Update on Jackie

Update on Jackie

I may not talk much about our cat Jackie, but she is still with us. We cuddle every day, and this is very good for my mood.

Today was her yearly check-up at the vet. I tried not to think about the fact that my heart cat Jackie was with us the last time, otherwise a few tears would have been shed.

But everything is alright, Jackie is healthy, even though she is fourteen years old now.

We drove home in a good mood, and I became aware of the fact that the bond between me and our furbabies is very strong.

And one thing is sure: We walk this way together until the very end, in good and bad times.

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Feline Friday 1

Feline Friday 1

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S is for SAMMY

S is for SAMMY

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My motto for this year’s A to Z is “Animals in my life – stuffed or alive”.

Of course, S is reserved for my heart cat, Sammy!

What still amazes me after living without her for more than half a year, is the amount of love she left behind.

I have to say a heartfelt “Thank you” to all those who helped me grieving. Nobody said: “It was just a cat! Get your sh*t together!” So many people comforted me, listened to me or just were there. And there was Jackie, who patiently stayed with me as long as I needed it.

My therapist, a very matter-of-fact man, told me, grieving for a pet can be as strong as grieving for another human being… At least this is true for me. And when the grief lessens, the love still stays. It is like a comfortable, yet light blanket.

At first I thought, I would never be able to love a pet again. But now I am back to my normal, pet loving self 😄. And back to my original mission: Adopt and save as many homeless pets as Sammy in this life as possible!

I think, Sammy would like this very much. I can imagine her looking me in the eye and purr: “Finally you get it!”

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J is for Jackie

J is for Jackie

My motto for this year’s A to Z Challenge is “Animals in my life – stuffed or alive”

I mentioned in an earlier post, that Jackie changed her behavior completely after her mother Sammy died last September. She really tried to comfort me for months.

Now, as my grief lessens, she changes her behavior again. She spends more time outside, she doesn’t want to snuggle as much. Don’t get me wrong, she still loves to cuddle at night and she still is very affectionate. But she definitely has more “cat-time” now.

Jackie is very good when it comes to teaching independence. She stayed with me until I understood Sammy’s death was not meant to torture me for the rest of my life, because true love never dies. But that I had to let her go nonetheless. And that life goes on.

Shortly after Sammy’s death, I said to my husband that I don’t want to have any more cats, because it hurts so much when they leave for the Rainbow Bridge. That my heart would never heal.

Jackie proved me wrong. Her love was infectious! But now everything has stabilized on a new level, and can everything please go back to normal, meow🐱?

G is for GINGER

G is for GINGER

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My motto for this year’s A to Z is “Animals in my life – stuffed or alive”.

Well, I have a confession to make: I always wanted to have a ginger cat with blue eyes. The cat in the picture was from Austria, near Salzburg, were we went skiing twice with my husband’s family. It was a male cat named “Purzel”, what roughly translates to “tumble”.

But somehow I never have been adopted by a ginger cat. Please note that I said “I was never adopted”, not “I never adopted”.

When my husband and I are looking for a pet, we try to push our expectations away for the moment. We introduce ourselves very calmly and respectfully to the animal and then wait what happens. Animals are very good in judging humans, they gather so much information from us in just a few moments. And they are very honest with us! If a pet shows no interest in us, it basically says: “Thanks, but this will not work.” And I have to admit: Our pets were always right!

Most animals are brought to a shelter, because their humans didn’t listen to those signals. Most humans have a very exact image in their mind what they are looking for, and they are not willing to look elsewhere. I don’t say that future pet owners shouldn’t think things through before they adopt a furry family member: It is very important to be aware of the conditions the pet will live in. A big dog in a small appartment will likely cause problems, as will a cat if a family member is allergic to cats.

But why limit yourself to a certain breed… or the colour of the fur? Other things are more important: That your character and the temperament of your pet match, for example. And let me tell you this: This moment, when a pet shows you it choses you as a life companion (and they never settle for something less) is pure magic. I was lucky to be adopted by Sammy and Jackie, and I still am at a loss how to put this into words.

So, trust the instinct and the wisdom that are alive in all pets. And prepare yourself for a fascinating bonding experience!

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Six months without Sammy

Six months without Sammy

Living with pets means accepting that their lifespan is shorter than ours. Sammy lived a long cat life of eighteen years, and her time just had come six months ago. Today I remembered her last hours with us very vividly. Most of this time she was lying on my tummy, one of her favorite places. I couldn’t have thought of any better way to say goodbye to this special cat.

And then she was gone and life went on, right? At least this is how it was in the past.

I should have known better. Nothing is or was ordinary with Sammy!

Immediately after her death, the behaviour of Sammy’s daughter, Jackie, changed completely. While she had preferred staying with my husband, she now rarely left my side. At first I thought this wouldn’t last. Of course she felt my sadness, maybe she enjoyed being the only cat in the house, maybe it was Sammy letting us know everything is alright from the Rainbow Bridge, who knows…

Well, she didn’t change a bit. She takes her time to stroll outside, or to lie on the fish tank, but she keeps coming back to me. She lies on my tummy, like Sammy used to do. When I shed a few tears, because this reminds me so much of Sammy, she licks me and purrs.

The abilities of animals will never cease to amaze me. How they recognize our feelings and react to them puts the empathy of many human beings to shame.

They say “Saving one animal won’t change the world, but it will change the world for one animal.”

We may have rescued Sammy back then, but she changed our world. She still does

To sleep, perchance to dream

To sleep, perchance to dream

Or so Shakespeare said. But it is not always easy for me.

To those, who have their eight hours of uninterrupted sleep every night, you don’t know how lucky you are! My husband is one of those lucky people and I’m happy for him, but it’s hard not to be envious sometimes when I am awake at night and he is sleeping like a log next to me.

I always have been a vivid dreamer, but this was never a problem. A few times I had really bad nightmares, but that was the proverbial exception that proves the rule. But anxiety, depression and pain have changed my sleeping pattern over the last years.

Sometimes when I wake up, I can’t move. It’s like somebody is sitting on my chest and holding me down. I can’t even speak. My husband may be centimetres away from me, but I can’t reach out for him. How long these episodes last I can’t say, but they leave me anxious and confused. It takes me a long time to fall asleep again.

Or I have a bad dream, become aware of the fact that I’m dreaming and wake up, fall asleep again, have the same bad dream again, wake up, and so on, until I give up on sleep.

The third problem is waking up from back pain. Changing my pain medication from tablets to patches helped a lot, but it still happens. It takes a while for my as-needed pain medication to take effect, but I usually can go back to sleep after that.

Somtimes I don’t even try going to bed and stay in the living room over night with the TV on. But of course this is more dozing than sleeping, and I feel worse the next morning.

I take an antidepressant at night that is supposed to help me fall asleep. The first few days I got very tired about half an hour after taking it, but not any more. There is as-needed medication that has a calming effect, but it makes me feel kind of hung over the next morning if I take it too late. Natural healing methods as Reiki, breathing exercises or essential oils help calming me down and even going back to sleep sometimes, but they do not get to the root of the problem. Zopliclone helps, but I agree with my psychiatrist that its use is limited to really bad times when one bad night follows the other.

This morning I was haunted by a recurring bad dream again. It took me a while to shake this off. But of course, Jackie knows when I need her. She lay on my pillow,  radiating calmness and peace. Cat: strong medication without side effects!

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