Jacqui (jacqui) wrote,

Hi Everybody,

I'm so glad to see that Live Journal is back up and running, phew. As usual I wrote up an entry or two, but since I couldn't post them, they're sitting in my folder here and seem dated. I may put them up later but you were clamoring for cat pictures and I thought I should do this for you first.

Well, you asked for them, so here are some pictures of the newest member of our family, Malibu. He's only three months old and he's a fawn/blue Abyssinian. I have rescued soooo many cats in my life; homeless kitties, shelter kitties, kitties who were just dropped off on my porch, or who I found on the street, and done more than my share of rescue work, so I'm using this as an excuse to justify my having taken in a pure breed when what really happened was that I saw him and it was love at first sight.

Before I show you the pictures I'm going to tell you the reason why I haven't been able to adopt another Abyssinian before now, but it's a really sad story, and I just wanted to forewarn you so you don't have to deal with this kind of thing if you're overly sensitive like me, and don't want to be sad. Just go ahead and skip down to the pictures, seriously I won't mind.

I wrote about this once before here, I think, but it was years ago, and I want to write it down again by way of explaining why I would be willing to adopt another cat, particularly a pure breed, when there are so many shelter cats who need homes. Oh and by the way, I did cruise by our local shelter last week, (I can't help torturing myself), and there weren't any cats in danger of being murdered. Luckily with the holidays lots of cats had been adopted. Of course there were tons of abandoned dogs, particularly pit bulls, (people can be such bastards), but that's another story and I'm definitely doing my share on that front.

I haven't had an Abby in almost twenty years. Virginia, our one and only Abyssinian, was such a sweetheart, and so dear to me, that after she died I could never get another for fear of having to live through the same kind of grief I'd experienced when we lost her. She was a tiny orange, or "ruddy" Abyssinian baby who we bought, (my ex and I), years and years ago before I turned into a mad cat rescuing nut gal. We had two flame point Siamese names Skinny and Mirau, (both gone now, heartbreak), and a chocolate brown Burmese who Robby named Maltibar because that was the name of the cute little cartoon stick cat he had been drawing since he was in grade school.

We were mad for these cats and took them everywhere with us. Maltibar and Virginia, (the name of the street we lived on), were the best of friends, like a brother and sister or an old married couple. They went everywhere together, were always curled up together, and groomed each other incessantly. Back then we only had one car between us and when Robby would pick me up from work he would inevitably be carrying one of the cats. Maltibar was amazing this way, like The Cat Who Went to Paris, (which is the first in a series of three really terrific cat books that everyone who loves cats should read), he liked to be with us and would make himself comfortable anywhere, even in the front of the shopping carts at the market.

Then one day Maltibar developed a small discolored patch in his eye, and thinking it wasn't anything too serious but wanting to make sure he was alright, I took him right away to the vet. The vet ran a blood test and told us that he had feline leukemia. I'd never had a cat who had that before and didn't know how grave this meant his condition was, so I held out hope and did everything I could to keep him going while he withered away. Blood transfusions, medications, IV fluids, anything to keep him alive, but when it was finally clear that he wanted to go and was only hanging on, in pain, for me, we decided to take him to the vet to have him euthanized.

I had never had to make this decision before. I was enraged that I had to choose to kill my beloved cat. I hated God, I hated everyone, my grief went so deep. I wanted to hold him while they gave him the first shot and mercifully he was so weak that he died before they could give him the second, the one that stops your heart. Then, weeping, we went home and I spent the rest of the day in my room crying with the lights off.

Later that night my friend Wilma, who worked at the vet's office, called to ask me what I had decided to do with his body, something else I'd never had to think about before. When she told me what would happen to him, (I don't want to go into this here cause just writing this is making me sad enough, you can ask me if you don't know about rendering plants etc.), if I couldn't come up with the money to pay for his cremation I flipped out and called my Mom to beg her to loan it to us. It was probably only about thirty-five dollars, but back then that was a small fortune, and we had spent everything we had on Maltibar's bills -- we were flat broke.

