Monday, August 25, 2008

The Christmas Kitty

I found this old picture of Kouros after he had gotten rid of the fleas and upper respiratory problems he had when we found him. He was our Christmas present that year. This was one of the few times he wasn't trying to climb the tree...

I've been knitting and making jewelry a lot lately, and it's helped me through the sadness. I do have a pang when I realize he isn't going to come try to chew on the yarn or chase beads around. He would explore whatever I was working with, and then he'd settle in and just watch what I was doing. He was a great companion while I was creating. It didn't work with painting, though. The fur flying through the air was a problem.

I used to try to draw Kouros, and they never turned out very well. He needed to be drawn from pictures, because he was always moving. He made it into my September art project from 2006, here and here.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Moving On

I miss my furry little guy. He was our cat, Carl's and mine, and one of the sad things about losing him is that we've lost a bit of life from when it was just the two of us. It's getting better, and I look forward to the day when I don't cry when I talk about losing Kouros. I may be using this space to do some mourning. It's a good place to escape my everyday life and work through it. Just to warn you.
It's good to have this face to ease the pain...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

With a heavy heart...

We had to put Kouros down yesterday. His bladder wasn't getting its tone back, and was filling up again. We could have tried to catheterize him again, keep his bladder small for several days and see, but even then, his prognosis wasn't good. Rather than cause him further pain, we chose to let him go. We held him and cuddled him, and he was purring when he went. We miss him so much already, but it was the right thing to do.

The vet was wonderful to him and to us. I think I caught her right after he had bitten her (and drew blood) when I spoke with her the day before. He had not bitten anyone since he had been on his prozac. He was in pain. She said this had been building up for a while, so I don't feel *quite* so guilty. I'm just sad for the loss of my furry baby. He snuggled and loved us for giving him a home. He kept SVH company when he was out of work a few years ago. He comforted me when I miscarried. He was a loving companion, and we'll miss him terribly.

I was trying to think of a fitting tribute to him, but I didn't really feel like chewing through any of my knitting, or knocking a glass to the floor so it smashed and watching the water run. I'll just put up a picture of him doing one of his other favorite things- sitting on cardboard.

Kouros, Keeper of the Pizza Summer 2004-August 20, 2008

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Kouros is having some urinary tract problems. He's at the vet's, and has been since yesterday morning. I feel so badly, because I think this particular bout came on because we ran out of the prescription food he was on and we were worried about money and we gave him something cheaper for a couple of weeks until we had a check come through. I knew better... I KNEW better... so I suppose I deserved the accusatory tone the vet used last night giving me the update, but it didn't make it any easier to take. She wasn't very nice to me.

I just haven't known what to do about Kouros, and this situation is bringing it all to a head. I never wrote about the aggression problems we were having with him last year. He would bite and draw blood, sometimes unprovoked. He would jump at you and continue to jump until you picked him up and locked him away. It started when we moved into our second apartment in Geneva, and I'm not sure why that seemed to be the trigger. He had other problems, too. He would dig in his water. He was mounting blankets and stuffed animals. He woke us up numerous times a night. I took him down to the Animal Behavior Clinic at Cornell, and they put him on kitty prozac. It worked beautifully. He settled down, we weren't bitten any longer, and all of the other problems went away. I taught him to sit and get up and down from things on command. It helped to let him know I was the boss.

Now we have Blue. She's in his territory all the time. I NEVER leave them together unattended. In fact, I rarely even allow him to be out in the same area as she is when I'm right there. He's been good for the most part. He nipped at her when she grabbed his paw and pulled it through the pet gate. He seems to hold back with her, but given how hard I know he can bite, I can't let my guard down at all. Keeping them apart has worked so far since the in-laws' house is pretty big, but how will it work when we're back in a small apartment? (I won't even hazard a guess as to when that will happen anymore)

The Animal Behavior Clinic gave him a poor prognosis. I think if he has to ever go off the prozac, we definitely won't be able to keep him. They said he has no fear. It's true- biting is a pretty confident behavior. He has never used his claws on a person for all the years we've had him. He only bit, but it was hard, either breaking the skin, or ripping fabric. Once he bit me through my jeans and left a bruise. Most people would probably have put him down. He's not exactly a very adoptable cat- he's on prozac AND prescription food. He's still sweet, and he's quite the hunter (he caught a mouse and a chipmunk that had gotten in the basement), but he's unpredictable. I can't let him spend too much time near my girl. I don't even know what to do when we're in the position to have babysitters come to watch Blue. He's a liability.

