Monday, December 31, 2012

From Emerson's Dad

Nancy here again.  Below is an obituary that Emerson's "dad" wrote just after Mr. E died.  I should have published it at the time, but I wasn't up to it.  Thus, I am posting it here before the year is out.

We sadly must report the passing of a dear friend to the associates of this blog.  Mr. Emerson, friend of Nancy Vehrs and Harry Glasgow, passed away Monday evening of a chronic heart condition that had plagued him all his life.  Mr. Emerson was only three years old when he died, leaving an unfulfilled future.  Known for his unsurpassed intellect and athletic competence, Mr. Emerson was destined for both a higher education and athletic stardom.  As a scholar, Mr. Emerson was known to amuse himself by calculating quadratic equations and by conjugating Greek verbs all in his head.  As an athlete he was a brilliant crinkle ball player, serving on both offense and defense positions. There was great hope for a scholarship to Princeton which fields one of the nation’s highest ranked Crinkle Ball teams.  His hope had been to play on a championship team while maintaining Dean’s List status academically. Unfortunately, a dislocated knee early in his career dashed his hopes of Crinkle Ball glory, and feline pure academic scholarships are hard to find at Princeton, an ironic twist given that a tiger is the school mascot.

In addition to Nancy and Harry, Mr. Emerson leaves his ‘sister’, Little Nicky.  Funeral arrangements have yet to be made.
Note: Mr. Emerson was cremated and his flatcat image sits on top of the wooden box of his remains.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

2012: The Year We Lost Mr. Emerson

From Emerson’s Mommie:

Several months have now passed, and I still haven’t posted a memorial to my dear fluffy boy, Mr. RW Emerson.  It was too painful for me to do so at the time, especially with his death coming only a day after I learned of the death of a dear human friend.  Now time has moved on, and some of the memories are fading despite my vows to remember everything about him.

I first saw him sitting all alone in a glass cage at the Fairfax County Animal Shelter on Friday, September 11, 2009.  Other people were also in the cat room, including a group of college student housemates who were cooing over a litter of tabby kittens.  I played with the beautiful orange boy through the cutouts in his cage.  He nibbled my finger.  I found him adorable.  When I finally had the opportunity to interact with him in the playroom, he wasn’t all that interested and seemed overwhelmed.  But I was already in love with him.

The shelter rules stipulated that he had to be neutered before I could adopt  this 13-week old kitten so the surgery was scheduled for the next available day, a Monday.  Unfortunately, that day I received a phone call that the little guy was running a fever and could not undergo the surgery.  He had a stubborn virus that staff veterinarian had thought was under control after he had been fostered, but the stress of being at the shelter and then preparing for the surgery must have been too much for him.  The shelter director, whom I knew professionally, offered another kitten, but I wanted my orange baby and was willing to make him well.  I know now how impossible that would prove to be.

Regardless, Mr. Ralph Waldo Emerson eventually underwent his little “snip, snip,” and he came to live with us as my 18-year-old feisty tortie Bathsheba developed skin cancer (Squamous cell carcinoma) in her mouth and died shortly thereafter.  He was such a comfort.

With a name like RW Emerson, our boy had intellectual expectations to fulfill.  We made jokes about his serious entomological and ornithological studies.  What a scholar!  In addition to his academic prowess, he possessed great skill at crinkleball and practiced daily on the rectangular playing field of our foyer.  We imagined a crinkleball scholarship to Princeton in his future. 

Oh, how Mr. Emerson loved crinkleball!  If we wanted to summon him, we simply rustled the crinkle of the ball, and he would come running.  He also enjoyed the feather wand and would follow it as I swept it up and down the stairs repeatedly.  It brings tears to my eyes when I think about how much energy he had when he was well.

But Mr. Emerson was unwell, a lot, and his timing was always problematic.  He required a trip to the vet and subsequent hospitalization in the midst of a terrible snowstorm in December 2009.  Upon our leaving him at the vet, the car got stuck in a snowbank on our return home without him.

