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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.
My dear Dawnreader
Forever in my heart
Forever my joyful connection
Forever more, my Dawnstar.
October 29, 2016 in Author's Life, Awards & Reviews, Human-Animal Bond | Tags: Cat Books, CatManDrew, Drew Strouble, Human-Animal Bond, Linda A. Mohr, Tatianna Book, Tatianna--Tales and Teachings of My Feline Friend, Watercolor Cat Portrait | 1 comment
Do cat books have nine lives? What I know for sure is Tatianna–Tales and Teachings of My Feline Friend published on October 29, 2007 does! Does award-winning cover art showcasing the beautiful watercolor work of Drew Strouble continue to be appreciated? His website featuring Tatianna artwork as well as other incredible feline portraits speaks for itself!
If you are looking for a book for the cat enthusiast on your holiday shopping list, this autographed book is one to consider. I love to give and receive books for Christmas and always have several titles on my wish list. I will autograph the Tatianna book and provide complimentary gift wrapping and shipping. Both hard and soft cover editions are available. Hardcover books are $23.95 and soft cover books are $13.95. Please email me at email@example.com with questions or to arrange a purchase.
I want to thank all my readers and followers for their support, recommendations, reviews, and referrals the past nine years. Many specialty shops have kindly carried the book. I appreciate the bloggers and radio personalities who have interviewed me and the libraries who have invited me to speak.
The Tatianna book is the winner of the Merial Human-Animal Bond Award in 2008 plus six other awards. The Merial award is judged on the Cat Writers’ Association entry that best reflects and promotes the strengthening of the human-animal bond, highlighting the bond between a cat and owner, as well as their relationship with their veterinarian as another direct caregiver. Visit Linda Mohr for further information.
Tatianna continues to work her magic as evidenced by your support and generosity. As stated on Tatianna’s jacket cover, “I feel connected to the faithful Tatianna who has never left my side—she is simply in another dimension.”
October 29, 2014 in Author's Life, Awards & Reviews, Human-Animal Bond | Tags: Buckley's Story, Candida Baker, Catsong, Human-Animal Bond, Ingrid King, Linda Mohr, Merial Human-Animal Bond Award, T. J. Banks, Tatianna--Tales and Teachings of My Feline Friend, The Amazing Life of Cats | 4 comments
Gratitude is the heart’s memory.
On October 29, 2007 Tatianna—Tales and Teachings of My Feline Friend was published. I want to thank all my readers and followers for their support, recommendations, reviews, and referrals the past seven years. Many specialty shops have kindly carried the book. I appreciate the bloggers and radio personalities who have interviewed me and the libraries who have allowed me to speak. Tatianna is honored to have a chapter in Candida Baker’s anthology The Amazing Life of Cats, and to be included on Look Inside on Amazon.
I am deeply grateful to Ingrid King for Conscious Cat interview and to T.J. Banks for Sketch People story. Ingrid’s book Buckley’s Story and T.J.’s book Catsong were winners of Merial Human-Animal Bond Award in 2009 and 2007 respectively. The Tatianna book won the award in 2008. This award is judged on the entry that best reflects and promotes the strengthening of the human-animal bond, highlighting the bond between a cat and owner, as well as their relationship with their veterinarian as another direct caregiver.
Tatianna continues to work her magic as evidenced by your support and generosity. As stated on Tatianna’s jacket cover, “I feel connected to the faithful Tatianna who has never left my side—she is simply in another dimension.” I can’t wait to see what the next seven years have in store. It’s bound to be good! Thank you.
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.”
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.
August 7, 2014 in Author's Life, Human-Animal Bond, Lexie Lee's Meowlogue | Tags: Home Euthanasia, Human-Animal Bond, Lap of Love, Lexie Lee, Psalms 91:4, Rainbow Bridge, Tammy Johnson DVM. Intertwined Lives Intertwined Love | 5 comments
“He will cover you with His feathers and under His wings you will find refuge. His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.” She said we would be safe today. I always feel safe with Mom Linda.
