Monday, July 30, 2012

Saying Goodbye to Georgy Girl

Photo by Linda Sewell
A very good friend of ours died yesterday evening at about five o'clock. Although the event was planned, and the action was unavoidable, it was still a sad, sad day.

Our neighbour, Linda, who lives three blocks away from us, is also a foster parent for VOKRA. Because we live in such close proximity, and because Linda has no car, someone in our organization suggested that she call us one evening about two years ago when her foster cat was running low on litter.

When Sheral and I arrived with the goods about fifteen minutes later, we found Linda's apartment door standing open, and a beautiful, mature black cat, strutting down their hallway to greet us. If I remember correctly, the greeting was a great, ear-splitting "MAAAAAH-ROW-WOW". Georgy Girl, Linda explained to us, was twelve years old, and among her other endearing qualities, was as deaf as a post. Since she could no longer hear her indoor voice, she had elected to forsake its use entirely.

We three humans visited and talked for awhile, but the Tall Lady and I used much of that first visit trying to make our best impression on that pretty, black cat. She was petted, caressed and complimented by all in the room, including her proud foster mom. This is quite justifiable, I think. They're supposed to be spoiled; that's why we call them pets.

Over the course of the next two years, we got phone calls from Linda on a regular basis. "It's the pest again," she would begin before going on to tell us what she needed. Whether it was another bag of stove pellets, a few cans of food or a ride to the latest adoption event, we never minded. It gave us a chance to visit her and our friend Georgy.

Georgy was not always a spoiled pet. She was around eleven when she strayed from her home, and she lived on the street for about a year, cold, hungry and frightened. What should be the worst part of her story is that she was found only seven blocks from that home. What is the worst part is this: when she was rescued, the microchip in her ear was traced back to her owners, and they refused to take her back! The best part of all this is that she found Linda.

She's been on our adoption gallery for two years, and has even attended an adoption event or two, although she never seemed to care for them much. When Linda was able to foster other cats, Georgy would tend to bully them - just to remind them that they were just passing through. It was Georgy's home, after all, and Linda was Georgy's person! Because she was a black cat of a certain age, and because she had special needs, Georgy had few visitors, other than her VOKRA friends.

In addition to being deaf, she had an ongoing thyroid problem, which had been treated with both medication and radiation therapy. Recently, the ongoing thyroid problem turned into a cancer.

I think I've explained that she was a fighter, but over the past few days the fight has become overwhelming. She's had very bad days, interspersed with a few good moments. Yesterday it seemed that she was just too tired to try anymore.

Sheral and I were in New Westminster picking up five three-day-old kittens who were on their way to Maria Soroski's house. Maria couldn't pick them up herself because she'd already made arrangements to go to Linda's to assist her and the vet. Half an hour later, she came to our place to pick up the babies. I carried the kittens out to her van, and we talked for awhile about Georgy, Linda and the events of their last afternoon together.

While Maria got their bottles ready, I placed their carrier on the soft, clean, white towel that she had arranged carefully on her passenger seat. She took the little ones into her hands one by one, fed them their little bit of formula, wiped their chins and examined their credentials. It was only after she placed them all into the new clean carrier that she showed me what the soft, clean, white towel on her passenger seat contained.

So, I guess, in my own clumsy way, I did get to say goodbye to Georgy Girl after all. I'd like to think that she'd understand my distraction, and would excuse the indignity. I suspect though, that I may need to think of some appropriate penance. Cats can hold grudges forever, you know.

Georgy Girl was fourteen years old. She was loved, and she is missed.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Connie's First Post

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Limited Vision has a guest contributor tonight. 0+ Tppppppppppppppppppppppppwelve week-old Dona Conchetta is posting her very first article. Be patient. She will get better. All of us do.

Thanks again.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Zebra Crossing

When educated people explain the application of Occam's Razor to the rest of us poor simpletons, the example that they might use is this: if he were to perceive a noise like approaching thunder across an open meadow under a clear blue sky, the sensible Saxon churl would expect to see horses and not zebras.

While it is meant to reduce complication, Occam's Razor does not exclude other possibilities than the obvious ones. It merely allows that, in most cases, the simplest explanation is the most probable. It does not imply that the invading Normans might not, in fact, have been mounted on bloodthirsty, carnivorous zebras.

To illustrate further, when we hear the same sort of rumble in our house, we find that, rather than expecting either horses or zebras, it is more reasonable for the Tall Lady and me to infer the proximity of a clowder of clog-dancing kittens. So it has ever been, and with any sort of luck, shall always be.

Our housing co-op has an eight-paw policy, and currently, including Sheral's and mine, we have thirty-nine paws in our two-bedroom unit. The others belong to our two Flying Fellini Sisters, la Bella Bianca, the Mighty Leonard, and our four eleven week-old foster cats, who are called "the Carport Kittens", or to be more familiar "the Littles".

The handsome, spotty lad in the photo at the left is named "Don Fabrizio", but because it is too much of a mouthful, it is usually shortened to "Fabio". We are so very proud of him, that on occasion, we call him "Fabulo". Because of his passing resemblance to our Big, Perfect Cat, this has been extended to "Fabulo, Son of Xena" - although never within shot of her sensitive ears.

The long, lean, black smile on the right belongs to "Don Ciccio". Cheech has become our Leonard's best little buddy, and the two of them will tear around the house in blatant disregard of innocent bystanders or their personal space. All four of the Littles are lap-cats, but Cheech has the least time to spare for that. He has too many things to do,

"Dona Conchetta" is still the biggest of the four. Connie's short, soft, wooly coat is Russian-blue in colour, but has faint tabby stripes. Her body type and her face have a British short-hair look about them, and she has a little, kinky manx-like tail which she twirls like a pinwheel. All of these things lead me to believe that their mom is a liberal democrat. Connie enjoys long, animated conversations, the National Geographic Channel and French kisses.

Finally, there is "Dona Carolina", the little cutie who settled, purring, onto Sheral's lap that Saturday at Karen Duncan's house, and sealed our doom. Her markings are a mix of tabby stripes and tabby rosettes. We were not aware until our friend Lilian spotted it in one of my photos that the pattern of her coat forms a little monogrammed "C" on her right side, but we always knew that she was cool. Cara is the smallest kitten at the moment, but she is fearless. Where the other seven cats will flee in terror from Our Friend the Vacuum Cleaner, little, fragile Cara can usually be found standing defiantly on the middle platform of our big cat tree, hurling insults on the poor Kenmore's ancestry and making rude gestures at it.

The Littles should be up on the VOKRA gallery pages soon. Today, I'm supposed to be writing biographies to include with their photos. I just hope that I can think of something interesting to say about them.