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"Cats are Angels with fur" -- Sark

I had given Cleo a nice warm bath that morning. When I went to peek on her in her pet carrier wrapped in a towel to help her dry out, I had the shock of my life. Cleo was lying motionless with her eyes all black and glazed, as if there were black ink drops in there. She looked like a zombie. Horrified and in panic, I yelled, "Cleo, Cleo!" while slightly shaking her to arouse her. She looked like she was narcoleptic. She meowed as if to say, "I heard you but no need to shout." Realizing right away that something was terribly wrong, I ran to my phone to call 911; I wanted a siren vehicle, so that Cleo could be raced to the animal hospital, and traffic would jump aside out of the way. Beau, Cleo's doggie-pal or younger brother, jumped in excitement (thinking gullibly, of course, that I was attempting to get Cleo to play). As I picked up the handset to call 911, I hung up right way. I figured it's not fast enough to wait for them, so I grabbed my coat and wallet/keys, then re-wrapped Cleo in a towel and flew out the door to run all the long way to my apartment manager's office. Upon arrival, I 'danced' as if needing to go to the bathroom, blubbering, "I need a ride! My cat needs to get to the vet!" She became a little startled in her seat and moved her hands forward to say to calm down a bit, as she said she couldn't leave her office, then quickly motioned to the maintenance man, who was fortunately nearby. I must've looked like it was about my severed finger or my carrying a gun...I was HYSTERICAL! He told me to follow him to the car, and we both ran as fast as we could back to the other side of this long rectangular property past my home. My running was similar to Dustin Hoffman's character in the movie, Kramer vs. Kramer, in a scene where his son fell off the monkey bar, and Dustin's character was racing him to the hospital in a NYC setting simply over a cut chin that needed stitches. Cleo's poop landed on the sidewalk. She urinated on my pants and on herself. The maintenance man, Sergio, who was a new employee (as well as the apartment manager, Linda), sped us out of the driveway where we were met with a terribly long line at the intersection (they were gearing the street up for a new railing that I voted against but lost in the election). Good thing I didn't dare drive myself. He was about to honk the horn when we finally made it across. When we arrived at the Chris-Town Animal Hospital parking lot, we saw that they were closed! I was familiar with that veterinarian, because I knew a couple who used him to treat their cats. He probably retired. Why didn't he take the darn sign down! I yelled in my mind. (I couldn't use Cleo's previous veterinarians, because they were too far.) On the way to another animal hospital, Sergio kept glancing at Cleo...which caused him to almost rear-end a vehicle one time. We drove farther north where we arrived at Ocotillo Animal Hospital (I was slightly familar with them, because I knew a gal who took her dog to them one time). When we got in, the receptionist (?) appeared calm (!) and said that there's no veterinarian on duty (!!) then a 'nail hit her on the head', and she quickly called what would be next, Carmel Animal Hospital. After she spoke to them and appeared hopeful, she gave directions to Sergio how to find Carmel. We immediately fled the place and arrived at Carmel. (That's why I live in the neighborhood, to be close to businesses.)

Once we arrived at Carmel, the nice woman who I learned was a veterinary technician named Kathy, quickly said, "What's the matter?" Then, remembering that phone call from Ocotillo, she quickly guided us to the exam room where the veterinarian Dr. Susan Hirsch interrupted her earlier appointment, immediately entered the room to look at Cleo. What happened? What's wrong?, I panicked in my mind. Once Dr. Hirsch saw Cleo's eyes, I could tell immediately by her vibe that something's hopeless. She uncomfortably said, "Oh, her pupils are dilated," then she told me she could give Cleo oxygen treatment to help her breathe (to actually make Cleo comfortable, not as a cure for her mysterious ailment). However, while she knew Cleo was not saveable, she began treatment for my sake, knowing that I'd beg her to help Cleo at all cost, no matter what. She next carried Cleo to the Air Room (ER) where she proceeded to start the oxygen treatment and to administer 1-3 ML of epinephrine (hormonal heart stimulant) and later, 2 ML atropine (to inhibit her very dilated pupils) shots. She also placed endotracheal tube down Cleo's throat. I watched and prayed. My chest felt tight, so I had to sit down. I petted Cleo and begged for her life. Shannon, another veterinary technician, massaged Cleo's head. Still, I had no idea WHAT WAS GOING ON WITH HER. As Dr. Hirsch and I spoke, I told her that I had given Cleo a bath earlier in the morning and discovered her in her vegetative state the following early afternoon to check if she's dry from her bath, while she was behaving in her normal self in the morning. She also was eating, drinking, and using her litter box with NO problems or changes. I was VERY upset but remained calm for Cleo's sake. I was thinking maybe something happened during the bath: Was it an allergy reaction to the shampoo? Was it the water / temperature? Was it that the towels to dry her weren't warm enough? What? What?! Dr. Hirsch said that due to Cleo's very dilated pupils, that they indicated a brain clot after she had abnormal heart muscle growth, causing her to have difficulty breathing. Her clot in her brain was the reason for her motionless state...her brain information supply was cut off. She was unable to blink. Fluid was building up behind her eyeballs, making her eyes appear dazed with some gunk. She was thinning and starting to look like the undead. She was later barely breathing due to lack of blood circulation from the muscles and clot combination. I was horrified! I kept covering her spine with the heated towels and pad that they placed, because she looked like she was thinning even more. I felt bad for her; she couldn't defend herself (image-wise). All along, until that fateful day, Cleo displayed no health problems or behavioral changes. When I was giving her a bath, she was in her normal state, even communicating with me, meowing as if to say, "Thanks for giving me a bath. I feel clean." Her body felt strong and normal. She felt firm while I was washing her tummy area. Nothing to suspect! However, I was so willing to accept responsibility for what happened to Cleo, if I erred in giving an older cat a bath at all. I TRULY thought and felt that I hurt my baby Cleo! This is NOT about blame or guilt. Growing up, I had no role models. My parents didn't like cats, so we never had any. Cleo was my first feline experience, my first pet when I moved out. Dr. Hirsch reassured me that bathing had nothing to due with her heart and clot trauma. I still did not feel convinced. I went on to describe Cleo moaning as I was running towards Sergio's car, and that just prior to arrival at Carmel, she let out a yowl in the car as if a ghost was teasingly sticking a pin on her back (like drawing her last big breath). That was the last moment Cleo stopped expressing anything. Dr. Hirsch told me Cleo probably barely felt anything due to the clotting that blocked her brain from supplying information, for her to feel any pain. To this day and ever, I HOPE she did not feel any serious pain during the terrible ordeal. Her body surely FOOLED me into thinking she was so healthy when all along, probably for the last few weeks, it was secretly planning her death while making her look good on the outside! Dr. Hirsch and Kathy and Shannon spent a good half-hour trying to save Cleo. Sergio was present and was sort of pacing back-and-forth. I sort of wish he was in the waiting room instead. I would've liked privacy with Cleo and her doctors, but it was just too fast to think of that. I had to repeatedly ask Kathy to give me more water to drink (Dixie cups, that's why), as I was parched. With Cleo's breathing greatly reduced (called agonal breathing='death agony'), Dr. Hirsch administered CPR; she then took her stethoscope to find any heartbeat. She announced that Cleo's gone.

