We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer
Therefore let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the word of God, in favor of that side will be cast the vote of truth. --Basil of Caesarea
Once you learn to discern, there's no going back. You will begin to spot the lie everywhere it appears.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service. 1 Timothy 1:12

Monday, July 10, 2017

A Cat Story

I’M BACK!  Well, a wee bit of a return.  My computer problem wasn’t solved so it will be down again as another tech guy goes after it tomorrow.  But I thought I’d let you know a personal story about what’s been taking a lot of time this past almost two weeks, and it is a story of our cats

We’ve always had cats since we married 41 year ago.  Jill had 5 cats at home when I met her, and after I had been out of the Army for 9 months in December 1975 I took in a 6-month-old Siamese/Angora mix who I named “The Baroness.”  A fellow worker had too many kittens and was looking for homes!  That same month I moved from my furnished apartment to an unfurnished townhouse where I planned on bringing my bride home to 8 months later (had a lot of furnishing to do!).  

Jill told me I needed a friend for the Baroness, so in April 1976, while on a garage sale date looking to furnish my apartment, I got a kitten at house with a new litter.  He was a few weeks old, and black.  Before I came up with a name Jill was visiting with me when I had the kitten outside playing and getting covered with dandelion seeds, so he became “Dandelion.”  Unfortunately, while we were on an overnight visit to family in mid-August (a couple weeks after we married), we returned to find him near death; the vet said he had distemper and it was too late to save him.

In September we got a 10-week old kitty from the animal shelter; he was black with white paws and belly, and Jill named him “Bobby Sox.”  In January 1979 when we moved from Ohio to the Chicago area and rented a townhouse, we were only allowed one pet.  Since Baroness was the one I had the longest, we sadly gave Bobby Sox away.  (Five months later we bought a house.)

Well, the Baroness was alone for too long — it wasn’t until October 1982 that we got another 6-week old kitten — a calico (Jill’s favorite kind).  This one came from a family whose child was going to the same pre-school as our daughter, and whose cat recently had a litter.  As soon as we got her home she sat on the cedar chest in front of the window and watched the birds, so her name became Audubon.

In July 1987 the Baroness was suffering from kidney failure and had to be euthanized at 12 yrs old.  Very sad, and now Audubon was alone.

Since Jill wanted another kitty as a friend for Audubon, on our anniversary the next year we went to the animal shelter to find one.  We came home with two, both about 6 months old; a big furry, gray and white guy with a roaring purr (who we named “Thunder”) and a dainty girl with colors much like the Baroness (and she was named “Silk” because it was our silk anniversary).  Thunder and our son David (almost 7 at the time) became best friends, and those two were inseparable until David married and left home 13 years later.

Audubon had a long history of respiratory problems.  On Veteran’s Day 1990, while I was at work, she curled up on the sofa with Jill and stopped breathing.  So we now had just Thunder and Silk.

In December 1995 we moved to Iowa.  Silk began having lots of urinary infections and problems with lots of visits to the vet.  One day in the summer of 1997 we found her curled in the garden dead. Thunder was now alone.

Valentines Day 1998 we went to the animal shelter to find a friend for Thunder and we brought home a 6-month-old male with black paws and bib.  Jill named him “Moonshadow” because he followed us all over and his bib looked like a moon in the night sky.

Our next kitty was another calico, who was really our daughter’s cat, which she got from a friend.  She was just a few weeks old when Emily got her in June 2000, which now gave us a trio again. Her name was Marigold.

When Emily left home in October 2001 she took Marigold with her.  Jill had really loved that one (she loves all her kitties, but has special affections for calicos), and wanted a calico of her own.  It was another year before we got Autumn Grace, who was truly a gift from the Lord.  Jill wrote about how we got this precious kitty, if you care to peruse her article.  The funny thing was that Autumn became in charge of the two boys!

By the time Thunder was 20, he was mostly deaf and had some cataracts, but he was otherwise healthy and a lap kitty.  Sadly, he took ill late one evening and, before we could take him to the vet the next day, he died of kidney failure, just three months shy of his 22nd birthday.  Ironically, he died on our son’s birthday in 2009.

Within the next year or so Moonshadow began having medical issues and had to be treated for thyroid problems.  While he was still a happy cat, his issues became more and more difficult to treat until we had to euthanize him in August 2012 (1 month shy of 15 years old), leaving Autumn Grace all alone.

