Monday, June 28, 2010

Circle of LIfe

For those hesitant to read this--Don't worry, it has a happy ending.

Every human knows, when they get a pet, it won't be forever. We know, with a few exceptions, that our pets won't live more than 10 or 15 years. Some, far less. It is the price we pay for unconditional love.
This is Pearl with her first rat, Snickers. Yes, a rat.
Goodness, he was smart and friendly.
We've always said that rats are really just like little dogs. Pearl and Snickers could sit and watch TV or read a book for hours. He was content to sit with her, wander out and then come back to her lap. When he died, after three short years, we were all very sad. She would visit his little grave and cry and visit for some time afterward. As sad as that was, she knew he loved her. He loved her when she was happy, sad, snotty and every emotion in between. I believe he taught her about the nature of God.
Here's our Lucky. He disappeared in February after 10 wonderful years with us. I think he lived quite a wonderful life. He was primarily Pearl's cat. I think he loved us all, though. He was the object of much affection, whether he liked it or not. Goodness, we miss him. We'd never owned a cat before him. Lee and I grew up in 'cat free' homes. The only cats I'd ever met were sort of mental. I always wonder what Lucky's life was like before he found us. He convinced us that cats can be great pets.
Speaking of the circle of life......we get a giggle out of this picture of Lucky. He's drinking out of the fish bowl. I think he was positive we made fish-flavored water, just for him. He never bothered the fish, one bit.


This chicken is Sophia. She lets our rooster, Tuesday, think he's in charge, but all the other chickens know better. She's at the top of the pecking order. Tuesday can go in the coop to roost at night and sit there by himself for a half hour or more. I've been outside to hear him carry on from inside the coop, "girls, it's time to come in, girls it's time to come in, girls it's time to come in.......". Only when Sophia heads in, do the other hens come in for the night.
Sophia will be 6 in October. Pet chickens, ones not destined for the crock pot, can live 10 years. I think that number is the outside limit.
It has become clear that Sophia is ill. She's just not right. I believe in the next day or two, I may have to put her down. It is a gift I can give her for all the years of glorious eggs she has given us.
"A gift?" you say? Yes, a gift.
We as humans, have one last bit of love we can give our animals when it is clear they are suffering and dying. It is our duty. That last bit of love we can give them, as crushing as it is for us.
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But wait, didn't I say this would have a happy ending?
Yes, it does.
While Lee is not convinced we need another cat, he has decided that it might be okay. He, understandably, is worried that a new cat might not be so considerate as Lucky regarding the rules of the house.
No cats on the counter (eewwww).
No scratching the furniture.
No pulling the loops on the oriental rug.
No pottying anywhere but the litter box.
No biting or scratching the humans (unless you leave the cat locked in your closet all day--another story, another time).
I believe cats can be trained, the same as dogs. Goodness knows, Seigfried and Roy had that figured out. I know there was that little "try to kill Roy" incident, but we won't be getting a tiger. Just a kitty.
Wish us luck in choosing. Lucky chose us. We are new at the choosing of a cat thing.

8 comments:

  1. Oh my, I about choked on my coffee at your "let's kill roy incident" comment. Ooooh....ha ha ha.

    I agree with you totally on our responsibility to our animals to not let them suffer when the time comes, but gosh, it's such a painful, difficult thing - especially after years of doing one's level best (if not more) to provide the best of care to the animals entrusted to us. But then, who said loving deeply and caring well would ever be easy, huh?
    Hang in there, CeeCee

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  2. My son always had a pet rat. His first one, Ratlee, even went with us in the motorhome. They make wonderful pets but have a very short lifespan.
    Getting a kitten? What fun!

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  3. My sis had a pet rat rescued from the school lab science fair. Smart but had a taste for bed sheets. I would come home from college and request fresh hole free bedding.

    And a gift of ending suffering is a gift. I only wish there were some intelligent ethical way to help all loved ones when their life becomes unbearable with no chance of recovery.

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  4. Danni, owning a predator as a pet always made me wonder about the sanity of the owner---beautiful as tigers and lions and chimps are, it's just too dangerous.

    Goatgirl, we never got to take Snickers anywhere on vacation, because our house/pet sitter loved him too much.

    Leenie, You took the words out of my head and put them on 'paper'. I, too, wish we could help all loved ones in their time of suffering and death.

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  5. Hi CeeCee! We, too, have cat house rules. No scratching the furniture or tables or chairs. No cats on the counters, tables, couch, chairs - basically cats are only allowed on the floor and beds or any special cat boxes/window seats designated for them. No pottying except in litter box! No biting or scratching humans. No getting underfeet, ever. No laying on the stairs, especially in the dark. No eating the plants.

    We have had 4 cats now since we've been married, 2 remain with us, the last 2 died after long and happy lives. And all 4 cats obeyed the rules (well, except for the eating the houseplant rule. And sometimes they lay on the stairs still, but run when we start down the stairs). Cats are totally trainable, and it's not hard.

    Once I had this discussion with my hubby when he was away on travel for a week - I told him how smart that Jack, the cat, is. He jokingly said that Jack's not smart. In that week Randy was gone, I taught Jack how to shake hands. Cats want to please us, it's easy to train them. Just reward them when they are good. So when he came home, Randy saw Jack's new trick. And years later, when we picked up an adult feral cat, Shadow, she started shaking hands with us after watching Jack do it for 3 days. Now they both shake hands. Even when Shadow was too wild to let us pet her, she still shook hands with us. And we still cannot pick her up... One day she'll trust us.

    Good luck choosing a cat/kitten. Jack and Shadow were both strays that chose us. After the last 2 cats died I wanted NO MORE cats ever. But Jack changed my mind.

    ~Lynn

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  6. I would suggest you get two cats: twice the fun, half the damage they cause and they are never alone (unless only one is locked in the closet - I am looking forward to reading more about this:)). My friend wanted just one cat, I suggested she took two and she is ever so grateful because the two cats are better than one like mine:)) Mine is a mental:)) Ssshhh, don't tell her I said that...

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  7. Best of luck choosing a new member for your family! I miss my cats, sometimes.

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  8. I bet rats do make good pets - I've never had one, but I had mice growing up and they were wonderful. Breaks my heart to think of how much Pearl must have missed Snickers when he died :(

    That picture of of Lucky drinking out of the fish bowl is the greatest! I got a good chuckle out of you saying he thought it was fish flavored drinking water just for him. Ha!

    Sophia is so pretty. I don't envy the job that may be in front of you before too long. It is truly a difficult thing to put animals out of misery, but I agree with you that it is one of the most humane and loving things we can do for a suffering animal. (((hugs))) CeeCee.

    A new kitty - yay! I must say I agree with Sandra - it may not seem like it is possible, but two cats really are easier than just one. They keep each other entertained and keep each other company. And it's twice the fun :)

    Can't wait to see the pictures of the new addition(s)!!!

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