Friday, December 16, 2011

Cats - an anniversary (and now that I've added these pictures, I'm kind of shocked at the difference)

Nervous Riley

Comfortable Riley

Skinny Ban Lu

Healthy Ban Lu

December 23 is the two-year anniversary of the day we brought Riley home. Getting a cat two days before Christmas is a really crazy and stupid idea, I know - but it actually wasn't that bad. The proximity to Christmas was mostly a coincidence - Trixie had died close to Thanksgiving, which was also a coincidence, and letting a month pass between your old cat and your new cat is a reasonable thing to do.

My husband's school vacation started around then, so we were all available to go down together.

Riley's shelter was in Rhode Island, and we were planning to be in RI that day anyway, to see family members and visit graves.

Most of the Christmas festivities weren't even at our house, so Riley and our other cat Melody didn't even have to endure a whole day of crinkly paper, loud children, and tons of people-food.

Also, AwesomeCloud had only been home for three months. Three months between Cloud's entrance into the family and Riley's! We were keeping the festivities very low-key for his sake. In a certain way, it was the perfect Christmas for a new cat.

And then a month later we brought home Ban Lu. We had offered to take them home together, but Ban Lu was being held at the shelter for medical reasons, and the shelter then contacted us in January saying he was terminally ill and were we still interested? Yup, we were. What's a terminally ill cat on top of a crazy hyperthyroid cat and a newly adopted toddler?

Obviously, the story has changed now. Ban Lu is still with us, and he's fit and healthy. It's not that the shelter vet was wrong; the vet's diagnosis was mostly accurate. His digestive system really was going to kill him. It's just that we found a way around that, and once he was able to eat normally, he was also able to live normally. And Riley still has hyperthyroidism, and we still think of her as crazy, but actually she's improved tremendously.

And AwesomeCloud... well... I don't think we could have a Christmas as low-key as that one anymore.

I still miss Trixie, though. She's not the only loved one I've lost near Thanksgiving. She's not even the only beloved cat who passed away near Thanksgiving. And there will surely be more in the future.

Maybe this is one reason why I'd like to get into fostering cats. Foster cats hardly ever die in your possession. They move on quickly, replaced by more and more foster cats; they do not live with you for 15-20 years until you can't imagine life without them before dying. I have no problem saying goodbye to someone going out into the world, on to bigger and better things. But I'm not so good with grief.

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