New here, and with a new cat!

CatGuyAZ

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Hi everyone,

This is my second post. I had initially come here just to read what others were saying and maybe join in when I got the feel of things, but then I saw a post that I had to reply to, and so I guess I'm just jumping in with both feet.

My best friend died about two weeks ago as I write this. His name was Onyx, and he was a long-haired tuxedo cat. People think black when they hear "Onyx," but real Onyx is banded black and white. Most black onyx in jewelry is dyed that way (it's the same as chalcedony, I think).

He was fifteen, and I had him since he was six months old. I loved (and I still do love him, even though he's not here) him more than words can express, and he truly was my best friend. He was tentatively diagnosed with lymphoma on new year's eve, and it was confirmed by a fine-needle biopsy shortly thereafter.

That word, "lymphoma," was the one word I least wanted to hear. My previous precious cat, whom I'd had for 14 years, died of lymphoma days before I got Onyx, and I was crushed then too. I soon formed a bond with Onyx every bit as strong as with his predecessor, C.C. After I got over the worst of the pain after C.C. passed, I felt blessed to have two "once in a lifetime" cats back to back. The downside of that is that the loss is truly devastating, as I am sure anyone who would visit a cat forum already knows.

C.C. had undergone chemo for his lymphoma, and he did really well on it. It's not like it is with humans... my little guy did really well on it, and he was in remission for 9 months. With people, they just about kill you with the chemo, with the idea being that the even more susceptible cancer cells will be wiped out. With pets, they aim to give you more quality time with your furry family member, and they tell you that the cancer is eventually going to come back. I had nine more months with my sweet kitty.

I elected to treat Onyx's lymphoma too, but it didn't work. After the first round of the 3-drug combo, the masses in his intestine and in his lymph nodes had not shrunk, and he was not eating. I syringe fed him and gave him sub-q fluids, but it didn't help. He went into kidney failure, and the ER vet was telling me he'd need large amounts of IV fluids to hopefully bring his kidney values down to get him stable enough for surgery, and he would need to have a feeding tube implanted.

If the IV fluids worked, which was by no means certain, and if the feeding tube surgery went well and had no complications, I would then have a cat with lymphoma that had failed to respond to chemo, and who has seriously diminished kidney capacity. The vet agreed, saying that the prognosis was poor. I asked her if there was any chance my kitty would be alive in one month, and she quietly said that she didn't think there was.

I made the decision to have my sweet little guy put down. I had never had to do that before. I just kept telling him, "I love you, I love you" as he slipped from consciousness, snug in a blanket in my arms.

In the period between the initial tentative diagnosis and his death, I had plenty of time to tell my guy how much I loved him, how much he has meant to me for all these years, how much he's made my life better. He was a very sweet and affectionate cat, and I know for sure that he loved me just as much. Of course, when I say "plenty of time," all things are relative. There was time to say goodbye and to give him some extra loving, but no matter how much time I had, it would never be enough. If I had gotten 9 more months as a result of the chemo, it would not be enough either. It never could be enough. How could there be enough time with someone you love more than life itself?

It was rough. It still is. I'd adopted Onyx four days after C.C. died, and I am sure some people would think that's too soon, but I wanted to focus on something positive and lovely rather than having nothing but the grief. I did the same thing after Onyx passed, finding her in Petfinder just as I had with Onyx. The profile said she was an adorable little cuddle bug, and that was what I was looking for... a very affectionate, cuddly cat. She was listed as a kitten, and the picture was adorable, and I was sure she'd be adopted nearly instantly. The shelter was closed for 2 more days, and I left a message in the hopes I could get them to do it sooner (they have to have staff caring for the animals even if they are not open, right?), but it didn't work.

I showed up before they opened and waited, and as soon as the "Open" sign came on, I went in and asked for her. I found out she was ten months old and had been born in the shelter-- so she'd been passed over from the time she was ready to be adopted out until the present. How?? The poor dear!

She was in the kitten cage, and while most of the kittens were reaching through the bars with their paws and meowing for attention, she lay in the bottom of the cage, not trying to get anyone's attention. She was really nervous when they took her out, but they handed her to me and let me pet her in the visiting room. She immediately relaxed in my lap and let me pet her, purring softly. I knew I would bring her home right then.

