Oh, our furry critters, they’re just so special to us.
Our beloved feisty FiFi Bofinkles is feeling under the weather right now and it’s breaking my heart. When our pets are sick we just want to take care of them. We want to tell them to tell us what hurts, if they know what caused it, and they really need to eat because it’s important. Most of the time they just stare at you.
Here’s how it went down:
Saturday night around 8PM: FiFi Bofinkles threw up. It was clear liquid and I didn’t think much of it as cats throw up.
Saturday night: She went into the litter box, peed and then got out of there quick. This was a big warning sign as 1) Bofinkles is a crazy litter box cleaner, she leaves no litter piece untouched. 2) I was in the shower and she always stays in the bathroom with me.
Saturday late night: I came into the bedroom and she was already in her sleeping spot right above my pillow. This was the biggest warning sign to me as Bofinkles never comes to bed before me, ever. I lay down and then a few minutes later she will walk into the bedroom, I’ll call her name, she’ll lick my hand, jump up, push my Kindle out of my hand and then demand 8 thousand kisses before finally laying down.
When I finally came to sleep I nuzzled up to her ready for our nightly bedtime kisses, but she didn’t react. I rubbed behind her neck where she loves it and always does a big stretch for me to then get her belly, but she didn’t react. I called Matthew in right away and told him she didn’t seem right. He said she seemed fine, I told him she wasn’t fine and that she never ever ignores me. It’s pretty amazing how close we are that I picked up her feeling sick so quickly. It’s like she knew all the signs to give me and I was there to receive them. Then we noticed she kept opening and closing her mouth, licking her lips, whipping her tail. Matthew then agreed that she definitely was not ok. We laid with her and I begun to worry about her, like a cat Mom does. As many of you guys know, we lost Essy almost 2 months to the day so I began to quickly fear for the worse even though it was uncalled for. It was just the way she was moving her mouth was what Essy did when she was saying goodbye to us, and it just all hit me so hard. We slept that night, with me cuddled up to her, getting not much sleep as I constantly woke up, rubbed up and checked on her.
Sunday morning came and Bofinkles was still the same. The last time anyone saw her eating was Friday night so it was a full 24 hours without food or water. I called the Vet as soon as they opened. They said they had no open appointments but I could walk in, there would probably just be a wait. Ok, that’s fine, off into a cab I went with Bofinkles.
Have you heard the sounds of a cat mixed with cab dispatching? It’s quite a remix.
So we got to the vet and as soon as we arrived a vet nurse came out to help. No wait, you aren’t no nurse…..
Also want to note here that Bofinkles did not hiss at this cat, she only hisses at her sister Xanadu. 🙂
I only had to wait about 30 minutes which was nice, even though the vet office was popping with sick walk-ins that morning. After a quick examination (she never likes the temperature part) they couldn’t really spot anything physically wrong with her. I did notice she was a few ounces lighter than a few months ago though and the vet commented she seemed a bit light in the back (bodacious Bofinkles glares in response). Bofinkles was dehydrated though so they did give her IV fluids and just to be blunt, she was pissed off. Her Southern Belle (she’s from the South) attitude really shined here, growls and hisses and everything we love about her.
Because Bofinkles is 13 years old they then ran a series of blood and urine tests on her, which meant more pointy things in her body, which again, did not please her. Her test results would be back in 24 hours. This series of tests is a Senior Screening and checks things like Blood Count, White Blood Cells, Red Blood Cells, Kidney and Liver values, blood sugar, URI inflammation, Cancerous cells, etc. You know, all the most terrifying things.
RESULTS: AS I WAS WRITING THIS POST HER VET CALLED, ALL THINGS LOOK GREAT AND NORMAL. THANK GOODNESS! *KISSES BOFINKLES A MILLION TIMES*
Which leaves us with… what is wrong with her?
It’s now been 48 hours with no food or water. I have tried to tempt her with every type of food and treat possible. Her favorite sandwich, a bowl of noodles, cheese, every type of soft food she loves, greenie treats, etc… all a failure. She seems to want to sniff the food now, but won’t eat it. I have a tea cup full of water and a plate of bread crumbs (a favorite) next to her, just in case she gets hungry. The vet is leaving me a appetite stimulant to pick up from the office later today.
Then the Vet asked me if we had a kitten, which big news that I didn’t announce yet, WE DO. His name is Goblin and he is glorious but more about that later. She said that perhaps his fecal matter could have caused Bofinkles to be sick which would be a reason why she had very wet stool this morning, but then I reminded the vet that we took the kitten to them last week for a check up exam and fecal test and everything came back negative. So she suggested I bring a fecal sample of every single cat in, which is just going to be a adventure to get. I guess I’ll be on bathroom duty for the next 24 hours.
I set up a little Bohemian blanket spot for Bofinkles and me to lay, but every time I leave I find Brother Bear checking on her. He’s just the sweetest boy ever, honestly.
A positive is that this afternoon she seems more responsive to talking to her. If I call her name, she will look, if I kiss her she will raise her head. She also appeared down by my desk, so I put her on my lap and there she gave me a handful of sweet head butt kisses which is what we do together and that basically warmed my heart with happiness.
