A memory that Peanut found of Nine, Sofie, and Louise. Nine and Sofie were probably about a year old and Lulu a year older than that. I guess it was around 2011 or 2012. Nine and Sofie used to play together a lot back then. Nine loved to play with the dogs. Photographic Memories are a wonderful thing to have. Photographs are a great way to look back and smile.
A study in black and white of Noel, the Christmas Cat, Queen of the Zoo, in her window with her current favorite lovey, Puppy. I must say she cracks me up the way she brings me Puppy and then just ‘meow, meow, meow’ until I come and say ‘thank you’ for her bringing me this very special prize.
Dear Noel: My humans keep trying to limit me to 2 meals a day, but I want more. What’s a feline to do? – Your devoted hungry fan – Grumps
Dear Grumps: You could always do what I do, stand on the kitchen table or counter and whine and whine and whine until they can’t take it anymore and they give you a least a few extra kibbles. Last week, I did that at 3 in the morning and it worked like a charm. Best of luck – Noel, the Queen of the Zoo
Note to readers: This is a long and sad post, but I think it is time you knew.
The new normal is not normal, at least not yet. Going from 7 to 5 animals has taken us to many different places in the last month. We are adjusting, but it will take time. Losing both the lead cat and the lead dog within a week of each other has us in a bit of a tailspin. Actually, I think the zoo is adjusting better than I am. Noel & Mini
I think Mini really has taken the loss of her brother, and mischief partner, Nine, the hardest. She was so attached to him and really needs another animal to play with. She always whined but now, OMCat, she is constantly needing attention. Noel, being 15 and never being a social cat, gives Mini a little sniff now and then, but basically, Noel wants to sleep and cuddle with me. Mini would love to play with Charles, but he wants nothing of it.
Stella, of course, who is constantly in motion (hence the blur), knows nothing of the loss of Nine and Sofie, so she just carries on being Stella. I think that Mini is talking to her under the door more because I am hearing a lot of hissing going on. Stella, as you may remember, lives in her own suite, and loves it. I wish she could be friends with the other animals, but she just ‘wants to be alone,’ (except for humans, of course). She actually did like Sofie coming to visit, but it wasn’t that often that it will affect her.
Louise & Charles
And then there is Louise and Charles. Though Louise had Sofie in her life for 11 years (Lulu is 12), I am not sensing a big change in her mood or routine. Lulu was always very quiet and self-contained at home and just goes about doing her thing. She mostly lives in her own world and just carries on, cancer and all (but that is another story). They may have been together all these years, but I think Sofie needed Louise more than the other way around. Louise leans on me and that is about it.
Charles, being the FOMO (fear of missing out) dog that he is, followed (and feared) Sofie, I guess because she was the loudest, but also because she was something to be feared when you are only 17lbs. At first, after she was gone, he looked for her, especially when they went out in the yard. He was not sure what was going on, ‘where’d she go?’ but now, several weeks later, he follows Louise instead.
It Is Very Different Now Without Sofie
The zoo is much quieter now without all Sofie’s endless barking, and sad but true, much safer for all the animals with her gone; all her anxiety and aggression no longer permeates the house. I did not blog much about her battle, for years, with mental illness, though I have many posts in draft that never were published.
With Sofie gone, Charles no longer has to eat with the kennel door closed to stay safe from Sofie’s food aggression and the cats no longer have to sneak past her, fearful they could be attacked at any moment. There is no more resource guarding, fear-biting, or constant nibbling on something for security. There is no more endless barking at every sound (she could hear a fox a mile away or a UPS truck), because she needed to make it go away or stop. There are no more sleepless nights trying to console her when thunderstorms rolled through or fireworks blasted. I don’t have to constantly make sure that Charles is at a safe distance from her, because his little-dog frenetic energy would freak her out and she would attack him. And, near the end, she started biting Louise at feeding time (in the mouth where Louise’s tumor is). She just could not control her anxiety and aggression and neither could I.
Sofie was taking 6, sometimes 7, different medications for anxiety, aggression, and pain, multiple times a day, so that schedule is now gone for me.
But, after years of Sofie being by my side, sometimes so close that I stepped on her; being so present and constant and needing so much care and attention from me, the void is huge. She made me laugh. She could be so silly. She smiled at me and loved me in a way no other dog ever had. She was my cuddle dog. Despite her fears and anxiety, she was my heart and I believe I was her’s. After you have taken care of a sick animal (or human) for years, especially if the care is around mental health issues, you feel guilty that you feel relieved when they die. You feel empty because every day for years, you took special care of that being, many days with an exhausting routine, but you did it because you loved them.
Nine was an easy cat. I think sometimes, the good child doesn’t get as much attention because the ‘problem children’ suck all the energy out of you. But there is also a big hole where his energy used to be in the zoo. We feel it every night when we sit in the living room and he is not there. We feel it in the laundry room, which was his favorite place, and he isn’t in his bed by the furnace; or climbing in the rafters.
Finding a new balance will take time.
But I know they are waiting for us on the rainbow bridge.
Mr. Nine is sorely missed at the Zoo. There is not a day that goes by that Mini isn’t looking for her buddy. For a rather small guy (Nine was 9 lbs (of course he was)), he had a very large presence. He usually disappeared when anyone he didn’t know was in the house, but otherwise, he was out and about all the time (even at 3 AM): playing on the cat tree, sleeping in the boat (SS Stella), menacing Noel. He loved to lay behind V on the couch and snuggle.
We won the lottery for 11 years with that guy!
I will be adding him to the ANGELS page which you can find in the top menu.
Mr. Nine crossed the rainbow bridge into the big meadow unexpectedly on March 10.
If it isn’t weird enough to have 1 pet with oral cancer (Louise has Canine Acanthomatous Ambleoblastoma which we have been dealing with for months), who would ever expect to have another pet with cancer at the same time? Though they are different oral cancers.
I did not know that oral cancer is the 4th most common cause of death in cats. Cats are stoic animals, and sadly, by the time Nine’s cancer, Feline Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma, was even discovered, it was too late to treat. His jaw had disintegrated and though we tried to treat the secondary infection for over a week, we knew that he needed to be out of pain before it got out of hand for him. The growth had doubled in only a week. He didn’t want to eat and he clearly was in discomfort.
We are all in shock. Poor little Mini Cooper is lost without him. She is crying and wandering all around looking for her buddy.
There is a large hole at the DogDaz_Cats2 Zoo and in our hearts. We are keeping a light burning while he makes his journey to the big meadow over the rainbow bridge.
The vet took his paw print and made a little stone for us.
“IN THE RISING of the sun, and in it’s going down, we remember them. From the moment I wake till I fall asleep, all that I do is remember them. In the blowing of the wind and the chill of winter, we remember them. On the frigid days of winter and the moments I breathe the cold air, I warm myself with their embrace and remember them. In the opening of buds and the rebirth of spring, we remember them. As the days grow longer and the outside becomes warmer, I am more awake and I remember them.” – Hebrew remembrance