Sunday, April 12, 2020


First, my deepest thanks to all who have left comments and emails of condolences (and some graphics I will use soon) about Iza.  They are all treasured.  Each one soothed my heart and eased my pain at her loss.  You are all very special people and I am grateful for every word of kindness you sent.  The Cat Blogosphere is filled with the best people on Earth.

Going to bed Friday night was hard.  Iza wasn't there.  I stared at the bottom corner of the bed where she slept and just touched it briefly knowing I would never see her there again.  I will have to get used to that.   Every cat has personal habits.  And when they leave us, those habits leave with them.  But we who remain remember those habits.  Not seeing those habits again is hard. That corner of the bed is likely to remain vacant forever, as it was HER habit to be there.

But I remain, so I have to go on.

Sometimes, the details of a sad event can wear you down.  I decided on a spot for Iza today.  It is right between Skeeter and LC.  I have 3 Sedum 'Autumn Joy' plants in a row right behind the small pond and Skeeter and LC are between them. 

The plants are 20 years old and long overdue for lifting and dividing.  So Iza will be laid to rest where the center one currently is and I will find new places for the divisions to go.

Forgive me if I sound a bit overly practical.  It's my nature to compartmentalize.  When I am feeling most emotional, my rational side shouts for attention, and vice versa.  I was going to divide the 3 Sedums anyway, and if there is a hole in the right spot, well...

I went out and realized the spot has gotten overgrown with briars and weeds, so I spent an hour pruning and hoeing around it.  I would have dug up the Sedum, but my left hand decided to do that fun "involuntary finger clenching" trick.  So I had to stop for the day.  That Aspercreme stuff really helps.

Tomorrow, I will dig the plants up, dig the hole deeper and set Iza into it (she is in a bag in the basement refrigerator for now).  I think I will add a couple of her rattley-mousies, a branch of dried Nip, and a small bag of treats.  I think I will bring out the portable CD player with "Clair De Lune" on at the final moments.  Symbolism matters.

Then it will be time to build another wooden box marker and get some brass letters.  Building a box marker eases the pain somewhat and makes me feel vaguely productive. 

And then there are administrative things to do.  The blog header needs to be changed and the sidebar has to be updated.  I don't like to let things like that linger; it just bothers me to have unsettled details sitting around.

There is a certain irony that she died on Good Friday and will be buried on Easter Sunday.  

As I was sitting around the house, it occurred to me that I had 3 unusual cats.  Not to ignore The Cats Who Came Before, but Ayla underwent 3 spay operations before "they" finally got things right, Marley is a male Calico (only .1% of Calicos are male, for genetic reasons - he is an XXY cat), and Iza underwent a miraculous transition from Siamese to Tonkinese (I have the papers that declare her a purebred Siamese) and she died on Good Friday.  None of that was deliberate, of course.   Maybe it is a gift...

I won't go too long without a 3rd cat.  3 feels right for me.  As they say, when one door closes, another opens.  I want to consider carefully, though.  I was expecting that, when the time came, I would be older (I turn 70 next month).  I was thinking that, around 75, I would be too old to assume I would be able to care for a kitten its whole life, and I'm not intending to leave any behind.

So I was expecting to either adopt an adult cat or foster one (I have since realized that I could never foster a cat - I couldn't give it up to someone new) when one of The Mews went OTB.  Now I'm not sure.  I've never had a "real" kitten.  Even The Mews were about 8 months old when I got them.

I'm a bit torn.  The idea of adopting some adult cat and giving it a safe home and love when it may never have experienced it before is deeply appealing.  And I would be a good person for that.  Living alone (happily I will add) and being home all day woud be the perfect situation for an older stressed abandoned cat.  Ppeople who adopt senior cats for that reason have my never-ending admiration and respect. 

But a kitten...  OMG, the pleasure of seeing one experience life anew and discover fun and human attachment, and seeing the pure innocence.  I want to experience that.  And Ayla is 13 this year and Marley 10.  There will be (sadly) a few years from now when I will be certain to adopt an older cat because of my age at the time.

I guess you can see where this is going.  Sometimes, I find that just typing things out see I can read the words settles internal debates.  It will be a kitten.  And THEN an older cat.  And who knows, maybe by then I will have resolved my fear of having to give up a foster care cat, thinking of it more as an opportunity to be a mini-shelter to a cat at a time moving to a new loving family. 

