Monday, June 10, 2024

In a Vase on Monday: An Homage

It's hard to believe that the loss of a seven-pound, seventeen-year-old cat can turn your life upside down but that's what happened last Friday.  On Thursday evening my cat, Pipig, suddenly starting walking sideways.  She quickly got worse and her distress spread to my husband and me.  When my veterinary care guide provided no answers, I called my vet's after-hours emergency line.  After discussion, I arranged an appointment early the next morning.  After examining Pipig and reviewing her history, the vet concluded that the problem was probably caused by a stroke or a cancerous lesion on her brain.  She outlined our options regarding further testing and prospective treatment.  Given Pipig's age, her medical history, her distress, and the likelihood of recovery, my husband and I agreed to euthanasia.  The pain of her absence is palpable.

I've buried myself in the garden for the last few days.  I wasn't sure how I felt about cutting flowers to fill a vase, much less blogging, but then I remembered a vase a friend of my brother's had given me several year's ago with Pipig in mind, hence this homage.

I have a lot of photos of her; however, this one, taken in January of this year following her recovery from other medical issues late last year, is among my favorites

The gift vase features a tortoiseshell-tabby cat like Pipig.  It even has Pipig's green eyes.

Back view

Top view

Flowers, clockwise from the upper left: Achillea 'Moonshine', Alstroemeria 'Third Harmonic', A. 'Indian Summer', Gaillardia 'Arizona Sun', Grevillea 'Superb', and Leptospermum 'Copper Glow'


This wouldn't be a proper tribute without some additional background on the subject.

I adopted Pipig from an animal rescue group in October 2008 at one year of age, after she'd weened 2 kittens rescued with her.  They'd named her "Mandy Manilow" which didn't suit either of us.  I kept her confined in a small space for a couple of days to allow my other cat, Ming, and she time to adjust to one another.  Her mewing sounded squeaky to me, hence her name.  "Pipig" is the Swedish word for squeaky.

Ming's brother, Max, had died suddenly of congestive heart failure a few months before I adopted Pipig.  He wasn't used to being by himself.  He and Pipig adjusted to one another very quickly.  This photo was taken by my husband in December 2009 when I was under the weather.

Ming and Pipig were regular companions.  This photo shows them in a cat tree (built by my husband) in our former home.

Like his brother, Ming had serious medical issues.  He outlived his sibling by more than 5 years but ultimately succumbed to what the vet believed was bladder cancer.  Pipig looked after him as often as I did.


We lost Ming in early 2014, at which point Pipig became the queen of all she surveyed, including the screened catio shown here

Her majesty hung out wherever she pleased, including the mantle in our bedroom.  She was attracted to flowers but never ate them.

I used to allow her to wander in the garden under close supervision (although she escaped surveillance 3 or 4 times, much to my dismay).  When she and I nearly walked into a coyote mid-morning one day in 2017, the outdoor rambling ended and she had to make do with her catio.

I included this photo taken in 2018 only because it's currently staring at me from a 2024 calendar a friend created.  She's made calendars for me annually for a few years, usually featuring photos from my IAVOM posts, but sometimes including one of Pipig.  This photo just happened to be the one in place for June 2024.

Pipig suffered through 5+ months of a home renovation with us in 2019, spending a lot of the time the workers were on-site nested away in our bedroom closet; however, she conducted inspections after work hours

In late 2019, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.  She had surgery in December 2019, followed by several months of chemotherapy ending in May 2020.  As chemotherapy was mostly conducted during the pandemic lockdown, I spent a lot of hours in the parking lot waiting for her during her treatment sessions.

After a serious medical issue in January 2023, Pipig had another medical problem in late November-early December 2023.  She was better by the middle of December 2023 when I took this photo of her checking into what I was up to in my office.  She had 2 rounds of antibiotics to deal with what appeared to be pneumonia but her lungs were declared clear in January 2024.



I can't claim she hadn't shown other signs of her age.  It was obvious from her gait that she was arthritic but she fought us over the medications we tried to give her to provide relief.  She'd recently been seeking out my husband and I, staying close to one or the other of us.  She started spending most of her time in our bedroom but would hunt me down if I was missing in action for a few hours.  She demanded to be combed every evening and, if I woke during the night, she'd jump on my pillow to be petted before curling up next to my head for awhile.  I didn't see this last event coming and hoped we'd have her for at least a couple more years but I can't entirely say I was surprised.


That's my trip down memory lane.  Thank you for joining me.  Pipig wasn't my first cat and she's unlikely to be my last but each one has its own special place in my heart.  I'll act once my bruised heart is ready for that.


For more IAVOM posts, visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden.



All material © 2012-2024 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

36 comments:

  1. Beautiful, beautiful Pipig, looked so majestic as a mantel ornament...
    I too love that first photo of her, the knitted blanket showing off her amazing eyes. Little Pipig occupied a huge space in your hearts. Sorry you've lost her.
    Chavli

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Chavli. That crocheted throw was a present from her "aunt."

      Delete
  2. Oh, I'm so, so sorry for your loss. Having had cats all my life (and now a dog), I know it's tough every time they leave. Pipig was lucky to be with you. She (and you) had so many adventures and lovely sharing moments. Your floral arrangement and words provide a wonderful homage to your sweet Pipig.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Beth. Even though she was an elderly cat, I'd hope for more time. The suddenness of her departure was a shock.

