More Tsuris: A Cat’s Tale of Mourning

We had a close call this past week. As you probably know, I lost my father in May. Then a week and a half ago, I lost my oldest cat Mac. It’s been a rough year.

For at least a week, I actually forgot my first book,  Doll God, was published this same year! I am not kidding either. What kind of ridiculous year is this?!

Anyway, 3 days or so after Mac died, cat #2, my sweet dear Pear Blossom, stopped eating! If you have or have ever had a cat, you might know that cats cannot go without food. Their livers go haywire. It’s very dangerous. I tried everything: a dozen kinds of canned food, fresh chicken, tuna, treats, kibble, egg, tiny hotdogs for babies, you name it. I had to resort to feeding her baby food (Gerber 2nd foods are the ones you want–safe and healthy for cats) with a syringe. I could get about 5-7 ccs in her before she would let it ooze out all over the couch. Yes, the couch because she wouldn’t move from the couch. For days she lay there.

I hadn’t had much time to grieve my father before Mac became sick and died. Now I had had no time at all to grieve Mac and my darling booboo girl looked as if she were going to die.

After $1,000 in vet bills (see how blithely I just wrote that hahaha), she seems to be coming back a little. The only medical problem they found is a UTI (she and my human daughter are both prone to those). But hubby and I are sure that she is grieving Mac.

It’s understandable. She is 15 1/2 and we’ve had her for 15 years. She was inseparable from Mac in those 15 years. In fact, and go ahead and think I’m weird (er), but I have a very long kitchen counter and have 3 cat beds lined up on it. She slept there every day with Mac and Felix. Tiger prefers to sleep elsewhere. Pear refuses to lie on the counter now.

Pear Blossom as Judge Judy

I’m praying she begins to eat better. She refuses most food I offer to her. But she seems to feel a little better.

POLL RESULTS: where do creative nonfiction writers come from?

Well, that wasn’t the name of the poll, but that is sort of what I was angling for. Here is a graphic of the results:

poll results

 

What I had wanted to know is what brings people to writing creative nonfiction. I was intrigued to read that many “never or rarely” write creative nonfiction. I’m pretty sure that a lot of blogs are creative nonfiction, rather than journalism, because as bloggers we can’t help but create public personas by what we write. If we write about our own lives at all, I would call it CNF.

It surprised me that not many others wrote poetry first and then moved to CNF, but I wasn’t surprised that many started with fiction. I read another nameless article that said that writers shouldn’t write more than one genre. I think it was mainly focused on “genre fiction,” but why can’t a writer write in another genre? Judy Blume has written for children and adults, and if that isn’t crossing genres, I don’t know what is. One book opens with a little girl praying to God. Another book opens with a man playing with his penis while an adult woman and mother watches. Hah. Better know which genre Blume book you’re buying ahead of time! Marie from 1WriteWay and I discussed this recently.

Did a book ever surprise you because you expected a different genre? Was it a pleasant surprise or a shock? A penis instead of a prayer? (Or a prayer instead of a penis?)

50 Comments

Filed under Blogging, Books, Cats and Other Animals, Children's Literature, Creative Nonfiction, Doll God, Fiction, Memoir, Nonfiction, Poetry book, Poetry Collection, Reading, Writing

50 responses to “More Tsuris: A Cat’s Tale of Mourning

  1. I hope that Pear Blossom bounces back. This is the hard thing about sharing our lives with animals – we see them through to the end as well.

    As for your poll – I have a hard time answering polls, because I always want to expand on any answers. I consider my blog creative nonfiction, but I don’t know that I’d like to write a book-length work.

    • She seems so much better, thank you! It’s true that they tend to have shorter lives and we often have to say goodbye to many animals who have become part of the family.
      Book-length is a whole ‘nother can of worms, that is for sure. For one thing you have to stick to one subject for a long time ;).

  2. Congratulations on the book, and may your grieving lessen

    • Derrick, thank you so much about the book–it was a long time coming! And thank you also on the grieving. It’s a long process, I know. And then new “stuff” happens and prolongs it even more.

