Thursday, January 30, 2014

The family looses a kitty.

I received a phone call from my sister. She was quite saddened. The day before she had to take her cat, Onyx, to the vet for one last time. Onyx was 15, which is about the average long lifespan for a cat. There have always been cats in our family, either from when I was growing up or owned by my two sisters or my parents. We had one right from when I was born right until the present day. I really can't remember the first one as she disappeared in 1956. I personally don't own one but my landlords cat has taken a shine to me over the last 7 years. In fact she will come to me before she'll go to her owners. That's only because I pay attention to her, but getting back to Onyx. She had been failing and finally my sister made the very tough decision. Poor Onyx had been suffering the last few days. There were no prospects for her recovering. I happen to be off a couple of days ago when my sister called and told me what happened the day before. This is never an easy situation to deal with. There have been 5 cats in our family over the last 45 years. Two lived till 20, one 19, one 15, (Onyx) and poor sweet little Bella who only made it to 10. Though they all affected me when they passed, the most emotional one for me was the kitten we got in 1960. We, my sister and I, named her Peppy because she was energetic, very playful, smart and quite affectionate. She was very docile and would let my sister put a bonnet on her and be pushed around in a toy baby carriage. She would sleep we either one of us, and with my baby sister after she came along in 1965. She also defended us. If any one of us were being yelled at for something she would come into the room and meow loudly at my mother or father as if to say, "You leave my kids alone!" She was a gem! She survived being hit by a car at the age of 7. She was tough as well. I'll always remember her being chased into the back yard by a dog. The dog cornered her by the house. Two lightning fast paw shots to the dog's snout and he/she ran away yelping. Her health began to falter later in her life and at the age of 20 she was at the vets and nothing more could be done for her. The whole family went to see her one last time. She was in a cage, curled up with her back to us. My mother called her name and she struggled to get up and turn around to face us giving a faint meow. It was heartbreaking.

Not long after my family acquired Albie. Her was just maturing from kitten to cat. He was a big boy at 19 pounds. He was also smart and affectionate and loved to play. Albie and I had established a routine. Any time I went to my parents house whether for a Sunday meal or for any reason. He would immediately go to the mat in front of the sink so I could roughhouse with him. I would have to wear a leather gloves or else he would have made hamburger out of my hands. As soon as I came though the door he would go to the kitchen mat and wait for me. There was nothing vicious about it but he was a male and just more aggressive. Peppy would play the same way except she would be gentle. She would gently bite your hand but never break the skin. You would rub her belly and she would grab your hand with her paws and pull it to her mouth but her claws never came out. Albie would also fetch. I'll never forget the time when he came up the cellar steps with this rather large black super ball (remember them?) in his mouth. He dropped it, my sister throw it down the stairs and he tore after it and brought it back again. All his own idea. In later years as my moms health was failing he would sleep with her and if she had to get up in the middle of the night for a bathroom run he would accompany her to the bathroom and patiently wait and walk back to the bedroom with her. He also enjoyed occasionally walking across the piano keyboard in the middle of the night if the cover was left open. He was big, smart, playful, quite a character and very affectionate. He also made it to 20. Two cats 40 years. Then came little Bella. She was a bit skittish, but a wonderful little cat. She was also adorably cute with a faint little meow and also quite affectionate. Bella developed health problems and only made it to 10 years. We were all saddened when she passed because though she belonged to my mother and younger sister but we all loved her. Another little friend was gone. Meanwhile my middle sister got Onyx. She wasn't as outgoing as the others but it was apparent that she had a special bond with my sister. As I said earlier she lived for 15 years. Se had a good life but her last year was shaky. I will miss seeing and patting Onyx but my middle sister lost a loyal friend and it has affected her. It's only been 4 days. She's handling it well but I know it hurts. My gut tells me that there will eventually be another to replace Onyx but it's to soon to tell when. My younger sister got Sammi shortly after Bella left us a few ears ago. Sammi is a cutie  and very outgoing. She's relatively young and hopefully has a long life ahead of her. I left out Mickey. I have mentioned him before. He preceded Onyx and lived 17 years. He was a pound heavier than Albie with big double paws. He could pick things up to look at them. He would also fetch his favorite little red ball. He had even more reckless abandon. When you threw the ball down the stairway which turned to the left at my sisters house, he would tear down the stairs, smash into the wall and down the rest of the stairs and return the ball to do it all over again. Still he was quite sweet and friendly and sensed if my sister was upset and would stay by her side whether on the couch, bedroom, or kitchen. Another wonderful pet.

