patinagle16: (Default)
MishkaIt's been two and a quarter years since I posted this about Mishka, our elder cat, when he started having seizures. Three days ago he stopped eating, and yesterday we finally had him put to rest.

He was an amazingly tough and tenacious cat. He came to live with us after stealing my sweetie's heart by nudging his head against his hand through the bars of the cage at the pound. He did indeed prove me wrong and got in not just one but two more winters.

There are lots of good things to remember.  We had a futon chair where he liked to perch - on the back, like he's doing on this deck chair.  If you sat there he'd give you a complimentary scalp grooming.

When we adopted a five-week-old Nambé, Mishka hissed at him at first, then after about a day something clicked in his head and he became Nambé's foster-father, grooming him and showing him the ropes.  They were good buddies (though Mishka was alpha to the end, stealing Nambé's food whenever he could).  When they were both younger they would play together, but it's been a few years since either had the energy.

Caring for an elderly cat is demanding.  We're already noticing the freedom of not having to be careful about making sharp sounds, not having to watch him constantly, not having to clean up messes.  Regardless, we'll miss him.  He was a loyal friend and companion for over two decades.

I spent yesterday saying goodbye, holding him a lot.  He was too weak to do much of anything but lie still and purr.  I found myself wondering if Nambé would be there to greet him, as it's believed humans do.  I like to think they're romping together again, in a meadow full of butterflies. Regardless, he's free of pain and trouble now.

Farewell, Mishka.  You were a grand old cat.

by the fire


Apr. 15th, 2011 12:54 pm
patinagle16: (Default)
NambLife is full of surprises.  While Mishka is going strong (one seizure earlier this month, otherwise well), our younger cat, Nambé, has been going downhill and this week took a  turn for the worse.  It's been a very bad week.  Today I made the difficult decision to put him down.

He was my dear friend and companion for nineteen years.  Sweetest, smartest cat you ever saw.  My spouse called him the scientist, because he always seemed curious about how things worked.

He was my special muse.  I'm heartbroken.


patinagle16: (Default)
Am I sounding like a broken record?  If so sorry - I'm just trying to track Mishka's health and this is the place I chose to do it.  Small seizure yesterday (11/11), set off by my clicking a spoon on a dish of yogurt I was fixing for him.  Poor guy.

Yogurt seems to help with his digestion a lot, so I'm giving it to him every day.  He loves it, fortunately.  Unlike pumpkin - which he won't eat!  It might be the only people food he won't eat.  I've tried every which way to get him interested in it, but no go.

I need to bake up some pumpkin and freeze it.  Love the stuff!  I still have the big pumpkin from my garden and a couple that my friend Pat brought me, plus there's one coming in next week.

Off to get a slice of pumpkin bread and more tea.  There's the power of suggestion for you.
patinagle16: (Default)
A seizure this morning.  Mercifully short in duration.  Poor old guy has trouble pacing in circles (an after-seizure symptom) now.  He kind of stumbles around in a circle. 

He's been off his feed lately - doesn't eat much breakfast.  I think the cooler weather is getting to him.  He's ready to have a fire in the fireplace all the time, now.
patinagle16: (Default)
I didn't post the day it happened, for various reasons, but here for the record:  Mishka had a seizure on Tuesday (8/10).  He bounced back as usual and is his good old crochety self.

The Perseids meteor shower peaked this week.  I adore lying out staring at the sky, and since I got glasses this summer I can see things much better. 

I invited friends over to watch the meteors with me, but only one of them came up (hi, Peg!).  The others were scared off by thundershowers or found themselves too tired to drive around the mountains.  I understand.  However, in future I'm going to plan star-gazing parties a little differently.

We went out at about 10:30 and saw a handful of really great meteors, plus a sideshow of lightning going on to the west, then it clouded over. Went inside and watched a movie for a couple of hours, during which it rained.  When we came out again around one, the sky was clear and the meteors were again wonderful.  We pooped out after an hour or so, just when the show was really getting good.  Hence, different plans for next time:  in future, the agenda will include a nap.  (Man, it sucks getting old!)

Visited family on Saturday.  They are well (their good old crochety selves).  Watched Casino Royale with mi esposo.  Good for a Bond movie.  I'm not really an aficionado, but it was fun. 

Today, gaming with friends.  All in all a good week.

patinagle16: (Default)
Seizure this morning.  Tough way to start the week.

Junior cat was in the room, and was kind of freaked.  I don't think he's seen this before.  He pawed at Mishka a couple of times until I made him stop.  Mishka was completely out of it at the time.  Nambe watched from a safe distance while Mishka went through the aftermath - walking in circles, crying. 

