Saturday, November 25, 2006

A weekend story

Angel Antonius looked appreciatively at his tiny wooden workbench. Many millennia ago, he had carved it from a giant oak tree he had found after the great flood. He did not need the workbench to do his chosen task, but he found that it helped him focus. He needed that focus sometimes to help with the competing emotions of his chosen task. He ran his hand over the smooth finely-grained surface and once again felt connected to the earthly world he served.
“Antonius” a small voice cried out, “Antonius.”
Antonius saw the small Cherubim flying towards the area where he had positioned his workbench.
“Malachi.” Antonius replied to his friend. “I cannot talk now. I have to return to Earth.”
“I know.” Malachi responded. “I want to come with you. I want to learn what you know and to help.”
“Are you certain that this is the task you want for yourself?” Antonius asked as he gestured to his simple workbench and the tattered hem of his robe.
“You could fix your robe if you wished.” Malachi answered. “Many of the other angels think it is silly to have such a tattered robe.”
“It is not all joy and happiness, Malachi.” Antonius stated, a slight frown creased his brow. “My task brings pain with the joy, tears with the laughter.”
“But you bring the kittens to earth.” Malachi replied, “And I do love the newborn kittens.”
“But I also bring the Lost Ones back to Heaven.” Antonius stated.
“Please, Can I help you?”
“Yes.” Antonius agreed. “You may help me.”
Antonius motioned for Malachi to follow him.

They walked together across the vast expanse of Heaven.
Malachi noticed a simple cobblestone bridge. It shimmered with the colours of the rainbow. This side of the bridge was clear but the far side was concealed with a faint haze. Every so often, a human would appear. Sometimes they would be accompanied by a single cat or dog or bird or ferret or bunny or horse or other animal, other times they would be followed by several.
“Is that the Rainbow Bridge?” Malachi asked.
“Yes.” Antonius said. “We built it soon after Humans befriended the first animal.”
Antonius and Malachi reached a small spot where there appeared to be thousands of newborn kittens all sound asleep. Antonius walked softly amongst the sleeping kittens. He looked lovingly down upon the tiny little furry bodies.
“How do you know which ones to take?” Malachi asked.
“There are no wrong ones to take, Malachi.” Antonius replied. “Each has a purpose and a destiny set for it by God. I simply place them on their path.”
Antonius methodically picked from the multitude of sleeping kittens. The kittens barely stirred from their slumber as Antonius kissed them on their foreheads and placed them into the folds of his robe.
“Can I carry some?” Malachi asked.
“Certainly.” Antonius replied as he picked two small Siamese kittens and placed them into Malachi’s hands. “Now slip them into the folds of your robe for they get very cold.”
Malachi slipped the two kittens into his robes and grinned as he felt the kittens snuggle up to the warmth of his body. Antonius smiled.
“We will go and deliver these beloved ones to Earth.” Antonius said as he motioned for Malachis to follow.

Antonius and Malachi stood over the sleeping body of the pregnant Siamese cat. She was sleeping soundly and did not stir at the presence of the two angels. Antonius looked at Malachi.
“Take your kittens and give them to their mother.” Antonius guided.
“But there are four within her, Antonius.” Malachi asked. “Why did you have me bring only two?”
“Because that is all God said to bring.”
“What about the other two?”
“They were never meant to breathe the air of Earth.” Antonius said. “Do not fret for them. They will remain but a husk, an empty shell. Sometimes, that is the most merciful thing we can do.”
Malachi took the two kittens from his robe and placed them next to their mother.
“Now pay attention.” Antonius began to sing softly to the mother cat.
Malachi listened to the words of Antonius’s song and grew sad as he heard each note and syllable leave Antonius’s tongue. The forms of the two kittens slowly merged with the mother cat. When Antonius was done, Malachi saw that the angel was crying and that his tears fell softly on the still sleeping cat.
“Why do you weep, Antonius?” Malachi asked. “Is not birth of a creature a joyous thing?”
“The creation of life is a joyous event.” Antonius replied. “But life for these two will not be happy or pleasant. You wondered why we only brought two kittens. It is because the Humans who own this poor creature do not care for it properly and see it as a means to satisfy their own greed. Their callousness is why we could only bring two.”
Antonius brushed the tear from his cheek.
“Come.” Antonius moved away from the sleeping cat and her ready to be borne kittens. “We have many more to deliver yet.”
Malachi followed Antonius to the next cat. Antonius once again pulled a certain number of kittens from the fold of his robe and placed them next the sleeping cat. Once again with his mournful song, he merged the kittens with their new mother. The act repeated itself over and over. Malachi thought his heart would break as he felt the loss Antonius carried in his song. Soon there were no more kittens in Malachi’s or Antonius’s robes.