I have a memory to fall back on for that.  I don't remember how many years ago it was, but one cold rainy November morning I was driving to work and needed gas.  I stopped at a place nearby and there was a cat near the pumps, wet, cold, and miserable.  It stayed next to me.  When I went inside to pay for the gas, I told the people there that they should let their cat inside.

They said it wasn't theirs and that someone had tossed it out the car window as they were leaving an hour before.  I went out and held the cat a few moments and then turned around and took it home.  I set it in the garage with a litterbox and some food and went to the office.  When I returned, the cat was dry, had pooped and peed, and it came right over to me and purred its little heart out in my arms.

Of course I adopted it.  But people have preferences.  Some people love short-haired cats, some people love long-haired cats.  Some people love solid-color cats, some people love mixed-color cats.  I tend to love mostly solid colored short-haired cats.  This one wasn't.  She (I discovered after a quick check) was long-haired and I bet there wasn't a square inch of fur color that matched the next.

I brushed her carefully for almost an hour.  It was a new experience for he and she didn't like it at all.  She had badly matted fur (amazingly, no fleas, but maybe that was because she had been out in the cold rain).  I named her "Cher" because she was a bit weird (and I LIKE Cher).  She never fully integrated into the household but was very loving when she had me alone.  She may have never lived with other cats.

My supervisor at work knew about her (I did have to explain why I was late the day I found her). Well, it turned out his family had a cat who was "My Cat From Hell" quality (hissy, clawy and mean) and had recently died.  Being a rather perceptive person, he asked if I might consider letting them adopt her.  Yes...

He and his wife came over to my house one evening to meet Cher.  Cher did her best "love me" routines, chasing a tossed kibble, batting a toy and rubbing legs.  When Mrs Supervisor (a school Principal, so no diminishment intended - I just never learned her name) sat down, Cher immediately jumped up on her lap and purred.  Well THAT settled it!

They took her home.  I felt a bit relieved (and rather noble about my good deed saving her and finding her a new home).  He told me a few days later how happy they were with her.  They had renamed her Boo because of her wide eyes and somewhat startled appearance.  And looking at pictures afterwards, I saw that they were right.

So, I CAN give up a cat.  That's good to know for the future.

But now, the question of what kitten.  I spent my first couple of adult decades with gray tabby female give-aways.  Nothing wrong with them and I loved each of them dearly.  But I did develop a desire for change.  Orange Skeeter was the 1st non-gray tabby females.  Black&White LC was 2nd.  Then came Siamese Ayla and Siamese/Tonkinese Iza.  Then Calico Marley. 

Please don't get me wrong when I say that I want to enjoy the beauty of other color cats.  And the personalities of other breeds.  It's pretty much my last chance.  While I have loved many Domestic short-hairs, I also think that any cat purebred or not is going to be happy here and me with it.

And let me say that the purchase or adoption fee of a cat is pretty irrelevant.  It's the food and vet and litter that matters and that is the same for all cats.  So, I'll assume from past experience that any cat will love me and I it....

I have a strong tendency toward a female Tonkinese.  Iza was amazingly affectionate and devoted.  But I see pictures of others.  It will be a short-hair (maintenance is not my greatest pleasure), female, smallish-to medium size (my lap can't manage a 20 lb cat), and (unless Tonkinese) "different".  I want a cat that talks a lot.  I want a cat that looks like a cat.  Forgive me please, but no short legs, weird ears, and a full tail.  A cat with a high degree of intelligence (for a cat of course).

Brown for Abyssinian or Burmese or Havana Brown.  Or Siamese colors.  I'm really limiting myself here, I suddenly realize.  You start to think about what you want and the list narrows fast.  I think what I am realizing is that I want Tonkinese female with Burmese colors. 

But there will be another cat of some kind here soon.  I'm not one who leaves doors closed for long.  BTW, you can have a smile at the first version of that sentence:  I originally typed "I don't leave closed doors open for long..."  You have to laugh at yourself sometimes. 

We will be back soon to visit all you dear friends.  But we need a few days.  I'm sure you understand. 


  1. I'm glad to hear that you are able to move forward in your grief, TBT. I'm a sucker for male (desexed) black and white short-haired cats. I think they look sooooo classy! And yes, one who talks and interacts a lot and enjoys climbing all over you and cuddling and hugging is good.

