Googly Cat Remembered

I shared this little anecdote on Facebook one year ago, a few months before I started Purry Home Companion. It’s been three weeks since I said goodbye to Boudicca but she will always be my beloved Queen B in my heart.

This exchange happens nearly every time I open the sliding laundry doors…

Boudicca: Mama, whatcha doing? Can I help? I must be involved in every activity you do!

Me: Moving laundry.

Boudicca: I must explore this place for the 4,638th time! *sneaks in as I close the doors*…Um, Mama? Why is it dark in here? Mama? OMG I’ve been abandoned and imprisoned forever! I am now INCREDIBLY CONCERNED. Meow. Meow. Mreow. MROW.

Me: Boudicca, you’ve been in there for 2.3 seconds. Calm down. *I open the doors*

Boudicca: I must make epic prison break! I am FREE AT LAST! *darts out of laundry closet and proceeds with highly googly zoomies around the house*

In seventeen years, Boudicca hasn’t learned much and it’s still hilarious.

Garrus’ Follow Up Vet Visit

As you may remember, Garrus (aka Gentleman Cat) underwent extensive dental surgery two weeks ago. Dr R wanted to check how his mouth was healing and determine the next steps needed to make Garrus a healthy and happy cat.

Aaron and I were pleasantly surprised that we were able to get Garrus into the carrier in under 10 minutes and with remarkably minimal fuss. He wasn’t too happy about it and there was at least one pitiful meow saying “I want to lodge a complaint with the management about this!”. He didn’t meow at all in the car but let me know he was quite alarmed when we were in the vet office lobby. “Excuse me but there are dogs in here and I do not like this at all!” he seemed to say. Thankfully we were put in a room lickedy-split and instantly the complaints stopped.

When a tech came in to ask me questions, I told her that he has been eating, hasn’t displayed any lethargy, and has not vomited or had any diarrhea. In general he eats about 1 can of wet food a day but frequently when we offer him more food during the day, he faffs about and seems anxious. While he expresses gratitude by being affectionate and sweet, he won’t always eat the food we offer him. We’ve experimented with how we present the food (finely chopped, at room temperature instead of right-out-of-the-fridge cold) and ensure that Charlie doesn’t come in and make him nervous. I reported that Garrus sometimes appears ill at ease around Charlie, who, in his desperation for a playmate, will occasionally get most persistent and end up pestering Garrus.

The tech took him in the back, where she weighed him and took his temperature, and brought him back to the room, where Dr R examined him. I was pleased to learn that Garrus gained 0.6 lbs in two weeks! Most of the sutures dissolved on their own but she noted that there is still some inflammation (stomatitis) in his mouth. The treatment for this is steroid therapy, and she wants to see him again in three weeks to monitor his progress. In response to the anxious behavior I reported, Dr R thought that Zylkene, a natural supplement that helps pets manage stress, might be useful. We had given the boys this when we first adopted them to help them acclimate to the house and overcome shelter shock. I hope that these treatments help Garrus feel better all around.

Dr R reported that Garrus behaved exceptionally well and acted rather calm, huge improvements from how withdrawn and skittish he was when we adopted him 10 months ago. Cat parent achievement unlocked! He didn’t fuss at all while being weighed or getting his temperature taken, and, while not happy about getting his mouth examined, did not freak out. We had no issue getting him back into the carrier either. On the car ride back I repeatedly told him that he was such a good boy. (Yes, cats need to be told this too, not just dogs.)

About an hour after I let him out, I found Garrus investigating the carrier on his own.

He moved his head up as I snapped this photo, showing me his vampy teeth.

“I am pleased to report that the carrier is clear of any dangers, madam. Thank you for your cooperation.”

This is one of his favorite sunning spots. Sometimes after he finishes a lounge like this, he comes into my office for a visit. I love petting his soft, sun-warmed fur.

Hug Your Cat Day

Last night a storm blew through our area, filling the night with lots of lightning, thunder, and heavy rain. It knocked the power out for a few hours too. The storm’s noise and emergency weather alerts woke us up. Aaron went into the living room to get his phone and found Garrus lounging unperturbed on the ottoman. Charlie, however, was ill at ease and sought us out. It was a pleasant surprise to find, while partly asleep, Charlie eagerly searching for my hands and purring loudly when I started petting him. I sleepily hugged Charlie and he settled in my arms for about a minute, kneading, before leaving to investigate what rubs Aaron had to offer.

This morning I had an ottoman visit with Garrus. I was able to place him on my lap and give him neck and chest scritches, which he loves, as well as stroking his back and kissing his head. Cue the warm fuzzies when I heard him purring.

Hug Your Cat Day is a fun excuse to give your feline companion a little extra love. If your cat is not a cuddler or into being held, respect that. Instead try a play session, tasty treats, back strokes, and/or quality bonding time together.

We Will Snuggle Whether You Like It or Not

Several times a week, Aaron and I find a snuggle in progress. Sometimes Charlie and Garrus sleep next to one another while at other times, they snooze in a yin-yang circle or fallen dominoes. Frequently Charlie uses Garrus as a pillow, although Garrus does not seem to mind.

Earlier Aaron remarked, “You should come check out this snuggle.” In our house, snuggles are very serious business so I had to investigate. When I did, I laughed and had to snap a photo.

We don’t think Garrus was consulted before Charlie flopped on him. Nevertheless they slept like this for a while.

This was a couple of hours later. If you look closely, you can nearly see the z’s floating off of them.

Darling Boys

It’s strange to come home and not find Boudicca there. I particularly miss her when it would normally be our regularly scheduled lap time in the evening. I love Garrus and Charlie dearly but they are not yet lap cats. We’re working on that and probably will be for some time. With Boudicca I was relatively spoiled, since she was by nature a perfectly affectionate lap cat.

