Monday, December 13, 2010
Happy Birthday Schroeder!
Today I'm going to break from my regular talk about food and nutrition to talk about my other love: cats. I have three cats right now - Archie, Clementine and Schroeder. Archie and Clementine are twins and are still babies at a year and half years old. Schroeder is 13, and today is his birthday! Actually, I'm not really sure when his birthday is, but I adopted him on February 13th 1998, and they told me he was 8 weeks, old, so I've always considered December 13th to be his birthday.
I adopted Schroeder to keep my cat Lucy company, because she had just lost her brother Linus, who died of a rare cancer called hemangiocarcoma. Lucy seemed lost without her brother, and she needed a companion. She was not at all happy with me when I brought tiny Schroeder home, and she even smacked him around a little bit, but she soon warmed to him and the two were inseparable for 11 years.
A few weeks after Linus passed away, his foster mom called me and said that there were two litters of kittens at the shelter where she volunteered. She told me to go take a look at them to see if I wanted one. If I did, I could take it home or ask them to hold it for me. If I didn't want one of them, she told me to tell them what kind of kitten I wanted, and they'd let me know when one arrived. I really didn't expect to go home with a kitten that day, but I went to take a look at them. Each litter had four kittens, and one of the litters was really feral and wasn't ready to be adopted. The other litter was very cute and playful and ready to find homes. I took each one of their carrier and held them many times. Each time I took out the tiny orange tabby, he put his head on my shoulder and went to sleep. A shelter volunteer said "I think that one just chose you," and I knew I had to take him home with right then. He was was the teeny tiniest little fluff ball when I adopted him, and at just 2 pounds he was runt of his litter. I originally called him Peanut because he was so small, but then changed his name to Schroeder, because in Peanuts, Lucy loves Schroeder, and I wanted my Lucy to love my Schroeder too.
Schroeder's has been the sweetest little snugglebug since kittenhood. He's always been really sweet and easy going, and he never minded when Lucy would give him a knock on the head - he would just scamper off the other way. As a kitten, he loved lap sitting, and would often climb my legs while I was standing, because he didn't understand that laps went away when people stood. He's always loved legs too, and usually sleeps on mine, no matter where I am. Schroeder and I have a special bond, and he always knows when I'm feeling blue and in need of a snuggle.
Schroeder's had a rough two years, but he's a strong little kitty. Sadly, in January 2009 Lucy passed away. It was obvious that Schroeder missed her and was in need of company, but I wasn't ready to bring another cat home yet. In July of 2009 we found a large lump on his paw, which turned out to be a cancer of the cartilage. His leg had to be removed in order to keep the cancer from from spreading. Shortly after his surgery, we adopted Archie and Clementine to keep him company. He gets cranky around them and sometimes growls, but he also often snuggles with them and grooms them, so I know he's happy to have the company. Sadly, Schroeder was diagnosed with cancer again last month. He has hemangioscarcoma, the same rare cancer that Linus had. The prognosis is not known, because this disease is rarely seen in cats. He started chemotherapy a few weeks ago and is doing pretty well. He's definitely more tired and has less energy than usual, but he's keeping his appetite up and still rolling over for belly rubs. On Saturday we momentarily lost him somewhere in the house, only to find him hanging out on Dennis's dresser. There are so many people out in cyber space who have been wishing Schroeder well, and I want to thank everyone, because I truly appreciate it. And a special thank you to team Honey Bear from The Distance Healing Network who have been sending Reiki to Schroeder.
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