Griffey is finally using Remy’s old cat bed. I love to see this. 🐈

An Escape

If there’s one thing about having a kitten, it’s when they get active they tend to stay active for quite some time. This makes it hard for me to sort my thoughts out sometimes, which I need to do when I come home from work, for example.

Luckily, I have a place in my home to escape. I have a desk in my bedroom which only has a desk lamp on it. My bedroom itself is fairly quiet. I have a small TV and a HomePod in here, but outside of the TV I have no electronics that emit a huge amount of light. I purposely keep any computers and hard drives out of this room to limit nighttime distractions.

It also gives me a place I can go to journal, like I’m doing now. I’m able to close the door, sit at my desk, and type away on my iPad. I have a fan running at all times in here which adds a small amount of white noise, but even with the window open, it’s still pleasantly quiet in here. Thankfully, Griffey doesn’t pound on closed doors like my previous cat Remy did.

I’m not always able, or even willing, to take a walk. I just need to remember I have this spot.

Griffey has used this little hideaway more than Remy ever did. Glad he’s using all the cat stuff I have. 🐈

Remy’s Home

I got the call tonight Remy’s remains were ready for me to pick up after he was cremated. When the vet handed him to me, it felt nice to be able to hold him again. His ashes have been placed in a burlap sack. It was easy for my finger to linger against it in the same way it would when I’d scratch his chin, given the fuzziness of the bag. 

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been finding it easier to cope. I still miss his softness, the snuggles, and the love I got from Remy. I feel like he’s here in spirit, but there’s times when my apartment seems too quiet. There’s a good chance I’ll have another cat soon. There’s just a part of me that hopes it’s not too soon, but I also feel I need to move forward.

I told my good friend Kat I was getting Remy’s ashes tonight. She told me about a place in Seattle, called Artful Ashes, that takes ashes of loved ones and makes incredible glass pieces with them. I’m really thinking about doing this, as I’m already partial to the amber colored orb they make, since it’s close to the same color as Remy. I feel like it would be a fitting tribute to my little guy. 

All in all, I’m glad I have him here again. I know he knows how much he’s been loved through these years. He gave every bit of that back to me and then some. 

It’s Been a Week

It’s hard to believe it’s been a week since I gave Remy up. Mornings are still the time that feels the most empty. I miss those morning purrs and snuggles. I miss the overall morning routine we had. It was nice to start the day with a bit of happiness.

I imagine I won’t last long without a pet. There’s been times where my place has been just a little too quiet. It occurred to me yesterday this is the first time I’ve ever had to live totally alone, with no roommates or pets around. It’s certainly different.

I finally got around to cleaning Remy’s litter box and the area around it a couple of days ago. His box was in a closet where the water heater in my place was. For the first time that closet door is shut. It’s weird seeing that space so open.

One last thought. I posted my piece about Remy’s passing to social media. In part, I did this for my own sanity, so that I didn’t have to constantly explain what happened with him. “Here’s the link, now you know”, was my approach. I also did that for the same reason I wrote it, because I couldn’t keep all of that bottled up. What I didn’t really think about was the level of support I received in response. I didn’t realize how much I would need all of that, but it’s really helped me push on. I can’t thank everyone enough for their support. Love to all.

Rest Well, Remy

This is one of the toughest posts I've ever had to write. On Friday evening, I had to let my buddy Remy go. Over the past couple of weeks, I've chronicled his struggles. Long story short, we found a mass in his chest near his heart, that mass was causing fluid buildup around his lungs affecting his breathing, and in general his time was limited with that mass meaning he would slowly lose his internal bodily functions as his body couldn't fight any more.

Over the past week since Monday, when I mentioned his struggle to pass his bowels, he didn't poop once since then. I could see him become more and more uncomfortable with this as the week progressed. Slowly, he stopped eating which combined with the other issue, prompted me to call the vet on Wednesday. They gave me an appetite stimulator to make him eat and a gel hairball treatment to hopefully help him pass a stool.