When I got her home, she was very frightened at first. She refused to come out of the carrier for a few hours. She let me pet her, but she was clearly terrified. I let her remain in the carrier, but when I went to bed, I brought it with me and set it down next to me so she could become accustomed to me and realize I am not going to hurt her. Maybe this shyness was why she was passed over... with all the other kittens reaching through the bars for you, it's easy to ignore the one who isn't.

It took several days, but she came out of her shell. She's still not completely comfortable, I think, but she will come out of a hiding spot when I coax her (just by calling her name and patting the floor), and sleeps next to me on my bed. When I am in the living room, though, she is usually somewhere else, and I think that is reflective of how the living room was the last room that she explored as she became more bold. She is comfortable enough to play, and she's very energetic and quick as lightning. I can approach her and she will come toward me rather than running. I just would like her to sit with me in the living room (where I am most of the time when I am at home and not sleeping).

Now that she's more comfortable here, she's harder to pet for a while. She's got too much playing to do! I start to pet her and she loves it, but before long she becomes playful and starts charging all around the house. Playing is fun too, but I want to make sure she loves being pet as much as I love petting her. I already know she purrrred as I pet her even though she was afraid before, and one of the caretakers there said she really is a cuddle bug and that she would miss her, but was glad she was getting a home.

She has helped make losing Onyx a little more bearable. I adore her already, and I look forward to having a bond with her as strong as with Onyx. I'm feeling it... it's gonna happen.

The site (linked above) called her a torbie, but look at those paws!
 

Tik cat's mum

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I'm sorry you lost Onyx everyone deals with grieving differently. And it sounds like your new girl is just what you need right now I'm so glad you found each other. I'm sure you two are just what the other needs and that bond you talk about sounds like it's already happening she is adorable congratulations.
 

tabbytom

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CatGuyAZ and new kitty, on behalf of The Catsite community, a warm
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to both of you.

So glad that you’ve joined this wonderful site and you are in the right place for all things cat and this site is loaded with tons of rich resources and you’ll find friendly and helpful cats around and many of our cats are very knowledgeable in cat related stuffs.

We are so
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to hear about CC and Onyx .You may want to pay a tribute to them here if with to :- crossing-the-bridge.19

Your new kitty is a cutie! :hearthrob::redheartpump: Do post photos of her for us to see:camera:


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di and bob

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Welcome! I think you handled everything just right. Grieving takes as long as it takes, and to concentrate on something positive instead of dwelling in sorrow is threraputic, and helps to heal a broken heart.
You know how much the bond between a cat and a human can mean. You can contribute much to this site. Please feel free to join in, the more brains we have, the better!
You have had boys before, now you have a little girl who is a torbie, be ready for 'catitude' and sassiness. You will be blessed for bringing her into your life, and she will love you with all her little heart.
Females are known to be a little more standoffish. She is still new, and a kitten, so it will most likey take several more months to years to develop her true personality. She is too busy exploring and learning about life in a new home to be as affectionate as she could be. They are the manners teachers and the limit setters, so be ready to be taken in and 'trained' to her liking.
You are most likely mentally exhausted after your battle with Onyx, and it is continuing a bit with the whirlwind of actiivity a young, new cat will bring to a house. It sounds like everything is going smoothly, she is more relaxed and beginning to trust you, i wish you both the best and please don't be a stranger! By the way, have you named her yet? PS looked at her adoption profile, she looks SO scared with those dilated eyes and lowered head. She looks a lot like my angel kitty Chrissy, she had the same two colored 'M' on her forehead that all tabbies have. My husband took one look at her and said, "she has to be a 'Chrissy', she has attitude!". And she sure did......
 
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verna davies

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Hi to you both, welcome to the site, its good to have you with us. So sorry you lost Onyx, its really hard when they go. It sounds as if you and your new kitty are going to become the best of friends. You obviously have the patience needed to give your new friend the time she needs to settle in. We look forward to hearing how you two get on. Did you keep the same name or have you chosen a new one for her.
 

Mamanyt1953

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Welcome to you and...Dakota? Are you keeping that name, or does she have a new one? She's ADORABLE! She does have a good bit of white on her, maybe a tabbico? Regardless, she's a little beauty, and I'm sure that Onyx (and C.C.) highly approves of this new family member, it's a lovely way to honor the love that you shared, and to let a brand new love grow! And thank you from the bottom of my heart for noticing a kitten who wasn't outgoing. So many never find their Forever Home, and they would make SUCH wonderful companions!