Then she surprised me with a poem that she wrote just for me.
Intertwined Lives, Intertwined Love
Stretched out on sunny windowsill
Curled up in my comfy lap
Nestled against warm keyboard
My muse, my beloved fur friend
Always a permanent presence
Gracing my home office for ten years.
Helping me create blogs, stories, and poems
Motivating me to finish Tatianna’s cat memoir
Leaving your legacy with Lexie Lee’s Meowlogue
You have journeyed on to the spirit world
What missions God has planned for you
I can only imagine ones of love, hope, and joy.
Some glorious day I will float to meet you
We will embrace nose to nose
You will give me your signature kiss
I will whisper the familiar Linda loves Lexie Lee
Reunited at last, our hearts whole again
And all will be as it should be for eternity.
Mom Linda smiled through her tears, and I meowed. I helped her with some computer work, and she told me I had been her best muse ever. She has been my best mom ever. She left the room, and I pitter-pattered to the dining room and crawled under the table. Princess Grace was on a chair seat, and Prince Chauncey was in a box under the table. She took a picture of the three of us freezing “a never to be again moment.” Joe joined us, and Mom Linda sat down on the floor with me. She tried to eat breakfast. But just like me, she could not eat. We are so much alike. Then she had a great idea and got a bag of Greenies. Oh, how I use to love those treats! The two fur babies went crazy. She put one down for each of them, and I ate one out of her hand. It was so good. She gave us each two more morsels a piece. Some crumbs fell on the carpet, and I ate every last one. She said the Father, Son and Holy Ghost as we ate this heavenly meal.
The phone rang, and she spoke briefly. A few minutes later Joe ushered an unknown woman in the house. I usually run, but Mom Linda was still on the floor and talked me into staying. So I felt safe. The woman was Dr. Johnson from Lap of Love. She sat on the floor. She talked to me and called me a beautiful baby. Princess Grace checked her out, and Prince Chauncey disappeared. I stayed under the table. Mom Linda got closer to me, but I wiggled away as she tried to pick me up. Joe wrapped me up in my papoose towel and put me in a basket.
Up to the office we went. He sat me on the desk next to the computer. Mom Linda sat in a chair right beside me. Sunlight flooded the room and warmed my face. She kept rubbing my head and talking softly to me. I am going to float high above the house and trees. Then I felt a shot that I had not expected. I meowed and tried to crawl out of the basket. But Mom Linda calmed me down and kissed me on the top of my head. She said she wanted to read a poem to me. It was the same poem filled with love and hope she read to me earlier. I was so happy to hear it again. When she recited the title Intertwined Lives, Intertwined Love, she cried and stopped talking. But I knew she was brave. Joe rubbed her back, and she continued. As she read each line, she paused and looked at me. I really lit up when I heard “leaving your legacy with Lexie Lee’s Meowlogue.” By the end of the poem, everyone was crying.
Mom Linda raised me out of the basket and pressed me to her heart. I was relaxed and calm as she cradled me in her lap. It was so quiet and serene. I heard Mom Linda tell Dr. Johnson “we are ready.” Last I heard a familiar chanting:
Linda loves Lexie Lee
Linda loves Lexie Lee
Linda loves Lexie Lee
over and over and over again
until it was a faint whisper and then no more.
She put down some soft bedding and my water dish in the upstairs hall. I wanted to go in the bedroom and crawl under the bed. But it was closed off. So, I found a hiding place behind the shower curtain in the bathroom. Mom Linda sat on the floor with me and read some of my Meowlogues to me. That was fun. I got up and rubbed along her side. She liked that. Part of the night she slept in the hall near me. Later she moved to the couch. But it was just six stair steps away, and she could see me. Once I went down the steps and jumped up on her chest. I surprised her. She thought I was Chauncey until she felt my stub tail!