“We have one more thing to do.” Antonius said. “For now, we have to guide the cats and kittens who have passed back to Heaven.”
Antonius took Malachi to a dreary forlorn spot. The building might have once been a warehouse where Humans worked and toiled, but now it was blackened and lifeless. Antonius moved to a small corner where several charred beams and pieces of wood had collapsed. Malachi gasped as Antonius lifted the burnt wood away and exposed the still, scarred body of a cat.
“Poor cat.” Malachi mourned, “I hope she did not suffer.”
“But she did.” Antonius replied. “She suffered most cruelly. But she gave her life in an attempt to save those she held most dear.”
Antonius gently moved the body of the cat and exposed the uncharred forms of three small kittens. Unlike their mother, their bodies bore no mark of fire.
“Knowing that she could not escape, she placed her body between her kittens and the fire in hopes of saving them with her sacrifice. But it was for naught, for although the fire did not touch them, the smoke surely did.” Antonius noted. “And now it is time to take them all home.”
Antonius knelt beside the still forms of the cats. He pulled one feather from his left wing and placed it on the ground in front of him. He then pulled another feather from his right wing and set it next to the other. Antonius repeated this pulling of feathers from his wings until he had four sets lying on the ground. He reached down to hem of his robe and pulled a thread from the silken cloth. Gently, he bound two feathers together with the thread and then he placed the feathers on the charred body of the mother cat.
Malachi listened to Antonius as he worked on the feathers. Once again Antonius was singing, but the song was not mournful or sad. It was full of joy and happiness. Malachi was confused.
Antonius placed his fingertips to his lips and then touched his hand to the feathers on top of the mother cat. There was golden shimmer as the feathers grew into a set of angel wings and attached themselves to the mother cat’s back. As they grew and fixated onto the cat’s body, the scars and burn marks from the fire faded. Antonius placed the feathers onto the kittens and placed a kiss onto each kitten. He sang as the wings appeared and smoke-filled lungs once again breathed clean air.
“That’s why your robe is tattered.” Malachi stated.
“Yes.” Antonius replied. “This is why it is always tattered. Never more than thumb-width, but never less. My tattered hem is a reminder of all the cats I have brought back to Heaven. To repair it would not be right.”
“But why was the song placing the kittens on Earth so sad, but the song of their death so happy.” Malachi asked.
“The song of their birth is sad, because I know that I might be dooming them to a life of fear, pain and loneliness far from the grace of Heaven.” Antonius said. “But my joy knows no bounds when I know that I have come to return them to Heaven. I am allowed to free them from their existence on Earth and bring them back into the light of God.”
“Some of the cats will choose to stay at the Rainbow Bridge and wait for the Humans that cared for them.” Antonius stated. “But Lost Ones, such as these, will come back with us to Heaven, for they have no one to wait for at the Rainbow Bridge.”
Antonius scooped up the three kittens and motioned for Malachi to pick up the female cat. The kittens purred and squirmed in Antonius’ arms. The female cat looked over at her kittens and accepted that they were finally safe. She snuggled into Malachi’s robe.
“Now we take them home.” Antonius smiled to a beaming Malachi.
Malachi smiled back and then briefly closed his eyes. The hem of his robe unraveled to match Antonius’s. Only a thumb-width. No more. No less.

For Tilly who gained her wings this weekend.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Tabby Tuesday

Click to biggify.

Dad went and got a new camera on the weekend. He says that we get too interested in the camera when he tries to take our pictures. So this one has something called Zoom. I don't know what the big deal about Camera Zoom is. Dad once said that I liked to zoom around the house a little too much. Now trust me when I tell you this, I watched that camera for hours and it did not zoom anything like me. It did not move once.

I think Dad has lost a couple cards from his deck, forgot a couple sandwiches for his picnic, missed a few brick from a full load. i'm not insulting him. I'm just saying what I have noticed.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Midnight Monday

There is no update for Smudge. Dr. Nick's wife had a baby last week so we can kind of understand why he hasn't talked to Dad yet. Smudge really does not like the low-protein food. Dad has had to resort to mixing it will his other Sensitive Stomache food. The problem is that the other two eating machines (Magoo and Dolce) seem to have no issues about wolfing down Smudge's food.

Dad had tried to be nice and not do a lot of shameless self-promotion, but after reading the other entries at Skeezik's new contest, Dad figures he needs to get the word out about Smudge's Tale of Devoshun.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Not much to tell

I am sure everyone is wondering about the results of Smudge's ultrasound test on Tuesday. Dr. Nick gave me the results of the test and went through the medical mumbo-jumbo with me. He did not have a chance to talk to the other V-E-T who did the ultrasound so he was a bit evasive as to what the test showed. I don't blame him for that.

What he did tell me was that the left kidney was not in good shape. The right kidney is in a little better shape but still showed signs of some damage. Dr. Nick indicated that the damage was probably caused by some sort of infection that Smudge was able to fight off but not before it ravaged his kidneys. He took a urine culture to see if this was still an issue.

