Category Archives: Maine Coon

Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear…

This was Pan mid-week, last week. We hadn’t shaved her fur down (she has allergy issues and so “over grooms”, causing hairballs in her gut the size of big mice… 3 surgeries later, we regretfully shave her coat down to minimize her risk.) for a month or so and here’s what she looks like with 1 month of fur growth.

Reminds me of Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear, Fuzzy Wuzzy… since taking this pic, we’ve shaved her down and had xray’s taken of her gut – no mouse-hairballs.

And here’s a pic of Pan cruising through some of the carvings in the dining room last week. I can see the headlines now, “Pandora Carroll, A Giant Among Men”.

Thx for stopping by and don’t forget to write when you get work.

“She misses her cat…”

After a full day of working the gardens and around the house, we were beginning to prepare for a late-afternoon bbq with Al, Ellen and the Brady’s out on the patio when I came across Pandora and Pepper laying on the rug in front of our bedroom French doors… both enjoying the fresh air and warmth of the sunshine streaming through the doors.

I said to Joanne, “Check out cat-girl and Pep by the doors…”. Joanne peeked around the corner and said, “She misses her cat.”, meaning Pepper misses “her cat”, Delilah. I’m not an animal behaviorist, but I do think Joanne’s right.

Over the years, Pepper and Delilah developed a very close relationship. In her puppy years, Pepper bounded through the house with what seemed to be endless reserves of energy, ending up nose-to-nose with Dee as if to say, “Hey, let’s tear this place up!”

Dee would sit up on her hind legs (she always looked like a furry booze-bottle carrying bag to me when she was in that position), stand up just a bit, feint a left jab to Pep’s head and when Pep leaned to the left to escape the jab, Dee would reach out ever-so-gently and touch the left side of Pep’s face with a quick “pop”. Pep would always act surprised and when she pulled her head back away from Dee, Dee would lean forward and gently “box” her ears with both paws… no claws, just paws… but enough to remind Pep who really owned the house. I think I’ve mentioned here before that early-on when I saw these reactions, I’d tell Pepper to leave Dee alone and Joanne would tell me to stay out of it, that Pepper liked Dee and they had a good relationship.

And so I did… stay out of their relationship, that is. But I watched it develop over time and was always grateful that the two of them had someone to hang out with. Penny is kind of a loner and Pan has always been a human-oriented cat, so spent more time with us than with Delilah. So, over time, Dee and Pepper became quite close… often tucked away on a shared blankie, sleeping together during the day or evening before we closed the place down and went to bed.

When Dee had surgery for cancer and spent even more time sleeping, whenever possible, Pepper spent much of her time by Delilah’s side, often leaning in to sniff and make sure that Dee was doing ok. As Dee began her recovery and moved around the house under her own power, Pep would often “shadow” her.

Watching Pepper’s devotion to Dee was very touching.

In the time since Dee’s passing, Pepper has adapted to her absence but, like a lot of us, has discovered that she really likes those cat-things… they’re kinda warm and snuggly and when they slip in to the purr-mode, very relaxing to be around.

So it looks like Pan’s been chosen as Pepper’s new best friend… which has been a funny process to watch unfold. In Pep’s initial efforts, she’d walk up and stick her nose in Pan’s face as if to say, “Ok, now you fake a jab with your left, then when I lean left, you pop me on the side of the head and then we’ll go take a nap on the couch-blankie.”

And until yesterday afternoon, it looked to me as though Pan had the “Jab-the-dog” moves down pat but wasn’t much in to having “man’s best friend” become her best friend.

But – if this picture is an indicator – there appears to be a crack in her “don’t need no stinkin’ dog” thinking.

I’m sure Joanne’s right, that Pepper “she misses her cat”, but hopefully she and Pan can develop their relationship to where they’ll both miss their cat a little less.

Thx for stopping by, write when you get work.

No, I haven’t forgotten to post the rest of Delilah’s pictures

Yesterday marked the three month anniversary since Dee passed away. I expected to have all of her photos and videos posted by this point in time but, to tell you the truth, while it’s sooooooo wonderful to see and hear her while I’m doing it, going through all the pics and videos is still just too emotionally draining for me.

On one hand, I wish it weren’t so.