The next morning I returned to the couch and cuddled with Mom Linda. Oh, how I love those moments. I wanted to eat breakfast. Several kinds of food were set out, but I could not take a bite. So I stretched out on the rug under the dining room table. It’s a good spot to people watch—especially for anyone trying to put me in a carrier or give me medicine. And don’t forget cat watching. I have to keep track of Princess Grace and Prince Chauncey. Sometimes, they need their ears boxed. This morning Mom Linda told me I did not have to take my medicine. She crawled under the table near me. I hoped this was not one of her tricks. She said we had to have a big talk. And boy did we ever!
First, she told me I had been incredibly brave. But I don’t have to be brave anymore. She’s going to be brave for me and help me go on a long journey. I don’t want to go anywhere because I get carsick and I love where I live. She said I will float in the sky and be free from the carrier. I will go to a beautiful place with lots of food, water, and sunshine. I will feel great every moment and will not be stuck with needles anymore. The sad news Mom Linda cannot go with me. She said it is not her time yet. But five of her cats, Noelle, Taittinger, Marnie, Tatianna, and Katarina will be with me. I don’t know what they look like. But not to worry. They have been keeping their paws on Mom Linda’s home for over thirty-five years, and they know me. Imagine that! Tatianna will meet me on Rainbow Bridge.
Next, she told me it’s ok to let go and stop fighting cancer. I am not to worry about her or Joe or the two fur babies. Everyone will be fine. I do not need to be the great defender anymore. That’s what Lexie means! She knows me so well and how much I love her. I don’t want to leave her. But she said I am doing what I am destined to do. Everything is happening according to God’s loving plan.
Finally, she asked me to send her a sign later that I am ok. Maybe I’d walk on the bed or appear on her chest. She trusted me to figure it out. I wonder if a syringe filled with icky red medicine is a big enough clue for her!
After our chat, she went out to the patio and watered plants. I love to watch her from the front entrance of an all glass door. She always has to step over me when she comes in. What a great way for more attention! When she returned, she ate lunch. I sat on the windowsill behind her chair like I have done for years. Maybe I will get a nibble. She tried to hand feed me a piece of fish, but I could not eat. Joe arrived in the afternoon, and everyone was so glad to see him. Our household was complete. I spent the rest of the afternoon between the hall, living room, and dining room. I even went to the downstairs level. Mom Linda sat with me in the new bedroom she renovated. I love the high soft bed that I can jump on. She put me on the table by the window that overlooks the street. I love welcoming her home from this room. She wanted to carry me upstairs, but I wanted to dash upstairs. She laughed when I ran so fast. Once when I was in the upstairs hall, I heard Princess Grace and Prince Chauncey meowing. I ran down to check on them. They were just having a little tussle. I managed to eat a few licks of one of my favorite foods, Weruva paw lickin’ chicken. Dr. Lechner’s office called. Mom Linda reported we were having a good day doing our favorite things. She was right.
When it was time for bed, Joe wrapped me up in a towel like a papoose, and Mom Linda gave me a dose of morphine. Now that is not one of my favorite things. But I made it hard on her. I may be leaving, but I still have lots of spunk. I guess she succeeded because I slept through the night.
She gets excited when she opens the boxes. I get excited when the box is empty and I can sleep in it. This time the downstairs guest bedroom and bathroom are being redecorated. This concerns me because Chauncey, Grace and I have a routine of hanging out in the bedroom especially when Mom Linda is gone. Chauncey likes to stretch out on the bed on a velour burgundy robe. He thinks he really is Prince Chauncey. Well, I have to admit he is a handsome cat. I doze on a wicker table that is windowsill height, and I can see outside activity. Princess Grace sleeps on a box on top of a sewing machine cabinet and can also see outside. We can see and hear Mom Linda the minute she parks the car. That’s real important because we want to give her a proper welcome home. We miss her so much when she is gone. I perch on the back of a wingback chair and am positioned to give Mom Linda a kiss the instant the door opens. The chair is gone now. I think it is in that big white POD. In fact the bedroom is empty. We get to roam around in it after the workmen leave, but it is boring. I can’t see outside.
