Thursday, November 17, 2011

It's Been a Month!

Holy cow!  I know I've been busy but a month has gone by since my last post.  This one is going to be short. 

I've been super busy these past few weeks.  I completed my last 3 business trips.  It was supposed to be 4 but the one at the beginning of November was cancelled with 48 hours notice.  I didn't mind staying home but I really missed going back home as I had things I had planned on doing.  And I'm going to miss the $7-800 overtime (take home) that I didn't earn on that trip.  :-/ 

My Pam.pered Ch.ef party didn't go forward since I couldn't get more than 2 people to commit. So I turned it into a catalogue party with my mom and sister buying most of the purchases.  lol  I got a good deal on what I purchased so it worked out in the end.  But it was a lot of work to deal with all that when I was in and out of town.

And to top it off, at the end of October while I was out of town my cat P died.  We have no idea what happened.  When I left for work on the Tuesday morning she was fine.  My friend said she came running down the stairs that night when she arrived but wasn't happy to see it was not me.  Wednesday morning she was fine but by Wednesday night she was in some type of distress.  I could hear her meowing on the phone and I thought it sounded like a really bad case of constipation.  I told my friend she could take her to the vet in the morning and I'd call them to let them know she'd be in.  I worried about her all that night hoping I made the right decision not to send her to emergency care.  And in the morning there were messages waiting for me to call my friend.  She had died overnight.  My friend sat with her for an hour the night before and while she didn't really get better she didn't get any worse.  My friend put a little blanket on the floor for her and she moved to put her head on it to rest.  When my friend returned in the morning my cat was still on the floor beside the little blanket. 

The vets were really surprised to hear about this.  And it was horrible having to make arrangements over the phone and not being able to say good-bye.  I really didn't want to have to make the decision to euthanize her but I also didn't want her to just die while I was away.  The receptionist at the vet's office said she thought she probably died in her sleep given the position of her body when she came in.  And my mom reminded me that it must have been something very acute that happened because she went from being fine to dead within 24 hours.  I try to remind myself of this but it still doesn't make me feel any better.

P a few years ago
I carry a great deal of guilt over being away.  I know that even if I'd been home I would have waited until morning to take her to the vet.  I wouldn't have been downstairs with her all night either so she technically would have died alone but if I had been home she would have at least known she wasn't alone and that I was in the house.  And I really feel guilty because I feel that even though something serious happened my cat just gave up because she knew I wasn't going to be there in the morning.  Little P was a great cat, almost completely perfect, but she could be very sensitive at times.  Not in a sulky way because she never did that, not once.  But she could be very emotional and get upset easily.  I kept promising her that my travel was almost over and that we'd have lots of time to snuggle after I finished my last trips.  I did my best to spend lots of time with her this fall after she got sick again.  But I feel like she just gave up when she knew it wasn't me looking after her and I feel so horrible about that.  I may not have been able to save her but I could have at least comforted her and taken her to the vet to have her put to sleep in the morning giving her one last pet and saying good-bye.  But I never got that chance. 

I dreaded coming back home and had a really hard time keeping it together on my flights and just lost it when I walked in the door.  And the next few days didn't get any better.  I couldn't stop crying even when I was emptying out her litter.  Who cries over getting rid of dirty old litter?  Obviously I did.  I saw myself heading down a very bad path with no end to the crying in sight.  And that wouldn't have been a good thing for me or the baby.  So, I made the decision to get a new cat.  Please do not lecture me on cats, cats in pregnancy, toxoplasmosis, etc.  We've had cats for years and I've been taking precautions while cleaning the litter since long before I got pregnant.  As my vet, who had 3 cats during both her pregnancies, said if you clean the litter within 24 hours there is no risk of infection.  It is far more likely that a person will get the infection from undercooked meat than a cat.

I debated about when to get a new cat and I decided sooner was better than later.  If I waited until the spring it was going to be difficult to settle a new cat before I headed out west for a visit.  Who would want to be uprooted to a new home and then be left behind or sent to a kennel for 2 weeks?  That wouldn't work.  And to wait until I started mat leave wouldn't be good either.  That would just be asking for trouble.  Christmas was an option since I will be home for about 10 days straight but my parents are arriving and all the last minute prep might drive a new cat batty.  So, I had to do it now or wait until next August or in the fall.  And I couldn't wait that long.  I took a look at the cats available at the local humane society's website and noticed a few older cats.  I ruled out almost all of them because they either needed to be in a quiet home or didn't get along with other cats ... I'd love to get a 2nd one for a buddy in a couple of years once I stop traveling for work for good.  I noticed a 5 year old black medium haired guy who had been at the humane society since mid-August.  Knowing that people don't like adopting older cats or black ones I thought this guy really needed a home. 

