Category Archives: Cats

Hanging On

Depression lies. And sits. And rolls over.

Time is passing. As it does.

I’m trying to find places for my mind to go to keep it from coming to rest on Mia. I’m not as bad as I was the day of or the day after. But I’m in no way good. Haven’t been for quite some time, even before this happened.

The house is emptier.

Fare thee well, Miss Mia

This is my favorite picture of our cat Mia. For the next hour or so I’ll be able to use the present tense for her. Then I won’t.

Kidney failure. She’s been losing weight slowly for a few months, but she was overweight and her activity level was up. It was easy to believe she’d just gotten used to having food whenever she wanted it. Her littermate Dunkel has never had weight issues. Nor has Porter. Her first couple of years were rough. She has always been skittish. It’s clear she loves us very much, but she has her terms. She is the queen, after all.

Last week the weight loss accelerated and we knew something was wrong. She was drinking lots and lots of water. She went from stretching out and looking for snuggles to heading off to another room and sleeping. When she joined us it was from a distance. She crouches. Though as I write this she’s found a sunbeam and is laying down. Her brother is right next to her.

This is going to be so hard. It’s already so hard.

The vet yesterday. We woke up to a message to call. It’s never good. She hates being held and we had to sedate her to get her to the vet. A vet is coming out in an hour or so so we don’t have to do that again. She’ll be surrounded by love.

I call her “my little girl,” but Carla is her human. She really likes me, but Carla is who she follows. She slept between us every night. Many mornings I’d wake up with her on top of me. Not this morning. She was next to us. We got our skitches in.

Mia came into our lives when Carla’s dad had to move from Illinois to here so he could be close. He died at the end of July, the day after his 88th birthday. I guess her work was done.

She’s not well. She’s not in pain, but she feels sick. We’re doing the right thing. And it hurts so much. As it does.

In theory I like Fall. The thing is, it’s a time of loss for me. My dad died on September 17th. My mom on September 28th. Twenty-six years later, so there was time for September to establish its suck. Just to stick it in and twist it, my Best Man’s father — who basically turned into a surrogate father to me — died the same day as my mom. Our phone call to each other was the worst “Who’s on First?” routine ever. His mom died last week on the 29th. One of Carla’s aunt’s passed a few days ago. And now this. On the 12th Carla’s mom’s date rolls around. Maybe it can stop for a while. That would be nice.

Loss is not unique. The only thing that’s different from millions all over the world is that this is ours right now.

May the sunbeams be bright and the toy mice plentiful and have long tails. I love you little girl. And I’m going to miss your terribly. So very soon.

Circling the drain

The brevity of my posts the last few days are a pretty good indication of where my head is. It’s not terrible, but I can see it from here.

Some people see the glass half full. Others see it half empty. I resent the fact you’re bothering me about how much liquid there is in a glass. If you can’t figure out out I don’t know why it’s my problem.

Here a cute picture of Mia and some stuffed animals that one of the cats dragged out. It might have been her, but they’ve all played with them enough that they’re all suspects. Every day she takes over just a little more and I love it. She’s a bright spot. The fact that I can still see bright spots is a good thing.

Big day for Dunkel


Portrait of the Young Cat as Slightly Stoned

We had to take Dunkel to the vet today to get his teeth cleaned. His litter mate Mia has Bartonella’s which often causes dental problems. Porter, who’s genetically unrelated has no issues, but Dunkel needed a good cleaning. He’s getting tested for Bartonella’s as a precaution, but the expectation is he won’t have it.

Anyway, we dropped him off at the vet this morning. I picked him up around 3:30pm. The hours between were odd. Dunkel is the straw that stirs the drink around here. Mia looked for him. Porter was nonplussed.

I’m glad he’s home. Sure, I was able to go several hours without him sticking his ass in my face, but it wasn’t worth it. I missed the head butts. He’s a big goofball with enough fur to make another cat, but we wouldn’t trade him for the world.


It appears I have a sprained right wrist with a sprained middle finger as an added bonus. Nothing to say worth reading.  Here’s a nice picture of Dunkel.



Late in the afternoon it can get pretty hard to get anything done around here. I tend to pick up an audience.  Porter has taken to getting up on the back of my chair and making little whining noises. What he really wants is for me to get up because he really likes sleeping in this chair. I’m in the way. That’s all he’s trying to tell me. Mia, on the other hand, seems to wake up from her late afternoon nap and comes down to let me know she hasn’t been fed or generally catered to in several hours several minutes since the last time it occurred to her. I need to hurry up because there’s an early evening nap to get in. Dunkel is nothing if not consistent. He wants to play.

It can make it tough to get anything done.

Especially if you’re not trying to hard.

This time it’s worked. Truth be told, it usually does.

Conversations you don’t want to have

“Don’t get upset. I’m OK,” she said, “I’ve been in a car accident.”

“Where are you?”

She tells me. Central Parkway, Idiot driving too fast loses control and smacks into her. Spins her around. Side airbag deploys. EMTs check her out. She’ll probably have a bruise from the seatbelt. She couldn’t open the driver’s side door.

I drive down to the District 1 Police Station to get her. A Sergeant helped her get some stuff out of the back and drove her down. I circle the block once before I see her.

Home. I’d had dinner already cooked. We eat. Mia is on her lap. Dunkel is on the back of the couch watching over her. We’re waiting for a call from the Sergeant to give us some information. The insurance dance begins in the morning.

She’s OK. In the end that’s all that matters.


Just me and the cats

Dunkel not pictured because he was unconscious across the room.

Dunkel not pictured because he was unconscious across the room.

