Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Too Much Drama...

With cardboard back in place the stairway may look like this for the next 17 years or so.

I know it's been awhile since I have posted, but things here have been exciting, and not in a good way. While my house needs cleaning, I need to bake for clients, and I also need to actually just sit down and talk with Mark like the "old days" my Star decided she was Amelia Earhart. She is a dare devil who,while very intelligent, thinks she is indestructible. (maybe it's her age, you know how teenagers are!!) At any rate, the results of her "stunt" Saturday were not what she, nor I , expected.

As you can see from the above photo we have an open staircase, one which has always given me great consternation as far as it being dangerous to cats. Gabriel always went right to the edge, but never ever went over. So when we brought the babies home from Ohio I blocked off the spindles completely with the cardboard shield you see in the pic. The look is less than DIY worthy, but it does the trick. I was waiting for Cosmo to grow up a bit and get some sense, little did I know that he was not the "problem".

Star has been, she since arrived, my good big girl. She's the one I never needed to worry about. She is large for an 8 month kitten (9.5 lbs) and is smart, so I erroneously supposed she had some sense too. Boy, was *I* wrong, as I found out not two hours after I removed the cardboard.

Star "decided" that she could jump from the landing outside the bathroom door to the stairs below. Before I could grab her she did just that, and landed awkwardly on the stairs about 7 feet down. At the time she seemed OK, I watched her closely and felt little concern. Sunday morning when we got up she also seemed fine, but when we returned from shopping she was very lethargic and her "chirp" was off. Naturally I panicked.

We called around until we found a vet who would see her on a Sunday and took her in. All of her vitals were normal so we left her overnight for x-rays the next day. They turned out to be OK with some swelling on her chest wall, but she was eating ect so they thought she would be fine, just really sore. But, one interesting finding is that when we had her spayed she must have been in heat because she is now having a sort of "false pregnancy" which I hope will end sooner rather than later due to possible complications. In the meantime I am limiting her contact with Cosmo due to fears of rough play. It's always something, and it's way too exciting for me!!

Update: it may be something else that is causing symptoms of "false pregnancy" we'll see our vet tomorrow, I am so upset, not to mention tired.

Star, checking out the "scene of the crime".

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Day in the Life

Turn out the lights the party's over!! The "kids" fall asleep amidst the debris of their "toys".

Well, it's a "momentous" day around here today. Not only is it Star's birthday (she is now 8 months old) but it is also the anniversary of their "occupation" of our home. They have been here 7 weeks today and really the time has simply flown by. So, in honor of all of this I would like to sketch out a "typical" Kirsch family day.

As teachers we get up early. Usually we get up at 5:45AM, as a sub when I am going in I get up at 5AM to get things going. Cosmo sleeps with us and likes the 5:45 wake up call, but NOT my 5AM version so he'll stay in bed with Daddy. Star loves it when I get up really early and we get to have some "girl talk" and play time. On those days when I am not teaching, or have baking orders to fill Daddy goes downstairs first for his coffee and brekkie. Cosmo will usually go down too to see his "sister". (I should interject here that after a number of attempts as letting both kitties sleep with us we have decided that Star can have the whole downstairs every night. Cosmo sleeps through the night with us very well, but unfortunately Star likes to get up every couple of hours to roam, and this was keeping even Mark awake. She seems none the worse for being on her own all night, and her schedule is one which finds her sleeping pretty much all afternoon while we can sleep all night.)

The morning then consists of eating, playing with toys, "romping" with each other, short naps, more play, more food, you get the picture. I always worry that they will be bored or something, I hope that's not the case. Stuff you read on the net suggests that cats can get depressed if not stimulated enough, well I have invested in what seems like hundreds of toys for them, and of course they have each other. They play in the shower, have a "cat condo", ect so if they are bored or depressed it's not for any lack of effort on our part, but I still worry. Trouble is soon they will both be so huge, the biggest cats I have had (Gabriel was a smallish MC) that at times I wonder if my 2500sq ft home is big enough for all of us :-)

As usual I digress, so back to our day. They sleep in the PM for a couple of hours, Star usually a bit longer than Cosmo, and get really going again when Daddy comes home (or both of us when I am working@school). The evening is spent in play, though the play is usually not as "crazy" as that in the morning and bed time rolls in around about 10:30 or so on school nights.

