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Family matters and cat dynamics

June 27th, 2017 at 07:14 am


Fawn "spotted" in my side yard this morning. The doe comes daily to eat the fallen fruit from the apple tree, and now she's brought her fawn.





Thanks, everyone, for all the condolences. I spent all day yesterday moping around. I forced myself to go and run some errands to try to regain a sense of normalcy. I kind of felt like I was just going through the motions.

I also took a walk at Fairfield Hills last night because it was such a beautiful summer day. It's where I used to go when my mother was still battling dementia, and I do find nature to be a comfort. It reminded me that while I am wholly absorbed in my loss, there is much in the world that is active and alive, buzzing, vibrant and healthy. The beat goes on.

I feel like there's a big hole in my life that Waldo used to fill. It sounds silly, but we used to be a threesome here, and now it's just me and Luther. I was very much aware of my cats' presence in my home. I might be busy doing other things, but I always knew they were there, somewhere, lounging in the sun room or pattering around in the kitchen, or wrestling each other in the family room. And periodically I would take a break from the computer, my job search or whatever I was doing to wander downstairs and see what they were up to, rub a chin or toss a toy.

So now Luther is the recipient of all my attention and I feel myself becoming anxious to know where he is and what he's doing all the time instead of taking him for granted. He must be aware of Waldo's absence, but I don't know that he misses his presence. When I brought the empty cat carrier home, I let Luther sniff it, and the towel inside, before I put it away.

The only other clue I had as to Luther's thought process, if you can call it that in a cat, is that when I fed Luther yesterday, he looked around for Waldo. Both cats did that if I happened to crack open a can of food with only one of them there. They were both concerned about getting to the food first, Luther especially, since Waldo was very food-oriented and would enthusiastically push his face toward the bowl whether Luther had begun eating or not. This was off-putting to Luther, who would then retreat and wait for Waldo to finish before going back to the dish. They were chums, but he preferred to eat his meals solo.

Luther is a very handsome cat, but truth be told, he played second fiddle to Waldo, who captured my heart with his affectionate nature. It was also incredibly rewarding to be able to "tame" an essentially feral cat.

Luther suffered from his time at the shelter in his own way. He was there for a much shorter time than Waldo (months vs years), but you can tell he didn't get much attention there becus he has always disliked getting touched much. It often drives me nuts when he slinks away from under my hand, not wanting to be touched. He is always in good spirits and happily accompanies me from room to room or bounds up on a table if I am looking at something there. To Luther, life inside this house is a grand adventure. If I go in the basement or to the attic, he often races ahead of me, reaching the destination before I do.

He wants to be "involved." He will seek out affection, sometimes jumping on my lap, and only then will he accept being pet.

He never gave any indication that Waldo getting to the food first bothered him. (I would later feed them in separate bowls but even then Luther preferred to wait til Waldo was done.)

When they were both in the kitchen and I was preparing their food, Waldo would get so excited he would sometimes circle the small kitchen island, meowing in excitement, and for some reason this would irritate Luther, who would swat at Waldo as if to say, "Cut it out, bro."

So when I cracked open a can of food yesterday, I thought I caught Luther looking up and into another room, as if expecting to see Waldo come running.

Things are quiet here. This morning, Waldo did not wake me up in the morning, demanding breakfast. I actually slept til 7:30, which is unusual. After spending the night downstairs, where it's cooler, Luther had jumped up on the bed in the early morning, but he was content to lay there quietly while I slept.

I heard back from the shelter volunteer who helped me adopt both Waldo and Luther 8 years ago. Waldo had always been one of her all-time favorite cats there, so I would send her Christmas emails with photos and updates on both. She thanked me for letting her know, and she said he couldn't have had a better home. She had come here to do a house check when I adopted, at the time when I was getting the sun room done, putting built-in benches there just for the cats!

Shortly before Waldo got sick, I had renewed both of his meds for the maximum quantity, 90 days. One prescription was from the old vet I no longer plan to use; I had simply renewed the med as I thought it easier to do since the new vet would not give me the same med without bloodwork and an exam. I realized there was a seal on the bottle and I decided to see if I could return the bottle. They said yes, so I drove down there yesterday and was able to get a $55 refund.

The other med from the new vet was not sealed and cost half the price of the first one, so instead of asking for a refund I asked if I could return it so they could use with either animal rescue groups they work with or low-income patients. They said yes, thank you, they do that all the time. So it made me feel a little better knowing Waldo's leftover meds would help others who maybe couldn't afford them.

