Thursday, December 9, 2010

Friday, November 12, 2010

Hallee & the CheeseChase

This is Hallee. She is still a temporary guest, but as you can see she is quite comfortable and has made herself at home.
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Two Many Kitties

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Been a while since I posted, so let me get you up to date. 

On Halloween Night, two bonus Trick o' Treaters, dressed as felines, came to our door.  We took them in and posted signs looking for their owners.  The grey boy, nicknamed "Kasey", had a home and was claimed immediately... the little tabby girl with white feet, nicknamed "Hallee", is still with us.  (FYI: HALLEE is HALLOWEEN without an OWN-er)

So, I got up this morning, and Hallee was awake in the Living Room.  Bailey was watching over her from "his" red chair.  He seems to be very fascinated by her.  But what's this...  also FluffySox and Sharkbait are found on our porch...   seems only Sidney is doing his own thing.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Jason Mraz & Elmo on the BaileyBlog

Jason Mraz's awesome song "I'm Yours" is one of my favorites, and I certainly didn't think it could be improved upon.  I was wrong.

Jason sang his song on Sesame Street, and before long he is joined by Elmo.  Pure Sesame Street brilliance!  Add to the mix Baby Bear, Abby Cadabby, Big Bird and others and how can you not just LOVE this song!?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

On the Cat Walk

I know this is probably too soon to post, in that I have failed to post for over 2 months, and now, in just a few days since my last post I feel compelled to post a second item, but seriously, this is just too cool.

For me, personally, shoes do not titillate me in any manor whatsoever.  I acknowledge women's fascination with shoes, yes, but I wear my basic tennis shoes until the soles wear thin with no worries.

THAT BEING SAID, a friend of mine re-posted this image on FB, of the absolute coolest shoe I have ever seen.  Now, I certainly don't envy women...  as they gotta wear those damn high heels, yada, yada, yada... but this IS reallty cool.  Don't ya think?

Who wants to walk the Cat Walk in a pair of these for me? ...on the Cat Walk, and do a little turn on the Cat Walk...

Friday, August 6, 2010

SimbaSpot Inspiration

Okay, I admit it has been far too long since I have posted on here.  I apologize and ask you to forgive me.  Pleeeeeease!

That being said, let me get you up to date.  Fortunately, we have not had any dying pets (nor know of anyone who has) which sadly had been the focus of this blog for far too long.  Instead, animal art (especially, cat art) has inspired me for the last few months.  You recall my last post which announced  Simba, Bailey and Kira & Sidney have inspired me to create graphics large and small.  I have my own animal menagerie now.

Late June I created (nearly-)lifesize 2D animals, creating a "Jungle Safari" for a bicycle event here in Portland.  I "hid" 20 animals in neighbor's yards and challenged kids (and some adults) to seek and find these hidden animals.  I intended for the younger set to find many, but not all, so that I could really challenge the older crowd with a few "very well hidden" creatures.  I was very pleased, that no matter the age, every last kid sought to find each and every hidden creature.  My favorite kid was the one who wanted his picture taken with Bailey & Sidney, who were easily located on our front steps--the kid loved the fact that B & S were wearing ties around their necks.

After Jungle Safari was over, I felt compelled to utilize my 2D cats wearing ties, and embarked on a new adventure during July (and still ongoing) in which I take my 2D Bailey, now christened "Bailey FlatCat", and photograph him where ever he ends up tagging along to.  During July, we visited many Portland landmarks with Bailey FlatCat, including a couple visits to the Oregon Zoo.

Photos from both the Jungle Safari and the adventures of Bailey FlatCat can be found on

My next direction, aside from shirts of my critters, is perhaps some more formal art-like endeavours...  what do ya think?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

BaileyBlog at SimbaSpot has inspired SimbaSpot spinoffs

Meet the new Simba.

BaileyBlog... located at has inspired a future website:   

And a future Twitter account:  @SimbaSpot

Why, oh why? you ask (especially concerning a Twitter account)

The reason is pretty simple actually.  You see, Simba has inspired me to do a great many things in life, even though he is no longer with me every day.  This blog, now 2 1/2 years old, for one and many of my best design projects (both interior design and graphic design) are great examples of his inspiration.  My latest project, a kids activity for a city event, also has Simba written all over it--two dozen animal cutouts (made entirely by me) that highlight my creativity, but this time Simba and I are taking it public, beyond Portland.

Introducing SimbaSpot

Be sure to visit my graphics shop at Zazzle, and if you like what you see please make a purchase--- I receive royalties and referral fees for my work, so you really would be supporting me if you like what you see and make a purchase.

Oh, and don't forget... coming soon: and @simbaspot on twitter.

 One final shameless promotion

Monday, May 31, 2010

News: Keep abreast of all your cat's riveting daily activities using Sony's prototype lifelogging collar.

Photo of fake cat wearing experimental Twitter collar.

(Credit: Tech-On)

Sony's Computer Science Laboratory has seen the future of location-aware lifelogging, and it's probably curled up on your couch.

