Saturday, March 11, 2017

Never Gets any Easier to say Goodbye

This is a photo of Max back in July 2015when he had just been with us a few months after my Dad's death.  We knew he was old already and wanted to give him a loving home for what ever years he had left. He fit into the household from the first day with us...and in the last few months he often had a little white companion (Angel or Sadie) sitting beside him.  Even Sebastian, our"scaredy cat", had learned that Max was more bark than bite and he would gingerly walk close to where Max was laying down.

This last week he had not seemed well - and was walking more slowly than usual on our morning walks. We had an appointment this morning with our vet and fully expected to be leaving with some medicine to help Max feel better.  Unfortunately the vet found a mass in the lower part of Max's stomach. An X ray also showed a large cancerous growth further up in Max's lungs.  He had been having a little trouble breathing a few times but it quickly passed.  He was a strong dog and gave little sign of what must have been going on inside.

We said goodbye to Max at the vet clinic, in the same room we had seen our beloved Spike pass on over a year ago. It doesn't get any easier losing another member of our furry family  - but we will always treasure the memories and the unique characteristics each one brought along with them.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Two by Two

Sadie has decided that Max's rug makes a nice snoozing spot, regardless of whether Max is simply stretched out relaxing or having his dinner.  Surprisingly, she has no fear of Max, even given that he is the largest dog in the household.  At the beginning of Max's time with us, we kept moving her away to a different part of the living room but she kept coming back.  Max has never shown any concern - basically gives her a quick look and then ignores her.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

New use for an Ikea chair

A couple of years ago we found  a cream colored leather chair at Ikea which we thought would make a comfy addition to the living room seating.  Little did we know that it would become a favorite sleeping spot for two of the furry family members. (That is why it is now covered with a cotton blanket - cat claws and dog claws have already left their mark on the leather!) Sadie often sleeps on the wide chair arm but sometimes likes to stretch out so will crawl onto the main part of the chair and get comfortable.  Molly seems to think she owns the chair as well but she is ever vigilant and the slightest noise will wake her up from even a deep sleep.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Goodbye to our beloved Spike

Spike has been with us for 8 years now and made himself a home in each of our hearts.  He was just barely a year old when he showed up at our front door (brought by his previous owner who was entrusting us to love and care for this sweet deaf cat).

We weren't the most experienced  cat owners when he joined our family - we hadn't known that we should introduce him in stages to his new surroundings and we simply put him down on the floor to learn his way around the house. He spent the first few days hiding in a tucked away space under our bed which made him feel safe - and this is where he headed to in the last couple of months when he was sick.

He has been a healthy cat through most of his life with us - agile, active and always looked well fed! The first time he showed signs of getting sick was only a few months ago.  He started to lose weight and seemed a bit lethargic and when he started to hide under the bed we realized something was wrong. He was diagnosed with diabetes so we quickly switched him over to a grain free, vegetable free soft cat food diet and started up insulin shots.  He responded well to this and started to gain weight so we thought all was back on track.

One month ago , we heard him making a strange sound and saw that he was struggling to get up from his cat bed..  When I picked him up he started to have a severe seizure. I have never seen that before and it is a terrible experience to go through. He was breathing but very limp so we rushed him to the emergency vet clinic.  He spent the night there on fluids but we really didn't have any answers as to the source of the seizure, other than the possibility  that his blood sugar levels may have been too low at the time.

He had seemed to rally after the visit to the emergency clinic and our subsequent visit to our regular vet resulted in a higher daily insulin dose. But this past week his activity levels slowed down significantly and he was sleeping most of the day.  On Wednesday morning he had lost the ability to move himself off the kitchen counter so we knew we had better take him to the vet as soon as possible.  This time we had a diagnosis - pancreatitis and ketoacidosis. He spent two nights at the vet while they tried to stabilize him but his condition continued to deteriorate.

Friday morning we stopped in to see him but could see he wasn't getting better. He didn't seem to know we were there and his eyes showed the impact of the medication from the drip. We made the decision to help him move on and cuddled him for one last time as he lay on the vet's table.  Being deaf, we knew he wouldn't hear us telling him we loved him, but we breathed into his neck fur while we stroked his head - and heard a soft barely inaudible purr we hoped he knew we were there with him for his last minutes.

Nine years old when he left us - and the youngest of our four whitesters. We always thought he would be with us for many more years and can feel how empty the house is right now, even with the other three cats.   I look up often, expecting to see him curled up in one of his many favorite spots  - or strolling around the corner to come visit us in the living room.  Short as the time seems, I would never give up a minute of the time we shared with this beautful boy.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The difference between our cats and our dogs

Three Shelties playing on the couch - with the new big boy waiting his turn to join in.  This is a typical scene in the house - at any time a dog pile could start if anyone is in the mood to play.

Contrast this with most views of our cats - lazily curled up in a warm place anywhere in the house.  If any of the cats happen to be in close proximity to another, this is by coincidence rather than by design.  Playing with another cat...not a chance!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Equilibrium is Re-established

It has been a while since the last post and during that time the equilibirum in our household shifted significantly.  My father passed away in the middle of September and we took in his beloved dog as part of our family. Max is an 11 year old large German Shepherd with a touch of Husky. He towers over all of the Shelties and has been busy learning how to negotiate our house layout, which isn't ideal for such a large dog.

Max's initial introduction to the household resulted in a frenzy of barking little Shelties and a quick exit on the part of the cats.  Surprisingly he was quickly accepted by the Shelties and sometimes even tries to play with them. We knew he "tolerated" cats so we assumed he would leave the cats alone but we found out quite quickly that his curiosity was aroused when they would come near. He will often follow Sadie whenever she walks by - she is not as co-ordinated as the other cats so often is down on ground level instead of jumping from chair to table to bookcase.Spike and Angel are quite comfortable around the other dogs so after their initial apprehension about the "giant" in their midst, they decided he was harmless.  At worst, they would occasionally feel a wet nose being pushed into their fur but more often Max would simply watch them as they moved around the house.

Molly, on the other hand, is constantly trying to chase the cats if they are on the floor or poke at them with her paw if they are within reach on a table or chair.  In the photo above, Molly is trying to get Angel's attention and is being watched intently by Max.  Spike is just behind Angel and is giving a quick tail flick to show he is nto impressed with the tableau unfolding in front of him.

No harm, no foul...the cats are faster than the dogs and when they get fed up they simply run away and jump up to a higher spot that is not dog accessible. Sebastian has no interest in any of the dogs and stays well out of reach, always keeping vigilant in case he needs to hiss at an interloper.

So after 2 months  the equilibirum has been re-established. The daily routines have been adjusted to include Max and all animals have either accpeted each other or have an unspoken agreement not to get too close.  Max has found a place where he can plop down that big body of his and the other dogs have shifted a little to accommodate him.  Since he cannot easily get up the stairs to the second floor, he stays on the main floor at night to sleep.  This makes Sophie happy since we now let her stay downstairs with him (she prefers to sleep on the couch in the living room but we rarely have let her stay downstairs by herself.  Of course, the cats have free roam and go wherever they like anyway!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Cat TV

Usually the cats have no interest in what show is on TV and simply walk straight past...or sneak by very quickly if there is a dog on one of the three dog beds. However, this one time we saw Sadie stop and turn towards the TV.  Being deaf, it certainly wasn't the sound that attracted her she must have seen something which caught her interest enough to watch for few minutes.