The Closing of the Door

We were in the midst of a whirlwind … or maybe more like a hurricane.  Life was spinning around so fast for us animals. From the time we realized Rob was sick it seems things just became very unsettled and worrisome. I did not see how things could get any worse and I did not expect things to get any better.  Then … the biggest change of all took place.

It started slow … just a feeling that something big was about to happen.  I kept closer to Rob during this time. He slept a lot. He was gone every day … sometimes he was gone and Cynthia was home. That was different.  Rob’s daughter, Lis, was around a lot during that time.  Sometimes she and Rob would leave and Cynthia stayed behind. Sometimes everyone would leave. Nobody thought to tell us what was happening. Dad and I hacked into Rob’s and Cynthia’s e-mail accounts and Facebook pages.  We learned that Rob was undergoing treatments to get rid of his cancer.  Human medicine is so strange.  I wish I could have told him to just go eat some grass until he coughed up the cancer. I had thought he was on the right track when they changed their diet … but I think the weight loss really scared them. Anyway – he chose the human path … chemotherapy and radiation.  I don’t think it was a very good path, though, because he always came home tired and would sleep for hours. He ate less and I could hear Cynthia trying to encourage him to eat something. I could smell her cooking fish and chicken but I think the dogs got to eat most of it. I never really cared for human food so I did not mind. Dad really likes it, though, and was insulted that Rob and Cynthia shared with the dogs and not so much with him. I just figured it made sense because dogs lack the refined taste that is natural for cats. But my real concern was that Rob was not eating.

And is if worrying about Rob and Cyn were not enough … one day they brought a tiny, black interloper into our home. They said she was related to me – a cousin or something but I did not care who she was. She was very ill and I thought it was a terrible idea to bring in another soul for Cynthia to care for. Rob named her Black Pearl but Cyn called her Smidge because she was so small. I had to Google the name because I thought it was probably another city in Cuba!  Everybody made a big fuss over her, but I did not like her at all. Her condition kept getting worse until one day she could hardly move. Cynthia prayed out loud over her and I realized then how much love she and Rob have for all of God’s creatures.  I have to admit, that did soften my heart for the little thing just a bit. Rob took her away for a little while and when he brought her back, he and Cyn started feeding her separately from the rest of us. Eventually she started getting stronger and stronger but was still very tiny. Then one day they put her in the movable house and took her away.  It was a long time before I saw her again.

Then it happened … Dad, Aunt Havana and Coco were taken away.  We were all lounging in the bedroom one day when Rob brought in the movable cat house and took all three. I wondered as I watched them leave if perhaps Rob had found his resting place and was taking his favourites with him.  My feelings were really hurt.  I thought I was special to him but … he chose them and left me behind.  You can only imagine my surprise and excitement when he returned a little while later!  He remembered!  He got to his resting place and could not rest in peace because I was not there by his side so he came back to get me.  But the movable cat house was not with him and we did not go anywhere.  Where did he take my family if not to  his resting place? What was happening?  Did he take my family to the same place he took Smidge?  Why didn’t he take me as well? I was so confused.  The dogs were no consolation and my acting out was not being noticed. No one seemed concerned that I was absolutely frantic inside. I could sense that it was the end of something … but I had no idea what. From my perspective it was the end of the only life I had known.  It was as though the door to my past was closing and there was no future in sight.

