Towards the end of the year could finally return to cute overload or daily squee without ache.

I can look at cat videos, cats at play. I can greet cats and dogs without ache these days.

Eyes smart at any image of the Valderbar tho. Stomach still drops.

The times of giving IV, the 3 visits to vet and being told to reconcile with death and her rallying takes a toll of months. The sense of helplessness, frustration and anger at the helplessness at trying to induce her to eat, all manners of coaxing and cajoling with all kinds of food wore me down until my own health suffered too. Mental and physical.

Every few weeks I still have a nightmare on the variation of finding her, under rubble, crawling in, still alive, desperately thin and hungry and I go hunting for something she’ll eat and bring her back from death. I don’t know how to bring closure.

When our dog died in ’91, it took a couple years before I could look at any dog or hear the word dog. Even now, a black and white dog of the same size gets me. I don’t know why grief is so much easier to access than pleasant memories of joy. There must be something in how I’ve conditioned myself. How I’m predisposed?

It’s been six months since dad died and hearing the word “dad” still pangs, tailspins me.

But so far as Valerie, there’s the start of healing finally, isn’t there.

I can see pictures sometimes and remember some good of her company, remember her pleasure at rushing up to us, as if she were a dog, greeting us, curling on us, wanting to sleep in the crook of my arm or legs. Waking up with her as close as possible to me.

I have even begun to tell stories of her personality and her trouncing of her colleague in crime. How they divided the house. How Valderbar divided the house with most of it hers alone.

I sometimes share with hesitation, usually bite my tongue, since some people are so hostile. It blindsides me. I never know who will turn in rant against pets in principle and/or say sadistic things, irrespective of my feelings or what is compassionate to say of any creature under any circumstance. When a friend’s dog was hit by a car, a passerby kept repeating. It’s just an animal. A couple people eventually told her to shut up but she didn’t. She was looping what she imagined, trying to shake it.

Verbal speech is an evolutionary loss of intelligence.

Maybe because human lives are longer, give more years to enjoy against the tradeoff of loss. I don’t see myself committing to another animal foreseeably.

Yet life seems long with no kids, no fur kids. Friends are lovely but when problems come, and ranks close…I’m a dependent of no one and no one depends on me in that primary way. There’s a gap. Most days I can’t feel it.


  1. Toni (Mom to the Big Piney Woods Cats) said


    I am wondering how you are doing. I cry when I read what you wrote about Valderbar, gone these many months now. Only a true cat lover can understand what you went through. Mittens (16 years) was given 2 months to live in November, but is still hanging tough, having good days and bad. Patches (12 years) goes to the vet today because she is loosing weight.

    I don’t blog anymore, spend all my time at our local no kill animal shelter, cleaning cat cages and taking photographs. I have seen a lot of sadness, but much happiness too.

    I don’t know if you will get this or not. Just wanted to say “hi.” and wish you well.


  2. valderbar said

    Thanks Toni!

    Hope your path is well too!

  3. Toni (Mom to the Big Piney Woods Cats) said

    Patches is coming to the end of her long journey. She is so weak, down from 12 lbs to 6, sores all over the back of her ears from the terrible thyroid cream I gave her, thinking I was helping, and only hindering her and making it worse. I can only think, if I hadn’t……….then she would be OK. I blame the vets for not telling that she might react badly and to watch it! They never said anything and let me keep dosing her with what I thought was good. She can’t get comfortable, she goes from chair to chair, circles and tries to lay down. She doesn’t want me to touch her, she looks at me with sick eyes, her fur all greasy from the cream I have been putting in her ears to try and help them heal. It wasn’t supposed to happen like this! I write you because I know you will understand. I don’t know if you will even see this. Life, right now, is so very bleak. I will be calling the vet tomorrow.


  4. Toni (Mom to the Big Piney Woods Cats) said

    I took her in the other day, thinking it was “time”. The vet said she was on the fence, it could go either way. I said “save her, of course, I will do whatever it takes.” So more fluids, B Vittamins, a steroid shot. It perked her up and she has been eating a little. Her ears keep getting worse, more sores on her face and back. How could something that was supposed to help do such harm? I will never forgive myself for giving it to her. Everything is in limbo now, I am a wreck. I try to put on “a face” for everyone, inside my heart is crushed………..sorry……..I just need to talk even though I don’t think you are looking at this anymore.


  5. Toni (Mom to the Big Piney Woods Cats) said

    I helped Patches over the Rainbow Bridge at 4:15 PM, Nov. 19, 2010.

    She was finally diagnosed with Immune Deficiency, her body was attacking itself. It is like lupus in humans. She had no chance of recovery and had no quality of life anymore. I made the decision, the only right decision, to set her free. I couldn’t let her suffer anymore, it was time and the vet confirmed that I was making the right decision. She went peacefully into the light. She broke our hearts when she left and will always remain in our memory.

    She came into our lives 11 years ago, traveled south with us for three years and went camping. She had calicotude and let you know when she wanted something or something displeased her. We called her Miss Patches, she was such a lady.

    She will become a permanent part of the Big Piney Woods, but her spirit lives on and I will always feel her within me.

    My heart is broken, well, you know exactly what it is I am feeling.

  6. We hope the year has been kind to you – Happy New Year 2011!

  7. Toni said


    I come by from time to time to see if you have written. I feel a kinship with you, a true cat lover.

    It has been 6 months since I buried Patches. I just can’t seem to come to terms with her leaving, and the guilt I feel over her pain and suffering. When do the tears stop?

    We have a new kitten now, a little calico/tortie that I fostered. Her momma had a c section and she was the only living kitten of 4. I named her Miracle 4Paws, with full intentions of returning her to the shelter. My husband, when I asked what we were going to do, said “keep her.” Her momma was adopted by my vet, so Miracle stays in the Big Piney Woods, I feel she must have been sent by Patches……it gives me some comfort to think so.

    Well, that is all for now.


  8. Pearl said

    I do. thanks for sharing that difficult part. There seems to be no right choice. And no wrong choice. We live and we’ll all die and be in the same position as our little ones. Takes a long time to get back. Still a few months ago I was trying to save Valderbar in my dreams. But good dreams come too of her whole.

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