Her body slipped away in countdown fashion
with the Angels and their harps,
to guide her spirit towards the Light...
Cause of death: hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

I started bawling loudly. Dr. Hirsch patted my hand sympathetically and hugged me; Kathy and Shannon, too. Sergio pointed upward stating Cleo's now in Heaven. He had to leave soon and said that his boss (Linda the apartment manager) would pick me up; he had lots of maintenance work to do on the property.

Dr. Hirsch asked me if I planned to bury, or cremate Cleo. I told her I'd like Cleo cremated with her ashes returned to me. I also requested an autopsy. Dr. Hirsch approved but reminded me that it may not help much, as Cleo's pupils told all, and Dr. Hirsch had previously made out her diagnosis. I told her I wanted full assurance and closure. I was actually investigating everything. Sergio hugged me and left. I was left all alone at my request, so I could have a quiet moment with Cleo. I held and cradled her lifeless body; she felt so light. Dr. Hirsch returned and performed an autopsy for about 25 minutes in my presence. She told me to let her know anytime I felt woozy; I told her I wouldn't, and I didn't at all. I told her I watched Emergency Vet on Animal Planet (cable-TV). (My father was a pharmacist who died of heart failure in January, 1975.) I wanted to be a veterinarian when I was growing up. She made the first incision vertically down Cleo's stomach. Of course, her insides were dry; no blood or fluids present. She explored and found nothing. Next, she made a second incision vertically down Cleo's chest. Using a pair of scissors, she cut apart Cleo's left ribs where she took out the heart and its surrounding muscles. She sliced the heart/muscle and found a canker-sore-like slit mark that proved Cleo's death. Lastly, she signaled to me questionably if I was ready to see her drop Cleo's body and organ remains into a plastic bag, to be sent to a reputable crematoriam. She told me it takes 2 to 3 weeks for the ashes to come back, for me to pick it up in a nice plastic black box with Cleo's name on it (I was later advised by Shannon by phone where to check out stores where other clients went (like Pier One) to find a nice container storage for the ashes, if the black box wasn't pretty enough. Urns are expensive). It was hard watching Cleo being cut up, but I figured I was getting her body back in ashes form. I later told the staff that Cleo was my first pet, my first cat, and they marveled how it meant that she's SPECIAL (note: all of my animals are special, too)...

After paying, still feeling very distressed, I was reviewing the diagnosis with Kathy, who was a good listener, as Dr. Hirsch proceeded on to the next appointment. I thanked Dr. Hirsch and said she did the best she could. I asked her for a detailed photocopy of the exam report. They both again reassured me that bathing Cleo did not cause or accelerate her death, because her heart disease was degenerative. I mentioned that I don't know Cleo's parents; in jest, Dr. Hirsch said, "Nobody knows the parents." They said I did everything I could. I did show Dr. Hirsch a picture of Cleo that I carry in my wallet, in a pin. I wanted her to know what Cleo actually looked like- spunky and green-eyed. I was so upset and dumbfounded how thin she was in front of them, but they were understanding. She was old, they said. I was telling Kathy that I wished this whole scenario was in a movie- all make-believe. Linda finally came to take me home. On the way, she bought me a sandwich, chips, and a drink from Subway. She asked me if there's anyone she could call for me. I was surprised at that, because this is common for human deaths than a pet! I thankfully declined and told her I was planning to e-mail everybody. I guess it's my very independent streak.

When I got home, I called 911, because I wanted to see if they did send the police over. The operator said they were over to check on me to see if I was all right. I told the operator about Cleo's situation and asked whether they do transport animals to hospitals. The operator said they don't but that the police would radio the appropriate sources to help animals. Oh, boy. (So, you readers are all forewarned here.) Good thing I rushed to the management's office instead. Good thing I live in an apartment; what if I lived in a house and my next-door neighbors weren't home?? I also didn't want to get in trouble for hanging up. I started cleaning out Cleo's litter box, dishes, and pet carrier. I put them away together to save for the next cat or kitten. I updated her scrapbooks. I'm keeping everything, and the pictures remain in place. I spent the next few days crying nonstop. My nose bled (dry climate?). It was horrible. A total loss. The worst day of my life. My face and eyes were very pink; my eyes later had rubbing sores, almost like your nose from a cold...good thing I left my sunglasses on at the hospital, because I looked totally grief-strickened.

The next day, I phoned in the hospital to double-review the case. I wanted to be sure all was understood. I also was still not that convinced that the bath didn't hurt Cleo one bit. I needed re-convincing. Shannon answered and said Dr. Hirsch was out of town for a meeting in northern Arizona (Flagstaff). Fortunately, Shannon was the right source to discuss Cleo furthermore; she was also a good listener- very patient and understanding. She told me that Dr. Hirsch was more than possibly sure that bathing didn't hurt Cleo. That the bath and her 'due date' was just a terrible coincidence. And that at least, she was old and her youth wasn't robbed. She led a very full life. She added that instead of a bath, Cleo could've been sleeping or gotten a clean bill of health that week, and it'd still be the actual time of her passing (they did ask me when she was last examined by another veterinarian). She also complimented me on the proper life-long care that I provided Cleo- living for a full 15-6 years with no problems. We both brought up how nice if in reality, we could choose when we could let our animals go, and how. I also learned that Dr. Hirsch and her veterinarian husband, Dr. Jeff Hirsch, are certified feline specialists, and that they have 6 cats of their own. I hinted to Shannon that the husband barefy looked at me, and she said he was very upset for me and didn't like it each time an animal dies. 2 women (clients) separately were in the waiting room, and when they heard about Cleo, one shed a tear, the other's facial expression showed sympathy. As for the provided heated towels and pad, I asked her why Cleo was so cold (yet didn't shiver) and losing weight, and she said Cleo's blood wasn't circulating properly (from the heart / clot); extensive blood tests would've explained the weight loss and wasn't recommended in Cleo's case. Also, there were office cats on the premise; I met 2 named Bart (fat- aged "10 or 11") and Flower (Himalayan/Calico office cat "in-training"). I mentioned to Shannon (sort of in jest, so she wouldn't think I was upset) how it was hard to look at fat Bart while Cleo looked frail, and she apologized. We both eventually finished and I hung up feeling a lot better (sort of). A couple days later, I received a sympathy card (where the above Sark quote came from) from the hospital staff. I would like to express my sincere thanks to the staff at Carmel for all of their courteous efforts. On what would've been Cleo's 'Sweet 16' birthday, I sent a donation to the Arizona Animal Welfare League ( AAWL ), the oldest non-profit no-kill animal shelter in Phoenix (where I used to sponsor foster cats), in memory of Cleo. As for the flowers, I chose different roses for her headstone/picture above, because they represent how I felt about her: I loved her and I liked her.