During an Open House on May 28, the SCSL team showed off a prototype cat collar called Cat@Log, equipped with a still camera, GPS, accelerometer, and Bluetooth, capable of reporting your four-legged friend's minute-by-minute activities over Twitter. The end result plays like a mashup of Crave favorites: the kitty cam and the Twitter cow.

Now, I know what you're thinking. Where are the lasers? We can only pray Sony will add both laser and 3G compatibility before the product hits store shelves.

Obvious disappointments aside, Sony's team of engineers has figured out how to associate your cat's activities with preset Twitter-ready phrases. Currently, the device is capable of communicating 11 phrases based around movement (jumping, walking, running, sleeping, etc.), as well as facial gestures. In time, the engineers hope to expand the device's vocabulary, giving Twitter squirrel some worthy competition.

Thankfully, this is only a concept model. Should a consumer version ever materialize, it's only a matter of time before our new cat overlords turn the devices against us.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

A BIG Thank You

My Very Special THANK YOU to:
Sue & her kittehs
Mike & the Boys
Megan & Audrey Grace
John, Dan, Rupert & Digby
Steve & Samantha
My kitteh cousins
David & Odie 
These are my friends, kitteh friends & goggie friends who donated to the Oregon Humane Society in the memory of Kira.  On a personal level, it meant the world to me that these people were kind enough to support my request and I am very grateful for their support.  We raised a total of $305 in Kira's name.  Once again, Thank You.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Look at the Birdie!

Last week I was surfing the web when Sidney started "chirping" at the window.
So, I got up to see why he was chirping... it was a birdie sitting right outside the window, a mere 18" away.
Before I knew it, Sidney's message was intercepted by Bailey, who immediately rushed to the window to investigate.
They then began to plot and scheme to "get the birdie"... however, the window remained an obstacle in their quest.
Those are my boys... keeping the house safe from birdgulars.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Moving Forward

"What did you do with your kittys as you sent them up to heaven?? Did you cremate them or bury them?? I've had plenty of cats die before, but that was when i lived at home and my parents dealt with it. It was also different than it is now."
 I already forgot what a big deal this is.  Growing up, "my dog" Max was my first pet in which I had any real responsibility-- and even so, looking back, I don't really think I can claim being truly responsible.  After I moved out of my parents home, Max stayed behind, but he always barked in excitement as I parked on the street for a visit.  But I was 1000 miles away when I got the news that he was gone.

My first cat, Biff, fit in the palm of my hand when I found him and brought him home.  He was only nine months old when he disappeared.  We suspected neighborly foul play, and a few days later, my sister found him deceased in the crawl space under the house, directly beneath my bed.  I was saddened, and opted not to deal with the grief and morbidity of the situation.

So I understand that it truly IS different now.  My experience with losing, grieving, and moving forward with Simba and with Kira are two very different experiences.

* * * * *

Simba's passing happened quickly and unexpectedly.  We had missed seeing the signs of his illness.  At midnight on a Friday, we took him to the hospital, where he spent the next 48 hours, and it was at that time we learned that his time was near.  We took him home, thinking we still had days or weeks, but after 6 final hours at home, we returned with him to the hospital.  We had to say goodbye, decide what to do with him, fork over money, and leave the hospital without him-- and I was kinda in shock through the entire experience.

As I recall, in my shocked state, we were given a few options, at different financial levels: Say goodbye and be done with it; bury at a pet cemetery; or cremate and bring home his ashes.  We chose cremation, paid the hospital, and never saw his furry body again after he was carried out of the exam room.  Fortunately, I had had the foresight to clip some hair before we brought him in.  Four days later, I dropped everything to go pick him up at a place I had never been to before, once I got the call that it was time.  I really wanted to have him come home.  It ended as a favorable experience, but I felt I had very little control over what happened.

His ashes were in a small cedar box.  I collected every photo I had of him into one location and framed some of my favorites.  I filled an empty box with his toys, medicines, and other Simba related memorabilia.
I decided I wanted to create one place in my home that was Simba's place where I would display the clock that ticked away his final hours with me and my favorite photos of him.  In the center is the cedar box that contains his ashes.
The cedar box containing his ashes, a candle we lit the week he passed, my wooden Siamese, St. Gertrude (patron saint of cats), his cremation records, his fur clipping, and one of his toys (as well as my only photo of Biff)

* * * * *

Kira, on the other hand, was an entirely different experience.  We had plenty of time to prepare mentally, plenty of time to photograph and video her, we had a reference on which to act, and we had a relationship with her veterinary team.

We were given an option; a stranger could come to our home to take care of the event or we could bring her into her vet's office.  We knew we wanted her vet, Dr. Tobin, to handle this for us, so we went into the office.  They gave us all the time wanted with her, before and after.  They tied a ceramic heart around her paw, which remained with her through the cremation, and we retained the companion piece.  They offered to clip hair for us.  We were given the option of taking her to the cremation service ourselves or they would do it for us.