So right now she lays behind my laptop, that’s her spot. I’m hoping by the end of the night we can get some food in her… wish her luck!
I’ll be sure to keep you guys updated on her, I just want a healthy Bofinkles back!
This is a love letter to one of the most important ladies that ever entered my life, my big mom, Essy Francis.
Essy was born in 1994 and died on Thursday January 16 2014 at 11:08 AM. I got to hold her hand as she took her last breaths of air as her toes twitched and she ran off to chase those turkeys.
Our hearts are broken and I didn’t know crying this much was possible. Essy was more than a pet, she was part of our family, the family we created together. Essy was with us from the beginning and went through every experience, adventure and obstacle Matthew and I have shared together. Essy was one of my best friends and she is the sole reason for my love affair with cats. She changed my life. She loved me, I loved her, she took care of me and I took care of her, all in our own ways of showing. I really can’t possibly imagine a life without waking up to her every single morning, seeing her lay in the sunshine during the summer afternoons and watching her whip past her sisters and brother to get to the cat food first in the evening. Her soft food is in the closet, her plate and bowl are there too, her Crinkles frog is in her bed but she’s not here with us anymore. I can’t rub her big fluffy cheeks, I can’t pick her up to dance, I can’t swing Xanadu in front of her to sniff, I can’t bug her while she’s sleeping to cause her to grumble at me. I miss her so much. We miss her so much. It’s hard to put into exact words what she meant to us, but I’m just going to say she meant everything to us. We will miss her terribly forever. She will forever be our Big Mom, our Essy Francis, our Chocolate Bear. I’m so lucky to have loved her and been able to share her last seconds with her. She will always be my Meowza. I love you so much Essy.
In the times of saying goodbye, I found myself going back to documenting everything. Taking pictures, breaking out the 4×5 and medium format cameras to take one last Polaroid of Essy, and crying my way through many videos. I wanted to document her departure, it allowed me to talk to her, reminisce stories with Matthew and keep her spirit with us forever. This was one of the last videos I made, we knew it was close to the end.
Warning: Post is long, picture heavy, emotional and graphic towards end.
The Story of Essy
I met Essy in 2003 when Matthew and I started dating. The first time I met her was back in Ohio, under a kitchen table. I reached out my hand for her to come over to sniff it. I knew she was eyeing me up, after all Matthew was hers (always will be). You see, Essy and Matthew have been together since 1994. Matthew got Essy when she was a few months old from a shelter, he was 10 years old and in 5th grade. Essy wasn’t always named Essy, her first name was Snuggles which quickly changed when everyone realized she wasn’t interested in snuggling. Then her name changed to “S”, short for Snuggles, then finally it became Essy. That one stuck. So there I was on a kitchen floor, asking her to come over and give me a chance. Shocking to all, she came over, rubbed against me and let me pet her. We were friends instantly.
(us meeting for the first time in 2003)
Months later Matthew and I moved in together in downtown Pittsburgh. 2 weeks into our first apartment, Essy took the drive from Ohio and Pennsylvania to join our family. Prior to Essy I never had a cat of my own so I was pretty worried. After all, I wanted her to love me because I was already in love with her. I remember the morning before she arrived, I rushed to a pharmacy down the street to buy her treats and a toy mouse. Was I trying to bribe her? Sure. But really I just wanted to spoil her and for her to know she was welcomed. Essy finally arrived that day, she ate the treats, she ignored the mouse. This would be something she would do many more times in our life. She always liked to play hard to please. We loved her because of it.
So there we were, our 3 person family (with plenty of stuffed animals) living on the 18th floor in Downtown Pittsburgh. We spent the days with her building mazes made out of boxes, having her chase lasers and always sharing the deli turkey. You’ll learn later about Essy’s intense love for turkey. Eventually we got the offer to move up one story to the 19th floor to a even bigger apartment with the most amazing views of Pittsburgh. The apartment was right across the river from PNC Park, the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball stadium. Because we were literally right across from it with nothing but a river in between, this would lead to plenty of nights full of fireworks right in our front window. A barge would come onto the river and blow the sky with neon colors almost a few times a week during baseball season. Essy hated these fireworks. She growled, hit the floor and ran. She never learned to love fireworks after living there. Outside of running away from fireworks, she continued her days looking at the windows at the city below her. She had a pretty comfortable life, full of love and soft food. What more could you ask for?
