Category Archives: Kitty Cats

New Cat on the Block

What’s that saying about cats? Betcha can’t have just one? Oh, that’s chips. Right. Well either way, Evan and I have been wanting another kitty around the condo. Tilly needs a friend! She’s pretty good with other cats, from what I’ve seen — she’s still young and when she goes over to her catsitter’s place, a lady who lives in our building, Tilly gets along well with her two cats. I hear it took them all about a day to warm up to each other but now they’re one big happy family. So when she’s here alone, I feel like she’d prefer to have another kitty around.

We were thinking that maybe we could join a rescue organization as cat foster parents, and foster kitties here until they find a permanent home. We have lots of space and you know I have a lot of snuggles to give!!! I’d prefer to drape myself in cats but I’d settle for just two. I was going to wait until we got back from our wedding in Cuba, since we’ll be gone for 10 days. But then…one of my friends posted on Facebook about a 20-year-old cat, Bonnie, who was in a bad situation and needed a new home.

My immediate thought was that no one was going to adopt a 20-year-old cat. And of course I thought of Winnie and where she would have gone if something happened to me when she was that old. I’d hope someone would take her. It made me sad that this kitty had nowhere to go, and made me even sadder to think about her living out the rest of her days in a shelter, so I inquired about the cat. Which led to meeting the cat. And that led to us adopting a 20-year-old (estimated age, it’s possible she’s as young as 18), deaf cat with one tooth named Bonnie.

Look at that little face!!

She’s been here for a week and two days now and she’s just a little muffin. She’s quite spry like a little kitty! But she definitely sleeps a lot.

Her fur is a bit matted because she apparently doesn’t like to be brushed, but we are working on that!

She actually sleeps in Tilly’s reject cat bed so I’m glad it’s being put to use.

Bonnie has a super sweet personality, however the first few days she was a bit crotchety towards us. After she got more comfortable she started sitting in our laps and letting us pet her for longer. She’ll definitely let us know if she’s had too much though and has made attempts to bite us. I’m not too concerned, how much damage can ol’ one tooth do.

Her nails are sharp AF though, I need to cut them once she trusts us a bit more.

Tilly saw me bring Bonnie into the condo in a carrier, but I took her straight to the guest room and we’ve been doing the “mystery guest” introduction. Bonnie stays in the guest room and several times a day we’ll go in and visit with her, feed her, etc. Tilly knew she was in there from the beginning and she would sit outside the door and hiss at it. We started doing the scent swapping thing, with their blankets and food dishes, and rubbing cloths on their faces and letting the other sniff them. We fed them on opposite sides of the door (I read a lot about introducing cats), and Tilly has been getting better. After a few days she seemed to be more curious than anything, and when we opened the guest room door the two would catch glimpses of each other and there was no more hissing. That’s a good sign, so on Friday I decided it was time for the kitties to meet face to face.

At first they just had about a half an hour staring contest and I was feeling pretty confident they were going to be friends. Then much drama ensued.

A cat fight nearly broke out but I broke it up by throwing a couch pillow at Tilly (the instigator, she was being a bully!). I told her she needed to have love and acceptance in her heart but she just wasn’t having it. I do feel bad for her. Actually I feel like I’m a mom who just had another baby and feels guilty for changing the family dynamic. It seems ridiculous to compare it to that but I imagine it would feel similar.

Anyway, it was back to the guest room for Bonnie.

We backed up to the scent swapping and feeding them on either side of the guest room door and just letting them catch glimpses of each other.

As of now we have graduated to a screen separating them.

(Guest room/gym — I work out in there sometimes, okay fine, twice)

The last couple of days there has been a lot of staring contests but not a lot of hissing so I’m hoping by the end of the week we can introduce them again and take away the barrier. I know they may not ever be friends but I hope Tilly stops being a jerk. I guess she’s been accepting of kitties in THEIR house, not HER house. She likes being queen kitty of the castle.

Speaking of, Tilly got a cat tree. We’ve been wanting to get one for her for a long time but they’re so crazy expensive. Evan was even going to build one, but even that’s pricy by the time you get all the materials. We found this one on Amazon (Americans, find it on Amazon.com here) and it is a freaking bargain — if this was in a pet store it would be over $200. It is super sturdy and well-made and she love love loves it.

She hangs out in it all day. Watching her play with that little ball that’s hanging makes Evan and I cry with laughter. And lest you think we’re trying to buy her love, we ordered the cat tree before we adopted the new kitty. But I hope it’s working anyway.

Anyway, here’s hoping they’re going to be friends, but if you have any tips on introducing cats I’ll take them!!

