April 13, 2012

Friday the 13th.  It just doesn’t have the same impact here in Taiwan as it does in North America.  Sure, the informed people know the meaning of Friday the 13th, but no one takes it to heart.  I would insert here, the Wikipedia.org article regarding Friday the 13th, however, it is rather detailed.  It is interesting though, and if you are somewhat interested in the origins or just general information about this particular day, it is a good article.

If my information and family history is correct, today would have been my father’s mother’s birthday (my grandmother) – she would have been 99 today.

However, my mind is on something else today, or the past couple of days.  I looked over my blog entries for the 11th and 12th, and they seemed a bit dry and strange.  I guess that’s because of what’s on my mind.

Anyone reading this, and anyone who knows me, knows that I am a huge cat person!  I love cats.  I think they are incredible animals.  For as long as I can remember, there has always been a cat in my life.  Oh, well, perhaps for short periods here and there, but for the most part, cats and I have always been together.

The first cat I can remember is one in my childhood – Sam.  I don’t really remember what the cat looked like, but I do remember his name.  I also remember many times, putting him outside at night before bed.  Being an adult now, I realize that at some point, Sam passed away.  As a footnote, the first dog we had was Snowball.

Once I moved into my first place in London, I didn’t have a cat.  It wasn’t until I moved to Ottawa that I finally decided to adopt a kitten.  I can’t remember exactly where this kitten came from, but I do remember I didn’t have her for very long.  I lived on the 7th floor of an apartment building.  A couple of months after adopting this kitten, she had obviously tried to chase a bird off the balcony, and fell.

A few months later, a co-worker had asked if I wanted to adopt a couple of kittens.  They were barn cats at the horse stables where she was taking equestrian lessons.  I agreed, and ended up with a little girl and a little boy.  About a month later, my neighbour, who really liked the little girl, moved out of her apartment.  Interestingly enough, the little girl kitten disappeared at the same time.  We shared a balcony with a divider, and the kittens would occasionally crawl under to the neighbour.

Since the neighbour was actually a very nice person, I was upset, but at the same time, I took comfort in the fact that my ex-neighbour would take very good care of this kitten.

The kitten’s brother, whom I named Mhoram, ended up sharing my life for almost 20 years!  He and I lived together all around Ottawa, an apartment in Windsor, and eventually to New Westminster, B.C.  About a month before his 20th birthday, and co-incidentally about a month before I first came to Taiwan, he was acting a little strange.  I took him to the vet, and it was decided that, because of his age and other factors, it was best to have him ‘put down’.  This was probably one of the most saddest days of my life to that point.  He was one of the best cats I have had to date, although, there is another now in my life, who is quickly taking over Mhoram’s place.

When Mhoram was about 10 years old, I was given the opportunity to adopt another kitten.  I decided to do so, not only because of my love of cats, but I figured this new addition would be a friend, a companion for Mhoram.  Xyvius was his name.  When I came to Taiwan, Xyvius was left with a friend.  He was 10 years old at that time, and so bringing him to Taiwan was not really an option.  Besides, at that point, I had no idea that I was going to be in Taiwan for longer than one year.

As I’ve been in Taiwan for over 10 years, I have to assume that Xyvius has passed on as well.  It was difficult having to put down one cat, and leave another when I came to Taiwan.  I made a conscious decision never to adopt cats, or ANY animal again.  Anyone who has a cat or a dog, or any other animal as a pet, and builds a companionship with that animal, realizes the difficulty and heartache when it’s time to say, “Goodbye.”

So, here I am in Taiwan.  I kind of get used to the idea of not having a pet in my home.  What happens?  One rainy May night, as I am preparing to scooter home, I hear the cry of a kitten.  I follow the sound to a box in an alley, whereupon I find a kitten so tiny and wet and scared, I just couldn’t leave it alone.  I took it to a vet who basically told me that the kitten was too young.  It was away from its mother.  I would be lucky if the kitten survived the weekend.

Without going into too many details, and I should say here, if you want to read about Gabriel van Helsing (Boo-boo), I have written about him in previous blogs.

Time goes on, and before I really know what happens, I have six cats!  The youngest being Ignatius.  The others:  Simba, Eloise, Arabela, and Cornelia.  Three boys, three girls.  All of them are healthy, and spayed and neutered.  I didn’t want any other little ones crawling around the house.  One cat, okay.  Two, fine.  Three – you’re pushing it!  SIX? I must have been out of my mind.  However, they all, for the most part, got along fine.  Sure, there were little hissy fits once in a while, but then again, look at your own family with brothers and sisters, and tell me that you don’t fight once in a while!

Last June (2011), Simba passed away.  He fell down a set of stairs, breaking his back.  Hopefully, it was a quick passing.  It was another of those insanely sad days.  I wrote a blog entry on June 22, 2011 about Simba and his life with me and the other cats.  It took a few days to ‘get over’ his loss, but I’ll never forget him.  Nor will I ever forget any of the cats that have shared with my life with me.

So back to the original reason for this blog entry.

A couple of days ago, I noticed that Cornelia was not hungry, or at least she didn’t eat breakfast.  We all go through those days where we aren’t up to our norm.  For Cornelia though, cat food and her go together like, well, cake and ice cream!  She was always the first of the cats prancing around the dishes when I woke up, waiting for breakfast.  In the past 5 years, I don’t think I’ve EVER seen a day where she would not eat!

Anyway, that evening, again the same thing.  She came over to the bowl, sniffed, and walked away.  Then I noticed that her breathing was a bit heavy.  Having had cats for so many years of my life, I know a couple of signs of whether a cat is feeling well or not.  Her eyes still looked good and her nose was wet and cold.  She wasn’t walking slowly, or favouring any part of her body.  She hopped up on the bed with that night, and feel asleep as normal.

Thursday morning, the same thing.  Actually, the whole day I noticed the same reactions from her.  No appetite, heavy breathing, but nothing else seemed out of the ordinary.  As I didn’t get home until almost 11pm, and again she was on the bed with me, I made a decision to take her into the vet on Friday (today) if she was still in the same condition.


That’s it, that’s all… for now!


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