From the Archives: Situation Normal, August 29, 2005

Namir at the door in the early evening of the day he was diagnosed.
Namir at the door in the early evening of the day he was diagnosed.

Interesting things you find when you go back to look through photos from years before when the immediate memories have faded. Earlier this week I looked through photos to find a vintage/archive image to share on Throwback Thursday.

The date was very close to the date, August 29, I had rushed Namir to the emergency hospital where he had been diagnosed with HCM as I watched on the TV in the waiting room Hurricane Katrina swirl in to hit New Orleans (Perhaps the Storm is Over). I remember that he had been acting subdued, even outdoors, and that I’d noticed his breathing was shallow. I was in touch with my veterinarian but there was no indication of what it might be. Still, we’d decided that, if the breathing persisted that way, I would take him to the emergency hospital that evening. At that time they were a specialty and emergency hospital in the same small building, so that the specialists used the same rooms the emergency clinic used overnight and on the weekend. They opened at 7:00 p.m. Namir had had some urinary issues and my vet preferred this hospital over any other in the area, and if at all possible waiting until 7:00 p.m. was the best idea.

These photos were taken at about 5:00 p.m. August 29, and Namir appears to be calmly sitting at the door, sitting upright, not crouching, watching Cookie who had previously been looking out the same door until he came over and poked her and was now indignantly glaring at him from behind me.

Cookie at the door.
Cookie at the door.

I remember being very concerned about him, intuitively knowing something was very wrong and knowing I would be driving to the emergency hospital that night, in fact I remember preparing for it, getting work done in case I was there late, planning feeding dinner a little early. How strange to think that this moment happened in the middle of the worry, when Namir and Cookie took the edge off of the tension, as they did, a little bit of normalcy before the metaphorical storm hit our home at the same time the hurricane hit New Orleans. I probably had a moment of relief when I thought Namir might be getting over whatever was making him breathe shallowly, walk slowly, crouch every so often.

Just four hours later I would find that he’d gone into congestive heart failure, that he had hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, that he had a bad prognosis for survival even with medication and treatment, and I’d be leaving him there overnight to see the specialists in the morning. The only thing we’d noticed that year was a heart murmur that could indicate future trouble.

He did come home, and he lived for four more years with the condition. But I know through the night as I waited I likely forgot that moment of warm sunshine, of Namir’s playfulness and Cookie’s feigned indignation as I searched back for clues to what had been diagnosed. Just like what a hurricane might do, we never really know.

And another coincidence…

And one other thing I found in the folder of photos from just two days before this. I had been in an accident in my light blue Ford Taurus wagon in May. I was unhurt but was lucky the person making an illegal left-hand turn hadn’t turned a second later and hit my door instead of the front end of my car. The impact disabled my car and it was considered a total loss. That could have been my fate too. That is the only accident I’ve ever been in. He was clearly at fault both by Pennsylvania driving laws and by physical evidence, but somehow the police report stated that I had been at fault for two reasons that didn’t exist and I would get nothing for my car because of it. The insurance representative was shocked and sympathetic, but there was nothing he could do. I set about disputing the report, which was fruitless because the police report would not be changed, then returned to the insurance company and asked what evidence they needed to prove my innocence. He sent an estimator to look the car over, who laughed and said it was a joke that I was considered at fault. They considered that old Taurus a total loss and would send me a check for its replacement along with any other costs I’d incurred in the meantime.

I couldn’t afford to buy a car without the settlement, and my insurance for the old car did not cover rentals with accidents. I could borrow a friend’s car for some errands and doctor appointments for my mother and brother, but aside from that I had no car from mid-May until the check arrived and I managed to find the green Ford Taurus wagon and get insurance for it. I picked up the car and drove it home on August 27, just two days before Namir’s condition began and I drove him to the emergency hospital. It’s as if I got the car just in time because there was a lot of driving around after that diagnosis. That happened again in 2012 when the back window of my Escort had been smashed by a tree limb and I couldn’t afford to replace it, and it wouldn’t pass inspection the next spring. I managed to have it replaced in late July that year, and just a few days later I had to run Kelly to the emergency hospital, and unfortunately she did not come home.

