Samson & Delilah

Born April 23, 2013 our newest little babies, how sweet they are!

Our 7 “Kids”: Samson & Delilah

When we last left on in this series we had just lost our beloved Snittums and were alone for the first time in 26 years.  And it hurt badly.  We decided no more cats; we had a lot going on in our lives and just didn’t need a new kitten to break in.

My friend Cindy who owns Kitty City Rescue Foundation had other ideas.  About 2 months later when I could finally go visit her at her facility to bring her some leftover cat food she immediately placed 2 balls of fur on either shoulder when I walked in the door. . . I was lost.

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NO I said, absolutely not.  We’re not going to get any cats soon, maybe later.  “But, but who am I going to get to take these two babies they are brother and sister–we can’t separate them.”  “And they’re almost 16 weeks old, no one will want them.”  No I said.  “But they were abandoned at a restaurant next to a vet’s office, they were in bad shape; she nursed them back to health and they’ve already been fixed and had their first series of vaccines.”  No I said.

I had a picture taken so I could show my husband.  That was on a Saturday morning; over the course of the rest of the day and Sunday morning I must have looked at that picture at least 25 times.  They were sooo cute and sooo friendly; I couldn’t let them go homeless or get separated.  The Jag agreed.

I called Cindy Sunday night.  You win, we’ll take them.

I arranged to pick them up that Wednesday morning and the Jag went to pick them up some scratching posts and toys.  When I arrived with the babies he had the living room all set up

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They settled right in and immediately began playing with their new toys.

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And scratching posts — that’s good, much better than the leather couch.  And yes, they kept their claws.

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The food created a minor issue in the beginning, they were addicted to Purina dry food.  We had to go through a weening off process by mixing it with some grain free dry food and introducing them to raw food along with canned food.

They now eat raw food, canned wet food and dry grain free as an occasional treat.  We want to keep them on their natural diet and at a healthy weight.  They received no more vaccines nor will they.  A personal decision we firmly believe in.

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It didn’t take them long to settle in and feel right at home.  The sweetest kids we’ve ever had.

1 year old

4/23/14

Happy 1st birthday

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Does “replacing” the pet you lost mean you love them less or they are so easily replaced? And I don’t think ‘replace’ is the correct word. When it comes to animals I believe there is room to love many over the course of your life. Look not to ‘replace’ for you cannot, they are all different and have their own unique personality. Snittums was irreplaceable; I had that cat for 19 years from age 34 to 53. We grew up together, we bonded we had a special relationship that is not duplicatable.  There will never be another Snittums, another Bonnie or Clyde, Snickers or Rocky and they will always hold a place in my heart.  I hope you enjoyed the series on our 7 “kids”.  Look for more adventures to follow with. . .

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. . . Samson

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And Delilah.  They just turned 2 years old on 4/23/15 and are our pride and joy!

Our 7 “Kids”: The 9 Lives of Bonnie & Snittums

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After losing 2 precious cats — Snickers & Rockford to the evils of vaccinations my husband and I swore off them.  Our beliefs are that no one–animal or human should be vaccinated.  Granted some can tolerate but those that can’t are harmed far more than any good done.  Our family was now reduced in size to 2 instead of 3 furry babies.

Snittums really missed Snickers but with time adjusted.  Bonnie even missed her a little. We moved to a new town-home with both of them in 2006. They both had kidney issues and problems that we had been monitoring throughout the years. How they got kidney problems was not known–the vet merely answered that “it is quite common in cats.”

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Bonnie was now 16 years old, she had lived a good life since her ordeal in 1995 but unfortunately her kidneys could no longer hold up. We lost her in January 2007.  Unfortunately I did not learn in time what actually did ’cause’ kidney problems in domestic cats.  There are a few definitively known causes but the majority is linked to diet.  Cats are obligate carnivores.  What that term means is that it is biologically necessary for them to eat meat.  You feed cats dry foods of poor quality or even processed wet foods of poor quality which lack important nutrients and your cat’s is more likely to develop kidney problems among other health issues.  Kind of like humans that eat the wrong foods.

At the time Bonnie passed Snittums was 13 years old and certainly not a kitten; we decided although he was lonely it would be best not to introduce another cat.  Snittums was still picky and only eating Sheba cat food.  At this point our vet was pretty onboard with our ‘no vaccines and more holistic’ approach so he recommended a daily vitamin for him.  We used a mortar and pestle to grind it up and fortunately he didn’t notice and would consume it daily with his food.  After being on the natural supplement for a few months he became much more settled although he was always a lovable cat that favored his mommy. But alas his kidney problems were still there.  Sheba then changed their formula and he knew– he wouldn’t eat it.  We scoured grocery stores online all over the country and were able to get him the original for about a year.

