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RIP Mrs. Gaines

I was gently reminded by a friend that I'm not acknowledging comments on my blog enough. Please, please excuse me. I enjoy reading every comment and I'm grateful for every casual reader.



Mrs. Gaines went downhill much faster than expected. It's only a week ago yesterday that I took her in for another shot and she passed out at the vet's. Friday and Saturday she probably spent the night outside, or part of it. Then we noticed she wasn't eating, but she still drank quite a bit outside on Sunday. She spent a good part of the days sleeping on Maralton's bed on a down lap quilt. Yesterday she slept most of the day in my closet hidden by my wedding gown (28 years ago). Miss E pulled her out at about 6pm and I chided her for it and explained what was going on, that she was hurting by this point. Mrs. G went back into my closet, didn't eat. Miss E was distraught and didn't sleep well, despite having the kittens for company. She was up later than she should have been, thinking about Mrs. G and holding her photo. Weatherdude was distraught as well. Real Dudes do shed...well they do.

At 3AM this morning, I awoke to the sound of dry heaves and asked The Dude to turn on a light. It was Mrs. G out of the closet, but again, she wouldn't drink anything or eat anything for me or for The Dude. I would have to call the vet. She came out and spent time in the main part of the house, asked to go out twice, but I wasn't going to let her. If she went to ground on the property somewhere, I wouldn't be able to find her. She curled up on Miss E's dining room chair next to the electric heater during breakfast. Miss E sat in my spot instead. She stayed there a while, asked to go out again, chose another hiding place in plain sight in the kitchen for a while. Eventually she had gone to ground and I didn't know where. Maralton found her under her bed, stretched out on her side. I've seen that before. Things were happening almost too fast. I called the vet, they said it was time and we could come in with her any time today. The Dude wanted to be home, so I was going to wait 3 more hours.

Miss E was able to pet her when she got home from school, I was able to pet her and talk to her. We were all able to see and talk to her today. Goliath was just above her the entire time, sleeping on Maralton's bed, so you know the overall vibe was calm acceptance and lots of love on all sides. And then she slipped away, some time around 4pm. Again, a last good-bye to the physical body. I'm off to the vet's shortly. She'll be cremated and will join the ashes of our other cats. But first, E would like to have a ceremony, a meditation. She says she'd like a meditative moment each year on the anniversary of her death. We'll have photos out and will tell stories and will reflect on her life.

E was so worried yesterday that she hadn't been a good 'mom' to Mrs. Gaines. But she was. I explained that she was younger and not ready for the responsibilities she shares for the kittens. She was 4 when Mrs. G came into our house, a full of baloney kitten. She had done a good job for her age and Mrs. G had loved her, in her funny, you-can't-catch-me way. When Miss E did catch her and sweep her up in her arms, Mrs. G always went limp. The first full sentence Miss E wrote in first grade was "Put your cat down!" as a dictionary example for the word 'put.'

Mrs. Gaines was an annoying, opinionated, independent cat who bit us when she felt like it, especially if she wanted us to get up and feed her in the morning. Not hard. Never hard. She was a mouser and birder extraordinaire, and an 'up' cat who ran on the roof. I'll miss seeing her shadow up there from my office window, cast onto the pine trees. She was sweet when she wanted to be, a very quiet purr and soft squeaky meow. One of her nicknames was "Squeaky Frome." She was the #1 cat in the house and all the boys knew it. No one messed with her food, though they might steal a dead mouse from under her nose. She never scratched Eloise when she was young. She knew she was Eloise's cat, though she played hard to get almost all the time. Aloof and yet very much a part of the household. A cat cat, usually out of doors doing cat things. Terrorizer of chickens, she stared one down just on Sunday, sore and sick as she was.

RIP Lady Cat, E's first cat: Mrs. Gaines, Mrs. G, Little Bit, Squeaky Frome, Kitty-kitty (the only name she reliably answered to).

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Comments

( 49 comments — Leave a comment )
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marshallpayne1
Oct. 6th, 2009 10:03 pm (UTC)
Sorry to hear this about Mrs. Gaines, Oz.
birdhousefrog
Oct. 6th, 2009 10:15 pm (UTC)
Thanks. I was trying to add a photo and the satellite was being difficult, but it's up now.
desperance
Oct. 6th, 2009 10:04 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'm so sorry; these are always sad times.

But it sounds like a fine life, and herself a fine cat. Thanks for posting.
birdhousefrog
Oct. 6th, 2009 10:17 pm (UTC)
I always look forward to reading about the adventures of your boys, especially the one that eats anything. They become such a part of our lives.

Just under six years was unexpected, but as she had a genetic marker for FIP, it was a question of exposure to a virus, apparently. It usually happens when they're kittens still. She had a great run, lived on 10 acres of cat heaven, a little stray thing that wandered down someone's driveway at 4 months.