And gratuitous shot of Tilly in the bathtub, her other favourite spot.

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Tilly McTillers

Someone asked for a Tilly update a little while ago and I have been meaning to write one for a while so I am happy to oblige! I originally had this scheduled to post last Tuesday but it was not the best day for a Tilly update.

If I could sum Tilly up in one short sentence – girl is cray. She is wonderful, and definitely the biggest character I’ve ever had in a cat, but she is definitely crazy. She’s about nine months old now, so maybe it’s still the kitten in her and she’ll simmer down eventually. Time will tell. Right now we’re enjoying it because she is absolutely hilarious and makes us laugh all day long.

I like that the white under her armpits and on her crotch make it look like she’s wearing a bikini

Tilly is a lovely kitty but she is not a snuggler, and it’s hard not to compare her to Winnie since that’s mostly all I know. I had Winnie for 22 years and a good majority of the time she was on my lap or in my arms. She lived to snuggle. Winnie also really reminded me of my Nana though, and Tilly reminds me of my brother when he was a crazy toddler. Tilly certainly does not live to snuggle. The only time she will snuggle with me is when I get home from somewhere. I usually have about a 1o minute window where she’s all “OH HELLO MY WONDERFUL HUMAN” and she’ll let me hold her and she’ll nuzzle her little face into my neck which is so cute.

She has her muffin moments. When we got home from Florida (Tilly went to her catsitter’s house for the week), she let me snuggle her for a good half an hour. But other than that, no. There is no snuggling.

This was a very rare occurrence

All Winnie wanted in life was a good pair of legs to nap on, but Tilly would prefer to nap juuuuust out of reach of us. I try to entice her with a heated blanket but she rarely falls for it.

I like it over here, thanks

That being said, she does love to be pet and she loves being around us. She will follow us around from room to room and hang out wherever we are stationed. She sleeps with us every night (by my feet, let’s not get too excited, she won’t sleep in my arms like Winnie did). Originally she would sleep above my head on my pillow but I’m so glad she doesn’t do that anymore because it was really annoying. She would push me off and spread her little body across my entire pillow. Now it’s just feet.

Her latest thing is also sleeping inside the box spring for our mattress. She tore the fabric away from the bottom so she could climb into it, and now she hangs out in it like a hammock. Cats, I tell ya.

She is OBSESSED with water. Just can’t get enough. If we leave a glass of water somewhere she is all over it, sticking her face in. If we go into the bathroom, no matter where she is in the condo if she hears the door close she will come running and start banging on it to be let in. She is so obsessed with the toilet that we have to leave the lid down or she’ll get all up in there.

She also routinely just hangs out in the bathtub.

And tears up my loofah.

When we shower she again bangs on the door until we let her in, and then lies on the side of the bathtub between the two shower curtains while we’re showering. She loves water so much that for Christmas we got her this drinking fountain from Amazon (Canadians, you can find it here, currently for $49 but we got it for $29 so you might want to wait for a sale.)

It is seriously awesome and I highly recommend it. She’s drinking so much more water now! (before she would mostly just play with it)

If anything new happens in the house, she has to investigate. If we bring out a box, or open a drawer, a door or a cabinet, she is immediately running to investigate. When I was wrapping Christmas presents, she was rolling all over the wrapping paper, pawing at the edges and biting the boxes.

Helpful.

She initially left the Christmas tree alone, but after a few weeks she had a phase of being totally obsessed with it and she would spend the evenings trying to drink the water and stretching up and smacking the branches. I still don’t know why the sudden obsession.

She is the first cat I’ve had who actually plays with her toys, although they all end up under the couch within 10 minutes. She cannot keep her toys away from the couch and I am constantly down on my stomach trying to retrieve them. We need to shove some pool noodles under there or something to block it off.

The only “toys” that don’t seem to end up under the couch are her two favourites, which are the ones she acquired herself. I told you about the wing on our owl door stopper that she ripped off and now carries around in her mouth.

She likes to leave it in front of us so we’ll throw it for her so she can fetch it and return it. She loooooves playing fetch.

Her most recent favourite toy is a stick she ripped off our Christmas tree.

Throw the stick, please.

And again she’ll carry it around in her mouth and drop it in front of us so we’ll throw it for her. She’s so good at bringing it back!

She is quite a resourceful little minx.

Despite being a terror a lot of the time, she is a very nice kitty. When our little nephew Landon comes over he makes a beeline to Tilly and starts harassing her, she is not only super gentle with him, she makes no effort to get away. I think she actually likes it.

So that’s a Tilly update. She is different from what we’re used to, for sure, but she really is the best little kitty. We love her so much and are so happy we rescued her!