On the other, Delilah was such a wonderful and close companion, friend and family member that “letting her go” shouldn’t be easy – and it’s not – so we’ll just have to let time and nature have their way.

Thx for understanding 🙂

UPDATED: Celebrating Delilah Carroll – The adult years

I have a great many photos – and a few videos – of Delilah to put up here, so rather than wait for everything to come together perfectly, I thought I’d begin posting photos and add text as I have time. So, for now… enjoy the photos of Delilah Carroll’s Adult Years as I’m able to upload them.

Dee hard at work on my desk, supervising me and enjoying the fresh summer air and sunshine… likely the summer of ’02.

Nothing quite like a towel fresh out of the dryer, is there? Nope – not in Dee’s eyes.

When she wanted to scope out the front room before committing herself completely to coming in to the room, she’d often move from the kitchen / back side of the house through the foyer, travel down the front hall way, take a dog leg across the den entrance and place herself in this exact spot next to The Chair. After becoming comfortable that things were safe and to her liking, she’d make her move and find a place that worked for her… usually boosting Pepper from the couch or – no dog available to push around – hop up on her window chair to watch the Bird Show, then move to the nearest blankie to catch a nap.

Sometimes when passing the den, The Lamp would call to her and she’d take Pepper’s place at the window – sure to fall asleep in a few short minutes.

If you click the pic above this line, you’ll get a close up of how incredibly full Delilah’s coat was… just amazing.

Ah, our chief bag inspector with her head tilted to listen for whatever might be crawling around in the bag. This was last Christmas / Holiday season.

What a hard working gal Dee was. Here she is making sure the just-shampooed dining room carpet was drying as expected.

Dee and Pepper in GrandmaCat’s office.

Delilah and Pepper were very close and had a relationship that you’ll get a kick out of seeing pictures of as Dee’s celebration unfolds. On the day Delilah passed away, when we returned from Dr. Ueno’s office, Joanne said to me, “I’ll go tell Pepper.”

Now, to some – those who may not have animals or understand animal / human relationships – Joanne telling a dog that a cat had died and was not returning home may sound very weird… I’m sure it would have to me 25 years – or so – ago before I became close to our animals. But in the time since then, I’ve become comfortable with treating pets / animals with respect… and sometimes that includes verbalizing things like the passing of another member of the pack.

Dee and Pan in the guest bedroom last year… that exact moment was such a perfect moment in time for me because they were laying in a cool bed (it was a very hot day), snuggled in and sleeping together – something they usually only did at night in our bed. I loved to see them together.

Dee and me, several years ago. Sometimes when I lay in The Chair, she’d come over and hop up on my legs and go to sleep… and I’d never feel her. For being 19 pounds of longhaired cat, Dee was remarkably light when she wanted to be.

Laying in front of the coffee table earlier this year. Seeing this picture reminds me of a thought I’ve had running around in my head the past few years about cats’n’dogs’n’people all needing “a place in the sun” to relax and feel the warmth of being in “a good spot”… kinda like “feed me chocolate and rub my tummy.” I’m sure I have more photos around of each of the pack laying in their own “places in the sun”… as I find them, I’ll post them.

In the meantime, where’s your place in the sun?

This is the last in a sequence of photos that I’ll put up that begin with Dee pushing Pepper off the couch at night… where I’d rub her tummy with my left hand, while GrandmaCat rubbed her neck and forehead.

Dee in the backyard, under the apple tree and in her chair a few years ago. I’m sure I have more of this sequence of photos and will share them as I locate them. I know I’ve said it before, but if you really want to see and experience the luxurious quality of Delilah’s / Pandora’s coats, click the pic! (It will enlarge if it’s an import from my digital camera and will stay roughly the same size if it’s a scanned photo.)

The photo below shows Delilah helping me pack as I got ready for a trip to Oslo back in ’04. Dee and Pan were both great for that. In fact, at the airport when they asked me if anybody else had packed or touched anything in my bag except me, I always said, “Yes, my TwoBigCats and I’m not responsible for what they put in there.”

Rarely did they appreciate my humor 😉

Dee last year by the front room coffee table.

Guard cats, hard at work one summer about 5 years ago.