That was a particularly difficult summer too. Moses had been having mini-strokes then recovering, but she was clearly weakening, Stanley was still pretty hardy but he needed fluids for renal failure as well as regular support like an antacid, potassium supplements, and his appetite could be difficult, Peaches and Cream had just joined us in June and both needed supplemental fluids and while Peaches recovered Cream never did and needed fluid therapy along with Stanley. And that was when the mortgage company began assessing imaginary late fees and compounding them even though I disputed that, which was why money was tight. It’s funny that when I remember my cats and life in general, I don’t remember those things, I just remember how much I loved them and how beautiful they were. It’s nice to know that the good things stay.

. . . . . . .

From Instagram

Things got pretty organized last night until Mewsette arrived to discover she’d lost the round of Musical Boxes, so she went around and licked everyone and it started all over again. (I went to bed and have no idea who won.)

Four neatly organized cats.
Four neatly organized cats.

Four boxes on the table open for business but the brothers have to jam themselves into one box.

Bean and Sunshine just have to cuddle.
Bean and Sunshine just have to cuddle.

. . . . . . .

What other photos did I feature around this date?

From the Archives: August 31, 2007
It's a free for all!
It’s a free for all!

Ten years ago today, this is what the Curious Quartet looked like, just about one month old, and they’ve totally trashed their playroom once again. Last year I just happened to be flipping through pictures in the folder for August 31, 2007 and thought I should share the cuteness of a day with black kittens and their mom.

You’re not going to show that one where they’re nursing while I eat, are you?

Well, Mimi, I felt really bad for you not ever being able to get a bite to eat without kittens nursing from you.

That’s all well and good, but I look horrible. And that one where I look like a beached whale and I’m showing every nipple on my belly?

Mimi, you are one cat who no one could ever describe as a beached whale. You’re just having a rest while your kittens admire you.

Do you have to?

In the interests of total disclosure, yes.

I’m so embarrassed.

Mimi, everyone knows that’s not what you look like now. Everyone will be glad you’re not having babies anymore! And you are beautiful!

Fearsome Bean.
Fearsome Bean.
 The Curious Quartet in their bed with their signature colors.
The Curious Quartet in their bed with their signature colors.
 Mewsette and Bean have a hug.
Mewsette and Bean have a hug.
 Mimi takes a break and airs out her belly.
Mimi takes a break and airs out her belly.
 The kittens nurse while Mimi eats.
The kittens nurse while Mimi eats.
 Four kittens are under my skirt.
Four kittens are under my skirt.

. . . . . . .

What other photos did I feature around this date?

Daily Photo: Posing on the Rocker
Mimi on the rocker.
Mimi on the rocker.

Mimi and I are still exploring this “rocker” photo opportunity in the back yard. We’re not sure what we want, but we find new wisdom each time. I’d placed it there when cleaning off my deck in May this year and enjoyed watching the foliage grow up around it, and now watching it ebb as the angle of the sun lowers. Back in May Mimi read my mind as I looked at the chair among the forget-me-nots and buttercups and thought how nice she would look there, and proceeded to walk over to the rocker and hop up and model for me.

This time she purposely ignored me as I watched the sun play on the chair, and I had to pick her up and put her there, producing this expression.

How dare you!
How dare you!

But Mimi loves to model and was soon up to her magic. Soon she was stepping around and looking at the light and doing fancy things with her tail.

Mimi leaves a scent on the rocker.
Mimi leaves a scent on the rocker.

Then she assumed a sober posture similar to the one at the top.

Looking sweet.
Looking sweet.

Then she left!

Done.
Done.

Guess I was done anyway!

. . . . . . .

From Facebook and Instagram

“I used to own this neighborhood.” Mimi sits inside the gate, happy enough with her life inside the back yard and inside the house, but a shadow of herself will always be on the outside.

