Lovey was such a beautiful cat. As a kitten, she was “the grey and white one,” one of four lovely female kittens, and early on began displaying the characteristics that would cause Marcia to bestow her name. Marcia chose well — she was full of love and determined to let it shine far and wide. I called her by some pet names, “my little love girl” and “my little love babe.”
When Marcia went up to our guest bedroom with Carrie’s supper on April 5th, 2012, Carrie didn’t immediately rush out from under the bed as had been her custom. Instead, on this evening, Marcia heard some high-pitched mewing, and peering under the bed, spied three kittens. Later when Marcia returned to the room, there was a fourth kitten who had joined the litter, a little grey and white kitten. Of course this one eventually became Lovey.
Lovey was endearing almost right from the start. She was the first kitten to come over to me as I lay on the floor and snuggle up against me. I was quite touched by that, and it was the beginning of a bond between us that remained throughout her short life. I’d like to think it still remains, even beyond her death.
When the kittens began playing with toys we had spread about, Lovey took it into her head to carry off a few and hide them. What was going through her mind when she was sneaking off with her bounty? If only we could communicate directly with cats!
When she was still quite young, I put her atop a camera case that was near the door to the guest bedroom. She was frightened at being so high up (actually a few inches), and began mewing frantically for her mother. Carrie immediately rushed over, and I got Lovey down to the floor, once again safe.
That fear of heights didn’t last. Lovey was the first kitten to climb onto storage bins underneath the bed. Just a few inches above the floor, nevertheless it was a major accomplishment. Soon the other kittens were excitedly following along, anxious to play this new game. Soon after they were climbing up the side of the bed and on to new adventures.
Later on, we opened the room door, and they got to see the rest of the upstairs. That sufficed for a while, but there was the matter of the stairway itself. The first kitten to carefully venture down the steps to the first floor was Lovey. Turning right and entering the kitchen, she looked up at Bebe, our chocolate Siamese, who was sitting on a stool by the island. She immediately hissed at him; his reaction was to be markedly indifferent. Bebe was the gentlest cat ever and would not have hurt a fly; but if he had wanted to respond, he could have sent her flying with one swipe of his paw. I asked her just what she thought she was doing, hissing at a cat so much bigger. Truly she had her mother’s spirit.
Eventually all the kittens got the urge to come downstairs and continue their games or make up new ones. One morning I saw them all running down the hall, single file, and upon entering the living room, turning and jumping up and over our blue recliner. They then continued the chase into the dining room. Lovey was right in the midst of it, having a ball.
One night in June, 2012, Lovey didn’t show up for supper. That was quite unusual as she loved eating meals with her siblings. I found her underneath our bed, apparently not feeling well. When I coaxed her out, my worries were such I felt I had no choice but to take her to the Emergency Vet Clinic. Once there, I related to the doctor what I had observed. The doctor assured me that they would take very good care of her; she also said that they would like to test Lovey for Feline Leukemia. I agreed to the test. I walked back to the room where they had her in a cage. Leaving her there was extremely difficult; she looked so forlorn. Additionally, even though no one had made any dire predictions, I was frightened that she possibly might not make it through the night. The next day, a bit past noon, I stopped by the clinic to see how she was doing. The news was both good and bad. The good news was that she was fine and could go home. However, they also told me about the Feline Leukemia test result; it was positive. That meant of course that the other kittens as well as their mother were almost surely positive. Also, we would have to immunize our older cats against the virus. But for the time being, I was anxiously awaiting my chance to see Lovey. They let me go back to her cage and told me that they had been playing with that beautiful little kitty. When I came by the cage and said her name, she arose and responded with the biggest purr ever. The doctor said she could be released; but since I did not have a carrier with me, they fashioned a box and put a towel in it. Once in the car, she tried everything to get out of the top of that box and eventually succeeded. She came over to my lap and spent the rest of the car trip home right there. Her sisters gave her a hearty welcome upon her return to the house, no doubt asking her all sorts of questions about her experience. For me, I was falling more and more in love with this lovely little girl.
Lovey, having long forgotten her fear of heights, grew to love jumping and climbing up to the tops of the highest furniture in the house. Tarzan would have been envious of her abilities to fly through the air and make seemingly impossible jumps. Not impossible for her! Her legs were long for her body, and that no doubt contributed to her feats of daring. Also, she possessed incredible strength in those limbs and her upper body. She was as comfortable with leaping about in high places as we would be getting out of a chair.
Even a couple of weeks ago during a party at our house, she spent much of the time on top of the hutch in the dining room. From there she could watch everyone’s comings and goings; she was very much the picture of peace and contentment. Most guests commented on the beautiful cat sitting up there so serenely.
One high place she loved to go was the top of the refrigerator. She liked to get up there especially when I was opening the door. As the door slowly opened, she would walk out upon it; and then when I would slowly close it, she would step carefully back onto the top of the refrigerator with all the grace of a ballet dancer. All the while she would look down at me with as much love in her eyes as was possible to imagine. I, of course, would reach up and pet her, all the while telling her how beautiful she was and how much I loved my love girl.
One of her most endearing traits was something she would do when meals were being prepared. The prospect of an imminent meal was so exciting to her that if Marcia was preparing it, Lovey would seek me out in order to tell me about it. Once that was completed, usually with my saying to her something about my little love girl soon enjoying supper and petting her if she was close enough, she would excitedly run back to the kitchen to enjoy the repast. It worked the other way as well: if I were preparing the meal, she would run off to tell Marcia all about it.