Apparently the stress was too much for Pan so she left; Dee remained behind for clean up.

Here’s another pic of Dee-Dee Carroll, the hardest working Maine Coon in the City of Campbell.

In this pic, Dee’s guarding Joanne’s wood carving show judging entry forms to make sure there weren’t any “hanging chads” to screw up the results.

It’s probably worth noting that whenever there were boxes / bags / whatever’s being gathered someplace in the house, Delilah could always be found in the thick of things, staking out her territory. Pan would often come by to check things out, too, but it was usually Dee who made sure she was in the middle of it all.

See what I’m talking about in these next two pics? We put some screen door materials (and a hose) and they immediately showed up – Pan took the outer area… just hanging out.

Dee threw herself on the hose to make sure we all knew it was hers.

The photo’s below show Dee making herself part of the canning action last year. I guess she figured since the cases of jars were where her food trays usually were, they must be hers to use as she wished. Photos like these help explain how you might find cat hair on your TwoBigCats jams / jellies 🙂

The pics below are from last Winter… everybody’s snuggling in as part of their normal pre-bedtime activities.

Note the final photo below – Dee’s got herself spread out over Pepper just how she wants to be and Pep seems pretty ok with that. In fact, I think they all wanted me to quit taking pictures so they could finish their pre-bedtime snuggling.

Since Dee’s passing, several times I have come across Pepper checking out some of Delilah’s old “secret hiding spots” – a couple of lairs she made for herself in distant closets. There’s no doubt in my mind that Pep misses Dee a great deal.

I’ll continue posting photos – and eventually videos – later this week… so check back as you have time.

You know, it’s been just over six weeks since Delilah passed away and to tell you the truth, it feels like our pack is just beginning to accept losing her… she was such a bigger than life creature.

To me – without Dee – our house and property feel empty. I suppose the property feels empty because if we were outside and Dee wasn’t outside in her chair with us, when we looked back, there was Dee – sitting by one of the screened doors or windows… watching to see what we were doing.

When I went outside to get the papers each morning, by the time I walked back to the front door to come inside, there was Dee, next to the basket, watching me as I walked back up the sidewalk… talking to me in a voice I could hear through the slightly ajar door. Whenever we returned to the house from a drive / bike ride, there was Dee, by “her” window… talking to us (probably chewing us out for not leaving her enough food!).

We all miss Dee a great deal.

But having said that, a couple of changes are beginning to occur around the house… mainly in Pandora.

You know, Pan is a year older than Dee and “by rights” should be the Queen of the House. And she is / was… at least to us. But we noticed a few times over the years that Dee seemed to be the lead cat… and Pandora – in her ultra-sweet personality – eventually let Dee assume the lead cat role.

Dee is the one who crawled up in our laps (not Pan – Pan’s a blankie-next-to-Grandma/GrandpaCat kinda gal). Dee was always the most vocal – Always talking, talking, talking and talking back to us. Every meal with Dee involved she and I having very vocal exchanges while I prepared their meals – always feeing Pan first: “Big cat eats first” was my rule.

And for the past 11 years, Pan has rarely said a word… until a few weeks ago, when she began talking… sometimes tracking me down in the house to tell me something (usually food was needed), sometimes racing me to the bathroom for my nightly soak before bed – talking all the way to the bathroom and even a bit while I soaked… and without fail, every meal I serve her these days includes a lively conversation with Pandora.

So it looks like Pandora is now beginning to come out from what was an invisible shadow that Delilah was casting over her all these years. And while we’d do just about anything to have Delilah back among us, since we can’t, we’ll enjoy our photo and memories of Dee and savor our newly communicative relationship with Pandora.

That’s it for now – I hope you enjoy these photos and will forgive the lack of organization about them… when I’ve got them all uploaded, I’ll invest some time in organizing them better.


Queen Pan

Pandora in our backyard, probably 2004ish, right about this time of year.

Though we have to keep Pan’s fur coat trimmed very close due to hairball / digestion issues, she’s still the same great, outdoor-lovin’ cat she always has been. (She’s sitting by the sunroom screen door calling me to go outside, so enjoy the pic and I’ll enjoy Fall with Pandora 🙂

Pan in her glory, on her chair…

At this point, we’ve made it outside and Pan is on her chair in the middle of the patio. Usually her chair is on the deck, under the apple tree or in the garage if I happen to be working on something… she loves to be close to us when she’s outside.

