Category Archives: Cats

Feline Friday: Homecoming

First catWe bought our first kitten right after we returned to Hawaii to enter graduate school at the end of August in 1969. She was a wonderful kitten we found at a pet store in Ala Moana Center. We were living temporarily with my parents in Kahala, so our kitten moved in with us. She later moved with us into a high-rise apartment building in Kaimuki. Before she was a year old, we adopted kitten #2, a stray found wandering and crying in a construction area near our building during a heavy rain. The two bonded and were very close as long as they lived.

Later, when the owner of our apartment building died and new owners decided to turn the rental units into condominiums, we moved to a townhouse in a development just down the hill towards the ocean, across from Wilson School. We lived there for another ten years before buying our house in Kaaawa and relocating. Kitten #2 died in about 1985. First cat survived and made the move with us. A few months after that move, early in the summer of 1988, she died.

That was 28 years ago.

On Sunday, we decided it was time to welcome our first cat, and the many others that followed, to our new home.

[text]On Sunday afternoon, I brought a box from the garage containing more than a dozen small containers, each with the ashes of one of the cats that have lived with us over the years.

We took them all out onto the deck, overlooking our back yard and the welcoming shade of the mango trees. One by one, we picked up the containers. Each had a small label with the name of the cat that had been such a part of our lives. One by one, we opened them, pulled out the small plastic bag inside, and emptied the remains into a bucket half-filled with soil. One by one, we moved through the generations of cats, remembering each of them, retelling their stories to each other, shedding tears, then mixing them into the soil. The first container was actually a glass jar containing the ashes of Emma, kitten #2. The rest of the metal boxes were different sizes and shapes, each marked with a cat’s name, some accompanied by condolence cards signed by our vets and their staff.

When we were done, we stopped for a glass of wine. We let the silence speak.

And the next morning, all of our former cats became part of our newly renovated yard, the bucket of soil added to that being used to put additional plants along the side and front of our house. A bit here, a bit there.

All of our cats are now here at home.

And, yes, there’s a story behind the rusted boxes you can see in the photo above. They were stored on the bottom shelf of the book shelves in our bedroom. Being on the bottom shelf, they were in that 15″ zone of vulnerability to acts of random cat pee. Over the many years, the boxes that had been there the longest fell victim to the drive-by peeing many times, despite our efforts to remove the odors and repel future deposits.

Meanwhile, Romeo seems to have come back from his last vet visit with a cold. He’s been sneezing this week. Unless he shows other symptoms, we’ll treat this as a common cold and see if it passes before too long. The other cats have had a relatively uneventful week. Check them out below.

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Feline Friday: Duke’s big v-e-t adventure

DukeWelcome to Feline Friday!

One of Duke’s fans asked how his dental surgery went this week. I had to get him to our vet in Hawaii Kai around 7 a.m. on Tuesday morning.

The worst part of the early morning was that Duke had to fast. No food after midnight. So I first had to shut him in our bedroom so that I could feed the other cats in the kitchen. That didn’t make him a happy camper. And his morning got worse when I put him into a cat carrier. That’s when the pathetic mewing started, and it continued, intermittently, throughout the drive.

The good news was that Duke’s pre-surgery blood test showed all his systems are running fine. He’s a healthy cat, apart from his diabetes and those pesky dental issues.

I checked him in, explained that I didn’t give his regular morning insulin since he hadn’t eaten, leaving it up to our vet to figure out the proper insulin routine under these circumstances.

When we picked Duke up about 4:30 that afternoon, he was doing pretty good for a cat who no longer has any teeth. Once we got home, he started lobbying for food. I started him with a little canned food, which he gobbled up. I was trying to go slow, but added a little more to his dish. It was gone almost immediately. Nothing wrong with his appetite! I should say that Romeo, Toby, and Annie also benefited from the opened cans.

A little later, I put down some dry cat food. Even without teeth, Duke made a good dent in the pile of kibbles.

Duke’s still on an antibiotic for another few days, but he he doesn’t seem bothered by his experience at the vet.

Whew. Meanwhile, Romeo’s belly is recovering after last week’s “overgrooming” that led to his own vet visit.

Hairballs seem to be the malady of the week, though. A round of Laxatone for all (except Duke, who shouldn’t have all that sugar).

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Feline Friday: Don’t tell Duke about Tuesday’s v-e-t appointment

Mr. DukeIt’s Friday. Feline Friday, that is. And things are looking up on the weather front. Hurricane Lester appears likely to slip past to the north of the islands. That’s a definite relief.

And there’s good news and bad news for Duke this week. He had another visit with our vet, and she found a sore in his mouth behind one of his few remaining teeth. And when we started him on an antibiotic, much of his wheezing and sneezing disappeared. Go figure…So that’s the good news side of things.

But it also means that those teeth–Duke’s only remaining pair of teeth–will have to come out. He’s scheduled for dental surgery on Tuesday.

His mother had no teeth when we rescued her back at the beginning of 2002, probably the result of poor diet and her undiagnosed diabetes. Duke’s lost his teeth along the way, several here and a few there. He may lose all the rest on Tuesday.

We’ve learned that indoor cats get along fine without teeth. They can even continue to snarf down dry cat food without much of a problem, although we tend a bit more towards canned food for the toothless ones.

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Duke & Romeo on this Feline Friday

Duke & RomeoDuke & Romeo welcome you to yet another Feline Friday.

If you follow the saga of our cats, you know that Romeo and Duke have gotten to be good buddies since Kili’s passing earlier this year. Romeo had a soft spot for Kili and, in her absence, has decided that he can snuggle up to Duke at various points in the day.

Duke’s been back sneezing a lot this week, and we’re taking him in for another check at the vet this afternoon. We’re resigned to living with his chronic congestion, but still want to keep track of its progression. So off to our vet, who now is in Hawaii Kai.

Meanwhile, the other cats are doing okay.

Annie’s been a bit fussy on the food front. Toby has been insisting on taking a spot on our bed, sometimes having to withstand Romeo’s defensiveness. So far, no real battles. Romeo is backing down, or mellowing out, more often than he used to.

So it goes in the world of our felines.

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Thank Goodness it’s Feline Friday!

Dinner is servedWelcome to this week’s Feline Friday!

Today’s featured photo shows our dining table as dinner was served one night earlier this week.

Romeo has set himself up closest to my plate. The first part of the meal features my attempts to defend against Romeo’s turbo paw, which aims at sweeping edible bits from my plate over into his waiting mouth. It’s a battle, but after a few rounds he finally understands that it’s necessary to wait and accept things that are offered.

Duke hangs back a bit, not because of a lack of interest but because he’s a bit more polite.

Annie doesn’t join the tabletop mayhem very often, but when she does, she is extremely polite.

Other than this scene, it’s been another relatively uneventful week. No vet visits. No medical issues.

We did see a neighbor’s cat stopping for some sun in our back yard. Luckily Romeo wan’t on guard at that point, so there were no dramatics. Now that our cats have gotten used to living 100% indoors, I hate to remind them that there’s territory out there they would formerly have fought to defend.

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