Category Archives: The Legend

Thanks, Ellen…

We opened the sympathy card Ellen had dropped off for us… and I thought I would share her comments with you (we’re all family here, right? trust me, we are):

When you first moved here, you spoke of taking Pan out at nite so she could memorize the stars &always find her way home. Now she can be a star & always find her way home to your hearts and to your memories.

Thanks for remembering, Ellen.

Yep, that’s what I did each morning when I went outside to pick up the papers @ zero-dark-thirty and Pan wanted to join me:  I would cradle her in my arms with her front paws hanging over my right arm, rear legs and feet tucked in to my left hand, down by my left rib cage, and when we passed the tree and could see the stars, I would say, “Remember, this is where you live. If you ever get lost, you can find your way home by looking up to the stars.”  In fact, that’s what I did every morning after Dr. Ueno diagnosed her situation.  We both enjoyed the quiet time together, smelling the fresh blossoms on the trees and shrubs and watching the moon and stars together… cheek-to-jowl.  Just us TwoBigCats in the pre-dawn morning… one of us saying goodbye, the other making sure she had her bearings fixed in her mind.

And here’s how I wrote about it almost 8 years ago when I began The Legend of the Two Big Cats:

As you may know, all cats have nine lives.  Pan is in her 7th and in reaching this point in life, she’s learned to pretty quickly tell the good from bad and the wise from the foolish.  In the process, Pan has become very wise & patient creature, able to deal with many different and difficult situations.  Given her late stage life, Pandora has developed the unique ability to communicate some of her knowledge to most animals and, from time to time, even humans and, in doing so, has become a good mentor to many creatures.   At this point in her life, Pan is a master of purr-trances and uses them at will so that she can go on “cat missions”.   (Pandora will eventually acquire the ability to morph from cat to human at various times… when this ability first manifests itself, she’s never quite sure why or how it happens, but eventually learns to control it to begin using it to accomplish her (and others) benevolent goals.)  Pan’s favorite toy is “Maroon Mouse” and she often brings it to GrandpaCat to share with him and to entice him to play with her.

Although Pandora was originally Scott’s cat, because GrandpaCat was always an early morning person, she would get up with him in the pre-dawn hours to enjoy a few moments of quiet.  It was during this time that Pan and GrandpaCat began “bonding” by GrandpaCat carrying Pan outdoors in his arms each morning to get the morning papers off the driveway.  Each day at precisely 5:30AM, GrandpaCat would carry Pan in his arms out the door and, cradling Pan in his arms, he’d point to the star-filled sky and say to her “if you ever get lost, this is where you live”.  GPC would do this throughout the year to make sure Pan was able to see how the sky would change based on the time of year and seasons.  When they moved to the House on Walnut, GrandpaCat repeated this training so that, should Pan ever be outside and feel lost, at night she could look up and know where home was.”
And for any / all who stop by to read how we’re doing (especially me since I’m the one that does the writing :), we’re doing alright.  For all the reasons I’ve mentioned before, we’re handling Pan’s passing as we have all of our  others through the years (save Dee’s, which was very traumatic for us both) – we’re adjusting and we miss the warmth of her being.  If / when you stop by the house, you’ll notice many of the cat-centric things have been removed… we **really did** do many things around the house for the comfort of the cats… it was a labor of love, but they’re no longer needed. sigh.

Thanks again for the kind words, Ellen… they are much appreciated.

Mimi and Brady are both right – thanks :)

We received a condolence email from Mimi the other day that said, in part, that Pandora had slipped out the Portal and was probably hanging around the house… Mimi is sooooo right – Pan’s just slipped outside and is there living the good life.

And last evening when Brady stopped by, we told him about Pan’s passing and he blurted out loud, “OH NO!”… and after about 5 seconds he said, “Well, at least she’s not sick anymore and she and Delilah are playing and having fun.” Dave is sooooo right – we are comforted by knowing Pan is no longer sick.

In yesterday’s mail came two cards: one from Ellen and one from Marley. We haven’t been able to open them yet, but we will. In the meantime, thank you, everyone, for your thoughts.

(for you readers who are not familiar with the history of our TwoBigCats (the portal, etc) I’ll post something in due time.

I DO have some good news to post…

And that’s that our two baby doves (who were hatched ~10 days ago in the 2nd-year nest outside our bedroom suite doors) fledged earlier today and – don’t’cha know – they’re hanging out in the same overgrown area by the bedroom fireplace that their last year’s fledgling’s hung out, too. Nice and warm / shaded right there and no animals to pick on them. I located them about an hour ago and took a few pics of them that I’ll post tomorrowish.

Oh, and the red house finches have been refreshing the nests up in the patio eaves – seems we’ll have some spring finches soon. Lots of “Hey Baby” male finch singing going on outside.

With all the bird activity taking place around our deck and the back patio area, spring was always the favorite time of year for Delilah and Pandora – soooo much bird traffic taking place that I used to say they were “Watching the bird show”.

And so they did for all of their years here at this house.

Nite, all.

Our TwoBigCats

Naturally, I was thinking a lot about Pandora and Delilah today and came across these two pictures of them in what I think of as the prime of their lives.

Here they are in / on their tower. Notice Dee in the upper perch? We didn’t understand it at the time, but that was her dominant-cat positioning. (Doh! What weren’t we thinking!)