      Delete
  3. As a cat person myself, my heart goes out to you in the loss of Pipig. I've been their and fully understand your sorrow. Enjoy the memories of her.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Jeanette. We're lucky to have had her for 16 of her 17 years.

      Delete
  4. Oh, sweet Pipig. You loved her so well, my heart goes out to you and your husband.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Tracy. Hold on tight to Dr. Feelgood and give him a a pat for me!

      Delete
  5. Oh Kris, this is the hardest thing. I am so sorry. Thank you for sharing more of Pipig with us. Be kind to yourself, grief is a strange thing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, I know you understand, Loree. Every loss is hard. Our household hasn't been entirely cat-less since 2001.

      Delete
  6. Everythng in your post was such a lovely tribute, Kris. I can't say I know how you feel - only you know that, but my thoughts are very much with you and your husband

    ReplyDelete
  7. Oh, Kris that was a wonderful tribute. in tears with you. I am a fellow animal lover and the loss is just so palpable, the house too quiet. I hope the garden provides some comfort and you take some time to process. I love the vase and flowers. Amelia

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Amelia. The loss does create a vacuum, especially when I'm inside the house.

      Delete
  8. I'm very sorry, Kris. Losing a much-loved pet is devastating. I know from experience. Take comfort in your garden and in the many happy years you spent with Pipig. She had a long, happy life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know you understand the experience, HB. I do feel we did right by her from the beginning to the end. The tears I feel are more for myself, in no longer having the comfort she provided to us.

      Delete
  9. Oh I'm so sorry to hear this news Kris 🤗 I have so enjoyed reading about Pipig's antics over the years. She obviously bought much joy to you and your husband and no doubt she derived joy and comfort from your loving care. Beautiful flowers for a most special cat xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Anna. She was a very sweet cat but she did know how to express herself - and was good at getting what she wanted.

      Delete
  10. I am so deeply sorry for the loss of your beloved cat. Any loss of a member of our family, even the furry ones, is so hard. She was a special cat who had a special family. I think she knew that. Your beautiful vase is a lovely tribute.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Donna. My tribute was a release for my feelings as much as anything else.

      Delete
  11. Pipig hit the lottery when you rescued her -- what great care she had over her life with you in such a loving home, so you and your husband deserve a tribute too. Cats are such lovable creatures, no wonder we feel their loss like we do. Take care and lots of hugs!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Denise, that's kind of you to say. I hope Pipig felt that too.

      Delete
  12. Oh, Kris, this is such sad news. You must be heartbroken 💔 😢 Pipig was such a sweet member of your family and she will be missed. I hope time will ease the loss you must feel. Sending you love and hugs. Eliza 💕

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Eliza. Even my husband had nothing bad to say about Pipig, which I can't claim as true of all of her predecessors.

      Delete
  13. Pipig has been a part of your blog for as long as I can remember. I'm really sorry, Kris. Enjoyed your backstory and was glad to finally learn how Pipig was named. Peace and hugs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Susie. Although Ming and Pipig were companions when I started the blog in December 2012, she's had a regular online presence since we lost him in early 2014.

      Delete
  14. Dear Pipig. I haven't been reading your blog long so appreciate the memory lane homage. One of my previous cats also had breast cancer (at 19) but the cancer came roaring back right after surgery. These little furry creatures take so much space in our hearts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They do indeed, Nikki. I'm glad Pipig got some extra time out of her cancer treatment. I'm sorry that wasn't true for your cat.

      Delete
  15. Dear Kris, I am so sorry that you have lost Pipig. My heart goes out to you, after having lost dear pets myself. She had a long life with you, and was clearly loved. Your hommage to her in the form of a vase is lovely. A big hug from me. 💕🤗

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Cathy. I've been through this before but somehow that doesn't make it any easier. Each one makes an impact on one's life.

      Delete
  16. I look for news of Pipig each time I read your blog. My heart goes out to you - even when we see it coming, it is a shock when it happens.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So true, Diana. I'd watched her more closely ever since the cancer diagnosis in 2019 and periodically quizzed my husband as to whether various small changes of behavior indicated anything. Nonetheless, when I set her down on the floor last Thursday evening and she suddenly started walking sideways and then leaning against the wall to hold herself up, I had a hard time processing what I was seeing. She was obviously distressed - and things didn't get better.

      Delete
  17. I’m so sorry to hear about Pipig Kris, she sounds like a special kitty who was very loved. No matter how much time we get with them it’s never enough.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, that's how I feel too, Candi. One of the cats from my childhood days held on until she was 19 but we still felt that loss.

      Delete
  18. Pipipg was a special gal. Oh it sucks so much when they leave us. The hurt is like no other. I am so sorry for your loss, Kris. You truly loved her and cared for her. She lived her best life thanks to you! Still, so hard. Thank you for telling her story. She'll live on here forever. xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Tamara. I know you understand the experience. Although I've been through this before, that doesn't seem to make the loss any easier.

      Delete

I enjoy receiving your comments and suggestions! Google has turned on reCAPTCHA affecting some commentator IDs so, if you wish to identify yourself, please add your name to your comment.