Goodnight, my sweet girl

It’s been a very rough couple of days for me and my Cassie cat. Towards the end of last week I thought her sister, my gorgeous big Pandora puss, was acting a bit out of sorts. At the start of the week she was acting as normal, jumping up on the bed for a nap, happily munching some sliced chicken. Towards the end of the week I thought she was seeming a bit off her game, a bit lethargic maybe, still eating, not being sick or anything, wasn’t sure if she was just having a couple of off days or if it might be something more and I was thinking okay, next week we better get a vet’s appointment for you to be on the safe side. On Saturday she seemed a bit more off, atlhough still eating, still ambling around the flat and even jumping up into my recently vacated seat to steal it. Well, actually not to steal it, when Pandora grabs your seat when you move she isn’t actually stealing it, what she really wants is for you to sit next to her and snuggle with her.

Pandora on the rug 1

But then came Sunday morning. Cassie woke me with alarmed mieows and as soon as I sat up in bed I thought she was trying to alert me to something and right away thought Pandora. Then I heard a terrible whimper from under the bed and Pandora was there, had come through at some point during the night and curled up underneath the bed as I slept – not unusual for her, the girls long ago claimed an old suede suitcase under the bed as a kind of kitty hammock for their Secret Dark Hidey Hole Spot. But she was barely moving, I had to pull the case out to get her, she couldn’t move out herself. I picked her up and she was limp in my arms, head lolling and panicking carried her through to the living room and gently lay her down on the sofa. She couldn’t even move her head or paws enough to make herself comfortable and I had to arrange them for her. I couldn’t believe how much she had faded since bedtime last night and was terrified she was dying on me right there. Phoned the vet and got the emergency weekend number which turned out to be in a surgery on the far side of town, but luckily my friend Gordon came right round with his car and drove us up. Poor Pandora was so limp it was hard to get her in the travel box and at the vet we had to tilt it and gently slide her out, she just lay there not moving.

After a lot of checks the vet told me her temperature was dreadfully low, barely above the bare minumum for a living cat, her blood circulation was poor although her heart was beating strongly and she was dehydrated even though I had seen her drinking water and kitty milk. They put her on drips to get her hydration and blood sugar back to normal and put her into an incubator to warm her and told me to phone in a few hours. I went home worried sick but when I called later they said she was responding to treatment, but it was as well we came when we did, she had been only an hour or so from slipping into a coma then death. Thank goodness for Cassie waking me to help her sister, or else I might have found her later in the morning already gone and that would have been even harder. She said we’ll keep her going on this and keep her overnight, get her tomorrow all being well and take her to your normal vet. Call back in the evening she said. I did and she was now keeping her temperature herself without the incubator and fluid and sugar levels returning to normal, but her eyesight was gone, but the vet said this was because of the sudden low sugar and hydration levels and should return in a day or two as she stabilised. But they still didn’t know what caused it, although she noticed a lump under her ribs in front of her heart, but she thought that was something to check later. So I called Gordon to say we’d get her back in the morning as he has already kindly said he’d give me a lift again. And I had gone from thinking I was losing her in the morning to thinking great, get her home tomorrow, more to check out but she’s doing okay and coming home.

Pandora closeup 02

Pandora yawns
(I was trying to get a close-up of Pandora when she opened her mouth in this jaw-stretching yawn!)

Then the vet called again. A complication, that lumps was full of fluid and the drip she was on was making it worse, they would have to stop or she’d suffocate from it, but if they stopped she would slowly slip back in her weakened state to the coma like state she was in when I found her. Either way she was going to decline slowly during the night and she would begin to suffer as she did. We have to think what’s best for Pandora, the vet told me, which was a gentle way of telling me I had to let her be put to sleep to spare her suffering. Thank god Gordon didn’t mind being dragged back out late on a wet, dark Sunday night and drove me back there so I could be with my gorgeous girl for a little while. Her sight was still wonky but she knew it was me holding her, talking to her, stroking her and I could hear her purr so very quietly. Then it was time and they made her sleep so she wouldn’t feel the final injection. I held her and stroked her lovely, autumn coloured fur until her heart stopped and my adorable Pandora was gone. The vet was very nice and left me with her for a little while. She looked like she was sleeping on her little rug and I felt so guilty having to leave her there, even though I knew it wasn’t her any longer. And I felt so guilty at signing the form to let them put her to sleep, even though I knew it was the only mercy I could give to her and was the right thing to do. God knows how anyone ever makes a decision like switching off life support for their human family members, it’s agonising enough with your beloved cat.

