Friday, January 11, 2019

tiny chocolate cuddle monster

I often look at Marvin and marvel over his tiny size. How does he fit all of his kitty parts in such a tiny package?! 

Everyone needs a tiny chocolate cuddle monster!

Marvin has been exceptionally cuddly lately! You'll get no complaints from me about that.

Marvin's asthma keeps acting up. He has these spells where it's difficult for him to breathe, it's quite distressing to witness. We've been giving him topical steroid for years now and it's not good for him, but it keeps him breathing (mostly). We have an AeroKat for administering inhaler-meds. Sadly, he's always been ultra-resistant to having his mouth touched (mask goes over his nose and mouth) because of his chronic dental problems. Now that his dental issues have been resolved and the constant pain is no more, I'm trying to slowly acclimate him to the AeroKat breathing mask by having him fish shredded cheese from it. I don't have much hope this will make him any more accepting of it, but thought it was worth a try.

Marvin spends most all his time on the heating pad bed on the human bed, in my lap, or on the heated window perch when the suns out. He likes his heat! And he prefers his dinner on the heated bed!

Happy Friday! I'm ready for the weekend - the retreat was emotionally and spiritually restorative but physically tiring (more on that in a future post). Then Thursday and Friday work schedules were crazy busy to make up for so much time out of the office. This weekend we go house hunting - hopefully we can find our next home with a sunny porch for Theo!

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

remembering The Willow

Today marks the one year anniversary of Willow's crossing the bridge. Where does the time go? It only feels like a month or two since we said that last good bye. It's still hard to believe that she's gone. What was at first thought to be a slow growing brain tumor ended up being faster than we could get her treatment.

We adopted Willow with her brother, Nahum, in May of 2009, shortly after Max died. She was full of youthful energy back then.

One of Willow's passions was hunting - she never got the chance to hunt anything big, but she loved hunting moths. We spent many nights hunting moths together. I would poke them with a stick to get them flying and she would hunt, dispatch, and snack! She was masterful hunter.

Back then, she didn't like to be held at all! Whenever we picked her up, she placed her front paw against the human and pushed out, so she could get as far away as possible! She would give us what we would become named as "the Willow-paw"! She was not the most affectionate cat then.

She loved hanging out on the clothes drying rack! It was her personal jungle gym!

Play, play, play... she never stopped playing. She would garb a little wool ball or mouse and swat it around the furniture. She would go nuts playing with toys. When she really got into the play, she would make her little special Willow sounds. She never really fully meowed but had her unique sound.

She was such a flirt! 

Her favorite food was pine needles! She would go bonkers over them! We guessed she once survived on pine needles as a young kit when her and Nahum were surviving on their own (pre-rescue). 

Over the years she became quite the cuddle bug and needed to make up for those lost years when she didn't like affection. She loved having her tummy rubbed.

Willow had a purr motor that never stopped! She purred when she slept, when she ate, when she did everything. She had a very rhythmic, soothing purr. She had the best purr!

Willow was not a rule follower! She could be mischievous, but she always did so out of her curiosity and innocence, never malice! Of course she had me wrapped around her little paw, I would do anything for her, including not see her as anything but purrfect. 

Willow always ate out of her special fish bowl.

Once she became cuddly, I couldn't sit down anywhere without her coming over and parking on me. She was my constant companion, which I adored! She would often choose to sleep in a lap or on one's legs.

The cats get breakfast and dinner - two meals a day. Willow decided those conditions might work well for the other cats, but she needed to spread out her dinner over several hours. So, she would only eat a portion of it at dinner time and then later would come asking for the rest. She would lead me to the bathroom where she could have the rest of her dinner in peace without the other cats harassing her. Of course Theo never understood this arrangement and always seemed to think Willow was getting extra dinner. There may have been a few times when she accidentally forgot to save some of her dinner for second dinner, I had to sneak her some extra! Seeing her sad, disappointed expression was just too heartbreaking!

I looked all over for a picture of Willow and Theo together but found none. Willow was never very close to Theo but she loved to harass him! Theo is so high strung, she developed the art of sneaking up on him and charging him when he wasn't expecting it causing him to jump a mile in the air! She so loved doing that to him, and didn't do it with any other cat - just him!

I love you sweet girl! You'll always be my precious little Willow - a delightful gift. I miss you, everything about you and always will. I hope you are getting as much cuddle time and hunting as you desire. Say hello to Max and Buddy and I look forward to being reunited with you.

Thursday, January 3, 2019


Serious Nahum fluffs!

I'm very aware that the one year anniversary of Willow's death is rapidly approaching. I've still not been able to write about her death or even update the blog to indicate that she's gone. I think about it often and even tried to write about it a few times. Something continues to keep me from accepting it, still feels like we just moved without her. I've come to realize that my spark for life died with her. Depression, sometimes overwhelming, has been the norm. A few months ago I cracked the lid on the un-felt grief and quickly experienced intense overwhelm. My pain-driven thoughts went to some scary places, so I did my best to close the lid once more.

This year has held many experiences. Willow's swift and unexpected death. Selling our home without another place to move to. Moving across country with six cats. (Trying to) settle into a new living space. Trying to love on my parents who act like they are allergic to love and connection. Starting a new private practice. All the while, my tender heart has felt mostly offline, closed. Joy and hope feel like distant concepts. Occasionally in my work, I would get moments of life and tenderness. The cats have usually been a great source of life, but now when I'm with them all I can think about is their impending deaths. Of course Marvin's recent death scare didn't help.

In early December I managed to re-engage in some dormant spiritual practices, but with my heart being closed, it didn't feel satisfying, and yet I knew it was helping. I started to think about maybe finding a spiritual retreat that might nourish my parched soul, and it would allow me to create intentional space to grieve and work through Willow's death. I found a place near Boston. I was thinking maybe a weekend or something, but then I noticed they had a 5-day directed, silent retreat that concluded on the 1-year anniversary of Willow's death. I prayed that a mysterious check would arrive to cover the cost and sure enough the next day, that very thing happened. Suddenly, this idea got very real and I was going. Yikes!

I leave tomorrow (Friday) to continue this grieving journey. I'm terrified to go into that dark cave of grief and yet I know I must - freedom awaits on the other side. I need to reclaim my will to live, which is what I know Willow would want for me. I'm terrified that if I go on this retreat I will discover that Willow did actually die and that I'll need to accept that and let go. The truth can be so painful. And yet, experience has told me that the truth also sets me free. 

The retreat starts Friday dinner time and ends Wednesday at lunch. Your prayers, thoughts, and purrs are all welcome. 

Brave heart, Tegan...