We were unsure if we wanted to transport her body or not.  We visited the crematorium a couple days beforehand and concluded we thought we would prefer to do it ourselves, although we had reservations.  I was very happy we chose to do it ourselves for a few reasons.  One: we didn't leave the vet office without her.  Two: the vet team prepared her body so peacefully, wrapping her up in her own blanket-- it was calming to see her like that.  Three: we got to be the ones to select what our final remembrances would be.  You only get one chance to make these decisions.

We selected a redwood box for Kira's ashes, to compliment the Simba's cedar box.  We were also able to have her paws cast in plaster and opted to get a green pendent (which matched her green eyes) that contained some of her ashes.  
We have yet to assemble a set of photographs to frame, as we literally have hundreds to go through.  For now, we have her bed filled with her life.  Candles, fur, toys, cards, and her redwood box.
Kira's pink leash, a candle we burned in her honor, her fur clippings, condolence card from her vet staff, paw prints in plaster, pendent containing her ashes, ceramic heart, and the redwood box containing her ashes (and ceramic heart center)

* * * * *

Two other experiences worth sharing, that are not my own, include things to consider during and after.  During the experience with the vet, be sure you needs are being met.  I posted a few weeks back about my friend John, and the passing of his dog Digby.  When he shared his story with me, one of the most poignant moments I recall, was how after he said his goodbyes, he didn't want to walk out of the room and leave with a last memory of her still laying on the cold floor.  Digby was not a small dog, but he asked if someone could come in and carry out while he was still there.  I thought this was brilliant and beautiful.  His very last memory is of her being carried off to that which comes next.

Finally, my parents did a wonderful thing when their dog Cora passed away.  They donated her to a veterinary school for education.  After about a year, Cora was cremated and returned home to my parents.  I think that was so awesome-- even more, knowing that I couldn't have done that with my cats.

So, I hope that I answered the question at the top of this post.  Knowing what you are able to do and knowing what you would like to do are the two key details.  You don't get a chance to do it over, so don't be afraid to seek out solutions that help you accept the loss and solutions maintain the proper memories of this special relationship.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Kaci is Leaving

I have not posted anything in a couple weeks.  I just got a new mobile phone last week and I have taken some fun pictures of the boys... both Bailey and Sidney have their own little photo spreads I wanna share soon.  I am also off to the theatre tonight so we will see if I can manage to work a feline storyline into Dreamgirls so I can post about it here.

In the meantime, Angi sent me sad news about her cat, Kaci.  Seems Kaci was just diagnosed with lung cancer and the Christensen family is preparing to say goodbye in the next week or so.  My thoughts are with them.

Angi sent a photo of Kaci with the news... which was very smart of her, cuz I was gonna ask for one anyway.  She said it was one of her favorites, and I can see why.  This is one of the most awesome cat pics I have seen.  Kaci looks so sweet and adorable in the leaves... she certainly knows how to work it for the camera.  I am sure she'll be missed.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Disney Animation Redux

So the other day, I asked Bailey if he knew what the Disney Classics Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Wind in the Willows, Jungle Book, Aristocats, and Robin Hood had in common. He had no idea, which kinda makes sense, since the only Disney movie he has ever been interested in enough to watch was Finding Nemo. (Couldn't even get him to sit through Little Mermaid)

Well, the answer is, easily enough, identical animation scenes. Snow White=Maid Marion=Duchess in the same way Baloo=Little John, Kaa=Sir Hiss, and the monkeys=the weasles, etc. Don't know what the heck I am talking about? Don't believe me? Don't care? Of course you care, so I have included a 3 1/2 minute video clip that explains it all below.

(This clip has existed for a number of years, and this version includes a French rendition of a Snow White song... and since Aristocats takes place in France, this clip seems appropriate from this cat themed blog, right...?
Just go with it)

Disney Animation Redux video (3:29)

So, could you identify these movies: 
  • Snow White, 
  • Wind in the Willows, 
  • Jungle Book, 
  • Aristocats, 
  • Robin Hood
How about these movies:
  • Sword in the Stone, 
  • 101 Dalmatians, 
  • Sleeping Beauty,
  • Beauty & the Beast?
If you couldn't, no worries, Bailey couldn't either. Actually, he couldn't care less.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Cats, The Musical

Tonight we're off to see Cats.  It has been 25 years since I last saw it and I am really looking forward to seeing it again.  Mike has never seen it. 

We decided to make this show extra special.  We will be having dinner at the theatre beforehand, and we got tickets much closer than we usually do (Orchestra J, seats 1 and 2; our usual seats are twice as far away) to make this an evening to celebrate Kira's life.

I have decided that Simba was part Mr Mistoffelees (amazingly talented) and part Skimbleshanks (kept our house on schedule).  His personality was so big, he embodied two characters.  He might also embody Growltiger (adventurer), but since Growltiger fights the Siamese that may be a conflict for Simba.