T - my new cat
I went down to check him out and he was sharing an apartment with another male so he obviously gets along with other cats.  He came in as a stray so they didn't know much about him.  He likes to be picked up and he loves to cuddle.  So, I put a deposit on him and went to buy a few things for him.  I spent that night cleaning and doing laundry to make the home a bit nicer for his welcome. And it made it a bit easier to clean up after my old cat.  It felt less like I was getting rid of her and more like I was just preparing to welcome a new cat.  Much better.  And the next night I went and brought him home.  He had spent some time in foster care because when he came in he had to have his two top canines removed - one of them was cracked down to the root.  I have no idea what he was doing while roaming around as a stray downtown.  He tested negative for feline leukemia and parasites multiple times.  While he developed a sneeze while there he didn't actually develop any respiratory issues. 

He didn't like being in his carrying case especially on the way home and desperately tried to claw his way out actually shattering one of his claws but the good news is that it didn't cause any permanent damage.  We did have some litter issues to start off with but that was my fault.  I thought he'd just use the same brand my other cat used but he hated the recycled newspaper stuff.  I had to go back to clumping clay litter which I don't like but he does.  And after a little setback this week, which was my fault ... again (I thought I'd go 24 hours without cleaning his 2 litter boxes), we're back on track.  He just seems to be extremely picky about his litter.  So, I'm cleaning litter twice a day and am slowly moving the litter boxes from the family room to the storage room.  I have 6 huge bags of the other litter which I can't return since I have no receipts but the humane society will gladly take them (and I get a tax receipt) if he never adjusts to them.  They give it to foster homes or use it for their post-surgery patients. 

He has a clawing issue which we are working on and it is slowly improving.  My house looks bizarre because I have my furniture covered in blankets and double-sided carpet tape.  But it is working to divert his attention elsewhere.  He's got 5 scratch box/post options and he's finally starting to get it.  He still likes clawing the entrance mat but I don't care.  As much as I like it I can always buy another one next year at Cos.tco if he destroys this one.  I did get a cheap (but very nice) 5x7 rug to put in the front area of the house since he loves running up and down this storey which just leads to damaged hardwood.  I'm doing my best to avoid declawing him and if a few cheap rugs will help do that I'm happy. 

He is, indeed, a snuggly cat.  He just snuggled up right beside me.  He loves to snuggle up on me or right beside me but is happy to sit in P's favourite chair (which he started to claw to bits before I covered it up - ugh!).  He does like being held but not carried.  And he talks a lot, sounding much like one of our old cats who was super intelligent and entertaining.  He's adjusting well but still getting used to things.  He is still skittish at certain sounds but thankfully no longer afraid of flushing toilets.  And he seems to have been allowed outside in the past because he figured out what the sliding doors in the dining room were for without me showing him.  He's going to have to adjust to being an indoor kitty but if he is stubborn he's going to be trained to go outside on a harness and leash.  No free range kitties in this house. 

Despite some initial frustrations he's adjusting well and I'm really glad I got him.  He's a really nice cat and I can't believe that other people may have passed him by because he was 5 or because he was black.  That's just sad.  We're still getting used to each other but I'm hopeful that he's going to continue to settle in well and adjust to the upcoming changes. And to think that if I had gone on that canceled business trip I might not have adopted this little guy.  Fate works in mysterious ways. 


  1. I'm so sorry your cat passed away, I had something similar happen with my old cat and I still feel horribly guilty (5 years later) over the whole thing, he was such a good boy and I wasn't there for him. Your new guy looks pretty awesome :) I have 2 cats and a dog, and I can't imagine life without them!

  2. I'm sorry to hear about your cat. It's never easy to lose a pet but under these circumstances is even more upsetting.

  3. I'm so sorry about your cat. She looks a lot like my sweet Dakota who passed away a few years ago. She had some litter issues for a while, and I cried as I scrubbed the floors after she was gone.

    I hope your new little guy continues to settle in.

  4. So sorry about your cat but I am glad you are settling in with your new cutie. I totally understand getting another cat. 10 years ago I had to put my childhood cat to sleep and adoptmy current cat a week later. I just hated coming home to an apartment without a cat!