April 19th 2015 2:48 pm
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I don’t think I’ll ever forget today one year ago. My heart was breaking as I shot my last pictures of Colette and Samsara together as I waited for the vet’s office to open so I could help Colette to the bridge.
She was born mid-September 2004 and she would never make it to her 10th birthday. When I adopted her in late October 2008 she already had the cards stacked against her. I had yet to find out that she had been dumped at Manhattan Animal Care and Control because of severe Inflammatory Bowel Disorder, an auto-immune disorder that could have cost her life even then. I also had yet to find out what else could go wrong for my poor baby. We found out quickly that she also had a heart murmur and feline rhinotracheitis herpes virus. In the 6 years we spent together Colette developed hyperthyroidism at 5 years old (a condition that usually only shows up in senior animals), and by the time she was almost 7 she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Later, she developed pancreatitis and onset kidney disease. Even so, she survived 2 ½ years past her initial diagnosis. Through aggressive treatment the cancer went into remission but when it resurfaced late 2013, it came in as urinary bladder cancer, in a completely new form. The tumors were only partially operable and there was no way I was going to allow her to go back under the knife. There was nothing more that could be done but take Colette home for palliative care.
My stars, what she taught me! And the bond between us! I was smitten with her from the moment I first saw her picture on Pet Finder. She had been in quarantine for a URI so I had to wait for over a month to meet her. When they brought her out, she started to wrap herself around my legs. They put some food in the meet and greet room for her and she had a hard time choosing between me and the food. For a healthy cat this would have been a non-issue. Colette couldn’t absorb her nutrients and her body was literally starving her. Until we got her IBD under control she was always famished.
And because of the IBD she could sometimes be quite cranky—who wouldn’t be if they had constant digestive system issues?! But she was my girl. In the early years she would run to greet me as I came in the door, so happy that she’d rub up against me then race across the living room to use her scratching post and come racing back again. Did she let me brush her at first? No. Up until Colette’s last 2 years with me that was always a battle. Meds? The first few months were a bit rocky, but after that she settled down and became a dream to medicate. She and I both learned patience and empathy, and I learned way too many things to enumerate here.
Colette was a fighter, and for sure, that’s what kept her going. I have yet to convince the vets how sweet she was. She would stress and growl terribly. Her oncologist’s vet tech was the only one who saw through it all. Stacy Ann would laugh and tell me that Colette was ‘all mouth’.
I miss my baby’s being here terribly. At night, I would oftentimes drift off to sleep pulling gently at the fur on her ruff. Oftentimes she would rest her paw or her chin on my hand. I miss the umpteen number of times she would show up to keep me company in the bathroom—sitting on top of the toilet, her grooming station, hoping for some extra brushing and bonding time. I even miss the times she would pull my hands off the computer keyboard, forgetting to retract her claws. I miss how sweet and how silly she could be.
She was a good girl and a great cat. Rest in peace, my angel.
May 18th 2014 11:20 pm
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Today marks Colette’s one month Bridge Day anniversary. I’m sure I don’t need to say how painful and raw this still is for me. I miss my baby girl terribly.
This is a very belated post. I haven’t been able to bring myself to Catster to write about this, much less to set Colette’s status to ‘no longer with us’.
Many of you know from Facebook that shortly after I wrote my last post here Colette came down with a bladder infection. At first it looked like the infection was causing bloody urine. We finished one round of antibiotics and the blood was back. I had an ultrasound done and the test results threw me into a tailspin. The ultrasound showed two tumors in her bladder that were only partially operable. It became clear very quickly that the tumors had been bleeding and that was what caused the bladder infection.
Many of you remember that Colette underwent two separate surgeries and six months of chemotherapy for breast cancer. The cancer went into remission for about two years. It came back and there wasn’t much more that could be done for her. Without biopsy results our vet could only guess that this was a new cancer: transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder.
(When I last posted here I wrote that Colette had been walking ‘funny’. This had been going on since late November, but there was nothing severe enough to get a handle on what was happening. In fact, when the vet saw it in January, she first thought that it was onset arthritis. It only became clear after the ultrasound that those tumors must have already started, and started making her uncomfortable in November.)
As of her last vet visit she became so stressed that I promised my girl that she would never see another vet until it was time to help her to the bridge. Partially operable tumors without the prospect of a good prognosis were not a good enough reason to agree to any further surgery for her. I brought her home for palliative care only.
But what an incredible emotional roller coaster Colette’s last months were. As late as a week before I had to help her to the bridge, the vet and I had gotten biopsy results from blood clot tissue Colette had passed with her urine. I had agreed to the tissue biopsy because the vet hoped for a definitive diagnosis; there are some relatively inexpensive chemo pills on the market that we might have tried had we known definitively what kind of cancer. This would have been a last hope for buying Colette some more time.