Before Emerson turned one, he was outside with me and suffered an injury.  He leaped off the deck rail in an effort to snag a bird at our feeder.  He missed and ended up with a dislocated knee.  Of course, it was the Memorial Day holiday weekend.  Upon examination, the doctor determined that Mr. Emerson had a heart murmur and that surgery would be risky.  Off we went to some specialists.  Mr. Emerson’s knee was mended, and he began a daily dose of heart meds.  We bought a large dog crate for Emerson’s recovery, and we set it up in the family room complete with a small litter box, scratching post, soft bed, and food and water bowls.  He loved that crate so much that we kept it set up for him after he recovered, and it was still there when he died.

Mr. Emerson was a wonderful companion despite his heart ailments.  We took him on some family trips, and he was a good traveler.  He was no longer allowed to venture outside, but he loved to watch birds and squirrels from the comfort of his home.   He enjoyed supervising me whenever I cooked or baked.  He purred.  Sometimes he would grace our laps with his presence.  He came to bed with us every night for his special treats.  Besides the rustle of the crinkleball, the cry of “Treats!” always brought him to us.  We had a little ritual where we would put a treat between our lips, and Mr. E would gently take it from us.  It was like a kiss from him.  We delighted in hearing him crunch on his treats instead of swallowing them whole.  We all looked forward to “treat time.”  I always held out hope that Emerson would settle down on the bed after treat time, but he would usually depart once he deduced that no more treats were forthcoming for the night.

As Mr. Emerson’s disease (juvenile-onset hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy) progressed and his pharmacopeia became more numerous and complex, it became increasingly difficult to administer his pills.  At first I could just hide the pills in his “stinky goodness” (canned food), then when that no longer worked, Pill Pockets did the trick.  After a while, he wised up to the Pill Pockets and I was flummoxed.  I finally found a pill shooter that worked fairly well, but I sympathized with my little guy who had to take so many pills several times a day.  He also became a fussy eater as his appetite waned, and it was all I could do to find something other than treats to sustain him.

When Little Nicky came into our lives in February of 2011, we had to be very careful with her introduction to Mr. Emerson.  We had to ensure that her health was A-OK and that she would not introduce any disease to our boy.  Outwardly, he appeared healthy and fairly active, but we didn’t want to take any chances.  Luckily, Little Nicky was and is a very healthy kitty.

Emerson and Little Nicky got along well, but were never quite the bosom buddies that I hoped that they would be.  They did enjoy playing with each other, especially in the morning.  They loved to play hide-and-seek or “pounce” with each other in large bags.  They would even chase each other around the house, sometimes with a bag trailing behind one of them who was caught in the handle.  What fun!

Mr. Emerson had a luxurious orange coat, but he was not a fastidious groomer.  I suppose that’s why he never ever hacked up a hairball!  He did not care to be brushed and his long hair would develop mats.  He didn’t mind the zoom groom, but it did little for the mats he developed.  I loved to work on his mats, but he didn’t appreciate my efforts.  I did find a wonderful comb that gently removed mats, but he usually tried to flee when he saw me approaching with grooming tools. 

Mr. Emerson was a dear companion whose life was cut short by some bad genes.  He gave us great joy while he was with us, and we have some wonderful memories.  I will never forget him, and I do feel fortunate that I had him in my life.  He was well loved.

Mr. RW Emerson, 6/11/2009 - 8/6/2012

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Welcome to Sleepy Sunday at our House

Welcome to our home!

Hey, Little Nicky. I'm the senior one here and I should be welcoming everyone!

Let's all go upstairs and take a nap. It is Sleepy Sunday, after all.

I want to show everyone one of my other favorite nap spots these days - atop the big Panera bag that is filled with newspaper recycling.

Happy Napping!


Mr. Emerson

and Little Nicky

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Indoor Jungle

Hi everyone!

