June 2nd 2013 6:30 pm
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Thank you for thinking of me on my birthday. Thanks for the gifts and messages. I’m a 19-year-old old furt now and celebrating at the Bridge with my angel buddies. Cake, bowling, catniptinis and lots of good stuff. But Mom is still sad about everything and hasn’t been able to be involved here on Catster. We apologize for not being around and not being here for others. You friends are in our thoughts even though we’re not active here now.
Mom is going to write now:
Happy 19th Birthday, my sweet darling boy. I really didn’t think last year was the last birthday we’d have to celebrate with you here. You were(are) the most magical cat/being. So gentle, so loving and affectionate, so adorable, so sensitive, so strong, and tough as well. You were such a source of support, always there with your loving, peaceful presence. That presence was always so comforting - whether you were sleeping on the pillow by my head, coming over to meet me at the door, or just near me in a cat bed, you gave me such a sense of peace just by being with me.
I just wasn’t prepared to lose you. As you got older, I always said to you, “how am I ever not going to have you here with me”. And I guess I just didn’t mentally prepare for that, even though I knew it was an eventuality. I’m still tormented about some of what happened at the end, and things I did and didn’t do for your health. Still wonder if it was the right time. I actually feel like we both weren’t ready that day. An unexpected death can be just as traumatic for the soul leaving as for those left behind. Maybe this will change someday, but it's in my mind right now.
I feel like I shouldn’t have these thoughts, even here on Catster with all the cat people. I feel like I should make peace with all of this....but I haven’t completely yet. Losing such an extraordinary being who I was so close to for eighteen years, I guess it’s the way I’m grieving and I am still in it.
I hope to be involved here again and maybe write more about some of the wonderful things about you and some fun stories about you. And to be here for others - which I feel very bad about now.
I love you so much, my precious baby and always always will. Forever.
(Still feels weird calling you an angel, btw).
Gumpy here again:
Mom, I love you forever and always will. One day you’ll understand that Love and the essence of who we are doesn’t end or die.
Don’t you remember when I sent you those whisper thoughts? Remember when I sent you that thought that maybe it was a relief for me that day. Be aware of those whisper thoughts...
Always love you from where I am...
October 2nd 2012 5:57 pm
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I wanted to thank everyone for all the kindness and support in dealing with the loss of my sweet, precious, beautiful boy. Thank you for everything - all the gifts, stars, rosies, pawmails, poems, photos, comments and also for diary entries.
I will be working on thank yous, but I’ve just been so physically and emotionally drained that I haven’t had a chance to send out any thank yous. I am very grateful for everything. For every comment, every kind message and gift. Having this place to share our fur babies and their lives - the joy, the fun and the pain - is a beautiful thing. It doesn’t change the loss, but it so helps knowing others understand and care. I also feel grateful to have been able to share my sweet boy with others.
Some purrsonal thank yous:
I wanted to thank Tasha and angel QT for posting very touching and caring diaries which helped ease my pain. I need to repost the writing/poem Tasha posted called "You Have Chosen Tears". So beautiful and healing.
Thank you to Sammie & Lady’s dad for the pawmails and for the lovely poems. Those poems are very comforting to read. Thank you for the caring pawmails from QT and her mom, Kaci’s mom, Natasha, Bella & Ruffy, Tully, and Monster. Thank you so much for caring and taking the time to pawmail. Thank you to Calvin and his caring Mawmee for getting wings so quickly for Gumpy. Thank you to Tigger’s mom for reaching out to me when she was dealing with so much loss herself. Thank you to Angel Alfie's mom Eva for being there that day through email and phone and trying to help me. Thank you to Tully’s mom for always caring about my tuxie boy (and me). Thank you to Lacey & Alex for posting about what was happening and for your understanding. Thank you to Annabelle for writing a diary for Gumpy. Thank you all!! I may have missed others - please let me know and I’m sorry if I did.
Thank you to Zach, Zoe & family and the GreenPaws group for the gift of the two lovely Angel's Breath Achillea plants! I’ve planted them in an area to keep them more protected through the winter, though I may end up moving them once they get established. Gumpy's Angel's Breath plants by the garden fairy. What a kind, thoughtful thing to do in memory of my boy who loved being outside. I look forward to watching them grow and bloom with abundant white flowers. Thank you!!