Jill wanted to get another kitty, but with all the expenses of Moonshadow I wanted to put it off.  As time went by we were afraid a new kitten would change Autumn’s personality, and she was such a sweetheart we didn’t want that.  She was a kitty who always slept with us after putting us to bed, and would wake us up in the morning.  She was the most lovable cat we’ve ever had, so when she became ill the late evening of June 28th, we were concerned.  She seemed to recover somewhat but in the morning she wasn’t doing good so we took her to the vet, who decided to do tests and keep her overnight. 

The morning of June 30th the vet called with bad news.  Autumn had a bowel obstruction, and her liver and kidney functions were decreased.  The vet said she could operate to see what the obstruction was (felt it was a tumor) but wasn’t sure at her age (2 months shy of 15) if she’d survive the stress of the surgery, and if she did survive, she couldn’t guarantee any outcome without knowing exactly what the blockage was.  We went to the vet’s and looked at the X-ray and did more consultation.  She had Autumn sedated for the pain.  We decided that the best course of action was to euthanize her, and that was the hardest decision ever.  We really, really loved that one, and a lot of tears were shed over the next few days.  For the first time in 41 years we had no kitty to come home to.

We decided that we needed a kitty, but we also knew we couldn’t replace Autumn Grace, since no kitty ever had such a personality.  We also decided that we’d have to get two so they could be friends. So last Thursday, the 6th, we went to the animal shelter and took home the only kitten they had (10 weeks old), a really pretty black and white male.  What to name him was the topic of conversation on the way home.  It didn’t take long, though.  You see, Jill had seen a PBS show about Wolverines early last year, and then last summer on our trip to Yellowstone she saw a book about Wolverines, which we didn’t buy and she wished she had; but I later got it for her for Christmas, and she has been reading it.  Wolverines have huge paws with long claws, and this little kitty has big paws and long claws, so his name is Wolverine.  He’s a bundle of joy.

Saturday morning Jill called the shelter and asked if they had any more kittens yet and, with an affirmative answer, we headed up there (half-hour drive).  They had five; four males and one female.  The female, 9-weeks old, was tortoise-shell, and she was too pretty.  So she became Wolverine’s sister.  Jill had a unique name for her; she had said if she ever got another girl kitty she would name it “Zuzu’s Petals” (and I’ll let you figure out where that name came from).  These two have been so much fun to watch playing!

This morning we took both to the vet, as required by our adoption contract.  Wolverine had lots of ear wax and an ear infection (which explained why his ears were bothering him) so he also got an anti-biotic. But Zuzu has ear mites on top of ear junk.  So the vet kept her to sedate her for clearing the ears and then gave her a treatment to rid her of the mites. They are both now back to chasing each other.

We still sorely miss Autumn Grace.
The new kids, Wolverine and Zuzu's Petals:


Anonymous said...

What a great chronicle of all your kitties! Sorry to hear of your loss of Autumn Grace - what a beautiful calico, and sounds like she was so sweet. I read Jill's story about her. What a beautiful testimony. There truly is a blessing in seeing how the Lord does care about even small, seemingly insignificant things in our lives.

Zuzu's Petals... oh boy, can't guess on that one!

Being only familiar with dogs, it took me a while to "understand" cats. We've never owned one, but now that I "get" them, I have taken to many of my friends' cats. :)

Glad you're back... and with your house properly replenished with kitties! I do pray that the joy they bring overshadows the sorrow from the loss of your beloved calico. (Not a silly prayer request at all...!)


Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Hi Carolyn,

Yes, Autumn was a real blessing! As for Zuzu, I'm not saying anything until I see if someone else recognizes it. :oD

Anonymous said...

I told my husband the whole cat story. When I said "Zuzu's Petals", he said that rings a bell, but couldn't put a finger on it, so he googled it. Is it a reference to It's A Wonderful Life?


Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Cheater!!!!! :oD

Yes, it's a favorite of ours and we watch it every Christmas time. Theologically poor, but the story makes good points.

Anonymous said...

Well, neither of us would have got that without some help! :)


Jesse said...

Hi Glenn,

I believe that 22 years is pretty old for the average house cat right!?

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Yes, very old!