Bailey and Sidney are definitely Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer (stealth, trouble-making duo).  They get into trouble night and day.  Bailey gets blamed for most things, but I think Sidney is equally guilty--he is just smart enough to play innocent.

Even though she isn't really one of our cats, 
  • FluffySox reminds me of the Old Gumbie Cat, Jennyanydots (neighborhood caretaker).
Other neighborhood cats, if they were in Cats, would include 
  • SuperFluff as Bustopher Jones (cat-about-town), 
  • 50/50 as The Rum Tum Tugger (the sexy tom cat), 
  • BrilloCat as Gus (aging, with stories to tell), 
  • and Felix as Macavity (mysterious cat burglar).
I expect the conclusion with Grizabella will remind me of Kira, so I am bringing tissue.  Kira worked hard at maintaining her dignity and glamour up to the end.  She was a little boney and thin at the end, but she was always a loving, beautiful girl. 
Tonight's show is in her "Memory".

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Bailey Is Four

Today is Bailey's Fourth Birthday
Happy Birthday Bailey!!!

Happy Simba Day!!

Today is the day to remember my awesome Simba.  It was four years ago on this day when I said goodbye to him.  Here is one of my favorite pictures of him
And here is a picture of Sidney two days ago.  Hmm...

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Other Grey Girl

Shortly after we moved to Portland, we met Dan and John, and they quickly became our valued friends.  Let me be clear here...  Dan and John are very nice, but their dogs, Digby and Rupert had all the personality!  ;-) 

At the time, we just had Kira and Bailey...  sweet grey girl, Kira and hyper young boy, Bailey.  Dan and John were always out and about with the dogs, Digby and Rupert...  sweet grey girl, Digby and hyper young boy, Rupert. (I have to admit, I was extremely jealous that Digby and Rupert socialized so well--- and we had cats)

Other than species, this pair of dogs was so similar to our pair of cats, that I adored them immediately. Both girls were "little" old ladies who were battling old age and both boys were young and fearless.

We were informed this morning that Digby had passed on last night.  We knew she wasn't doing well, but it still makes Mike and me sad to know she is gone. We will miss her, too.
So here's to Digby...and tell Kira we miss her.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Thank You, Mr FluffySox

It has been more than two weeks since Kira passed, and I have to admit, my enthusiasm for posting here on the BaileyBlog has been somewhat lacking. The Boys are in the prime of their lives, and while they love us immensely, they are pretty self-sufficient-- I am definitely missing the daily grind/responsibility of meeting Kira's needs.

The same afternoon Kira left (a beautifully sunny day), I got home to find FluffySox on our front steps sunning himself. He hasn't been around much since the week of his captivity in December, but as the weather has improved we have seen him more often. It was really nice to see him on this particular afternoon, as this home certainly benefits from a feline trinity.

Silly Bailey, made no secret that he enjoyed the full access upstairs that had been denied to both Boys, for Kira's benefit.  While Sidney has been enjoying upstairs more fully by utilizing the entire space, Bailey made his appreciation evident by moving in to Kira's empty bed the very first day it was available.

So, in the end I return to my appreciation of having FluffySox "on our porch".  He is not ours, but I feel strongly that he feels comfortable with us, as he has been spotted in all areas of our yard, front/back/side, sleeping or lounging as if it were his own home.  Despite being an independent soul, he does provide a sense of comfort in the midst of our loss...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Happy Cat

Because the BaileyBlog was created to celebrate the kitties, let's break it down and celebrate (as only a grey kitty can!)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

In Memory of Kira

I have created a fund for the Oregon Humane Society, where I volunteer, to accept donations on behalf of Kira. I would very grateful for any donations you would be able to make in her memory.

The Oregon Humane Society does not euthanize any animal it takes in, if the animal can still lead a loving and productive life.  As long as their condition is not dire, animals with medical conditions are cared for and adopted out to homes that are willing to take on the additional needs of the animal.  Because these animals require extra care, they may live at the Humane Society for many months, unlike most animals, but they have no time limit at the shelter.  The Oregon Humane Society lets these animals remain and fully cares for these animals for as long as it takes to find them the proper home.  This extra care is provided entirely by donations.  Kira could easily have been one of these shelter pets, needing extra care.  We all have our own pets to care for, but even a small donation here can help out the ones that will spend a longer time in a cage, until they find someone willing to take on the extra responsibilities they require.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Kira... Goodbye

Kira left us this morning.

We had the most beautiful weather this last weekend, and she was able to spend the days lying in the sun.  She didn't have energy to do much more than that.

This morning, was sunny and clear, and even the cherry trees were beautiful and blossoming.  She still had interest and curiosity as we drove to Vet office for the last time.  After she left us, she looked so sweet and peaceful

Once we got back home, a bird landed on a branch outside her window and sang a farewell song to her.

* * * * *
Author Unknown

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; his eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....
I know Simba was there to welcome her.  He was always very kind to her and understood how special she was.

