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Age Is in the Mind

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A salute to a special lady

March 27th 2014 11:12 am
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As some of you may know, the lovely Jezebel made her journey to the Bridge this morning. Her passing will leave a big hole in her human's heart.

Jez was almost 21 years old, an age that few of us reach, and a testament to the loving care she received. She was a real character, a beautiful tortie girl who could crack wise and talk sweet. I had the pleasure of dancing with her a time or two, and she was as light on her feet as a thistle seed in the wind.

I know her many friends on Catster will miss her dearly. We are proud to welcome her to the Bridge, and congratulate her on a long life, very well lived. Rest now, sweet Jezebel.


The orange angel team

January 11th 2014 8:11 am
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Well, here we are at the Bridge, me and my brother Patch, and Kaci Sunshine and Big Harry and Charlie, along with Calvin and Taffy and Yolo and Sonny Bono and Baci and Hooch and lots of other beautiful redheads.

We love all the angels here, but we redheads have a special bond. We're proud to welcome Natalie the Natcat. I think she wants to be team captain. That's fine with us.


Mom cleaned out her camera

September 7th 2013 8:55 pm
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She found some pictures of me and Bear and Severian that she didn't know she had, so she posted them. The one of me curled up next to her on the couch made her teary-eyed, and she was surprised that when taking a picture of me in front of her computer screen, she also got one of the few decent pictures of Sev that she has ever taken.


This is an amazing place

July 23rd 2013 8:22 pm
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Friends, you warm my heart with all your good wishes and purrs for me and my furmily. Mom is astonished at the outpouring of love, and poems and special music and remembrances left on my page. I will thank each and every one of you, though it may take me a little time. I was very tired and sad when I arrived at the Bridge, though the love that surrounds me here will surely perk me up in no time.

I'm going to train as a guardian angel, with some help from the likes of Calvin, Buddie and Alex, and my first guardee is going to be Tigger, that handsome Chicago boy who looks so much like me at his age.

It will take my earthly family some time to adjust to my absence. I checked in on Mom last night in her dreams. Had to lick away a few salty tears. But she woke with a happy memory of me in her heart. Good stuff, that angel dust.

My angel sisfur Onyx has shown me her fluffy home in the clouds, and I took a nice walk among the rainbows with angel brofur Patch.

Sending much love to you all.


Farewell to a brave angel (long, sorry)

July 21st 2013 1:58 pm
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I'm borrowing Jasper's diary for a day to let all his friends know that he went peacefully to the Bridge this morning.

He had an ultrasound scheduled for Tuesday, hopefully to find what ailment was causing him to lose weight so rapidly and become so weak and lethargic. But over the weekend, he deteriorated so quickly that we knew we had to let him go. That ultrasound wasn't for him -- it was for me, to reassure myself that he was dying of something that the vet couldn't reasonably be expected to fix. Jasper was far too old and weak to undergo surgery or chemotherapy. I didn't see the point of subjecting him to the final indignity and stress of a shave and an ultrasound.

And he let me know he was ready to go. When I would syringe-feed him, he would open his mouth dutifully and swallow the food, but he would look sadly at me and then turn his gaze away, looking fixedly over my shoulder, as if he saw something there. I hope it was not the angel of death. I hope it was his friends from the Bridge, come to show him the way.

So here is my little tribute to Jasper, my JazzerDazzer, Jazzie, Jazzbo.

I got him as 10-week-old kitten. A friend's ex-college roommate had a cat about to have kittens. The mom was a cat they had jointly owned in college. My friend went to witness the birth, and came back to announce that the litter included two orange tabbies (he knew my weakness for orangies). I went to see the kittens a few weeks later. One of the orange tabbies was gorgeous -- the color of a bright copper penny, with prominent dark orange tabby striping. The other was paler, with fainter striping. I put dibs on the copper-colored boy and said I'd be back to get him when the kittens were ready to leave their mother. I even pre-named him Russell, in tribute to another orangie once owned by a friend.

But when I went to pick up my new kitten, only the pale orange tabby was left, the other having been given away just that morning. "That's what I have left," the queen's owner said brusquely. "Take it or leave it."

The kitten looked up at me, eyes wide. Leave ME? he seemed to say. Well, no. Of course not. I took my new furry friend home.

Russell didn't seem like the right name, though. So at home, I picked up my little boy kitten and started running through the alphabet, just to see if there was a letter he liked. He meowed loudly at "J." I kind of thought I might give him an artist's name, but the only one I could think of that started with a "J" was Jasper Johns. He meowed in obvious delight and headbutted me. (Well, maybe he was just hungry and thought he'd get the naming over with.)

"Johns" was clearly going to be rendered as "John" or "Jones" by everybody, so it became Jasper instead.

Cats are singular and all wonderful in their own way, but Jasper was a delight from the start. For one thing, he had the loudest walk ever. Even when he was a three-pound kitten, you could hear Jasper striding purposefully down the hall. Thomp-thomp-thomp. It was as if he had on cowboy boots. People would see him walk into the room after stomping down the stairs and be amazed that he wasn't a Rottweiler.