The hairball treatment didn't work for him at all. Wednesday night, he took the treatment with no issue, but he fought me over the next two days with it as he would get irritated with me putting it on his paw. He spent his final four days alive without passing a stool and I can only imagine how uncomfortable that made him feel. He spent most of his final 24 hours hovering near the litter box, an indication he wanted to go and knew he needed to, but yet he couldn't.

The appetite stimulator worked the first time around. About two hours into it on Wednesday night, he seemed to spring back to life, became chatty when I mentioned food to him, and ate a decent amount before bedtime. By Thursday evening he had basically stopped eating again and even with another treatment Friday morning he only picked at his food once. The only thing I could give him without fail was a treat, which is how I began giving him his meds.

Thursday night is when things began to seem dire. When I came home from work, he slowly emerged from my bedroom, where he typically hides out in the afternoon. Overall he just seemed off. During the course of the night he became anxious. Wether he was in my lap or in his cat bed by the window, he couldn’t sit still and was constantly adjusting himself. I’m sure his guy had a lot to do with this. Come bedtime, I invited him to join me, but he just laid in his cat bed and stared at me. I finally carried him into bed with me to settle in for the night.

At some point during the night he left the bed and I found him near his litter box. I checked, still nothing in there. I gave him a few rubs on the head and told him things would be ok. Come Friday morning, he was in basically the same spot. It was the first time in a couple weeks he hadn’t woke me up with his ritual of snuggles and purrs. I knew something wasn’t right.

I gave him his meds for the morning camouflaged in a couple treats and hoped he would improve. Throughout the day Friday, I frequently checked on him on the PetCube. It was the first time he didn’t retreat to the bedroom, as he hovered close to the litter box. When I arrived home I could see his breathing was labored. When I tried to comfort him he kept moving stay from me. My boy was obviously hurting.

I called my vet to see if I could get him in that night, but unfortunately they were bombarded with numerous emergencies. I settled for an appointment at 9 AM the following morning. But, as I continued to monitor Remy, it became more and more apparent he needed help now, so I called the emergency pet services here in town. On that call, I knew I had two choices: either try an enema to see if we could clear his system out, or let him go. The enema might have made him feel better, but if his body was indeed shutting down, there was a good chance we would be right back in the same position in a few days and that could get expensive. I told them I’d make a decision when I got there.

I could feel this might be it and began breaking down, so I called my mom to see if she could get us since I didn’t feel safe driving given my state. She agreed. The closer we got to the clinic, the more stressed Remy became. Less than a mile from there, he gave one last howl from his carrier. That was painful to hear. I know my buddy was scared. I think he also knew this was it. It hurt to hear.

Upon arriving at the clinic, they asked me if I wanted to just do the euthanasia or if i wanted them to do an exam first. I opted for the exam because I needed peace of mind to know I was doing the right thing. After the exam, they told me they needed to put him on oxygen just to make him comfortable, but that it was obvious he was laboring bad. I asked them what they thought I should do given what they knew & they basically told me there was little chance he could get better. Surgery wasn’t an option with his mass being next to his heart and that mass was probably the culprit of everything. With that, I agreed to have him put to sleep. I couldn’t let him suffer anymore.

They had me hang out in an exam room while they went to get him. I could hear him meowing angrily as they brought him to the room. They gave me some time with him alone. I gave him a hug and pet him while telling him everything was going to be ok. I promised him no matter what he’s coming home to me (I’m getting his ashes) and that he’ll have a spot next to me by my recliner.

The nurse came back into the room and she explained to me the process. She told me sometimes with larger pets, they’ll dream before passing. She plugged a small tube into an IV in Remy’s right front leg, pushed the liquid from a syringe, and within seconds I saw Remy go from fully stressed to nothing. Just like that he was gone. I instantly began petting him. Occasionally, his body would twitch. It was explained that was his muscles releasing their last burst of energy. My buddy was fighting hard over this past week. They left me with him and I just continued petting and talking to Remy. I told him he no longer has to hurt and he’ll be home with me soon. It was therapeutic to feel his soft fur one last time. Finally, once I knew for sure he had left his body, I knew it was time to go.