And none of that changes the fact that right now, he's at the vet, possibly obstructed, because he's moved down our financial priority list. I feel so terrible.

Monday, August 11, 2008

More Olympic Gold

Dude... after my last rant about the 12-year-old gymnasts (I know, they're not ACTUALLY 12... I'm old, so they look 12), did you see the 33-year-old gymnast from Germany? Was that not the coolest thing ever? She totally rocked the vault! She was in spectacular shape! And did you see her story? Her name is Oksana Chusovitina, and she was in the 1992 Olympics for the Unified team (former Soviet Union). Her son has leukemia, and a friend in Germany got her to come train in Germany, where her son could get treatment. Her son is in remission, and she's become a German citizen. This is her FIFTH Olympics! And she's a gymnast!

So cool.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Five colored rings

Did you watch the opening ceremony of the Olympics last night? I did. After having been too cool for the Olympics since they were in Atlanta in 1996, I'm excited about them again. The dancers painting the giant scroll gave me goosebumps, and I loved the drummers. I thought the sea of people in white doing tai chi was stunning. The way the torch was lit with the gymnast running along the inside of the stadium was spectacular. I was touched by the tiny little earthquake survivor waving his little flags and marching in next to Yao Ming and his giant flag. I stayed up late to see it all.

Why was I against them for those years? I think I was busy being cynical or something... angst was the emotion of the 90s after all. Was it the McDonalds commercials? The Coca-Cola commercials? All these companies peddling unhealthy food in connection with an athletic event? Or how about the medal counts on the news every night? Then there was the whole IOC bribery scandal during the 2002 Winter Games. That didn't help my cynicism. Or was it the fact that there have been so many instances of Olympic Athletes testing positive for various performance enhancing drugs? Or the fact that the gymnasts all look 12 years old, and I'm not sure how I feel about children giving up their youth to train so hard?

I wonder why I'm excited at these games. Why not Athens? The Olympic stadium for the 2004 Olympics had just been finished when I was there for my study abroad program in 1998. Our friends who ran the Marathon finished in the stadium. The subway was being built while I was there-I seem to remember a newspaper kiosk disappearing as a newly dug tunnel collapsed into a building from a previous millennium. We visited Olympia while we were there. Greece and Athens have such significance for the Sleepy-Voiced Husband and me. Why didn't I get over myself then?

As someone who gets so indignant at the trampling of human rights, how is it that I'm not feeling I need to protest these games in a country with such a wretched human rights track record? There has been so much bad news coming out of China in the past year... lead paint in toys and cardboard in food. Or the American man who was murdered (CEO of Bachman's Floral in the Twin Cities).How is it I'm not busy ranting about all of the things that are wrong with China?

How is it that I can edit out all those things that have bothered me in the past?

I think I'm feeling the spirit of the games; the chance to put aside the disagreements, and even violent conflict, to meet as humans and enjoy friendly competition and camaraderie. Maybe a few wars later, I want to see something peaceful. I want to see positive relations between my country and the rest of the world. Maybe it's because I'm a mother now, and I want to see the positive aspects of the world in which I'm raising my daughter. I want to see the joy of physical activity in a country in which we face such morbid obesity. I want to see something we can appreciate as a family. I want to see something beautiful and inspiring.

I'm sure I'll go back to all of my causes and righteous indignation later, but for now, I just want to feel the hope and excitement of the games.