Not a Bad Deal on a Pre-owned Cat, 2010

Conversation With a DaisyA year ago today, at just about this time, I said goodbye to one of the most unique, most loved cats I’ve ever known, but remembering him is hardly a sad affair, not with a goof like Namir. It’s a celebration of a cat who, despite multiple life-threatening health issues, loved every single blessed moment of every single blessed day and shared that with every single blessed person he ever met in his life, including all the veterinarians who every poked, prodded or did indecent things to him. I’m still finding things he taught me and reasons to be thankful he was part of my life.

Following is the introduction to his story, written last year about two weeks after he transitioned. Please read through the introduction, but especially click the link to go to my website to read all about Namir and look at all the photos and artwork. If you’ve ever loved a cat, I’m sure you’ll find something to identify with in his story; and if you’ve lost a cat, I’m sure your journey was much the same.

Namir

Namir

July 13, 2009

I say farewell to a dear friend, my Namir, who was a dear companion and a great inspiration. The art in the header is actually a painting of Namir, and my avatar for Portraits of Animals is Namir’s face from this painting.

In addition to this blog post, I have written a remembrance of him on my website, and invite you to read it and enjoy the art and photos.

It’s rather long, but I write this memory of a remarkable cat because I want others to remember him, still others to know him, and to share some of the more challenging things about living with a cat who has several unpredictable and life-threatening conditions, the time, the finances, the decisions, those last moments, the impact on the rest of my household of cats, and, of course, what a creative inspiration he was for me as a painter and writer and photographer, even as a designer of stylish crochet items.

And woven through Namir’s chronic long-term conditions has been the pattern of my household growing older, developing an end-of-life illness and then each is gone. For about five years I’ve been extremely vigilant, observing appetites, checking respiration rates, taking temperatures, administering sub-Q fluids, giving medications and whatever supportive care was necessary to keep everyone comfortable, often to several cats at one time, as I lost four in one year. Losing Namir is, in a way, the ends of that cycle finally meeting. Loss is only an end if a lesson in the loss goes unlearned, so this cycle has fine tuned my ability to care for all my cats because I have learned many lessons.

Professionally, I have been able to immediately put these lessons into design work which I coincidentally began in April and May. The cremation service I use is also one of my customers for design and photography, and we’ve been redesigning her logo and building up her website to include much more information about her services. Through a chain of connections I was able to illustrate the cover and booklet interior for a pet loss CD, this in turn leading me to work on my long-term idea of sympathy cards for the loss of your animal companion. Reciprocally, working on these projects when I knew I would soon lose Namir gave me great comfort in the last two months.

And I hope to share my experiences for the sake of anything that anyone else might gain from them in lessons or comfort, technical information even, though I’ve kept everything pretty general, and not named any persons or businesses.

Please visit my website and read the rest of the story about Namir.


A Pile of Cats

Four on the Bed

Four on the Bed

How many cats are in this photo? It’s the Fantastic Four, all heaped together on the first cool day of late summer/early autumn, upstairs on the bed where the sun creeps in during the afternoon. Mimi’s children are two now, but still play, sleep and bathe together as they did when they were kittens.


Not a Bad Deal on a Pre-owned Cat

Namir

Namir

I say farewell to a dear friend, my Namir, who was a dear companion and a great inspiration. The art in the header is actually a painting of Namir, and my avatar for Portraits of Animals is Namir’s face from this painting.

I have written a remembrance of him on my website, and invite you to read it and enjoy the art and photos.

It’s rather long, but I write this memory of a remarkable cat because I want others to remember him, still others to know him, and to share some of the more challenging things about living with a cat who has several unpredictable and life-threatening conditions, the time, the finances, the decisions, those last moments, the impact on the rest of my household of cats, and, of course, what a creative inspiration he was for me as a painter and writer and photographer, even as a designer of stylish crochet items.

And woven through Namir’s chronic long-term conditions has been the pattern of my household growing older, developing an end-of-life illness and then each is gone. For about five years I’ve been extremely vigilant, observing appetites, checking respiration rates, taking temperatures, administering sub-Q fluids, giving medications and whatever supportive care was necessary to keep everyone comfortable, often to several cats at one time, as I lost four in one year. Losing Namir is, in a way, the ends of that cycle finally meeting. Loss is only an end if a lesson in the loss goes unlearned, so this cycle has fine tuned my ability to care for all my cats because I have learned many lessons.

Professionally, I have been able to immediately put these lessons into design work which I coincidentally began in April and May. The cremation service I use is also one of my customers for design and photography, and we’ve been redesigning her logo and building up her website to include much more information about her services. Through a chain of connections I was able to illustrate the cover and booklet interior for a pet loss CD, this in turn leading me to work on my long-term idea of sympathy cards for the loss of your animal companion. Reciprocally, working on these projects when I knew I would soon lose Namir gave me great comfort in the last two months.

And I hope to share my experiences for the sake of anything that anyone else might gain from them in lessons or comfort, technical information even, though I’ve kept everything pretty general, and not named any persons or businesses.

Please visit my website and read about Namir.


Senior Mentoring…Youth Warming Program?

Guiseppe uses little Peaches as a pillow while she enjoys his big warmth.

Guiseppe uses little Peaches as a pillow while she enjoys his big warmth.

My oldest, Peaches at 19, and smallest at 5 pounds, and one of my youngest, Giuseppe at 21 months, and largest at 14 pounds and using Peaches as a pillow, curl together under the warm work light on my desk, otherwise known as a kitty keep-warm light on chilly days. Peaches is older and naturally gravitates toward warmer places, but I often find Giuseppe in the same places, and I also  see him shepherding Peaches into a ball, then curling around her and purring while she nestles into his youthful warmth.

Four boisterous kittens don’t always mix well with older cats, especially somewhat frail and slightly confused seniors such as Peaches. One youngster is a handful, but with each youngster added their destructive potential is increased exponentially.

Now that these kittens are adults they aren’t as active, but each of them is a pretty big cat. Especially Giuseppe, the biggest of the litter. He’s about 14 pounds and could probably stand to lose about one, but I can still see the outlines of his ribs and he has no little pouch hanging below his belly, so a good bit of it is dense muscle.

I was concerned about Peaches when I began to let the kittens roam the house, partly because she is small but also because she is confused and doesn’t always “get” what’s happening around her. But when the kittens tried to get her to play, running around her and getting in her way, bumping up against her, she just ignored them completely as if they weren’t there at all, much like Peaches does with anything that doesn’t interest her. They couldn’t get a rise out of her, so they left her alone.

She’s not entirely oblivious to their presence, though. I’ve awakened to see her curled in a tiny peach and gray ball right in the center of the four of them on my bed in the morning.


My Valentines

Heart-shaped Cats

Heart-shaped Cats

Brother and sister Mr. Sunshine and Ms. Mewsette cuddle on the crumpled bathroom rug, arms about each other and tails entwined. Honestly, I couldn’t have posed this, but it will certainly be a piece of artwork in the future!

Cookie’s nose making a cold, wet dot on my wrist as she exudes happiness. Namir swatting my elbow so I’ll come close enough for him to tuck his paw in my hand while he gazes up at me. Jelly Bean sitting next to me loudly purring and blinking his eyes in bliss. Kelly talking her way through her upward-downward cat postures when I enter the room. These are my valentines, and then some. How could I miss that I am adored?And they don’t need a special day to let me know about  it.

I didn’t take this photo on Valentine’s Day, but close enough; I just wish the light had been a little better. However, the greatest Valentine’s gift my cats give me is the constant inspiration of their activities and personalities.

Thanks, everyone! It was a great Valentine’s Day!