    May I just say ... kittens are a LOT of work. They hardly ever sit still. If they're awake, they're moving - and probably getting into mischief. Yes, it's joyful to be around a kitten, but tiring with it. One of the upsides, I guess, is that if you start with a young kitten, you can get it used to being picked up and cuddled and held, whereas if you adopt an older cat, it may be set in aloof ways.

    Sydney, Australia

  2. I do hope that all your dreams will come true my experience, its the cat who chooses...and well, you know what happens after that!

    Around here at the moment. we cannot go into any shelters to adopt...any kind of furry one...sigh...yet another sign of the recent times... I hope you e=will be able to if that is how you wish to meet up with your kitty to be.

    And yes kittens are a ton of work...but...they bring energy to the older ones! Years ago, Groucho was already a senior kitty of over 12 or 13...and he mentored 3 youngsters! (Simba, Toki and Suki.) Took them right under his paw, after about two days of hissing...then it was chirping to them...lets play! So sweet to see.


  3. You are the best of the best ... in all ways.

  4. We know you will do what's best for you and Ayla and Marley...and whatever feels right. Purrs...

  5. I think it's human nature to find comfort in routine, and moving forward is essential to good health. We never forget or stop loving those who have gone on. I'm sure Iza will appreciate the special spot you chose for her.

    Good luck with your kitten!! Wow, such bundles of energy and ultra sharp needle teeth. I remember when Toby was that age. Leia was about 5 months when she came along.

  6. I enjoyed every line of your blog. Every line. And the leaving closed doors open really made me smile!

  7. I do suspect when the right kitty finds you then you'll know it immediately. Hugs from all of us.

  8. I think your practical side is a good thing and I'm glad to read it is coming out at this time. My purrs and prayers are with you and the kitties. You will absolutely love having a kitten, and I think that now is the purrfect time for one. Hugs.

  9. Your practical side sounds like a good thing to us : Claire has it too, and it helped her a lot during rough times. We think that the right kitty will find and choose you unexpectedly one day. Purrs and hugs

  10. That looks like the perfect place for Iza to be laid to rest. I like the idea of playing music too. I am sure building the marker will be good for you, you will know you are doing one last thing for your kitty. I am glad you are keeping your heart open for another kitty. I am sure the cat you are meant to have will somehow get to you, either by showing up or if you look on Petfinder, you will get a feeling and just know. That was kind of you to save Cher and give her to a home more suited for her. I think I am too selfish to have done that, finders keepers is my rule with cats. Take all the time you need we will all be here for you. XO

  11. That is the perfect spot for Iza.
    It is good to be practical and I am too, It has helped me through so many hard times when otherwise I would have gone to pieces.
    We all have our way of dealing with what has happened.
    It would be nice to adopt an older cat, but if you want a kitten then soon is the time to do so.
    Whichever you decide, I know you will give them a home full of love.

  12. Mark, don't over think this.(I know, I know - I overthink everything.) The cat will find you. When my beautiful Lulu died Feb,TWO cats showed up.

  13. A perfect place for Iza's final resting place.
    She will be happy there. HUGS!!!
    We are glad you want another cat.
    It is hard to imagine a home without a cat and there are so many that need a good home. We look forward to meeting the cat you choose :)
    Purrs,Georgia and Julie
    and the mum

  14. You'll know when you know...and it may surprise you and be a black cat with a fuzzy tail! MOL! Purrs my friend.

  15. I've missed a few days with following the blogs. I was so sad to read about Iza. One of my cats is 18 today. Every birthday is precious.

    So many kittens/cats need homes. I have a soft spot for "middle-age" cats. We know your lucky feline will be very happy in his/her new home.

  16. This is beautifully written. I have no doubt you'll do exactly what's right for all of you. Purrs as you go through this journey...

  17. Practical is good - it keeps you going. I'm sure everything will happen the way it needs to.

  18. We think Iza will send you a new cat when the right stars align.

  19. We think you will know, and Iza will advise from afar. And practical is good as it helps you move forward, and prepare and plan. As you know, we have a little bundle of energy here, new to the Felocracy. We are a pretty easy going bunch as assimilation is easy. Äiti wanted new energy and youth for us, as we are all over 6 years old now. Pekka is aging but he enjoys playing and chasing - he really missed that from Mirsku when he left us. But yes, kittens take time and energy. And they need training by the rest of us ! And it's the girlcats here who are less tolerant of them - Jaava has been really moody now Papu has appeared. We mancats are more chilled.
    We think that day by day things will become clearer - any feline who finds themselves with you will have lucked out big time.


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