My advice to you: hug and kiss your animals DAILY...there may not be a tomorrow for them. Cleo loved it whenever I kissed her forehead- she'd crane her neck to make it easier for me to reach down!

What a strange way of entering the new century. I had read that the month of January rates highest in heart attack cases. Meantime, looking back, I feel like God had been protecting me since that very moment Cleo's body began to deteriorate way before that fateful day. Being moderately hearing-impaired, He sees how much I've been through; in return, He protects me. I examined the timing: her death happened after the holidays instead of on Christmas (I always pray that no animal of mine dies on holidays / birthdays / and the like), her date of death happened on my relaxing off-day, her death happened on a weekday afternoon where businesses are all open, her death happened after I recovered from a mild cold, and her death happened after the winter storms where the weather started to warm up (it was beautifully sunny and cool the following week, instead of rainy and gloomy). While I am not angry at God, I did say to Him: You expect us on earth to love and care for all animals. You giveth me Cleo then taketh her away from me. You owe me another great cat. I knew and prepared for the fact that she was very old, but because of her life-long excellent health and compassion for me (always positive, upbeat, and voluble), I truly believed that I'd have a couple more years longer with her. Oh, well! I even said to please bring Cleo back as a ghost, LOL. If it's 'true' people have seen ghosts for centuries, please just be fair and let me see a spunky, green-eyed Cleo for a few minutes, even in transparency. I won't get scared. I just want to say one more good-bye to her, all handsome, as the last I did was when she was sickly. Then, I will leave it alone. I mean, come on. She's mine (I was selfish)! It's still a great relief when she heard my voice (the part when I "shouted" her name), like God invented the brain clot to prevent her from feeling any pain that her diseased heart was giving her, plus releasing part of the clot to let her hear my voice for the last time. Again, for being hearing-impaired, I am sure God saw the challenges that I've gone through; in return, He gave Cleo instant relief from what could've been intense pain from her heart disease alone. So, I most certainly hope she heard my voice when I discovered her in her bed. However, as time passes, I am no longer too wishful; it gets better each day and my demands have been put to rest. I am blessed that Cleo didn't suffer the usual: arthritis, cancer, diabetes, feline diseases, repeated hospital visits, etc. I now see myself being able to take care of myself and Beau daily with no problems since Cleo's passing. No dishes piling up in the sink, no garbage overflowing, being able to pay bills, cleaning my home, and importantly, keeping Beau and myself clean! That's a good sign...Once I pick up Cleo's ashes, I'll buy flowers to place next to the urn, with a framed photo of her sitting next to it, along with her lookalike cat sculpture. They will forever be displayed on the mantle. Interestingly, I almost went to California (that I planned weeks ago) the following weekend, but my instinct said not to bother go...now I know why!

When, not if, I get another cat or kitten, I trust that it's a ready sign from God and Cleo, and not like my vice on getting another kitty on impulse. And, when I finally get the second best kitty, I'll surely introduce him or her here. I certainly miss hearing those "meows". Cats give love that dogs don't, dogs give love that cats don't; even our mothers and fathers love us differently. That's why we all need at least two species...

~ Karen Catalioto, Owner ~
Phoenix, Arizona
January 31, 2001



Here's my ccp'd (copy/cut/paste) letter that I sent to private e-mail addys to announce on the day of Cleo's passing, which eventually spreaded to my Bulletins (message boards) and newsgroups. Here are many of the SEVERAL thoughtfully kind comments I've received, also ccp'd, unedited. Thanks so much to all for your support and care. I am most overwhelmed by the many responses. Your cards / e-cards and grief links have shown me that I am not alone in my grief. I truly appreciate this wonderful community support, both on- and
offline.

Building this very special Page ( I prefer to call it Memoriam instead of Memorial ) had been a very healing process, and I am all too happy to share this experience with you. Staying home with Beau alone and reading alot of books and magazines had been a terrific healing process; thanks for your concerns for Beau...he did look for her and mourned briefly but is otherwise doing well (that's the Shih Tzu trait- always posiive without dwelling on the past). However, in the future, I may relapse and have crying spelIs, and I will be fine. I am not alone and neither are you. And, I mourn for your bygone animals, too.

(snip)

Cleo, my 15½-year-old cat, passed away at approximately 3 PM today, at Carmel Animal Hospital in Phoenix. The cause was hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (heart disease), which likely threw a clot to her brain. The veterinarian said that it was degenerative, so it's a miracle that she had lived this long. I noticed early PM that she was not breathing much and her pupils were very dilated, so my gracious apartment staff rushed Cleo & me to the animal hospital, amid the horribly delaying traffic. Upon arrival, Cleo was struggling to breathe, whereas the veterinarian was in panic to try to save her by administering extra oxygen. Regardless of all the efforts, she was not saveable since there were no warning symptoms; it happened so fast. (I had the veterinarian to convince me whether I was at fault, which she said not at all. I was concerned whether I could've recognized the symptoms earlier, in order to prevent what happened to her.) An autopsy was performed at my request. I was spending money to save her, then have her body investigated at all costs. I read & hear how cats usually show signs of illness or dying by maybe huddling somewhere in the corner or hiding or acting negative; Cleo displayed none of those. In fact, she was her normal self: her eating & bathroom habits were normal & the same. She was happy & contented & vocal. My God. I had her cremated and will pick up her ashes in the urn. God decided it was her time and was determined to taketh her to Animal Heaven.

Just so you know in advance why I will not be e-mailing or chatting online for a long while.

I will be building a beautiful memoriam Web page for Cleo eventually, so when I get done, I'll e-mail you my Link. It will detail as much that went on today.

As you know, Cleo was like a daughter to me. I got her as a precious 2-month-old kitten, and I pampered & spoiled her. Being a well-loved indoor cat had benefited her health and kept her around for so long, for me to enjoy her company. I was always so flautingly proud that she was my very healthy tuxedo cat. She would've turned "Sweet 16" on Jan. 23. Ironically, I had entered her in the Oldest Cat in America contest offered by Cat Fancy magazine. We will see what happens and what I can do about it...