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Little Tilly Kitty

Guess what!

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On Thursday night we adopted a kitty!!! Meet little Tilly!

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She is seriously the best and I’m so happy we found her. I’ve mentioned this a few times but we have been on the hunt for a cat since March and had a difficult time finding a kitty that was a good fit for us. I initially wanted to give a home to a spry older cat, so first there was the 7-year-old cat Mya I mentioned, who we were adopting through a rescue. Unfortunately, due to some health problems, that fell through. They are minor health problems but I’m not sure when she will be ready to be adopted, and when she is ready there are a few other things about her that sadly made her a little high maintenance for us. It was disappointing because we really liked her when we met her, but I guess it wasn’t meant to be. Once we found out Mya wasn’t going to happen we started going to our local animal shelter a few times a week, and even PetSmart several times (they have an adoption program with the local shelters and rescues), but we weren’t having any luck.

I wish I could take in every stray kitty in the world, but realistically we can only have one right now and I’m being a little picky ’cause I know cats are forever. Winnie lived for 22 years so that is a big commitment! I will be loving them longtime. There was one three year old kitty that we liked but when we inquired about her we found out she was already spoken for. Womp womp.

On Wednesday I was checking the website of our local shelter and I noticed that a couple litters of kittens had popped up for adoption. I was apprehensive about a kitten because you don’t really know what kind of cat they’re going to turn out to be, so it’s hard to get a sense of personality… But they looked so cute and I am pretty confident in my cat raising skills. I raced there after work, headed straight into the cat area, and immediately fell in love with this little girl.

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There were four other kittens from a different litter, but she was brought in as a solo stray. All the kitties seemed nice but when I picked her up she immediately nuzzled herself into my neck and started purring, so I knew she was the cat for us. I want snuggly so that was a good sign!

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Unfortunately I got there at about 6:05pm and they don’t do adoptions after 6. I also wanted Evan to meet her and he was still working across the city. He told me he trusted my cat judgment, but still, it’s a big commitment from both of us, he needed to be in on it.

The shelter workers said I could come back and fill out an application for her the next day, but Evan and I both had to work and I knew by the time we got there in the later afternoon she would be adopted. She would go fast. Initially they were not going to let me put a hold on her, but I was talking to one of the ladies about how much I love cats as this little kitty was sleeping on my chest, and I just slipped in that my last kitty lived to be 22 (aka I’m a good cat mom — I conveniently did not mention the time I accidentally locked my best friend’s cat in a suitcase…) and the lady was all “welllll let me see what I can do…” and it worked. In the end, they let me fill out an application and they would hold her for us until we could go back the next day to pick her up. I feel so lucky they let me do this because when we got there after work on Thursday all the other cats had been adopted and someone had put another hold on her, so if we changed our mind they could get her. But she’s ours!!!

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We brought her home and just fell in love. It’s so nice to hear the pitter patter of little kitty feet in the condo again. It’s been a looong time since I’ve had a kitten (22 years?) and I forgot how hilariously entertaining they are. She is 10 weeks old (I guess almost 11 now) and right now she’s this amazing combination of frisky and cuddly. We have already spent hours just watching her antics.

And man, cats are so easy. We just showed her the litter box and she did her business, covered it, and was good to go. Zero accidents, she’s been using it religiously. The poor muffin threw up on Saturday morning and she ran to her litter box to do it there, like she didn’t want to make a mess. She is a considerate little minx.

She’s super hyper right before bed, and she’ll “attack” any movement from under the covers, but once she settles down she’s been sleeping with us the entire night. Last night she let me spoon her, just like Winnie! I love that she tolerates us loving on her.

So, get ready for a bunch of kitten pics ’cause I’m a bit obsessed right now.

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And her little meow is just the cutest. Here’s a sample:

I just want to go home and snuggle with this creature! #kittensofinstagram #catvideo

A post shared by Lindsey Evanoff (@happyorhungry) on

I just can’t get enough of her!

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This Week

Thank you so much for all your kind words about my baby Winnie. I want to respond to them all but when I try I feel my vision start to blur. But I cherished each one, and I read them all to Evan and we both feel so happy that Winnie has touched so many people. She was really the best.

I did not understand the pain of losing a pet until it happened to me. When Winnie’s brother Tigger went missing about 10 years ago, it did not hurt like this. I loved Tigger, but Winnie was mine. It was like she was made for just me. We had a special bond that I have never had with another animal.

