Since 1976 I have taken on the care of cats in need. It started with strays that took up residence in a neighbor's barn when I was 15. I would go out every evening to feed and spend time with them, though with that feral colony most only wanted the food. I saved up money to have the females spayed and literally showed up at the vet's office with rolls of coins from the piggy bank.
Since then it has seemed as though every cat in need has a way of finding me. These days I try to restrict my wards to senior cats that have lost their owner in hopes that they won't outlive me or my ability to provide for them too.
I didn't have children, so this page is to pay honor to the friendship of the animals that have favored me with their presence. And so I'll start with a special little girl that transitioned today.
Hoppie had been abandoned on a farm when the occupants moved. She was born with with only a remnant of a tail and had neurological damage because of it. She got her name from the difficulties she had with normal walking. She could still run quite fast when it suited her. She had a rambunctious tomboy personality and loved to talk about just about everything. Along with her disability came frequent urinary tract infections and blood clots in her bladder. As time passed she also ended up with hematomas in both ears. Her bladder problem gave way to urinary incontinence and eventually megacolon. Stomatitis would become a problem for her as well. She was a handful to take care during a time when I had anywhere from 11-19 cats living with me. Her strong personality and confidence assured she was taken care of as she could be quite bossy and impatient if her needs weren't met on time. She never doubted that she mattered. During her last year the effects of kidney failure led to wasting and she became too weak to go on. She died in my arms Christmas morning 25 December 2018 at around 7:30 am. She was 15.
I have Misty dob someplace, but have to come back for it later. I came home with her from the vet's office, when I had gone there to pick up Ivan who had had surgery. Misty's mom was the vet's client who had recently passed leaving her an orphan.
Misty was not used to sharing attention and did not like my other cats, but loved it when she could claim lap or chest time. She was a petite, 5 lb. dilute calico. She stayed with me about three years. She had started wasting in the last three weeks of her life. She was sent over the rainbow bridge on the 8th of May 2021.
Floyd was only with me a few months. He lived much of his life as a street cat in West Plains, Missouri where he came to live among the abandoned neighborhood cats that Mother and a neighbor fed and got fixed. Mom started out calling him Fluffy, but changed to Fluffy Floyd after deciding he needed a more masculine name. Floyd was a long-hair, gray turkish van cat.
I took him off the streets and brought him home with me in the fall of 2020 which meant he was an inside kitty when the frigid snows and -10F temperatures came in January of 2021.
He was a sweet, but shy boy. He wanted his people squatted down to Floyd-size and didn't like to be towered over. He loved to eat, especially canned foods. But he was always pretty scruffy looking even after being inside with regular grooming attention for months.
This white boy had a little crusty spot in front of his right ear. It seemed harmless initially, but eventually erupted into a disfiguring cancer. He was assisted to the other side on 9 September 2021.
Nala came to me in mid July of 2019 with two other cats, Fred and Little Boy, that a renter that was moving didn't want anymore. I was told they were 7-9 years old. Having recently lost all the photos from my phone, I have also lost the only pictures I had of cats acquired in the last 2-3 years.
Nala was a short-hair all black female. She never really warmed to me and usually hissed or hid if I approached. She did love her canned treats and tolerated me for those. She adored Little Boy and always lit up when I made him go spend time with her. He, unfortunately, didn't return the sentiment and preferred guarding the refrigerator to spending time with her.
Earlier this year, I noticed she was not just hiding from me, but hunkering away from other cats as well. I moved her into a large 3 tier kennel to allow her space away from them and discovered she had several sores on her chest. These proved to be cancerous, with other smaller ones on her head. She was allowed her privacy and got daily canned food and actually finally started to chatter with me when I came to feed her and scratch her head. Once she felt too bad to eat, euthanasia was scheduled, but she died before her appointment. At least she didn't have to face that last trip to a vet, as even just moving Nala to a different room in the house would make her very nervous.
Pistol was an indulgence for me. I believe he is the only cat I've ever paid for. I got him off Craigslist and he was a brown, tabby colored, Selkirk Rex. A real cutie patootie. Him I do have photos of, if I can just remember to retrieve them and get things updated.
The first time I saw Little Boy, I was infatuated. He was a stunningly handsome cat with long black hair with a smooth coat, and big golden saucers for eyes. His eyes were much like Pistols, but the nose and hair weren't Persian-like. I believe he was what they call a doll-face Persian. He came into my care with Nala and like her, his history is a bit vague. His main interest was food and he would often wake me crying at the bedroom door (no cats in the bedroom) of a morning helping me to get started with the morning routine, which, of course, included feeding cats. About a year ago he started having trouble with vomiting and diarrhea. He had full blood work done, but nothing showed up as a problem. He was sent home with anti-nausea medicine, which did stop the vomiting and got him back to his favorite past-time of eating, but the diarrhea persisted. He was tried on special foods for sensitive tummies, digestive enzymes and probiotics, all too no avail. The diarrhea with accompanying malnutrition, continued. Last night I set and held him, along with three others, then turned in for the night. Come morning, I found him collapsed on the floor and too weak to stand. We went off the bathroom together for privacy from other cats and he slowly slipped away, dying at about 11 am CST, 6 November 2023, while laying in my lap.
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