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Memories of Boots
February 5, 2011

Boots came to us one September morning. While running in the schoolyard for P.E., my daughter's class found a box of kittens deserted by a tree. We brought one into our home. He suited the name Boots. After a couple of weeks, when I thought he was 8 weeks old, we took him to his first vet appointment. It turned out he was only 5 weeks, so we adopted him at only 3 weeks. I warmed his food and nursed him into a healthy, hefty family member. And believe me, he WAS part of the family! He became my baby. He was a very bright, playful baby who loved to follow you around. He'd climb up onto my bed and felt that the pillow was there for him, lol. Luckily, he didn't argue too much when we decided that maybe he was a tad large to continue sleeping there after several months. He'd sleep at the foot of the bed, but most mornings, you would find him back up on the pillows. Oh, and your toes were open season to him!

He was an avid hunter and loved to bring home his prizes. The first Mother's Day he was with us, he was the first in the family to bring me a "present"! Yes, my little furbaby came into the house, up the stairs and jumped up on the bed with a bird for me! That was 15 years ago, and we still all get a laugh from it.

He was a joy to have. Being as he never really had his birth mother to teach him about life, it was up to me. He only had to be told or shown something once, and he knew what to do. It was as if he never considered himself a cat, but more a person. He loved it when the family all got together and watched tv. He made himself quite comfortable on a lap or between us on the couch.

Though quite the agile hunter outdoors, he NEVER attempted to harm any little pets in the house. Which, at times did present a slight problem, lol. Another cat we had brought in a live mouse which got loose, and we couldn't get Boots to go after it. Outside, he would have been on it in a heartbeat, but not inside. Since we had pet rats, rabbits and even a squirrel for a while, we were thrilled that he didn't want to harm his furry brothers... but damn, we wish he'd go after the wild mice that got in!

I wish I knew who to credit for the following poem that was left on my husband's message board...

Come with me, my gentle love,
and let me hold you near.
I'll soothe you with my softest words
and never mind the tears.

I'll whisper words of love to you
so you will always know...
how much my heart is breaking now
as I gently let you go.

We've traveled years and miles, we two,
you've been my constant friend.
And now the kindest gift I give
brings us to this end.

Your legs grew weak, your eyes grew tired;
I watched time take its toll.
In my heart, you're still the kitten
I held so long ago.

I cannot watch you suffer now,
my love is much too deep.
So close your eyes, my little love,
I'll hold you as you sleep.

I'll stroke your soft, soft, silken fur
and gently ease the pain.
And pray to all the gods I know
that we will meet again.

I knew this day would come, my love,
I knew it from the start.
I did not know the price would be
a large piece of my heart.

I'll grieve for you because I must
I'll shed hot, heavy tears.
But the sorrow of this day won't dim
the love we shared for years.

January 22, 2013

Here we are, almost 2 years later... My heart is finally ready to love again! We have decided to bring another kitten into our lives! We have been looking into several shelters in our area. I kind of hate to admit this, but I don't want an older cat, I want another kitten. I want to relive the joy of nurturing a tiny, helpless kitty again. We have seen lots of older "kittens", 6 months or so, but I am holding out for a baby and will give serious consideration to adopting 2 siblings. My birthday is the 28th of January, exactly 1 week before the anniversary of your passing. I would love to bring home the new baby or babies, on my birthday.

January 16, 2014

Well, we're coming up on 3 years... I still tear up thinking about my baby and how much I miss him. And to add insult to injury, my computer cacked a couple of days ago, taking all my photos of Boots with it. Luckily, I didn't delete any of my memory cards, but finding them will be a torturous treasure hunt, lol.

Now, back to Boots. We did not get another kitten/kittens last year. We didn't find any in the local shelters that called to me, plus, with our lifestyle, we didn't feel it was fair to bring a new baby into the home. We go away for overnighters, once or twice a month, and don't want to do that to a baby.