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When my friend Cely lost her sweet Bardot a few weeks ago I felt sad for her, but I did not yet have the capacity to fully understand the pain she was feeling. I didn’t understand that it felt like someone ripped your heart out of your chest, threw it on the ground and stomped all over it. Now I know, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. Why do we do this to ourselves?! Because I guess in the long run the time we had with our amazing pets and the wonderful lives we can give them makes up for the pain when they’re gone. Hold your pets close!!!

The worst is the phantom cat. Thinking Winnie is still here and then realizing she isn’t. My friend Dawn sent me flowers on Monday (seriously bless her heart) and I went to put them up high because previously if we had any plants in the range of Winnie she would eat them and then throw up. And then I remembered there is no one to eat the flowers and I can put them wherever I want, and that made me sad.

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Cat grass is delicious, but Winnie preferred to eat flowers.

The other night I was sleeping and I half woke up and I could feel something pressed against my leg. Forgetting, I thought it was Winnie, and I reached down to pet her and realized it was just a pillow. And then I remembered why it couldn’t have been Winnie and that made me sad. And then yesterday I was in our room and I saw something sticking out of the blanket on our bed that Winnie used to bury herself under, and for a moment I thought it was her weird little half white paw.

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But it wasn’t, and that was sad.

The silence in our house is profound. I never before realized how much presence our small kitty had in the condo. She was always up to something, that cheeky minx. Butt dragging, trying to scam us into Fancy Feast, barfing up her Fancy Feast and then meowing for more, eating our plants, coming into our bedroom and meowing and then happily trotting to the ottoman for brushes when we followed her out, looking behind her to make sure we were coming (and if we didn’t follow her all the way to the ottoman she would come back and meow at us some more until we continued to follow her), yowling at the side of our bed at 6am for Fancy Feast until I picked her up and made her snuggle with me, destroying all our potato bags…

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or staging a boudoir shoot in Ian’s room…

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Ian is actually away in Florida this week so Evan emailed him to let him know what happened and he wrote me a really nice note saying that he was going to do a shot of tequila and then drag his butt around the floor in Winnie’s honour. I’m sure Winnie would appreciate that.

I always used to call “Be a good kitties!” to Winnie when I was leaving the condo in the morning for work, and the other day as I was leaving I forgot what I was doing and I called “Be a good……boyfriend…” and it just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

I haven’t been able to bring myself to move her litter box and things yet, but I guess it really isn’t a pressing issue. I’ll get to it. Evan and I washed her water fountain and her array of dry food and Fancy Feast bowls, but now they are sitting on the counter waiting for us to do something with them. Evan was saying that we should save Winnie’s things in case we get a new cat one day and I was all “okay but we should wait, Winnie was so special and I don’t want to feel like we’re replacing her” and in the middle of that sentence I became hysterical and I couldn’t control my super high-pitched sobbing voice. Even though I agree with him and I do want to have another cat. I can’t imagine a life without cat. I think being a crazy cat lady is probably my life’s purpose. But not yet. And what if we get a new cat and that cat is a dick and doesn’t want to snuggle? What if the cat hisses at people or tries to bite us or pees all over the place? I can’t deal with a jerky spaz cat after a kind soul like Winnie. I don’t even know what to do with a cat that doesn’t want to snuggle. What is the point of that even.

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Cats are made for snuggling.

Anyway. So this week’s been rough. Monday was the worst. I pretty much cried on and off at my desk all day, and I am the worst cryer. My eyes get extremely red and puffy, like instantly, so it’s impossible to hide. My coworkers are very supportive but I’m sure I looked like a weirdo to those who have not experienced the loss of a pet. So I mainly just hid in my cubicle of pain.

Tuesday was my birthday, and I was so sad that I forgot at first, but then I got so many wonderful messages from people that it genuinely really cheered me up. Facebook is really great for that. It’s hard to feel sad when your family and friends (and someone you met once at a party years ago) are sending you so much love. And the card my coworkers made me is amazing.

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One of my coworkers has a side business of making cakes so she brought in cupcakes!

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With buttercream icing! They were so delicious I had two. The grief has not affected my appetite.

Evan packed my lunch in the morning on my birthday and included the most thoughtful handwritten note and a giant Kinder surprise egg, and then he made me birthday dinner that evening. It was a good one.

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Quinoa and black bean stuffed peppers, sweet potato spears, and a cucumber salad with smashed ginger, sesame and garlic dressing. He even got cake.

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He really knows how to cheer me up. A couple weeks ago Paula posted about this cat jewelry and apparel site called Meowingtons and I showed it to Evan because I thought it was funny, and then as part of my present this showed up:

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Cat accessories! The scarf and the cat ear ring are my favourite. So now I have a bunch of crazy cat lady accessories but no cat. I still love them and I will wear them proudly (though maybe not all at once so as to not overwhelm people). That Evan is a precious gem, and I feel so lucky to have him.