During her last two months I thought I would have to help her to the bridge three times, but each time she rallied. It became clear that she wasn’t going to rally again a month ago.
Rather than recreate the wheel, below are slightly altered Facebook posts I wrote just after Colette went to the bridge.
As of Thursday evening, it had been about 72 hours she hadn’t eaten anything (or barely eaten anything) except for small handfuls of treats. I noticed over the past few days that she was also giving me a devil of a time giving her meds—not so much the meds themselves but she was gagging on the syringed water chaser.
Late Thursday afternoon, as I was getting ready to leave the house, she had been on a tour of the apartment, leaving indiscriminate small puddles of blood or urine all over the hallways. It wasn’t even a question of her missing the wee wee pads. These were all new places. Thursday night she had the most insistent amazing need to be on my lap while I was at the computer. ‘Pay attention to me, love me up.’ I don’t think I ever felt her lean so hard on my hands before. I practically couldn’t lift my fingers to type.
Something had changed drastically. Whereas before she had a sweet/funky smell from her constantly soggy, bloody, backside, it had changed to a very pungent rancid smell. I mentioned in a post that evening that I figured out that I needed to lift Colette and the wee wee pad into my lap as one unit in order to keep the pad from shifting.
She spent over 10 hours Friday holed up on her blanket in my nook—her safe place at the time I first adopted her. Before this, she had spent her time curled up in her bed. At night, she would take her place beside my pillow expecting to get chin rubs or have me gently pull at her ruff. She loved that. She’d also give gummy kisses and pull at my hand so she could put her paw over it. That behavior stopped over the last week or so. She began to spend more and more time in her bed, or lying on the blanket in her safe place.
Friday was telling. She didn’t even come out for water. I offered treats and she smelled at them and licked her lips with the wave of nausea the smell brought on. I stroked her face during that time and the same thing happened. Even so, she spent yesterday purring for me every time I came around to love her up and be with her.
Whereas before she made endless rounds to the water fountain, the litter boxes, and the wee wee pads, it wasn’t till Friday night that she even came out for water. She made a couple of rounds to the wee wee pads and didn’t leave much behind. My neighbor came in to help with Samsara’s sub-q fluids and offered Colette treats again. She came out and started fawning all over her, anticipating the treats. She couldn’t eat them. Later, I lifted her into my lap while I worked at the computer. She stayed for what she considered a polite amount of time, jumped down and didn’t come back.
We sacked out on the sofa Friday night. I lifted her up there to be with me. When I covered myself with a light blanket I accidentally covered her too. This is something she has never permitted in the past. She stayed under the blanket that night.
I offered her treats yesterday morning. She took one piece and couldn’t continue. And, as she did Friday, she was very happy to be stroked and loved, purring constantly.
A few days’ time was all it took to rob her of any quality of life she had left. She barely cried on the way to the vet, and when I took her out of her carry bag, for the first time ever, the vet actually got a chance to pet her. She didn’t growl or hiss or put up any resistance.
I helped her to the bridge about noon yesterday. She went very peacefully while I held her.
She wasn’t going to rally again. When I reviewed with the vet what had transpired over the last few days, she told me I did the right thing.
The house is very quiet despite Samsara’s being here and acting quite needy. I spent the afternoon trying to sweep, clean litter boxes, wash out her wash cloth, towel, litter mats, and get rid of wee wee pads all over the house.
(This next referred to the late biopsy of the blood clot material I mentioned above.)
I misunderstood the vet when she left a phone message saying that the lab had found ‘no neoplastic (cancer) cells’. The lab report called it severe hemorrhagic cystitis. In one sense I was relieved—ohmigosh, it isn’t cancer. Then I thought about how much the current meds regimen cost: over $400 a month. I seriously wondered how much longer I could sustain costs like that. I swear, I didn’t know what I wanted—which was worse (or better), an end to all this, or the prospect of knowing Colette would be with me for some time to come.
I needn’t have gotten my hopes up. It was cancer. The only question still open was what kind of cancer and how much longer she would be around. (I had found a study cited online—in sample size of 20 cats, the median number of days survived after diagnosis of this cancer was 261—more than 9 months. Oh my lord! Even considering that Colette had started looking like she was walking funny towards the end of November, meaning that the tumors must have started to become uncomfortable as early as six months ago, it looked like this would feel like it was endless.)
It hasn’t been good. She was incontinent (sort of), straining in the litter boxes, wee wee pads were springing up all over the apartment with each new inappropriate place she chose to pee. And it wasn’t just urine; her tumors were bleeding. During the worst of it, her backside was constantly covered in sticky blood. When things were going better, her pee was light pink. My greatest fear was that there would be an acute hemorrhage in the middle of night. Thank heavens she and I were spared that.