A side story. Essy has eaten soft food forever, literally since the beginning. When she came home from the shelter in 1994 Matthew’s family tried to give her hard food. Essy glanced at the bowl and walked away. After negotiations were made (aka: hunger strike) they tried soft food. It was a hit. Essy would for the rest of her life would only eat soft food. When she lived in Ohio and heard the can opener, she ran for it. Later on in life I would tap on a can and she would round the corner. Her favorite brands varied, as long as it was shredded or diced she was ok (no pate). Later in life she got very picky and needed variety, she liked to keep us on our toes and would like for us to change the brand whenever she wanted. Did it matter that we just stocked up and bought 100 cans? No, it didn’t matter at all. Did it matter her weekly food bill was up there in the unbelievable category? Not at all. Just keep feeding her the good stuff and you’d stay on her good side. And the good stuff better have gravy and lots of it. Occasionally early on if we had to go on a trip and leave her alone for a few days we would leave her hard and soft food. What did she do? Pick the soft food out. She would not touch the hard food. She was spoiled. We were later learn in life how hard it was to separate Essy with her Queen eating habits with 3 other cats who wanted the same diet. Eventually Essy ate in a different room. Yes, her own private dining room with her own private food. Hook, line and sinker.
We needed to make a professional change so we took a big chance and rented a U-Haul. We were moving to New York City. We left Pittsburgh late one night with memorable experiences of the U-Haul not turning on while our entire life is packed in the back. Essy, in a dog sized crate, was tucked between us on the front seat. We made the drive from Pittsburgh to New York, with a pit stop at my childhood home. I’m really happy I got to show her where I grew up, and I think she really liked it. She ran up and down those stairs in my house, darted down the carpeted hallway and owned the recliner in the living room. She made my home, her own. Now it was back on the road and time to cross the Verrazano Bridge, we were in Brooklyn A new chapter began.
We moved into a blank loft space. It was ours to create our new home. As soon as the couch was unpacked, Essy jumped up on to the arm of it, a favorite place of hers. This couch arm would many years down the road, completely sink in due to the amount of cat loving it got. Essy loved the couch arm, and she loved furring it up. This home would be the place that Essy would die in. The couch was gone, it was replaced with soft rugs and plenty of cat beds. I remember fondly when learned about heated cat cabins. Essy was ecstatic. I don’t think she came out of it for a few months, except for food of course.
Over the next few years we would bring more furry cats into our life. In 2006, Xanadu Pluto entered. Essy spent the first 12 years of her life being the Queen, and now we bring in a Siamese who won’t stop meowing? And why is she so active? And why won’t she stop trying to clean me? These were all Essy’s thoughts, but she learned to love her. She was never a snuggler with the other cats but she tolerated Xanadu unlike Brother Bear and FiFi Bofinkles where she never quite got their appeal. Even though she didn’t welcome Brother or FiFi with open paws, they knew she was the queen of the house. The watched over her. Instead of stealing her food in front of her, they would form a line at dinner waiting behind her. Eventually Essy would look up from the food bowl and see a much larger than her Brother Bear waiting dangerously close behind her and dart out of there.
But it was the thought that counts, everyone respected her. Towards the end in the last months and at the very end, Essy and Xanadu became friends, something that Xanadu desperately wanted her entire life. All those years of trying to knead her cheeks, attempting to clean her head when she wasn’t looking, and those days of watching Essy walk by her and trying to jump on her to ride her paid off. Essy was finally ok with Xanadu. She got the big Essy stamp of approval. Essy would tolerate Xanadu sniffing her head while she slept. At the very end, Xanadu stayed next to her, on the same blanket, watching over her. At one time she even tried to climb on top of her to sleep on her. And then there’s the moment where Xanadu head bumped Essy’s body to say “I’m here, it’s ok” which broke Matthew and I both into hysterical tears.
Through the years, we shared so many great memories so I just wanted to share a few of the ones that really stick out.
Essy loved deli meat, I think she lived for it. When she was able to, she would jump on the kitchen island and steal that piece of turkey right off your sandwich. As soon as she heard the refrigerator door, she would prepare herself. We would rip off pieces and she would stand on tip toes to get to them.
Thanksgiving was Essy’s favorite holiday. It was all about turkey. We used to say all during the year that we had to fatten Essy up as she was our Thanksgiving turkey. The night before Thanksgiving, we would usually brine our turkey, and Essy smelled that raw turkey right out of the package. She would start to pace, licking her lips, the time was near. During Thanksgiving dinner she would always have her own plate. Over the next few days she kept a serious eye on the leftovers. 4AM snack sessions with leftover turkey slices were had.
Essy was known as not much of a people person. If you weren’t her family she really didn’t want to bother with you, which made people love her even more. I think she knew this trick and played it up. Often when people visited she went into the bathroom to get away which would end up a uncomfortable situation when said stranger had to use the bathroom. They would often finish up in the bathroom then tell me “Your cat watched me pee”. Yes, she did, and she judged you every minute of it.
I loved to bug Essy.
In one of the first years I knew her I wanted to get her something real special for Christmas. I ended up buying her what I thought was a extremely large cat tunnel that she could run in and play. On Christmas morning when we opened the present with her I realized this big cat tunnel was actually incredibly tiny, maybe made for a guinea pig. Essy eyed it up with disappointment, she was not going to play with this. On that Christmas she did go into the tunnel once (well like half of the way in), stood still so I could take a picture and then eased her way out looking up at me “Are you happy now? I did it once, never again.”. We still get a good laugh about how sad that cat tunnel was.