It was a very good week to have my birthday, actually, because it pulled me out of my funk for a bit. I know that it will steadily get better, but I’m still sad and a little funky so please bear with me. For now I just wanted to have another post to remember my perfect little cat.

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And I so appreciate all of you loving Winnie along with me. Seriously thank you.

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My Sweet Winnie

On Sunday, we had to say goodbye to my sweet little kitty Winnie.

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She had not really been herself for the last few weeks. She still seemed happy and pretty spry, jumping up on our bed (using the step that Evan made her), jumping on and off the couch, and using her litter box as normal, but she was not eating like she usually does. This did not alarm me at first. You may remember me mentioning that she was on a special dry food for her kidney disease for the last few years, which I would supplement with Fancy Feast once a day because it is her absolute favourite. Also, too much of the dry food would make her constipated (about two years ago we had a big scare when she became severely constipated) but too much Fancy Feast would give her the opposite problem, in an explosive sort of way. So, for the past two years I have been strategically feeding her the perfect ratio of dry food to Fancy Feast to keep her poop the right texture. She was a bit of a diva like that.

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You will perfect my poop.

She didn’t like the dry food as much as Fancy Feast, obviously, so sometimes she would go on a bit of a hunger strike for a few days and refuse to eat anything but Fancy Feast. When she stopped eating her dry food a couple weeks ago, I first assumed that’s what was going on. I thought she was just being her usual picky self, holding out for the good stuff because she knows we’re weak and we’ll cave if she sits by her dish and looks sad.

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Earlier last week, however, she stopped being enthused for even Fancy Feast. She would (angrily) meow for it like usual, but when I gave it to her she would leave most of it in her dish. And then she would come back to her dish later and meow for more. So it was like she wanted to eat but couldn’t. She was still eating her usual treats that I gave her every morning, but by Friday she was quite lethargic and had lost a noticeable amount of weight. She’s always been small, and she had definitely been shrinking the past couple of years since she was diagnosed with kidney disease, but never this much in such a short time. She was still acting normal though, and she wasn’t hiding (huge tip off last time she was sick), so we left her a little charcuterie of all her favourite foods to try to entice her into eating something.

On Sunday in the late morning, she was — in the words of Lord Grantham — not looking too clever. She was even more lethargic and she was wobbly on her hind legs. I had my friend Emily’s baby shower to attend in the early afternoon so I called Willowdale Animal Hospital (the only vet open on Sundays around here, but also the one we went to the last time Winnie was sick) and made an appointment for that afternoon when I returned. I truly thought she was just constipated and she needed a little manual help from the vet like last time. I gave Winnie lots of kisses, told her I loved her, and left her in Evan’s capable hands until I got back.

About 40 minutes into the baby shower I got a call from Evan that Winnie’s situation had escalated and he was taking her to the animal hospital immediately. From his panicked voice I could tell it was bad, and I left the shower right away to meet them there. By the time I arrived they were in the examining room and Evan had briefed the vet on what had been going on with Winnie over the past couple of weeks. I will never forget how uncomfortable and weak she looked on that examining table.

The vet sat me down and went over our options and I could feel the tears in my eyes. I knew it wasn’t looking good. He explained that we could get her on an IV, try to fix her up, and maybe buy some more time with her, but there was no guarantee she would recover or even make it through another couple of days. I was shocked to find out that Winnie only weighed 4.5lbs at that point. She was dehydrated (and she had been drinking a lot of water so that surprised me), malnourished, probably anemic. I looked at her weakly hovering so uncomfortably on that table and I realized that whatever I did to keep her alive at that point would be for me, not for her. The vet estimated that her kidney disease had progressed to the final stages since she was diagnosed three years ago, and that could have been what her problems were stemming from. Or maybe she had cancer or some other disease happening as well. Whatever it was, it wasn’t a simple constipation issue, like I had so desperately been hoping.

Evan and I already knew what we had to do, but the doctor left us alone to make the decision. I picked Winnie up and Evan and I held her frail little body between us and sobbed into her fur and told her how much we loved her and how she was the best little kitty in all the land. We called the vet back in after about 10 minutes and let him know that we had decided to have her put down. He agreed it was the right thing to do, which gave me some comfort because I’ve never had to make a decision like that before and I felt pretty crappy about it. He reminded me that at 22 she had led a very long and happy life.

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He asked if we wanted to be present for her injection, and we said yes, we did. They took Winnie away to give her an IV of pain medication to calm her, and then we met her in a private room so we could say goodbye.