That night was the first time in years I didn’t have him to help me go to sleep at night. All the little things about him bounced through my head. As I look back, I know we both gave each other all the love we could. It’s hard to not have that anymore.

Remy was the sweetest, most loving cat I could ask for. He rarely passed up a chance to snuggle and to get pet. We had a ritual of taking mid afternoon naps together in my recliner where he usually had his head on my shoulder. He was basically a teddy bear.

He constantly made me smile. He’d get so excited to lick the sweat off a cold drink I had around. I loved how cute he looked as he begged for what I was eating or as he watched me shave or brush my teeth in the bathroom.

He always greeted me at the door when I came home and many days would walk me to the door as I left for work. He always went to bed with me, typically hopping onto a side table on my side of the bed, then hopping onto the bed and walking across me, before snuggling in next to me. Many nights he purred me to sleep. Those same purrs would wake me up every morning, usually right about 6AM, where I’d give him some snuggles and conversation before getting out of bed to feed him breakfast.

Anytime it was feeding time, we always had the same conversation. It usually went something like this:

Me: Remy, are you hungry?
Remy: excited meow
Me: Remy, do you want some food?
Remy: excited meow
Me: Remy, do you want me to fill your bowl?
Remy: slightly more irritated excited meow
Me: Well, let’s go to the kitchen!
Remy: springs into action and leads me to the kitchen

He always did his little circle dance before getting fed. Every bit of this ritual was cute.

Most of all, he knew when I needed him. There’s one moment in particular I’ll never forget. A few years ago, my girlfriend at the time, Kat, and I had our relationship become a long distance one. After one of her visits I went back into my apartment and sat down on the couch. I remember feeling a bit empty at the time. Remy looked at me with this look of “what’s wrong, man?", as he then sat next to me and let me pet him. His softness and the way he would purr was always therapeutic for me.

There’s so much about him that I’ll remember over time. He was always some kind of influence of every bit of my home life. I’m already missing him and his comfort in so many ways and I’m thankful I got these last ten years with him. He was a much needed source of light for me. He was and still is loved and I know he loved me too.

Rest well, my dear friend. I’ll see you home soon.

Celebrating Remy's Gotcha Day

It’s now been ten years since Remy entered my life. I was looking for a cat to call my own after moving into a new place. I initially had my eye on a big grey fluff ball at a local pet store. I told my mom about it and she went to go check it out only to find it had been adopted. She was discussing how I was looking for this cat aloud in the store with her boyfriend at the time, when a lady asked if she was looking for a cat. This lady had found a couple kittens who had survived a house fire and she had been taking care of them since. Unfortunately, one of them didn’t make it long after the fire, so only the one was left, but he seemed to be in good health.

Mom explained it wasn’t her that was looking for a cat, but that it was me instead. Mom called me from the pet store to ask if I wanted to take a look at the cat and I agreed, so a day later we went to the house to check him out.

What I found was this little orange kitten, barely three months old and full of life. The little guy would play with pretty much everything (see above). His name at the time was Sunny and he seemed to take to me right away. I instantly agreed to take him home. I’ll always remember him trying to paw at me through the cat carrier as I drove home with him that day.

I brought him into the house and went straight to my room with him, where I planned on him to stay for the next couple of days so his scent would get on everything and so he would get familiar with mine1. I set him up with a water dish and a food dish and he settled right in.

In many ways, he was your typical kitten. Loved to play at all hours of the day, many times waking me up in the middle of the night. But, the moment I knew I there was no way I’d give him up was about three days into having him when I was laying in bed and he hopped up next to me and curled up underneath my right arm. From that point on, he was a cuddler and he became a source of comfort in the years to follow.

This Gotcha Day is a bit different this time. If you’ve been following this page, you know why. But, I’m not here to focus on the sad news today. I’m here to focus on the joy Remy has brought me over the last decade. I couldn’t ask for a better cat than he has been. He’s been so full of love and I couldn’t help but to love him back.

  1. To this day my bedroom is his safe space. [return]

I can at least say Remy let me give him a snuggle after his rough morning.