Once while Xanadu was bugging Essy to play with her, we picked up Xanadu so Essy could sniff her. Instead of just sniffing, Essy took a big bite (not hurtful) out of Xanadu’s leg hoping this would send the message. Xanadu loved it and practically begged Essy over the next few years to nibble on her.
Xanadu really liked to bug Essy too.
Whenever there was sunshine on the floor, Essy would lay in it, sprawled out on her back with her paws curving up. She loved the sunshine. She would roll to each side in happiness as her belly got sun.
During the winter months Essy loved the heater. She would walk right up a heater on full blast and lay there, enjoying every minute of it. Eventually she became so hot we had to move her away from the heater. She would walk right back to it.
We tried gardening inside one year with some window planters. There were a few small plants, bu they lasted about 2 months until one day we came home and Essy was sprawled out in the window box, with the wooden sticks that held up the plants now knocked down. We moved the garden to the roof.
Essy was crazy over catnip. Anytime she got a sniff the next few minutes were the greatest time of her life. She would roll around in the nip, her belly would be covered, a mess would be made on the floor or table. All we had to do was shake the bag of nip and she came running. We would always celebrate Essy’s birthday on January 31. One birthday at midnight where we sang her happy birthday and gave her gifts we gave her a long blue cat toy that catnip inside. We never saw her acted so wild. She kicked, bit, and destroyed that cat toy with all the love she could muster. She was on a catnip high, she was feeling good. We would try catnip tea a few years later which left her in a Dora Explorer discussion ecstasy, I posted about it here.
Besides catnip, Essy loved Cat grass. I would often go to the farmers market to buy some and then when I got home she saw what was in my hands and ran ran over to it. She especially loved when you sprinkled water on it so she could lick the moist drops. We would sometimes grow our own cat grass, Essy was usually spotted guarding that grass waiting for it to come up.
Essy has had some nicknames, but none stuck better than “Mom” or “Big Mom”. She was not a big cat, but she was full of feist and spirit and that’s what made her big. We called her Mom because she was in charge of us and the other cats. She told us what to do and we aimed to please her quickly. Many friends referred to her as “Mom”. On the bottom of our front door written in chalk it says “Hi Big Mom”, I put it there years ago so she could see it when she walked by. It’s still there.
We lived on Essy’s time schedule. Just because we were sleeping didn’t mean she was, she wanted food, even at 3AM or 5AM. Eventually she figured there was a spot on a wall which was hollow, which if she stood on 2 legs and banged, the wall, closet and everything on that side of the room would shake, waking us up. She did this for nights for years until we finally fixed the spot in the wall. Boy, was she mad. So she did what she had to do, she started to come to the bedroom door and banged on that. We couldn’t stop that. Outside our bedroom door there is a desk where she would sit on and howl (I called it singing) to incredible pitches during the night to get food. She would just go on and on until someone came out the door and tended to her. Most of the time I was the gullible one and I would walk from the bedroom, still drowsy from sleep and she would quickly stop meowing before I would open the door. She would look up at me and say “Oh, you’re up? I wonder what caused that.” and then immediately jump down and lead me to her bowl.
When Essy lived in Ohio she escaped into the woods for a few days, everyone thought she was gone forever. Then one day she showed back up at the house. She wanted food immediately. She learned she liked the luxurious inside life a whole lot better.
Whenever a big truck went down the street and you heard it’s engine for a block long, we would say that was Essy in the truck as she was known for her loud belly rumbles.
We made up a story (or was it real?) that Essy was a successful graphic designer in Honolulu, Hawaii where she owned her own design firm. We always told her we were so proud of her.
Because of her successful business, we always said Essy was very wealthy. We had a dollar bill that sat next to her bowl that everyone would ask us “What is that dollar?”. We would always respond “That’s Essy’s money.” Sadly someone one day took that dollar. We replaced it with another dollar. Someone took that one. Essy was furious that someone stole her 2 dollars.
Essy would eat anything that was “real people food”. She absolutely loved white bread, I would sit there and rip off little pieces and she would eat it out of my hand like a little bird. She loved eggs, she loved noodles (she stole noodles from my soup bowl), she loved any type of meat or shrimp. She would eat a potato chip if she could.
What I’m about to share below is what we thought was best for Essy. The discussion of what to do when your pet’s life is near the end has endless arguments, but I really believe it’s a personal decision and you will know what’s right for your furry loved one. Being with Essy up until the very end, paw in hand, being in her home, surrounded by her family, feeling loved and safe, seeing her die naturally was how she would have wanted it. All I can say is, do what you think is right. Only you honestly knows your pet and what they would want. Looking back on it, I was worried I would be full of regrets but I have none. I’m so happy and honored to have been with the Essy until the end.
I wanted to share this section incase you are reading this and are experiencing the same thing. So many people became Internet Friends over Essy’s last few days without knowing it. I relied on posts and videos for information and what to expect. I found myself in one of the last few nights, sitting with Essy knowing it was the end while rubbing her paw with one hand and scrolling through blog comments with another. Reading through each comment I found myself feeling like these people were here with me. They were writing the same things I was experiencing or soon would be. It’s really beautiful that people can share their experiences, no matter how sad, it’s a a great feeling to let it out and put it into words. For all those strangers out there that helped me through it, you’ll never know it, but I thank you forever.