Been off the last couple of days and feel shattered, all happened so fast and I can’t quite process that my gorgeous, lovely, warm kitty of over 13 years has been taken away and I never get to see her again. When I don’t see her here I keep thinking she must be sleeping on the bed in the other room and expect to see her come trotting through to the living room at any moment. Then I remember and realise that will never happen again and it’s awful. Pandora is such a huge, huggy puss – she loves being picked up, lies back in your arms like a big furry baby purring against your arms. Sometimes when I held her like that she would raise one of her enormous creamy white paws and gently pat my face. Adorable. Every night when I came home she would wait patiently for me to pick her up like that and cuddle her. I never met a cat so damned cuddly, I am sure she must have been a teddy bear in a former life. No matter how bad a day I had I came home to a big Pandora hug and I felt better. Even in the dark days after we lost mum so suddenly both my girls made me feel better. And now I’ll never come home to my little darling ever again and that’s awful.

pandora 2
(those big, shiny eyes, those gorgeous colours like an autumn forest. And those huge white paws. As soon as I brought her home as a kitten I saw those paws and knew she would grow into a huge puss. And she did. A huge and cuddly puss)

Not slept much last couple of night, Cassie normally curls up with me at night, but she is curling up for a while then she goes off round the flat mieowing and looking for Pandora, then comes back to me in bed, then goes looking again. During the day she’s been snuggling up to me all the time except when she goes looking for her sister again. She doesn’t understand what happened, but she knows Pandora is gone and that something bad happened and she’s clearly distressed. I worry about Cassie, she’s never been alone in her life, never been parted from her sister. I brought them home as 10 week old kittens from the cat shelter years ago, they were so small they could fit in your hand and I loved them right away. The cats made the flat into a real home, not just a place to live, but a warm, living, welcoming place;’ they’re not pets, they’re companions, friends, family, your girls. And believe me, when you live by yourself they are such a hugely important part of your emotional life support. The girls and dad have been what kept me going since we lost mum and I’ve been dreadfully afraid of this kind of thing happening as they got older. You know when you have pets one day this will happen, you trade the many good days and years off against the bad days when you lose them. And painful as that is, a pain that goes into your heart and soul, it is still worth it for the brightness they bring into our lives.

Pandora and Cassie on bed
(Pandora with her sister Cassie lying behind her,she liked lying on the end of the bed, big paws out in front like a Sphinx. Some nights she would lie there while I slept, as if she was keeping guard so no bad dreams could get to me)

Goodnight my adorable Pandora, you made me happy, you made me smile even when I was miserable and in pain like I had never known before, you snuggled up to me and purred against me, you made me laugh as you played with the ball of wool. You brought life and love and warmth into my life and made the flat a home along with your dear sister. It’s only been two days and already I miss you dreadfully and so does your little sister. I don’t know where we go when it ends and I don’t believe the fairy tales of any religion, but it’s also hard to believe we just stop. If we go somewhere afterwards then mum, please look out for my wee girl, she’ll be lost and wondering where I am. She loves to be held and stroked, please look after her and love her for me. Goodnight, my gorgeous girl, I love you and life is so much darker without your light beside me.

Pandora in slatted sunlight

Put that book down and pay attention to me

Tidying up some files on my external hard drive and found some photos I hadn’t gotten around to uploading, including some of my gorgeous wee Dizzy who sadly I don’t get to see these days, which is very upsetting. Reading a book outside while she plays in the garden, but obviously she does not approve of the book as it takes my attention away from her, which is not acceptable to any kitty cat and especially not to Queen Dizzy:

I am bored of reading, entertain me

Having interposed between me and my book she now decides since I was foolish enough to move, she will just have my seat:

actually I'll just take your seat 02

Ohhh, what’s that over there? I am intrigued and considering investigating, but am loathe to give up the still-warm seat you so foolishly left unguarded:

what's over there too?

black and white cat in black and white

Cassie, my plump little black and white, soft-furred puss, in, well, black and white…

time for a nap 4

And yes, her fur is even softer than it looks here and having her belly scratched is one of her favourite pastimes; she is the Tummy Tickle Tiger and often manages to curl up next to me in such a manner as to make sure she’s in position to have aforementioned portly tummy tickled, which is, of course, just a pure coincidence she tells me…

time for a nap 2

Ciao, Pussycat

I fed my furry girls some kitty food that came with Italian wording as well as English: “Per chi fa la bella vita, per Gatti D’Appartamento.” Now Pandora is zipping round the flat on a small moped while Cassie is reclining on the sofa with a glass of Vermouth and muttering “ciao, baby” at regular intervals while watching old Sophia Loren movies.