* * * * *

I shot hundreds of photos and video of Kira over the last few months, and here are a couple of my favorite ones from her final weeks.

Our little angel, glowing bright, reflecting, ready to slumber

Sitting up and showing off those Pretty Green Eyes

I think the Boys, Bailey and Sidney, will also miss her.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Taking Bailey "For A Walk"

I am sure you have heard that it is possible to leash train a cat.  I decided Bailey "wanted" to go for walks outside.

We did buy him a leash and a harness when he was young.  Bengals are known to be rather dog-like and I thought we could encourage him to walk with us, especially if we started him young.  Another thing Bengals are known for is their independent spirit.  Bailey absolutely HATES being held in my arms--it seems he dislikes his loss of control/options.  Put him in a box and carry the box around...  he is fine with that (he feels he is more in control of the situation if he has the option to jump out of the box), but put him in your arms and he screams bloody murder to be set free.

So I dug out the leash and harness we had given up using on him years ago.  Being slightly more mellow now, I figured I might have some better success.  At the very least, I could see if he was big enough to fit the harness properly...  as a spastic kitten he always squirmed his way out.

After a bit of a struggle to get him geared up, I picked him up and set him on the front porch, video in hand, waiting to see how much he would protest this indignity.  This is my wild boys response:

Monday, February 15, 2010

Bailey Called Dibs

Kira has really been slowing down this weekend.  Purring is still there, but some of the sparkle is missing.  Time to spend extra time with Kira.

Sunday night, television was watched upstairs from the bedroom so we could spend time with her.  Monday night was more of the same, with the addition of the boys, Bailey and Sidney...   normally kept downstairs as of late, but under Daddy Supervision, allowed access within Kira's domain for the evening.

Kira was sacked out on the bed, with Mike and me petting her...  as well as keeping Bailey at bay.

Amid the affection and attention we were paying Kira, we paused to find Bailey exploring the top of the dresser, checking out Kira's catbed in the window.  Bailey is rarely allowed upstairs, so that Kira can have needed peace and quiet away from him, so it is understandable that Bailey is curious about the details of her space.

After focusing on Kira a moment more, I glanced over at Bailey once again...  he was curled up in Kira's bed, with heavy eyes... nearly asleep. 

Bailey called dibs on Kira's catbed before Sidney could...  despite it still be Kira's!!!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Having to Say Goodbye: Looking Back at Simba

A couple months ago, I was asked how Kira was doing.  I mentioned some of the rough patches she had recently been through, but otherwise she seemed to be doing pretty good.  We were, after all, doing every thing we could for her... so much so, that we were scheduling our lives around our ability to meet her medical needs.

"Why don't you just put her down?" was this person's response.

Time stopped for about five seconds...  Obviously, this person wasn't a pet owner and certainly couldn't understand.  But wait, perhaps it was the time to take this action, and we were blind to her needs because we were selfishly avoiding the inevitable, still unable to bare the thought of losing her.

Ultimately, I know that I get to take the easy way out of this emotional conundrum.  

Simba was MY cat and confidant since he had been a kitten, long before I met Mike. Mike claimed not being a pet person (and certainly not a cat person) for two years, however, when I was out of town one weekend he watched over Simba for me.  A few weeks later, photos from that weekend revealed that Simba had worked his magic on Mike---
So, a year later, we found Kira at a shelter organization for Mike to have a cat companion and to be a compadre for Simba.  Only nine months later, it seems we had missed the signs that Simba's health had severely declined, and with only three days of medical care, I reluctantly knew it was the time to say goodbye and let him go.

Such a profound moment for me.  So much so that I can still vividly recall the details of that single, early morning hour.  Simba looked into my eyes, yet through me, as to say he was tired and ready to go, Daddy. With a quivering voice, and tears welling, I said out loud, that it was time, partially to let Mike know and partially to make it real for me.  We dressed, and Mike drove us to the hospital with Simba wrapped in my arms the entire way, consciously holding on to every last moment with him.  After our private last goodbyes and love, I held him in my arms as we began the final process.

At first, he felt as he had hundreds of times before, alert and strong. Then, with the first injection, he lowered his head and rapidly dozed off..  For a few moments more, I was holding my beloved sleeping kitty. With the final injection, I felt everything change within seconds. My arms felt the life leave his body.  I remember having to adjust my hold of him, because he had become limp, almost droopy, certainly like a ragdoll, and I wanted to keep him as he had been just a few seconds earlier; always regal, always dignified, always handsome, a cat, MY cat.  I remember thinking how irrevocable that moment was, how incomprehensible -at that moment- the future would be without him, yet confident I had made the right decision... and calm. I have the easy way out of this emotional conundrum with Kira.  I had to make that decision for Simba, but Kira is Mike's call.  I assume our grief over losing Simba will certainly be matched with Kira when the time comes, yet the circumstances are entirely different.  We don't want to say goodbye to her, but it is inevitable.  As I felt with Simba, it is an irrevocable decision, and in the end, Mike needs to be at peace with it.