So we said goodbye to Onyx this week, but what else have I been doing? Well my zany work schedule continues. Late nights and early mornings. It reeks havoc on your sleep schedule. I have tried try write a blog twice but I have to admit the well had run dry. I couldn't think of a thing to write about and after my last entry only got two comments I wondered if I should just shut it down. I just wasn't writing anything of interest to anybody. The one time I sat down and tried to catch up on what was going on in the blogging world I fell asleep in my chair after a 9p.m. shift. Still it would be hard to close up shop because I would miss the people, some that I have now known for six or seven years. So I am not closing down.

I guess many of us in the U.S. have been going through some rough weather. It has been quite cold here and colder in some areas. It just makes me think of going back, once again to Martha's Vineyard. The  date is tentatively set for the week of June 1st. It's not that it will be toasty warm then, though that could easily happen, but the crowds won't be there and the weather will certainly be nicer than it is now. And though by now we have seen pretty much the whole island, it doesn't diminish the calming effect it has on Arlene and I. The slower pace of life compared to the city. The do something or nothing atmosphere that's just two hours from my front door. We are truly fortunate to have this resource so close by. They know us at the hotel after 7 trips in four years. It's a quaint and unassuming place with the ocean a minute or less from the hotel and the center of town a five minute walk away. This will have to keep me going for the next four months.   

Alrighty then, though I am off today I can't afford to get lazy and sit in front of the computer screen at this point. I have some errands to run and laundry to do and blah blah blah. I really don't want to go out but it is sunny though only about 17 degrees. Get this stuff done and enjoy what little time I have left on my day off. Sometimes you just get caught up in a series of circumstances and life passes you by. It reminds me of a line from a John Lennon song, "Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans."
And now off to the shower.

I'm outta here.



  1. This is a vey nice post Paul. I am sorry to read that your sister lost her beloved Onyx but I really enjoyed reading about the other pets through the years.
    The weather here has moderated a bit. It is 35 degrees right now with a very strong wind. Snow is in western Illinois and should be here by 3PM CST.
    I finally received the pkg I was waiting for yesterday afternoon. Look for a pkg sometime next week or next month or next year depending on whether it gets routed through Siberia or the North Pole.
    Say Hi to Arlene for me!

  2. Sorry your sisters cat had to be put down. That is a heart break for anybody. Isn't something how we can remember the pets in our life? I do hope you visit my blog Twiddledee. I don't think you ever visited. I may shut that one down. Keep warm seems winter is going to hang around.

  3. Sorry about Oynx. How these wonderfull little creatures get into out hearts. Loved hearing the about all the cats in your family. Hoping for a break in this weather soon. Keep warm Paul.

  4. Oh man, I know that pain as does any person who has a beloved fur family member. I enjoyed reading about all of the fur babies that have been in your family and their personalities. Cats DO have personalities and they are very loving to those who love them.

    I will pray for your sister's and your family's peace. The pain is real and very strong and takes time to heal. You see their little faces in all the places they used to be and it's hard. You look for them and they aren't there. Hard. Very hard.


  5. Awww...We all do love our pets, no matter what species they may be. You reminded me of a story my mother wrote many years ago about 14 cats! I'll have to post it some day. It is VERY long. Hopefully your sister will feel better in whatever time it takes. So sorry and know you feel it too.

  6. Wonderful I just love all of your cats Paul. The stories are just amazing, reminded me of my darling Binkie she was my best friend and lived to 17 years old. All white short hair white with blue eyes. That is truly something to look forward to For both of you.
    Hope your sister feels better very soon. Take Care .