(all that Italian has tired out Cassie who decides on a mid-afternoon nap in a sunbeam)

Hunting

How quickly a gently snoozing cat can go from being curled up sleepily on the sofa to manic hunting mode; a moth got into the flat and went fluttering past the candles. Cassie’s eyes snap open and she pounces, from rest to leaping into the air after the moth in seconds, a little urban tiger stalking her little jungle. Does that make her a ‘tiger moth’ 🙂 ?

Bugs and moons and cats and cushions

I got totally floored towards the end of last week with what I presume was a bug; started as a bit of a headache, noticed it was a bit harder focussing on the computer screen at work, popped a couple of Anadin and didn’t think too much of it till I got home, couple of hours later my arms and legs feel like lead and my head feels like a mix of cotton wool and space dust, so I crawl into bed ridiculously early. Cue very sleepless night waking up either roasting and drenched in sweat (I don’t mind being sweaty in bed, but for the right reasons only) or shivering so badly I shook myself awake (very weird, don’t remember the last time I shivered). And all through it weird, linking dreams where I seemed to be walking through scenes of classic black and white movies (I think I was looking for Louise Brooks but she proved as elusive in my confused dream state as she was to most in real life). Interestingly even when half awake the dreams kept running. Add in some nasty dizziness and fatigue and you have yourself a nasty bug that seemed to come out of nowhere; fine in the morning, feeling iffy in the afternoon, utterly screwed by evening.

Next morning it felt like a very bad hangover, the sort you wake up from and find you have the hangover plus you realise you are still a bit drunk and crashing around, stumbling with no co-ordination and still either too hot or too cold. Found out since then that a couple of my family got hit with the same thing from nowhere, so presumably there is a nasty virus going round (that will teach me to juggle those ducks on the canal). Still a bit tired and feel the odd little resurgence of it, but not too bad now; forced myself off with a mate for a very long walk (yes, with Bruce the greyhound too, all excited as ever when he sees us putting on jackets “oh boy, oh boy, we’re going for a walk!!!”) to try and get the blood circulating before going off to check on Dizzy while Mel is away visiting her cousin in Norway. Naturally Dizzy took advantage of me feeling a bit drained still today to curl up next to me and use bits of me as a pillow. And talking of pillows, I got one of my photos of Dizzy looking incredibly cute and slumbering in the sun on a rug out in the garden and had it printed onto a big cushion last year for Mel’s birthday. I have been waiting patiently for her to curl her little furry form up next to it and stay there long enough for me to get a picture of her with it; naturally whenever I have seen her in front of it she has moved by the time I get the camera to take a snap, but after months and months of waiting I finally got that picture and here it is, Dizzy with the Dizzy cushion!

I also managed to get out for a little while on Saturday night and saw some of the lunar eclipse – amazingly we had a pretty clear sky for once in Scotland (poor Mel didn’t in Norway, clouds spoiled the show). There was a reddish-pink tinge to the moon for a while, it was a fascinating sight, must have been terrifying to people in the pre-scientific period of history (which is most of it, really) – one of my Fotolog friends, Foxglove, has a cool image on her flog here. Would have been a great night for doing a virgin sacrifice, although the only Virgin I wanted to slice up on a pagan altar as the moon was swallowed by Those Who Cannot Be Named would be sodding Richard Branson’s Virgin who have been busy posturing against Murdoch’s Sky this week which is great for them but a real pisser for their customers who suddenly found out they’d lost access to a bunch of their favourite major shows literally overnight (thanks for the advance warning, Branson, you numpty).

One company blames the other of course, both give contradictory reasons why talks broke down, all I know is I was with Telewest for years and subscribed to them because it was the only way to see certain import shows. Branson’s “we must be involved in every industry that exists” Virgin company takes over and a few weeks later the biggest entertainment channel is gone and a lot of folks will miss the next eps of their favourite shows this week while Murdoch and Branson engage in a pissing contest instead of looking after their customers, which is a poor way to run a service. I also notice that despite losing the biggest channel Virgin hasn’t offered to cut my bill to reflect this and actually boasts they are offering us more choice through a programme on demand service which gives us access to old programmes instead; that makes up for losing the latest new import shows like Galactica, Richard, thanks. Twonk.

