Nick and I had to make a terrible, awful decision in August last year to put our little kitten, Lucy, to sleep. I wrote here about her getting sick, but just couldn’t bring myself to write anything else as she fairly quickly got much, much sicker.
As Nick and I were coming to terms with the decision we knew we were going to have to make – it was only a matter of time – I wrote down a list of things that I would miss about Lucy, just to make sure I remembered all the little things we loved about her. In many ways, we have come to terms with losing her. In spite of everything, we know we gave our little rescue kitten the absolute best life she could have had for her short six months on earth. She was kissed, cuddled, fed (a lot), and generally spoiled. But most of all, loved. I thought, as a means of closure, I would share that list here along with a few more pics to remember her by.
Things I’m going to miss about Lucy…
- Office time – since I work from home, I spend most of my time in our home office that Nick and I share. She has to be on our laps or computers most of the time (typical cat). Her computer skills are impressive – at one point she managed to shift ALL of the text and program windows on my computer screen sideways by sitting on my keyboard. She also sits in the window of the office and watches the world go by – the neighbor’s cats, the people on their way to the train – cowering any time there was the least bit of a loud noise (the kids scare her especially). She only fell out the window once.
- Roadtripping – we bring her with us to Nick’s parent’s place so she doesn’t have to stay home alone, and that means frequent road trips. As soon as we’re in the car and on the road we let her out of her carrier so she doesn’t yowl. She crawls all over the car, exploring, and ends up in the back window where we’d get such great looks from the people in car behind, perches on my shoulder or sits on Nick’s lap and try to help him drive.
- Monkey-mode – she gets all riled up, running up and down the house, chasing her favorite toys (cable ties), racing up and down the cushions on the back of the couch, and when she gets particularly hyper she would ‘monkey’ – spreads her toes, poof her tail, hop at you kind of sideways in an attempt to intimidate you, breathing heavily, sometimes giving a little spit – so funny!
- Blankie – her grey blankie is her favorite thing in the world, her security blanket. She adopted it from the first day we got her, crawling onto it to suckle and ‘make pudding’. We think she must have been the runt of the litter, the bottom-feeder of the bunch, because she always kneaded blankie way above her head. She’d get so purry and happy, zoning into Stevie Wonder mode where she’d kind of sway her head back and forth in a figure eight. We joke it is the only way to slow her down when she gets into ‘hyper-mode’ is to put blankie into her path, since she couldn’t run over the blanket without stopping to ‘make-pudding’ on it.
- Her big, Puss-in-Boots eyes that could make me do anything – she just gives me this look and I somehow want to give her food, pick her up and pet her, you name it.
- When she was a tiny kitten she was absolutely MAD about her food. She would run in circles meowing frantically, climbing Nick’s leg to get to the countertops, a total nut. I’ll miss the way she never quite eats neatly, and has food stuck to her little beard she couldn’t quite get off (she didn’t have a mom to teach her those things, you know). Later she wouldn’t eat unless she was sitting on the scratching post (it is too cold on the concrete floor to sit on for too long), and you HAVE to pet her while she eats or she’ll keep looking around for you. You can’t be too far away! She also LOVES her Greenies, the little treats we give her.
- I’ll miss her cute markings – her one white foot, one black, the orange leopard spots on her white belly, her little white eyelashes, the whiskers that never quite grew back fully after she singed them, the little crooked-looking smile – she has a half pink mouth which you can especially see when she’s meowing…just so cute.
- That darn tail – she just can’t get away from it, it keeps following her around! It would come out of nowhere and hit her in the face when she was trying to sleep. She only recently learned that she has to tuck it under her paw to keep it under control. It also was in a near-permanent bottle-brush state (all poofed up – it would get that way whenever she freaks herself out (a regular occurrance).
- Sleeping with us – she was so little when we got her, we let her sleep on her grey blankie between our heads every night. She purrs so loud most nights that she wakes me up at some point. Also, if you get to close to her face at night, she will lick and lick and lick your face – especially your nose. You can’t get her to stop until she falls back asleep! When she gets really cold she burrows under the covers and sleeps in the crook of Nick’s knees – ‘prickly side in’ Nick says
- She couldn’t get enough of people – part of having been bottle-fed from a tiny kitten, I guess. She would perch on Nick’s shoulder as long as he would let her, curl up on my lap for hours on end. The thing I will miss probably the most is the ‘I love you’ look she gives you, looking up at you while sitting on the desk, purring, wanting kisses on her head. Her little head bumps to get you to pay attention to her. Just pure love.
- I will desperately miss coming home and saying ‘where’s my Lucy?’, only to have her run out of wherever she was sleeping (usually the blankie on the bed) and greeting me with the happiest meows. Sigh.
As I write this it is comforting to have the two newest additions to our household, Mia and Ollie, curled up beside me. But it doesn’t make it any less painful to write these words – after losing our first kitten, Squeekers, just the August before, we had only just opened up our hearts again, and it still hurts. It’s never easy to lose friends, whether furry or otherwise!
Lucy the parrot
Lucy hasn’t been feeling very well lately. Her eye was a bit cloudy, so we took her to the vet a couple of times who put her on medicine for it, but it didn’t get better. Meanwhile, she was sleeping more than usual, had little energy and didn’t want to eat. We decided to bring her to an eye specialist just to get it checked out, assuming that the infection was causing all the other issues too.