Mimi and her shadow.
Mimi and her shadow.

. . . . . . .

What other photos did I feature around this date?

A Sunday Nap, 2014
two black cats sleeping
The boys have a nice nap all Sunday afternoon.

Giuseppe and Bean spread themselves on the top of the wardrobe where a cool, if damp, breeze came in the window. They practiced holding postures for longer and longer periods, only turning about four times all day. It was a good Sunday nap.

They are filtered just a little in Photoshop with “poster edges”, one good way I’ve found to make the edges of black cats more distinct!

. . . . . . .

Exercise Biker Chicks, 2013
two black cats on exercise bicycle
Exercise Biker Chicks

Don’t mess with them! They dress in black and they are baaad girls. Look at those expressions!

Also, don’t mind the chaos in my basement. It’s been flooding a bit when it rains the past year so everything is everywhere, and the floor paint is peeling. But we really enjoy our mornings down there nonetheless, me doing laundry, we chicks riding our bike and everyone watching out the door into the back yard. When it’s too cold to open, I attach a shelf to the inside of the door, right below the window so they can still watch outside, and I put a bird feeder where we can all watch it.

. . . . . . .

Warm Sunny Concrete, 2013
black cat on concrete
Ahhhhh……

Mewsette enjoys the warm scratchiness of sun-drenched concrete, having a really good all-over roll. She really, really wants to be an outdoor girl, even before her Mama Mimi began joining me. Three years ago she would come to the door and cry and cry, so I would open it wide and she would run back into the basement. We have progressed from that to where I can actually close the door behind her and she explores beyond this block of concrete. She will now graduate to her own collar, and possibly a leash and harness as well.

After a really good roll, she got up and rubbed herself all over my rusty old rocker, rubbed herself really well, almost doing a somersault in the process!

black cat rubbing on rocker
Have to rub all of myself on this chair.

She has no interest in any other door, only the basement door. She was bolder here than usual, possibly because Mimi was out there to keep her company, and Mimi wasn’t running off into the corners of the yard as usual, but showed Mewsette just a few really neat things as the girls spent some time together. Then Mewsette had to return to the comfort of the concrete pad…aaahhhhhh.

black cat on concrete
Even better the second time around.

. . . . . . .

Today’s Selection, 2013
three black cats on cabinet
Today’s selection of kitchen cats.

I do have cat beds in the house, but they generally prefer places like the kitchen cabinet and table. I know they want to be able to see all the action so they prefer to be in the center of the room on top of something. I have not yet broken down and put a cat bed on my kitchen table. However, if I did, for sure they would find some other place to sleep.

Mimi, on the left with the green collar, loves to curl up with her big soft children and Mewsette, on the right, likes to look out the door. Giuseppe, in the middle, well, I think he needs to learn how to relax, I think I see some stress in his tail.

And I thought the kitchen was for, like, food preparation.

. . . . . . .

Morning Reflections, 2012
black cat face sleeping
Bean in morning contemplation.

Just a little sweetness at my desk in the morning, Bean sleeping pressed up against his sister, the sunlight reflected up onto his face, a perfect little triangle.

Don’t know where that little white hair in his forehead came from, I keep trying to brush it away!


Art and Gifts featuring cats you know! Visit Portraits of Animals

AfterDinnerNap-Etsy~~~

Animal Sympathy Cards from Portraits of Animals!

"I'll always remember the way you looked at me."
“I’ll always remember the way you looked at me.”

I’ll always remember the way you looked at me. Namir inspired the sympathy cards, but he was one of the last to get his own. Read more, and purchase.



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Bernadette

From health and welfare to rescue and adoption stories, advocacy and art, The Creative Cat offers both visual and verbal education and entertainment about cats for people who love cats. From catchy and creative headlines to factual articles and fictional stories, The Creative Cat provides constant entertainment and important information to people who love cats, pets and animals of all species.

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