While my tears are pouring nonstop, I am very happy and in comfort that she is in Heaven and not in pain nor inconvenienced anymore. I am not angry that God took her away, nor am I angry that the veterinarian was unable to save her. I just know that nature is not fair. I would like to thank the verterinarian & 2 veterinarian technicians for all their efforts. They were so available for me despite other obligatory appts. for others (before we arrived at this hospital, we first visited 2 others to no avail; one was closed, the 2nd didn't even have a veterinarian on duty...the technician told me something that I didn't know about, and probably you too, that many veterinarians take Wednesdays off!) They understood my grief, were very sympathetic, and hugged me after allowing my private moment with Cleo alone before making a tough decision what to do with her body. I held & cradled her in the end. My apartment manager delivered me a sandwich, chips, & drink from Subway.

I still have Beau, my 8-year-old Shih Tzu, who still needs me to continue living a normal routine (what animal understands what's going on, right?). He gives me great comfort and, while I can see him grieving a bit, I make every effort not to take my grief onto him which will pressure him. He & Cleo definitely got along like brother & sister; and, he is my son. Meantime, I will definitely get another cat or kitten someday, as I am a cat fancier just as I fancy dogs. I am keeping Cleo's toys, pet carrier, an old stool that served as her scratching post, litter box, collar/tag, and dish. I have lots of pictures of her all over my place & in 2 thick photo albums, as well as video tapes of her antics. Nothing's leaving here; they're too special.

~~~~~

Here's my main Home Page where I will mention Cleo here & there eventually. There are several of my Links, as well:

http://www.geocities.com/shihtzuforum

THE SHIH TZU FORUM™

~~~~~

Thanks so much for "listening".

Karen

(/snip)




Here are your responses to my above letter, below. Thanks again so much for sharing your wonderful views.

• From shihtzu4u egroups.com:

Hi Karen,  I just wanted to also send my sympathy to you for the loss of your sweet Cleo.  It is very hard to say good bye to a little creature who has given you all of their love over a long period of time.  My daughter has two cats and they mean the world to her so I know what a great attachment cats and dogs can be.  Please know we are thinking of you and that all of us on the shihtzu4u list are a family that will be here for you in good times and sad times. Mary Ann.

I am so sorry to hear about your kitty. I understand your grief to an extent. I lost my shih tzu just a few days after Thanksgiving(to cancer). It started a month earlier with him coughing and gagging, we had him tested and it was found he had a type 3(the worst) tumor, a month later he was gone. We asked if there was anything we could have done, like you did, and the vets said no. It will be hard for awhile but take comfort in your thoughts, feelings and memories of your sweet kitty. Your tzu will help you alot also. They are wonderfully comforting dogs. Take care and take it easy. I will be thinking of you and look forward to hearing from you again. JC

I do not know you, but I know all too well the grief of losing a pet.
I am very sad for your loss, and I realize what a hole it will leave in
your life.
My loss is only a few weeks old, and I thought I'd NEVER get over it,
every time I turned around I would unexpectedly burst into tears.
Everything reminded me of my Whimsey.  I would hear her "knocking" to
get in, I'd run to let her in and realize she was gone...
It still gets to me.
But things are better.  Funny I have a hard time remembering her in the
end, sick & skinny, rather when ever I think of her I see her in my mind
in tall grass running.  I see her turn back to look at me, and dang
nabbit I think she's smiling.
I think Cleo is too.
It's really hard to lose a friend my heart aches for you.
Wishing you all the comfort and understanding you need.
Shannon Mann
[Shannon enclosed a "framed" photo of Whimsey, her Shar Pei]

I am so sorry to hear of Cleo's passing. I must sa you have an excellent outlook and tried to do whatever you could. Please know we shall be thinking of all of you in the days to come.
Sheila and Blaize

my heartfelt thoughst and prayers are with you,,,,,,,,
i too lost a feline furkid at age 11, this past April,,,my heart still misses
her,, but i am thankful for the years and time we had together
please know i feel your pain and i am so sorry :-((
Nosenuzzles
Scarlett
(Mrs Dee) and her Maine-Agerie

Karen, I'm so sorry about the loss of your kitty cat! :(  May you have pleasant memories of her soon..just remember she's not in pain or suffering & will be waiting for you at the bridge.
Cindy

Karen...
All good things come to an end...what's important is that Cleo had lived a wonderful life.
Be strong.
Stanley
Singapore

Karen, I am so sorry about Cleo.  You gave her a wonderful life and you two
had a relationship which will forever be in your heart.   Julie [mijules]




• From my letter:

Karen, I was in tears as I read your post about Cleo's death. I am not a cat fancier; but I understand totally your loss. May she be happily romping at the Rainbow Bridge. My sincere sympathies to you at this terrible time.
                        Aggie
[Aggie also sent me an e-card]

Karen,
My prayers are with you,  I know that you are hurting very bad. When God
takes his children to heaven, he always makes sure we have all the wonderful
memories to comfort us for the years ahead.
I will be waiting for your link.
Your friend
Dee James

Karen-
Sorry to hear what happened to Cleo I feel for you, she lived a long
time. How is Beau taking it? Will you get another cat? Just email me
when you can and I won't rush you. When you get your website updated
I will check it out.
Barb

Oh Karen I'm so sorry to hear this but what a wonderful life Cleo had and gave back to you. I'm sorry.......
Diane [MtnSt2]




• From the WebTV newsgroups:

I'm so sorry to hear to hear of Cleo's passing. May this bring you some comfort:
http://www.punkin.net/bridge.htm
XO, Beth
~ SecretAdmirer
[link to the famed Rainbow Bridge]

hi karen;-)..so sorry about your kitty..after reading your story it's very obvious "Cleo" was very lucky to have you and had "many" wonderful years...((hug's)) ~sharon
~ maui girl

I am so sorry to hear that Karen. I know some people cannot understand how our pets are so important to us. I do!!! They are sometimes the only ones that are always there for us. Never fail. I know you will always miss you kitty Cat. I am glad you have you ShidTzu. I have my little Suzzie that is always there to show me she loves me. Until later.
~ Norma (Crazyaces)

Please accept my sincere condolence in the passing of your beloved Cleo. May she rest in peace.   You have a treasure of beautiful pages that you have written about your Cleo....she will never be far from you at any given moment.
~ Anne L.