I also just received another wonderful, special gift in the mail. Look at this lovely and wonderful custom throw/blanket!. I cried when I opened this. Such a unique and caring thing to do for us! I love all the photos that you picked! I will cherish this and will be enjoying it so much! So wonderful to have those photos right there and in such a large scale, too. Thank you all!!
Thank you also for taking the time to comment in our diary. All of those comments mean so much and have helped me. I’m feeling a little better, but I'm still crying often about not having Gumpy physically with me and still questioning some things. The hurt will never be fully gone because he was so much to me. Even though intellectually I knew that cats don’t really have long life spans and I knew his little body had dealt with a lot which was weakening him, part of me thought he was my strong, sweet boy who had overcome so much and I thought I’d have him with me longer. Part of me thought maybe, maybe I could have him with me much longer. Maybe he could overcome more. But of course he couldn’t. I’ll write more....
I have what’s left of him back with us now. I found a nice container, but I feel numb when I look at it. It’s not him, but I’m glad ‘he’ is back here...in a some form, I guess.
Thank you also for all of the fun balloon and pirate gifties. I’m sorry we just haven’t been up to sending out those light and happy gifties. But thank you for thinking of us. I’m always grateful for that. We’ll get back to doing more of this.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for ALL the kindness, love and support. Thank you for caring and being our friends. Everything is appreciated. I’m sure my little angel boy is also grateful for the kindness you’ve shown us.
P.S. I’m sorry if I’ve left off anything or anyone.
September 16th 2012 1:42 pm
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I kept re-reading what I wrote in that last diary and it sounds as if I feel at peace with my beloved boy being gone because I talked about it being peaceful. I felt some peace because of the vet being able to come to my house and because it wasn’t an awful death, but it doesn’t change the awful reality and the deep loss, and I’m really not at peace about this.
I'm now reeling and trying to figure it all out. Did I let him go too soon? Should I have given more time for the meds for anemia to work? They can make a big difference. It feels like it was too fast. Maybe I should have given myself more time that day so I could settle with the decision and have a little more time to say goodbye and be with my baby. I should have taken him to the vet sooner! Weeks ago. I didn’t because he was eating well and seemed to be holding steady. I should have known he needed to be closely monitored at this critical time! I'm angry at the vet for not being more proactive. What if I would have started him on the anemia meds sooner? I made mistakes with his kidney disease all along and I wasn’t aggressive soon enough in starting his treatments. I feel like I was always behind in learning about this disease. Why did I mess around trying to find a different vet, more holistic? He needed stability. Was there something I was giving him, some supplement that I didn’t look into enough, that maybe had some toxic effect? Was I not careful enough and was he damaged from something, something when he went outside (which he loved), or some toxins when I was working on my house to get it ready to sell? Was moving the stress which pushed his body over the edge? I could have done that better and maybe kept him at my parents for a while. Did he miss his home so much that it set him into decline?
There is so much that’s haunting me right now.
I know I should feel fortunate to have had him for 18 years. But why did he deteriorate so quickly this year and the last few months? I could have done more for him. And there were mistakes. And did I do the right thing on Wednesday??? Was it rushed or was it a clear decision?
It’s horribly hard not to have the presence of the love he brought to every moment for 18 years. It hurts so much and it’s worse when I think of what I could have done differently. I walk in the door and look over to his little beds and expect to see him look up at me. I look around at all his food, meds and supplements. The toys. I just miss that irreplaceable loving presence. I miss that sweet face, those paws, that soft beautiful fur. The purrs and licks. I miss how he would look at me, I miss how lately he would stand in the kitchen near my legs as if to just be close to me. I miss holding him even though he had gotten so bony and fragile. I miss how he licked and sucked on my ear lobes, which he had done since day one. I miss his little click, click, click of him walking across wood floors. He was just that once in a lifetime cat. Love wrapped in fur is what I called him.
Part of me feels bad for even thinking this, because he had a good life for 18 years and he didn’t have some other awful situation or die in an awful way, and had a better life than many could hope fur. But this is what I’m going through right now. And it can be just as awful if maybe I let him go too soon, as going through an awful death experience.
