Wednesday, July 8, 2009

... a tale of love...

I've been missing Willow. And since it's clear that she is happy in her new home and will not need me to take her back, perhaps its time for another cat to come to live with us. I remember when I first invited her into my home - young, pregnant, scared and skinny from living on the streets of Sudbury during the winter. I had never lived with an animal who wandered the home at night. It had me lying awake listening to her feeling creeped out. But I got over that.

When Willow had babies in my closet, she wouldn't let me leave her side. When I went to bed that night, she lay down beside me on my bed and her belly would start heaving with contractions. I led her to the cozy box in the closet I had set up for her, and she followed. But when I walked back to bed, there she was by my side. She was scared. Of course I had an exam in the morning, because that's how these things work. And of course she didn't go into labour until nearly midnight. After she had the first kitten, a tiny mewing wet black and white ball, and I had called my next-door neighbour (also a midwifery student) over to help/oversee things with me, I decided it was time for bed. Willow seemed more comfortable with what was going on, and I needed the sleep. So I dragged my mattress to the closet and slept with one hand on the box so she would know I was there. I woke to faint mewing a few times throughout the night, but otherwise slept through. When I got up in the morning there were four kittens lined up along her belly - it was the most amazing sight I have ever seen! She was so proud. There were two little calicos, one orange and white tabby and the little black and white guy. Leaving to go to the exam was so hard.

Willow and I went through a lot together in just one year. The good and devoted girl that she is, she caught and brought me a dead mouse in the middle of the night once - also the night before a test. I screamed and flipped the mouse into a garbage bag so quick that Willow didn't know what had happened to it. She spent the night pouncing repeatedly on the bed in hopes of stirring him up again. We discovered that she is a terrible car cat. She poops, she pukes, she cries. It's a stinky messy business, which is tough when you are driving back and forth to Winnipeg from Subury! While she had the kittens she got sick. It was like all her life energy was being drained by these fast-growing little babies. She would often throw up, and one day she got all this poop in the fur on her tail. I had to hold her down and wash it out while we both cried. When we were leaving to go to Winnipeg for the summer last year, we had already decided we were taking Willow because some friends were going to adopt her. But when we took the 8 week kittens from her, her nipples got huge and swollen from the sudden lack of kittens suckling. We went and retrieved Otto - the tiniest kitten, and brought him with us. What a lovebug he turned out to be! He cuddled constantly, when he wasn't harassing Willow or playing. We fell completely in love with him. Then one day when he was about 12 weeks or so he got sick. We knew he'd been having trouble with eating, so we'd been working on it. We had called the vet and they advised it sounded like worms, so we were giving him the meds. We sat with him at every meal and tried to get him to eat. Willow wasn't letting him have any milk anymore, and he had gotten frighteningly thin. And then one morning he wasn't himself. I tore myself away from him that morning to go to work. When Rob got home, I was on the phone with him when he found Otto. He was still on the bed, not far from where I'd left him, and he was cold and stiff. We still have so much sadness and guilt - what could we have done to better help him?

Sweet Little Otto

Willow made my day, every day. When it got close to time for my friends to take her, I couldn't imagine life without her. When I was stressed and unhappy, she would make me laugh. Her new fam and I had the arrangement that if one of their cats didn't take to having Willow there, we would discuss her coming back to me. Happily for her, the anxious cat tolerated her and now she has kitty friends to play with and a loving home. She's a big round ball of hilarity these days - I still get pictures!

Heh heh

I have such huge guilt around the idea of owning a cat. My mother is severely allergic. She can walk into a room that once had a cat in it for a few minutes, and her throat will start to close, eyes puff up, skin itch. It's not the kind of allergy you can vaccum and put the cat away and have it be ok. If we have animals, it closes the door to her being able to come over and visit. This is sort of okay right now, but what about when we have children? Yet my heart is just aching to have that happy presence in the home, the one that brightens the room. But it's my mother! But... but... but... It causes me such inner turmoil!

A Moment of Pure Willow and Joc Love

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