Boudicca’s absence is also noted in her pink bed in the master bedroom and her box-bed in my office. She used to lounge on the window seat too, chiefly to birdwatch, receive adoration, be brushed, sunbathe, and doze contentedly. She was a most benevolent office supurrvisor.

Charlie and Garrus have not taken up the mantle of office supurrvisor or designated reading buddy. My heart nevertheless shone with love and happiness when they slept on the window seat for four hours this morning.

Typically Charlie will come for brief visits, hang out on the windowsill, look outside, and, of course, receive rubs. I was most pleasantly surprised and pleased when Garrus sauntered into my office for an extended visit.

Garrus had investigated Boudicca’s empty bed before but this afternoon was the first time I had seen him get in it.

They look rather smug, don’t they?

Farewell to Boudicca

Shortly before 3 o’clock on Friday afternoon, my beloved Queen Boudicca Mata Hari Sophia passed from this life and found peace. It was dreadfully sad. Boudicca was terminally ill with multiple chronic, incurable, and progressing medical conditions, and she was suffering as a result. I had to to be her advocate and, out of love and duty, I had to act on her behalf and end that pain. The tears flowed and ebbed. Boudicca passed painlessly away, hopefully with the knowledge that her human family loved her fiercely.

I knew this day was coming and began to prepare myself mentally and emotionally weeks beforehand. I had to make a hard choice but in the end it was the right one, and I don’t regret that choice. Her human mother–me, the human she chose all those years ago at the ASPCA–loved her enough to let her go.

Afterward, everything seemed surreal and out of focus. Happysad feelings are difficult to articulate in coherent sentences. I felt a sinking feeling in my chest–sadness and loss. At some point, relief trickled over me. Comfort knowing that Boudicca was in good company with the rest of my family’s pets that have gone over the Rainbow Bridge. Gratitude for the 18 years of loving companionship and joy that she brought to my life.

It still feels mildly surreal to accept that my sweet baby girl no longer lives among us. Her pink beds lie empty, vacant thrones upon which Queen Boudicca lay in languid repose. In the evening, the boys aren’t interested in or know how to enjoy lap time yet. Charlie, for example, would probably enjoy it quite a bit but he’s rather wiggly. The boys certainly like to snuggle with one another but they’re not snugglebugs with humans yet. We’re working on that. I love Charlie and Garrus deeply (every pet in my house always winds up slightly over-loved) but they do not and will not replace Boudicca.

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of little things I will miss about her. Without fail, Boudicca greeted me when I came home, yammering and dancing around my feet until I picked her up. She turned into a limp slinky accordion cat when held. Her purr rumbled, punctuated with trills, when she was filled with lazy contentment (or feline entitlement), especially when I kissed her in between the ears. I would sometimes wake up with her camped out on my chest in a smug cat loaf. I miss her quirks, like when she went through a kleptomaniac phase and repeatedly stole my grandmother’s light blue mohair scarf, complete with matching hat and gloves, and absconded with them to her tower. She became an early riser and pawed me awake. Her eyes turned lantern bright Maleficent-esque green, as though she was plotting nefarious deeds and how to take over the world…just as soon as she finished her nap. She sprawled across books and newspapers and refused to budge. She explored new boxes with relish or took her responsibilities seriously when testing a crocheted blanket for softness and nappability. When I spoke on the phone, Boudicca contributed her two cents to the conversation. Queen B was an excellent reading buddy, especially on quiet rainy days.

Rest in peace, Queen B. I love you.

P.S. I am very grateful for all my friends and family that reached out to me and offered me hugs, comfort, and condolences. Your kindness and thoughtfulness is truly touching. Thank you.

Garrus’ Procedures

Yesterday Garrus was abducted by aliens! Of course I’m kidding but I’m sure he felt like that happened. He went to the vet, where he had an echocardiogram and extensive dental surgery. Good news: he does not have primary heart disease but has a slight enlargement in his left atrium. We will continue monitoring his heart, and if necessary, put him on heart medication.

I caught a snuggle in progress the day before Garrus’ surgery.

In order to treat his severe stomatitis and dental disease, Garrus had 17 teeth removed. Don’t worry–he kept his canines so he can still make his vampy smile. Dr R called to ask to keep him overnight since he was super groggy and a quiet place to recuperate on a heating pad. (Let’s be honest, Charlie would be all up in his business the moment he got home.) I was content to leave my dear Gentleman Cat in quite capable hands, where he could be closely monitored for any swelling and his pain managed by professionals. Since Dr R is amazing and super-helpful, she agreed to give him extra love on my behalf. (It’s hard to resist petting him since his fur is so plushy. The techs remarked that his fur is as soft as a rabbit’s, so naturally his new nickname is Bunny Cat.)

We picked him up this morning. He was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, even in the carrier, but apparently forgave us for taking him to the vet. When we let him out of the carrier, Charlie rejoiced and trotted merrily over to greet him, then proceeded to escort Garrus as he toured the house to ensure everything was right where he left it. We noticed that Garrus moved with an extra jaunty bounce in his step and–surprise, surprise!–he started talking like a squeaky chimpanzee and asking for food less than five minutes after he got home! He hasn’t had any issues eating so far.

“Hi Mom and Dad! I’m happy to be home! May I have scritches please?”

Dr R said that, while his mouth heals, he needs to eat only wet food (no problem there) and after his sutures heal, we can transition him to kibble again, if he’ll take it, though he may prefer the texture of wet food. Since he lost weight over the last couple of months and remains underweight, Dr R recommended that we increase his caloric intake to two cans of wet food a day. Another option would be to give him kitten wet food. I expect we’ll have a very happy boy.

“Om nom nom” ~Garrus (in the most polite fashion, of course)