I wrote more detailing what I feel I did wrong, what mistakes I made, and questioning what happened at the the end. I might post it, for ME (and for him) to get my feelings out. I have some concern posting this, but I need to put this out there since it appears to me that I wrote about being at peace with this and I’m really not.
What will help me know I didn’t let him go too soon? How can I let go of my guilt over the mistakes I made with his care? Maybe this is part of the grieving process. Bargaining is what I think it's called. It feels like more than just a phase of a process though.
September 13th 2012 4:54 am
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Gumpy left me yesterday afternoon, at home in my arms with the help of our vet. I wish I could have had him for much longer, but his little body had had enough with all he has dealt with the past 6 years. He fought for a while, but the time came and we needed to help him. It was deeply sad and my tears haven’t stopped, but it ended up being peaceful as well.
The last couple weeks he was getting more lethargic, but he was eating well so I thought he was holding steady. I had so hoped that his kidney values would remain stable or possibly improve a little with the treatments we were doing. But with the additional issue with his kidneys that happened recently I wasn’t sure.
I didn’t think he was doing too badly because his appetite was still good (he was actually eating until the day before he passed, though he could hardly stand). But by this past weekend he started going downhill. Gumpy had some arthritis and challenges walking for the last year or so, but by Saturday his back legs were so weak he couldn’t get into the litter box. The next day, Sunday, his front legs were also weak and he could hardly walk; he was stumbling. From this point I was carrying him into the litter box and by Monday not a lot was coming out. I made an appointment with my vet for Tuesday and I was thinking that maybe the leg weakness was anemia or low potassium which happens with CKD kitties, and maybe it was treatable.
I took him to the vet on Tuesday and she thought the weakness was probably more related to his CKD in general, but they looked at some of his blood values in-house and he was becoming more anemic. We started him on Epogen for anemia and I had hope that he could improve, but we also needed to see what the rest of the bloodwork looked like. Maybe he could start walking again and I could also do more for his arthritis.
But he was worse when he got home from the vet on Tuesday afternoon. Now he wasn’t really interested in food. He ate a little sliced turkey, but not any cat food. I thought maybe it was a reaction to the medication?
That last night was really difficult. He wasn’t doing well, and I had him close to me on one of his kitty beds/cushions on the bed. I was very scared that he would pass there during the night and I didn’t want to be asleep while it happened. I stayed awake for a while and then I kept waking up to check on him and it was distressing because he kept wanting to get up and move, but he couldn’t. He let out a few little meows of frustration or pain and I was scared he would die right there. I kept telling him to hold on until the morning and we’d help him.
I pretty much knew by yesterday morning. He wouldn’t eat his regular food, though he did eat a little more sliced turkey which he always loved. I still needed to hear from the vet about the rest of his bloodwork. She called me yesterday about 12:45pm and all his kidney values were way up. His body was shutting down. I had asked her about it the day before, and while on the phone she told me she had a block of time in the afternoon and she and a vet tech could come to my house to help him pass. I had to process this huge decision, but I called her back and told her we needed to do this today.
He was already leaving and we needed to help him the rest of the way.
I called my dad who is retired and he came over. Also my mom who will be retired soon was able to come from work.
I showered my precious little boy with love for an hour and a half. I told him I loved him forever. I thanked him for being here for me for 18 years and told him he was the most wonderful cat I could ever imagine. That he was such a blessing and a gift. I told him how I’d miss him so much, but that he would be at peace now. I prayed that he would be gently carried into his transition. I told him to take my love with him. I told him this and much more.
Dr. Taylor is a sweet vet which is a one reason I like her. She took her time and was gentle and caring and let me know what was happening. We sedated him, and then he left gently at home in my arms while being loved and held and surrounded by family. As much as I didn’t want that moment, it ended up being as peaceful as it could be.
Thank you so much for all the loving, caring words and gifts. It means a great deal to me and to my forever sweet boy.
It’s going to take a while for this to sink in, but I do feel a sense of peace here even though I’m in deep grief too. 18 years together is a long time.
Love and gratitude ~
Jen (and also sweet Gumpy)
P.S. Thank you to Eva and Lisa for letting everyone know what was happening.
