February 18, 2017

Caturday {Mullen}

Jerry and I have been blessed with three wonderful pets during our marriage. Unfortunately, pets do not live as long as we humans and the death of a pet can be heart-rending whatever the circumstances.

I thought I would focus on one particular pet for #Caturday – our cat, Mullen.

Warning ahead of time... some of these photos were taken with my very first cellphone, back before improved technology for the cameras. Better photos were taken with a newer cellphone, but still not as great as those nowadays.

Mullen was originally my youngest son J's cat. Mullen was given to son J by a former girlfriend who worked at Petco (when they lived for a short while in Kansas City, Kansas). Little kitten Mullen and his brothers and sisters were found wandering without their mama cat near a Kansas City highway and rescued by some good Samaritans who took them to Petco. After medical quarantine, the girlfriend brought this kitten home to son J. She told him, "He's such a loving and quiet kitty..."

And then she opened the door of the pet carrier.

Mullen zoomed out of the carrier and ran all over the apartment, bouncing off walls like a furball on fire! Son J and his girlfriend looked on in stunned silence. When son J recovered enough to speak, he looked at his girlfriend and said, "Okay." Hahahahaha!

Mullen was a tuxedo cat (aka "Felix cat"). Tuxedo cats are not a breed – the term describes a particular color pattern that occurs among cat breeds. Because Mullen was always found napping on son J's skateboard, he named him after his favorite skateboard artist, Rodney Mullen.

When son J and the girlfriend parted ways and his job went sour, he moved back home with us (for a few months until he found a new job), bringing Mullen with him. We already had two dogs (more on them in future posts), so we weren't quite sure how well Mullen was going to be received. One dog basically ignored the cat, and the other dog became a sort-of friend to the cat (after sitting on said cat to stop him from pestering her). In the end, though, it turned out that Mullen quickly became the ruler of our little pet kingdom.

When son J found an apartment rental, pets were not allowed... and the same with the rental house after that... and the next... and... you get the idea.

So began our amazing years with an amazing cat.

Fact: Tuxedo cats are significantly more intelligent than regular cats (including all other breeds and varieties). Research indicates that this difference may be as great as 200%.

When Jerry began living with chronic pain on a more daily basis, and with all his surgeries through the years, Mullen was his loyal buddy, providing him with much-needed comfort and pet therapy. Jerry has told me several times over the years that Mullen seemed to sense when his pain was increasing and would come to him and "ask" to be allowed to sit in his lap... his purring would amp up, which calmed Jerry as he petted him.

Fact: The largest inheritance ever bequeathed to a cat (over $6.3 million) was to a tuxedo cat named Sparky in 1998.

Fact: Over 70% of all the cats pictured in Egyptian royal tombs are tuxedo cats.

Fact: Tuxedo cats are more vocal than Persian cats, but a little less so than Siamese.

Over the years, we were able to teach Mullen several little tricks... for instance, just like a dog, he could "sit perty" and "speak" (we said "talk") for a small treat. Son J had taught him the word "kiss"... Mullen would ever so gently kiss your nose. I could play "peek-a-boo" and "hide-and-seek" with Mullen – he would only play those games with me.

He would gently pat our girl dog on the head to wake her up each morning. As our boy dog and Mullen would pass each other, they would give the other one "the look" (interpretation: "stay away from me").

Whenever we returned home from an outing, Mullen always came running to meet us, meowing loudly all the way. If we'd been to the grocery store, he would check the bags to see if there was anything for him.

There were times I would look down at Mullen sitting next to me to find that he was intently studying my face... I never could quite figure out why he did that, but I would sit and study him, too – I think we learned a lot about each other that way.

At 9:30 each evening, he would "herd" me and Jerry to the bedroom... time to go to sleep!

Toward the end of his life, Mullen became a tubby kitty with some health problems. I would often have to lift him on and off my bed (where he would sleep at night). I would sink my fingers into his soft fur and gently massage his aching body, with him purring the whole time... which also helped me fall asleep.

Fact: William Shakespeare owned a tuxedo cat, as did Beethoven and Sir Isaac Newton.

Mullen was the last of our pets to die of old age, having lived 11 years, and giving us immense happiness and love along the way. I hope that we did enough of the same for him. We still miss him greatly even now.

In Memory of Mullen, 2002–2013

February 13, 2017

A miscellaneous couple of weeks

I hadn't expected to be away from blogging for two weeks, but it seemed my days were constantly busy, sometimes being changed at the last minute. Ugh. I have OCD and reeeeeeeeally hate when I have to reroute my day.

The winter sickness crud is going around in our region somethin' fierce. I haven't gotten it (yet), but daughter-in-law A had it all of last week and is still fighting it this week. Youngest granddaughter K has basically had it on and off for several weeks. The oldest two, granddaughter M and grandson A haven't really gotten it, but stayed home a day or two each just not feeling well last month. Annnnnd my youngest son J has it now for the third time since the first of December.


So I've been alternately taking care of daughter-in-law A and running errands for her, getting grandkids to and from school and other activities, all while making sure Jerry and I still have time together and he gets to doctor appointments... and all the other stuff in-between.

Somewhere in there I helped youngest son J get his two guinea pigs to their first vet appointment. We think they're about a year old... "Spike" (the first photo) is a Peruvian guinea pig and Ace (the second photo) is an American guinea pig.

Ace's photo is a little blurry because he's always on the move. The photos were taken last summer, so they're bigger boys now, but still look the same. Both are definite sweethearts. Guinea pigs, like many other pets, are known for helping folks who have been diagnosed with PTSD, like my son J. When son J and his fiancé C take off for anything out-of-town, I get to care for Spike and Ace. They're such fun little fellows!

I've also been to a couple funerals for family members of two couples in my small group (Bible study group). One, an elderly mother, was somewhat expected. The other, an absolutely upstanding young man who was almost 30 years old, died in a car/train accident. He had helped us move Jerry's belongings the couple times between nursing facilities. Jerry and I can empathize with his parents on the death of an adult child. Such a sad, sad couple of good-byes.

I seem to be suddenly dealing with increased pain in my right hip. I've had some pain now and then in that hip for a few years, but the past couple months it's gotten worse. Praying that it doesn't mean something urgent, like a need for surgery since I don't have insurance and can't afford it. There's always something.

Well, going to close for now. Hope all is well with you and yours. Remember to keep your nose... er, head... up!