Saturday, June 20, 2009

Good-bye, old friend

You may not have met Doonesbury, the most senior resident of our house. When Stoney and I joined as "fosters" he greeted us warmly (trans: He didn't hiss and swat like Gretchen did.). Even in my shell-shocked state, I recognized what a great companion he would be.

Marlene met Doonsey when he was a wee little thing, a puff-ball with blue eyes. He roamed the wilds of New Hampshire, chasing frogs and bringing home birds. He trekked across country with Marlene, to woody Northern California, sunny Santa Barbara, and back east to NH. He even got lost for a few months! By the time she found him, he was matted, dirty, and living on scraps. But one look and she knew it was him: those eyes, that perfect mask.

Then they made the move to DC. He went from roaming the Wide World to exploring a 2nd floor apartment. Yawn. OK, so he put on a few pounds. OK, 18 pounds. Big and beautiful, until he wants to sit on your chest at night while you're trying to read (his nightly ritual with Jess) or you happen to have a full bladder (it's a talent to pick just the right moment to pounce). As big as he was, he still found a way to scurry under the futon, a mere 4" off the floor, when a thunderstorm hit!

But a weight management diet, and access to the back yard, helped him drop to a Maine-Coon-healthy 12 pounds. Playing with Sam helped, too. He was 8 when she joined the house and insisted on chasing him up and down the hall! In frustration at her kitten antics, he sat on her once: Big, furry cat; little kitten legs squirming underneath!

The Doons-man was just about the most amiable, agreeable cat you've ever met. He always greeted new guests, feline or human. He even put up with Beyonce! Whenever the girls fostered a new litter of kittens, they'd introduce them to Doonesbury first. He never hissed, never swatted, just said "Hi, howyadoin?" and went on exploring.

Dr. Katz described Doonsey as a real gentleman. He never acted out when she was poking and prodding him. Even through dental surgery, he was a trooper. As he started to lose weight and energy a few years ago, she started him on thyroid medication. "He was always game, whatever we were trying," she said. As we added a new pill or liquid, he would rally. He'd put on weight, be more active, and get back to his old Doonsey self.

These last two weeks, though, he wouldn't rally. He'd sleep, drink water, pee water, then go back to sleep. He showed less and less interest in food and no interest in grooming. Jess even gave him a bath (not nearly as funny as my "spa day") so he'd smell a little better. Finally, on Tuesday, he wouldn't eat. Wednesday he ate a little. Thursday, not even real tuna. So on Friday afternoon, the girls brought him back to Dr. Katz. He was a gentleman then, too. As the first shot went in, he bowed his head and went to sleep. The girls stroked him and kissed him as the second shot went in. Quietly and quickly, he left. No fuss.

May 1991-June 2009

If you would like to honor Doonesbury's memory, consider making a donation to AdvoCATs, Inc. or the Julie Fund at Union Vet Clinic. I would, but Jess won't give me the credit card anymore.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Even the smallest among us

Jess with the late, great Beyonce on her shoulderThe world is a little less adorable now that our dear Beyonce the Rat has left us. She was a survivor, to be sure: She was rescued from the very jaws of death (a cobra's cage) at National Geographic* and came to live in our house in the Summer of 07. We all learned very quickly that she was not to be stalked, pounced on, or chewed (friend-not-food was the mantra). She loved me and Stoney, sneaking her way under my chin when I was lounging on the couch.

The girls gave her the best of everything! Smoked oysters, organic veggies, blankets to shred. Jess would save the frisee from her salad. I have to admit that it's downright cute to watch a rat munch on salad greens. Her little hands would turn the leaf this way and that, then start nibbling. Yogurt drops were her all-time fave. She'd throw out everything else in her bowl to get to them!

Beyonce hung out on the couch most of the time. You can still find the spots she chewed in the fabric and pulled out the stuffing. Her favorite spot was sitting with Jess while she watched TV. Beyonce would sit quietly and let Jess stroke her fur. She watched all of Ratatouille that way!

Beyonce lived to be about 2 years old (probably). She survived 3 days in a cage with a cobra, a bout with an upper respiratory infection, breast cancer, and life with 6 cats. It was either pneumonia or cancer that took her in the end. Whatever it was, she couldn't breathe. She let Jess feed her medicine in baby food right up until the morning she died.

Now the cage is empty, all cleaned out and ready for storage. Jess kept looking at it, expecting that little nose to poke through the wires. I'm sure the girls will bring another rat or two into their lives soon, but not just yet.

Beyonce the Rat

*The NatGeo story is true, but may not be as dramatic as Jess and Marlene tell it. They don't care. They're sticking to it.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Missed me?

It's been a crazy couple of months, hasn't it? The girls hosted Thanksgiving with the whole family coming in. They roasted a locally raised turkey and we highly approved! Christmas was full of lovely cat toys. Marlene and Jess went a little crazy on us and there are feathered and furred mice all over the house!

In December, they had to take me to the vet because I keep licking my legs and arms. It's really pathetic, I know, but I just can't stop! They put this ridiculous blow-up collar on me. Hey, if it ever floods in here, I'm all set.

But the good news is that I'm down to 26.5 lbs! And I don't have diabetes! High fives, thank you. I've got something going on "down there" which will need some expensive sonogram (there goes Jess' bonus), but there is definitely no sugar in my pee! I've never been so happy about pee!

So now the Capitol has calmed down from its weekend of "CHANGE". Everyone's settled back into their routines. I await a sonogram to find out if I have kidney stones (with Jess' luck, I won't which means $300 down the drain. I'll be hearing about that for a while). And I continue to get lean and trim. Somewhere I have pics of them shaving my belly. It's embarrassing as hell. I'm sure you can't wait!