August 18th 2012 10:09 pm
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I got tagged by Tully to play Zach's "Who are you really?!" tag game, so here goes...
From Zach: "Answer with your alter ego or as yourself.
Here's the questions just copy and paste. And tag 5 kits to play along.
"Who are you really?"
1) Tell me your funny Christmas story.
Well, Mom didn’t really do a lot of dressing us up before we came to Catster. I mean, I had a few cool t-shirts, but that was about it. So one recent Christmas she picked up a little Santa Hat. And it wasn’t the best little Santa hat and even Nadi was very worried about the situation.
Oh and there was also Christmas at Sleepers when we were hanging 20 on Christmas afternoon. Read Sleeper's diary to find out what happened next when I was sledding on the back hills.
2) Where's your favorite hiding place when playing hide and go seek?
Hiding under beds is good, also a certain closets work well to hide in.
3) What did you dream of being as a young kit?
I dreamed of just being the best me I guess.
4) What's your favorite hobby? Anything goes.
Eating is my hobby. I also enjoy the being outdoors and I still like to lick Mom’s ears.
5) Whats your one "bad habit" that you love and your Mom hates?
Hmmm, tough question! ???
Update: I used to bite Mom's nose every morning to wake her up or even if I was just snuggling with her on the bed. Now I don't really do that anymore. I did this all of my life up until this year. And even though Mom didn't really like it, now she misses me doing that and it makes her sad I'm not biting her nose anymore...Just don't have the same energy.
6) If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go?
I’m really a homebody and enjoy being home. All of us cats who have great forever homes are lucky and I like being right here, but it would be fun to time travel back to ancient Egypt where cats were revered.
7) What is your guilty pleasure? Food, skirts and suits or cars? What?
I’m a connoisseur of different forbidden foods. Yum, corn on the cob!
Mom had some watermelon and honeydew melon recently that I was interested in. Mom also seemed very nervous when I wanted to try some chocolate this past spring.
8) What is your favorite make believe monster? And yes girls, unicorns and fairies are included. Post a pic of this mysterious beast.
Fireworks! Hate 'em!
Not fond of vacuum cleaners either.
9) What is the one dreaded thing you have to do at home? Babysitting, taking baths, entertaining guest....what is your dread?
My dread is being poked with needles. I got poked to get my insulin for a few years until my pancreas started working again and I got a reprieve, but now I have to get poked again to get fluids for my kidney problems.
Try getting poked everyday with a needle!
10) We are going to have coed ships this year so which ship do you want to be on mine, or Zoes. Gris will be having a small ship (more like a dingy) for all our kits to be on.
Either one... I’ll be all ready for Talk Like a Pirate Day.
My buddy Tully said I look like Keith Richards here. Yeah!
Whoever reads my diary gets tagged.
August 6th 2012 9:06 pm
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My sisfur and I wanted to say thank you for the yummy cakes! We weren’t online on last Wednesday evening on 'Dogust 1st' and we didn’t know how long the cake gifties were available the next day, so we didn’t get to send any out before they were gone. :(
But thank you for thinking of us and sending all those cakes! All kinds of cake deliciousness: chocolate, coconut, red velvet, and yummy chicken cake, shrimp cake and more.
*licking my chops thinking about all those cakes*
How about a Caturday thing or something for us cats?
July 25th 2012 4:18 pm
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We got the info back about the fluid around my kidneys. There weren’t any cancerous cells and there wasn’t any bacteria or sign of infection in the fluid. But Dr. K, another of the girlie vets at the Cat Clinic who does ultrasounds, said there could still be infection more deeply within the kidneys even though it didn’t show up on this fluid analysis. Since we’re not sure if I have a kidney infection, I am taking the antibiotic I’ve been getting for two weeks. Taking pills isn’t a big deal for me as I will ‘eat’ them when they’re wrapped in something tasty like butter (what I’m getting at the moment).
Mom thinks I’m doing better and maybe that antibiotic has been helping me. I’m a little perkier and I’m more interested in what’s going on. I had been just wanting to sleep (and eat) and I had been very lethargic before this incident. I haven’t been doing any weird breathing and we’re not sure why that happened. Maybe this fluid around my kidneys combined with other stressors just pushed me over the edge that night when we went to the ER.