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Everything always seems to happen while I am out of town. On Christmas Eve 2009 while in Jacksonville Cindy (Kitty City cat sitter) calls and it seems Snittums has had a seizure. “It’s probably time to put him down”.. No, I scream, take him to the 24 hour emergency care facility please, I beg of you. Being the friend and caregiver she was she did. They needed my permission and “may we have your cc number please.”  AE #. . .  whatever it takes–save my cat. “PJ, don’t tell them that” I hear in the background from my husband. “Well mam, we can provide a 24 hour nurse and put him in intensive care and you can call whenever you like for an update.”  Yes please do that. “$1000 a day.” Well we wolfed down the $100 grass fed beef tenderloin that was intended for Christmas dinner the next morning for breakfast and headed home Chrismas day.

Home came Snittums and we provided around the clock care for the next 3 days alternating until we went back to work and then my parents stayed with him.  Snittums made a remarkable and complete recovery; it seems like it was a potassium deficiency. Well, after that we started supplementing with potassium and taurine in addition to his multi vitamin.  We could find no more original Sheba on the ‘black’ market and after numerous tries the only thing he would eat was canned chicken. So canned chicken he got and he was referred to as the Paleo Kitty.

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Whew. And you wonder why we didn’t have children? Our hearts couldn’t take it. Snittums lived to the ripe old age of 19 and left this world on May 28, 2013 still loving his canned chicken and vitamins which were ground up and added.  The kidneys may have gotten the best of him–the exact cause was not know for certain but he lived much longer than ever anticipated by our vet and up until the end with a very good quality of life.

Alone for the first time in 26 years my husband and I said no more. It hurts too badly.

Our 7 “Kids”: Snickers & Bonnie’s Return

When we left off last our vet had lost our dear Bonnie and Snittums was lonely. . .

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. . . but not anymore because along came Snickers.

One day while shopping for food at the local pet store the same little kitten that had been there the last time I was in had not been adopted.  One of the salespeople told me that “nobody wanted her”; when they told me they didn’t know what they were going to do with her my heart was immediately lost to that sweet little kitten.  I called hubby and by this time it was no problem convincing him that Snittums needed some company.  And home came Snickers. She was adorable, lovable and a unique personality of her own.

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About 2 weeks after Snickers was home I got a call from our vet, very early on a Saturday morning. He was getting ready to take his boat out and go fishing and lo and behold Bonnie was underneath the boat. This was 52 days after she was lost. How is she I ask, “alive” he said, “but barely”. We immediately rushed to her side. She was half starved; it’s a good thing she was a fat cat when lost (almost 20#) and she was down to 12#, burned on her belly from what he determined was the lawn chemicals and scared out of her wits. True to his word, he nursed her back to health free of charge. She spent 30 days in intensive care hooked up to some type of a collar so things could heal. We visited her daily and finally got to bring her home 6 weeks later. She was not happy to meet Snickers. The years went by and with time they all got along pretty well.  We couldn’t have been happier with our 3 little “children”.

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Snickers had the most adorable habit of drinking directly from the faucet.

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She was so friendly, loved being the center of attention and into everything.

We had stayed with our current vet and he continued to treat both Bonnie and Snittums for “free”. Not wanting to take advantage we had taken Snickers to another vet and she too got the normal course of vaccines. At the time I wasn’t sure what it was but I always had a bad or funny feeling in my gut when I took Snickers to that vet, that something just wasn’t right. I couldn’t explain it; the vet was nice enough so I shook it off as just my imagination.

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After quite a few years when Snickers was about 7 that bad feeling kept happening every time I took her in so we switched her to our vet and said it was our parents cat so that we could pay him. I thought that would be the end of it. But I had that same feeling when they vaccinated her. Shortly thereafter we noticed a lump on Snickers back. It got a little larger so we took her to the vet. After tests and biopsies the news came back. “Not good, fibro sarcoma. Generally fatal,” he said. I was beyond broken hearted, what causes this I asked? We take the best care of her?? I truly felt sorry for the man; although he made good ours was the only cat he had every lost and now he had to look me in the eye ad tell me “well, it’s extremely rare, 1 in 3000 cats”. Ok, but what causes it?? “Vaccine induced fibrous sarcoma”.

Vaccines?? So you mean to tell me that bringing her in every year for the battery of vaccines and the $200-300 it costs that are supposed to protect her actually caused this? “Well, they protect and help more than harm; some animals immune systems just aren’t up to handling them along with their genetics”.

He did not treat cancer so we took Snickers to a specialist. Their plan of treatment was to surgically remove the tumor and a series of weekly chemo treatments that could possibly extend her life for up to a year. $8000. Chemo? Seriously, she is a poor little 9# cat, they would have had to remove a large part of her back musculature and then inject poison (aka chemo) over the course of several weeks.  Let’s talk quality of life here, I would not do that to a human.

