This post is the 1000th entry on Y Ceffyl Du. It’s only taken seven years to get here. I’ve blogged the tales and tribulations of four cats, five horses, and major events in my life. Here’s to Isis, Basette, Stella, and Ambush, who have passed and are missed. Their antics and memories are chronicled here.
Here’s to Rajiyyah, Logan, Kasane, and Prize, two still in my life and two with other people who love them dearly. And Kiesha, the only furrball left of the original four.
It’s amazing to think that I’ve stuck with this blog enough time to last seven years and 1000 posts.
The first blog post on Ceffyl.net was on April 11, 2004. At that time, I had two horses (Isis and Logan) and four cats (Basette, Ambush, Stella, and Kiesha). Seven years later, I have only one kitty and three horses.
I started this blog as an outlet for dealing with the medical issues my cats and horse had. Basette, my sweet little black cat, was a diabetic who never responded to insulin treatment. She was a courageous loving cat who never complained even as the diabetes stole her eye sight, coordination, and eventually dulled her mind. A few years later, my same vet who struggled with finding a treatment Basette would respond to, diagnosed Ambush with diabetes. My yin-yang cases: the black cat whose diabetes was never controlled and the white cat who immediately responded to treatment and lived several years after the initial diagnosis. Ambush died just over a year ago from complications from the diabetes.
The two constant characters on this blog have been Isis and Stella. Isis turned 18 this past March. She has survived medical conditions that have killed other horses: laminitis, EPM, and colic. She has been the Miracle Mare (and may she remain so). Dear little Stella passed away this past December, after a long life of 21 years. She died from old age and was playful and happy up until the last day or so she was alive.
Kiesha is the only kitty still with me. At 14, she was the youngster. She has thyroid problems but it is relatively easily controlled. She has turned into an aggressive cuddle-cat and does her best to make demands equivalent to having four cats in the house.
Seven years and almost 1000 posts on this blog. Most of them written to catalog what happened with the horses and the cats, as a way of helping me preserve my own sanity. I’ve also used the blog to share details and pictures to my vets. I also hope that some of the topics I’ve written about will help others learn from what happened to my animals.
I also have a few techy-geeky posts, Open Office procedures, and archaeology-related posts. I have gotten a few thank-yous for my Open Office procedure. Every time, these posts make my day.
Thank you for sharing this continuing journey with me.
I saw the picture and had to smile. Ambush was a silly kitty who had a plastic fetish and played fetch with rubber bands. He used to climb onto my dresser to pull all of the hair bands out so he could play with them. He had figured out how to hold one of the the hair band with a claw, pull the band with his teeth, and shoot it down the hallway. Self-entertaining kitty.
During the night, I would often hear his tongue rasping over plastic — the plastic book case leg, plastic bags, anything that made a satisfying crinkling noise. One time I came home, and he had pulled all of the plastic bags out of their container and was sitting contentedly in the middle of his new plastic-shrewn domain.
I picked up Ambush’s ashes today: a little white box in a purple velvet bag that says “Until we meet again at the rainbow bridge.” My poor little buddy.
I held it together until the person at the clinic handed me the bag with Ambush’s ashes. I’ve cried almost every time I’ve seen something that reminds me of Ambush. Places where he used to sleep. Clothes coming out of the dryer still covered in his hair. His favorite toys scattered around the house. His box of ashes was small: tiny compared to his once 18-pound marshmallow form. The tininess of the box seemed symbolic of how much weight he had lost (9 pounds) and how, in the space of a few weeks, he had become a shell of his former self.
After you lose a pet, you catch glimpses of them in places where they used to sleep, where they used to eat, where you used to trip over them. I’ve caught glimpses of Ambush’s shadow in the kitchen sleeping on his back and on the bed in the morning. Stella and Kiesha are still wandering around at night meowing, but not as much. They seem to be adapting.
A friend asked me if I had brought Ambush’s body home to show the other kitties so they would understand that he had passed. No, I had not. It was everything I could do to stay with him as he was euthanized. I couldn’t bear the thought of bringing his body home to an apartment and then taking his body back. It was so hard to make the decision to put him down and spend those last moments with him. It’s been almost two weeks since he died and I can only just now look at his pictures without crying. (Writing this has me in tears.)
His ashes are up on the cabinet so he can watch everything going on. He’s there with Basette’s ashes. My poor two kitties who died from diabetes. (This blog was started in part to tell Basette’s and Isis’ stories.)
So Ambush is home and will stay with me in his little bag until I buy a permanent home, some place with a garden worthy of my two lost kitties.
Stella is in my lap meowing at me and pushing her face against my fingers as I try to type. There is a lightning storm outside: steady, constant rain punctuated by bursts of thunder. Fitting. Ambush would have been sleeping under my desk during a lightning storm. He never did like the noise.
It’s only been a few days since Ambush past and the kitties seem to be adjusting. Kiesha periodically walks around the house yowling. When she’s called, she meows lightly and trots in for pettings. Stella has also yowled a little, but, being mostly deaf, she doesn’t hear it when I call her. Instead I find her, and she does her little “purr-ip” and trots up to me.