The vet left us alone for this and I thought that I would be able to be strong for Winnie but I lost my mind. I held her little body to my chest and again told her how much I loved her and how she had been the most amazing kitty and my best little buddy for so long. She always smelled like bread and cinnamon and like the last person who had been holding her, and I buried my face into her fur to smell her scent one last time, but at that point I was crying so hard that I couldn’t smell anything.

When I put her back on the table she really seemed like she understood what was happening and she was at peace with it. I’ve never seen her so still and peaceful (I think the drugs had something to do with this). When the vet came back in to do the injection, Winnie kept her eyes on me the entire time, refusing to close them. I cry every time I think of this, of her not wanting to close her eyes, watching us until the very end, our teary faces the last thing she saw.

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The doctor gave her the injection and Evan and I stroked her head and gave her kisses until she was gone. It only took about 10 seconds.

It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do, and I can’t imagine how hard it must be to do the job of the vet. Dr. Petrut and his staff were so professional, but so gentle and compassionate with Winnie. And with us. Evan and I were hysterical sobbing (well, I was more hysterical, Evan was calmer sobbing), and I wouldn’t have known how to deal with us. But they were so incredibly kind. I was really impressed with the Willowdale Animal Hospital overall, even though it was awkward paying our bill afterwards when I was still crying. Winnie will be cremated, and in two weeks I will receive a mould of her little paw print. I think that’s going to kill me when I receive it, but I can’t wait to have it. I love her little feet.

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Part of me wonders if things would have been different if I had brought Winnie into the vet at the first sign of her being weird. I feel a little guilt that I didn’t. But realistically I know there probably wasn’t anything we could have done to prolong her life. I think her time was Sunday and I am thankful that I was with her and she knew that she was loved by her family until the the end.

I honestly can’t believe how heartbroken I am. I have been anticipating this for a good 10 years. I knew it had to happen at some point, but I couldn’t have prepared myself. I think some part of me really thought she might be a miracle cat and would live forever. I actually wrote about this in my If You Could Google Anything post.

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I can’t remember my life before Winnie and I can’t imagine my life without her. She enriched my life so much. She has been with me through everything, for 22 years! She is the same age as my adult brother!

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Since I was 10 years old, if I was ever upset about anything my routine was to get Winnie, get into bed, snuggle her close, cry into her fur as needed.

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When I was bullied in elementary school, when I had my heart broken, when my parents split up, when my mom and brother moved to BC… Winnie was there to comfort me. She was always my cat, and she was truly my living teddy bear. When I went through a tough breakup in 2012, Winnie was there and put up with me toting her around to friends houses, our belongings in garbage bags, until we moved on our own to the city. When I lost my job shortly after that, I snuggled Winnie and promised her that I would always take care of her, I would make sure I could always afford Fancy Feast, and I would never let us become homeless.

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I am so happy that she met Evan and she had a lovely life with him here in the condo, and how they bonded in the three years they knew each other. It chokes me up when I think of how much they loved each other.

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Winnie enjoyed naps on warm blankets in the sunshine,

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twisting herself up into a little pretzel,

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playing with her tetherball,

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being cuddled, luring us to the ottoman to get brushed (always the ottoman).

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You guys won't brush me? Fine, I'll do it myself. #catsofinstagram #catvideo

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(even if it meant having to brush herself)

And she loved eating Fancy Feast, Temptations, cheese, chips, yogurt and plants (and then throwing that plant up). She especially enjoyed me spooning her in my bed.

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I will miss her greeting me when I get home from work, yowling for Fancy Feast, and then trying to trick someone else into giving her some later, because maybe that sucker wouldn’t know she already had it. I will miss her smelling like bread and cinnamon and like the person who had last been holding her. I will miss her purring as I bury my face into her fur. I will miss her little nails clicking on the hardwood floor. I will miss all of our blankets being covered in her hair. I will miss holding her close at night and snoring in her face. I will miss singing to her, talking to her, and her meowing back at me like she understood. I will miss her meowing questionably every time someone says her name. I will even miss her dragging her butt around the house and leaving “butt drags” as Evan and I called them, aka shit stains.

I feel like I have lost a part of my identity, as ridiculous as that sounds. I am no longer the mom of a 22-year-old cat. I had high hopes of her making it into the Guinness Book of World Records for being the oldest cat in the world. I was so proud of her that I would rave on about her to anyone who would listen. If I ever had to make small talk she was my go-to conversation to impress someone. Now that she’s gone I’m not sure what I’m going to talk about anymore. And what photos on my phone am I going to proudly show off?