I got a really nice phone call from my cousin last night. Strangely, I had been wanting to talk to him about losing Waldo. I say strangely because at first blush we wouldn't seem to have a lot in common and you might not think him particularly sympathetic.

He's an avid gun collector, including semi-automatic things, Uzis and the like, something wholly anathema to my entire community post 12/14. And also to me, but I haven't really expressed my opinion on that.

But just having the family connection, of knowing he is my late grandmother's favorite sister's son, somehow creates this instant bond, a sense of loyalty and fondness for someone I don't remember ever meeting. He said he met both me and my sister when we were very little and visiting my grandparents, and in fact my grandmother scolded him for teasing my sister when my cousin was about 14.

But anyway, he told me how much he enjoyed his little visit here and how he wished we had all reunited years earlier. I've had the same feeling, because there is so much more we all could have done. It makes me feel a little wistful. But later is better than never. He also said he wished we lived closer together.

He lost his wife years back. She was addicted to drugs and alcohol. He was very successful in his work, but his home life for many years was hellish. He has two grown daughters. He said he has a decent relationship with them but was envious of the relationship my dad and I have, that the caliber of the relationship he has with his daughters is nothing compared to what dad and I have. He also said that I have all the qualities that he is lacking, that I am kind and tactful, organized and thoughtful. It is a curious thing to see yourself through others' eyes.

And I feel very fortunate to have a good relationship with dad. From age of 6 on, I saw my dad (divorced from mom) very little, and as a teenager I drifted apart from him, knowing he was busy raising his second family. There was well over a decade when I had no contact with him at all. So yes, dad is precious to me and in these past few years since he's been living near me I have gotten to know him so much better.

While J. was visiting, my dad has asked me if I would mind if he invited my sister to our final dinner out with J. I said no, not at all. Neither of us were sure she would want to come because if there's one thing I know about my sister, she won't do anything that makes her the littlest bit uncomfortable. She won't do things purely to please others; there has to be something in it for her.

It occurred to me after my dad asked me that this dinner could be an opportunity for me and my sister to come closer to a reconciliation without necessarily having to deal with each other one to one. We really haven't had anything to do with each other since my mother's death in December 2015. Once or twice my father gave me a dozen eggs, compliments of my sister's chickens, and there was one time my sister and I politely said hello to each other when I was picking my father up for dinner.

As it turned out, my sister declined dad's invitation. I know he was disappointed because he wanted her to meet J., knowing it might even be the last opportunity to do so. Everyone is getting older. He told me he wanted to say something but decided he'd better not. Dad is always very careful not to tell any of his kids what to do; I think he has a fear that doing so could alienate them. I've told him I don't think that would happen and that in fact I would welcome his opinions and thoughts whenever. He has good relationships with 3 of his 4 kids. My younger half-brother doesn't seem to have much to do with him and I'm not sure why. My dad is not the type to force himself on people if he feels he's not wanted, so that's the way things have been for a while.

Relationships are complicated.

Today, and this week in fact, I have very little planned. I keep a daily calendar listing things to do,and it's very light. Today I'll go to the farmer's market for the first time this year, and also to the dump. When you recycle organics (kitchen waste), you want to get rid of it quickly before it attracts fruit flies. I'll also walk, and maybe do all 3 in the same trip.

3 Responses to “Family matters and cat dynamics”

  1. Carol Says:

    Your reflections have triggered many of my own. Thank you for writing so thoughtfully.
    The lettuce and greens from our farmers ' market have been out of this world this spring ( last two weeks). Enjoy!

  2. ThriftoRama Says:

    Whenmy long-time cat, Pickle, died, the other cat in our house felt the loss, too. Squeaks (Who now has cancer, sadly, at 14) would wander the house sniffing around, looking for her. And, after a few days, when pickle didn't show up in any of the spots where they normally rolled up together to take naps, she took to walking around the house looking for her, meowing constantly.

    The only thing that calmed her? Six months later, we adopted two kittens. She stopped looking for Pickle immediately, and took to becoming mom/companion to the kittens, the way tha Pickle was to her. Now, she rolls up with them. She doesn't feel as lonely.

  3. Frugaltexan75 Says:

    I'm so sorry for your loss PS. Frown

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