February 3, 2016

Wow... 5 years. Your presence is felt here all the time. Larry feels you rub his legs when he's at his desk, like you used to do, and hears you underneath mine like you used to do. I "see" you walking around the apartment now and then, out of the corner of my eye. We have 2 new furbabies now, abandoned brothers from the OSPCA, that we adopted at 17 weeks. They'll be 2 on St. Patrick's Day. These poor little fellas took some time to open up to us, but they're getting there! We brought them home on July 4, 2014, and they weren't used to humans, and we think they'd been abused a little, so we do our very best to let them know that this is their safe place forever. We've stopped the overnighters because of them. We did one and "my" cat, Churchill, took a couple of days to get over it. Gizmo, "Larry's" cat, is a little more friendly and didn't take as long to get over it. Mind you, he yells more when he's bored! LOL. When we got them, they were named Harry and Larry! We had to change them, it would have been way too confusing around here, lol. Harry called to Larry as he walked by, and I called the store later that day and we went back the next day and adopted them. They were fixed and micro-chipped with all their shots. We love them to bits and are thrilled to have them in the family!

December 11, 2016
Well, Boots, it seems your new little brothers have a little bit of you in them! They too, love to sit under the Christmas tree, just like you did, lol. Mind you, I don't recall YOU trying to eat the tree, but Gizmo does! He's a tad... "off", lol. I miss you so much. Not a day goes by that I don't stop and think about you and smile... and wipe a tear. I am constantly comparing the two "new" furbabies to you, and what you did and how you behaved. There really will never be another cat like you! So special. We still feel you brush up against us, and see you out of the corner of our eyes. We're pretty sure the cats see you too. Feel free to step in and teach them how to behave! We are so in love with them. They both try so hard to please... when they feel like it, lol. But seriously, they do try. I've come to the conclusion that they have an issue with males. Other than me, they've only been near other males since we got them - Larry, Erik, the Vet, people who live on our floor - until the other day, and a woman two doors down came out of her apartment, and Gizmo almost went INTO her apartment to meet the cat they'd been smelling behind the door! When "Maple" came out with her, Gizmo stayed a couple of yards away, but Churchill and Maple got to meet and sniffed each other and hung out, kinda, for a few minutes, while their mom and I watched and made sure they didn't get into a fight. Normally, the cats won't go near anybody else, but they were ok with her! Even when Erik comes, it takes a couple of days before he can pat them. So, they must have been abused to some degree by a male before the OSPCA took them in. And I'm fairly certain that they were feral and possibly even abandoned by their mother. Churchill has wonky front paws (almost 4 extra toes without the claws on each paw) and Gizmo could be extremely nearsighted, or something, but I've thought from day 1 that his eyesight was really bad. All we got for history when we adopted them was that they were abandoned. By whom and/or where, they don't tell you, which is really stupid. So, slowly but surely, I've tried to piece together what these poor babies went thru before we found them. And judging by the way they react to things, even to this day, 2 1/2 years later, it must have been pretty rough. So we do our best to be patient and loving, and they both have me wrapped around their paws... their untouched, paws, lol. I just wish they'd let me trim those damn claws more often!