We’ve known for quite some time it was nearing the end. As the years went on, Essy got slower and lost weight, but she was still pretty active. To be honest, up to just a few days before her death, she was jumping on tables and doing wild 4 feet horizontal jumps which made us cringe every time (she loved that). She would land a jump and look at us saying “Did you see that? I hope you did.”. If we had to travel for business, a cat sitter would be here everyday and they were given the sad details that Essy was old and not to freak out if anything happened. But she kept on trucking (in her Mom Bear rumble belly spirit)….
On Sunday January 12, Essy was up to no good, attacking her Dad in the kitchen for whatever food he was making (honestly, any type of food). Just that day she did one of those horizontal jumps that left all the other cats in awe. She was just being herself, but we still knew she was getting older. I weighed her and she was 4.3 pounds. Just a few months ago she was 5 pounds. A few years ago she was a healthy 8. For dinner that night she sat at the table with us trying to steal our food, she always got her way.
On Monday January 13 I noticed Essy increasingly being in the bathroom while we were here which was odd. She really only went into the bathroom when strangers were here so she couldn’t be bothered. I tried to find her before I left and after becoming very worried that I couldn’t find her, I found her sitting in the corner in the shower. I carried her out and gave her some food. I had a can of Thanksgiving Day Turkey left in the closet kept there as a real treat so I gave that to her. She ate it quickly and enjoyed it. Later on Monday night I was about to get a shower and Essy went into the shower while the water was on, not scared at all. It became apparent to us that she wanted to be on the cool floor in the bathroom. Later that night she got a big can of some gourmet tuna (looked like people food) that she enjoyed (as did the other cats).
On Tuesday January 14 Essy continued to be in and around the bathroom while laying on the floor, but she still walked around the house and jumped up on her table. While I was at the dentist Matthew texted me to tell me that Essy would not eat deli turkey. This was the first time ever. Something was very wrong. When I came home I found Essy in the bathroom on the floor again. I rubbed her cheeks, gave her kisses, bothered her so much and I hope she enjoyed it as much as I did. I knew there sitting in the bathroom this was it. Essy looked at me and told me. Matthew and I sat on the floor with her, she got up and walked over to Matthew’s lap and hopped on it. She always loved his lap more than mine even though I begged her everyday to be my lap cat. This was always her way of saying she was Matthew’s #1, too bad. While sitting on her lap, Xanadu jumped up too and head butted Essy’s belly, something that she never does, and Essy allowed her. Matthew and I started to cry. Xanadu knew too. Essy got down, walked to her water bowl, rubbed her toes in it and took a drink. This would be the last food or drink she ever ate. Then she walked over to the front door and plopped down in front of it. After she was done laying here, she walked over to her table, jumped from the chair to the top and laid down. We would soon learn that this would be the last time she ever jumped up to her table or was able to stand up without help. We stayed with her that night, talking to her, telling her we loved her. We broke out the 4×5 camera to document her while she slept next to her Crinkles Frog. We went to bed, but then I heard her meow so I ran out and stayed with her until very late AM. I started this blog post then, read other blog posts about people and cats going through the same situation and just loved her. Xanadu sat by her side almost through it all.
On Wednesday January 15 I sat with her while Matthew had to go teach the first day of class this semester. We already talked (cried) a plan in case Essy died while he was gone. Basically all I did that morning and afternoon was sit with her. I played ambient space music (always thought she was a space cat) while telling her so many stories. I cried a million times. I rubbed her paw between my fingers even more. I made videos of her. I sung to her (sorry Essy). I brought over a ham sandwich to give her some happiness from the smells. When I tried to feed her a piece of a nibble of bread, she completely ignored it. I cried more. Around this time Essy tried to stand up and she just just fell down. We knew it the end, but I tried to be hopeful about the whole situation and lie to myself saying she would get better. It’s funny how at moments like this you look for some type of miracle, even though I’m not religious. It’s incredibly selfish, I know, but I just wanted her to be around forever. When she fell down, I picked her up and put her back on her bed. From here out, Essy’s only real movement would be head lifts and trying to get comfortable by moving her front paws. Occasionally her tail would still have a mind of it’s own too. When Matthew got home, we just stayed with her for the rest of the night. We were pretty sure she would die any hour now so she just wanted her to be comfortable. Her paws started to get increasingly cold so we put her blanket on top of her. Crinkles Frog was always next to her giving her kisses (with us on the other side kissing the heck out of her). Her breathing started to change, by this time we watched her belly breathe to know if she was still here. A long inhale was a long moment to watch. We thought it was going to happen during the night so we took her into the bedroom with us which was a bit silly because the bedroom was one room she never went into. While Matthew carried her into the bedroom, Essy didn’t meow or struggle, she just laid there. We put her next to the bed where we continued to talk to her, rub her paws more and cry. I know I’ve mentioned crying alot but I just want to say it’s good to cry. Cry your heart out. We cried so many times during these days that at times it almost felt like we couldn’t cry anymore (which wasn’t true, we cried more). Get your emotions out. We wanted Essy to know how much we loved her. We know she was probably thinking “Tell these people to stop crying”. That was our Essy, our feisty bear. During that night Essy just stared straight ahead. To be honest Essy’s eyes pretty much remained open completely since Tuesday night. Her eyes would never close again. But that night, they didn’t dart around, they just stared straight ahead. There was one moment though where Xanadu walked up to her and sniffed her head and Essy’s eyes moved to her. It was beautiful, I’m really happy Essy was around her sisters and brother. So we tucked her in. Told more stories. And then gave her a kiss goodnight. That was the only night where all 4 of our cats would sleep in the bedroom with us. We were a full happy family.
