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: (aurora)
Thought I should post good news - Mishka has not had a seizure since December 11 - almost two months!  He is still frail, but seems to be more stable, though we still have to be careful about making sharp noises.  Looks like he'll make it to his 21st (+) birthday!
patinagle16: (Default)
Poor guy had another seizure this morning.  Short and weird - he didn't walk in tight little clockwise circles this time.  Instead he walked around things - the dining table, the kitchen island - counter clockwise.

These seizures seem to be coming about every two weeks. 

patinagle16: (Default)
Mishka had a seizure at 2:30 a.m. this morning.  As we were all sound asleep, this one can't have been brought on by a sharp sound, unless he dreamed one.

He's been off his feed a bit the last couple of days.  It's hard when we know he's not feeling well and can't do much to help.  He's been wanting lots of lap time, and we're giving it to him.  Right now he's snoozing in the sun. 

Me, I have a cold.  Going back to bed.  Sorry world, I'll get to you in a bit.
patinagle16: (Default)
We adopted Mishka from the pound, so there's no way of knowing exactly how old he is or when he was born.  He was a year old (at least) when we got him, and it was March, so that's when we celebrate his birthday. 

Here he is snoozing in my writing chair.  If it seems like I post a lot of pictures of him in this chair, well--he spends a lot of time there.  The sun shines on it in the morning, making it a perfect cat-snoozing spot. 

Here he is back in 2002, at our then-residence, checking out one of the turtles that lived in the back yard. 

Unlike his sidekick, Mishka doesn't really miss being an outdoor kitty.  As long as there's a patch of sunshine to lie in or a fire in the wood stove, he's content.

He had another seizure last night.  Short, but intense.  He spent the rest of the evening lying in a fuzzy donut by the stove--was not steady enough to get up on the bench.  He did get up and devour his supper, though.  
patinagle16: (Default)
Another seizure last night. Bad one. The only good thing about these is that he doesn't remember them. He's fine today, as fine as a 20-year-old cat can be.
patinagle16: (Default)
Our old guy had another seizure yesterday.  We think it was the fourth - we came home from seeing family on Christmas Day to find him pacing in circles, a post-seizure symptom.  (Any cat neurologists out there who can explain why they do that?  Always clockwise.  Also, during the seizure, he seems to be galloping.)

Mishka has been twitchy the past few days, prone to jump at loud or sharp noises.  We're pretty sure the first seizure was set off by that kind of noise, and yesterday apparently it was set off by my spouse opening a soda can while Mishka was sitting beside him. 

mishka on a chairWe watch him, try to make sure he's comfortable.  Unlike Neil Gaiman, we're not quite on death watch yet, but I strongly suspect this will be Mishka's last winter (watch him go and prove me wrong now).

Before I get too fugged up, I want to revisit a Mishka memory.  Here he is at our previous home, several years ago, perched on the back of a sling chair.  He used to like to sit on such perches a lot.  The back of my office chair was a frequent hangout, as was the back of our futon couch, where he would give anyone who sat on the futon a thorough scalp grooming. 

Lately he's given up high perches in favor of snoozing in front of the fire.  (see previous post)

Hang in there, Mishka dude.  We love you.
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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