Feb.17, 2021
Well, things have been crazy the past year! Starting last March, (2020) after a pandemic hit the entire planet, we were basically locked inside our homes. The plague, COVID-19, a coronavirus (a member of the SARS family, yes, that same one!) slammed us on March 11, the day after Erik's birthday! Our family's personal roller coaster ride down into hell started on or around Nov. 1 when my mom landed in the hospital thinking she was having a stroke. Turns out she was having a nervous breakdown/panic attack. Larry then fell and badly broke his ankle on the 3rd, needed surgery-rod and pins, ended up in E.R. with some "unknown" infection for a couple days just before Christmas not related to the surgery (I think it was COVID myself before they even knew it was here). Mom's fine, Larry's been in the hospital a couple of times with a "mini-stroke" or warnings of a stroke, he had to have some of the pins in his leg removed due to 3 of them shifting, breaking and trying to work their way OUT! so now we are dealing with the second surgery's incision not healing, and it completely opened back up. A home care VON nurse comes in every other day to change the dressing, but we've cut that back to only 1 or 2 times a week due to this plague being SOOO contagious, I don't want strangers constantly traipsing in and out of our home. It was healing better when I was looking after it, and it got much worse when they started coming and taking care of it. Just say'n.
OK, because of all of this plague stuff and literally being "locked down" and not allowed to leave your home unless absolutely necessary (food, doctor appts, stores all closed except for "curbside pick-up," NO social gathering, even families that don't live together aren't "allowed" to get together for holidays or birthday celebrations) our furbabies don't like it when we both go out at the same time! They are used to Larry going out twice a week for his appts, but they are not used to me going out and do not like it! WE stopped going out even before they told us, so we've been holed up for a year now. I feel so bad for all the pets people got during this time that have had someone home constantly, and when this is finally "over" and people go back to work, their pets will be devastated! Pets could get into bad behaviours because they are so upset, and people who don't understand why, will punish, or worse, the poor things. Thankfully, even when it's over, our lives won't change all that much, really. I will go visit my mom and Sonia, so I'll be gone for several hours at a time and that will mess them up, but if it's only one of us out at a time, that will help keep them from freaking out too much, I hope. They are both my shadows, but they do love Larry a lot too. In fact, Gizmo still has never sat on MY lap, but will sit on Larry's, lol. Churchill sits on him more than me, too. But, they both like to sleep on the bed with me, and Gizmo gets right pushy when he feels it's bedtime! It's really the only time he lies down with me. Very rarely will he lie down other than when it's time for us to actually go to bed. They seem to have rules because Churchill doesn't even attempt to horn in on that time, but during the day? Open season, lol. Church has no problem running and jumping up to have a nap with me any other time, and will nap with me for a couple of hours, or, 2 minutes. I never know. As often as not, he will lie down but after just a couple of minutes, as if Gizmo has told him MOVE!, he'll move like he was shocked, and head to the bottom of the bed, on the other side. So he can see down the hall, lol. They do NOT sleep together, curled up like most other cats, EVER. Not that we ever see, at least. ONCE we saw them both on "the boxes" in the bedroom sleeping at the same time. I took pictures, lol. Here we are, a month shy of their 7th birthday, and they're finally playing instead of just fighting! FINALLY!!! LOL.

So ok, this entry wasn't about Boots, or even all about Gizmo and Church. But, I thought it was really important to journal what this past year has been like for us. Our lives have been drastically affected, and as such, so have our furbabies. These guys are so loved and spoiled, it's pathetic, lol. Luckily, they've gotten the good end of things through all of this, by us being home so much and loving them and giving them so much attention. I mean, really, it's not much different from how things were before the plague hit, for them, at least. We are home a little more, so they are getting a little more snuggles and attention... and cookies, lol. OH! because we are all home, we've gotten to know neighbours in the apt. a couple down on the right. They JUST got a cutie pie baby Panther, and since Churchill hangs out at their door when he's out, they've decided to let their guy out to play, lol. The guy, can't remember his name, or the kitten's, but it means Shadow in their native language, but he sits and let's his kitten goof around in the hall. Churchill just sits and lets the kitten sniff around, lol. Church doesn't play with him at all (which upsets the guy a little, lol) but he doesn't snarl or swipe at the kitten AT ALL either, which is wonderful. The guy doesn't know anything about cats (his wife is supposed to a little) so he was really hoping they would play together. I'm trying to teach him about cats without coming off too strong or know-it-all-ish, but it's really hard when he really doesn't know anything! I gave him one of my awesome lazer pointers and I'm going to find my "Cats for Dummies" book and let him borrow that. It really is for someone who knows nothing about cats, so if he's willing to be open minded and actually read it even though it may seem stupid, it WILL be helpful. But they are waiting to neuter the little guy instead of doing it now for some reason. I think they think he should reach puberty or something first? Gets his rocks off somehow first? He made some comment along those lines the other night when he asked me about when he should get neutered, thinking he shouldn't do it until the kitten is something like 9 months or at least 6. There was a time they thought that, but they used to do a vasectomy. Now? They do it when they are only a couple of months and take their balls! So they should be talking to their vet about making an appt and consider doing it real soon. Shadow is at least 10 weeks, I think? These 2 were done by the time we got them at 17 weeks, and I don't think it was the day before we got them. I remember hearing that they had been passed around a couple of pet stores before they landed at the one we found them at. Just to add to their heart-wrenching story, lol. Anyway, he needs to get that kitten fixed before he starts spraying and pulling Alpha Male bullshit, because he could/will!

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