Sunday, November 25, 2007

Remembering Gerald's Life in Australia

I’ve been sitting in my kitty tree most of the day catnapping and trying to decide when to bug Daddy next for kibble, but I’ve also been waiting for Gerald to come tip-toeing into the room, but of course he won’t because it’s been three nights now since he passed away even though it seems like forever. In my last blog I was remembering how we helped my Daddy’s family move from Michigan to Florida on Christmas 2001, but Gerald and I stayed in Florida for only a month because in January 2002 Daddy wanted us to come to live with him in Australia, so one day Popo put our carrier cages in the living room, and we jumped on them since we thought we might go somewhere, and we looked like this:

and sure enough, a woman came to the front door to take us on a trip, and we were all ready for her, but we had NO idea what was in store for us, because she took us to the airport in Tampa and put us on a plane that flew us to a place called Los Angeles in California, and the woman took us off the plane and carried us to a vet clinic in the airport where we met a bunch of doctors who gave us a flea dip (yuchh!), and then all our paperwork was checked and our new carrier cages were “modified”, and then the next day we were put in our carrier cages again and we had to stay there for hours and hours while they put us in the cargo hold of a big airplane that flew non-stop from L.A. to Melbourne, which was a trip of about 14 hours. Gerald and I were not in the same carrier cage, but I could see him, and we were comfortable, and we each had a little hose in our carrier cage that let us drink water from a little tank, and we each had a blanket, but no poo box, so if I had to pee, then I had to pee on the blanket, so I figured there was nothing I could do but sleep. And when we landed some people picked us up and drove us to a quarantine station in a place called Spotswood and they put us in a big cage (Gerald snarled and called it a “cell”) that was big enough for a person to sit in, and there was a long section with a cement floor that felt cool but the walls were like a wire fence, and a smaller section surrounded on three sides by concrete walls and with a heater and blankets. And our cell was in a row of about ten other cells in what they called “the cattery.” And Daddy came to visit us on the day we landed and I ran up to him but Gerald was very mad and snubbed Daddy and walked away to show his displeasure, since we both knew it was Daddy’s fault for putting us through that long trip and sticking us in this cell. We had to stay in quarantine for 30 days and Daddy would come visit us about three times each week and bring a folding chair and sit in the cell with us for about two hours each visit and I would sit in his lap and purr, but Gerald would refuse to speak to Daddy every time. It wasn’t until February 2002 that Daddy came with a co-worker of his, Aunty Mary, and we were finally released from jail, and we got back into our carrier cages and Aunty Mary drove us to Daddy’s house in a place called North Carlton, and as soon as we saw our new home, we went through the whole place sniffing all the corners and deciding what our new kitty spaces would be, and Gerald finally forgave Daddy and purred for him again and sat on his lap. Daddy had some of our old toys for us and a brand new kitty tree that looked like this:

And then Daddy put the kitty tree in a room especially for us, that he called “the cat room”; but the new poo box in the bathroom had a swinging door on it, and we didn’t like that because it made our poo so damp that it got moldy, so we peed and pooed on Daddy’s dirty laundry in the cat room, but Daddy was so dumb, he didn’t notice for a whole week until one evening Gerald finally caught Daddy’s eye and convinced Daddy to follow him into the cat room, and he led Daddy to where a pile of poo was, and then another, and then another. Daddy didn’t get angry, but he felt very guilty for not noticing that he was making us so uncomfortable, so he cleaned up all the poo and took the swinging door off the poo box and thanked Gerald for being so clever in telling him what had happened. And Gerald and I just climbed into our kitty tree and laughed, like this:
Australia is very different from Michigan because there’s no snow in winter and there aren’t any squirrels and all the birdies are different and they don’t sell the brand of kitty treats we used to like, but they have possums and different plants and different smells, and the moon looks upside down. Here’s a picture of me watching the moon behind the clouds:

Soon after Gerald and I moved into this “flat,” Uncle Kevin came for a visit for a couple weeks, since he didn’t lived here yet, and we were so happy to see him that we didn't want him to leave, so we both liked to sit in his suitcase, like this:

Then after another six months, at the beginning of November 2002, Daddy had to go back home because Gung Gung was very sick in Florida after an operation called a “quintuple bypass”, and Gung Gung died in an intensive care hospital on November 22, and would you believe that Gerald died on November 22 of this year? And Daddy tells me that it was very freaky because Gerald passed away at 9:30 p.m. Melbourne time which is 5:30 a.m. Florida time which is the exact time that Gung Gung passed away five years earlier, and that’s a bizarre coincidence. But Uncle Kevin’s sister says that it’s not a coincidence and that Gung Gung was there to greet Gerald and this was his way of letting Daddy know that everything is all right.

After Gung Gung died, Daddy stayed in Florida for a long time and was gone almost two whole months, and a bunch of different people looked after Gerald and me while he was gone. When Daddy got back it was very, very hot here in Australia (it was January, which is summer here), and Gerald and I always get very tired and listless when it gets hot. And there was a neighborhood cat that always used to come by and say hello and he was ginger like Gerald but we didn’t know his name because Daddy said some people said the cat’s name was Tiberius and others said it was Gauguin, but all we knew was that every time he walked by, we wanted to say hello so we ran to the windows every time we saw him, and sometimes Daddy would shout, "Gerald! Oscar! Come quick, it's Gauguin!" and if we were paying attention, we'd come running. Time went on, and in June (when it was getting cold here) Popo and Uncle Joel came to visit us for a whole two weeks, and I had a great time sitting on Popo’s lap like I used to when we stayed with her, and Gerald really bonded with Uncle Joel’s lap. But that was the last time Gerald ever saw them. Then Uncle Kevin came for a second visit (he still didn’t live here yet) and took care of us while Daddy was away for a couple nights in a hospital having surgery on his saliva glands. And shortly after that Gerald started getting thin and Daddy took him to the vet and learned that Gerald had a thyroid problem and his thyroid gland was producing too much enzyme and the best treatment was radiation, so Uncle Roger (one of Daddy’s co-workers) drove Gerald to a special pet hospital in Werribee where Gerald had an iodine treatment and was away for about a week, and when he came back Daddy said the doctors told him not to let Gerald sit for very long on Daddy’s lap for a while, since Gerald was still somewhat “radioactive” and could cause Daddy to be sterile, and Daddy laughed and wondered if his radioactive kitty would glow in the dark.

We lived in this flat for another nine months until Daddy moved across the hallway to a different flat, and that’s where we all live now, including Uncle Kevin, who moved here in July 2004 just after we changed flats, so here’s a picture of me in the kitty tree looking at our garden:

That was three years ago, and it was at about that time that Gerald and I stopped playing the feather toy every day because we started feeling a bit older and gradually Gerald stopped wanting to play with the feather toy at all but preferred to rest most of the day and when he did play, he played with me and ran around the house as usual, but he would stop when he wanted to, and I would let him. And one time Gerald went to the vet for one of his “senior cat” check-ups and was told that he had high blood pressure and Daddy had to give him a tiny pill of Norvasc each day but that meant Gerald had to go back and have his blood pressure checked once every three months or so and they would always shave the underside of the base of his tail and he’d be very perturbed if I noticed his “shame” and of course I always did and I teased him about it until it was my turn to go to the vet and have my blood pressure checked and one time the doctor was one who had never met me and she had to shave the base of my tail three times before she figured out how much fur to take off and I had a big shame to show off when I got home and Gerald really teased me. And then there was the time Gerald went to the vet for his “dental” and they removed two of his teeth including one of his lower canines, and when he tried to eat, food would fall out of the side of his mouth, and he was grumpy for a while, but he adjusted.

It’s helped me a lot to think about all those happy years Gerald and I spent together because I sure do miss him, but now it’s time to find the Kevin Pillow and get some snuggles, and hopefully I won’t make Uncle Kevin too sad by making him think about how Gerald used to lounge in his lap, but in any case I’ll write some more tomorrow.


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