The last few weeks have been an endless amount of work. Each morning I got up, and before even having my morning coffee, I would start administering meds to Colette and Samsara, begin sweeping litter scattered more than 20 ft. from each of the two litter-boxes and down the hallways. Then I would scoop the boxes. From there I would start changing wee wee pads and using kitty enzymes to wash the blood and urine off floor where Colette had missed the pads, or from the path she dripped to and from all her places. In the space of 5 minutes, walking from room to room, I would find Colette had beat me to each room and was in another litter box or on another wee wee pad. She was getting antibiotic twice a day, a Chinese herbal to stop blood, prednisolone to reduce swelling, pain killers every 8 hours, Cerenia to stop the nausea and Mirtazapine to keep her eating. I was shampooing her backside using a washcloth and warm water at least twice a day—she peed standing up and everything would make its way down the back of her legs.
There was more to these two posts, but I will save that for later. Hopefully this wasn’t too disjointed. I’ve tried to cut and paste some of it so that it makes more sense time-wise. If some of the language sounds like it was written today, that’s because I didn’t change it to reflect that I wrote this a month ago.
My poor girl had the patience of Job. She endured more in her few short years than any creature should have to put up with over a span of 50 years. Through it all she was sweet (and spicy) at turns. She was a lover and a fighter. I truly believe that is what kept her going. She was a great cat—meticulously clean when it was within her power to be clean, she didn’t destroy things, and I don’t remember a day that went by without her showing me how much she loved me and how grateful she was that I adopted her. She was smart and funny. She was the kind of cat that came running to take care of you when you hurt yourself and yelped in pain. And I have never had a cat that was so incredibly wonderful about taking meds. Maybe it was how we established that relationship (she was difficult for perhaps her first two months with me), but after that, she made it so easy. She never ran away to hide, and in her last weeks I’d find her seeking me out within minutes of my beginning to look for her to give her the meds.
She was a beautiful girl with a beautiful soul. Through all her trials she taught me so much.
I will never forget the day early on when she wandered into the apartment building hallway and panicked when the door shut behind her. Even though I was there with her she was so afraid that she would never be able to go home again. Her ashes are home now. Colette is home.
Thank you so much to everyone who stopped by and left the beautiful gifts for us. I cried again, but, at the same time, your caring has made all the difference in the world.
Fly free my Baby Colette. I love you and I miss you so!
January 16th 2014 8:11 pm
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It’s been a long hard day, and now to come home to find out that our cherished links to each other will no longer be here.
We (the girls and I) may not have been around very much in the past year but never, for a moment, did we stop caring about everybody.
I have a big lump in my throat as I write this and I’m tempted to add one last “Oh nosey!” exclamation from Marrakech and mean it with all my heart.
I think I speak for us all when I say that I made cherished friendships here. The girls and I have been around since the end of 2008—beginning what would have amounted to 6 years had this forum lasted until Colette’s adoption date in late October.
Colette and I met through Catster over its Pet-Finder link. We began to make friends…I noted as I copied and saved every last diary entry I wrote, that heavy-hitter, Marrakech counted 1655 of you as part of her clowder.
It is because of all of you that I began to formulate the idea of establishing myself as a pet photographer. I’m still working on making the business lucrative, which is why I haven’t been here much.
And, because of you, I wrote what I consider to be some of the finest creative writing I will ever produce. Thank you.
You all supported us (me) through Marrakech’s long illnesses and final trip to the Bridge. You were here for us through all of Colette’s travails….cheering on every good poop and pee report and easing the pain of finding out she had cancer. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Before I sign off, (and I’ll try to log back in over the next few days/weeks) I want to:
1. Leave my e:mail so you can contact me. firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Invite you to send me a friend request over FaceBook (Carol Zytnik)
3. Invite you to visit my website: furreverphotos.com
4. Update you on Colette and Samsara
5. Hear from you letting me know how you and your fur kids are doing—I mean that.
Samsara is still doing quite well despite tipping over from onset kidney disease to full-fledged CKD. She’s lost a bit of weight, but all in all, she’s doing well. At 15 going on 16, she’s turned into very much the cranky old lady who will not hesitate to let you know she’s the alpha, to make demands, and to keep on demanding until she gets what she wants. In fact, she never shuts up! Poor me!
At times she still plays like a kitten and she’s starting to learn all Marrakech’s tricks with regard to trying to avoid taking her meds. She’s really come into her own after Keshy went to the bridge and she’s quite a character. She exasperates me and, at the same time, she makes me laugh!