Unfortunately, he didn’t give us very good news. It seems like little Lucy has what is known as Feline Infectious Peritonitis – Nick could only remember it because he thought that might be what was making her sit on our shoulders like a little parrot! All jokes aside, FIP is a mutation of the very common coronavirus – most likely she got it from her mother before we ever met her. It is incredibly hard to diagnose, since it presents with all sorts of different symptoms, but the vets say they are about 99.9% sure it is what she has. The worst part is that it is pretty much always fatal, especially in kittens her age and size.
We don’t know at all how long we have with her. The vets assume she doesn’t have the acute form, since she would probably already have died from it, but even the chronic form probably doesn’t give her much time. She is going to go on a course of steroids to help prolong and improve her life, but again it doesn’t give us any guarantees. We’re trying to stay positive and focus on the fact that she has had a very happy 6 months living with us, and that she has made out lives richer for being in it. But the truth is both Nick and I are heartbroken at the thought of having to lose another little kitten. She is more than just a pet, she is part of our family. I’m trying to enjoy however much time we have left with her and not focus on the future, but it’s not easy.
This time curiosity didn’t kill the cat, but it didn’t do her any good, either.
Picture this – hyped-up Lucy tearing around the house, as usual. As she completes her first circuit, she comes to a screeching halt in front of the small, flaming thing in the center of the coffee table. Inching closer, then closer again, she wants to make sure she gets a good look. Sniffing, she suddenly starts blinking furiously and backing up, shaking her head back and forth.
I laughed at her antics as usual, only later realizing that three or four of the whiskers on the right side of her face were curled up and singed from her encounter with the candle. Oops. They’re growing out a bit, but she still looks a bit lopsided. I don’t think she’s learned her lesson, though. She nearly roasted herself on the braii the other night, and she has made a habit of sitting dangerously close to the flames coming off our gas heater. Brilliant.
Due to popular demand, I’ve added a few more pictures of Lucy! Nick has been giving me kitty updates while I’ve been gone – she got her vaccines, visited the Grandparents and met the other cats and dogs, and this morning apparently dove headfirst into the pond in our garden! Pretty funny stuff. I’m looking forward to getting back and witnessing her antics in person – though apparently she doesn’t let Nick get much sleep these days…
About a week ago we stopped by the Animal Welfare Society in Stellenbosch to see if they had any kittens (dangerous, I know). We’d been talking for quite awhile about getting a little fuzz-ball, and when we walked into the cattery and saw little Lucy we fell in love. She had climbed up the wall of the cage, meowing furiously, trying to stick her nose and paws through the holes to touch us. She has such a big personality!
Lucy and her litter-mates were found on the side of the highway with no mother cat, and the AWB bottle-fed and fostered them. Because of this she is extremely affectionate and used to people. She’s only 6 1/2 weeks old, but they wanted to adopt her out as soon as possible as the kennels are getting very cold at night and the foster mother was getting a bit fed up. She was under observation for about a week, as they were worried that she wasn’t eating enough. When we called them yesterday they happily told us that the hunger strike was over, and that she was in fact now eating like a piggy! Lucy obviously misses her mom and the other kittens – she doesn’t seem to want to be away from us at all and has found a surrogate in one of our fleece blankets. She sleeps in the crook of your arm or any other warm place near you – right now she is curled up in the back of Nick’s sweatshirt hood while he works at his computer, in fact.
It was bitter-sweet getting a new kitty – while she is the cutest thing, she does make me miss my little Squeekers. But it is so nice to have a (very loudly) purring kitten in our house again. Not sure how Fang will take it when he next comes to visit, but he’ll just have to get used to her! At the moment she is so tiny she’s got to be far from threatening.
Ok, I’ll stop now – I don’t usually get this gushy, but she is so cute! I’ll let the pics speak for themselves.
Like when Rent-A-Cat (aka Fang) trots out to the back garden in the evenings when its just the two of us home alone, and just stares into the bushes for about an hour. Creepy. Or when they stare at nothing on the wall where you can’t see anything at all.
When we moved into our little place, we noticed right away that our block has been designated a cat zone. Unlike nearby blocks that feature massive dogs jumping at you through the fence, our block always has a few cats lounging on the stoops, hiding under cars or snoozing in flower boxes.
A couple of the neighborhood cats came by to check out the new tenants and to have a sip of water out of our pond, but most were a bit skittish. A well-fed looking black cat was especially curious. He was much bolder than the other cats, walking into the house like he owned the place, meowing loudly at us.
He kept coming by and became more brazen – venturing onto the couch, sitting on our laps, generally just being cute and cuddly. If we’d closed the door and he wanted to come in, he would sit outside in the dark and meow until we let him in – usually all we could see in the dark were his little white fangs. As he started spending more time with us, we asked around the neighbors to see if he belonged to anyone – we didn’t want to be rude and monopolize someone else’s cat’s affections! We never did find out where he lived, but he obviously was getting fed somewhere – we only give him attention and the occasional tinfoil ball to play with. though he never stops trying to weasel some tuna out of us! We started calling him Fang, which stuck. Anyways, it’s nice to have a (not so) little furball hanging around again! And having a rent-a-cat is a good deal, since we don’t have to worry about what to do with him when we travel – he fits in with our ‘lock-up-and-go’ lifestyle well.
Fang making himself comfortable in the laundry basket
Nick working, Fang napping