Juggling life through a bi-polar lens. Sometimes up, sometimes down. Mostly trying to tread water in the middle. Creating a likeness to a normal life. Whatever "normal" is...

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Happy Birthday, Scooter and Fluffy! -17 today!!!

Fluffy, enjoying some sunshine last week.

Scooter, adept at finding sunny spots on sofas.

On 23rd March 1993, the little black stray cat that I had been feeding in the snow -and latterly in the kitchen- woke me up meowing from the linen cupboard along the hall. I knew what was happening: a few days before, I had put out some clean blankets on the floor in there for her and showed her the space. She'd climbed in and purred and prodded gratefully. Now she had remembered it, had returned, and was having her litter there.

I telephoned Mum and told her it was D-day. She caught the next train.

Around 10.30 we tiptoed up to the cupboard with a little pen-torch. I had read that it was dangerous to disturb a new kitty-mama. A panicked queen will sometimes kill her new kits. I was nervous, therefore, as I peered round the door to check that she was OK.
I counted with the little torch the tiny bundles of fur now latched onto her tummy.... one.... two.... three... THREE! She has three! But Mama-Cat mewed at me and pushed herself up slightly with her front paws. There, under her chin, tucked warmly into her chest fur, was the tiniest, most pathetic little shrimp of a cat ever. Number 4. Well, 3 1/2. Mama had been cuddling her little one especially to keep her warm. I thought it was grey, but it was just that the fur was so fine.... it was Fluffy! Being so small, I originally called her Midge. But as the fur grew out, everyone called her Fluffy and so the name stuck.

Only her brother, Scooter, has survived this long with her. He with FiV, and she the runt of the litter. Well, who'd have thought? It just goes to show, even when the odds are stacked against you, you can get through.

The previous year, 1992, had been a bad one for me. I'd been made redundant three times, losing colleagues as well as jobs, routines and income. I had also split up with someone and was still reeling. The depression was so bad, I could barely move. Then Mama-Cat started to meow up at my window in the snow, 6am every day. I had just enough spirit left in me to get up and help her. That reaching out to help some other life was a tiny first step. Then, after the kittens were born, Mama-cat got me into her own routine around them all. It pulled me up out of the near fugue-state I'd sunk into.

Cat Flu soon broke out through the kits. I took the whole family to the PDSA. They wanted to isolate Mama and treat her in solitary confinement so as not to infect any other cats. But the kittens, they said, well it was kinder to just let them go. Anyway, they said, we don't have the nursing staff to look after them. "That's ok," I said, "I'm not working; I'll do it."
I had a quick lesson in feeding kittens with a syringe, and in wiping their bottom ends to get them to pee and poo (!). To keep them warm I filled a washing-up glove with hot water, and tucked them in, with one finger curled round each of them. As they grew I got a hot-water bottle for them to lie on. I had to feed them and wipe them every two hours, plus give them medicine and wash their eyes to prevent the conjunctivitis getting encrusted. It was hard work round the clock but I did it and the routine and mind-numbing intensity of it got me through my own crisis, too.

Eventually, Mama-Cat was well enough for me to pick up. I'll never forget how pleased she acted when I walked into that back room to get her. I had barely known her, not for very long. But she remembered me. Pathetic to non-animal lovers, I know, but being remembered by her brought a lump to my throat. It made me feel a spark inside that I hadn't felt in ages.

So you see, this is why I love them so much: I saved their lives and they saved mine. And from then on, we have just all pootled along.

When Luvbug and I first got a place together we had to rent a flat on the second floor (or third, to the US!) so we couldn't have the cats. Mum kept them. Once we had a place of our own, I said we could take them. Mum was having none of it. She would miss them too much, she said!

Soon, as mum moves into her new bungalow up the road from us, Scooter and Fluffy will again come to live with me. I hope I can do as much for them in their old age as in their infancy.

We're all getting older. And there's a sadness in that. Limitations make themselves known and endings start to try to come into focus. All we can do is try to be there for each other. All I can do is be thankful for such special experiences.....

Happy Birthday, my little cheesy-toed ones..... and thank you.....


i beati said...

outstanding story .Mine died yesterday at 14 My Princeman - so special. I just feel so sad and sick inside, nothwithstanding I love your two special furballs!!

Lynda (Granny K) said...

Happy birthday Fluffy and Scooter. from a Misty-eyed Lynda :o)

Angel and Kirby said...

Helena, That is such a moving story! Happy birthday to Scooter and Fluffy!

Julie said...

Happy Birthday Fluffy and Scooter, you are very special kitties with a very special Mummy. xx

Lorianna said...

Oh Helena, what a beautiful amazing thing you did! You became their Mum and also their Mum's guardian angel!
You all needed each other and managed to come together perfectly.
Happy Birthday Fluffy and Scooter! Fluffy, you look just like my Cody MacBoldly and Scooter you look like my little princess of darkness, Cricket! 17, what an impressive age for kitties. I didn't know Fluffy had FIV. How wonderful that she's lived so long with it! Bless them both and you.
Will there be cake and tea for their celebration?
Thank you for the tip on using the glaze pens. I have them too and I must learn some patience with them. Your Easter cards are adorable. She's so cute.
I like the book tags too. Aren't they fun?
So Mum hasn't had any more seizures? Oh, please let that last one be THE last one! Tell her not to fret about memory lapses. I am known to walk into a room and promptly forget why I came into that room! I sometimes forget people's names and I'm always missing something from my grocery list. I can understand her frustration though. You are very kind to be so patient with her.
It was so nice to catch up with you this evening. I am in another down mode; crying a lot and wanting to sleep. So over it...
I think about you so much, hoping everything starts going better for you and your Mum. I remind myself to take care of my teeth and spray myself with my lavender to relax, just as you advised. Thank you for understanding!
Sending lots of hugs and snuggles for the Birthday Kitties and Love to You,

beedeebabee♥ said...

This is one of the best posts I've read all day!!! Happy Birthday Fluffy and Scooter!...I'm a real animal lover myself, and I have 3 cats, one of which was a starving, blind in one eye stray, that we took in. He's the happiest little fellow, so happy to be inside with a family who loves him!... and he's all black too! Animals are just the best!!! You made my day, sweetie!
xo Paulette

Helena said...

i beati,

I am so sorry to read you lost your little Princeman.....


I passed on your birthday wishes to purrs and snores. LOL

Angel and Kirby,

You look like the sister that Scooter and Fluffy's used to have, Figs; I'm sure I've said that loads!


Awww! I'll give them hugs from you :)


Sorry to read you've been in a deep blue funk again. It's a zig-zag, isn't it? I hope the start of spring helps...
Fluffy doesn't have FIv, that's Scooter, but he is enormous just the same! LOL! Poor puss has painkillers every morning because of arthritis. It seems to do the trick though. He *RAN* up the stairs yesterday. Must have known what day it was! Wish you could take the same stuff for your bones as it must be good stuff.
No further seizures for mum... touch wood! She is rather panicky and nervy about the move next week. I do hope it will be ok for her in her new place. I just don't know.


Hullo!!!! I love your blog. Me and the bear have been checking it out lately. He likes the bunnys you make :)
I had a giggle at your description; "starving, blind in one eye stray" :)
Yes, I find the rescued ones are so loving and maybe it's because they appreciate a home more than one that has always had it....

thanks for your messages, everyone!!!!!

Feronia said...

Beautiful story, Helena.

Everycat said...

A belated Happy Birthday to beautiful Scooter and Fluffy! I hope they both had a great day.

Thank you for sharing their story with us.

Whicky Wuudler
and Jane the ape.