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We even consulted a holistic vet who said at this point there was nothing that could be done other than to monitor her until she appeared to be in pain and then we would have to put her down. We could attempt the surgery only to remove the tumor but no promises could be made and at this stage quality of life was questionable. Devastation hovered over our home like a black and deathly storm cloud. We elected to not have the surgery and definitely not the chemo. Poor Snickers was laid to rest 3 weeks before our wedding at the age of 8 in 2003. Cause of death: known for a fact – over vaccination.

That was it folks, we’re done. No cat of ours will EVER be vaccinated again.  This is when I realized that the system I had blind faith in was FUBAR.  I began reading, researching and learning.  The opinions I hold today are that vaccines are dangerous for animal or human and cause many serious problems in both.  All for the profit of a corrupt system.  Fodder for another post.

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Her life cut short all we had left of Snickers were 8 years of wonderful memories.  I still live with the guilt that I indirectly caused her death.  Me, who loved her and wanted only the best for her and in doing so, lost her.  Writing this, over 11 years later still brings me pain that I failed her in some way.  If I can find any good that came out of this horrific experience is that I learned and that greatly benefited the quality of the remainder of Bonnie and Snittums lives.  Stay tuned dear readers. . .

 

Our 7 “Kids”: Snittums

When we left off with Part 2 we had just lost Clyde and Bonnie was very lonely. . .

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Hard to believe that was 20 years ago.  I wore a little too much make up back then.  Yep, that’s a Polaroid from the vet’s office.

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Please honey, please. Sharon’s son’s girlfriends’ cat just had kittens. Sharon was a girl I worked with at a dental office back in the pre fitness years. I was beginning to feel slightly unlucky with all black kitty cats and she mentioned there were 2 white ones.

I went to see them and when I sat down on their couch one little white one crawled up onto my chest and would not let go. Ok, he chose me sort of but I was hooked. Home he came; now what to call this pretty white kitten?  I suggested snowball, eight ball, salty and a few others none of which my husband liked. Well, I asked him what should we call him? He was a male, territorial, somewhat distant except around me and he liked people food.

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And was into everything.  Oh my, nasty nasty just look at those past vices we had.

After we had him for a few days we were eating dinner one night; chicken fettuccine (we also ate pasta back in those days) and when I went to refill my water and came back to the table he had jumped and landed all 4 paws right onto my dinner plate and was chowing down. In the beginning he liked me way better than my husband who soon named him Little Shit much to my chagrin. “Little Shit” became Seminole at the vet’s for propriety’s sake. His name soon turned into Snittums (a version of little shit that we would both use).

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Snittums also went the route of vaccinations and annual visits but he was a very, very picky eater.  They had him on people food before we got him and all we could get him to eat was Sheba cat food. Sheba it was. Bonnie and he got along well and continued to stay at the pet resort while we were on vacation for the most part.

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1995: Bonnie is now 4 years old and Snittums is 1. They were due for their annual vaccinations and we were heading to the beach for our family reunion. For convenience as well as safety we decided to board them at our vets. Upon the return from the beach my husband went home to pick up the kids while I spent the day with my nieces at Busch Gardens. When we arrived at home with the family in tow to finish out the weekend with a cookout my husband says “PJ, I have something to tell you”. Uh oh, the cats???? Where are the babies, oh no, I was quickly overreacting into a panicked and anxious state. “Well, Snittums is right here but the vet has lost Bonnie.”

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WTF what do you mean the vet has lost Bonnie???? “Well, the vet boarded his black cat while he and his wife went on vacation and when he got back late last night, he went to get what he thought was his cat” (but really Bonnie, our cat) “and took her home and let her outside. When he arrived at work this am he realized his mistake but cannot find Bonnie.”  OMG, the floodgates opened.

Wow, seriously? Now mind you we liked this vet, he was a nice man, he felt horrible; his wife was crying and nothing like this had ever happened. Reward posters were put up around his neighborhood, either my husband or I took turns going out to the vets house each day  calling her name and looking for her. This went on for about a month. No sign of Bonnie. We assumed the worst; she was after all a declawed house cat, no way could she survive in the wild without food and claws.

Again, I was broken hearted and Snittums was lonely. After about 45 days we had all but given up hope.

Stay tuned for the arrival of Snickers. . .

Our 7 “Kids”: Bonnie & Clyde

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1991: Bonnie & Clyde

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About 2 months after losing our beloved Rocky both Rick and I felt very lonely. At the time I worked as a dental hygienist and one of our patient’s neighborhood strays had just had kittens. “There’s two left” she told me “a brother and sister”. There was no way we would tear apart siblings so Bonnie and Clyde came home.

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Bonnie was a sweet little kitten but Clyde was always a little “different”; he was a big cat and very easily startled. Not friendly at home he spent a lot of time hiding despite our efforts at affection. But we loved him nonetheless.

