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Dawnie

Dawnie

 

This month’s Catnip Connection is a four year anniversary tribute to Dawnie who passed over to Rainbow Bridge on January 29, 2013. I got acquainted with Dawnie in the award-winning Catsong book written by my friend T. J. Banks. Dawnie and T. J.’s lives mirrored one another as conveyed in this passage: “We’ve both experienced motherhood, love and loss and struggled our way through that last one. When she comes to me now and walks over my work, demanding a head-scritch, or snuggles under the blankets next to me, purring, I can’t help smiling to myself, no matter what kind of day it has been.”

My experience is some animal bonds are formed deep and strong and touch each other’s soul. T. J. echoes this feeling in Catsong: “Chemistry–kindred spirits, soul mates, call it what you will–is a funny thing. There’s no dictating it. Somehow two souls knit together and stay knitted together, no matter what. Even death cannot undo those ethereal skeins.” I believe she developed such a bond with Dawnie. I love how she recently described their relationship as “titanium steel strong”.

 

Tribute to Dawnie
By Linda A. Mohr

You were my heart
A titanium steel strong soul connection.
You were my Dawnreader, my Dawnstar
My beautiful red Abyssinian.

Twelve and a half years
You graced the circle of my life.
Four thousand five hundred sixty-two days
Blessed scritch and snuggle time.

You taught me about heart matters,
How to take heart and
How to endure my heart
Being broken wide open.

You taught me to trust in time
Good things can root in a broken heart
Like hope, faith and joy.
Especially joy.

My dear Dawnreader
Forever in my heart
Forever my joyful connection
Forever more, my Dawnstar.

 

Credits
Dawnie’s portrait by artist Sally Logue
Catsong by T. J. Banks, stanzas three and four adaptation

Warm Purrs!

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Cat Coloring by Linda A. Mohr

Cat Coloring by Linda A. Mohr

My new creative hobby—adult coloring! My brother gave me the Creative Cats Coloring Book for Christmas and have I ever had fun!! I finished my first cat masterpiece, one of thirty in book. In the early afternoon, wonderful sunlight streams in my living room picture window. It is the perfect place for me to sit for warmth and for light exposure. Chauncey and Grace curl up nearby. It’s one of those extraordinary moments on an ordinary day. Add a cat coloring book and thirty-six beautiful colored pencils and I have the recipe for creating and relaxing.

My objectives:

  • To discover if coloring is as much fun today as it was in first grade with Mrs. Cole at Ashton School
  • To experiment with each of the thirty-six Sargent art colored pencils
  • To use points and sides of pencil for different effects
  • To color until my fingers ached
  • To complete one design before next Christmas

scan0416The first day I colored for thirty minutes before my fingers started to cramp. But a few days later I could easily color for an hour. In fact, I had to make myself stop. The magic for me is the meditative state I fall into. I lose all track of time and mind chatter and cluttering details do not exist. The only sound I hear is the pencil rubbing across the page or my breath. The only thought is what color to use next? Coloring in my book is addictive, and I want to color daily. Whether for sixty minutes or six minutes, I look forward to these times of respite.

Blessings!

Lexie Lee

Lexie Lee

Lexie Lee was a hurricane kitty who blew into my yard in 2004 and adopted me for ten years. In March of 2014 she was diagnosed with lymphoma and started chemotherapy. The cancer ended up in her kidneys, and the treatments had to be stopped. Lexie Lee was a wise old soul kitty. She taught me many lessons over the years, but none more poignant than the ones during her terminal illness.

Forgive and Forget
For five months, Lexie Lee had eighteen appointments at Palm Beach Veterinary Specialists with Dr. Beth Lechner. Most visits took five to six hours for blood diagnostics, ultrasound, and chemo treatment. When we returned home, all she wanted to do was crawl into my lap. She had at least one daily medicine to take. During two months, she had to be medicated in the morning and evening. There were even a few weeks when a third medicine was necessary. She was difficult to medicate and tussled with me. But when it was all over and I let her go, I was amazed how she did not go far. I would be busy putting away medicine and cleaning syringes. When I turned around, Lexie was near me. Her attitude was what’s next. She never held a grudge for long.

Do What You Have To Do
Lexie Lee tended to get carsick on the forty minute return visits from the veterinarian. Most of the time she had an anti-nausea shot. When she did not, we could make it about five minutes from home before getting sick. There was not much I could do but keep driving and get her home and out of messy carrier as fast as I could. I always felt so bad for her and wanted to help clean her up. But she resisted and simply lay down in the dining room and proceeded to clean herself. On this one occasion, Lexie Lee took several hours before she was satisfied that she well groomed. I was struck by how she forgot about everything else that she might have done (like take a nap, eat, play with Chauncey and Grace, lay on my lap) and focused on the fur problem. She was a mess, knew it, and dealt with it.