It’s not that we had any elaborate plans this weekend, but they got changed anyway.  Carla’s dad had to go into the hospital yesterday. I don’t want to say it’s not serious because it’s something that landed him in the hospital, but it’s something that’s manageable and he’s probably getting out tomorrow. Carla drove over there this morning and, with any luck, will be home Monday. Then we’ll head back over there early Friday morning as we’d been planning to do for quite a while. Never a dull moment.

So it’s me and the cats this weekend. Porter and Dunkel are used to being with just me, but it’s not something Mia has much experience with I’m alone with them during the day a lot, but she sleeps most of the day. Tonight is a new thing for her. Either we’re both supposed to be gone at night or we’re both supposed to be here.

Long about 5 or 6 PM she’s gotten into the habit of coming out and begging Carla to be fed. The boys eat dry food that we just leave out all the time, but we’ve had to feed her wet because she had a lot of dental issues.  Those were dealt with Tuesday, but the habit is there now. One that will take a while to break. I wondered what would happen if Carla wasn’t here to see the “Oh, woe is me, I’m being starved” act.  Answer: she’s perfectly happy to put on the show for me. You’d never know she’s maintained a strict 3-foot exclusion zone around herself for the last month. We were the best buds.  I joke about it, but it makes me happy.  We don’t know the whole story of what went on in her previous home, but something made her very afraid of men. Bit by bit she’s getting over it and that makes me very happy.

One thing that’s been a challenge is we’ve had to give her oral antibiotics since her dental work on Tuesday.  If’s been. Interesting. We hit on a solution.  We keep tubes of this malt-based hairball prevention paste around.  Porter and Dunkel love it, which is good because Dunkel sheds enough to build another cat every three days. But it’s Porter who gets the hairballs — from grooming Dunkel. Turns out Mia likes the stuff too AND we can mix in the antibiotic. We know she gets the whole dose because she licks the plate clean. She’ll forgive Carla for shoving a syringe in her mouth.  Me?  Not so much.

Porter and Dunkel will wake us up in the morning, but they actually require environmental cues. Don’t set an alarm or let the lights come up on a timer and they’ll stay sacked out.  Not Mia. She’s literally in Carla’s face first thing in the morning. After getting the begging routine this evening, I’m not bothering to set an alarm for the morning.  Miss Mia will handle my wake up call. The joke’s on her, though.  Malt and antibiotic before food.

So tomorrow will be a quiet day with me and the cats and probably the Big Green Egg. As I said, we didn’t have any solid plans, but these weren’t it. Could be worse. Definitely not complaining.

Ales & Astros: The last day


We’re home. There’s really little else to say.

It’s been a great trip. It’s going to take a bit of time to process. It was a week ago today that the conference in Williamsburg, VA wrapped up and we spent a rainy afternoon and evening driving the Colonial Parkway from Jamestown to Yorktown. Didn’t know about the serial killer at the time. Probably for the best. My first overnight train trip was still a day away. It’s amazing how much we packed into just four days in Florida.

Some things that are going to stick with me:

  • Mountains.  I miss them. The drive across West Virginia and western Virginia made that pretty clear. Even today we got off I-75 for a bit to cut down on the amount of traffic we had to sit through to get past the rock slide in Tennessee. We used an old state highway that winds up the mountain paralleling a railroad track and crisis-crossing a stream on a series of one-lane bridges that look like they date back to the WPA or CCC. It all seemed so right somehow.
  • Williamsburg. I’ll admit it, I was seduced by the place. I’d love to go back and spend more time there. One place I’d definitely want to spend time? The Virginia Beer Company. And Alewerks. And definitely the DoG Street Pub.
  • I’ve never been a big fan of vinegar-based barbecue sauces, but there is a Virginia version that I actually want to try out for myself. I had it on a pulled chicken sandwich for lunch last Saturday and I haven’t been able to quit thinking about how good it would be on pulled pork. The weather is supposed to be nice tomorrow….
  • Words cannot describe how miserable I was about 2AM on Tuesday as I tried to sleep in that tiny roomette on the Auto Train. More than once I muttered to myself that I was in hell.  So understand when I say I’d take another train trip in a heartbeat that I’m saying this with my eyes wide open. In a roomette? Not on your life. I’d rather just try to sleep in a coach seat. I think if we’d been in one of the larger sleeping compartments you would have had a hard time getting us off that train. Nothing that was unpleasant about our experience was anything Amtrak could control. I’m a fan.
  • The staff of Osceola County Stadium in Kissimmee, FL. It wasn’t supposed to be the case, but we saw the last two Astros Spring Training games that will ever be played in Kissimmee.  There was supposed to be a game yesterday that we couldn’t go to that was supposed to be the last one, but it got rained out. It was already a bittersweet ending to a 32-year run there, and I so wish they could have ended it with tha bang they deserved.  I love minor league ballparks because they’re usually so friendly. That’s what it was like at Osceloa. The only way you would have known the Astros were getting ready to leave is because there was a PA announcement asking folks to share pictures of their experiences at the park. Every single employee was a complete pro. You’d have thought nothing out of the ordinary was going on. It’s a great place to watch a game. I truly hope they find another tenant to go in there. They know how to do it right.
  • I’m ready for the season to get started. I’m excited about the Astros. I’m bracing myself for the wailing and gnashing of teeth from Reds fans this year. We lost 111 games in 2013.  107 the year before that. Reds fans have trouble being positive when they’re winning. This isn’t going to be pretty.  I hope the weather is good Opening Day. It may be the highlight of the year.

But mainly we’re home now. Porter, Dunkel, and Mia have each given us our scolding for leaving them and let both of us know we’re tentatively forgiven. Carla has a long day at work tomorrow. I can’t avoid leaving the house for a couple of reasons, but I don’t plan to be gone long.

I’m home.  I want to enjoy that for a while.