Colette celebrated her 2nd anniversary of surviving cancer. She has slowed down considerably though. I would be cheering the first, if a lot of other stuff hasn’t been going on over the last couple of weeks. I just had her at the vet for the second time this week with regard to getting blood and urine tests. The first results are in. Colette too has tipped the scales from onset renal disease to full-fledged CKD. And what first appeared to be an IBD-related food issue and my fault (sort of—trying to stimulate getting her to eat—and feeding some limited ingredient chicken) may be either nothing or part of a much larger issue. The vet just sent us home with antibiotics for what (hopefully—paws crossed) is a bladder infection that’s causing a lot of blood when she urinates. But preliminary tests show her pancreas numbers are off too. Is she now adding Pancreatitis as part of her Inflammatory Bowel Disorder? Is the blood being caused by a bladder infection or an intestinal tumor? We don’t know yet.
Her walk has also been sort of lumbering in the past couple of months. The vet suspects that she’s getting arthritis.
She’s been a bit on the subdued side for the past few weeks, but she’s still Colette—a darling, loving girl who can sometimes be quite cranky. The 7.5 lb cat I adopted is now 12.2 lbs. When I first brought her home she would not cuddle; she’s now a lap cat. Sit at the computer and ignore her at your own peril—she will put holes in your calf or the top of your hand, pulling at you until you pick her up. She hated being brushed…she shows up in the bathroom demanding to be brushed at least three times a day now.
And so, until we meet again. I don’t want this to be goodbye, just the beginning of something new.
Purrs, huggies, headbonks and love,
Carol, Samsara, Colette & Angels Marrakech, Misha, B.A. & Cappuccino
October 26th 2013 1:43 am
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Okay, I see that we put my gotcha story on my profile page, but did you know that:
1. Mom had been waiting for a month to meet me? Since I had serious diarrhea and a cold, and they didn’t know exactly what was wrong with me they put me in quarantine.
2. Even though Mom had fallen in love with my pictures on pet finder, she picked out the pictures of a couple of other furrs she wanted to meet in case we decided we didn’t like each other. (She really only had eyes for me, though.) Since I was on another floor, the Bideawee folks had her meet the other furrs first. There was a silver tabby girl; she was in the communal cat room. Tabby girl’s loss; she hissed at Mom. Then there was a super-friendly orangie boy. He kept following Mom around. (Mom says she didn’t feel so bad about leaving him behind, ‘cause by the time she started filling out the adoption papers for me, she saw another lady filling out papers for orangie boy.)
3. The Bideawee folks told me I had to look my best--there was an important lady coming to meet me. They gave me a baff :( They had been trying to dry my floof when Mom walked into the shelter.
4. I don’t do very well with baffs and I do even worse with hair-dryers. They weren’t going to tell Mom about the baff, but they kind of gave up trying to get me completely dry. Mom still laughs when she remembers I was a bit soggy when they brought me in to meet her.
5. There were a few days between the time Mom first met me and when she took me home. Mom didn’t want to start out on the wrong paw when it came to our relationship, so she let Bideawee finish the antibiotics they were giving me before I came home.
6. On that Saturday, she brought the kennel cab she used to use for the boys (Cappuccino, B.A. and Misha). They put it down on the floor and I walked right in. How did I know they were going to shut the door?! That’s the first time Mom heard me talk. Until then, Mom was sure they were talking about a different cat when they described me as a “sweet chatterbox”. I don’t chatter…I tell you exactly what’s on my mind and I keep telling you until you listen. I’m pretty easy. If I don’t have anything to say, I won’t say it. But when I talk I expect the humans to listen.
7. I grumbled all the way to the subway and all the way home. So did Mom. That was the last time she used the kennel cab. I only weighed 7 lbs. back then. Mom swore I weighed 50 lbs. ‘cause I kept moving around so much and the kennel cab was so heavy. That’s when she made the decision to get the Sherpa bag, never dreaming she’d have to use it so much for me. Good thing too that she bought a lighter carry case, ‘cause I’m 11 lbs. now. (At this point, I answer to the monikers: Colette, Miss Colette [preferred], and Big Girl [OMC, what next!?].)
8. 5 years ago I didn’t know what lying on top of your human was about and that sitting in a lap was the best thing a furr could do. Now I want lots of lap time. And today, I got lots and lots extra lap time, and hugs, and kisses to the top of my head. And, I’ve been here at the computer dictating every word and occasionally applying paw to keyboard to correct some inaccuracies that crept in.
9. I HATED being brushed back then. What was I thinking???? That’s such a great way to get lots of extra attention. (Like 3 or 4 times today, on my Gotcha Day.)
10. Five years ago I was getting all sorts of medicines to control my IBD. After the chemo, IBD stopped being a major issue. (Doc Josh says that chemo works on the immune system.) I’m only on maintenance meds now. I still get limited-ingredient food (raw) and prescription food, but I only get a little prednisolone once every other day.