Nambe is our scientifically-inclined cat.  He wants to figure out what makes things work.  I think he got a load of data this morning.  We'll see what he does with it.

Mishka is resting now.  He was able to eat breakfast fairly soon after he recovered.

Monday.  La.
patinagle16: (Default)
Mishka had another seizure on Wednesday.  (Pardon all the seizure reports - I am using this Comonplace Book to keep track of when they occur.)  This one scared us because he had been lying on his grooming stand, which is about 3.5 feet high, and he fell off it when he started seizing.  Luckily, no broken bones.  That cat has the hardest head in the world (I know because he's whacked me with it.)

No more napping on the grooming stand.  Sorry dude.

In other news, we had a swamp cooler installed this week.  It has made a huge difference in our comfort especially at night.  Our bedroom is at the southern end of the house, and at about 3:00 a.m. the day's heat works its way through the walls and we wake up hot.  Not happening with the thermostat-controlled swamp cooler.  Yay!  Sleeping better!

For those of you wondering what the heck a swamp cooler is, it's an evaporative air conditioning system.  (see  They're ubiquitous here in the southwest, where they function well in the arid climate.  Not so useful in humid areas.

patinagle16: (Default)
Well, my Mishka pics turned out kinda washed out, but here are a couple anyway.  I think he looks rather diabolical in the second one.

patinagle16: (Default)
These cold winter days and nights, Mishka spends a lot of time by the fire. We have a great wood stove which we use for most of our winter heating. Here is Mishka in his most common fireside pose, draped off the piano bench which he has claimed as his winter seat.

I love fires and fireplaces. One of the things I always wanted in a home was a fireplace. Our previous residence didn't have one, so when we bought our house one of the important features for me was this wood stove.

I actually prefer fireplaces, but since we use the stove to heat its efficiency is important. The first fireplace I had growing up was a kiva-style (sometimes called beehive) fireplace. In those, you prop the wood against the back wall in a half-tipi shape. Building a fire in a rectangular box is a completely different operation. Either way, though, it's a geometrical art, one of shapes and spaces. A fire needs air and it needs a way to climb. "Ladder fuels" is a very apt term. When I first saw the stacked wood bonfires customary in Louisiana I thought them odd, but the other day when I was tweaking the fire in the stove, I realized they're a very efficient ladder for fire.

Needless to say, I don't care for artificial fires, gas logs and so on. I understand all the reasons for them, but give me the real thing, smoke, ashes, and all.

Here is a view showing the stove, so you can see why Mishka is dripping off the bench in that direction. I confess to a twinge of envy now and then as I go about my day and see him lying there. I've been moving a sofa closer to the stove lately, so I can get in a little basking time now and then, curled up by the fire with a book or a movie. I've been enjoying my annual viewing of The Lord of the Rings this week.

Mishka was kind enough to pose prettily in front of the fire recently, so I snapped off the photo below.

And now I believe it's time to go add a log to the fire.

May all of you out there have a cozy moment by some pleasant fireside soon. Stay warm.

(Previous Mishka posts: the first and the second)

patinagle16: (Default)
MishkaMishka wishes it to be known that he only posed for that other photo to humor me, in a spirit of holiday generosity, and that he generally disapproves of stupid bows being worn by pets. He allowed me to take a new photo this morning, sans bow.

He looks a little grumpy, but that might be because his paw still hurts.
patinagle16: (Default)
We've had some scares recently with Mishka, the elder of my furry muses. A couple of weeks ago he had a seizure, and then he had another yesterday morning. Apparently seizures are not uncommon for cats, but they're sure scary for the human servants.

Mishka is at least nineteen years old. We adopted him in 1991, and he was an adult then. He was a street kitty - we got him from the pound, and he was sick six ways from Sunday. Got him cleaned up and medicated and healthy, and he's been our friend ever since. (Actually, he picked my spouse as his human. Bumped up against his hand when he was still in the cage, and that was all she wrote.)

After the first seizure I took him to the vet and had some tests done to asses his general state of health. The vet says he's in good shape for his age, but he's still old and getting frail. Has arthritis, cataracts, etc.

For a while now we've been aware of this, and we view ourselves as providing kitty assisted living for our pal. We're watching him pretty closely, brushing him a lot as he can't groom himself very well any more, and helping him get up and down places sometimes. A few months ago my dear spouse built some steps to help him get on and off our bed (yes, we spoil him).

I'm writing this now because I want to save some memories of him while he's still alive. I don't want to have to scramble for them after he's gone. So this blog is going to be a Mishka journal for a while.

Today he hopped down from my desk chair and hurt his forepaw, went limping around the house. He seemed to take this stoically - I guess one more pain isn't so new to him. Hard to watch, though. He got some extra cuddles for it.


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