As for the sleeping arrangements I alluded to earlier, Star seems to have adjusted really well to being on her own at night. We have a lot of windows which look out on the woods and lawns that surround the house and I am sure she has lots of "business" to attend to at night. Our home is quite old (circa 1880) and has the "basement from Hell" consequently we get a few mice on the first floor now and then. I will be curious to see when Star starts to find and "dispose" of them. I am really hoping however that she doesn't supplement her diet with "crunchy mouse heads" as Gabriel used to >sigh<

Quiet afternoon time, my favorite!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Family "Portraits" and a Vet Visit...

"Daddy" with the kids, not really ready for "stupid pet tricks", yet.

I thought that it was probably past the time when a couple of "informal family portraits" were included in the DM. This is so when they are older, and we are old, we can look back and see how much things have changed. (us and the cats that is :-)

This post also coincides with a visit to the vets. Star has gone from 8.5 lbs to 9.1lbs in two weeks, and Cosmo has gone from 5.5lbs to 6.3lbs in two weeks time. It's so wonderful to go to Moonbrook because all of the people who work there LOVE Maine Coons and look forward to seeing Star and Cosmo. They have their own small fan club!! The "kids" are growing so fast and changing so much that I would have to post pics of them on a twice a day basis to keep up!!

"Mommy" and babies, no one really likes having pictures taken!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Random Shots

Star is still bigger, but Cosmo is catching up.

Over the past week I have taken more pictures than I could post and I want to catch up now and put a few up.

Cosmo getting bigger every day.

Star wondering where all the birds go when she shows up in the window.

The "kids" continue to grow and thrive. Cosmo is a little devil, and a little angel. He goes right to bed at night with us though and stays put. Star sleeps with us for a few nights, get restless, and winds up downstairs on her own. I then feel so guilty about having her down there by herself that the next night she's back up with us for another try, I always give in. I am hoping that she can be "trained" to sleep through the night. I know I read somewhere out there that someone did that with their 4 cats. Of course it took them three years, YAWN :-) We'll see.

Baby Cosmo with "Grandma Joyce".

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Any window will do, all they need is a room with a view.

Right outside our kitchen widow we have various bird feeders which cater to most of the local and visiting population. Mark built a perch along one of the windows, and the cats have been spending time at it where they can watch the birds as they feed. They love sitting in any window actually, and as there are many of them in the house they have their choice.

I tend at times to be guilty of anthropomorphizing my animals and I wonder if they ever dream of being outside, or if they dream of the freedom they will never have. I honestly doubt it, and that's good because I would feel badly if they knew what they were really missing by being indoor kitties. But, it's a dangerous world our there, even in a quiet neighborhood like ours, so they will always be inside where they can sit in the sun, watch the birds, and "dream".

Star and Cosmo, "dreamy" cats in the kitchen window.

Friday, September 5, 2008


Our little "baby man" Gabriel age 7 years

At this point I think I can finally talk about our first MC baby, Gabriel. He died in April after a long courageous battle with
CRF and I think that I will grieve him forever. He was a very special kitty, that once in a lifetime animal that if you are lucky enough graces you with perfect companionship. He was smart, brave, laid back, funny, affectionate, and beloved by all of our friends with whom he got along very well. He was 14 when he died and though some people will say that's a good long life for a cat, I would disagree. Our "deal" was that he would live to be 20, but that was sadly not possible.

Gabriel was diagnosed with CRF on February 19, 2005 and we were lucky enough at that time to find a vet who was a cat specialist and who prescribed medication that would make it easier for his kidneys to function longer. Gabriel (a.k.a. "The Baby Man") was a water loving MC and always wanted to drink from any cup I was holding so he got all the water he needed from me, and from the pet fountains we placed in the house upstairs and down. He never really needed sub-qs which was a blessing because I always felt he would not tolerate them very well. He progressively got thinner and thinner and it was only the last couple of months of his life that he seemed really ill. I still torture myself with thoughts that I waited too long, or didn't do enough for him, but this is not at all helpful and of course won't bring him back. We did the best we could for him, and somehow I hope he knew that. We went with him when that sad day finally came and we knew he needed to be released. It is actually a beautiful and peaceful thing to do, to be able to hold your beloved animal while it dies, and if people fear it IMO they shouldn't. He is buried outside the kitchen window in Mark's rock garden, and he is keeping his eye on the new babies. I tell them they have a lot to live up to when it comes to "Uncle Gabriel", but they know that already and naturally will be their own cats.

