Monthly Archives: March 2010

Catching up with some pics of…

You know who…. Newsflash, huh?  This first pic is of Pan in my office making Kitty Muffins on “her” chair the week before she passed away. 

It had been a pretty routine day for us… up early for some fresh coffee, honey smoked ham and reading our newspaper.  Then, later in the morning we were getting some fresh air outside, firing up a little more honey-smoked ham for her brunch, followed by broiled pork chop for lunch with a small bowl of milk.  Dang – anybody else getting hungry reading this?

Anyway, the morning and noon had passed and she came in for a lap around my calves, then scratched the tower in my office and hopped up on the chair to make Kitty Muffins to help her sleep…

And just as she was starting to settle in, there was a noise outside my office window and she turned to watch the finches doing their hey baby spring fling out on our fence.  (Ewww, get a nest, you two!)  I happened to catch Pan’s quick turn to glance through the window:

(Of course, click the pics to see the BIG PICTURE 🙂

Panalicious Orange Marmalade…

We’ve been here 11 1/2 years now… not our entire lives, but not an insignificant amount of time, either.

We’ve watched many homes be rebuilt, we’ve experienced the passing of several of our neighbors, and experienced the joys and severe loss when other neighbors moved away.  And through the passing years, (at least) these things have remained constant:  With every season’s fruit harvest, we’ve made jams, jellies and marmalade’s. And – without hesitation or prompting from us – Pandora has “inspected” every single case of jam, jelly and marmalade ever made in our kitchen. Every. Single. One.  Nose to lid, then perched on it as if she was going to hatch them.

And so it was with this batch of Orange Marmalade.  GrandmaCat and I prepared the goodies, GrandmaCat made and jarred the stuff… and Pan inspected each and every last one… and so we decided to name her very last batch Panalicious Orange Marmalade.

As always, when you click on the pic, you’ll see the full, close-up image and can read the label.

TwoBigCats are embedded in the property…

Around the house, as we begin cleaning up, storing and donating the things we provided for Delilah and Pandora over the past 13 1/2 years – remnants of medicines, feed and water dishes, cat boxes, baskets filled with blankies, sheets and towels – there’s a terrible feeling of sadness and emptiness, of longing to hear their voices or purrs, to feel them touching us… and the terrible loss of knowing we’ll never feel the warmth of their physical presence again.  And as much as we accept that all of these things come with being the loving caretaker of pets, well… it still hurts terribly.
So as part of “the process” you try to look for the bright side of things so you can somehow continue to breathe.  Just such a moment occurred for me today:

Over the weekend, Joanne began to handle a few of Dee and Pan’s things… to hold them, clean and store them.  Among the things she moved was a wooden crate from Treg and Candace… one with their Silkwood Glass label on it, like an old time fruit packing crate.  Inside the crate was heavy wooden shavings not unlike curly straw – when the girls used it to sleep next to the window in the summer (lots of night action going on out there so they would sleep in the crate with one eye open to watch whatever was in the bushes – what a show it must have been!), there had been a nice sheet fluffed up for them to be comfortable.  Over the weekend, Joanne moved it from next to the floor window in our bedroom to the sun room and after staring at it for a few days, on Monday morning I removed the shaved straw and put the crate in the guest room.

I took the shaved straw and distributed it in a couple of key bird areas with the idea that the finches and doves are always looking for nice nesting materials… perhaps they’d like some of this for their nests. (I had done the same two weeks ago with some of Pan’s fur and found it built in to some nests a few days later 🙂

The first pic is of some of the material I put in the Camelia(sp?) bush next to the den door.  Within a few minutes of putting it in place, I watched some red headed house finches come in to grab stuff and fly off.

This pic shows a clump I put under the birch near our bedroom so the dumber-than-a-hammer doves who often hang out up there would see it and put it to use…

Which is just what happened a few hours later – if you look closely you’ll see the curly shaving / straw stuff has been laid in to their nest for the next eggs they’re apparently going to be laying any day now.

So when I start thinking about losing Little One and CatGirl – and about how much they meant to us, our family and to some of our friends – it comforts me to know that a little bit of their lives permeate the lives of the other creatures who share our home / property with us.

Pan and GrandmaCat closeups

Here are a couple of pics I took of Joanne and Pan the afternoon of the 21st of March after we’d all spent several hours working in the backyard. In the first pic, Joanne is carrying Pan up from the patio to the deck while holding Pan so Pan can see the baby doves before they fledged from their nests.

This second pic shows Pan on her toes checking out the doves… Pan loved watching all the wildlife around the property. Joanne loved holding Pan, and I loved taking pics of them together.

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 🙂