So there I was on the phone sobbing my heart out to my Mother and she was her intermittently super practical self - a cold unmoving wall of dispassion. Then as now, money ruled everything, even if a very small amount of it would bring an enormous measure of comfort to her sobbing daughter. My dear friend was dead and I didn't want him sent to some horrible plant in downtown Los Angeles, where they would throw his body in a vat with hundreds of other pets and boil him down to use in beauty products but Mom, predictably, wouldn't loan me the money. I was begging her to loan us the money but she just compounded my grief by lecturing me on what, "a wasteful, ridiculous, spendthrift," I was, "paying to cremate A CAT for God's sake." Then just as I was weeping harder over this latest turn of events I heard the most horrible cry coming from our little front yard. Robby, my ex, was screaming my name in panicked anguish. I'd never heard him make a sound like that -- it was like an animal howling, and it was horrible.

I ran through the living room, then out to our front stoop and leapt over the two steps and down onto the grass in our small front yard looking for Robby. He was coming from the street, walking towards me holding Virginia. He was crying and shouted, "Jacqui, some Fucker just ran over Virginia. He just ran right over her head and then he kept going." But she was still moving, so I said, "Come on, we have to go to the vet," and I turned to run for the keys, but he stopped me and said. "No, honey, you don't understand, he ran over her head, she's dead." I looked at him in shock and said, "But she's still moving!?!" Then he laid her down on the grass and I could see the side of her head that was crushed and there was blood everywhere. Her movements were just death spasms and eventually stopped.

I freaked out. Everything kind of spun together in one big paroxysm of loss and horror, and I really lost it, for a little while; I think I looked up at the sky before I screamed, then I lost control of my bladder, peed all over myself, and fainted. I think this is the only time in my life where I passed out or collapsed like that. I think I was conscious, but I kept howling for the longest time. I was completely outside of my body and I don't remember anything after that, not what we did later, or days after, it's all a big blank. I just remember never wanting to get another Abby again, never.

If you haven't really loved a cat then you probably won't understand the drama of this, but this was one of the worst days of my life, the second worst being the morning of our wedding when Skinny died, but I'll leave that horrible story for another time. Reliving this in order to write it down is more than enough for one entry. Sorry : (

The only good thing I can say, because how can I leave you with this, is that I believe cats come back, and I'm sure that the ones that don't will be there to meet you when you die. Maltibar definitely came back as Coco, who also died, so I've lost him twice, but am certain he'll be back again. Virginia may be here as one of our black forever-kittens -- there are two that act just like her, the same grace, delicacy, intelligence, and stubborn determination that just makes you want to cover them with kisses and ensure that nothing every harms them or even upsets them, and time does heal all wounds, it really truly does. My adopting an Abyssinian after all of these years is kind of the proof of this, for me at least.

So this is little Malibu. We named him Malibu like countless other people before us, because that's where we found him. These aren't the best pictures because the light was low, but I wanted to show you something and have tried to sharpen them up a bit for you.

Here he is again, laying on my bed and doing the lick, lick, chew, chew, cat grooming thing.

Here he is looking at the camera. Don't you just want to bury your face in his tiny belly?

And here he is having a really good dream. Okay, I cheated a little and added a few pixels to the edge of his mouth, heh ; )

I hope I'm not overwhelming you with pictures. I did trim them waaaayyy down, pixel and size wise, but I wanted to include this second set as well, and don't want you to miss out on them by putting them behind the cut.

I took these this afternoon. This is the shawl I bought from my friend Atra and gave to Anna that she doesn't like. I think it's weird and kind of disturbing that she doesn't like it because I took her over to Atra's before her sale, and told her she could have her pick. This is the piece she selected and I still have to pay Atra a ton of money for. She doesn't remember picking this out and wants the shawl that Esther picked out instead, sigh. But I'm secretly thrilled that she doesn't like it because I was coveting it. I've been knitting a long pink scarf to trade her for this.

While I was taking pictures Jake came up and licked Malibu for a little while. This is a super good thing as Jake is one of our top cats and his grooming the little one means that he has accepted him, phew.

And here he is right after being licked to death by Jake.
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