I visit my friend's comment regularly.  I ponder if we are still doing what is best.  Kira remains affectionate, social, hungry, observant, curious, and vocal.  For sure, she tires easy and we are seeing some decline in these activities, but absolute "bad" days are still infrequent.  She is getting more wobbly and sometimes walks like a poorly driven hook & ladder fire truck, usually right after a nap.  I think she'll let us know when she is done fighting and ready to move on... we just have to watch for her signal.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Kira Health News VII

So, it seems that every time I post that Kira is not doing well, she bounces back.  I did watch Monty Python's SpamALot with her, on Google Video some time back. (If you are not familiar with this Broadway musical, knowledge of the Monty Python and the Holy Grail movie, will do here.)  

Me (on this blog):  Look's like she's about to die.
Kira:  I'm not dead yet.
Me:  Gonna be any day now.
Kira:  I'm feeling much better, akshulee.

Her original 6 - 24 month diagnosis, is now solidly in its 25th month, and I doubt she'll make 26.  Since every time I post dire news, she reacts to the contrary, I refrain from posting good news in fear that she will react to that in the contrary, as well.  

So interpret my lack of recent Kira news accordingly, but I am not saying anything specific here.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Bailey's Groundhogs Day Prediction

Bailey saw his shadow this morning, indicating 6 more weeks or Winter. 
To this news, his shadow merely meowed in disbelief.
Happy Groundhog's Day from Bailey (and his shadow, Sidney)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Sharing our **Pet Pharmacy** Experience

So, Kira has been on medications for Lymphoma etc., since January 2008 (Mike was in St. Louis at the time, dealing with the passing of his father, so I was charged with Kira's well-being)  For each visit to the Vet office I made with Kira, Mike was always on the other end of the speakerphone--but more importantly, because Mike was so far away, I tried to keep detailed notes as to Kira's health needs and all her medical requirements.

After her initial visit, Kira was prescribed six different medications.  Five of the six were smaller, "kitty sized", portions, with some requiring twice a day dosing.  As a result, I created an AM and a PM dosing schedule to make sure all her medications were given as required.  The schedule I created was:

Marbofloxin; 1/2 of an oblong tablet, once a day (AM)
Zantac; 1/4 of a round tablet, twice a day (AM & PM)
Cyproheptadine; 1/4 of a round tablet, twice a day (AM & PM)
Metronidazole; 1/4 of a round tablet, once a day (PM)
Ursodial; 1/6 of powder inside gel capsule, once a day (PM)

All the 1/2s, 1/4s, and 1/6s of each of these medications were sorted for daily AM and PM combinations, each placed together within empty gelatin capsules, so that Kira only had to suffer one dosing each AM and PM.

This schedule has remained virtually unchanged for over 2 years.

After the first four months of this regime, we moved from San Diego to Portland. She had to endure a new veterinary, and we had to locate a new pharmacy in which to fill her prescriptions.  Keep in mind, these are not "people prescriptions", and thus, may be a little less likely to be at your nearby neighborhood pharmacy in the needed doses.  Fortunately, the medications were easy to come by.  Surprisingly, it was the simple gelatin capsules that were a to challenge to find.

We inquired at the Fred Meyer (Kroger), RiteAid, Costco, and Walgreens pharmacies that were nearby.  The local Walgreens seemed to be surprised at our request, but was the only nearby pharmacy that carried the supplies to meet our needs.  Because they did carry the capsules we needed we continued to purchase them from Walgreens.  The fact that the price always changed, from as low as $8 for 400 to a high of $8 for 300, only confirmed our belief that our request was out of the ordinary. (FYI, That is approximately .02 cents to .02 1/2 cents per capsule)

So, why am I writing this post?  With Kira nearing the end of her days, we went to make our (what is likely to be the last) capsule purchase.  This time, only 150, as we feel 75 days at twice a day dosing is very optimistic.  Suddenly, because (we were informed) there has been a demand for the past 18 months, that the price for 150 has sharply risen to $30... (equals .20 cents a capsule; an 800% increase in price). We questioned the price increase, but ultimately paid it, for at that exact moment there isn't really a choice in the matter.

So, I have contacted Walgreens (and am waiting a response).  It is very difficult to navigate prescriptions for ourselves, and for our pets--substantially more so.  Due to all my interactions with pharmacies due to Kira, pet requests seem unusual and foreign to most pharmacies, usually requiring lots of explanation and out-of-the-ordinary responses.  I don't want to believe that Walgreens seized an opportunity for greed, nor do I want to believe the employees were dishonest, so I hope--for the sake of all animal caretakers--that this was just a simple misunderstanding of some sort.  It is already hard enough to have a supportive voice for our pets.

w e d n e s d a y,  . f e b r u a r y . 3, . 2 0 1 0
* * * U P D A T E * * * 
I am sharing our experience with Kira's Lymphoma diagnosis and treatment in hopes that it may be helpful and provide insight to anyone else who may have to go through similar experiences. Needless to say, lacking such info ourselves, there was some shock and anger after leaving the store, due in part by our limited options at that moment combined with the eminent loss on the horizon, so I waited a couple days before contacting the Walgreens corporate customer service number.  Also, I chose not to call to complain about my experience (in which I tend to make too personal, get emotionally charged, and thus an angry situation), but instead my call inquired more generally about how to find valid Walgreens price information in the future, (I repeat:) "in hopes that it may be helpful and provide insight to anyone else who may have to go through similar experiences".