Remy Update - 7/27

This morning started out fairly typical. I woke up right around 6 AM and Remy was there to greet me with his usual dose of purrs and cuddly nudging to get me to get up to feed him. Outside of some recent allergy issues, he seemed to be pretty happy.

I gave him a couple spoonfuls of wet food, chicken this time, in which I only give him a little bit to start as I mix his meds into it and I want to make sure he gets those down before moving onto more. I made coffee and settled into my desk chair for my usual online browsing.

It was at this point I noticed Remy head towards his litter box. Suddenly, I heard these really loud squeaks. Remy was struggling to poop. I saw him leave the box and lay down on the kitchen floor, panting hard. At that point, I was worried and got up to check on him. At first, I thought he was convulsing in some way, but I soon realized he hadn’t finished the job and was still trying. He had to lay down because the whole thing was hard for him.

He finally pushed out what he was trying to, but couldn’t even go all the way as I had to pluck it from him with some toilet paper. At this point, he laid there and panted hard for a couple of minutes before settling down. He laid there for about five minutes before getting up to head towards the litter box again. Same process, loud squeaks, but this time he was able to finish the job. He then again laid down on the kitchen floor to pant some more before settling down. As I type this, he’s still in the same spot, at this point resting.

This is how the past ten days have gone. He’s shown progress from the meds, breathing less deeply, seeming more comfortable. But, every few days, there’s been an episode of some kind which raises his stress levels and therefore raising mine. It’s hard to watch him go through this. It seems unreal just two months ago he seemed happy and vibrant. Every episode of this is a reminder to me that he’s probably on borrowed time. Things suddenly are not working as they once did for him and that’s worrisome. When he moves around, he seems fully capable. He can still jump onto my bed from the ground. He’s walking fine, doesn’t seem labored. But, internally, things are starting to go south.

All I can do is just continue loving and comforting him at this point.

Watching baseball with my buddy. He’s pretty stable tonight. Seems relaxed.

Remy Update

A couple of nights ago, I took Remy in to get checked up, because he had been showing a lot of deep and irregular breathing. This is usually a warning sign for cats. Upon inspection, they found fluid around his lungs, but not enough to tap there. They instead sent me home with some medication, which I mix into his food a couple times a day.

Unfortunately, when they did a CT scan on him, they found a mass near his heart. We don’t know at this time if it’s benign or not, really only time will tell. If it is benign, there’s really nothing to worry about. If it isn’t, it’s basically a ticking bomb and it could take him soon. Surgery in that area is too dangerous.

I’m hoping it’s nothing. Upon receiving the meds for the last 36 hours now, Remy has rebounded and is acting much of his normal self. His appetite is back, he’s purring heavily, and he just seems like his happy go lucky self. More importantly, his breathing looks much more normal. I’d hate to see him go any other way than on his terms because that’s what he deserves. He’s been too sweet of a cat to go out painfully.

In the meantime, all I can do is continue medicating him and loving him as I have. He’s frankly easy to love, being the teddy bear he is. As I look over him right now, he’s laying on the floor snuggling his favorite horse toy.

Remy is still breathing hard, so I’m taking him to the vet tomorrow to get him checked out. He’s been a little bit lethargic today, seems content staying in one spot. I need to see what I can do for him.

But, then I had chicken dinner tonight and that’s when he perked up and became much of his normal self. Of course I shared a little with him, because I like to see him happy.

Watching baseball with my buddy. Feels a little normal at least.

I’ve noticed Remy has been breathing faster than normal. He’s deemed a senior cat & is overweight. But, I’m also concerned about the heat and if he’s feeling my stress. I have an appointment set for Thursday to check on him, though the vet says it’s probably not an emergency.

I’m pretty sure Remy is feeling my stress from recent events. He basically demanded to go hide out in the storage space in my bathroom.

Remy isn’t too sure about his new cat tree yet.

I’ve been feeling sluggish all day today. I think Remy has been happy to have someone to lay on today.

This morning’s adventures with Remy: I’m coming out of the kitchen with coffee when Remy makes eye contact with me and then scampers over to my desk chair to steal it before I could get there.

