20 Jul The Real Yogis
The Real Yogis
Around the end of last December our dear ragdoll cat Allie became suddenly lethargic and very ill. Within a few days he stopped eating and showed no interest in anything but sleep. We immediately became very concerned and took him to the vet where the discussed possible options and conducted a few tests. None of the possible outcomes appeared to be very good but we remained hopeful, took him home and waited for the results of the tests. It was the weekend, so we had a long wait until Monday watching him and saw no improvement. The vet called on Monday with the results and possible treatment options. Allie was anemic, and it looked like it was some type of organ cancer or lymphoma but without invasive surgery they could not be certain. The vet was confident though that there was no long-term cure and even though we could force feed him for a period, he would ultimately lose the battle and die after a short time. We decided to take matters into our own hands and end his life gracefully and with dignity. We could not bear to watch him waste away. The last night he was able to come up into the bed with us and in the morning jumped down and started to go downstairs but stopped suddenly as he knew he would not make it.
The weeks after Allies’s passing his brother Vinnie would get up in the middle of the night and start howling for his buddy. They had a secret language and he was telling him to come out from wherever he was hiding and join him. Of course, he never did, and Vinnie eventually stopped crying. Night after night he would do the same with similar results.
In the hopes of giving Vinnie a new buddy, we began to seek out options for new friends and found someone in Albany who was set to have some Ragdoll kittens around late March. This seemed like a reasonable solution. But would it work?
The kittens were born in March and we chose a pair of boys. One was the runt of the litter and the other seemed to have unusually large ears, so they got the names Pee Wee and Spock. They arrived on our doorstep in late May.
We knew there would be a period of adjustment for the older cat Vinnie but the first few weeks were so extreme that they had to be kept in the basement while Vinnie had his food and litter box moved to the second floor. After a few weeks and some Feliway cat pheromone additions, Vinnie appeared to slowly accept them, and his outbursts of anger began to abate.
Little by little we began to notice something very interesting about the kittens. No matter what they did, or who they were with or what was going on, they were happy and accepted it. Even if Vinnie would get angry because they invaded his space and start hissing and punching them, they would lay down by him quietly accepting and look up at him gently. We would pick them up, they were happy. We would leave them alone, they were happy. We got the vacuum out, they accepted the noise and look at it. They loved the fan. They loved ping pong balls or a rolled-up paper receipt in the same way and played with it. If they were upstairs, they were happy. If they outdoor cats came to the window, they jumped up and greeted them with glee. There was nothing that would make them angry, upset, annoyed or dismayed. Everything was just great, and they moved on.
After the kittens had been with us a few months, I began to contemplate about how many times in my life I was unable to accept what was going on. It was a recurring theme throughout my entire life. I would try to change things forcefully when I was unhappy. I became angry, depressed, despondent, lethargic, annoyed and upset when I couldn’t change them and even worse when things changed but not the way I wanted them to. I began to think what if I was like the kittens and took everything that happened in the course of the day and accepted it for what it was. Without anger or emotion. Just looked at it and decided what was the proper next step with grace and calm. Aren’t little Spock and Pee Wee the real yogis? And why can’t we all try to be just like them? They have become my new role models and I am extremely grateful that they come into our lives. But Vinnie maybe not so much so.
P.S. They do sleep a lot…