11. I am 9 years old now and celebrating my 5th Gotcha Day. That is remarkable. It was two years ago when Mom started noticing what seemed like it might be a lump, and 1 year and 11 months since the official cancer diagnosis was made (December 2011). At that time, untreated, they estimated I would live only 6 months more. With treatment (a lumpectomy and chemo), they gave me 2 years. Within 2 months after completing my chemo they found a small nodule along the scar line from my lumpectomy. That’s when I had my radical resection surgery (August 2012).
12. As usual, my secretary woke up late to the fact that we were supposed to be caturbrating a special occasion. As usual, we had to scramble to apply 'paw to 'puter' to acknowledge our day. Given that it is now around 4:30 AM of the morrow, we will be migrating over to the community property bed, and said secretary is thanking her lucky stars that I am with her and that I'm around to join her, and that I have allotted enough space to allow her to curl up in fetal position. In other words, thank you all for your lovely messages and gifts, we will thank you purrsonally tomorrow.
‘Good times and bum times, I’ve seen them all, and my dear, I’m still here. Plush velvet sometimes, sometimes just pretzels and beer, but I’m here. …. I’M STILL HERE!” (Sondheim)
And I’m Loving It!
September 17th 2013 4:51 pm
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Now that Mom has missed almost effury one of our special days this year, you know what? She went to check on something Norman Dreamboat #93’s mom posted to FB and she wanted to check on my page for something. You know what she found? It’s my purr day!
Do Samsara and I forget her purr day? No….. Sheesh…. I’m getting revenge. The kibble and toy guy, what’s his name…Santy Claws? I’m going to paw a special S.O.S. to him and send it via p-mail. He’s coming early to our house this year!
What was the name of that toy company? Wagster.purrs-r-us? I’m pawing a request to them to send stuff like that great cat tree and some extra donut beds and some extra….
Okay… mom apologized and sang Happy Purr Day to me. I’m a bit calmer now. Only a bit… she says she still wants to comb that matt out of my leg that she found while she was hugging me.
Anyway… it’s my 9th Purr Day. It was a year and 10 months ago that they found the Big C. And now look! It really is a day to caturbrate. I made it to my 9th Purr Day! It won’t be long before we can say that I’m a 2-year cancer survivor.
Thanks again effurybody who stopped by my page with lovely gifts—you kitties are the best!
I propose a nip toast! A santé and viva Colette! (ME)
Purrs & headbonks!
November 26th 2012 9:54 pm
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It's a red-letter date. It's just about this time last year when I was diagnosed with my breast cancer.
I had my lumpectomy on December 22nd or 23rd, so right now, a year ago, I was waiting to be scheduled for surgery.
Then I started my chemo treatments the first week of January. My last treatment was in June.
By early August, they found a small nodule along my original scar line--so I had my radical resection surgery in mid-August.
And you know what? I'm still here! And I'm doing well! Mom just made an appointment for my one-year follow up with Doc Josh. We go to see him on December 18th.
I'm now officially a one-year cancer survivor. Yippeee!
Mom would toast me with champagne, but I don't think either of us would feel very good afterwards. She says I can have another duck and goose patty, and she'll stick to her coffee. Giggles.
November 23rd 2012 1:44 am
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We hope everyfur and their pawrents had a really nice holiday.
It was quiet around here—well sort of. Mom sort of took a break from the ‘puter today. She spent less than an hour on it this morning. Us ‘girls’, Samsara and I, could see she was really tired and she had another migraine, but she was trying to rush around anyway. That’s ‘cause she still needed to make a pie to bring to our Auntie Joany for Thanksgiving dinner. She was way too tired by the end of the day so she didn’t get to make it yesterday.
We pretty much stayed out of her hair this morning and then she left us alone all evening. When she came back she plopped a shopping bag on the floor and darned if it didn’t have a box in it that smelled like the most delicious ‘burd’ we ever smelled! No sooner did we get into the bag than SHE TOOK THE BOX AWAY! :(
Oh well…. I’m not sure what Samsara got for supper, but Mom made it up to me. I’ve been liking my kibble less and less lately. Mom says I have to eat something and she finally found something that she thinks I can tolerate. She’s been crumbling a little of the Stella & Chewy’s ‘Duck Duck Goose’ doggy raw patties over my kibble. I love it! Don’t tell anybody. Our vet would not be happy with Mom if she found out.
My IBD has been a lot better ever since I started my chemo treatments. Mom decided she preferred to err on the side of getting me to eat. In other words, she found two new ‘novel protein’ sources my body hasn’t rejected—duck and goose—the food I’ve been getting is based on pork. I’ve been eating my food mixed with the doggy patties for over a week now and they haven’t upset my system. The problem we had with the kitty foods was probably because they have trace amounts of fish oil in them. The doggy patties don’t have that ingredient. Yayyyyy!