During the very early hours on Thursday January 16 Essy would let out a little soft sound every now and again. We (and Xanadu) cared for her every time she did that. Sleep was on and off that night, most of it was just laying in bed while thinking aimlessly. We crawled back down to the floor with Essy at 10AM that morning to start a new day. I got dressed and then sat down next to her, paw in hand. Because I read so many articles about the dying process, when I heard Essy start to move her mouth in and out gasping for little breaths of air, I really knew it was it. Essy would be gone very soon. I looked at Matthew and told him this was it. We both continued to kiss her, tell her how much we loved her, how good of a girl she was and we loved her forever. I moved her blanket off her to monitor her breathing belly. For the next few minutes her mouth would open and close. I told her to chase those turkeys while seeing her tongue dart out every now and again. I imagined her seeing turkeys further away and licking her lips waiting to get closer to them. I just kept whispering to her, rubbing her paw in my hand. Her back legs started to shake, I rubbed them with the other hand. Then while I had her paw in my hand, she took her last breath. Her belly never rose again. For the next few minutes, her muscles twitched one last time. She was gone. I rested my head on her belly and bawled. I picked her up and held her like a baby. Matthew did the same thing. That Essy sure was a special girl.
We let the cats all say their goodbyes to her as we thought it was right to do. Some people say pets don’t know, some people say they do know when a friend has died, either way we wanted them to know. In cat fashion, they each said their goodbyes in their own personality driven ways. Xanadu sniffed her curiously. Brother Bear, always soft and sweet tried to lay on top of her. FiFi Bofinkles hissed at her. You might think the hiss was mean, but in all honestly it was nice. Essy and FiFi were never friends, they were both the old ladies of the house. It was nice to know that even though Essy was no longer there with us, FiFi was still intimidated by the Queen Bee Essy. She would have been proud.
We brought Essy out into the other room and gave her a few more hugs and kisses. I held her like a baby again. I couldn’t stop. Essy was never big on holding so it was a bit of a moment when I finally got to do it. We laid her in her blanket and covered her up. We called for a car and headed to the Vet.
We really couldn’t have asked for a better Vet experience. We went to VERG in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn and as soon as we walked through the door and told them why we were there, they immediately rushed us into our own room. They were kind, one nurse even cried with us while Matthew told her he had her since he was 10 years old. A few more nurses came in and we went over the paperwork (it was short, they understood). We knew we wanted Essy privately cremated. Another nurse came in and said when we were ready she would take Essy away. We kissed her, said our final goodbyes, but said we would see her again. We would see her everyday, she would always live in our hearts. Always. A nurse came back, took Essy in her blanket and said to wait a few more minutes. When the nurse came back she gave us a a clay ceramic plaque that had Essy’s name, paw prints and date on it. Goodness, that was beautiful. We were going to be able to feel her toes forever. The amount of times we rubbed those toes over the next few days were many.
Then we walked home holding hands. Matthew was pretty quiet while I just continued to talk nonstop reminiscing Essy stories. On the way home I passed a dog and that dog looked at me with the saddest eyes and continued to follow me down the street. In some way, this felt right, I felt like Essy was that special that even the dog knew it.
Dealing With Essy Not Being Here
This blog entry has come a long way, I started writing it while Essy was still here with us and now it ends with Essy not here. It’s been quite a heart breaking journey.
After we came home from the Vet and walked in the door, we just cried. We cried a whole lot the last few days. We will cry when we walk in the door and Essy is not waiting for us. We cry when we eat dinner and she’s not in between us at the table. I cried when washing the dishes and seeing her spoons I used to scoop her food with, I had to put them away for the first time. Often when I woke up during the middle of the night I would tip toe to and from the bathroom not to wake Essy up, because that would mean I would be up at 5AM feeding her for 10 minutes. Somehow that never worked and as soon as I thought I was safe and was going to be able to creep back into bed, Essy would burst through the bathroom door saying “Oh, no you dont”. I miss that so much, I’m begging a cat to keep me up. The day after Essy died we both woke up and looked for her to be on her table but she wasn’t there. We had to remove her food bowl and mat which broke our heart. Brother Bear still goes to the place where her food used to be in hopes of being able to steal a bite.