In this pic, they were in my office, sacked out on the rug waiting for me to return so we could “get some work done” 🙂

Both pics were taken in ~ 2002 or ’03… at that point, they were each ~19.5 lbs and 3 1/2 feet long. Our TwoBigCats 🙂

We are very, very sad about Pandora….

Unfortunately, Pan’s health took a very sudden downward spiral yesterday and, though she was not in pain, last night was very, very uncomfortable for her. However difficult the decision, this morning we very sadly said our final “I love you and will see you soon” to Pan. For all of us who love Pandora, you’ll be comforted in knowing she was not in pain and did not suffer in her passing.

Thank you, everyone, for enjoying Pan with us for all these years 🙂

Pan’s will to survive is incredibly strong…

What a cat. Really. What a cat.

Yesterday I was writing a 44+ year friend about Pan’s illness and the fact that we will lose her soon. As I wrote out the many medical issues she has had and survived in her lifetime, it occurred to me that Pan must have an incredibly strong survival instinct (love of life – can cats have a “love of life”?) and will to survive. In all of my vacillation between the pain of knowing we’ll lose her and the joy of having her in our lives for 13 1/2 years, I realized she’s survived the following serious medical events that each required general anesthesia and / or radiation:

* Spaying (I remember that the day after, she was jumping up on the counter in the kitchen @ our place on Springfield, pimping me for food. What a cat 🙂

* Operation on each rear leg / knee joint (congenital defects we fixed in her 1st year). Same thing: Next day was up and mo-tating along just fine.

* Thyroid cancer. This one almost got her, what… 5 years ago? She went away to Camp Glow-in-the-dark (my name for the clinic – they hated me saying it!)for a week and when she returned home, was exiled to the guest bathroom to out-gas the radiation in her body.

* FOUR – count ’em, FOUR(!) surgeries opening her stomach to remove massive hairballs formed as a result of her diminished motility due to the radiation treatments. In hindsight, it’s a shame we didn’t know of the side effects of the radiation until just last year as we would have been much more aggressive about shaving her hair down.

Clearly, Pandora has a very strong survival instinct (not to mention health care we’re all envious of 🙂

And an update:

Ellen came over and visited on Sunday for a while – much appreciated by everyone, Ellen, thank you! (Ellen and Joanne planted a new, hybrid, pear tree that I immediately dubbed “Pan’s Pears”. Yep, I’m an emotional simp – it’s all connected in my eyes – so shoot me.)

Springfield Al came by yesterday to visit with Pan, too… and they both had a wonderful time.

Truth is, we all want another cup, minute, hour, day, week, month and year(s) of Pan… If Only. But life is what it is and we’re very grateful for all of our opportunities to say goodbye to Pan… and to each of you for your thoughts and care.

I’ve got some pics to post – much like all the others I’ve taken over the years but, hey (!), they’re fresh 🙂

An update on Pan…

All things considered, Pan and we have had a much better week than we’d imagined we would just a week ago. Although it’s been clear Pan’s not been her “usual self”, she’s been doing relatively well… eating, being present at everything TBC around the place – yesterday she spent several hours outside in the sunshine with us, initially laying in her chair under the apple tree (w/you-know-who next to her in *his* matching chair :), then out and about, walking, smelling the flowers, ground, etc. This morning at ~5am (We were up: I was having our coffee and she was holding down the blankie next to me 🙂 she asked to go outside… very dark out, but up in my arms she went and we went out to smell the blossoms on the trees / shrubs outside – something she’s always loved doing… it’s always had a calming effect on her. It’s a beautiful day here today so we’ll again be in the back yard, spending time together – I’ll take some more video of her so we can look back and savor our moments together.

But there are a couple of things that we can’t ignore – she’s eating significantly less… ~1 can of food per day – down from her 3-5 cans per day; she’s drinking less, too. (Although she did enjoy a quarter pound of raw hamburger distributed over the past 3/4 day, along with a half can of food.) We notice that something seems to be shifting in her jaw / teeth area – she has great difficulty chewing now, though it doesn’t seem to be painful for her. I’ll take her in for hydration tomorrow and we’ll see how she responds.

Sadly, we feel as though we’re in her final end-of-life issues and as we all want for those we love, we want to do our best to ensure Pan’s comfort.


We’ve decided to retire and have chosen our new home

When Liv and Owe were up a few months ago, Joanne and she began working on a new bark carving of a mountainside home. Liv had a couple of unique features she wanted such as a porch with a railing, some unique doors and windows throughout. Liv and Joanne spent several hours laying out and carving the basics, and Joanne’s done some final finishing detail work – check out the push-pin door handles and the railing around the damsel porch. Again, lots of work in this and don’t forget to click the pick for the real details.

Feelin’ pretty good, thank you very much :)

This morning CatGirl was doing her morning stretches and opted to perform her KingKong imitation… I thought you might enjoy see her 🙂 (Sorry about the lighting… seems my fat thumb was obscuring the flash a bit 🙁

After her KingKong routine, she headed over to show Alf her best side… which, of course, being Alf, he did to her in return (those two! ;):

Pan continues to eat and drink pretty much as normal although her tastes have definitely changed from fish to red meat… maybe 13.5 years of fish is enough!

Thx very much to each of you for your concern for Pan and us – we’re very grateful.