  3. Quick response, Luanne, because I’m swamped with work, but I’m glad your sweet Pear is getting better. That photo made me laugh.
    One of our cats periodically gets fussy about eating (the other eats everything). I can’t tempt him with treats because he’ll only eat one type of food. We also spent about $1000–maybe about a year ago–and he had to be kept at the vets’ for a few days for fluids. They never did find out what was wrong, but finally sent him home because he wouldn’t eat there. We finally got him to eat.
    I didn’t take the poll, but it does seem that mine and many of our blogs are creative nonfiction. For me, it’s a fun type of writing–much different from the scholarly writing I do.

  4. Pear may be grieving in her own way. Her life has changed, too. Give her time.

    I haven’t read your book yet. Family matters and beta reading for another author, but looking forward to it.

    • Oh, I’m glad to know I will have a future reader, SK! Pear is still grieving and so is Felix. I suspect Tiger is, but she is probably more sad about knowing there is a new cat behind that mean door. haha

  5. Susanne

    I found the poll hard to answer, although I did (and can’t for the life of me remember what I said). I wrote as a teenager – poetry and fiction. I came back to writing 40 years later through blogging (which you told me was CNF!!) which led to writing poetry, then this silly little bit of fluff. I’d say CNF is still my fave but because we humans are complicated, it doesn’t satisfy all the itches and urges. And who was that boob who said stick to one genre. Rules suck.

    I hope your little Pear comes around. It is so hard to watch animals suffer when we don’t know how to help or what’s wrong.

    BTW, Doll God is still at my bedside where I jump in periodically when I want something rich to carry me into sleep.

    • Ah, thanks, Susanne. That is so nice of you to say about Doll God!
      Rules do suck. That’s a great sentence. It sounds like a very potent quote.
      I hope you’re getting a lot of writing done this summer!!!

  6. I also think most bloggers write creative non-fiction but I guess it’s in the eyes of the writer. Yes, I believe your cat is grieving. My cats (all 4 of them) get along but are not that bonded. I’m not sure what will happen when I lose my oldest one. He’s the cranky one most likely to give them a swat on the head if they come too close. I know all about trying to get a cat to eat. Worry, worry, worry. Yes, and big $$$. Hoping Pear feels better soon.

  7. Good luck with Pear Blossom — I hope she soon starts eating your royalties! It has been a difficult year for you — but don’t forget your wonderful triumph too!

    As for the poll, I tried to add an “other” answer, which I typed in, but there was nothing to click on to “submit” it. I answered that I write “creative” non-fiction when the true details of the story don’t quite fit. (Sue me!)

    • Haha, consider yourself sued! My royalties were gone before they started, unfortunately! The cats are feeling much better, thank you! And now i have a new one ;).

  8. You covered many topics today.

    1. I’m sorry that PB is grieving so for Mac, but I’m glad she’s coming around.

    2. I think of poets as the Type O of writing. They can write in any genre. At the other extreme, i suppose, are the Type AB folks who can write nothing but manuals on operating chainsaws. As a fiction writer, I can write everything except poetry, and I do.

    3. I bristle at people who say “never so this” or, worse, “you can’t do this” re: writing. Or the ones who say that writing is a “hard, unpleasant, yet godly task.” I wouldn’t be writing if there were so many “nevers,” “can’ts,” “unpleasants,” and “godlys.” I do it to be free, open, and happy.

    4. Regarding genre, I don’t care as long as it’s good. The worst shock is bad writing. Now how could a “free, open, and happy” writer like me have standards re: writing? I don’t know. I just do.

    • Great points here, WJ. Haha, “the worst shock is bad writing.” I guess so. I would love to hear your opinion of “Go Set a Watchman,” but I don’t want you to have to pay for that book. Are you going to order it at the library? I’ll email you something about it. That Type O is something that of course I like because it is flattering to me, but there are poets who are afraid of prose.

  9. Oh my little Pear Blossom – how sweet a name is that. I picture her dressed in a lovely silk kimono than Judge Judy LOL (is that gorgeous collar an heirloom!) and I hope both Pear B and you are back in the pink SOONEST!!! (Pretend this is a message on a kitty postcard from me, so I’m not signing it!)

    • Hahahahaha, I love that silk kimono bit! Yes, she is so much prettier than Judge Judy! That collar comes from a little store hubby and I used to own that sold accessories. Pear is feeling much better. And now she doesn’t really realize it but she has a new sister . . . .

