The Manifestation of Cat Mom

After I sold my condo three years ago and started packing-up all my stuff in preparation to move, I came across a journal from my high school days.  One entry stated that I didn’t want kids, that I didn’t like kids much and that I didn’t want to be married.  Well, that explains things!  At the age of fifteen, I set an intention that stuck.  I’ve never been married and never had children.  In my late 30s the desire to have a baby finally kicked-in, but my boyfriend at the time who I eventually became engaged to did not want kids.  It was either stay in the relationship or break it off with the hopes of finding the right match and someone who wanted kids.  I loved this guy and my desire to be in a romantic partnership was stronger than my need to have a child. After four years it turned out that we weren’t very compatible and despite the engagement, he was very trepidatious about marriage, which at the time was something I wanted.  Turns out my views on marriage had changed since that teenage journal entry.

When I purchased a condo in my mid-forties, I thought about adopting a child.  I had the room to raise a kid and a well-paying paralegal job.  But the job was demanding and my workdays long.  Between work, taking care of two cats, and myself I knew that I would not be able to dedicate the time, and would not have the energy it took to properly raise a child on my own.  Instead…I rescued another cat, Topper.

Topper and Froggie

I loved having three kitties in the house.  Lexington, Punkie and Topper.  When Punkie passed away at the age of 20, I rescued another kitty, Bella.  I wanted a kitten at the time, but at the age of eight, Bella had twice been relinquished to shelters. By the time I met her, she’d been with a rescue group for several months (older cats are often overlooked for adoption).  Besides feeling an instant connection with Bella, my heart hurt for her.  I wanted to give her the best home ever and all the love she deserved, and I succeeded.  I witnessed Bella blossom from guarded and scared to loving and confident.  Three years after I adopted Bella she died from lung cancer, which was devastating and took a long time to overcome.  But then another cat, Bobcat sauntered into my life and once again I had another feline to love and care for.

Bella

Bobcat

Bobcat, Topper and Lexington have all passed, and now I have a new kitty, Samantha.  Once again, my maternal instincts have resurfaced and are being put to good use.  It didn’t occur to my fifteen-year-old self that I could have kids that didn’t involve human children, that I could adopt children of the feline sort.

Samantha and “Bobcat”

I’ve been a proud cat mama for thirty-three years. And although I actually adore children unlike my younger self, I have no regrets for not having children of my own.

Happy Mother’s Day to mothers of humans, cats, dogs, bunnies, goats, horses or whatever  your child happens to be.

Posted in Cats, Mother's Day, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Books, Music and More

Getting to know Samantha has been not only entertaining but also very enlightening.  It turns out that Samantha and I have quite a bit in common:

Samantha the Bookworm.  Although I tend to be drawn to historical fiction and memoir, with my most recent favorite good read, The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes, Samantha sticks to books that contain the word “cat” in the title, with her favorite being Men & Cats by Marie-Eva Gatuingt.

Music.  Who knew that Samantha would be into music? I now get a helping paw when picking out CDs. In the below photo she selected a CD by the Rolling Stones, Forty Licks.  After that we played Live at Blues Alley by Eva Cassidy (one of my favorite female vocalists—you must hear her arrangement of “Over the Rainbow”), which includes a sassy rendition of “Stormy Monday.” Some of Samantha’s favorite musical talents include Cat Stevens, The Pussycat Dolls, and The Animals, and her eyes light up when she hears Tom Jones belting out “What’s New Pussycat?”.

Yoga Kitty.  Samantha amazes me with her flexibility and determination to hold an asana (yoga pose).  And when I roll out the yoga mat she is right there with me watching my every move.  When I’m in downward dog pose, Samantha reclines underneath me, forcing me to hold the pose as long as possible.  And although she does a mean downward dog herself, I think her favorite pose is shavasana (a relaxing, meditative pose at the end of a yoga session).

Asana entitled: Spiralled Head to Knee

Shavasana

Cat Dancing.  When I dance around the house, Samantha prances along with me. She even has ballet in her genes like Cat Lady, often standing in a perfect first position, and becomes mesmerized with the ballet steps I can still execute, especially pas de chat (cat’s step).

Vintage Furniture.  Besides the bookcase, Samantha has a thing for the vintage chair where she spends hours on and under this lovely piece.

Samantha is purrrfect for me in a different way from Bobcat, Lexington, or any other of my beloved cats. We are both starting new chapters of our lives together.  We’re both recovering from surgery and helping each other heal from recent trauma; for me—a life threatening disease and for her, negligence by her former owner (I will not dignify that woman by calling her a cat mom).

I look forward to our growing bond, our respective transformations, and to seeing where our lives together will lead us.

Posted in Cat Behavior, Cats, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Cat Lady’s Last Chemo

On Friday, April 16th, I spent my last day in the infusion lounge at Hoag Hospital receiving my final chemo treatment.  Getting chemo isn’t uncomfortable or painful; it’s the knowing of the week-long (sometimes longer) side effects that lie ahead that I always dread, even with the final round.  But this time knowing that a sweet spirited kitty would be awaiting me at the cottage helped to quell my anxiety.

Chemo side effects kick-in two days after all of the long acting premeds given before chemo subside.  So when I get home from a chemo treatment, I feel peaceful and relaxed from the Benadryl buzz, and when that wears off by Saturday, I’m left with the lingering energizing effects from the steroid.  Last Saturday after my final chemo, my kitten-like energy rivaled Samantha’s as we played “get-the-mousey,” “toss-the-pom-poms,” and hide-and-go-seek throughout the day.  I asked Alexa to play some Sly and the Family Stone and danced my booty off as Samantha watched, saucer-eyed and intrigued with my movements until she joined in by prancing alongside me (no kidding).  I organized my closet, vacuumed, did laundry, washed dishes, watered my garden then finally slowed down about sunset (oh to have that kind of energy everyday!). I got through Sunday with only mild nausea.

By Monday morning, intense nausea awoke me and by Tuesday, nausea was followed by fatigue, muscle aches and weakness, and thrush.  Before my first chemo the nurse told me that chemo side effects feel like having the flu—excuse me—you mean the flu on steroids.  Even the muscles in my feet became weak and achy.

For the remainder of the week I remained sofa-bound with the exception of random bouts of playtime with Samantha.  As I would recline back on the sofa, completely worn out after playing get-the-mousey for five minutes, Samantha belted out sorrowful meows, begging for just one more round…

I awoke today almost side effect free, feeling somewhat celebratory in my chemotherapy treatment accomplishment.  I’ve been called a warrior and have been praised for my perceived strength. But coping with cancer and chemo has been so debilitating that most of the time I’ve felt small and meek.  I’ve just been riding out the storm, doing what I have to do until the clouds break and the rays of sunshine clear the darkness. I can see those rays now.  I can feel them energize my spirit and reposition my outlook to better see the approaching end of this “long strange trip” I’ve been on.

I start radiation treatments in a few weeks, and will say that I’m anxious about it.  I will be facing more side effects, but as I’m told, they are not as harsh as chemo. I hope that’s my case and that my renewed spirit can maintain its newfound power throughout radiation.

My gratitude for the love, support and understanding of dear friends, family and my beloved Bobcat (RIP) is never ending.

Wendy and Cat Lady before Final Chemo…I’m gettin’ my guns back!

And now Samantha is here to help see me through the last leg of my journey.

Posted in Cancer, Cats, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 10 Comments