I’m no fan of Murdoch but since his Sky has some of the programmes I want to see I need access to that and since I paid for that (and am still paying the same amount) but having it cut at no notice by Branson who has a long-standing personal and ongoing really ticks me off. And the fact he is still charging me the same amount for less proves that customer care is not on top of his agenda. Jeez, to think someone is willing to pay 100K to fly into space on one of this arsehole’s rockets when they get going…

Fireside kitty

Outside it is freezing; crisp, sharp, cold air, breath misting in front of passers-by as if it was smoke and their mouths the chimney for the furnace of their body, trying to warm itself against the winter night; clear sky above and a large, crescent moon hanging in the darkness. But not inside, oh no; in here it is warm and comfortable. The fire flickers happily while the candles cast amber shadows across the room. Pandora has the sofa to herself and settled down for a semi-snooze, her huge eyes opening from time to time as if to make sure everything is okay and to see what I’m doing. Her sister Cassie has settled herself down on the new rug right in front of the fireplace and is purring away, her plump little furry body settled down in the prime warm spot of the room in that way that cats do so well.

Cassie tries out the ‘Andy Capp’ position but prefers the new rug in front of the fire to Andy’s normal sofa.

Yes, she is indeed a portly puss, being both middle-aged and an indoors kitty, but that fur is even softer than it looks and warmer than usual as she toasts herself by the fire. I can feel the vibrations of her contented purrs right through her little body; that’s one happy cat. Which of course makes me very happy and relaxed too; all the problems of life slip away for a brief spell because it is all but impossible to worry or feel down when you’re tickling a happy kitty’s warm, furry tummy. One of life’s simple pleasures, curled up next to my girl.

Ahhhh, pure contentment… I just couldn’t take pics in such low light without a flash with the old camera, but this new one seems to handle it quite easily.Funny how on the first night of winter when I lit the fire for the first time since the previous winter the cats somehow knew, even though they were asleep in another room and came trotting through right away and promptly curled up in front of it. Just put down a new rug from Ikea the other day – obviously it has already obtained the Cassandra Seal of Approval. She looks so sweet and innocent here, but tomorrow it will be totally different as she jumps on my head to wake me up in the morning… Wouldn’t have it any other way of course.

Dizzy in the dark

Dizzy in one of her little hidey-holes, happily curling up in among Mel’s clothes partly for comfort and partly to make sure even freshly laundered clothes are still covered in fur. I was surprised this even came out – my wee old camera doesn’t have a low light setting so I improvised with the penlight on top of it and it worked.

Let sleeping cats lie

As I type this Pandora is curled up on the sofa, slumbering away as cats are wont to do. Little meows are to be heard occasionally while her huge, creamy white paws keep moving and her whiskers are twitching. What do cats dream about? Milk? Mice? Mice in milk? Or maybe she dreams of dangling a length of wool and watching me bat it and chase it for a change.

What a coup

Can I just take this opportunity to remark about today’s story about Mark Thatcher’s arrest for allegedly taking part in an attempted coup in an African country? I would just like to say a heartfelt and considered HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!

Yes, I know it may well be the sign of a poor man to laugh at the misfortune of another, but frankly it’s just too fun to pass up on seeing this man who was referred to as ‘Thicky’ by his school chums at his posh private school and who has traded on the name of his evil former prime minister mother and used her links in a way that would make a Bush family member proud to make more business.

new toy

On a good news front however, I picked up my shiny new toy today – a Toshiba laptop. It will take me ages to transfer over files accumulated on my ancient pentium desktop, but at least I have my existing email etc set up on the shiny little new machine. Very sexy and I’m very pleased with it – except Windows Xp seems deigned to stop people like me who know how to fiddle with things fiddling with things… I’m sure I’ll figure it all out eventually – unless is succumb to playing a nice new state-of-the art game, the type I couldn’t play on my old machine. Yes, I’m just waiting for Alex to supply me with new games distractions so I get bugger all work done on the new machine.

One drawback to the new computer – it is a nice thin plasma screen. This means no hot monitor for my cats to sleep on, they are most distressed. Still, I will take this opportunity to start training them up on anti-terrorism measures. The big puss, Pandora, is the tactical cat, designed to clobber the enemy by… well sitting on their laps and purring. Cassandra (Cassie) is the smaller cat and to be used for swift, surgical strikes. Ha, no Al-Queda plague infested rats being unleashed near me! Back to the new toy oh how my poor bank balance screams for mercy. But the old machine was not only from the Triassic era it was now making sounds like the last Huey out of Saigon in 1975, so it aint long for this world. That’s my justification and I am sticking to it!