laying a paw over him or his sniffing his face gently. If his head slipped off me as soon as he awoke he'd carefully lift his head and wait til my hand was cradling his head again. It was quite a beautiful thing. The patriarch of the house - who had greeted each and every one of the animals present there now said goodbye to all but the bunny and the birds. He took his last breaths around 1:30 or so and his heart stopped beating a short time later. The change in energy in the room when he left was eerie.

He was an amazing friend and a very special part of our family. We will miss him enormously. He has left a hole that no one will be able to fill. (Why oh why do we keep loving them when losing them is inevitable?)
I told him to take care of all our friends (yours and mine) who await us at the bridge - and I can assure you that no matter the species he'll do his thing - in his gentle loving way - the rainbow bridge is a better place tonight.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

cats cats and then more cats

black cats, baby cats, old cats, happy cats, scared cats
EVERYBODY seems to have a cat they think they NEED to "get rid of" (how I hate that expression) RIGHT NOW


2 very cute tiny black kittens will be coming my way Monday - let's hope this is a GOOD THING