Anna looks quite discerning.
I'm crossing my fingers.
She actually looks a little skeptical, to my mind.
If I could, I would post the full photo of her. She is lying on the floor by the piano watching the antics of another cat playing with a piece of string my wife is twirling (can't see other cat or wife, just Anna and her rather knowing expression).
2nd day for her (this time) in the vet clinic ICU. No phone calls from the clinic means no change, at least (optimistically) stable... We will visit her today, of course. We visit our animals daily when we have them in the clinic for whatever reason.
We just returned from the vet. The Japanese term is simply "shinzou hossa" -- heart seizure, or heart attack. Not congestive heart failure.
Her temperature is back up to normal, her breathing is slow and steady, and we see no tremors or physical manifestation of any slight seizures or convulsions. She lifted her head and looked at us as if bored with the whole affair, then relaxed again on her pillow...
We'll visit again tomorrow, and each day until she comes home.
Anna Matsuda Breyette
01 May 1997 – 15 January 2017
There comes a time when the body just ... knows. A pet is sometimes fortunate to be in the presence of loved ones who surround it with their warmth, care, caresses, and the loving shelter of their arms. The beloved pet knows it’s not alone and its leave will not go unnoticed or forgotten. The last stage of the journey begins, as if closing up the house to leave for a strange and wonderful foreign country. There being no further need for sustenance, the body has already ceased its perfunctory mechanics of eating and drinking; as if on cue, it simply discontinued digesting. The extremities have balanced, touched, and felt all they could in a lifetime; a coldness slowly creeps from the paws to the shoulders and hips, and the legs become unmoving and unresponsive. The organs begin to shut down, their task of sustaining life finished, their duties fulfilled. The eyes seem unfocused. They only register curiously dreamy motions and shapes that are sometimes familiar loved ones. When they close for the last time, their final image is drowsily contemplated until it slowly fades. The mind is no longer a storm of thoughts and plans for the morrow; it quiets and is at peace, accepting a slow sleepy departure like rainwater seeping into the ground. The heart continues valiantly as any captain would until all stations have checked in and called that they are ready, and then it shuts down. The lungs let out their last with a relieved sigh. For the briefest instant, the body waits, literally breathlessly, like the land just before the last swift winter sunset before the first day of spring begins the next morning. The vessel empties; its task as a shelter has ended. But the spirit continues strong, waxes full beyond this moment. The spirit increases as it shakes off its physical limitations, bursts forth gloriously free, stretches, and laughs joyously in newfound strength. It unites with loved ones long lost and present, and its Creator, in its new birth on a plane we shall not know until our time comes – and then bids us farewell until our next meeting.
Twenty years was too brief a time to spend with such a personality as you. Rest in Joy, beloved Anna. We will see you again.
Right after posting, the MP3 player played "Catspaw" by Emerald Web... Nearly 2000 pieces in the file, all play by random selection, and this one comes on now.
Cannot describe the feelings encountered. House quiet except for the content and peaceful purr of the other cats, and this music playing...
Seizan, You have my sympathy and understanding.
Thanks for the touching words and thoughts.
Please excuse typos in above larger posting. I was a bit preoccupied and prone to making errors not recognized until too late.
I responded. Noticed no mistakes. The heart was writing. Do such organs know who to type?
Sumako and I worry a little. Anna was the 3rd cat we've lost in the past 3 months. Now our black cat Nemo and orange striped Tiger have been missing for a few days.
Nemo was very close to Gypsy, a large white cat who passed away just recently. Gypsy initially survived the surgery to repair a ruptured diaphragm but did not make it past the 3rd day. He now rests in the backyard very near to where Harmony (Snowshoe Siamese) is buried.
Tiger is Gypsy's brother, and the last of 4 cats born on 9/11. He and gypsy were also close and spent most of their days in each other's company.
We wonder if Nemo and Tiger finally realize Gypsy is gone (not just sleeping in some corner or snuggled up in a box somewhere) and have gone off in search of him. They are both outdoor cats, and being older, are not in the habit of wandering far afield anymore. They usually stick close by the house (for years now) and I normally see both of them several times a day, especially at feeding time.
Neither of them have shown up for the past 3 or 4 days, which is very unusual. So in the light of recent losses, naturally we worry...
Saddened to read of Anna's passing, continue to treasure the time you shared. I am hoping that Nemo and Tiger show up soon and were just out for an extended walk.
That is memorable writing, Seizan, I think we all appreciate it. I'm saving it, and I'll long remember Anna's photo.
Worry re Nemo and Tiger....
Thank you, Sumako and Seizan for being so involved with their care.
Yesterday after bringing Anna home, I started digging in an appropriate location where her site could be seen from the kitchen area easily. The ground here is hard, full of rocks and broken concrete from a construction site (it’s just filler, not good soft earth for growing plants). Using a shovel and a stone-chipping tool like a large 2-ended chisel, it took more than an hour to dig it about halfway when our 30-y/o son Motoki called and asked me to hold off until he could arrive to see Anna a last time (he was working at the time).
He arrived last night after sunset and spent some time visiting Anna who was lying in a coffin-shaped box (provided by the vet clinic) in the dojo (my karate dojo, attached to our home). He then finished digging the grave by lantern-light (hard stony ground, cold wind blowing) and smoothed the earth on the bottom as he wanted it.
Anna was wrapped in clean white linen from the vet clinic and her paws bore a sprig of flowers, as did Harmony (another cat recently deceased from mouth cancer). Motoki helped wrap her more securely in another outer layer of linen and laid her to rest. He then placed enough dry food in the grave with her for a three-day journey.
As he shoveled the soil, we planted a special coffee bush over her, and Motoki led a short prayer session.