I am so sorry anf know how it feels .. I lost my beloved Lucy in june she was 17 and I miss her every day ... judy
~ wowee/Judy

Being a cat lover and owner of 8 can feel your pain..like losing a child...so sorry to hear that..16 was a long life...RIP...
~ Marymouser

Dear Karen,
Although I do not know you I saw your post and want to convey my deepest sympathy to you for
your loss. I am soooo sorry :(
I hope that you will be OK because I know what it is like to lose a dear pet.
Animals add richness, love and humor to our every day lives in their own special way. They have their own special place in our hearts.
There is not much comfort in words when we lose ANYONE we love but please know that
you are in my prayers.
AND...maybe... there will be another kitty somewhere in need of your
care soon :)
~ frecs

Im so sorry to hear about your friend.Two years ago,i lost my beloved daschund.I know just what your going through.I belive,with all my hart,and every fiber of my being,that if there is a singe atom of justice in the universe,that we will be reunited with our nobel,fathfull friends in paradise.
~ winston

I'm sorry to hear about your kittie.. :-( i know what your going through... there like kids.. if you need a friend, i'm a good listener..
again i'm truly sorry about your Cat...
`Nicolé`
~ webjewel

I am so sorry about your Cleo. I don't know you but read your share on the pagebuilder newsgroup. I was almost in tears for you because I know how it feels to love and lose a pet child. Know that others have been where you are and will again be there some day. Bless you. Write anytime. Keep my address. Summer
~ americansummer

Dear WebtvGirl,
    I'm sorry for your loss. I know that you will keep fond memories of her.
Take Care,
Angela
~ Angelaruth




• From my WebTV Bulletin:

Karen,
I am so sorry to hear about Cleo.. I know this is that last thing you want to think about, but I know the best medicine for you is to get another cat as soon as possible.. We can't bring Cleo back, but it might help your pain some..
I wanted to die when someone gave my pug alcohol and she died too.. I wanted to die right along with her.. Her name was Pickels and she was my best friend.. So I know what you are going through....
Be strong, it will be ok..
Love, Andrea

Karen,
I was so sorry to hear of your loss. We are also animal lovers. Our pets are our kids, too. It will be a year this March since we lost our little Chihuahua, Cubbie. I still can`t talk about it, without tears. She was only 14, but had had glaucoma since she was 3½. We blame all the meds she was on for shortening her life. We now have a new little Chihuahua named Dinkydoo. He will never replace Cubbie, but we love him dearly, too. Our Malamute, Quinn, will be 13 in April. The vet says that is equal to a 100 year old person. So far he is in pretty good shape. We just try to enjoy everyday we have left with him. It`s not fair animals have such a short life with us. I guess all we can do is give them all the love we can, every day we have with them.
Sorry to ramble on, just wanted to let you know how bad I felt for you.
Carol




• From my Shih Tzu Forum Bulletin:

I just read about Cleo today. I am so sorry to hear about it. I know how hard it is to lose a pet. It sounds like you did all you could for Cleo. Know that we are thinking of you and hoping you are doing okay.
Missy and Willoughby




• From the e-card:

Hi Karen,
Haven't talked to you for awhile. Don't know if you remember me (from Roy's Club). We e-mailed once some time ago.
Read your message board...am so sorry to hear about Cleo. I just had to extend my sympathy to you.
I had a schnauzer years ago. When I lost her, I thought I would never get over it! Then one day, my daughter brought home a West-Highland Terrier (the dog on this card).
Well, I immediately fell in love with him...Spanky will be 12 years old on April 20th. I can't imagine losing my baby! You're right...time goes too fast. I often say I wish he were a puppy again.
As other people told you, the best thing you can do is get another cat...it will never replace Cleo. But, I think it does help.
Take care,
Pat (Jersey Girl)
[Pat e-mailed me about voting for Cleo's Cutest Pet contest, offered by petsmart.com]





Since the beautiful "Rainbow Bridge" is widely known, I thought I'd put here some lesser-knowns and the most-matched to Cleo's personality (1) and life (2):

I'm Free (1)

Don't grieve for me, for now I'm free.
I'm following the path God has laid you see.
I took His hand when I heard Him call,
I turned my back and left it all.
I could not stay another day.
To laugh, to love, to work or play.
Tasks left undone must stay that way.
I found that peace at the close of the day.
If my parting has left a void,
then fill it with remembered joys.
A friendship, a laugh, a kiss.
Oh yes, these things I too will miss.
Be not burdened with times of sorrow.
I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow.
My life's been full, I savored much.
Good friends, good times, a loved one's touch.
Perhaps my time seemed all too brief.
Don't lengthen it now with undue grief.
Lift up your hearts and peace to thee.
God wanted me now; He set me free!
(Author Unknown)




Only the Best (2)

God saw you were getting tired and a cure was not to be;
So He put his arms around you and whispered, "Come to me,"
A golden heart stopped beating; hard working paws went to rest.
God broke our hearts to prove to us He only takes the best.
(Author Unknown)







And, finally, here's Cleo's poem that she wrote me years ago (that I transcribed from her mind-thinking...):

I Will Come Back

Will you love and take care of me
now as much as when
I was brought to this world?
Will you seek for my health and
aid me to my death?
For whenever I'm in pain,
Will you hold my paw?
I know you will, you have loved me
forever...
I trust you...
I love you, too.
Hey, I still have eight more lives,
Don't I??






Here are 3 books of mine that I wisely bought/read in advance long ago, that you might like for reference:

"Pet Loss: A Thoughtful Guide for Adults and Children", by Herbert A. Nieburg, Ph.D. and Arlene Fischer. 1996.

"When Your Pet Dies: Dealing with Your Grief and Helping Your Children Cope", by Christine Adamec (the author happened to have had a cat named Cleo!). 1996. The book mentions freeze-drying, where there's a company based in Glendale, Arizona.

"Loss of a Pet", by Wallace Sife, Ph.D. 1993. This is a pretty well-known book that we've seen advertised in pet magazines.

I came across this article written by Terry L. Stawar, Ed.D., from the August 1999 issue of "Dog World" magazine, entitled: "Do All Dogs Go To Heaven? Perspectives on Pet Loss". It details cultural/religious issues of death and type of burials, and afterlife issues.

I also received another article from Erin at Iowa State University Pet Loss Support Hotline (read more about her below), who enclosed as part of the support package, a copy written by Barbara L. Diamond from the February 1989 issue of "Cat Fancy" magazine, entitled: "Honoring a Friend".

I also have this original award-winning comic strip that I gladly saved over the years: "For Better or For Worse", by Canadian cartoonist Lynn Johnston (one of my favorite comics). April 30, 1995. It's about Farley the family dog who died, and how Liz the middle daughter ponders with her friend Dawn, about Heaven and ghosts. Beautifully written. [Scroll down a bit to see part of the comic strip.]

NEW: "Death and the Life After" book, a revised 2001 edition to 1987, written by evangelist Billy Graham (www.billygraham.org

I received a thoughtful support package in the mail from Erin, a volunteer at the Iowa State University Pet Loss Support Hotline (isuplsh@iastate.edu -- www.vetmed.iastate.edu/support/ -- (888)478-7574). In her letter, she wrote:

I was very touched by your "Cleo Memoriam Page". From your website, it was clear that you and Cleo had a very special connection. In this site, you describe feeling many of the symptoms of grief that are described in our support package. This site will be very comforting for others who are dealing with the loss of a beloved pet and experiencing emotions similar to yours. Your site may help them to realize that these feelings are normal and to be expected.
Here's the link to the Pet Loss site. It has an interesting message board, as well as several links and scheduled candlelit ceremonies.

