Monday, June 30, 2014

Challenge Create and a Very Sick Cat

Skirt Fixation
Audrey and the girls over at Skirt Fixation have created a fun challenge for sewing bloggers: Challenge Create: Fabric Swap Edition. The premise is that participants send each other fabric that fits a theme, and we can use the fabric we receive to create anything we want -- clothes, home decor, quilt -- anything. We sent/received two yards total, and I cannot wait to show you what I've created from the beautiful fabric I received from Amy and Tasha. My post goes live tomorrow. 


We arrived home from vacation last week, and a day later VBS began for the boys at their grandparents' church. It was nighttime VBS, so they didn't get to bed until 9:30 five nights in a row (1.5 hours later than their regular summer bedtime). Our routine was severely out of whack, which is why it took us several days to realize our 14-year-old cat, Mozart, was very sick. (Our cats hide while the kids are awake. Really, who can blame them?)

He didn't eat anything for at least three days. (I suspect it was closer to four or five in hindsight.) Friday night I stayed up with him and held him. Neither of us slept, and although he didn't seem to be in any pain, he struggled to even hold his head up. It was pitiful. Saturday afternoon he couldn't even stand. He lay under the bed, completely still. Our other cat lay beside him the whole time; she didn't eat either. 

We all said our goodbyes. I was a MESS. 

I don't consider myself an animal person. A pet is a pet. A human is a human. I don't treat our cats like people, and while we feed them, clean them, and give them attention, the truth is there is a pecking order in our family and they are not at the top. Dressing pets in clothing confounds me. (LeeAnn is rolling her eyes.)

So imagine my surprise when this all started and I sobbed for two days straight. My heart was broken. As much as I gripe about the puking (which he loves to do immediately after I mop), sweeping up their messes, and cleaning cat hair from every available surface -- the truth is he's been with me for 14 years and I couldn't look at any spot in the house without imagining him there. He sits by me every single night, and if I'm sewing, he's in there with me. I couldn't bring myself to even go in the sewing room. If I'm blogging, he's lying across my lap, so typing on the computer was out of the question. (Which created a challenge for the deadline for the first part of this post, as you can imagine.)

14 years ago I was in a new city in a new career far from my family. Ryan was a poor graduate student in another city, and when a friend told him his wife was allergic to her new cat, Ryan offered to take the tabby home as my Christmas gift. One weekend when I arrived at his apartment in the wee hours of the morning to visit (my schedule was GRODY), I sneaked into Ryan's room to wake him. Suddenly a huge rat skittered across the floor! I screamed, and Ryan said, "Merry Christmas!" 

I certainly wasn't a cat person. My apartment complex (nor his) allowed pets without a deposit we couldn't afford. Mozart was a MEAN kitten. I was not thrilled. 

But Mo kept me company. He kept my secrets and listened to my dreams. He cuddled with me when I was lonely, homesick, or overwhelmed. He didn't mind that I stunk from smoking or stumbled in at all hours of the night. He knocked over my Christmas tree the first year I celebrated the holiday without my family. He rode shotgun with me every time I went home to Memphis to visit. (It gave the drive-thru workers a thrill to see a cat hanging his head out the window, meowing loudly at anyone who'd listen.) He stalked me, and slid down my legs when I'd get out of the shower. (He almost didn't survive that feat.) Ryan and I got married and added another cat to the mix. Mo reluctantly adjusted to that and our adding kids to the mix, too. He attacked me while I was breastfeeding Lee, and after a visit to the vet where I was instructed to "assert my dominance," we had a mutual understanding. We've gotten along swimmingly since.

He's moved six times in 14 years. He's a tough cat.

Late Saturday night I brought food to him again and begged him to eat. He stood up, wobbled over the bowl, and ate three bites. Later when I checked on him he did it again. Then he emptied the bowl. (Our youngest cat still didn't eat to allow him to fill up. If you've seen her -- all 25 pounds of her -- you know that in itself is a miracle.) He's very, very slowly working his way back. He's alert again and moving more easily. The vet recommended watching and waiting -- taking him in could set him back again. 

So we wait. And watch. And hope and pray for just a little more time. And really, I'm also praying for a second chance to show him that even though I'll never put him in a tutu or call him my "baby," he's a pretty important part of our family and I'm glad he's here. Puke and shedding hair and bad breath and all.


  1. I am so sorry about Mo! I had a cat, Sophie. I got her in college even though I lived in the dorms. I sent her to live with Chris when I got busted even though he was allergic. She died 2 years ago after fighting with some unknown whatever the vet could never figure it out. Our cat was an absolute turd and I loved her to pieces. I think to cap off her turd-ness, she died on my birthday, while I was at Disney World on purpose, so that every year, or every time I visit the happiest place on earth, I think about her. She was always self centered that way. ;-) Having her pass cemented my, never again theory on pets. I, too, am not an animal person and was shocked at how absolutely devastating it was to lose her.

    I hope you all get a little more time with Mo.

    1. Thanks, Natalie. I've also sworn off more pets. I used to think it was because they were too much trouble. Now I know it's because I simply can't handle saying goodbye. The kids will likely never forgive me for depriving them of a dog, but so be it.

      It's amazing how they weasel their way into even the most crotchety hearts. :)


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