If you’ve read all this, I thank you for sticking with me. Essy was the closest person to me that I ever lost and it’s been a emotional journey. Matthew and I and our kitty family just really want everyone to know how much of a special girl she was. She was beautiful, caring, sweet, brave and incredibly full of good ol fashioned Essy Bear attitude.
Thank you to every single person who has shown love to us and our family through real life hugging it out, email, texts, phone calls and comments (on all social media). Just hearing your caring words has really helped us through this.
As I’m beginning to write this, FiFi Bofinkles is at my feet. She’s circling me, she’s rubbing up against my ankles, every now and then 2 paws appear on my knee caps and she begins to rub them. Her green eyes meet my blue ones, I fall in love all over again.
FiFi came to us in 2009 and to say she has stole my heart is a big understatement. The story of her arrival though wasn’t expected.
In 2009 we went to a cat show here in New York called “Meet the Breeds”. It’s basically a show where you can walk around and pet and baby talk every single breed of cat. For those obsessed with cats, this is basically the greatest day of the year. There Matthew and I met a white Persian cat named Georgia. Matthew fell in love. He took pictures with her, snuggled in her fur, and then on the subway ride home it was all about Georgia. At that time we “only” had 2 cats, Xanadu and Essy, but were thinking about adding a 3rd. So we set off on a online journey to visit all the shelters and Craigslist to see if we could find and rescue a Persian cat. After a few days we came across a Persian named Chloe. She was beautiful. We sent a email and a few days later we had a interview to meet Chloe in Brooklyn Heights. There we met Chloe and hoped we would all get along. There was another cat there in the apartment that the owners were looking for a home for too, but we didn’t pay much attention to her as our attention was on Chloe. A few days later we received a disappointing email saying they decided to go with another family for Chloe, someone who was more familiar with the grooming process with Persians. Then the email went on to say that their other cat, the ordinary one that noone paid much attention to next to Princess Chloe, still needed a home and she seemed to fall in love with Matthew during the visit – did we want to adopt her? My heart was broken. How could we say no to this innocent kitty? The next day I was picking FiFi up in a cab with a catnip banana. FiFi came with her own stroller too – I’m not kidding – but that explains basically everything about her. The owners told me that FiFi was born in the South, sold in a pet store looking very sickly where her original owner bought her out of worry. Eventually she moved from the South to New York City. She’s 100% Southern Belle.
On the cab ride home she cried, I rubbed her cheeks through the cat carrier. Then we got home and she was pretty terrified of her new surroundings so she hid under the couch for the next few days. I was heart broken again, I wanted her to feel safe. So for the next few days while she hid under the couch, I set up my work station on the floor in front of the couch. I worked on my laptop, read, ate lunch on that floor. FiFi came closer to me everytime I put my hand under the couch to try to talk her out. Eventually she came out, head first, belly next, finally her entire body. There she rubbed her head all over my lips again and again and again. FiFi we learned quickly had alot of love to give. There the name FiFi Bofinkles was created as it randomly came out of my mouth.
Years later – FiFi Bofinkles adopted me to the role of her best friend and protector. She is everywhere where I am. If I’m sleeping, she’s on my pillow. If I’m on my computer, she’s on my desk. If I’m working out, she’s stretched out in Yoga like positions on my mat, if I’m in the shower, she’s outside of it pawing to get in, if I’m washing dishes she’s on the counter between me and the sink, if I’m trying to entertain a friend she’s on my lap wondering why I’m not paying her full attention. My FiFi Bofinkles, she’s everywhere. And no matter where she is, she’s demanding kisses. I’ve often said we could get her a kissing booth and she would become a billionaire. She loves kissing. Everyday she requests somewhere between 600 to 8,000 kisses. And if you make the first move and kiss her, instinct kicks in and the next hour her head will be planted your lips. She’s my kissing machine.
She came to us unexpected, and I ended up getting a best friend out of the deal. I couldn’t imagine my life without this cat. She cheers me up when I’m sad, she tells me I’m special in her own way, she loves me. I’m spoiled by such a special girl.
So let’s meet FiFi Bofinkles, she’s quite a character….
FiFi Bofinkles, can you wake up? I want to introduce you to some friends.
Yes, you. Can you wake up?
I’m sorry that I woke you.
No, don’t fall back sleep again.
Ok, Ok, I get it. You are tired.
Ok, go back to sleep….
Let’s try it again. Can I talk to you for a few minutes?
Let me put my hand on your head. No FiFi Bofinkles, don’t fall down and go to sleep again..
Look, if you let me introduce you then we can kiss later. I thought that would get your attention.
I wanted to show everyone how cuddly you were and how you push yourself under my blanket.
I wanted to show everyone how you jump in my lap, put your paws over my arm, demand my hands as a pillow and fall asleep.
Oh man, I lost your attention again..
I know you aren’t sleeping, you were just awake.
Again, with the yawns..
I wanted to show everyone how cute your little wet pink nose is. Can I do that?
Brother Bear is our very special cat. He gets lots of special attention for many reasons:
-He’s the only boy.
