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.


daniel m (a/k/a Rant) said...

Hey Strbuk and Mark,

Sounds like Gabriel was a "once-in-a-lifetime" pet, much like Alex the wonder Husky, our beloved boy who passed away in early May at the all too young age of 10.

Our thoughts are with you. We hope the new kitties bring you a great deal of joy for the next 20 years, or however long they grace your lives.

- Rant and Mrs. Rant

strbuk said...

Rant, I never knew that you lost your beloved Alex in May. I was so wrapped up in my own stuff that I suspect I have been remiss as a friend. Please accept my condolences to you and Mrs. Rant over your loss, I truly understand what it must mean to you.

Love, str