Accept Some Days Are Icky
Taking medicine, getting stuffed in a carrier, or being stuck with needles defined an icky day for Lexie Lee. Hiding out under the bed was the anecdote for feeling sick, tired, or scared. Lay low, conserve energy, and eat all food pushed under the bed were her philosophy.

Patience and Trust
When Lexie Lee was locked in her carrier with as little drama and trauma as possible and headed to the veterinarian for the umpteen appointment, she did not fight to get out. She did not bang her head on the cage door or meow incessantly. She kept her eyes on me as I drove and trusted I would keep her safe. She trusted we would reach our destination together, and she would be released.

Stay Involved in Favorite Pleasures
During Lexie’s battle with cancer, she continued to enjoy her favorite pastimes. Without a doubt, one was greeting me at the door. She would jump on the back of a wingback chair and be nose to nose to me when I opened the door. Then she would kiss me. She was a lap and chest kitty. So if I sat down or stretched out on the couch, she would be on me in five seconds. She liked to playfully nibble on my hands and wash them. She spent countless hours being my muse and hanging out on her custom windowsills in my home office. Catching sunbeams, watching birds and squirrels from the inside, and rough housing with Chauncey and Grace rounded out her fun time. Oh, and did I mention eating?

Live in the Present
Animals are masters at living in the present, and Lexie Lee was no different. She lived each moment and each day as though that was all there was. She did not have nightmares about going to chemotherapy. She did not worry about having cancer or what might happen the next day. She was not concerned about a miracle remission. She did not anguish about how or when she would die. She ate when she was hungry, napped when she was tired, and crawled in my lap when she wanted love.

Be Tenacious and Brave
Tough battles require going above and beyond. Lexie Lee was the strongest willed cat, physically and psychologically that I have ever seen. Those characteristics helped her fight for eighteen weeks of treatment over a five month period. The result is not always our heart’s desire, but God’s will be done. However, the effort has to be put forth. As Dr. Lechner reminded us, “you hope for the best and prepare for the worst.”

Be Joyful
Lexie Lee was a happy, delightful kitty. She was fun, animated, inquisitive, and loving while terminally ill as well as on the morning of euthanasia. Because she had a joyful spirit, she was a joy to behold. I wanted to be around her forever. Now she is around me forever.

A week passed before I could face the sad task of dealing with physical reminders of Lexie Lee’s passing. There were many. She liked to eat out of small bowls. When she got sick, I put her food in vintage flat glass bowls that accommodated smaller portions. That practice continued for six months. I found bowls in the bedroom under a bench and under the bed and by a water dish. Another bowl was under the dining room table and two more were in the kitchen.

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A large shoe box was under the coffee table. How she loved to stuff herself in that box! The sides were beginning to collapse, but it was still one of her favorite boxes. Her blue pet carrier had been a familiar fixture in the kitchen for months for easy accessibility for weekly vet appointments.

When you have a sick kitty, you try all kinds of food—just praying you find one that is gobbled up. There were extra cans of A/D and baby food that were not suitable for Chauncey and Grace. Left over baked fish and chicken were tossed from refrigerator.

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Then there’s all the medicine: B-12 shots, prednisolone tablets, prednisolone liquid in red and also tuna flavor, appetite stimulant pills, nausea pills, and morphine. Assorted sizes of syringes rounded out the home pharmacy. A bag of Pill Pockets had not worked out. Well if you count once, I guess they did! I chuckled as I removed these from the kitchen cabinet and recalled Lexie’s reaction to them. I had wrapped a prednisolone tablet in one and placed it along with one torn up into smaller bites with no pills. She ate everything on the plate. I thought I had found my miracle vet assistant in the disguise of a Pill Pocket. The next day I prepared the same smorgasbord of pockets and pills. This time Lexie bit into the bite with the pill. She spit it out, looked at me with disdain and walked away. I tried a couple more days, but she was on to me! I was reminded of the saying: Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, shame on me. IMG_3195

There was laundry to tackle. The towel from the pet carrier was removed. The kitchen rug had been a popular spot for me to wrap Lexie Lee up in a papoose towel and administer daily meds. Her bedding was set up in a hallway the last two days of her life. Her pink velour bed from the living room was taken apart for cleaning. Several other throw rugs were tossed in the washer. Some serious vacuuming followed laundry.