AND I actually played with a couple catnip toys on my own for the first time in weeks! I hadn’t been wanting to do much of anything since we’ve moved. Mom was happy about this!
Mom kinda wishes that there had been more evidence of a kidney infection since it might have explained part of why I was feeling so poorly. But we are certainly happy that it didn’t turn out to be something worse.
Dr. K said this fluid around my kidneys is what is known as “perinephric cysts”. When Mom looked these up online it was most often referred to as “perinephric pseudocysts” because these aren’t true cysts, but fluid encapsulating the kidneys. These cyst-like fluidy things can occur with cats with kidney issues, but it’s not that common and not well understood why it occurs. She said there isn’t really anything that can be done with these cysts/pseudocysts. If they are drained with a needle, the fluid will eventually just come back. Some cats have surgery to drain these cysts, but for older cats, it’s not really advisable. So I have to live with these fluidy things around my kidneys, unless they decide to dissipate.
Dr. K said these may or may not make my kidney disease worse. It’s just somewhat more stressful on my kidneys to have this fluid there. She also said they are often urine filled. Pee?....weird. Is this why I’m peeing more than ever?
Concerning the enlargement of my heart, Dr. K said that as cats age the heart can sometimes fall and sit further on the sternum. On the x-ray, the vet at the ER did show Mom how my heart was taking up more space on that bone. So that could be what’s happening with my heart. We may have another echocardiogram, but we’re going to see how I’m doing and see what my regular vet thinks. Dr. K also said that even cats with heart issues can usually tolerate a small amount of fluids (50-75 ml), which is about what Mom had been giving me. So we’re going to will continue with fluids, but maybe a little less frequently.
Mom feels pretty relieved since she had been worrying about much worse things after the info we initially received. But I am still dealing with serious kidney disease, and it’s a disease that generally doesn’t get better, though it can be stabilized. So our hope is that with treatment and care I can hang tough even though I only have 25% or less of my kidney function left.
I know that last statement sounds bad, but we’ve read on a few websites that even though much of the kidney function is gone, some cats can handle this reduced function...sometimes for quite some time. But this disease has certainly taken it’s toll, as I am much weaker than I’ve been even a year ago. But Mom and I are working together to keep me feeling as good as possible.
Thank you again for all the purrs for me! I’m very grateful for that and to be able to have this place to share these experiences and for the furiendship and support. Sorry this update was a little delayed and for being away for a few days again.
July 12th 2012 6:58 pm
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We had an ultrasound done this afternoon and I wanted to let you know how it went. There is a bit a good news. The fluid that seemed to be throughout my abdomen appears to be only encasing my kidneys. There is a lot of fluid around my kidneys, so on the x-ray at the ER it looked to be throughout my abdomen. This is good news because my regular vet told us that anytime older cats get fluid in the abdomen, it’s not good news. There is usually another disease present. Cancer or she also said FIP could be a possibility. FIP can show up in older cats because our immune systems are weaker. This really scared Mom.
This fluid around my kidneys could be from a kidney infection or from advanced kidney disease or cancerous cells. The vet who did the ultrasound, Dr. K, wasn’t leaning as much toward cancer, but anything is possible. She took out some of the fluid to have it analyzed and we’ll get that information in 3 - 5 days. We’ll be able to tell if there is infection or if there are cancerous cells.
This fluid made some things a little difficult to see during the ultrasound, but Dr. K saw most of my organs. The issue with my kidneys was what was most obvious. Mom feels a little better today because she was thinking the worst after what Dr. T told us about cats with ascites (fluid in the abdomen). She was very scared about FIP or cancer. But now we have hope that maybe it’s a kidney infection.
I still have serious kidney disease and my kidney numbers are up. My BUN really jumped up. It’s 166. That’s very, very high. My phosphorus jumped to 9.8 which is also very high, but my creatinine didn’t go up as much, it’s 3.2. Maybe these numbers are elevated more because of whatever else is going on in my kidneys and perhaps they can come down again and I can feel better. Dr. T was very surprised I still was interested in food with these numbers. She said I was a “strong, strong boy.” I do love my food.