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Life Changes

Wow!  I did not realize it had been so long since I started this blog.  A lot has happened since I posted my Welcome page.  I will run through the events of the past couple of years quickly to get you up to speed.  So much to say … where shall I begin.  Well … I suppose the most important event was when Rob was diagnosed with lung cancer.  I remember one day when Rob and Cynthia both left the house for a long time.  It is rare for them to both be gone – so always a bit unsettling for us animals. When they got home, they were very serious and quiet. Even Coco could figure out that something was not right.  They were on the telephone more than usual and both sat at their computers researching for hours. When they finally went to bed – Dad and I immediately took our posts at the computers to check out what had been consuming those two most of the day.  I found that Cynthia had been researching Non Small-Cell Lung Cancer. When I read the description, I immediately assumed it was Rob since the articles all talked about people who smoke and Rob is the only one in this house who smokes.  The more I read, the sadder I became because it sounded like Rob was going to die.  Then I got really scared because there were a lot of articles about second hand smoke.  Any of us could get sick because Rob smoked in the house all day every day. But Rob was already sick … and it wasn’t just a cold that he could easily get over. It was a very difficult time for us all.  Dad and I shared the news with the rest of the animals in the house – they needed to know.  Dad even went to Duke’s crate to let him know.  Duke was so sad … he had really gotten attached to Rob and Cynthia and he wondered what would happen to him if Rob was gone.  Dad slept on top of Duke’s crate the entire night … it was a small gesture to let him know we are all family … even if one family member might want to eat the rest of us.

Over the next few weeks/months things started to change in our household.  Rob smoked less and eventually did not smoke the regular cigarettes in the house at all.  He started smoking funny smelling devices that I learned were called e-cigarettes.  I don’t know if they are as dangerous as the other kind – but they sure smelled better. Rob and Cynthia stopped eating beef (I know because I stopped smelling it) and  started eating a lot of chicken and fish.  I remember thinking that made a lot of sense because cats tend to prefer chicken and fish and cats are generally really smart. Eventually things settled into a new normal.  No more cigarettes in the house … I could still smell them on Rob a little but not nearly as strong as before … new food smells filled the kitchen … there was a strange calm in the house for a long time.

After a while, though, Dad asked me if I had noticed how much weight Rob had lost.  Cats know that weight tends to be a strong indicator of health. I did notice but had hoped it was just because they were eating different.  Cynthia had not lost weight, though, and still complained that her clothes did not fit properly.  I find humans so funny. Anyway, Rob and Cynthia did not seem concerned about the weight loss at first.  Dad spent a lot of time in Rob’s lap and sitting on his computer trying to get his attention but Rob did not seem to notice.  Then one day, Rob and Cynthia left the house together again and were gone a long time.  When they returned, they were serious again. Dad and I knew – they had noticed the weight loss and it wasn’t from eating different. The next few weeks/months became a whirlwind even for us animals.  Rob and Cynthia were gone a lot … there even came a point when they would leave together early in the morning and not return until it was almost dark outside. We thought perhaps they were looking for a nice spot where Rob would go and breathe his last breath in peace – away from the family. I have to tell you – we were scared and very sad during this time.  We tried to figure out a way to follow them … but we are all house animals and only the dogs were allowed outside and then only under strict supervision. There was nothing we could do and it seemed our lives were speeding out of control into an abyss where we did not want to go. We even started acting out a little … just to let them know we were not happy with the situation … the fact was – we were scared.

Little did we know … our lives were just about to change dramatically!

Welcome

Hello and welcome to my blog. My name is Vara … Vara Dero to be exact. Yes, just like the town in Cuba. I had to google that since I have never actually been to Cuba. Someone in our household must really love Cuba because I have an aunt named Havana, my dad is Matanzas and my sister is Coco Cayo. I google a lot because I love learning. My sister says I am really smart. She is the one who suggested I start my own blog. Well … she did not use those words because she does not know what a blog is. She is the “pretty one” … if you get my drift. Anyway, she said I should write down all the stuff I know. I get bored sometimes so I decided, why not?