Lovey did express her desire to bond with the adult cats in the house. After that first encounter with Bebe, she came to think of him as a friend. She also got friendly with Cleo, our tortoise-shell cat, who accepted her as long as she didn’t get too close. Antigone, our Maine Coon, grudgingly accepted her. But she would stick up for her sister, Lily. Lily and Antigone don’t really get along, and even recently we saw Lovey stand up and get between Antigone and Lily.
We had hopes that Lovey and her sister could perhaps shake off the Feline Leukemia. A friend who volunteers at Best Friends had told us that she had seen many cats undergo a change when they reached the one-year mark; so when Lovey and her sister Lily were healthy when they passed their first birthday, we guardedly thought that perhaps they could have a bright future. At one year and four months, they were due for a shot, so we had the Feline Leukemia test administered. Unfortunately it still read positive; the news hit us like a ton of bricks.
That visit to the vet was significant also in that Lovey was very angry at the vet and the vet technicians. One of the techs said that she had scruffed Lovey when she was trying to get a blood sample, and that might have done it. Or perhaps there was another reason. We wonder now whether there could have been anything hurting inside at that time. I guess we’ll never know for sure. When Lovey was returned to the exam room, Lily was right there watching. When she saw Lovey turn to the vet and hiss, she immediately did likewise. The vet told me to watch out, as they might fight each other. I told the doctor that these hisses were directed at her. Then when a tech held Lovey so the vet could administer a shot, Lovey screamed at the tech. Lily came running around the table and jumped up, fully intending to go after the tech. Fortunately I stopped her, but just as Lovey had stuck up for Lily, she was going to reciprocate! Can you see why I love these cats so much?
Recently though, a change developed. Lovey began eating less of her food. We called our vet to do a house call. She immediately came to the conclusion that Lovey was anemic, which we had suspected but hoped was not the case. Her blood sample revealed that the red blood cell count was extremely low; such also was the case with the white cell count. Lovey’s sister, Missy, had been anemic and had a transfusion in hopes of jump starting her production of red blood cells; but unfortunately it didn’t work. We talked about other options, and from Marcia’s research we knew a little about T-Cyte, a new therapy for cats suffering from FIV and FeLV. It is very new, so even though there are no independent studies available as yet, we decided to see if that could be a solution. As soon as the vet and the techs left, I went into the living room and cried like a baby. My little love girl was sick, and I feared the worst!
Our vet conferred with the doctors at the manufacturing plant in California, and they advised no transfusion along with the T-Cyte as that could kick the disease into overdrive and it would repel all foreign substances. So we had three doses sent to us overnight, with the plan being to administer them on Friday, Monday and Thursday. Our vet also prescribed an antibiotic due to the low white cell count. The techs came over on Friday to give the T-Cyte dose. We noticed a slight improvement in Lovey on Saturday, but this was all short lived. By Monday, she had no interest in eating, but we shoved some food down her gullet by means of a syringe. She did receive the T-Cyte on Monday. Things weren’t looking up, but we continued trying to get her some nourishment as well as the antibiotic on Monday and Tuesday.
When the other kittens (Daisy and Missy) grew ill, Lovey would comfort them by washing them. Now it was her turn to accept the same from her sister Lily. Those two had become inseparable ever since Missy died in March. They had so much love for each other. What wonderful cats!
But Tuesday evening found Lovey breathing very shallow and having no energy whatsoever. Her time was near, and we knew it. She died at about 3:25 a.m. on Wednesday. We had tried to take her to the Emergency Vet Clinic, but this time she would have none of it. She cried in the car; it sounded like a baby crying. At Marcia’s request, we turned around and brought her home. She passed away soon thereafter, at home where she wanted to be.
After about 45 minutes, we took her to the Emergency Clinic so they could hold her there for us. Today I went to retrieve her and took her to Dr. Hoffman’s hospital, our usual place. With me in the room, they shaved off some fur and made an indentation of her paw print. Then I once again got to have a little private time with her. I spent it hugging her, kissing her, and crying my eyes out.
Lovey will be privately cremated, and her urn will have an emblem with her name, as has become our custom. She will then be placed with our other cats in our living room, Chatterbox, Zachey, Bebe, Carrie (her mother), and her sisters Daisy and Missy. She has taken a big piece of my heart, as they all have, including the pets in the cemetery, Persephone, Winston, and Snowball. They grab onto our hearts and never let go. Someday, when I am called, I will join them once again. Although there is such pain in their passing, and we miss them so, Marcia and I will never forget the gifts they have bestowed upon us with their unconditional love. We could have it no other way.
Lovey has crossed the Rainbow Bridge. She can now be happy, free of sickness and can run, jump and play with her mother and sisters.
In the Shadow of a Rainbow
In the shadow of a rainbow,
We’ll walk hand in hand.
Shimmering spirits together,
Just like God had planned.
In the shadow of a rainbow,
I’ll walk with you, my friend.
God’s love fills up our hearts,
And will through journey’s end.
In the shadow of a rainbow,
Such wondrous signs abound.
In the shadow of a rainbow,
Upon God’s sacred ground.
In the shadow of a rainbow,
I’ll wait for you, my friend.
We’ll share our wondrous blessings,
Where joy shall never end.
Written & Submitted by:
© Pokey Lanford