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CatGuyAZ

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You have had boys before, now you have a little girl who is a torbie, be ready for 'catitude' and sassiness. You will be blessed for bringing her into your life, and she will love you with all her little heart.
The vet I took her to right after I adopted her said that she had some attitude, and was not shy about letting you know what she likes and dislikes. It was kind of an amazing visit, as she'd been very afraid in her new home. At the vet, she didn't seem afraid; she wanted to explore the exam room as the doctor and I talked, and she (the vet) got out a stool sample bottle and used the little spatula to play with her patient. (The bottle was clean, of course!) It was the first time I had seen her playful, as she was just too afraid at home to try it.

I told the vet how afraid Dakota had been, and she suggested taking her to unknown places to let her get used to it, and suggested car rides (which would end with her being at home and safe). C.C. went on a road trip with me once, over three days, and he meowed in protest for about the first 45 minutes, and then settled in. He never complained in the car again. My other cats, though, never liked them.

I went back to the emergency vet the other day to pick up Onyx's remains (ashes). It was a longish drive, about an hour, and I knew it would be sad. When I drove him there the last time, I kinda knew it was going to be his last ride, but I hoped otherwise. Now I was to embark upon my last errand that regarded Onyx, and after that, it was truly finished. I brought Dakota with me, both for comfort and because the vet thought it would be a good idea.

When I got back to the car with my kitty's remains, and the little paw print in clay thing, it was pretty difficult, and I just took Dakota out of her carrier and held her while I pet her and talked about Onyx. I know she can't understand me, but it was for me, not her, and even if she doesn't know the words, she can hear the tone. It's funny how it helps to talk to animals who can't understand, but they are listening.

She was an angel on the trip, though she meowed a few times in the vet's waiting room. I didn't want to leave her in the car on that cold night, and if the idea was to expose her to unfamiliar things, that would do it. When I got back home, she came right of the carrier and didn't seem to have any reaction to having been on the trip.

You are most likely mentally exhausted after your battle with Onyx, and it is continuing a bit with the whirlwind of activity a young, new cat will bring to a house.
Yeah, it was bewildering at first. I'd spent so much of my time doing things for Onyx: giving the fluids and the syringe meals, giving him his pills, checking on his condition, and of course lots of petting and comforting. I tried to get him to purr as much as I could, as it is supposed to have soothing qualities. Even in his condition, he purred a lot, except for that last day.

Then when he was gone, suddenly... nothing. Nothing to do for him, nothing to check, just a great big emptiness. For the first few days I always felt like I should be doing something, and the guilt began to creep in that I was just sitting there not doing anything for him. After days and weeks of being on alert, the thing I feared most had happened, and now there was no more to do or to worry about, but part of me wanted to keep fighting, even though there was no fight anymore.

Whenever I usually felt down or unhappy, the thing that helped the most was petting and holding Onyx, and I'd feel much better. Now I felt more down and unhappy than I had in a long time, and he wasn't there.

By the way, have you named her yet? PS looked at her adoption profile, she looks SO scared with those dilated eyes and lowered head.
I am keeping her name. I like it!

She is older than in that photo now. She looks more like an adult cat now, having grown into her ears more (but they are still big and lovely). She's approaching 10 months old now, and to me the pic looks like about 6 months, as she has the same look that Onyx did when I got him at that age.

Thanks for the kind words!
 
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CatGuyAZ

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Welcome to you and...Dakota? Are you keeping that name, or does she have a new one? She's ADORABLE! She does have a good bit of white on her, maybe a tabbico?
That's what I was thinking. I've always loved calicos, but when I looked at the picture on Petfinder, it didn't occur to me that she might be one, but she definitely has red, black, and white! Her bib and stomach are white, as well as her paws. There are also some light lines on her body, between the color patches, but I can't tell if they are true white or a cream color.

Here is a picture from the first day I had her. She was squinting in her right eye sometimes (the focus LED of the digital camera annoyed her, and she did it a little), but it was definitely something that caught my attention.
I mentioned the eye thing and her sneezing and stuffy nose to the vet on her initial visit, and the vet said she had no conjunctivitis or injuries to the eye, no fever, and she said it was probably feline herpes virus, and that it would clear up on its own. I still worry, though, when she coughs or sneezes. She gave me some L-Lysine treats to give Dakota (well, sold them), but of course, she doesn't like them.

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Onyx had a weepy right eye his whole life, and the vet had said feline herpes was probably the cause then too. I'd tried the L-lysine supplement then too, in the form of a paste in a syringe then, but it didn't make any difference.
 
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