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Finally, I filed away a veterinary file chock-full of weekly chemo treatments, discharge instructions, lab reports, bills and receipts. I often referred to it as the “hope” file.

So the physical reminders are minimized. The house is back in order. Chauncey has claimed the pink velour bed. Life goes on. The psychological reminders—well that’s another matter.

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National Library Week is April 13-19. This year’s theme is Lives Change @ Your Library. I grew up in a small town and going to the local library after school or on Saturday was a treat. Today it still is! I am fortunate to have a wonderful library within two minutes of my house. Please enjoy this creative story The Library Cat written several years ago about Lexie Lee.

Lexie Lee is excited today as I have just told her we are going on a jaunt to the Village of North Palm Beach Public Library. While I attend the Friends of the Library annual awesome book sale in the Thelma Obert Room in the lower level of the library, Lexie Lee gets to explore the upper level stacks. She loves to go there since she does not get out of the house anymore except to go to the library or to the veterinarian. She much prefers the library!

Lexie Lee wants to read Cleveland Amory’s book, The Cat Who Came at Christmas. She thinks it sounds like a great book since she is the cat who came to my Florida home after Hurricanes Jeanne and Frances in 2004. She wants to compare her outdoor adventures with Polar Bear’s. I wish she could record her journey to me. When this beautiful Maine Coon cat appeared on my patio after the storms, I could only imagine what she had endured.

After Lexie Lee purrs over Polar Bear’s extraordinary story, she turns her attention to another book, Tatianna—Tales and Teachings of My Feline Friend. Lexie Lee is quite familiar with this book as she spent a multitude of hours on my lap while I finished writing this tale. She loves to prance around the library telling everyone on my behalf that they just have to read about Tatianna and her buddies including Noelle, Taittinger, Marnie, and Katarina.

Lexie Lee settled into domestic living quite naturally after being blown into my yard from somewhere. She loves warm fuzzy blankets and voluminous feather beds. She likes to gaze outside from high vantage points of our tri-level house. Lexie Lee is a window sill and sun seeking cat, so after her library adventure, she is ready to crawl into a sunlit soft chair to catch some sunbeams. What would be even better is if she can crawl into my lap and rest her head and front paws on my chest! But for now, I am busy carrying boxes of treasured reading to my car.

Later, when I come to find Lexie Lee, she runs to me the minute she sees me. I reach down and gather her up in my arms and tell her about all the special books I just found at the library sale. She has always loved her new name, and I show her a hardcover book by Nicholas Sparks, True Believer.

“Look Lexie Lee, I found another book for you to read. You are named after the leading lady, Lexie, who by the way is a librarian!”

I muse on the significance of the True Believer title and the relationship Lexie Lee and I share. As I rub her on the top of her head, my precious hurricane kitty purrs.

I softly whisper, “Linda loves Lexie Lee. Let’s go home my love.”

Bountiful Blessings!

Lexie Lee

Lexie Lee

Mom Linda is ready for Halloween. I’ve got my eyes on a big bowl of candy, but I can’t have any. And to make matters worse, I have to stay in a safe room tonight when the little goblins come to visit. Mom Linda is afraid I’ll escape. But I’m not going anywhere. I just want a Snickers bar.

Five Paws Up!

ChaunceyBD2364450-419162-illustration-of-abstract-birthday-card-on-white-background

Happy Birthday to Chauncey and Grace. I can’t believe my fur babies are three years old today. Chauncey had a little too much birthday cake and is now hanging out (literally) in his cat perch bed. Grace has promised not to get crumbs in her bed. I know my brother is giving their sister Rosebud and brothers Angus, Tigger and Bootsie extra special treats on the farm today. We miss all of you and Mom Rose bunches.

Too much birthday cake!

Too much birthday cake!

Where's my birthday treats?

Where’s my birthday treats?

Warm Purrs!

Monica Edwards Quote:

There is nothing in the animal world, to my mind,

more delightful than grown cats at play.

They are swift and light and graceful,

so subtle and designing, and yet so richly comic.

Robert Byrne Quote:

To err is human,
To purr feline.

In celebration of National Haiku Poetry Day on April 17, I wrote these poems.

Cotton ball snowflakes
Powder the sleeping garden
Kitty grave blanket
–Linda A. Mohr

Chattering squirrel
Cat pawing sunlit window
Exasperation
–Linda A. Mohr

Warm Purrs!

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