Links to my online Photo Albums / Scrapbook featuring kitty CLEO & doggie BEAU as a team:
My Voluminous Pet Album and
My Voluminous Pet Holiday Album and also
Scrapbooking Gallery







How I adopted Cleo as a 2-month-old...

I chose the name Cleo, because it's Greek (matched her hair colors) for 'famous'. I got the name from Disney's Pinnochio; the fish's name is Cleo, and the tuxedo cat's Figaro, but I liked the name Cleo better...

It was on March 23, 1985. I was a 20-year-old full-time college student living in a studio apartment in Phoenix. I loved my independence but didn't like living without an animal. I was ready to get a kitten. I scanned the ad for a free cat (I didn't know better then), that read:

"FREE KITTENS
To good home.
939-XXXX"
It was placed by a woman named Gayle Bailey in Glendale who had kittens available and that a "black and white Persian-mix(?? Really a domestic shorthair mix) little girl with a white tummy and white paws of 8 weeks is available". (This color description later became 'tuxedo' after Clinton became president and the family pet Socks the cat, came out.) Now that I'm older and wiser, I wouldn't recommend adopting an 8-week-old too-young animal; 3 months is a good start. I didn't have a car yet, so I paid $20 roundtrip for a cab for me to pick up Cleo in the afternoon and take me to the market to buy cat stuff. When I met with Cleo and officially adopted her and took her out the door, she was yowling something like, "Help, I'm not used to the outdoors!" Or, like I was kidnapping her or something! If I had known better, I would've brought a pet carrier! I knew almost nothing about cats but figuring how easy they were to deal with, I felt I was ready anyhow. Once I brought her home, she sniffed everywhere. I showed her her dishes, scratching post, litter box, and toys. She blended in just fine, but I guess since she was a bit too young to be adopted at 8 weeks old, she was a bit homesick for her siblings. She sought seclusion in my sock drawer or on the other side of my bed, hiding or sleeping. Within a few days later, she emerged and started to interact with me; however, it did take awhile within that week for her to really bond with me. What a relief...I almost was going to feel bad! I phoned Gayle the next day for more information on Cleo, such as time of birth- 11 AM, and that Cleo was a firstborn...that explained her agile-dominant ways. Cleo wasn't keen on my visitors or veterinarians; she required permission before touching her. She was very sweet towards me but not to others, but who cares, she was mine and not theirs, right? I guess I turned her into a typical mistress's pet! I raised her exclusively indoors and eventually had her spayed. My home is always smoke-free. I raised her as if she was my human child, like flesh-and-blood. I took her out for portraits and on car rides. She wasn't too crazy about those. I tried to get her to use the toilet that we use and learn to flush, but she preferred her litter box. As she grew, I took many pictures and videos of her that became my amassed collection. Her 'convoluted' scrapbook became a legacy. I even saved a lock of her hair. I entered her in contests. She appears in the "Who's Who of Animals" and "Uncommon Cats" books that I participated in. I chronicled her lifestyle in my column of the award-winning regional pet publication ("Arizona Pet Guide"). I mentioned her in my national "Autograph Collector" magazine column. One of her portraits (with me in it) was in an ad and also displayed on the pet photographer's office wall. Her landmark, her famous picture above, appears in the Humane Society's 1995 365-Day Cats boxed calendar (June 16); it's my all-time favorite picture of her. The picture was taken in 1992, at aged 7, before I eventually adopted Beau, her younger doggie brother of a Shih Tzu. My, what a beautiful smile she had! I snapped the picture while she was sitting on the toilet in my bathroom, reminding me, "When's dinner?" LOL. I stood there stiffly for 5 minutes with my camera to catch her trademark crooked smile. Her personality was A+...VERY comical, and she grew into an intelligently voluble cat. She was also an energetic cat who loved to bounce off walls ('zooming'); I was able to capture it for a picture. (When Cleo first did that, I phoned Gayle out of curiosity, and she said that Cleo would mellow out as she aged!) She was very affective, as she warmed up to my paternal grandmother when she saw Cleo's picture, quoting, "I don't usually like cats, but Cleo seems sweet." My pen pal said that Cleo looked like a "happy cat". Cleo seemed to sense my hearing-impairment. One feat she accomplished was warning me about my plugged sink overflowing just before bedtime; I could've flooded the people downstairs (and, I had no rental insurance at the time)! She even let me know when there were visitors at the door. A couple times, she caught my neighbor's mouse, when it broke loose from them and entered my home! Cleo was a great catcher (broke its neck- ouch) and even dropped it in the toilet when I commanded her to do so (took 5 minutes though)! Now, who's going to catch some more bugs for me?? Her favorite toy was a pen cover; it's so light and can be tossed around in the air. As each day passed, I enjoyed her company tremendously, and she taught me compassion for others. I hardly took any vacation because of wanting to be with her! She was truly one-of-a-kind, and I am truly blessed to have had her as part of my formative years. And, despite my trial-and-error fashion in raising her (remember, I stated I had no role model), she was very forgiving. She never owned me and respected me as her mistress. She was even respectable, especially since after I brought Beau home. She never clawed or hurt him.
I believe we 3 got along as a threesome, because I allowed them to BE as they began; I never tried to change them or their ways, and that's why they liked me- really!
In concluding, she gave me nothing but fond memories of her, and because of that, I am able to move on and look only forward...I no longer have flashbacks of her frail body and weakened meows. She is forever whole in Heaven, even though I am still young and have to wait approximately 40+ years to see her again! I would like to thank Gayle for entrusting me to take Cleo home; however, we lost touch (she moved?), so thank-you Gayle, for giving me such a personable and healthy kitten.

© 2001-2002 Karen Catalioto




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Thanks to " CatAnna " for this beautiful award on April 1, 2001!


...And, thanks also to CatAnna for this special award on April 1, 2001!


Updated January 17, 2002


My scrapbook page that I made to honor Cleo's 1st anniversary of her passing.


This is the very last photo of Cleo taken on Christmas 2000.