  10. Pear Blossom is a tuxedo cat? You probably already told me this. Our Maxine is a tuxedo and she just barely tolerates our other two ;). But she was already 5 years old when she came to us. Probably would have been different if she had grown up with them. I’m sure Pear will continue to improve since she’s on antibiotics now 🙂

    • She is! I love tuxedo cats! Aw, Maxine. Sometimes tuxedos are like Pear where they are sweet and friendly at home, but get very distressed out of their environment. Maxine being 5 could have a lot to do with it. Maybe the others pick on her when Mom isn’t looking ;).

  11. I’ve no doubt you’re right about Pear Blossom mourning Mac.
    When my Felicity Kitty passed, my male cat became a bundle of neuroses, and it didn’t stop until we moved houses. My other female took over as alpha, but seemingly unaffected.
    My older cats are 8 and 9 now, and I do worry about when one of them passes, absolutely.

    • All 3 cats (all except the new kitty Nakana) seem to be still mourning Mac. They have sad faces and mope around. That is such a shame about your male cat. Was he devoted to Felicity or was it that Felicity ruled the roost? Felix doesn’t know what to do without Mac in charge of things.

      • Felicity ruled the roost. It didn’t seem like they were close, but he is really close to the female I got after her passing.
        I can’t say he mourned, but his behavior certainly changed.
        Poor cats.

        • It’s sad. When we took Mac in, I brought the other cats in to see him before he left. I wanted them to see how sick he was so they would understand what was going on.

          • I think that is soooo smart. I found out the other day (via some friends who lost one of their two dogs) that it’s important for dogs to see their deceased companions, because they understand death, and they react accordingly. I wonder if cats are similar?

            • I heard that, too. The problem is that after you take an animal to the vet and they are euthanized, how are you supposed to get the body back to the other animals and then back to the vet for cremation, etc? I can’t imagine doing that!

              • They bring the other pets to the the vet after euthanasia.

              • OMG, that is pretty extreme. I don’t know. I think that would stress cats out way too much. Maybe it would be good for dogs?

              • See, I dunno about cats, but I’d think all animals smell/sense/understand death. The vet said otherwise the dog feels abandoned, but when they are permitted to view their dead companion they process it. They know their friend isn’t coming back.

              • Yes, it makes sense. But cats are so sensitive about going to the vet (and some dogs are too) and it is so stressful for them, that they might associate the vet then with death.

              • Yeah, maybe, I dunno, seems clever to me

  12. corinnetrowbridge

    I love the picture of dear judge judy, she’s never look so good! I hope she begins to eat soon and can grieve with you, giving strength to one another.

    • Hahahaha, I agree–Judy never looked so good!! Pear is doing pretty well. I worry about her heart now that she has a big heart murmur, but her UTI is under control and she is eating. I give her lots of kisses!

  13. What a cutie and what a good mother you are to your cats!

    • Ah, thanks, Adrienne–on both counts. I try to be a good mom to them. They are so deserving. Pear is a sweetie pie. She has such a cute little personality.

  14. I hope Pear Blossom gets better. You certainly have had a rough time with so many losses. Hugs. ❤

  15. I am very sorry for your losses, Luanne.
    Good luck for Pear Blossom. Cats do mourn. We humans need to be there for a mourning cat, it makes coping a lot easier – for both parties.

  16. Oh no, poor Pear Blossom, and poor you, I really do hope and pray that as I type this, she is feeling loads better…and you too. And oh how absolutely adorable is she as Judge Judy…LOVE HER 😀 When we lost Willow, Maisy, then two (now 13) missed her so much. And when we lost our dog Bonnie, both the cats seemed lost for a few days, acting very odd as if they sensed she had gone. They are so sensitive to change and I believe they do greive, especially in Pear Blossom’s case as she was so close to beloved Mac. Oh Luanne, you need not to have any more loss, but healing and a reprieve, I pray so for that for you all.
    I did try to take the poll, but I couldn’t submit my vote. I voted that I wrote creative non-fiction after writing poetry. I have recently started writing flash fiction as you know, which is a huge jump for me as I am terrified of fiction and although my readers enjoy it, I have got nowhere in competitions with it. But I enjoy it so there it is. Creative non-fiction and memoir is my genre where I sit more comfortably, but I don’t see a problem with crossing genres like the wonderful Judy Bloom 🙂 I hope you have a good weekend Luanne, and Pear Blossom starts to eat again…hugs xoxo

  17. Pear Blossom is an absolute cutie pie! I hope she’s feeling better soon. Many years ago I had a male and female dog and when the male passed the female stopped eating – pets do grieve for each other 😦

    I like the results of your poll – very interesting. I didn’t put CNF into the blog classification and I should have 😉

  18. Hoping and praying that your dear Pear Blossom finds her bearings again soon, and that together you can comfort each other in this time of sadness. Hugs to both of you (though I’m sure PB would rather not, if she’s anything like my cat.)