That being said, my corporate return call came about 24 hours later, and unfortunately, I missed the call.  The caller was friendly enough, and this is the message (with names edited out for privacy):

Hi… This is… the Walgreens store manager for the Lombard store and I had received a complaint about some pricing issues. It looks like the compound pharmacist… charged you $30 for 150 pills. We went back and looked at the pricing and the best that we can do on that is $8 per 100.  That basically… protects us from our margins and covers our cost. So the best we can do at this point is $8 per 100 and we have that down, so if you have any questions, you can always talk to me.  I am the store manager… and just give me a call… Thanks.

So I guess a small success.  We can't return our purchase for a lesser quantity and Kira most-likely won't be around long enough for another purchase, but any reader who is going through a similar pet experience and needs gel caps (or any other unusual pharmacy item) should inquire and establish a standard product price immediately once the need is established, no matter at Walgreens or any other pharmacy.  Had we done that, instead of being surprised at $30 for 150, the $8 per 100 is reasonable and we would have made exactly that purchase (150 was just a random number anyway; even purchasing 100 is optimistic at this point).  Walgreens did provide a satisfactory resolve for this situation; however, I doubt we'll have the opportunity to take advantage of it.  (Where to find a valid price list remains elusive)

And a bigger success...  she still is hanging in there.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Happee Birthdai, Ellens

Bailey is a big fan, and watches The Ellen DeGeneres Show everyday

Editor's Note:  Bailey logged in as me to post this without my permission

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Three Kitty Update

Kira just keeps ticking.  Despite our concerns about how well she is doing, she still rebounds back from the brink time and time again.  I think her down days are an elaborate act she puts on just to see if we are still gonna give her lovin's.  There are still times when she sleeps all day, doesn't eat, and is wobbly on her feet...  but more often than not, she is alert, hungry, purring, and follows her daddies around for more love.  Every time we are about to write her off, she bounces back with energy and affection.  Right now, I give her a couple more weeks... but anything could change at any time.

The boys, Bailey and Sidney, are behaving irregularly as well.  I think it is part S.A.D. (seasonal affect disorder) due to grey skies and rain outside, plus closed windows and curtains that result.  I think it is also due in part a result of Kira getting extra daddy time.  (Bailey still thinks "pouncing" on Kira is a fun game, so we have limited the boys' access to upstairs, thus allowing Kira to remain relaxed-- especially important now that she has lost most of her hearing and can't hear when Bailey is closing in on her)

As a result, the boys have come up with an ingenious new strategy to get noticed--thus getting more daddytime.  For months, Bailey has claimed the red, bust patterned chair as his "bed" in the living room, and Sidney prefers Simba's old cat bed.  Seems only fitting that Bailey has the dark patterned chair to match his dark patterned fur.  Likewise, Sidney naps fittingly in the simple tan bed, that matches his simple tan coat. 

BUT NOW, they have inexplicably switched...  creating kitty contrast.  Dark cat on light bed, light cat on dark bed.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Xanadu (and how I link it to Kira and the BaileyBlog)

So, last night we went to see the stage version of Xanadu. How could that be a topic for this blog about (my) cats, you ask. Well, follow along, if you will.

Xanadu is a 2007 Broadway stage production, based on the 1980 movie that starred Olivia Newton-John. You may recall the movie as being a big hit, but really, it sucked. The music from the movie, however, was very popular and many of the songs topped the charts. The Musical plays off these facts with a slightly adapted storyline that humorously mocks and follows the movie's original plot (more or less). And the music is still awesome.

If you know the movie plot, Olivia-Newton John plays a Greek Muse named Clio. She visits an LA artist to help him achieve his dream, disguised with a new name and a pair of roller skates. They team up with an auditorium owner, who also had a muse whom he lost decades earlier. This partnership results in the creation of a roller-disco/nightclub called Xanadu.

I don't recall the movie very well, but in the stage show, Clio is the muse of both men, and her big disguise is really just being known by different names (plus a lack of aging).

Are you with me so far?

So see if you understand this irony(?), coincidence(?), or message from beyond(?). During this week in which we are giving so much thought to losing our sweet Kira, we spent the night at the theatre watching a show in which the main character, Clio, comes to earth in 1980 disguised as a woman named... wait for it... Kira. Oh, and the name she used as a disguise in the 40's... Kitty.