Miss Winnie, you are irreplaceable. You are the pet of my life. You are the most wonderful soul I’ve ever known and you were the best sidekick for 22 years. You brought me so much joy, you made me laugh every day, and I hope you knew that everyone who met you loved you. I will think of your sweet face every day for the rest of my life. I love you so much and my heart will permanently have a kitty-nugget-shaped hole in it. When we meet again I am going to snuggle you forever.

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Yes, we shall. But until then I hope you are up in heaven with your brother Tigger and Cely’s dog Bardot (even though she’s a dog, you can tolerate her), and as Cely said, I hope you are happily napping in a very warm spot while waking up occasionally to demand food and love. That thought brings me great joy.

It also brings me joy that I have captured so many memories of her on this blog, particularly her 21st birthday post, and in My Nana vs. My Cat: A Comparison.

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21 Facts about Winnie in Honour of her 21st Birthday

Guess whose 21st birthday it is?!

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That’s riiiiight. Little miss Winnie kitty turns the big 2-1 this month! I don’t know when exactly her birthday is, but I do know that I had her for her first Christmas, and she was old enough to leave her mom then (6-8 weeks?), which means she was born around this time. So we are celebrating birthday month. Fancy Feast all day err’day (not quite, but that would be Winnie’s dream).

21 is a big deal for anyone. 21 for a cat is a HUGE deal and pretty much unheard of. There are differing opinions on cat to human years, but in human years Winnie is about 100-140 years old. You do not often hear of cats making it to this age, so it’s pretty incredible and I think of Winnie as my little miracle kitty. So in honour of her 21st birthday, here are 21 facts about Winnie.

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Fact: She’s cute.

21. Winnie was parented by two stray cats and was born under my friend Emily’s neighbour’s air conditioner. It happened on a day that could have been just like this, 21 years ago.

20. Winnie lived in the barn in Emily’s backyard with her mom and her brothers and sisters, until she was old enough to leave her mother and we could adopt her. We adopted Winnie and also her brother Tigger.

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Tigger and Winnie…and Eric. And a really, horribly unflattering picture of me and my chins in my Northern Reflections sweater.

That is sadly the only picture I can find of Tigger. I know there are more around somewhere! Unfortunately, Tigger is gone (I will get to that) but apparently Winnie does still have a surviving sister who lives with a friend of Emily’s parents! Barn cats man, they are sturdy minxes.

19. Winnie does not really like children. You can see in the above picture that she is keeping a watchful eye on Eric… He harassed the pants off her, and she did not like it. I don’t know if it is specifically because of Eric that she doesn’t like kids…but probably. He certainly did not change her mind about them. Winnie was also the unfortunate victim of Eric and a bottle of my mom’s Chanel No 5. That was a fun moment for Winnie.

18. Winnie LIVES to snuggle. She has always been like this. As soon as we brought Winnie and Tigger home I made them sleep in my bed with me, but Tigger would never stay. Winnie would though. Winnie would stay with me in my arms every night until I fell asleep, and when I woke up I would find her by my feet. She still sleeps with me every night.

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She prefers to be under the covers. So snuggly.

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We woke up like this.

17. For the first 10 years or so of Winnie’s life, we lived in the middle of nowhere, across the street from a lake and basically in a forest. In her youth Winnie was an outdoor kitty. She was allowed to freely roam around outside at her leisure. Although she had this freedom, she stayed on our property and only dared to go into the very edge of the forest. Very unfortunately, Tigger disappeared when he was about 10 years old, and we can only assume that an animal got him. But that would not happen with Winnie. Not only did she practice safety first, but it was clear that you do not mess with her. You may notice that Winnie has a little cut in her ear.

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That is a V for Victory. Some other animal tried to mess her up and she showed them who’s boss and came out unscathed, minus her badass battle scar.

16. Winnie was an excellent mouser in her day. So many times I would walk outside and find a dead mouse “present” on the step of our front porch.

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Deadly.

15. Aside from being a fabulous mouser and an excellent guard cat and defender, she is the sweetest little kitty you will ever meet. She has the most beautiful soul in the world. And I don’t just mean cat soul, I mean all souls. She is the nicest. It makes me sad that she is spayed and will never be a mom with kittens of her own, because she would be the BEST mom.

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She has also never bit a person and will not bite you even if you stick your finger in her mouth (I have tried). She will refuse. She is friendly to everyone (except kids, she’ll just hide), and she’ll snuggle with anyone.