And he was the most social cat I've ever had, bar none. He didn't know a stranger. He came with me to the front door when the bell rang, meowed a greeting to whoever it was, and proudly claimed them as his own by rubbing against their legs. When craftsmen came to the house to fix the furnace, install a light or whatever, he was their attentive assistant, even crawling under the kitchen sink with the plumber to inspect his work.

It was a different story with vets. For many years, his chart had a bright red "caution" sticker on it, and he was pretty good at demanding a drop for a drop when blood work was on the agenda. He did mellow out eventually with one vet, and a couple of favored techs. I learned to schedule his appointments when they were on duty.

He loved his outdoor walks on a harness. I regret that it was so hot and he was so weak that I couldn't give him that one last outdoor experience.

He welcomed new fursibs without a single hiss, and they returned the respect to the very last. Even when Jasper's dish held prized salmon or baby food or yummy soft kitten food, the other cats kept their distance and didn't nose in. They ate the leftovers only after I transferred them to their own dishes.

Well, I could go on, but this is already too long and it's getting hard to see the screen for the tears.

Goodbye, Jasper. I love you. You already know this, of course, but I'm glad I didn't get the other kitten.


The mystery continues

July 17th 2013 2:00 pm
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The results came back from the second battery of blood tests the vet gave me. And they were all negative. I do not have pancreatitis. I am not deficient in folate. I do not have an overgrowth of bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract.

I am a very sick kitty, but in the laboratory results I look remarkably healthy.

The vet is now suggesting X-rays to look for any masses that he cannot feel. Meanwhile, Mom continues to feed me with a syringe, because I am now refusing even to lick at the baby food.


Thank you, all my wonderful friends!

July 12th 2013 7:36 am
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I am so grateful for all the paw power, good wishes and good advice. I went back to the vet today for the fasting blood test (unfortunately it was a new tech, and after he blew one vein and failed to get blood from another one, Mom had to ask for a different tech).

The vet did check my teeth last week when I went in, and although they could use cleaning (fat chance!), he didn't see any problems there.

Today he checked my eyes, because Mom has noticed that they stay dilated most of the time. The retinas are OK, and I react to light, so the vet says I am not blind. I do have cataracts, though, which are blocking some light, so the eyes need to stay more dilated than usual. Getting old is pigeon poop.

The best news? I gained three ounces since Saturday!

Your purrs are working, my friends. Thank you SO MUCH!


A (not entirely) wasted vet trip

July 11th 2013 7:48 am
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So Mom dragged me back to the vet yesterday, over my protests, to have some more blood taken. And AFTER the tech drew the blood, the vet said that I had to be fasting for this test. Seems like he could have mentioned that earlier!!

Now I have to go back tomorrow and do it all over again.

But Mom did have my blood pressure checked, and it was just borderline high. The vet said he would do it again tomorrow and decide if I need to take medicine for it or not.

Meanwhile, Mom has resorted to syringe feeding. It's not that I don't try to eat on my own, but I just don't get enough food in.


My mysterious ailment

July 8th 2013 8:19 pm
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The results came back from my blood tests today. My thyroid level is right where the vet wants it to be, my blood glucose is fine and my creatinine, BUN and urine tests were unchanged from the last test (mildly high BUN, moderately dilute urine and high normal creatinine). The vet said the amylase level was a little elevated, which could suggest pancreatitis, but it wasn't high enough to be definitive on that.

So I have to go back and let them steal some more blood, to check pancreatic enzymes, B-12 and folate. I'm feeling a little better, though, so maybe I'll make them give up a little blood, too.

One thing Mom and Dad have both noticed, though, is that while I'm back to yowling (sort of softly, but still yowling) for food and eating it, I seem to have a hard time finding it. I will walk right past my dish and stick my nose in Bear's dish. If Mom puts a spoon under my nose, though, I will eat the food right off it and even bite the spoon.


Back from the vet.

July 6th 2013 1:39 pm
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Thank you so much, my friends, for your purrs, POTPs and good wishes. Mom and I are both big believers in the power of karma, and your warm thoughts give me strength.

The vet is alarmed, but also puzzled. I have lost more than two pounds since my last exam in March (most of it, Mom says, in the last month). But my thyroid level at that exam was actually a little low. He reduced the Tapazole dose a little bit then, but not much.

I have no fever, and the vet could not detect any abnormalities in my heart, lungs or abdomen. My heart was beating a little fast, but he said it was not out of the usual range for a cat undergoing a vet exam. He said the kidneys felt a little small, but not a lot small.

I got an antibiotic for my stubborn skin infection and some cyproheptadine to perk up my appetite. Also some subq fluids. They took some more of my blood, of course, but I didn't feel up to taking some of theirs in return.

When we got home, though, I put up a good fight against taking the cypro. I mean, I'd been sitting in the vet's office for an hour and half. I got poked and prodded and stuck with needles, and I was cranky. She eventually got the pill down, but now wishes she had gotten the kind she could rub in my ear. She told the vet I was easy to medicate and, until today, I was. But enough is enough.

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Jasper, Angel Dreamboat #49a


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