Here I have allowed Mommie to photograph my magnificent tail. She and Daddie returned home today from a long weekend trip to Cape May, NJ to see birdies. Little Nicky and I didn't get to go despite the fact that we love birdies.

While they were gone, it got very cold outside and we had some snow! Unfortunately, Mommie neglected to bring her houseplants in from the deck before she left. She thinks that most survived the cold, and she brought many of them inside this evening.

Oh, Mommie, why is this plant where I like to sit and observe the squirrels? Hmm, maybe I need to investigate these plants and ensure that they are bug-free. I'll just climb up the drapes and


Look at me!

Maybe I can join the circus because I can walk this tightrope very well.

Uh-oh! How do I get down now?

Tune in next time to learn whether Little Nicky is doomed to live the rest of her life atop the draperies--or whether she survives a death-defying leap to the floor.

Happy Halloween to all!


~Mr. Emerson and Little Nicky

Friday, August 26, 2011

BlogPaws with Mommie!

Mommie took me to BlogPaws in Tysons Corner, VA. We met the great Food Lady, now editor of MouseBreath. (She's the one in pink.) I also met some old friends like Skeezix, Mao, DaisyMae Maus, Charmee, and Sparky Fussypants. Who knew that being a flatcat could be so much fun?


Friday, August 5, 2011

Visit to the Cardiologist

Hi - Emerson here. This past week I had to have a check up with my cardiologist.
After the tech checked my vitals (including my blood pressure), we had to wait for the doctor.

There was a computer just outside the examining room door.

There was a diagram of a dog's heart on the wall, but none of a cat's heart.

After the doctor examined me, I was taken into another room for an echocardiogram. Both mommie and daddie accompanied me. The news was not very good. This is my diagnosis:

  • *Juvenile-onset hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy

  • *Systolic anterior motion of the mitral valve - resolved on atenolol (Yay!)

  • *Moderate mitral regurgitation

  • *Severe segmental left ventricular hypertrophy - left ventricular papillary muscles and the posterior free wall (Boo!)

  • *Severe left atrial chamber dilation - posing a risk for congestive heart failure and blood clot events (Boo!)

*Normal left ventricular contractility (Yay!)

The doctor told mommie that juvenile-onset hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy is more serious and aggressive than the kind that develops later in life. After I was given some blood tests (which mommie did not get to witness!), the doctor prescribed some more meds for me. In addition to my atenolol (which I've been taking for over a year), I now have to take Benazepril and Plavix. If I do okay on them, the doctor might add something called Diltiazem. That's a lot of meds for my pill pocket. But I'm a good boy and I want to live as long as I can so I will take them.
To lighten up this post, you might enjoy this photo of my silly sister in her yurt.

She's an angel when she is asleep. Her yurt looks a little unstable to me.

Let me give Little Nicky a kiss.


~ Emerson

Sunday, June 19, 2011

We're Two and One!

Hi! Emerson here. Long time, no posts! Last week, June 11, I turned TWO! And Little Nicky turned ONE!

Mommie decided that we should have the same birthday so we could celebrate together. We don't know Nicky's REAL birthday.

Mommie finds that I am hard to photograph because I am so active! I think that I look pretty cute here with my big round eyes.

Mommie could not decide which of these photos she likes best. She likes this one because it shows my tail,

but she likes this one because it shows my eyes.

One of our birthday presents was this mouse track. It's great fun, and we both enjoy it.

We LOVE reusuable shopping bags! I like to hide in them and let Little Nicky pounce on me. Our favorite time to play together is just after breakfast.

Here I am watching the deck. Sometimes neighbor cats come to visit and drive me crazy, but mostly it's the squirrels and little birdies that taunt me and Little Nicky. Lately Mommie has had the screen door open, and Little Nicky will climb it to hunt bugs and moths. She gets in trouble for that, but Mommie does admire her athleticism. I'm too dignified for such antics.

Who, me?