Kira Kitty. That has been her nickname since we brought her home from the shelter. Ok, Kitty, that is not a big stretch since Kira ia a cat. But Kira is not a very common name-- the only other Kira I am aware of is the Star Trek:DS9 character whom we used as our inspiration. But what are the odds of a character with (multiple) names of Kira/Kitty?

How odd to have purchased our season tickets months ago, and that Xanadu plays during this week, featuring Kira/Kitty... AND one of the next shows is Cats (Kira has always been Grizabella to me, and deserves to be reborn)... AND the last show of this season is The Lion King; maybe our own beloved Simba is letting us know he's ready and waiting for her to cross The Rainbow Bridge whenever we are ready to let her go and join him.

Kira has had to put up with two daddies and three brothers, so when you think of it, she has always been our sweet little Muse.

Here are some pictures of a playful Kira taken this week.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Kira Health News VI

Kira had her visit to Dr. Tobin's office yesterday morning.  But let me back up...

In addition to the pill we shove down her throat twice a day, the twice a week chemo pill, and a squirt of anti-nausea liquid as needed...  she is also getting a vitamin B12 shot regularly, periodic insulin shots, and a subcutaneous fluid infusion.  As much as we want to do what is best for her, it is difficult to subject her to so much, and we occasionally grow exhausted at both the physical process involved as well as the mental process it takes to follow through completely.

We do skip dosings, we call it "Giving Kira a drug hoilday", and it is infrequent and calculated, making sure her well-being isn't compromised.  For example, we probably skipped 30 of her twice-a-day pills, (after more than 2 years of this, that means approx 1500 opportunities), so we're not neglecting her.  The subcutaneous fluids are psychologically the hardest to administer, poking her with a needle and keeping her still for 5-8 minutes while the fluids flow.

So to get back to the story, we had been slacking on administering the fluids, but after a very down weekend, we made sure to give fluids to Kira both Monday and Tuesday nights before her Wednesday morning Vet visit.  She was full of life, interest, and energy all morning.  She explored the Exam Room and was very vocal and curious on the drive to and from.  She had the usual tests done.  It was so awesome to see her so interested in everything.  Dr. Tobin did remind us of what we were already monitoring: Good days vs. Bad days.

Understandable, Kira was wiped out last night, after such an active day.  Her test results showed no change, but her results have been out-of-whack for so long already, that is of no comfort.  As for her activity level today, she has been inactive and uninterested in most everything.


Here is a video of  active Kira at the Vet's Office.  She was exploring the room while waiting for Dr. Tobin to come in and Kira sought out and found her red travel bag hidden under my green jacket.  Our little explorer kitty would prefer to be safe inside her bag.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Kira Health News V

Subtle changes are happening...

Kira's time with us is coming to an end. She has started having difficulty sleeping, has begun losing her balance regularly, and has become even more picky about eating. Her hearing is all but gone now. She rarely is bothered by her brother, Bailey, which we always felt would be one of the last things we'd see happen, as she got more tired out. She moves very slow and calculated, and the stairs have become difficult for her to navigate. (She walks so slow and tenuous now, with her back arched... we have nicknamed her "Our Little Grey AT-AT" a reference to the slow, lethargic Star Wars transports used on the ice planet, Hoth)

We first identified her health issues 2 years ago this week. She was given 6 to 24 months in her diagnosis. I am proud of her being such the trouper and making it a full 24 months. She has had four different veterinarians during that time and had to move twice to new houses. She has had Mike and I visiting the Vet with her at least once a month for the last 24 months. She has had to take 2 capsules of medications twice every day for the last 2 years, plus other needed pills, shots, liquids and tests throughout to help with chemotherapy, nausea, diabetes.

She has an Vet appointment tomorrow morning, but I think the writing is on the wall. I don't think we'll make the decision for tomorrow, as we'd still like a few more days with her... she still is loving, affectionate, and constantly purring when she is with us, and because of that, we can afford to take some time to say our goodbyes, tell her how much we love her and how much we'll miss her(of course, we'll have to yell these intimacies to her, in hopes she'll be able to hear it). Her little body is wearing out.

So just an update on Kira... I'm gonna go spend time with her now.

UPDATE: Pictures from today...

Kitten Slide Video

After watching this, I think we should put a slide in our backyard for Bailey and Sidney to play on...

Hey Slide Kitteh, yoo doin it wrong...

Friday, January 1, 2010

Play 2009 Off, Keyboard Cat

"Play Him Off, Keyboard Cat" is a viral video from 2009 that jumped from its original form, simply showing this cat playing an uptempo beat on the keyboard, to a much bigger and more viewed internet sensation...  being tacked on to the end of 'Fail' videos of all kinds.  A search on YouTube will yield hundreds of results in which a  video clip ends in disaster and the same feline video is added in order to... Play Him Off, Keyboard Cat.

This clip is just one of hundreds, all different, except for Keyboard Cat Playing 'em Off at the end. HAPPY 2010!!!