If we happen to leave her immediate area, she gets as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs – stands up, cranes her neck and looks around constantly. (Truth be told, she’s probably just worried about not being able to open a can of cat food on her own, eh?)

Anyway, this is typical Pan behavior on her chair when she’s first put in it… lots of marking, chewing, posturing… and then she settles down and heads off to sleep.

Some of my favorite photos of Delilah Carroll

(Hint: Click on the pics to see Dee in her most luxurious image.)

This was Delilah out in the backyard, under the apple tree in her chair, about 2004 or 2005. The funny thing about Dee and being outside was she was always a fuss-budget when she was outside… always trying to explore the backyard and eat grass (by the bucketful, it seemed).

And almost always – after wailing plaintively from inside the house that she wanted to be outside with us (like Pan was, sleeping in her chair) she usually tried to head back inside almost immediately after coming out.

This was taken ~2005, Dee enjoying the blankie on the couch. What I like about this photo is you’re able to see Dee pretty much in her “glory”… such a beautiful creature.

Dee laying on our bed, enjoying the late afternoon sun as she did most days when the sun would roll through our bedroom window. It was usually about this time of day that I would rub her shoulders and back for a minute, then say, “Reach for the sky, Punkin-Pie” and she’d roll over on her back, stretch all four legs out completely and I’d comb out her ever-present, wonderfully long and luxurious fur.

Dee was so funny about this… as I’d comb her lower tummy and hind legs, she’d say, (what sounded like), “Mm-cack”… she apparently didn’t like me touching her back side 😉 I’d always respond, “Did anybody ever tell you you’ve got a nice butt? I like that in a cat. ” (If you know me or have been reading this blog for a while, I bet you know what I’ve done with the fur I’ve brushed, don’t you? Yup, I’ve saved it in 1 gallon zip bags – I think I have 7 or 8 now – and will have a muffler / neck warmer / something similar made from their fur… easily as wonderful as cashmere, trust me when I tell you.)

Pepper-Do-You-Want-Her? guarding Dee after she came home from her cancer surgery.

Over the years, Pep and Dee developed a very close relationship… it wasn’t unusual to find the two of them snuggled up someplace. In fact, most nights after I went to bed, Pep would jump up on the couch blankie next to Joanne and a few minutes later, Dee would jump up and snuggle in by Pep’s stomach, often turning her backside to Pep’s face causing Pepper to look at Joanne as if to say, “Mom, Dee’s doing that thing again – make her stop.”

Of course, Pep may have loved Dee because Dee’s food bowls were on the floor and Pep would make sure they were cleaned and ready for Dee’s next serving 🙂

Dee and Joanne on the loveseat, by the glow of our 1911 Wilkinson leaded lamp. Notice how Dee has her tail wrapped around Joanne’s neck? Very typical behavior for Dee… she would quite often wrap her tail around us as if to say, “I’m not letting you go”. (By comparison, Pan often uses her front paws to reach out and “hold hands” with us when she’s next to us.)

Probably my favorite photo of Dee because it shows Dee and Joanne as they often were in the evenings when Dee wanted company. Joanne would sit on the loveseat next to the lamp and Dee would hop up behind her, wrap her tail around Joanne’s neck and they’d stay that way until Joanne moved away to come to bed.

We are incredibly sad

It is with profound sadness that we tell you that Delilah has passed away today.

After recovering from amputation surgery for cancer on her right front leg, last weekend Delilah suddenly became ill. Diagnosed with pancreatitis, she received fluids, pain meds and antibiotics from the vet each day for the past 7 days. Yesterday’s blood tests indicated that her symptoms were getting worse and her ability to recover in a timely – if ever – manner, were unknown and / or unlikely. Given the pain this condition caused her to endure, with great sadness, we decided to end her suffering.

Anybody who knows us or has been to our house has known Delilah Carroll and the important role she filled in our family and “pack”. We will miss Delilah, but we feel blessed to have had her in our lives for the past 11 years and 1 day since she came home with us.

God Speed, Little One. We love you.