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Because of what happened with Rocky and the vaccines we changed vets but still went the conventional route with what they recommended and we had them declawed. And we fed them the same foods. I had no idea at the time how toxic pasteurized milk was or I never would have given it to them –‘sigh’ young parenting.

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This time around however we refused to leave the kids at home completely alone. We asked our dear neighbors Max & Sandy to come in twice a day and check on them, providing them with fresh water and food and to call us if anything was wrong or amiss. We were a family again and wanted nothing to happen to our little babies.

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Clyde

That worked rather well when we went away giving us peace of mind. Or at least it did for about the first 2 years. It was Thanksgiving 1993 and the kids were close to 2 years old. We always spent the holiday in Jacksonville with my husband’s family. When we were driving home and almost to the house my husband says “PJ, there’s something I need to tell you.” What, immediate anxiety set in, the cats? What’s wrong? “Clyde is dead.” What? I scream and burst into tears. And mind you, I rarely cry.

“Well,” he says “when Sandy and Max came over to check on him Friday morning he was dead, on the landing of the stairs with a couple of drops of urine next to his body.” What, how, why I ask? “They don’t know”. I felt less guilt this time but the loss was still hard and hurt. What killed Clyde? We will never know. We analyzed the situation; spoke at length with our vet and the best guess is a heart attack. He never was quite right.

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Bonnie

Even more afraid to go out of town and leave Bonnie alone we located a cat boarding facility called the Country Cat House; a one hour drive from our home located in a rural area with big beautiful “condos” where the cats could watch nature and other scenes with almost round the clock care and medical assistance should the need arise all for the tune of $25 per day per cat. It was well worth it; when we went on vacation Bonnie spent her “vacation” at the Country Cat House.   She really seemed to like it and we felt better knowing that she was not alone and well cared for.

Things hummed along well for the next several months but both the Jag and I agreed—Bonnie was lonely, she missed her brother. Stay tuned for along came Snittums. . .

 

Our 7 “Kids”: Rockford

Before we even went on our second first date my husband said to me “I’m never getting married again and I’m not having any kids.” No problem I said to myself, I will certainly change your mind. And we did get married. We didn’t have any children and in retrospect I would have to say that we were so busy having fun that when I finally thought about it I was approaching 40 years of age.

While physically feasible the thought of being 55 years old with a teenager held no appeal.  Not to mention that the Jag would be 66.  Don’t’ get me wrong, I like kids; love my nieces, nephew and great nieces and nephews but we’ve never had any grand desire to take on the lifelong responsibilities of creating and raising children although I do love the “creating” part.

We have satisfied our maternal/paternal urges through our cats. They have been an important and integral part of our lives since 1986. . .

Rockford aka “Rocky”: our firstborn

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1986: along came Rocky our first beautiful little kitten – named after James Rockford–my husband’s hero. With the recent and unfortunate passing of James Garner the timeliness of the post also serves as a tribute of sorts. My husband and I had just started dating and I remember “asking” him if I could get a kitten – we had just moved in together. He said “NO”. In those days I was a passive little thing but not without the means to get what I wanted I just handled it differently than I do now.

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In front of all his friends at happy hour one evening they asked “why the sad face PJ?” Jager won’t let me get a kitten (big sad eyes and pouty lip). Well, it didn’t take long for him to relent so Rocky came home and had Rick eating out of his hand immediately who loved him just as much as I.

Not knowing any better we took Rocky to a vet and did all the recommended shots, had him neutered, declawed, never missed an annual visit and fed him both dry and wet commercial pet food.  Although we were novices the joys of parenting were many. When we would go away for a few days we had a feeding and watering system that automatically dispensed keeping him happy and we had no problems.  Rocky was the joy in our lives, bringing us much pleasure and the unity of a family.

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Until Rocky was about 4 1/2 years old and came home from his annual “shots’ he didn’t seem himself, rather lethargic and not feeling too well. We were due to go to the beach for the night for a special party and decided he would be ok, we’d take him back to the vet on Monday if he was still not feeling well. We called the vet and they said he was fine when he came in and the shots he was given were “routine” and not in too great of an amount.

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Well, we came home the next afternoon, I was the first one in the house rushing upstairs to check on Rocky. My husband still says the scream was heard all around the condominium complex and he knew immediately that Rocky was no longer with us. I cried and cried for days and felt like such an irresponsible parent. Rick buried Rocky underneath a tree beside our condo. What killed Rocky? We’ll never know, my best guest based on what I know now is the vaccines.

I sank into a sadness and melancholy state that just wouldn’t go away overladen with guilt. After about a month my husband who didn’t want the cat in the first place missed him just as much and insisted we get not one but 2.

Stay tuned for the story of Bonnie & Clyde. . .