For those of you wondering how I have been doing for a year since Cleo passed, I am happy to say that I fared well. I have been able to take care of myself and continued with normal daily routines since. When I recently went through her scrapbook stuff to be sure all had been updated and stored in acid-free fashion, I came across her hair, whiskers, and nail (which all shedded and I picked up to save), I began to tremble a bit as I touched her hair. It felt so real, like she was present. It put me more at ease that she has been perfectly safe in Heaven and that she is so whole and beautiful again just like her silky hair. I eventually cried as a release. However, Beau and Rudy have been my greatest strength next to God in the key to my survival. I learned to love continually. Rudy has been a great kitty, and there is a lot of Cleo in him which helps(!) I know that someday, I will see Cleo again and that in the meantime, I am to stick with reality and not dream so much about this future, so that I could concentrate on providing Beau and Rudy a loving home environment that I had so much given to Cleo. Because of this philosophy that I so follow, I am a survivor and not a victim. Thank you all for your kindness and awareness how much Cleo means to me. I am happy to see that this Cleo Memoriam Page has succeedingly benefited others, and I am very proud of it and will keep it on the web indefinitely as much as the web understands it to be. I will also continually keep it updated. If you have anything you would like to share or to see included here, please contact me. Thanks for your time.

Karen
January 17, 2002


(My clipping of For Better or For Worse that I mentioned on page 1 here...)

Box 1: Dawn- "I'm really sorry, Liz." Liz- "Thanks. Me too."
Box 2: Liz- "I'm glad they let us bury him here. We're going to call this Farley's tree. When it's warm enough....we're going to plant some flowers." Dawn- "Nice."
Box 3: Liz- "I didn't think I'd miss him like this, Dawn. I never thought that a dog could mean so much." Dawn- "I know."
Box 4: Liz- "Sometimes, I think I'll see him again. I try to imagine what Heaven is like...what it's lile to be there."
Box 5: Dawn- "Do you believe in ghosts, Elizabeth?" Liz- "Not really!"
Box 6: Liz- "But it's strange...and probably my imagination." Dawn- "What?"
Box 7: Liz- "...Sometimes, I hear the sound of his collar....as if he was walking right here."


Karen,
I read your memorial page to Cleo and it was beautiful, but at the same time, heart wrenching.
I lost my Patches on January 15, 2001. I must mention, Patches was the most beautiful Calico cat with green eyes (like Cleo) in the entire world.
She died, in her sleep at 2:15PM, from old age. In her whole life, she was only sick once. Right to the end, she was so strong. But I knew, as I watched her grow old before my eyes, she didn't have much longer to go.
The day before she died, she had a problem getting around. She would take a few steps and then have to rest. However, the next day (the day she died), she still managed to get to my room to her morning spot, and lye down. The only difference, that morning, was she didn't want to eat at 6:30AM, as usual. However, as I was talking to the vet that morning (shaking), to make an appointment for her that day, she managed to get to the kitchen and eat, go back to the piano, fall asleep to never wake up again. That's what I had hoped for her. She would have been 20 years old in July.
While reading your story of Cleo, you mentioned you were not angry at God. Well, even though, my Patches left this plane the way I had hoped, my thoughts of God turned to the dark side. When I heard of the earthquake in India, I thought to myself: God is very hungry. I have to admit that my belief in God, in general, does contain that flip side. God is loving but beware of his wrath. Let's just say, I am a God fearing women.
Anyway, He and I will be friends once again. And, frankly, I think it's okay to be angry at God (He's used to it). What happened to you was devastating. As for Cleo, I don't think she felt anything but your love coming through your voice.
I know Cleo and Patches are playing, in the beautiful meadow which is their Heaven, and our love for them is still protecting them. I know a part of me is with her. A bond that strong cannot be broken -- no way! Also, I believe we will be together again -- someday.
If you feel like sharing thoughts of her, please feel free to email them to me. I think, it helps.
Dianne
[E-mailed to me direct from the pet loss newsgroup (below)]




• From the WebTV newsgroups:

What a nightmare experience for you but I really don't believe Cleo suffered at all. I do hope the time comes for you to get another little Cleo as you will give her such a wonderful, caring home.
~ barksgalore

Hi Karen. That's a wonderful, loving tribute. I like how you added everyones wishes. Cleo's picture is great, too. ((((Karen))))
XO, Beth
~ SecretAdmirer

Hi There!! I am Nancy G, Norma's step daughter. I just read some of your memorial to Cleo and just want to say I know what it is like to lose a pet.I had to have the vet come out May 20,1996 and put my horse down from cancer and he died in my arms because I didn't want him to be alone when he took that last breath and let me tell you I have had a lot of animals thru the years but that was the hardest day of my life other than the day I lost my Mom a year later. I wrote a poem about my Horse "Casper" the next day while I was greiving and cried all the while and still do when I think about our memories together out on the trails riding him. He was a white appaloosa and just a sweet horse.I am glad you found the right new kitty and sure he will bring you many years of joy as did Cleo . Good luck!!!
~ NancyG




• From the alt.support.grief.pet-loss newsgroup (that's linked to the petloss.com site):

(snip - my post)

Hi, brand-new here. I found you from the petloss.com site, as I've linked it to my new Memoriam Page. I thought I'd post here about my Page, where I wrote a long story about Cleo, my dearly departed tuxedo cat, who passed away a week before her 'Sweet 16' birthday. I had just announced about my Page yesterday to various sources and found you today...

~~~~~

http://community.webtv.net/tvwebgirl/Cleo_Memoriam

In Loving Memory of CLEO
January 23, 1985 - January 17, 2001

~~~~~

I have an 8-year-old dog, a Shih Tzu named Beau, who's been a great source of comfort for me.
Thanks in advance for all of your support and sympathy. We're all in good company.

Karen

(/snip)

Karen, I'm so sorry about your Cleo. She found a very loving friend and companion in you, and you were lucky to have each other. Peace to you and to Cleo.
~ Alley

I wish I had better words to say...I'm sorry. That was a very nice tribute site to Cleo...he was an adorable kitty.
~ RoseAnne

(snip - my 2nd post))

Hi! I'm the one who posted here a couple months ago about Cleo, my tuxedo cat. I'd like to thank you all on this board for reading / responding to my Cleo's memorial page, esp. to Dianne, Alley, and RoseAnne. I put your words into my Web page, when I added/updated page
2:

http://community.webtv.net/tvwebgirl/Cleo_Memoriam

CLEO MEMORIAM PAGE
January 23, 1985 - January 17, 2001

~~~

Last February 21, I got a new 16-month-old pedigreed Persian named "Rudy", who's red/white (hence his name). I got him from Purrydaze Persians cattery, who knew what happened to me about Cleo and gave me Rudy for love. How nice! I'm very happy with Rudy, even though I had to get used to the fact that he's not Cleo. Cleo will always be #1 in my heart, as she was my 1st pet, my 1st cat. Really, she was a WONDERFUL cat for almost 16 years to me. Rudy & Beau (my Shih Tzu dog) get along great, provided that Beau doesn't get too playful! Here's Rudy's new (& growing) Page:

http://community.webtv.net/tvwebgirl/Rudy_newkitty

RUDY_NEW KITTY

~~~~~

Someday, I'll post on this board to help others out, once I feel more settled in my life since Cleo. It's been hell living without her, very painful. The most I've been able to do online is to update my Website/other Pages.