Smudge also has an enlarged ureter on his right kidney that was probably caused by a small urolith (kidney stone) that is partially blocking the ureter. Dr. Nick said he was not sure if the urolith caused the infection or if the infection caused the urolith. Unfortunately, the only way to remove a urolith in cat where I live is surgery. I wait to hear when that will have to be done.

I know none of this sounds very good, but there was nothing there that shouldn't be there. This means the problems were not cancer-related, which was my greatest fear. Besides his kidneys, all the rest of Smudge's insides looked normal.

PS: In case anyyone is interested, Smudge has now officially cost me more than my first car.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Friday Catblogging

Bella is almost as exhausted as her dad and mom are from the stress of Smudge's V-E-T visit. Thankfully, the weekend is here and the entire family can take a bit of a breather.

Smudge goes in for an ultrsound on Tuesday to get a better idea of what is happening with his kidneys. But we aren't going to think about that this weekend.

Dolce wants effurrbody to know that Dad wrote about Smudge for Skeezik's new contest: Tales of Devoshun.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Smudge is home!

Although I didn't get to talk very much to Dr. Nick when I picked Smudge today, he did let me know that Smudge's last bloodwork came back all within normal levels.

We now have to get him a the low-protein diet especially for cats with kidney problems. There is a small wrinkle in that plan as Dolce and Bella will eat any soft food left lying around. We might have to start locking Smudge up so he can eat in peace.

The main thing is that he is home. He jumped up on my lap as soon as I sat down and started purring. He even went out into the garage with his sister for some 'sploring as Dolce likes to say.

Dr. Nick is going to phone us later tonight to arrange the sub-cutaneous fluid treatments. We will probably have to have him do it until my wife and I can strengthen ourselves to do it without Dr. Nick's help.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Tummy Tuesday

Last night was the first night in a long time that Smudge was not sleeping on the bed. Even when I travelled for work and was away, Smudge would tell my wife when it was time to go to bed. We are going to the V-E-T today to visit Smudge. Dr. Nick said that we could come by and check up on our little boy.

Thinking about Smudge makes me sad, so I need to focus on something that still brings me joy: Magoo's fluffy tummy.

When we got Magoo, we thought about calling him Gund or Bear because he was such a fluffy little kitten. We think less about Gund nowadays, but the nickname Bear still pops it head every once and a while. He gets called many things, some of which I won't type in this blog. He's been referred to as Magoofur, Gooby, MagooBear, and Goofur. Of course, my Dad stills calls him "That Psycho Cat".

At a fighting weight of 14.5lbs, he is one tank of a cat. In the bottom picture, you need to understand that those boards are six inches wide.


We went and saw our little boy. He was looking pretty scared, but then who could blame him. He hasn't eaten anything since yesterday. I chalk that up to his fear. We won't know anything definitive until they do the bloodwork tomorrow. Smudge was glad to see us after a bit of coaxing and chin skritches. He looked bright eyed and alert which was nice to see.


Dr. Nick phoned and let us know the results of Smudge's bloodwork. Smudge's BUN is now 13 (normal is 3.6 to 10.7) down from 38.4 and his creatine is now 149 (normal is 27 to 186) down from 563. So we are very happy that this episode is almost over. Dr. Nick says that they are planning to send him home tomorrow afternoon after one more set of tests to make sure that his levels are dropping. After this, we will have to learn the proper regime to keep him stabilized. All Smudge needed was a good V-E-T, a lot of love and many purrayers.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Midnight Monday

Smudge knows something and he's not telling his Dad.

I had the consultation with Dr. Nick on Friday and he took me through Smudge's lab work and explained what was probably going on with Smudge's kidneys. For those who have gone through this before and have some idea what the numbers mean, Smudge's BUN level was 38.4 and creatine level was 563.

So we decided that Smudge would need to go into the V-E-T for 48 hour IV fluids to see if his kidneys would respond and bring his blood levels back down. Also, Dr. Nick wants to perform an ultrasound on the kidneys to make sure that there is nothing else going on.

This morning Smudge was taken to the V-E-T for a couple of days of IV Fluids. It was a very hard thing for me to do. But my reaction is not what I wanted to share with you.

Smudge knows.

He knows how sick he is.

As I was getting out of the shower to get ready to take him to the V-E-T, I noticed him sitting on the bathroom floor, his paws perfectly together, and his tail wrapped around the front of his body. This in itself is normal as Smudge has perfect posture and grace. But he had his head bowed down and his eyes closed. If I did not know better, I would have sworn he was praying.

What he was praying for, I will never know. Was it to get better? Was it for his sister Dolce to stop cannonballing him off the bed? Or was it for God to give his humans strength if he had to say goodbye? All I could think was that I was praying for the exact same things.