-He’s the baby.
-He’s very fluffy.
-He has the softest meow in the world.
-He is scared of thunder.
-He loves kisses.
-He just wants to hang out, he’s our bodyguard cat.
-When we first got him, he was going through tough times with different illnesses. After many trips to the vet, operation, quarantine, we gained his trust for always being there and telling him it was going to be ok. It wasn’t easy in the beginning.
Brother is a Maine Coon, also known as the breed of gentle giants, and that is what he is. He’s 15 pounds of strong body, but has the gentlest baby like personality.
We’re in love with him. I just wanted to tell you. You can totally be in love with him too. He is a good guy.
Below is one morning with him..
When I wake up I can usually find him in this blue bed during the Spring time mornings. He has the best yawns.
He has the fluffiest “wings”.
Then he jumped down onto a box and put his head down. This is his preferred way of laying.
He can stay like this for hours, and does.
So I like to crawl under him and rub his chin.
Every now and then he will let me touch his toes.
But not much. “Don’t touch the toes Mom”.
Then Xanadu showed up and plopped herself on my belly. But back to the Brother show..
He will follow airplanes in the sky…
His paws are always stretched out in the most elegant manner.
When he looks up at you with those eyes – Oh man, I melt. After I took this picture I just picked him up and kissed him all over.
And when you call for him, he runs. He’s happy, he’s excited. It’s the best feeling in the world to get home and see Brother Bear run for you, just to rub his cheeks all over your ankles.
My good pals William and Lia brought us back us back some goodies from Japan (aka, my dream destination). In this bag of goodies were a couple satchels of this cat tea. Not being able to read Japanese, I wondered, is this tea for a cat? Is it for me? Is it for both of us? What is this? I mean there’s a cat on the front who looks like they are drinking some tea – really? What kind of tea is this?
So a quick text sent to my friend Saya who is from Japan confirmed this is in fact tea for your cat. Not any type of tea – this is CATNIP TEA. I know, take a second to think about this..
So I opened up the package and inside was just one tea bag – very catnip smelling by the way. How catnip smelling? FiFi Bofinkles showed up to smell it. Then I confirmed with Saya the amount of water (16 ounces), temperature (hot or cold would work) and then I made it.
I used 8 ounces cold, 8 ounces warm water. I let it cool down to room temperature.
You can see it turned a slight yellow/green color while steeping. Omg guys, I’m steeping tea for my cats. I question my sanity.
Then I put it into a bowl because I thought a tea cup might cross the line for me….
And I waited.
FiFi Bofinkles showed up first. She wasn’t interested. She knew the smell but in liquid form? Not having it. She moved away to a food bowl and ate instead.
The real girl I was waiting for was Essy. Essy is catnip obsessed, I’m sure some would say she needs to rehabilitated or needs a detox. Girl likes her nip. She’s 19.. she does what she wants.
I left the bowl for a few minutes and Matthew called out “Is Essy ok?” I walked over and Essy was laying on the ground rolling around, rubbing her paws into her cheeks. “She’s all wet” Matthew said feeling her face. ESSY HAS A TEA FACE. That sneaky girl. So Essy was really feeling the magic of the catnip tea. She was doing her stretches and rolling movements when she’s under the influence. Then I played with her and she bit my finger because she probably thought it was a dinosaur. She felt good.
I waited until she went back to the tea and she did. Where she then slid her cheeks all over the bowl, inside the bowl, dipped her chin. Basically she bobbed for tea. After rubbing her cheeks in the tea some more, she just stood there and stared at her Dora the Explorer plate. I wish I could know what was going through her head during those 36 minutes of non movement. Was Dora talking to her? Was she plotting to hurt Dora? Was she living in a animated rainbow? Who knows.
20 minutes later, she was still here. I rubbed her face and she was soaked. I’m pretty sure she just put her head in it, so in fear of Essy drowning in catnip tea, I removed it. The tea bowl was full of Essy fur.
If you can get this, I would try it. I have a few more teabags that I will let Brother and Xanadu try. Just watch out for Essy!
This is a tale of FiFi Bofinkles and the telephone. As soon as I get on the telephone, Bofinkles jumps on my lap. Bofinkles doesn’t understand I’m on the telephone, she think it means “Bofinkles Time”.
Example from today:
Me on the telphone “Hey, how are you doing?” and continues conversation…
Bofinkles sprints over, jumps on my lap “What Mom? Do you need me”?”
Bofinkles: “Hey, I’m talking to you. Do you need me, do you?”
Bofinkles: “Ok, I am getting closer to you. I will jump on your shoulder. Are you talking to me?”
Bofinkles: “Why aren’t you responding to me standing here, looking at you? Maybe if I pretend I fell asleep while you were talking to me you would notice..”
Bofinkles: “PLEASE JUST RUB MY CHEEKS! PLEASE!”
Bofinkles: “Ok, so about that conversation we were having. How are you?”
Bofinkles: “Omg, are you ignoring me again? What If I just fall down..?”
Bofinkles: “Just look at me. Please!”
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