Many mornings, I sit at my desk while Remy acts like a mischievous little brat. The last couple of days, I’ve sat in my recliner to drink coffee, while Remy hops in my lap, gets pets, and purrs his little heart out… then disappears for a nap. He just needed attention.

Remy slept peacefully despite my hopping around with the Sounders today.

This morning Remy decided to lay down next to his food dish, where he’d scoop food out of it and eat it off the floor. This is a new level of laziness.

Remy has been staring at the neighbor cat all morning. 🐈

Remy has a trip to the vet this morning. The last couple years he’s used my car as a litter box, which I’m sure is due to nerves. So, this year he’s got anti-stress meds, which I’ve mixed in his food. Good thing he never skips a meal.

Remy took a little snooze in a sunbeam this afternoon. 🐈

Remy’s enjoying his oversized window sill this morning.

I’ve taken the week off from work so I can get settled as I finish moving. Remy has enjoyed me being around.

Here’s Remy pushing his bowl off the floor so he can sniff underneath it for food. Fat cat tendencies die hard.

Just in the past hour, I’ve caught three instances of Remy coming to check his food dish. The last time he looks really annoyed by the lack of food.

The chicken I made must be pretty good, since Remy has come back for seconds.

Remy picking up his favorite toy/security blanket and crying after I left for work.

I caught Remy taking a catnap with his favorite toy/security blanket this morning. You can see it tucked under his paw.

Meow hear this: Study says cats react to sound of their name

Meow hear this: Study says cats react to sound of their name

Malcolm Ritter, writing for The Associated Press

Atsuko Saito of Sophia University in Tokyo says there’s no evidence cats actually attach meaning to our words, not even their own names. Instead, they’ve learned that when they hear their names they often get rewards like food or play, or something bad like a trip to the vet. And they hear their names a lot. So the sound of it becomes special, even if they don’t really understand it refers to their identity.

My cat, Remy, definitely knows what “food” means. He always perks up and gets really chatty whenever that word comes up.

Meow hear this: Study says cats react to sound of their name

MALCOLM RITTER, writing for The Associated Press

Atsuko Saito of Sophia University in Tokyo says there’s no evidence cats actually attach meaning to our words, not even their own names. Instead, they’ve learned that when they hear their names they often get rewards like food or play, or something bad like a trip to the vet. And they hear their names a lot. So the sound of it becomes special, even if they don’t really understand it refers to their identity.

My cat, Remy, definitely knows what food” means. He always perks up and gets really chatty whenever that word comes up.

Despite being in a cage, Remy loves his little spot tucked into a quiet corner in my bedroom.

Weekly Review for January 20-26, 2019

  • My week started with me watching the Saints-Rams game and being appalled by the worst missed call I’ve see in some time.
  • The jambalaya I made that day came out pretty good though.
  • I updated my About page and added an Elsewhere page for social media accounts & such.
  • After an ice/snow storm hit here Tuesday, one which led to me tweaking my back after slipping on said ice, I rebounded on Wednesday as I try to keep active during the winter. Worth it!
  • Remy was up to his usual mischief. Exhibit A. Exhibit B
  • I’m getting caught up with new music, with a weekly playlist for Alt/Rock. I’ll dig through my hip-hop during this week.

So, My Cat Cries Whenever I Leave

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve caught Remy doing this on my pet cam. Within minutes of leaving the apartment, he’ll go pick up his little stuffed horse, which is basically a security blanket, and he’ll carry it around while crying mournfully. Sometimes he does this when I’ve simply stepped out to check the mail.

Here’s video from this morning:

Brought the space heater out into the living room this morning. Of course, the first thing Remy did was park right in front of it.

Looks like Remy is trusting himself to fit on the windowsill again. My big guy is losing weight!

No matter here I am, Remy is usually close by. If I leave a room, he’ll often follow me to that room. If I wake up in the middle of the night, he’s somewhere on the bed. There’s going to be a day when he’s not around and that’s going to be a huge void. Just hope it’s not soon.

I’m not sure what’s more fun; watching life outside my window or watching Remy watch life outside my window.