  19. I hope Pear Blossom is recovering Luanne. I’m sure she is grieving but hopefully she’ll be able to find a way through it. You have had a difficult year, but as you say, there has been the good news of Doll God among it all. I’ve always been a fiction writer, but started to write creative non-fiction on my blog and began to love it!

  20. Ooooh I do hope kitty starts eating again soon. Poor baby. What a hard year this has been for you, Luanne. I am thinking of you and hoping for a good turn of events for you.

  21. Luanne we never know whats around the next corner so I try to cherish each day. I hope your kitty is getting better I have no doubt she is probably missing her buddy. Hoping the coming weeks a good and shiny ones for you. i have read Authors who cross from kids to adult and some were disappointing because I could not separate the love I had for the children’s books.

  22. I am sure this poll had my vote as unsure but on my phone the choices are small and don’t which to expand as I take my pincher fingers and try my darndest.
    I hope Pear Blossom will be able to get past her loss of Mac. Such a lot of trials and tribulations you have gone through. When adding up your positives, I would list yours as children, husband, mother, good health, intelligence and kitties on the mend. It has been so overwhelming you haven’t been able to visit homeless cats. Your crocheted or “tatted” collar on your sweet dowager cat is beautiful. Blowing kisses across the air waves to whole family, animal members included.
    Last year, my brothers golden retriever (a rescue pup grown to 5 or more years old) decided to gnaw on a balled tree base, while brother went in to eat lunch. When he came back, ready to finish digging holes for new trees, he discovered the strings from netting were pulled out and dog seemed okay so he scolded him than continued digging. Later, husband dog writhed and he realized his “baby” had to go to animal hospital. Rich paid thousands of dollars, sat on a chair holding dog’s paw, while Hamlet had surgery. Just thought if u put this into comments, it may save another dog from a big section of his intestines being removed and rest sewn back together. I have no clue of the expense but bet it was a “pretty penny,” Luanne.

  23. I don’t expect you to edit but “his” transformed or morphed into “husband.”

  24. I’m trying to catch up on your blog, backwards. I hope Pear Blossom is all better now. My Sassy cat stopped eating, twice, and we had to get her all sorts of help and meds, which ran those vet bills way up. She died peacefully when she was 16 or 17, in 2013, but I still miss her the most. Our Jinxy cat died very suddenly the day before Memorial Day. The vet thinks it was a stroke.

  25. I will pray for Pear Blossom to get thru the grieving process and back to his normal state of health & mood. Cats do indeed mourn & grieve…they have a difficult time with change in general, which is a stressor to cats, but losing a mate is as traumatic as losing its owner, I would imagine.
    When i moved back home, from my roommate’s apt, I also took my cat away from his father & brother (for the 2nd time), after they had been reunited for several years (following a 2 year separation). The 2 cats mourned my cat’s absence, the father especially, but strangely enough, my cat, seemed to not miss them once he left their home. In fact, a few months later I brought him back there for a visit, but he seemed threatened & would not leave his carrier, hissing at his father & brother as if he did not know them, yet the other 2 seemed overjoyed to have their 3rd musketeer “back home.” I cut the visit short, since my cat was quite disturbed by his “non-resident” status, but his father was depressed for quite a while after being rebuffed by his favorite son, and interacted less intimately with the son who lived with him. The father was a full Siamese and had raised the 2 kittens when their mother (not Siamese) lost interest & wandered off after several months. He was an engaged father from day one, which was a strange attachment to begin with. He never got his full personality back after losing his son for the second & final time.
    Wow! I’m sorry, did not mean to ramble like that. I was stuck down memory lane! Forgive me.
    My condolences to you for your 2 tragic losses of loved ones. Time will lessen the grief for you as well as for your cat. Everyone has their own timetable for grief. Even cats 🙂

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