Thanks.
(no subject) - birdhousefrog - Oct. 6th, 2009 10:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - desperance - Oct. 6th, 2009 10:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - birdhousefrog - Oct. 6th, 2009 11:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
arwensouth
Oct. 6th, 2009 10:35 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry for your loss. It sounds as though she was very well loved and had a good life.
birdhousefrog
Oct. 6th, 2009 11:29 pm (UTC)
Too short a life, but yes, a very good one here in cat heaven. As The Dude said, she was the first one of our current bunch to arrive and based on her age, we expected her to be the last.
reneesweet
Oct. 6th, 2009 10:41 pm (UTC)
So sorry for your loss. :(
birdhousefrog
Oct. 6th, 2009 11:31 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much. I was already noticing tonight when the boys were eating (kittens being barred from the pantry) that there was a definite imbalance with just the three boys. And I was also quite proud that Goliath was such a gentleman that he stayed with her all through the end, sleeping nearby.
tcastleb
Oct. 6th, 2009 10:53 pm (UTC)
Aww. I'm so sorry. :>(
birdhousefrog
Oct. 6th, 2009 11:32 pm (UTC)
Goliath rose to the occasion today. He stayed in the room with her on the bed above her. I'm sure it kept things calm and peaceful.
(no subject) - birdhousefrog - Oct. 7th, 2009 12:18 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - tcastleb - Oct. 7th, 2009 12:52 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - birdhousefrog - Oct. 7th, 2009 12:54 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - birdhousefrog - Oct. 8th, 2009 11:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
karen_w_newton
Oct. 6th, 2009 11:44 pm (UTC)
I am sorry for Mrs. Gaines, but "10 acres of cat heaven" says it all. She had a good life. It will be hard for Miss E. My daughter was 18 and a few months from college when her guinea pig died; she still cried.

Sigh. Life goes on, especially on a farm.

birdhousefrog
Oct. 7th, 2009 12:21 am (UTC)
Life, in the form of 2 rambunctious kittenz, does indeed go on. Miss E discussed quite seriously tonight that the girls aren't ready to inherit the kingdom yet and Rainbow Tom must teach them how to go on before they can take over as rulers of Walkabout Farm.
kelly_yoyo
Oct. 6th, 2009 11:55 pm (UTC)
You gave her a good life, with lots of love and independence. No cat could have wanted more.

*hugs to you all*
birdhousefrog
Oct. 7th, 2009 12:22 am (UTC)
Thank you. Hug your kitties tonight from all of us.
patesden
Oct. 6th, 2009 11:56 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry you lost a friend. She was a very pretty cat.
birdhousefrog
Oct. 7th, 2009 12:24 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for your thoughts. She was a cat with attitude. She just strolled in here and took over at 4 months old. Even the old springer spaniel became her devoted slave, despite the size difference. The boys were always leery of the dog, she never was.
gregvaneekhout
Oct. 7th, 2009 12:27 am (UTC)
Aw, I'm sorry to hear about your loss. She looks very soft.
birdhousefrog
Oct. 7th, 2009 12:52 am (UTC)
The softest, silkiest fur I've ever felt. All those mouse essential oils, I guess. The kid loved touching it. Never harsh, just as soft as can be, very fine hair. (A-choo!, not to mention it sticks to all kinds of clothes quite well.) The boys have very different fur.
(no subject) - birdhousefrog - Oct. 8th, 2009 11:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
jjschwabach
Oct. 7th, 2009 12:32 am (UTC)
I'm sorry about Mrs. Gaines.

It's never easy, and it's harder when they've shared our lives for so long.
birdhousefrog
Oct. 7th, 2009 12:54 am (UTC)
Aww, thank you. She was a very special kitty in her own deranged and regal way. Seven pounds of athletic attitude. Never did learn to stay off the counters, acted like she had never heard the word "no" or "down" before each and every time.
klingonguy
Oct. 7th, 2009 01:11 am (UTC)
I'll miss seeing her shadow up there from my office window, cast onto the pine trees.

Ah, surely that tells me everything; a life well lived, a cat well loved, and memories like gifts that will turn up when least expected for years to come.
birdhousefrog
Oct. 7th, 2009 10:15 am (UTC)
They do, yes. We've had quite a menagerie over the past 30 years together. She was too young, but they were a good 5.5 years. Life moves on. The kid has already had a serious discussion about the succession and how the princesses are not yet ready to rule, must have a regent. There's a good story in that, but I'm afraid I'd cast the regent in a dark light, which might not suit her as he's her other favorite cat, fat Rainbow Tom, the clown regent no one takes seriously.
kelly_swails
Oct. 7th, 2009 01:48 am (UTC)
My sympathies.
birdhousefrog
Oct. 7th, 2009 10:17 am (UTC)
Thank you so much. Mrs. G had a lot of personality for such a tiny little thing.
(Deleted comment)
birdhousefrog
Oct. 7th, 2009 10:29 am (UTC)
It really touched me that Goliath was in the room with her all afternoon. It was a gentlemanly thing to do.

I keep telling her she was a good Mom, that she grew up with Mrs. G and they learned together and now she's being a good mom to the kittenz because of it.

Mrs G used to sneak in and sleep with E once she was asleep.

It's all a question now of regents and princesses. Me, I don't trust the 'clown' regent. I shall keep an eye on Rainbow Tom. He keeps checking the kittenz to see if they're fat enough to eat. Alas, like the princes in The Tower, I wonder what he would do to them without our watchful eyes guarding them?
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - birdhousefrog - Oct. 7th, 2009 04:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
amysisson
Oct. 7th, 2009 03:24 am (UTC)
What a beautiful, beautiful cat. Thank you for sharing her life and making it better.
birdhousefrog
Oct. 7th, 2009 10:20 am (UTC)
She lucked into life with us, was always a cat with a lot of luck, spending her 9 lives recklessly. She's had accidents galore, cut open her belly doing who knows what giving us all a scare when she was about 1 year old. She just wandered down a friend's driveway one day at 4 months old and we had no indoor cats at the time, just a dog. She made us happy, life came back into the house and the mice were evicted.
(Deleted comment)
birdhousefrog
Oct. 7th, 2009 10:18 am (UTC)
Thank you. I hope you hug your own kitties today for Mrs. G's sake and theirs.
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Oz Whiston writing as Oz Drummond

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