Oh, yeah, this! Somehow Mommie thinks that this is BAD! I'll always be a kitten!

Though my leg is long healed, I still have my crate. We both love it because it is complete with bed, rug, litter box, and scratching post, and is in the TV room.

See how much we love each other.

It's great to have a pal.

~Mr. RW Emerson and Little Nicky

P.S. Little Nicky is named after the nice lady out in the country who rescued her!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Meet Little Nicky

Hi! I'm known as Little Nicky, and my big brother Emerson said that I could use his blog to tell my story. Well, here goes.

I blocked out most all my bad memories, but one of the first things I remember was the nice lady who saw me trying to eat bird seed under her bird feeders. She lives way out in the country. She has three kitties of her own, and they were not very friendly to me through the glass. The nice lady knew I was hungry, and she was worried about me. She fed me and tried to make a comfy spot for me on her covered porch. I was ever so grateful and purred and purred. But it was winter and the weather was becoming MUCH colder in a couple of days. I wanted to be inside! A friend of the nice lady came to visit. She liked me, but she already had two kitties and a doggie at home. Guess what she did? She took a photo of me with her phone and sent it to my mommie with the caption, "Cute little kitty needs a home." You see, BOTH of the nice ladies are friends with my mommie.
What could mommie say when she saw my cute little face?
Of course, it was yes, but she made it conditional. She didn't want a "feral" cat, and she said that she was worried about Mr. Emerson and his feelings about having a little sister. She also wanted to make sure that I was 100% healthy because she didn't want to expose Mr. E to anything harmful to him. (Though he appears to be a tough guy, he has a heart condition and takes daily medication.) Mommie's friend took me to her veterinarian friend and had me tested and checked out. I had ear mites, but no fleas. I also had a bunch of tests.
Mommie came to visit me at the vet's office and learned that I was a sweet, loving little girl. She didn't take me home yet because she decided that I should have an operation to remove my lady parts. The doctor said that I appeared to be between 9 and 12 months old, though I am small.
I had my operation, and Mommie was supposed to come pick me up after work one day. Unfortunately, snow fell that day, and it took Mommie four and a half hours to drive home from work that night. I had to spend another night in a cage. Sigh. But Mommie took the next day off from work and brought me home. Yay!
At first I had to stay in the library, a room in the house with lots of books. My FIP test results still weren't back yet, and I needed to rest after my operation anyway. I did catch a glimpse of this beautiful big fluffy ginger kitty, but I could not meet him yet.
My test results came back and I was A-OK! I got to meet Mr. Emerson, and after just a little bit of hissing, he sniffed me up and down. He seemed to accept me from the start.
I loved him instantly and was thrilled to have a big brother. He shared all of his wonderful toys with me. I love to play with EVERYTHING! Red dot game, track ball, feather wand, crinkle balls, ball with bell, catnip banana, toy mice, just everything! And I LOVE to wrestle with Emerson.
Life is great here. Can you guess how I got my name? It has a special significance.
I'm so glad that I'm well loved!
~Little Nicky

Monday, January 31, 2011

New Sister

Today I met someone whom Mommie calls my new "sister." She was hidden behind the door for several days, but I knew she was there. I'm not sure if I'm going to like her in the long haul, but so far I've been a very nice and tolerant big brother. Her name is Little Nicky. I might let her tell her own story next month.


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas-Toys for Tots

Hi Everyone! A couple of weeks ago, my mommie brought home a new friend for me.

She was in this awful PTU. It had only ONE hole in it for her to breathe. I stuck my paw in to pet her.

She meowed, moved her head, and washed her face, but she didn't seem to appreciate my efforts to free her.

I'm sorry, Miss Lulu; I cannot get you out! It's just as well because I like being a spoiled only kitty in this house.

Mommie , maybe you can donate this kitty to the Toys for Tots Campaign and make some little kid very happy. (Mommie took my advice!)
Merry Christmas!