Welcome to Bootsie's Rainbow Bridge Memorial Residency
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Memories of Bootsie
Her Imperial Highness The Princess Ping-T'Chen Bichibu-Tse (Bootsie) was born on me in the early hours of September 13, 1994, and left this plane, also on me, September 23, 2013, aged 19 years, one week, and three days. She lived through two marriages and two more relationships, and follows her foster brother Cheeky, her mother Bittles, and her grandmother Callie into eternity. She leaves behind her older brother Harry Paget Flashman, and younger foster siblings Shimi Lovat, Scooter, and Smudgets, not to mention her human. Yes, her human, as I did not own her, she owned me.

She has always been very loved and cared for, and was part of a large and happy cat family for several years before disease took its toll, first her 'granny' Caledonia in 1995, then her mother from cancer in August 1999, then her foster-brother Cheeky from FeLV four months later. For the last fourteen years she has lived in (mostly) peace and harmony with her older brother Flashy - engaging in a daily flying furball attack until recent months - and has even accepted Scooter as more than a nuisance in her life, and Smudgets, while mostly standoffish, has become affectionate in recent months as well. Always an indoor cat, in recent weeks she has ventured into the back yard, and spent a good part of her last days in the sunshine, surrounded by her siblings. She will be missed by all.

She fought many adversities, beginning with an FeLV+ diagnosis at age 5, for which she took Interferon for the rest of her life. Three and a half years ago she was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma (the same disease that killed her mother Bittles), and underwent successful oral surgery, then radiation treatment for over a month, which she endured without complaint, living with a life port for five days every week and never trying to tear it out. The radiation was successful, and she was in remission, yet developed non-invasive skin cancers that were numerous and painful. During surgery to remove them last March she had a severe BP drop and had to be revived. She never really fully recovered her strength, and in June she developed a serious urinary infection and pleurisy. She bounced back, but was weaker than before, and it's been downhill ever since. Two weeks ago she was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and another urinary infection, and she's been on Lasix and Benazepril for her heart and Convenia for the infection, but she was down to about four pounds and stopped eating last Thursday. I'd been keeping her going with homemade chicken broth from a syringe for the last two days, but it's been obvious that there was going to be only one outcome. So I sang her to sleep one last time to 'Princess Caraboo,' a pipe tune I'd written in her honor ten years ago, told her 'Oichdhe mhath, mo gradh,' and after the light went out of her eyes I sewed her into her tartan shroud with a couple of toys to see her on her way. When her ashes come back she will have another, smaller one, to fit in the urn with the other cats, and, eventually, me.

Aside from being bitchy to her siblings, Bootsie was known for being very affectionate to humans - once she got to know them. Once while my mother was visiting some years ago I had to go pipe at a wedding and left her reading on the living room couch; when I got home Bootsie was asleep on her lap, purring away. She was also the only cat I've ever had, or known, that would actually fetch, although as she got older her interest in that activity waned. We had many happy years together, and she always slept next to my head, occasionally waking me in the morning with a toe tugging gently in my nostril, 'looking for hot BBs in my nose.' She had the most luxuriant whiskers on a small cat I've ever seen, long and white against her grey fur. Her love helped me through several hard times, including my last divorce and the death of my oldest brother the following year. She was always there for me, and I for her, yet now she's gone....

I am immeasurably saddened by the loss of my little friend, but she will feel pain no more, endure 'indignities' no more, cry no more, and, if there is any justice, somewhere she will be able to smile and purr again. Her 'Chinese' name is a joke; she's always been Bootsie, and became Pink Chinned Bitchy Bootsie (hence Ping T'Chen Bichibu-Tse) when her adult character became evident; Miss Moose, Banjo Kitty, Caraboo of Java-Su, and countless other names over the years....

My deepest thanks to all those who cared for her these many years: Dr. Mark Youdall, formerly of Cheshire Cat; Dr. Mary Leeking and Dr. Alice Eklof of Good Samaritan and all their staff, especially Sue; the oncology center at BAVS in San Leandro, Dr. Cecile Siedlecki, Dr. Carlo Vitale, Erin, and Philip; and especially to Jennifer McNeilley, who has fed her, held her, 'pilled' her, and loved her for over eight years now.

Her Imperial Highness The Princess Ping T'Chen Bichibu-Tse has left The Middle Kingdom and now voyages among the Celestial Spheres for eternity. All Honor to Ping T'chen...

'Heaven would not Heaven be were my cats not there to welcome me.'

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