Socksie, Sweet Sweet Socksie <3

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As I type this, my 19 1/2 year old cat is sleeping on my pillow, just as she does most every night. This is her last night on my pillow and my healing heart is shattering into a million tiny pieces again. It’s only been 7 weeks since we lost Matisse and it all just feels too soon.

Socks came into my life in October of 1997. I’d just started college and wanted to get a cat. I was living in my own space and could finally get a pet of my own. I had a rabbit at this point, but I wanted something a little more “train-able” and snuggleable. Rabbits are great pets, they’re just not a cat nor a dog. I’d loved cats for years. My best friend growing up always had a lot of cats in her home. I also cat-sat for one of the neighbours, but never a cat of my own. I wanted a tuxedo cat, and I wanted to name her Socks. My mom found me one for adoption at Super Pet in Brampton. I went that weekend to meet her when Steve and I went to visit his parents for the weekend from the city. The humane society thought she was only 1 or 2, and she was found abandoned with a litter of kittens. They had no problems adopting out her kittens, but she was a tougher sell. Though all the staff said she was their favourite of all the kitties in there. I wasn’t sure about her in that little adoption room. She was older than I wanted, and she didn’t seem overly playful, but Steve assured me it was probably a good choice given our small apartment, and with never having a cat before a kitten might prove too challenging for a first cat. I adopted her on the spot. We made a brief stop at Steve’s parents before going back to our apartment in the city. Once I let her out of the carrier in the city she began to prance knead and purr all over the apartment. Steve called her a purr factory. I just thought she was purrfect. And she does have the most amazing purr. It was like she knew she was in a good home, and she was happy. That made my heart happy.

We bonded very quickly. Steve taught her to let me sleep in. I taught her how awesome it was to share my cereal milk with her. She’d usually sit patiently in front of me until I was done my cereal and happily lap at my milk, other times she’d get impatient and dive in while I was still eating. During that time she also became a total nip-head. One night I forgot to secure the baggie of nip and she found it… so much so that she passed out on top of her scratching post and fell off it when she woke up. Party animal. I so wanted her to love me that I gave her too many Pounce that it stopped being a treat for her and she lost interest in treats for a while. We discovered early on that she had likely been abused by a male. This poor girl just had such a rough start to life. I was committed to giving her the best life possible, in a house full of love, warmth, affection. I’ve said it many times, rescue is a promise not a verb.

After our Toronto apartment, she joined us for a few months at Steve’s parents house while we looked for our next space. It was there we discovered she was very allergic to vaccines and nearly lost her. We then rented a home in Inglewood, and soon added a dog. Socks and the rabbit were great friends, and I have some old pictures of them drinking from the Christmas tree water together. Socks didn’t love the dog. Then we bought our first house in Brampton, took Socks and the dog (the rabbit had passed about a year before we moved) and 2 months later added our beloved Matisse.

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Such a pretty, sweet girl. Socks is the most mild mannered, sweet, affectionate kitty. She’s a momma’s girl. She’s had her share of health problems through the years – she needed dental surgery ~12 years ago, she continued to be deathly allergic to vaccines, she also had a brief chronic condition that saw her at the vets frequently for a very unpleasant procedure and never once did she complain, growl, hiss, scratch or bite. My sweetheart. We have been inseparable. We spend every night snuggled up together on the couch, and she spends most nights on my pillow like I already mentioned.

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Before moving to Brantford, our old vets told us she had the beginnings of renal failure and to switch her diet to senior food. After moving to Brantford and getting to know the Charing Cross Cat Clinic, they wanted to do more dental surgery on her and did another blood workup on her pre-surgery. They found her to have advanced renal failure and wanted to put her on a med that would slow the progression of the disease. We tried it for a good month but it was making her very anti-social and distrustful of us and we saw it was taking away from her quality of life. My very social cat became very reclusive. I made the decision that I wanted her quality of life more than her quantity of life and we stopped the meds. Her disease has progressed subtly over the last 5 years with a very slow decline. But she’s also 19, so there’s also a reasonable expectation of aging.

The week after Matissey died she thrived. Her appetite was almost ravenous, she put on some weight, she was looking fabulous. Unfortunately that didn’t last and the last 3 weeks have brought a very fast decline. She has lost tremendous amounts of weight, she’s not eating much, she’s not drinking much, she’s listless and weak. I had truly hoped she could hold on another 2-3 weeks, but it’s not to be. She’s suffering, and my heart can’t bear to see her suffer. Steve always said I’d know when the time was right, and late Monday evening/early Tuesday morning I just knew.

When we added Tiffany and Bella I thought it was good to add 2 together at the same time so I wouldn’t be looking for another kitty after Socks died, I just didn’t think it would be this soon.