Gabriel's angel.

My search for new MCs was my therapy. I would be sitting at the computer in tears for hours looking at all of the various breeders who are within a 500 mile radius of Jamestown hoping that I would find one who I felt was just the "right one". I was lucky enough to finally discover the wonderful Maine Delite Maine Coon cattery owned by Michele Cole. Michele has 30 years experience as a breeder, she is a vet tech, and the home page made it obvious that she takes great care in her breeding practices and loves her kitties. At the time I contacted her there were no kittens available, but I was put on her notification list and on May 2 she let me know that there had been a litter born, Cosmo was here!! Star was not in the picture at that time for adoption, Michele was going to keep her for show and breeding, but changed her mind and made her available. So when I saw her picture on the website I KNEW she hd to come home with us too.

The BEST thing about Michele is that she doesn't just sell you cats, she is there for you so much after you take them home. I have written her numerous times with questions about this and that, and though I KNOW how extremely busy she is I always get a prompt answer from her with great information. She is just the best choice I could have made, and the cats are so beautiful, smart, and fun that bonding with them was very easy. Sure they have "taken over" the house, but you know for now that's OK because it makes the hurt over our loss just a little bit easier to bear every day. Michele and her kitties are a blessing, that's for sure. And if he's around somewhere. and I have suspicions that Gabriel is still here, I think even he would approve.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

What a Difference the Vet Makes!!!

Star, feeling just fine after her stitches were removed.

Yesterday we took Star and Cosmo to Moonbrook Veterinary Clinic to see Dr. Prudence Derby. Star had to have her spay stitches out, while Cosmo had the last in his "kitten series" of shots. All around it was a wonderful experience. Dr. Derby, who we had not met when she spayed Star two weeks ago, is such a sweetie to patients and their owners alike! She loves cats, and Maine Coons especially, and was very efficient while being friendly at the same time. Who said bedside manner with pets or people alike means nothing?

Star healed very well and her stitches came out easily, I can't wait for her belly fur to grow back. Cosmo cried a bit with his distemper shot, but was fine. We then had a good discussion about the leukemia shots, which I have conflicting feelings about. She made some good points and her suggestion was that they get the shots and boosters for one year, then no more. This way they would have some immunity IF they ever got outside. I was delighted with her openness on the subject which I think is somewhat controversial. I don't know what I will do however.

She then checked over both cats and proclaimed them very healthy. Cosmo weighed in at 5.6 lbs, which is good for a 4 month old kitten I think. Star weighed 8.5 lbs, she will be a BIG girl!! I am so relieved to have found someone who loves the kitties, is not trying to sell me stuff they don't need, and is considerate to the owners. I would think that anyone would appreciate Dr. Derby.

Cosmo, none the worse for wear after his shot.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


The beautiful baby diva Star at 8 weeks.

Star gets her stitches out this afternoon and we get to finally meet the new vet who did Star's surgery. Cosmo will also get the
last shot in the series of three that kittens get, so it will be a "two-fer" today. I am very excited about their vet Dr. Derby for a couple of reasons: one she is related to my dearest friend Cindy, who says she has done a great job with her Beardie "Boodles", and secondly Dr. Derby is a "cat specialist" which makes me feel hopeful confidence in her.

I'll post more tomorrow about how the visit went, plus I have some great pics of the babies with their "grandparents" from the other night, but for now I am posting two "baby" pictures of Cosmo and Star. These were taken when each was 8 weeks old. It's amazing to see how Star has "lightened" in her coloring as she has aged.(this has been all "natural" I assure you :-) The pictures were taken by their breeder the wonderful
Michele Cole of Maine Delite Maine Coons. Enjoy!

Cosmo at 8 weeks, he looked like trouble on wheels even then! :-)