During renovation day, Mom Linda puts us in detention in her bedroom on the third level. We have to get up early for breakfast in the kitchen. We don’t mind that. Mom Linda is the one who lollygags in bed. After we eat, we get herded back upstairs. Who says cats can’t be herded? I run along and don’t cause any trouble. I never know when I may get stuffed in that carrier and taken to the vet for chemotherapy. Sometimes Mom Linda has to go hunt for Grace and Chauncey. We can still hear all the noisy hammers and drills in our hideaway. But I crawl under the bed between boxes and put my paws over my ears. She visits us every two hours and brings food. Since I have cancer I get to eat whenever I want. I guess that is one of the blessings. She wants to fatten me up. I think Grace and Chauncey are getting fat too. They try to eat my food.
Change is hard for me. Loud noises scare me. But I trust Mom Linda that the house will get put back to normal, and my daydreams will be quiet. One day soon the POD will be gone, and my favorite stuff will be returned to the bedroom. She always takes great care of me. Some things never change. I can count on that.
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.”
Mom Linda has been real sneaky this week. Monday morning I just did not want that icky old red medicine squirted in my mouth. So after a tussle, I won. But then I was put in my carrier and off we went for chemo week 2. Little did I know the red medicine bottle was traveling with us. Later a nurse at the clinic gave me the medicine. In the evening “never seen before” yummy chicken treats showed up in my bowl. Now things were looking up I thought. The next morning the treats were my appetizer to breakfast. I loved this new menu.
After breakfast my bird watching was interrupted by Mom Linda. She scooped me up, put a towel over my head and lowered me into my carrier. Again? We just did this. But she promised the drive would be short, and we would be back home soon. She was right. She took me to Dr. Scorteanu’s office for help in giving me a big chemo pill just like the one I had the day before.
The chicken treats continued to show up. But on Wednesday morning there was a shocking new development. I bit into the treat instead of swallowing whole. And let me tell you, this was a disguised treat. Some obnoxious white thing was in the middle of the treat. I cleverly ate the soft chicken treat. When I finished a lone white pill was exposed in the bowl. Mom Linda tried to coax me to eat it. I was done playing “Pill Pocket Caper”. Doesn’t she know there is a good reason why I ate around it? She tried again Wednesday night. But I am very strong-willed and very smart I might add. However, on Thursday I found myself on a little table and Mom Linda poked a pill down me. She danced around the kitchen chanting success, success! Could it be that she outsmarted me? Well, at least it wasn’t that red stuff!
There are big words for what I have like soft tissue lymphoma. That word again! My large cell lymphoma is in the stomach of the gastrointestinal area. I have to be extra brave because my cancer is large cell not small cell. That means it is more aggressive.
I had my first chemo treatment this week. I got to see Dr. Lechner again. Most of the time the nurses Cami and Elaina tended to me. I did not have to be sedated even though I had a drip line in my right back leg. Mom Linda stayed at the clinic until I could go home in the early afternoon. We were really tired when we got home after being gone for six hours. Grace and Chauncey were so glad to see me. All four of us went straight to bed for a long afternoon nap. It felt so good to curl up next to all my buddies.
Mom Linda had a page of discharge instructions. She checked my leg several times to make sure it was not swollen or red and that I was not licking it. I have to take medicine twice a day. I spit most of it out if given a chance. But I just get another dose. Mom Linda wonders what red medicine will do for the tile floor. I get to eat as often as I want. This is the part I love! I have had a good week without any reactions.
Mom Linda had to be careful cleaning the litter box for the first 48 hours after chemo. She wore gloves and kept Grace and Chauncey isolated from me at night time. They did not like that and scratched and pawed at the bedroom door. I had the run of the house except for their room. But I liked it better to be together because it’s easier to be brave.