In the greatest act of selfless love for my dear sweet Socks (Socksinator, Socksie, and every other nickname we have for her), she will make one last trip to the vet tonight. It will destroy me, but its in her best interest, and I’ve always acted in her best interest. I’ve slept all of 3 hours since I knew it was time because I don’t want to miss out on these last seconds with her. I am once again heartbroken and devastated. We’ve had such a symbiotic relationship over the last 17 years. We have such a deep unique bond. It might have been most evident the night we lost Matisse and I woke up sobbing with overwhelming grief, and she put her paw on my hand and started to purr. She gets me. And I get her. It has been an absolute treat to give her the most loving, warm, happy life; especially given her rough beginnings. I have loved every single second with my sweet girl. I love her striking white whiskers. I love how her paw curls around my finger to hold it. I loved singing “If you’re happy and you know it say meow” with her, and she’d always meow at the right parts. I love that she is an absolute chatterbox and wish I was more fluent in meow. I even love and will miss her incessant “lick licks” she gives to show affection. I love her, so very much. And she knows.

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By this time tomorrow she will be reunited with Pendon the rabbit, Jade the dog and her dear friend Matisse. I hope in her heaven there are mice for her to catch, that there are fires to warm herself by, that there is endless nip and treats, that she always has a ray of sunlight to sleep in. I hope she finds Amber because she so loved kitties, and she needs to tell Amber how much she’s missed here on earth. I hope she finds Steve’s dad who totally loved her, even if he always called her Boots not Socks. She may find the extended family dogs of Winston and Clancy and Sam. Maybe even she’ll find my friend Susan’s beloved Buddy and Aruba, even though she wasn’t much of a dog lover. I hope she finds sweet Matissey and gives her a proper goodbye from us and lets her know how much we miss her. Most of all I hope she has the happiest of memories of her time here on earth with her family who loved her so so much and that she never forgets me; as she will forever be in my heart and thoughts.

Sweet dreams my best friend. Sweet dreams.

And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

 

~ forever Socksie’s Mom

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Matisse

I figured I’d blog this since not everyone is a Facebook friend, and it’s part of what has kept me a bit on my toes lately.

Many of you will know I’m a furmomma to 2 amazing kitties. I’ve shared my stories about Socks, my 19 year old tuxedo cat, here. However, I haven’t shared much about Matisse. Matisse is my 12 year old feisty torbie. She’s got the most beautiful markings I’ve ever seen in a cat. We adopted her 12 years ago at 8 weeks old and she immediately stole our hearts. Her first moments in the house involved a fight with the “furry dumb blonde” Chow who just wanted to be her friend, and she wanted no part of that. Tortitude.  She loves to play fetch with anything projectile, she loves to snuggle and drool when she’s happy, she has an unending appetite (to the point where I had to have baby locks on the cupboards because she’d rifle them for carbs every night), she’s terrified of strangers and the doorbell, thunderstorms and fireworks. She loves to burrow under the duvet for her naps. Most of all, she loves her “Big Guy”. She’s very much Steve’s cat and I am but second fiddle. She used to mewl about the house after he left for work in the mornings.

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Matisse has been seemingly invincible, until a week and a half ago. When she was young she was mis-diagnosed by a vet as having FIP (feline infectious peritonitis), and the vet refused to spay her and sent her home with a very cold “enjoy her while you can”. Five years ago, when we moved to Brantford, we found an amazing cat clinic and got the “enjoy her while you can” cat reassessed. She was showing no signs of FIP and we went ahead and finally had her spayed. Unfortunately, because she was spayed at such a late age, her risk of feline mammary cancer increased exponentially.  About a year ago we found a mass on her abdomen that has slowly been growing. We knew the prognosis for feline mammary cancer is generally very poor and we wanted to spare her the trauma of the surgery, and us the expense for something with such a futile outcome. So, we opted to keep her home until she started to show signs of pain or deterioration. A week and a half ago she came to bed for snuggles like she normally does and her mass felt different. I turned on the light to find that it had ruptured. She went to the vet that week and we discussed our options.

While cancer is awful, our amazing vet, Dr. Kelly St.Denis, mentioned that Matisse may be a candidate for a new clinical trial going on at the Ontario Veterinary College.  This clinical trial is very much in it’s infancy, but completely fascinating and showing some positive results. And, what’s even more exciting to me is the potential future application towards human breast cancer. Today Matisse met with the study oncologist, had a biopsy and got her first vaccine to start in the trial, and will have her mass removed in 2 weeks. The goal right now is to buy us some time with our wee girl, and buy her a better quantity and quality of life. She’s on pain meds for now, which is going well if I hide it in her food. She hasn’t lost her energy, her spunk, nor her insatiable appetite. Me, I’m crying the happiest tears that she was deemed a candidate for the trial because that gives us a small glimmer of hope.  And the science geek in me is chuffed that my kitty, yes my kitty, is a part of such groundbreaking and potentially revolutionary research and care. Keep fighting little ’tissey! The Rainbow Bridge isn’t ready for you yet!