We still need to figure out why my heart is showing some enlargement. I’ll probably be getting another echocardiogram from Dr. Brown, the cardiologist. I need sub-q fluids, but we need to make sure my heart can handle them.
I’m really tired, weak and lethargic after all this. I gave Dr. K a lot of lip and I was even biting Mom as she was helping hold me during the ultrasound. But I couldn’t hurt her too bad because I only have one tooth and the little ones left. Geez, I mean, I’m an old guy and they had me laying on my back for so long doing weird stuff to me. Plus they shaved my tuxedo again. I had to give them as much lip as I could. I did eat at the vets in my carrier after they were done. I hadn’t had anything since 11 pm the night before so I was hungry.
Dr. K wants me to start on an antibiotic right away, even before we get the fluid analysis results back.
Thank you again for all the purrs and concern for me. I felt a little bad about having this happen during a happy time, but I felt all of the purrs and love and it really helped.
July 9th 2012 2:49 pm
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Just after midnight I had to take Gump the emergency vet hospital. He was breathing rapidly and panting, and I was pretty scared. He had been doing some open mouth breathing over the last week or so, which I thought was mostly related to the horrible heat we’ve been having (90s to 100+ degrees for the last two weeks), and also maybe stress from moving and those stoopid fireworks....But it’s more than just the heat.
We are fortunate to have a 24-hour emergency vet hospital only minutes from where we live now. They took x-rays, and Gumpy has fluid in his abdomen and his heart is also showing some enlargement. This is why he was having difficulty breathing. The emergency vet (who was wonderful, by the way) couldn’t determine what is causing the fluid build-up. It could be related to his heart (he’s always had a murmur) or something else could be causing it. Cancer is a possibility. I’ve been giving him a small amount of sub-q fluids almost everyday for his kidneys and there can be issues with giving cats fluids when they have murmurs or other heart problems. However, he didn’t have any excess fluid build-up in his lungs which is typically seen with a cat whose heart can’t process excess fluids. The ER vet said this is unusual and we’re going to have to get an abdominal ultrasound and also probably see the cardiologist again and get another echocardiogram to find out more of what it is going on. I’m stopping the fluids until we find out more of what’s happening. We’re seeing the regular vet tomorrow.
The good thing is that by the time I had gotten him in the carrier he had stopped the panting and his breathing slowed down. He’s also still eating well. I brought some treats with me and he wanted them every time I gave him one while we were there. The ER vet said the fact that he was eating was very good and she said, “I like that he’s giving me some lip.” (LOL, lip = growling, which he wouldn’t be doing he if he was doing horribly). He does seem better today and I only saw him pant once and it was over quickly.
I had wanted to write a little more about Gumpy’s gotcha day and how it’s really nice to be COTW at this time. It’s nice because I know my little boy is dealing with a lot healthwise. Even though he’s has been resilient with other illnesses and health crises’ over the last 5 years, I know there’s a limit to how much his little body can handle. So I'm grateful to have this Cat of the Week experience now while he still has some quality of life.
I wasn’t sure if I should write a diary about this, but I decided to let his friends know what’s going on in case things deteriorate. Maybe we can get this figured out and he can bounce back again, but I just don’t know. Plus he still has serious kidney disease and we’ll see how much his numbers have changed and likely increased. He’s always been a little trooper, but there is a limit.
Thank you again for everything. I appreciate all the goodness and catster love this week. We're still getting our thank you's out.
P.S. By the way, all my captions on my photos keep disappearing. Anyone else having problems? This is the second time this has happened. Sigh.
July 7th 2012 6:20 am
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Thank you, everyone, for all of the love this week. Thank you for all the gifts and kind messages and for the new friend invites. This has been really special and actually overwhelming. I’m so grateful for everything and I hope I can do the same for you.
Well, it happens that today is also my Gotcha Day. It’s cool that I get to be Cat of the Week during this special day, but I wanted to say that you don’t have to send me more gifties. They're always fun and pawsome to get, but I feel very loved already. I do have a special story about this day which Mom wrote about last year, but she’s going to come back later and write a little about it and why all of this means so much right now.
Thank you, sweet friends and thank you Catster!
I love you all right back....
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