We’re still not quite back on Catster. Would you believe it? After all the help that Samsara and I have been giving Mom you would think….
I even keep trying to distract her every night by sinking my claws into her calf while she’s working at the computer. (That’s a good way to get attention. You just keep it up until they get the hint and pick you up and put you in their lap. Make sure they can only type with one hand. If that doesn’t work, headbonk the notebook across the table.)
We know, we still haven’t answered your p-mails or thanked for gifts. We weren’t around for Misha’s Bridge Day last week. Mom was thinking about him a lot. She remembered all the funny stuff he did and thought a lot about what a great cat he was. She says she misses him and his mischief terribly. If he had lived this long he would have been 22 years old.
Anyway, we have an important announcement to make. It will still take us a few weeks before Mom has completed everything she needs to do, but the most important stuff is done. We can’t advertise here in the Catster diaries, so we’re going to have to keep this to a minimum. Mom sent out her pawtography business launch announcement to over 150 e-mail addresses early yesterday afternoon and posted one to FaceBook as well. WE ARE OPEN FOR BUSINESS! We’re called ‘Friends FurrEver, Pet Portrait Photography’ and we have our own web site now!
We posted a few of the photos of me here on Catster, but there are lots more on our web site. Mom didn’t have the time to change Samsara’s photos on Catster, but there are lots and lots new photos of her too. I have to admit, she looks like a real beauty.
There are also tons of photos of all the doggies Mom has been photographing since early spring, including doggy lady’s doggy, Misty. (You know something? Samsara hasn’t been smacking her lately!) Anyway, there are also photos of some of the pet pawrents, and ones from Mom’s travels, and stuff she’s photographed in and around New York.
We just thought of something funny—if we have a pawtography business and Mom has been taking pictures of doggies, does that mean she’s been pawtographing them?
Come see us, and if you have a FaceBook account, please be sure to ‘Like’ us.
Friends FurrEver Pet Portrait Photography
Okay, back to putting holes in Mom’s leg. She’s been working entirely too hard.
November 7th 2012 8:21 pm
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Gee, I think I’ve been here before.
It smells familiar…..
Woo hoo! It’s Catster, it’s Catster, it’s Catster! Yaaaaay!
And, and they made me COTD yesterday. Yaaaaay. That’s why Mom said we could come back for a little while.
I’ve missed effurybody. And effurybody, thank you for the prezzies. You know, I’ve really missed effurybody!
It’s been too lonely here with just Mom and Samsara, and with Mom with her camera in my face all the time.
It’s going to be a little bit longer before we can stay back. Yeah, we got mad at HQ but we didn’t mean to be gone altogether. It just happened that way.
Mom has been trying to put together her pawtography business. You might remember that she got a new camera back in May. In the meantime she also got new editing software and a new lens, and she’s been working in overdrive trying to learn how to work with all the new stuff. And she was out and about for much of the summer taking pictures of (gasp) doggies! to add to a pawtfolio. She says what a journey it’s been for her. And she still thinks she’s got an awfully long way to go.
Our web site is just about done. It took about 2 months for Mom to build it herself and put up all the pictures. And now, since we have new ones we want to switch out some of them. Then we’re going to buy our domain name. Once that’s done, we’re going to announce it and give effurybody our web address so you can come visit us. Mom thinks it’ll be one more week before we’re open for business.
Okay, so what about me and Samsara? We’re both doing well.
Some of you who’ve been on FaceBook know about my operation over the summer. I finished my chemo treatments in June and we thought I’d graduated with flying colors. Then, in August, Doc Josh found a small nodule growing along the scar line of the lumpectomy I had last December.
That’s when he ordered something called a radical resection. (I didn’t know that I could be resectioned, but that’s what happened to me.) Seriously, what that means is I had an operation to remove all of my mammary ducts just in case there was some of that nasty cancer hiding out there. I had the operation in mid-August. They sliced me open all the way from my arm pit down to my leg pit. I had to stay in the hospital for 2 nights. Then, at the end of it, they lost my sections somewhere on the way to a biopsy. (Seriously.) Well, knowing would have been lagniappe anyway. It’s not like there would be anything more they could do for me if it turned out that the tissue was malignant. Mom says sometimes ignorance is truly bliss.
I was really doped up at the hospital, but not doped up enough not to know that I hated it. Stacy Ann, my vet tech, even told Mom how unhappy I was. OMC, I wouldn’t let anybody go near me. I was growling and hissing. They didn’t want to upset me any further so they didn’t try to clean up the drool from the pain killer they gave me. But the vet watching over us intensive care patients started laughing when Mom came to visit. I quieted right down and started purring for Mom.
