Thursday, December 13, 2018

November Hill farm journal, 66

I’ve been very busy and overwhelmed with the sickness of our cat family the past few weeks, and I still want to write the happy post I’ve got in my pocket, but I decided to update the sad news first.

Mystic is home and recuperating, and Pippin is home and recuperating, but sweet Osage was not able to recover from her battle with Panleukopenia. She was 12.5 years old and although alert until the end, she just couldn’t make it. The vet school hospital staff gave her excellent supportive care, including five blood transfusions, but it simply wasn’t enough to stem the blood loss she was having in her GI tract. She passed away this week, in the arms of her human family, and is now home and buried in our back yard.

It’s been agonizing and we are heartbroken. Pixie remains healthy, and the kittens, Violet and Isobel, are healthy now too. We’re still having to give many medications and Mystic is not yet back to his normal routine in terms of being able to go outside, but we will get there. 

Osage, aka Muffine Eloise, was one of the original three kittens who came to live with us here 12 years ago. She came with her littermate siblings Keats and Dickens, and the three of them were pure joy as they grew and learned how to be indoor/outdoor cats. They all loved the horses and the barn, loved being inside with us, loved the front porch and their freedom. More recently Osage has loved her sunny chair on the front porch, and she has kept us laughing at her insistence on being the center of attention during many movie and TV episode watching. She was sweet and engaging her entire life, a cat who loved having her tummy rubbed, who loved being combed and fussed over, loved butterflies, and would play like a kitten up to the week before she died. I miss her so much. 

In other news, Baloo Corgi was neutered last week, a scheduled event we decided not to postpone. He came home wearing a plastic cone and with instructions not to “play, jump, or run” for 10 days. I knew that was going to be difficult, but by the next morning Bear Corgi had broken Baloo out of the gated bedroom, Baloo busted through the dog door with the cone still on his neck, and while I drove into town hoping to buy a donut collar, daughter texted that he and Bear had gotten the cone off and things were much calmer without it. No licking, less activity. So we went with it. I stopped trying to keep him absolutely still and without the collar and pain meds he resumed his normal behavior. He is now a week out from the surgery and doing very well. I’m considering taking him outside the back yard today for the first time in a week. I’m sure there will be an explosion of activity when I open the gate and invite him to come out. 

We had six inches of snow over the weekend and a few nights of low 20s which has kept it around until yesterday. We are nowhere near dry outside and now the forecast says rain Friday/Saturday/Sunday of this weekend, so I’m dreading the mud. I would like a nice dry month with maybe just enough rain spread out to keep the plant life happy. Santa, are you listening?

Most of the leaves are gone from the trees now and I’ve managed to keep enough of them mulched so the winter grass can maintain itself. My farm helper has done a valiant job keeping all our waterways clear so the water can flow without clogging up at the fencelines. 

There was one day last week when all three cats were sick, we were monitoring the ones who weren’t very closely, and I was on the phone with the vet at the ICU while texting Keil Bay’s vet because it seemed he was having a mild choke episode. She encouraged me to give him time to clear it, and I was watching him, still texting her, talking to the feline vet, and I walked over to Rafer Johnson to give him an ear rub with my free hand. When I touched his ear my hand came away covered in blood, and his ear was totally bloody. Thankfully daughter was home that day and she came out and helped wash the blood away so we could see what was going on. We initially worried it was a bite of some kind, but a series of clues suggested he had gotten the ear hung up in the hard plastic stall grids I have (still!) stacked by the barn. A rabies booster was discussed and the vet, helpfully already texting me, said she felt antibiotic ointment was all he needed. I think that was the day I realized we just have to let go and deal with things as they come. I felt like the domino had tipped. Days like that are when I just have to stop trying to retain control and admit I operate most days pretending I have it when really I do not. It’s a humbling realization for someone who is most comfortable managing things tightly.

Now, I’m focusing on doing all the things that need to be done while enjoying the moments as best I can. There are so many lovely moments! It is at this moment still and very quiet here on November Hill, and after the past few weeks that itself is the best thing ever. 


Grey Horse Matters said...

I'm so sorry to hear about Osage, aka Muffine Eloise. I know it's not much comfort when someone says she had a good life with you. But she did and she was loved and will be missed. You'll have good memories of her to help with the grief.

I'm glad to hear everyone else is doing better now. You've had a very hectic and hard time lately. The best you can do is just try and focus on the good things and take each day as it comes. It's hard to do for people like us who like to be organized and manage things, unfortunately, some things just aren't manageable and we have to go with the flow or else go crazy.

Try and relax and take it easy for a few days.

billie said...

Thank you, A - I know you understand totally how it feels to lose her. And you are right that there are many good memories. Yesterday I kept seeing her in various spots around the house. I would glance and think, oh there’s Muffine, and then take a second look and realize no, it wasn’t her, of course not. But in a way I feel these little sightings are the sweet energy of the departed helping us manage the passing. I was tearful each time as it is still very tough, but the kittens are increasingly entertaining and there is so much to do in general I don’t have too much time to get stuck in sadness.

We’re now into the rainy day that no one wants and I’m giving Mystic some time on the front porch while Pippin sleeps and Pixie plays and the kittens are going totally wild. Muffine is here with us, somehow, and I know she is safe and not suffering, and that is a good thing.

Hope you all are doing well - and that those hunters are staying off your farm where they have no business being.