When my mother’s health limited her ability to do the many things she loved to do, I tried to provide her with some alternative outlets for her mental need to keep busy. Unfortunately, at the beginning her mind was willing but her body failed her. The source of my feline friends, my brother Ray and his partner Pam, had recently cared for a group of young foster cats. Our daughter Michele adopted Eartha Kitty from this group. Eartha, then a sweeter version of her present self, was adorable. She is a long haired black cat who sported a strange and spikey coat of fur at the time of her meeting with Michele. Eartha has grown into a large cat. She resembles a pregnant raccoon when scurrying about their home. This vocal cat gives the impression that she dislikes everyone. Michele insists that she is really a sweet cat. I have not been the recipient of any of her sweetness. In the past Michele would travel for a visit to our house with both Eartha and Nell . Neither cat is a particularly good traveller. We’ll save Nell’s story for another day. Eartha suffers from kitty asthma. The travel trauma has caused Eartha to have an episode on more than one occasion. The most memorable was a Christmas Day trip to our vet where Eartha was near death and required immediate and very expensive holiday care. I have a budget limitation when it comes to my pets. For the most part, I will not provide any extreme care for my pets. They get the best of food, medications and attention, but surgery (unless dental upkeep) is not an option. In the end the pet, especially cats, will die anyway if they are really ill. No amount of wishful remedies and expenditures can turn around this eventuality. I can’t see putting a suffering animal through procedures that will cause them even more pain. Anyway, Michele has not experienced a dying pet at this point, and she very generously and repeatedly, doles out her savings to bring Eartha back to a manageable asthmatic state. I might also mention Eartha earned her certificate from the 403 Turner Place Finishing School for Cats. Several years after this achievement it has been stated that her certificate has been revoked. She obviously needed to be nicer to Ray and Pam and remember their long ago relationship.
At the same time Eartha was in the Finishing School a sweet cat then named Lady Gray was also in attendance. She had a series of colds with runny eyes and nose. At the shelter she might not have made it through. The excellent care given by Pam (and Ray) got her to the point where she could be adopted. I had a dream that a gray cat was in my future. I happened to mention this to Michele, who of course relayed my premonition to Pam. It wasn’t long before Lady Gray joined our family. After much consideration we renamed her Venus. I wanted her to be named Serena (yes, after Ms. Williams) since she was, well, serene at the time. Everyone else preferred Venus and so she became Venus, Goddess of Love. My hope was that Venus would share her time with my mother and settle in for a nap on my mother’s lap. That happened exactly once, for a photo op, and never again was Venus seen on Anne’s lap. Ron experienced the goddess love, but not Anne.
When we moved to NY Venus of course came with us. She was healthy for the first four years but ended up having a tumor grow in her stomach. My veterinarian was trying so hard to provide some options for her care. I think the fact that I had lost two of my female cats less than a year before might have prompted her to give it the old college try. In the end, with much sadness, I decided not to expose my Venus to chemotherapy, multiple blood tests and upsetting visits to the animal hospitals. I kept her with us until she stopped eating. Although she could no longer jump onto counters, she was still able to visit the litter boxes in the basement. I’m not sure where she got the strength. Ron and I brought her to the vet for the very last time, said our tearful goodbyes and hoped her life beyond would finally bring her onto my mother’s lap. Now Venus is my angel of love.