Mom says she got back one grungy kitty when she took me home. (Tee hee—this time she couldn’t give me a bath because of the wound from the operation. She tried pet wiping me down. It took the next two to three weeks till I stopped smelling like the nasty pain killer and till she had all the mats either cut or brushed out of my coat.)
Then, the next couple of days were kind of touch-and-go. Who knows what happened. Mom took me back to the ER ‘cause I was running a really high fever. Well, by the time we got there, Mom was standing there with the (human’s) oral thermometer she slipped under my arm pit, trying to prove I even had the fever. (Another caveat—they cracked up when they saw the thermometer. It’s one of those old glass contraptions that work on how much the mercury inside expands.)
Anyway, I went back for my one-month follow-up and Doc Josh said I looked great! (But of course I do. I’m Colette, right?)
Now we’ve got another thing going on: my kibble. We think Hills must have changed the formula for the w/d. It spoils too quickly and it just doesn’t taste good. Mom’s pulling her hair out ‘cause neither Samsara nor I want to eat it. She’s been doctoring it up so it tastes better. Mom called our regular vet to talk about that. Mom says that we kitties are putting her in the position of having to choose between keeping us eating by giving us the wrong things or having us starve ourselves ‘cause we won’t eat the right things. I heard Mom say that she’s choosing in favor of us eating. Giggles.
Okay, so what else? We weren’t around for my Birthday or my Gotcha Day, and some of the paw’s Moms and Dads reminded Mom about both, but that didn’t stop Mom from realizing just how far I’ve come in 4 years.
I have a couple of confessions to make. Actually, they’re not confessions ‘cause I’m liking these things too much to be embarrassed about them. I love my brushies. Mom walks into the bathroom effury morning and so do I. I’m there, front and center, trying to get her to notice me and hoping she’ll remember my brushies. Wow—why did I ever hate them??!!!!
And, every night, while Mom is working on the ‘puter, I’m right there, raking my claw down her leg (see, she can’t ignore that. She might get mad, but she knows that the only way to get rid of me is to give in. Tee hee. She doesn’t get rid of me, she just gets a temporary respite from the pain.) You know what I want???? Lap time! I am turning into a lap kitty. I have my own style for this—I do. I will not work for it. I work hard enough with my claws—does she really expect me to jump too??? Uh, uh. The proper way to go about this is that you get your human to pick you up. I’m not jumping! Do I look like a kangaroo or something???!!! Next, I will not lay down. Even when I sit up, I spill over onto the pillow on the ‘puter chair. (There’s not enough lap :( .) I also don't want Mom working too hard so I headbonk the notebook across the table.
And the weather? We got our share of Hurricane Sandy, but we didn’t get even half of the grief that nearby areas got. We had a couple of trees come down in our neighborhood—that’s it. There wasn’t that much rain and since there was so much wind, it dried up almost as soon as it hit the ground. We live a bit farther inland. The awful flooding you saw was the result of the tidal surges. The area where we live doesn’t get anywhere near where we would have to worry about that. Ditto with regard to what happened to so many families having to go without electricity. Our neighborhood had power throughout. Our Auntie Joany wasn’t so lucky. She lives inland on Long Island. She didn’t get the flooding, but her neighborhood is prone to power outages. When Mom called her tonight she still didn’t have power. (Auntie has been charging her cell phone at work.) She’s been doing okay though. They’re buying wood for the fireplace, storing their frozen food at the food service place next to where Auntie works, and washing at the gym. Their house is dark and cold except for the room where they have the fireplace. So, they’re doing something they haven’t done in years, we suspect: spending time together as a family. Mom said it sounded like they were making the best of things and actually enjoying their time together.
And now winter snuck up on us. It was pretty warm here until Hurricane Sandy hit. Then the temperature dropped. Today we had the noreaster and it’s 32 degrees out there. It’s way too early for this kind of cold and snow in our area—and yet we’re getting between 2 and 3 inches accumulation. Again, there was no problem for our neighborhood. We heard that a lot of the families who had their power restored last week are in the dark again. Sigh. At least the storm waited until the day after Election Day. I would have pitied the poor humans who would have had to stand out there in the snow and cold if the storm would have come one day sooner.
Anyway, thank you again, effurybody. We’ll try not to be strangers. Hopefurrly, my new pics will be up tonight and maybe one or two for Samsara, then Mom will put up some more new ones for Samsara later.
Sorry we’ve been away this long.
Headbonks and huggies,
June 10th 2012 10:54 am
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We’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this since Friday. (Oh, oh!) The more we think about this the more it keeps opening new cans of worms.
Yes, there is such a thing as ‘freedom of speech’ in the U.S. It’s one of the central tenets of our Bill of Rights, Milo ‘n Furrmily. But as I’ve said before, (I think it was last August), that doesn’t mean that you can say anything you want irrespective of whether or not it hurts somebody. The Bill of Rights doesn’t give you the right to yell ‘Fire!’ in a crowded movie theater when there is no fire. You could cause a stampede needlessly and someone could get hurt.