I suppose I should start by telling a little about myself. My sister and I were born in a barn and probably would not have survived if Rob and Cynthia had not rescued us. Rob caught me first because I could not run fast. Perhaps I should mention here that I am a cat before your imagination starts going too wild. So back to my story … I could not run fast because I was born with a birth defect. We are not sure of the exact issue because I was too small for x-rays and the doctor said there is probably nothing that can be done anyway. The doctor believes that my pelvic bone was not formed properly. I cannot walk on my hind legs so they usually just drag behind me. Rob says I run like a baby seal. It took me a while to find a YouTube video of a baby seal … and, yes, he is correct … I do move like one. My sister, Coco, is normal and can run and jump like the bigger cats. It took Rob weeks to finally catch her in the barn. You should hear her telling the story! He eventually caught her in a fishing net and she was so scared she bit his finger hard and made him bleed. Now she is glad to be part of the family and in a nice, cozy house. She sleeps on Rob’s lap (and on his computer) a lot to make up for being so difficult to catch and biting him hard. I am not sure he always appreciates her generosity, though. I get around okay but cannot jump or leap. I can climb, though, because my front legs are very strong. I use my tail for balance so it is larger and stronger than the other cats. Cynthia is always amazed at all the places I can climb … like the top of the cat condo they built for us.

You probably did not realize that cats can type and use a computer. We only do it when our humans are not around. My dad is the only other cat in this household who does it, though. Like I said earlier, my sister is not the brightest bulb in the box – but she sure is pretty. My Aunt Havana is a bit of a prima donna and, to be perfectly honest, is very lazy. I do not know how she stays so thin when all she does is lay around … oh and does this weird pulling with her teeth thing on blankets while she kneads with her front paws – very strange. So my dad and I are the only computer-literate cats in the house. My dad and Rob are very close so the only thing my dad likes to do is check out Rob’s computer to see what he had been reading throughout the day. Dad does not like to type – which is a good thing since some of the letters have worn off on Rob’s keyboard. Rob says that is why he makes so many typos. But he mainly reads – and so does my dad – so the keyboard is not that important for them.  Cynthia and I, though, we like to write. I use her computer because it is always clean and in good condition. She only blogs when she has something important to say. I’m not sure I really have anything important to say – but I figure anything from a cat should be at least worth reading to the average person. And I am not even the average cat.

You may find some of my posts are a little random and I probably won’t write every day because I have to wait until Rob and Cyn are asleep. Rob works at home so he is here all day and he stays up late most nights. Cynthia gets up really early because she still works for an employer although she gets to work from home a lot. It is challenging to work around their schedule and can be quite exhausting for me. Now that Duke lives with us – I do not have an opportunity to get on the computer during the day when Rob and Cyn are out. Duke is a German Shepherd dog that was given to Rob and Cyn a few months ago. He is very big and is too aggressive with cats so we have to stay in the bedroom when he is out during the day. At night Duke sleeps in a crate and we cats are able to roam the house. The other dogs are okay – they were here when my sister and I arrived. Maile is a Scottish Terrier (Cyn calls her a Scottish Terrorist) and Oliver (Ollie) is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (what a mouthful). Ollie is very old and slow. The cats like him because he never chases us and will let us climb all over him when he is sleeping (which is often). Maile is still fairly young and still has mood swings – sometimes she is very friendly and playful and sometimes she snaps at us. She never bites us, though, just gives a warning that she is not in the mood for cat company. Duke is the new kid in town. He is like a big clumsy teenager. Coco got out of the bedroom one day while Duke was still out and he chased her through the house and into a small bathroom. Cynthia rescued her just in time before Duke made Coco his scooby snack. Poor Coco was still shaking when Cynthia brought her back to the bedroom. She hid under the bed for hours and would not even talk to me. Rob and Cyn are much more careful with us and Duke now. I think they were just as scared.

Oh – before I go I should mention Cuckaberra, the cockatiel. We are not allowed to play with her. She stays in her cage all the time anyway. Coco sometimes tries to figure out how to let the bird out or go in and play with her but … like I said earlier – Coco is really pretty but not so much the “figuring things out type.”  I could figure it out but don’t have much of an interest. Sometimes I get on the back of a dining chair and watch Cuckaberra but she speaks a different language and has no desire to learn cat. I’ve pretty much lost interest in her now.

So that is a little about me and my family. I have lots more to say about life and living … but will save that for another day. I hear Cynthia starting to get up and want to get this posted before she catches me.

Here is a photo of me from almost a year ago. I have not changed much but am a little bigger. I will try to get Rob or Cynthia to take a new photo so I can post it. Image