After Saturday, the kitties started doing something odd: they wouldn’t eat the food they shared with Ambush. Even fresh Innova Evo from the bag was untouched. The wet food flavor the kitties have eaten for the past 8 months stays in the bowl all day. Stella and Kiesha are eating the new salmon flavor Innova Evo samples I brought home. They ate all of the different flavors of wet cat food I had for Stella. But none of the flavors they ate when Ambush was here.
All of the kitty beds are washed. Both kitties have stood on the beds, sniffed them, and curled up in other locations.
The odd thing is that Stella has been eating more wet food so she looks like she has gained weight. Her fur looks a little rough, so she’ll go back for fluids this week.
They both seem to be adapting to one less kitty in the house. She and Kiesha have been playing every night: galloping through the apartment like a miniature herd of elephants.
One of the things I loved about Ambush were his antics. He had to explore every where: not to necessarily get out but to just see what was on the other side.
In August 2009, Ambush decided that he was going to go on a walkabout. I had had dinner with a friend, got home kinda late, and took a shower before going to bed. It must have been about 1:00 AM or so. Just as I was about to get into bed, none of the kitties were in my room. Most nights, as soon as I walk into the bedroom the kitties are on the bed ready to cuddle. I could hear the cricket noises from outside even though all of the windows were closed.
I walked into the living room and found the front door open! Yikes! As I moved towards the front door, I checked each room. I’ve watched too many B movies to just open the door or close it without checking. My purse and computer equipment were still here. All of the kitties were out on the landing, lead by Stella (the fearless one) who was standing on the stairs. Ambush and Kiesha weren’t far away from the door. They all looked very guilty and came in as soon as they saw me.
I checked the apartment for intruders again and locked the door. I must not have closed it completely and Ambush opened it while I was in the shower. Talk about an adrenaline rush. I was up for another hour and half after that watching TV until my nerves calmed down.
It’s funny now, imagining him prying open the door and then Stella marching out like she owned everything. He always wanted to see what was out there. Seeing was usually enough. He would watch the snow fall on the porch but wouldn’t venture out into it.
He had one experience with snow. He was maybe three or four and we had the first snow with a few inches. He sat next to the glass sliding doors watching the snow flakes come down. He looked rather miffed when the door was opened and the cold air hit him. He was gently picked up and plopped in the middle of the snow. His tail puffed completely out and he shot back inside, shaking his paws while running full tilt.
He used to get on my dresser and pull out all of the hair bands so he could chase them around the house. When he was a kitten he chased balls made out of crumpled aluminum foil. Toss it down the hall, and he would carry it back in his mouth. As he got older, he only carried about half way back, and then something else would grab his attention. He would drop the ball and trot off after something else.
Probably the funniest thing about him was that he loved to have his belly rubbed. Push him lightly on his back and he would flop onto the ground. Rub his belly and scratch between his front paws and he would kneed the air with his paws. (He also let me clip his claws when he was on his back like that.)
Ambush’s diabetes has gone into ketosis (very bad stuff for a diabetic). His glucose level was over 700 (off of the scale). It impacted how his kidneys function. Even if aggressive treatment was started, there was no telling if he would survive and what quality of life he might have. Best case scenario would have put him with a lot of trips to the vet to be constantly monitoring his blood glucose levels. I just couldn’t put him through it.
So here is to Ambush, the White Wonder Cat. My constant companion for 16 years. He will be fondly remembered and sorely missed. I sorted through my photos and found a few of him.
This is one of the last pictures of Ambush I took of Ambush on Saturday. He sat on my lap when I said good bye and purred. Soft, gentle purr, not his full-throated hear-him-from-the-next-room rumble like he did at home. He was ready to go.
This was Bush a few years ago, in his favorite place to hide: the hamper. He was exactly as bit as the opening for it so he could watch everyone else. Notice the closet door is open. Ambush was notorious for opening any door that was closed, particularly bifold closet doors. He knew how to scratch in the middle of the door and then push his nose in to the opening at the edge of the door. He opened cabinets, doors with door knobs. Anything that was hidden he wanted to explore.
Ambush had a plastic fetish. I came home one evening and found him surrounded by the plastic bags he had pulled out. (Click the thumbnail for a larger image.)
Ambush was part dog, really. He would sleep on his back and periodically played fetch. His favourite thing was to chase rubber bands or hair doobies. He was self entertaining: he would hold one end of the rubber band in one paw, grasp the other end in his mouth, shoot it, and chase it. Hours of fun for the whole family.
I will write more about his escapades later, when I’ve stopped crying.
I got home from the Horsemasters meeting about 10:30 last night and fed the kitties. Ambush didn’t eat much when I gave him his shot. About 20 minutes later, he threw up twice. He drank a lot of water and then refused food. I rubbed honey on his gums and stayed up to keep an eye on him. He wandered into the closet and fell asleep.