Mom’s voice coach likes to tell her (as she’s working on what she will say between the songs she performs—that’s called ‘patter‘ in performing parlance) that you can say anything you want, it all depends on how it’s delivered. (He makes the leap of faith that one isn’t going to say something that’s just plain inappropriate or said in order to hurt someone.)
So how does all this apply? This story. We all would still have found this piece of ‘news’ extremely distasteful –it would have made us uncomfortable, upset us, turned our stomachs, gotten our hackles up and claws out equally. We still would have been hissing and spitting. But… if Catster had said something to the effect of ‘OMC, please join us in our efforts to get some kind of legislation passed to ensure that this kind of horrible practice is banned’, or perhaps taking a less active stance, ‘have your pawrents contact their legislators so they might get the Dutch government to do something about this atrocity’, or less active yet, ‘OMC, we don’t believe this! How awful!’ our anger would not have been turned against Catster. One photo would have still done the job; we didn’t need to be put through the hell of the entire video clip. (Purrsonally, we couldn’t even get more than 15 seconds into it before we couldn’t watch anymore.)
What Catster did was they came right out and told us they LOVED it! And, therein, m’furriends, lies the difference between sensationalism and responsible reportage.
Another thought: Catster, would your editors have dared to wear fur coats to a PETA meeting? We think not.
Phew! Okay, now that’s out of the way.
Here’s our next mind-bender….
We were mulling the question around in our heads of why Catster couldn’t ‘see’ how upset this would get us. Sadly, the only answer we could come up with is that it’s a reflection of society as a whole, and, perhaps, even how our pawrents have been conditioned by society since they were little.
The whole article almost resonates as something from a ‘Far Side’ comic strip. The strip is supposedly funny because it remains within the ‘safe’ realm of fantasy. It uses fictional animals that pose as you and me. What happens once you release these fantasies from the ‘confines’ of the comic strip?
Okay, the Far Side didn’t exist when a lot of our pawrents were children, but what about:
Road-Runner being beaten to a pulp by a falling anvil (which was dropped on purpose by Wile E. Coyote)
Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny bopping each other over the head with baseball bats…
In the real world those actions would be prosecuted as manslaughter, or, at best, assault and battery. (We were thinking about that yesterday when we asked about grandma being sent to the Bridge as a helicopter.)
About two years ago we met a guy who’s training to be a professional stand-up comedian. He had to explain to us that what makes stand-up comedy so funny is exactly the dark edge it has to it. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) we’re belong to the type of kitties who look at the ‘Far Side’ comic strip and go ‘OMC, how sad!’
Colette & Furrmily
June 9th 2012 10:20 am
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By now, I don’t need to tell to effurybody that our dear friends, Da Tabbies o Trout Towne, made the decision to leave Catster.
Why, Catster? Have you absolutely no sense or no feeling of what might pawssibly… pawssibly be offensive to someone who loves their kitties as much as we all do????!!!
We saw that article and video clip on the home page that upset Da Tabbies so much. IT IS HIDEOUS! It is AN ABOMINATION. Okay, each to his own with the skull, but…
Where on earth did you find the overwhelming need to condone the use of the remains of a beloved creature as a curiosity and 'objectionable' d’art???
Doing something objectionable to gain notoriety may not be illegal but it stinks. If someone made a dry poop sculpture out of their dead kitty would you still say you loved it? It stinks! Try sending a grandma off to the bridge as this ‘artist’ did and watch what happens! Bet the laws of the country where this guy lives would be on him as quick as the laws of the U.S. would be.
At least to us true kitty lovers, kitties are not a commodity; they are furrmily.
That video clip and article condones the lesser valuation of the sanctity of a creature’s remains!
The fact that the story made the news in the Netherlands is because of how notorious it was. This is tabloid press at its worst and from a country that doesn’t even give much credence to tabloid press. May we remind you that it was the tabloid press that was responsible for the death of Princess Diana.
Just because it’s out there doesn’t mean that Catster should have picked it up, much less condoned it. I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that we members of the Catster community expect every furr to behave responsibly. When HQ doesn’t behave responsibly you lose our members because you’ve lost our trust.
And now we are all paying. Our beloved friends, Da Tabbies, have left the community. It will be a long time, if effurr, before they trust you enough to come back.
Let’s just hope that this doesn’t lead to a mass defection. Bit by bit, the actions of Catster HQ are eroding the sense of trust and community you (and we) worked so hard to build.
Colette, Samsara, (Angel) Marrakech, (Angel) Misha, (Angel) B.A., (Angel) Cappuccino, and Mom, Carol
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