Thursday, December 31, 2015

Goodbye 2015

Where do I even begin?

This hasn't been my greatest year. Two cats with cancerous skin lumps removed, two others with strange but non-cancerous lumps removed. The death of a cat due to a lymphoma of the small intestine.

As if my sleep wasn't bad enough already. Sleep has degenerated into something that doesn't resemble sleep. Shift-naps. Migraines. Depression.

The house isn't coping well with the loss of Princess Nettie.
Dots the dawg kissing HRH Nettie
I knew the humans in the house would take it hard, she was our baby-girl, but I'm surprised by how hard it's hit little Stannikins. Since Covey's passing, Stan and Net have been nearly-constant companions. He took care of her, helping her around after she lost her eyesight. He was with her when she took a turn for the worst. He's mourning. He's not playing as much. He's lost weight.
Stannis Barcatheon
discovering the creek behind the house

One of the hardest parts for me has been readjusting my routine. Nettie was on a feeding schedule, so I'm reminded every three hours that I don't have to go and feed her anymore. The same thing is happening for Stanley, so we're trying to change up his routine. He's been taking walks with Dingo (who will be having surgery soon for cataracts) and he's napping with Patches now. But he hasn't stopped moping yet. We both still need a little bit more time.

We expected Pippin to mourn - he was Nettie's play-buddy. She taught him how to hunt and they had a regular playtime in the late afternoons. Even after she started to show signs of arthritis, Pip adjusted how they played, laying on the floor next to her and holding their shared teddy bear while she went at it with all four sets of claws. Pip mopes during their former playtime, but his bubba Merry responds, distracting him with play. Pip is also a favorite with the dogs and Dingo has been extra-cuddly with him of late.
Dingo, using Pippin for a pillow

Yoda Bear

Yoda has been more aggressive than usual but that was a problem before Nettie passed away. Yoda didn't adjust well to Nettie's arthritis, she didn't like Nettie not wanting to rough-house with her anymore. She never took it out on Nettie, but she's never been shy about slapping the other cats (except her sisters, Ronnie, Rosalie, and Floppy. Yoda is always nice to her sissies). Not much has changed since Nettie passed away. I've been taking her out on the leash more (partly because she needs to lose weight) and Daddy is training her to sleep in Nettie's old spot in his room when he's watching TV before bed. We'll see how it goes.

Ronnie Francis

As far as Ronnie is concerned, Nettie stopped being her mom when she stopped lactating. Ronnie is my little girl. And she is spoiled rotten. In typical narcissistic cat fashion, she views this an opportunity to have more of my attention.

Which is fine. I need distracting and her little bugger-nose has always made me smile.

Nettie and Ro

Rosalie might look like her mommy, but that's where the similarities end. Rosie has more attitude, she's more intelligent, she's more independent. Less huntress, more let's see if I can get into this. She hates the great outdoors, which she certainly didn't inherit from Nettie.

She abandoned her usual sleeping spot (seen in her photo, two old pillows/pillowcases stuffed between my bed and the wall) for about a week after Nettie's passing. And she's been caught sleeping with Dingo. Dingo didn't like Nettie but he adores Rosalie - so much that his Dottie isn't allowed anywhere near his Ro-ro. Which suits Rose just fine because she only tolerates Dottie, who is usually with Pippin, who Rose hates (we don't know why, Pip wasn't mean to her in the beginning but now the relationship is mutual). She's late-night bed-buddies with Dingo, when he sleeps with me instead of Daddy.
Rose slipping into bed next to Dingo

Nettie enjoyed scaring the bejesus out of Dingo whenever she could. She stalked him like he was prey before the arthritis kicked in and she loved standing directly in the center of the stairwell like she was Gandalf striking his staff on the ground so Dingo couldn't go by (Dottie never seemed to notice that Nettie was saying, "You shall not pass").

After Nettie's arthritis kicked in, she liked waiting for Dingo to fall into a deep sleep. She'd creep up and, nose to nose, stare at him until he woke up - he'd jump as far away from her as he could get. Then, she would climb into his recently vacated warm-spot, doing a particular butt-wiggle as she stared pointedly at him and settled in.

He knows she's gone and he's relieved. But he also knows that his other cats are sad and he's responding, being very good to them and trying to comfort them. He's a very good boy.
The Flopsters

Floppy still mourns Covey-buttons. Nettie gave birth to Floppy but Covey was her mommy. Even after all these years, she still does her mommy-meow, looking for Covey. We have accepted the fact that Floppy will always miss her Covey-buttons.

Floppy hasn't responded the same to the loss of Nettie. She does know that I'm mourning and she's started to do some of the things that Nettie used to do to wake me up. And it's hard, the markings on their faces are so similar that I have mistaken Floppy for Nettie when I wake up and she's up close, licking the tip of my nose. She's never done those things before so she has noticed that Nettie isn't here to do them anymore but she's accepted it.

Patchouli Amber
recovering from surgery

Patches and Nettie didn't get along either, not until Nettie started acting old. And then, they just ignored each other.

Patchie had a cancerous lump removed last fall and Nettie surprised us all by taking care of her during the recovery. So they were friends at the end and Patches is more than content to step in and let me -and Stanley- resume Nettie's care schedule with her.

Merry hugging Pippi

Merry and Nettie played together but not as frequently as Pippin did. Merry hasn't really mourned but he has always been there for his bubbie.

And Precious, well, Precious is Precious. It's hard to say what she notices or thinks. We're pretty sure she's certifiably-insane. An absolute sweetheart, yes, but bonkers. 
Precious meditating over electronics
I have books to read and reviews to write but I have no idea when I will get these things done. There's a couple of read-for-reviews that I keep putting off. I have the rest of L'Amour's Talon and Chantry books to read and Robin Hobb's Soldier Son trilogy is waiting for me. Mike gave me L.M. Boston's Green Knowe series for Yule, which is a series that I started when I was a kid but couldn't finish because someone had stolen one of the books from the library. 

But my head just isn't into it right now. Don't be surprised if I'm sporadic over the next couple months. My heart feels heavy right now. I'm hoping the return of the sun will help ease the darkness that's settled over me but I have no promises or guarantees that it will. If 2016 shapes up to a better year, then I'm more than happy to let this one go. Happy New Year. 

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