He seemed okay, until I was getting ready to go to bed. I called to him and he stood up to walk towards me — and was wobbly in his rear end and uncoordinated. He again refused his wet food so I opened a can of tuna and gave him a little. He ate it quickly and completely.
This morning he decided he didn’t want to eat his regular wet food. I opened another can of seafood cat food (Stella’s stuff) and he’s eating it like it’s going out of town. I’m being careful to not give him so much that he’ll inhale it and then throw it back up.
It’s never been hard to get Ambush to eat. If he has the same kidney issues that Stella does, then it can impact their sense of taste.
Looks like Ambush could be going back to the vet tonight…
Update 1: I spoke the vet today about Ambush. We are going to have me keep a very close eye on him. I will also be gettingmore of the wet food he ate last night. The vet wants me to try and get him back on his usual food and reduce his insulin to 1 unit over the weekend. She said there wasn’t much they could do for Ambush that I couldn’t do from home at this point (unless he gets worse).
Update 2: Ambush seemed okay when I got home tonight. I’ve fed him some wet food and he ate most of it (all of the stuff that wasn’t his regular wet food). Hopefully he’ll continue to improve.
All of the kitties are going to the vet tomorrow morning. Ambush and Stella are having fluids. Kiesha is going to be tested to see if she has a UTI like the other two, and if so, she will needs meds.
The farrier is also coming out tomorrow morning for Isis and Kasane. He’ll check Prize’s feet to find the best way to get her on the same schedule as the other girls. (Her feet look great.) Chris at the barn is going to keep an eye on the girls and let me know how they are for the farrier.
After finishing with the kitties, I’m going to head to the barn and spend the day with the girls. It’s supposed to be really pretty. I can’t wait!
Vet called me back with the results of Ambush’s blood panel. He is showing early stages of kidney problems and needs to start getting fluids like Stella. He only needs them once per week instead of twice per week.
He dropped three pounds since August. That is a lot of weight. 🙁
I may be asked to start doing blood glucose levels on him at home my pricking his ear. Will find out more on Saturday.
Stella and Ambush had lots of quality time with the vets today. Stella got fluids and a urine test. Ambush had a urine test, spot glucose test, and blood pulled for a blood panel. The vet did preliminary urine analysis on both kitties and they both came back with UTIs.
Ambush and Stella both got antibioitics injected. Stella is very difficult to give pills to and any liquid antibiotics cause her to froth at the mouth. Ambush gets the runs from clavamox pills. Kiesha gets to go in on Saturday morning to see if she also has a UTI. Chances are she does. Last June, all three of the kitties came up with UTIs.
The vet said something interesting. Apparently when a set of kitties are well bonded and one of them gets sick, the other kitties can pick upon this and the walls of their bladders can become inflamed. Not sure if it’s a stress hormone release or what.
Stella is curled up on my lap right now, purring. Kiesha is at my feet. Ambush is some where.
I went to take a nap and Stella curled up next to me under the covers. She jumped back out from the covers, went underneath, and came back out. She couldn’t settle in one place. She kept on stopping and then meowing almost like a bark. I put her in the bathroom with food. I’m going to take her to the vet first thing in the morning. She curled up in the cat bed in the bathroom and didn’t protest when I closed the door.
Ambush is also going to go to the vet tomorrow. He needs to have his blood glucose levels checked. He’s lost weight over the past two weeks or so and his coat isn’t looking well. I’m wondering if maybe all of the kitties have UTIs again like they did last June.
I have been very lucky for the past few months. While Isis has been having trouble this year, the kitties have been healthy this fall and winter. Stella has been doing very well, even though I have not been good about getting to the vet for her fluids. Ambush still seems to be doing well on his low insulin dose and steady diet. (He is using the litter a lot — I’m going through 18 pounds of litter in about 10 days).
Kiesha has been playing with Stella every night. Both of them canter through the house and play tag. Tonight Stella played with a piece of paper on the carpet: tossed it up in the air, caught it, skittered after it across the bamboo carpet. Yup, she’s 20 going on 3.
I have the kitty beds around the desk now: Ambush on the floor to my right, square bed on the boxes to my left, and the special heated (water proof in case Stella leaks) bed on the floor near the plug. Keisha is on the square bed and Stella is on the heated bed. Ambush’s paws are twitching right now. Cute.
I’m going to Mom’s for Christmas and bringing Ambush with me. He is usually good about the drive up and doesn’t get too stressed. I’m leaving Stella and Kiesha behind in the care of my sister. Stella gets stressed when I’m not here and doesn’t eat, so I can’t be gone too long. Poor kitten. She never does well, but it would be much harder on her traveling to Mom’s and dealing with being stuck in a room with Ambush and smelling dogs that she doesn’t know.
Kiesha had a urinary tract infection. She has been on Clavamox (antibiotic) for a few days and is not doing well on them. She keeps throwing up. Poor kitty. She’s being switched to an injectable antibiotic. Hopefully this time it will help…
Ambush and Stella both seem to be doing better. Their UTIs have passed and they are romping around the house as usual.
Now that the kitties are all on their way to being healthy, it’s now hairball season. I love squishy presents in the morning!