She was a very special family member to us all…
In the future we will spend time going over old photos of Anna from kittenhood to her last stay with us (briefly released from the vet clinic until her 2nd heart attack). I will likely make a memory album or a DVD.
My next concern (besides missing Nemo and Tiger) is for Heart, a rather petite black cat with no tail (from birth) and a white heart-shape on her belly. Heart is 19 or possibly 20 years old too, but other than her recent deafness, seems to be in rather good health. She is mostly an indoor cat and goes out only occasionally to bask in the sunlight.
We are also rehabilitating our old dog Hatha who is at least 18 but the vet says maybe 22. We rescued her from the road in 2008; her backbone was snapped in two. Surgery realigned the vertebrae but the doctor said she would never walk again.
Hatha was already old, possibly 12 at that time. The vet we used at that time (we switched vets since) was rather surprised that we were willing to spend so much time, concern, and money on the health of such an old dog... The required surgery was conducted at another clinic.
Less than a year later Hatha was running on the beach with Sumako, and dancing…
Hatha recently had a stroke and requires special care at home, but we don't mind changing diapers and supporting her for short walking exercises. One very good sign is that she has an excellent appetite, and though she must be spoon-fed for now, she eats three rather large cans of high-quality prescription food daily.
I’ll leave off here regarding Hatha. If things develop further with her, I’ll begin a new thread on her progress. And if so, please pardon that I will likely tell the story of her rescue again, though maybe in more detail.
Thanks to all for reading and bearing with this over-sentimental thread...
Man, you have a wonderful family and cared for pets. Please write these situations as you feel like, lots of us are listening.
I'm going to send a link to this thread to my friend Krista, a cat rescuer (and sometimes dogs) in Los Angeles.
Update on the previous info...
Heart seems to be well; her new food is designed for cats 15 years old and older. She spends most of her time in a rather large cage with her own heater (it's a bit cold on Okinawa right now). She prefers to eat and sleep in the cage because she can no longer hear the other cats if they come up beside or behind her, and a few are still rather playful. She still goes outside on sunny days to bask in the sunlight and roll on the walkway in front of our dojo.
All the cats' canned food comes from Thailand and is nearly pure meat with little other mixed in. The food for older cats is softer and of a different mix, but still more meat and no grain products, unlike the more popularly-available American cat canned foods that look like pureed and reformed mystery meat with lots of corn and other grain meal mixed in...
Hatha's condition has changed only slightly. Her hind legs seem to be weaker but that may be because of the cold weather, and she doesn't enjoy being outdoors unless it's warm and sunny. Sumako walks her by putting her in a sling and letting her legs touch the ground, so she can push lightly forward with her hind legs and tap ahead with her front ones. But lately she seems to just let her legs dangle, so she spends most of this winter laying on her left side, or occasionally "standing" in a special therapy bed we designed for her. She still has a voracious appetite, and loves her food mixed with soft rice, carrots, and other steamed veggies.
She still has to be fed by hand three times daily, given water more often, and have her diapers changed several times a day. Either Sumako or I will go home from our work at lunchtime and care for her. Of course we do our best to take care of everything before our workday, when we return after the day, and in the evening before bed.
Musashi the bulldog is now 5 going on 6 years old. He had a bout with bladder stones and an infection, but a dietary adjustment took care of that. Last week I caught indication of something wrong when he lay down and sort of bobbed his head up and down for a time before sleeping. It was also difficult for him to find a comfortable sleeping position. We brought him in to the vet the next day and found he had contracted another bladder infection. A shot of antibiotics and prescription meds took care of it by the next morning.
Tiger never returned after his brother Gypsy passed. He disappeared that week (several weeks now) and has not been seen around the neighborhood. Nemo, the black cat who was Tiger's and Gypsy's closest friend, also disappeared at the same time but returned about 2 weeks after. Nemo has been hanging around the house as usual but actively seeks more attention than before.
Sadly, a bit more than a week after Tiger disappeared, I could smell the ominous odor of dead animal emanating from the bamboo thicket adjacent to our home. I went in there as far as I could -- it's a very thickly-grown and established bamboo thicket -- and even cut down some of the bamboo to make a path. But I couldn't find a body. The odor disappeared a few days after. I hope it was just a bird that one of the cats may have hunted down; a pigeon might be large enough to make that odor.
The same two pigeons have been coming to our home for the past 17 years (yes, only two!) to eat the dry cat food. We don't consider them pests, in fact we rather enjoy seeing them get their fill. Our outdoor cats seem rather tolerant of the pigeons and are not inclined to chase after them.
You are a wonderful animal friend.
Happily, I find we are not alone... But there aren't enough of us.
I hope more people find it in themselves to pitch in and help some forlorn and lost creature in need...
Hello all, I just wanted to say that the coffee bushes we planted above Gypsy, Harmony, and Anna seem to be doing well after adjusting to being in the yard versus the pots they were in.
All three plants were gifts to us from Mr. and Mrs. Majikina. Mrs. Majikina is famous in Japan as a criminal attorney, but she has been retired for a few years. She learned of Sumako via word-of-mouth and became one of Sumako's Thai massage clients. Sumako is a certified Thai Masseuse, and gradated from the Loi Kroh Academy of Thai Massage in Chiang Mai some years ago.
Anna's coffee bush is the biggest of the three, about a foot tall now. The others show fresh leaves and are healthy but still about 6 inches tall. Not much different from when they were in pots. We hope that one more season will see a growth spurt. All three plants get a special liquid fertilizer and are protected from the north winds that come in from the ocean.
When they grow large enough to produce coffee beans, I'll let you know...