Thanks again for all your support. I'll be in touch...
Karen

(/snip)

(more...):

Karen,
Those tuxedo cats are so special, aren't they?! I'm very sorry about your Cleo. She was a beautiful cat. My new little one, Sherlock, has similar markings to Felix only he's red and white. It would've felt too much like I was trying to replace Felix if I had gotten another black & white kitty so soon. Most of the cats that I've had in my life have been black & white tuxedo cats, and I know there will be another tuxedo cat sharing my home some day in the future.
Rudy is adorable!
Catherine

(more from e-mail):

from Walt E.:

i'm so very sorry to hear that karen...we lost one of our wild one's here a week
ago ourselves ...between the other wild
ones and our 11 inside...we still have a 'hole in our hearts'...there is just no good way to explain the terrible sadness to
anyone who hasn't experienced it ...we've been blessed with a houseful of love ...but yet ...we are doomed to face a lot of
sadness down the road...still what would one's life be if they did not have the love that these fur-kids just keep giving and giving?...i've got an awful lot of friends to say hello to when we all get to the
'rainbow bridge'...hang in there like we are doing and i guess time will help

from Rita/oma:

i'm very sorry to hear about you kitty, some people think it is sill to cry when a pet passes on but to me every time I loose one of mine it feels like a member of the family has gone. I looked at your memorial Page you did a great job

from Cindy/ShuPics:

I read about your experience with Cleo when I first began posting in Pride. I'm sure she is at the Bridge to help show Sundrop the lay of the land. One day, in God's time, we will both see all our dear furred friends again. Thank you for your kindness.
                                                        Cindy

from Samantha W.:

i am really sorry to hear about cleo.i still miss my cat,e.t.i know how you feel about losing a pet.




Here's my thank-you card that I gave to Carmel Animal Hospital and Terra Villa Apts. staff, as well as to my supportive friends and pen pals...and one for each one of you onliners who've read and listened to Cleo's story. You've shown and related how much she meant to me.



And, my search for a new kitty as follows...


Here's a copy of the ad I placed in http://www.petfinder.org, (which remains online for 14 days):


89923- Cat:Persian / Persian-mix
Phoenix,AZ (602)246-2501 fax Karen Catalioto KarenCatalioto@webtv.net 02-03-2001
Looking for: Pure white / blue-eyed or odd-eyed Persian or Persian-mix. Am aware that this type of cat is hard to find, because of the shaded silver Chinchilla Persian that took over as the lightest Persian cat around. Must be at least 6 months, as already spayed/neutered (any surgery is nerve-wracking for me to watch my baby go through!). M or F. FeLeukemia must be tested neg. If purebred and have papers, would like them transferred to me, plus a copy of your vet. records, so that I know where to pick up whats left off (last exam appt., etc.). Prefer that s/he not be declawed. Dont mind if cat is deaf / partially. Pet quality. Have an 8-year-old Shih Tzu dog. Prefer that you live in metro Phx. area for me to check/pick up. Last month, my beloved tuxedo cat, Cleo, passed away one week before her Sweet 16 birthday. She was my first pet, my first cat after I moved out at 18, my baby. Beau (Shih Tzu) & I miss her terribly, and a household without a cat is not a whole home. I built the "Cleo Memoriam Page", in loving memory of Cleo: http://community.webtv.net/tvwebgirl/Cleo_Memoriam. I selected this desired Persian/color, because Id like a new cat thats completely opposite of Cleos colors/adventurous personality; Persians are more placid. I guarantee a loving home for your cat. Once I adopt an animal, s/he stays with me, even if s/he didnt turn out that great; Im not a disposable type. Im self-employed and get to choose my hours and so, Im able to spend a lot of time w/ animals. I rarely take vacations, esp. long vacations. Beau even travels on planes w/ me! I pamper / spoil. An animal thats adopted by me is viewed as my son or daughter and not some pet. I promote animal love & ownership responsibility once an animal is adopted. I believe in keeping them indoors and in good health. I spend good money on animals instead of just myself! Im good at keeping in touch after adoption, if youd like (I build web pages about my animals- that helps keep you updated). Thanks for reading my long ad, but I believe in giving good info. in advance, in complete form. Plus, the more you look for and take your time, the more it prevent impulse adoptions. My e-mail does read HTML & view attachments, so send a picture in .jpg/.jpeg format, if you can. Thanks for your time, Karen (& Beau)
(This is the cat I had in mind!)
[No response to my ad so far.]


Here's what AAWL placed in February, 2001 on their website, that intrigued me to contact AAWL for more information on Twinkle, below. I didn't get a reply back, but he eventually got adopted:


Twinkle is a calm 8-month-old Siamese mix. He loves to be petted and scratched on the tummy. He plays very nicely with the other kitties in his apartment and would do great in a home with other feline family members. Twinkle wishes on a lucky star that he finds a loving family soon!




e-mail me! And, thanks, from Cleo "Upstairs"...


This is Teddy. I got him from Carmel Animal Hospital. I selected the name, because it's Greek for God's gift. He's a solid black shorthair neutered male, 6 months old, with light brown eyes...a large kitten, I wonder if he's part Maine Coon due to size and where his ears were position with spikey fine hairs on top end. I got him from them on February 13, 2001. 3 days later, I phoned them to come pick him up right away, so that I wouldn't have to bond with him too much. Reason? He wasn't the right kitty: he was very wild, attacking ankles, and acted like he was on uppers. The hospital gave me the wrong cat! Needless to say, I was very disappointed and wept afterwards. I guess he wasn't God's gift that I had hoped. Teddy was returned to his temporary owner. I recommend long-term training for Teddy, or a good job as a mouser. I certainly hope this gentleman in question (temporary owner) finds the appropriate home for Teddy. I feel so bad for Teddy! This is the first time I'd have to give an animal back...

This is the mantle where I keep Cleo's memoirs in my living room. On the left is the black urn. (Now inside the shadowbox that I decorated. Visit the my Scrapbooking Gallery link.) Generous news: On February 20, 2001, I received a letter from the Morris Animal Foundation announcing that Carmel Animal Hospital had donated monetarily to the Foundation in Cleo's memory. That felt so good. Like Cleo's recognized in my community how special she was. I sent Carmel a thank-you note. I also have no ill-will towards Carmel for giving me Teddy; to make myself feel better, I call Teddy my trial adoption. Carmel did apologize that it didn't work out. Thanks so much to ALL again for your support!

On February 21, 2001 my search for a new kitty became officially over! Purrydaze Cattery (Persian cats) / Jenni Markey posted that she had 2 of her adults available for adoption: Murphey (female/spayed) and Rudy (male/neutered). Heeeeree's my new Web page on Rudy whom I adopted: RUDY!

Final update [end of new kitty search]: February 27, 2001