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14. At the lake house, we had a neighbour who lived behind us whose name was also Winnie, coincidentally. So my mom would want Winnie to come in for dinner and she would be at the back door yelling  “WINNIEEEEEEEEE!!!! Come on, hurry up! Winnieeeeee! Are you hungies? Are you hungies? WINNIEEEEE?!” Not awkward for our neighbour Winnie at all I’m sure…

13. Winnie does not like dogs. She has never liked dogs, and I don’t think she ever will. She tolerated Bolt for exactly one evening, and then she went back to avoiding him.

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Winnie says “Nope nope nope nope nope.”

My mom was all “well, how do you think Winnie has lived for so long? She knows to stay away from the dogs.” Too true. Smart kitty.

12. She doesn’t like other cats either. Until she gets used to them. When I lived with my old boyfriend we had another cat named Dexter that we introduced to Winnie when he was a kitten, and I think she thought she was his mom because they actually became best friends.

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I lost custody of Dexter after the breakup when we sold our house and I moved into a tiny junior one bedroom condo downtown Toronto (well, technically midtown) and couldn’t have two cats. I was very sad to lose Dexy, but I know he has a good life now. I wonder if Winnie ever misses him.

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She probably doesn’t miss his harassment.

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11. Winnie has been with me through everything since I was about 10. She was my kitty all through high school, all through post secondary, has spent time with all my friends and everyone I have ever dated (well, dated seriously, and Evan is her favourite). She has been with me through my parents break up, many, many moves, and many jobs. The Wins has always been the steady constant in my life, for two thirds of my life. She is the pet of my life.

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10. Winnie has always been a small cat.

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However, she did go through a stage where she put on some weight (too much Fancy Feast), and her body got quite a lot larger. Her head, however, did not change in size. This earned Winnie the nickname “Beetlejuice” because:

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9. Winnie is a true sunshine kitty and she loves to be outside. She can’t roam freely like she could in her younger years, but she loves to be outside on the patio and feel the sunshine on her fur.

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8. For the most part Winnie is very low key and does not get into trouble. But occasionally she will have a destructive moment. She has an issue with plants, she cannot let them go uneaten. And apparently she has an issue with potato bags…

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And she has a very discerning taste in cat toys. She likes tinfoil balls, foam balls, balls on string, and that’s about it. She likes balls.

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Fake mice though? No.

7. Winnie’s destructive moments tend to coincide with the moments that she REALLY. WANTS. FANCY FEAST. and is on a hunt for it.

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She absolutely LOVES Fancy Feast and will do anything for it. Imitation Fancy Feast? Forget it. Winnie only likes the real deal. She will not even look at Finicky Cat or those fancy Meow Mix gourmet toppables. She is on a special dry food for her kidney disease and she is supposed to have the corresponding wet food to accompany this, but she really doesn’t like it. She only wants Fancy Feast, and she’s 21 years old so if she wants to eat crap, that’s fine. She can do whatever the hell she wants. She’s earned it. She also likes ham. And cheese, yogurt, and chips.

6. We had to stop giving her Fancy Feast in the morning because she started waking up earlier and earlier and meowing for it. It got to the point where she would wake up at 5am and start meowing in our bedroom and would not shut up until she got her Fancy Feast.

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Fancy Feast. She wants it.

So now she gets the Fancy Feast every day at dinner time and the morning meowing has stopped.

5. Winnie loves, loves loves loves, to be brushed. On the ottoman. Always the ottoman. And if you are not going to brush her, that’s fine, she gets things done.

You guys won't brush me? Fine, I'll do it myself. #catsofinstagram #catvideo

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4. Aside from when Winnie was diagnosed with kidney disease (bad times in the litter box, and outside of the litter box, led to this diagnosis, and it is manageable with her special food), Winnie has only been sick enough to require a visit to the vet one other time that I can remember. Again, barn cats. They sturdy.

3. I mentioned this in my Nana vs. My Cat: A Comparison post, but Winnie has the most positive attitude. Again, this is probably why she has lived for so long and is still so spry and full of energy. Winnie doesn’t sweat the small stuff. She lives for the smallest things. Like her alpine scratcher (we have to get her a new one, she loves it!)

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2. Winnie is very vocal and meows a lot. Some would say constantly. Evan and I think this is hilarious/cute and it does not annoy us (unless it is happening at 5am for Fancy Feast, then yes, it does).

1. Winnie will seduce you with her cat grass.

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I could go on forever about how amazing Winnie has been over the years. She is a one-of-a-kind kitty and I am so lucky to have had her in my life for as long as I have. I can’t imagine my life without her and I know it’s not possible, but part of me thinks that she will live forever because she is just fueled by love.

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We love you Winnie!!!! Happy 21st birthday you old miracle!

If you would like to send Winnie a gift she will accept Fancy Feast. And ham.

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