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Remembering Kramer

Remembering Kramer

After giving so much joy and love to so many people, our feline friend Kramer crossed over the Rainbow Bridge on May 9th.

Bob and I first met Kramer up at Rescue Village at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. For those of you who don’t know, Rescue Village consisted of four yurts and several RVs and was home to the cats of the Great Kitty rescue when they first arrived from Pahrump.

Kramer was always one of the more social cats – a mixture of innate personality and the fact that he had come from Sherri Allen’s home and not the compound that was F.L.O.C.K. Still, he did need to fine tune his social skills so he was enrolled in Miss Sherry’s Finishing School for Felines where he tended to get into trouble with his mischievous ways. But he was so lovable and all we could do was laugh.

Kramer was included in a mobile adoption event here in San Diego at South Bark in May 2008. He quickly captured the attention of a young man and his girlfriend and after a quick home check by Bob, Kramer was adopted. But it was not meant to be – Bob and I were back up at Rescue Village when the call came in that the young man’s roommate (who owned the condo they were living in) wanted Kramer gone. Bob and I knew something was up when a small band of staff approached the open door of the Wildwood where we were staying.

“So, Kramer’s adopter called. He can’t keep Kramer.”

“What?” Bob asked in disbelief.

“Oh no!” I cried.

After a little hemming and hawing they came down to it – “Would you be willing to take Kramer in and find him another home in San Diego?”

On the spot, loving the boy and caring about his welfare, we agreed to foster him. The day after we arrived home, the adopter dropped Kramer off with us. Amid tears – both the young man and his girlfriend – they handed Kramer and all of the belongings they had bought for him over.

Kramer was with us a very short time before our friends told us they were looking for a companion cat for their resident feline. We brought Kramer over to their home and the meet and greet went well and they agreed to give it a try. Everything was going fine until our friend’s mother and her small dog moved in with them. Kramer thought the dog was a brand new toy and chased him relentlessly – much to the mother’s dismay. Unbeknownst to us, they let another friend take Kramer. Her cat had just passed and Kramer looked so much like him that she was smitten. In the end, Kramer did not act like her cat and she gave him back. That is how he ended up with Bob and once again.

In his travels, Kramer had learned to play fetch and he would play it for hours if you let him. He had a cat wand that he loved and no matter where you threw it or how far, he would run and bring it back to you to have you toss it again. He would dive over couches, roll under chairs, rush down the hallway – he would do whatever it took to get that wand. We would have to impose a timeout when his breathing got labored, an act that he barely tolerated.

During this time, Kramer’s final adopter was struggling with fellow Great Kitty Rescue cat Hugo. Huge was being stubborn and was not coming around to living in her home as smoothly as we knew he could. She called and asked, “By any chance do you have a role model cat that I could borrow to help Hugo?”

She had been working with Hugo to help him gain confidence and trust, but felt that a positive feline role model would do wonders in getting Hugo to the next level. We will always believe that this was a fortuitous event, a step in the path that was meant to be for Kramer.

We took Kramer over and re-introduced him to Hugo – they had been close roommates up at Rescue Village. With his usual aplomb, Kramer made himself at home and did help Hugo blossom into a loving and confident cat. Bob and I took care of the two of them in our home when mom went on vacation and it was delightful to spend time with them and to see how happy they were.

great kitty rescue cats hugo and kramer are best friends
Hugo and Kramer

Unfortunately, sad days were around the corner. Hugo developed an abnormal type of FIP and was crossed. Bob and I were there with his adoptive mom that day. Hugo was so peaceful and loving and welcoming the pets we had struggled so hard to get him to accept – it was one of the hardest goodbyes we had to say.

great kitty rescue cat kramer missing fellow pahrump cat hugo
Kramer missing Hugo

Kramer’s mom went on her first trip to Best Friends and up at Rescue Village, she met Thorne. She and her friend took Thorne on a sleepover and the next day she decided to adopt him. Kramer welcomed his old buddy and they became close friends, sleeping together, playing together and working to keep the other felines in the family in line 😉

Each cat from the GKR has a place in my heart, but it would be a lie if I said that my experiences with some of them make them just a bit more special to me. Kramer was one of those cats and I will forever cherish the special memories I have of him.

And now he is frolicking up there on the Rainbow Bridge with too many of his old friends…

In love with Houdini Harrison

In love with Houdini Harrison

I was in love with Houdini Harrison and he was on my list of cats that I wanted to bring home (you know the one).

Many of us have been there –we are in love with a cat, but we can’t take them home. In some cases it is because we live in too small of a space, in others we have the maximum number of cats that we can handle, sometimes it is a matter of timing and circumstances.

For Bob and I, our feline family had inadvertently grown by two – Fluffy a temporary foster that turned into full time family member and Jessica an almost casualty of our local shelter who chose us with a vengeance. Both have been welcome additions to the clan, but made our family and living quarters maxed with six cats.

And now the chance to adopt him is gone. Houdini Harrison crossed to the Rainbow Bridge on Thursday, August 25, 2016 – also my father’s birthday and I like to think of him meeting Houdini there and reminding him how much we love him.

As with many of the GKR cats, Houdini’s body succumbed to renal failure. Just days before he was crossed, cat caregiver, Barbara Sanderson told me that, “Houdini is in late stage renal failure. The bittersweet thing is, he now meows for treats and comes down. I and some others can fluid him. He is skinny as a rail, but purrs and even lets me pick him up. He gives head butts. He still has his shy moments and keeps with his shy friends. Most of them are also onto the treat thing. He still has quality of life, but does seem to be getting tired. He is eating well, when his friends don’t move in on his food. Still, he is very skinny and we have to keep a close eye on him.”

Between ring worm outbreaks and the one building a day rule, we have not been able to spend as much time visiting Houdini as we used to. That made me very sad and I hope that in his heart he knew that we missed seeing him so very much and that we never stopped loving him and thinking about him.

In addition to feeling so sad that we never got to live day to day with Houdini in a home, I feel guilty that somehow I failed him by not giving him the opportunity to live out the last part of his life in a loving home. I know I cannot second guess our decisions – they were made with good sound thinking, but tell that to my heart…

And I guess that is a large part as to why it has taken me so long to write about my love for Houdini. That and the fact that I cannot do it without becoming a weeping mess. But I will chalk up my tears to tears of sadness at his crossing mingled with tears of joy that I got to know and love this gentle soul.

A Farewell to Popper

A Farewell to Popper

It is always sorrowful to hear of the passing of one of the cats that survived the Great Kitty Rescue. And when they pass at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary it adds another layer of sadness.

Not because Best Friends isn’t a wonderful sanctuary – it most certainly is. And the caregivers are fantastic with the cats, taking such good care and loving them all. Still, it is a sanctuary and not a home.

I feel regret and guilt because the cats that pass while living there have never gotten back to living in a loving home if they had one or never experienced it if they didn’t.

Although we are not supposed to have favorites among the cats, the truth is that we do. Some bond with you more, some you’ve had special interactions with, some tug at your heart a little more for some intangible reason – there are many ways a cat weaves its way into your heart to become a favorite.

For me, Popper was one on my list of favorites and it was with great sadness that I heard of his passing.

It was all the more difficult because he was crossed just days after we had seen him during our last trip to BF and he had looked and acted fine. The first and last photographs above are from that visit.

In fact, his caregivers were surprised too and had this to say:

Popper crashed and we had to cross him this morning. He was doing fine yesterday. It happened so fast with toxins dumped into his system from kidney shut down that it affected his brain. He was neurologically affected.

Popper was one of the cats that you could tell had been someone’s pet at one time. He was tame, but scared and confused about the road his life had taken. Over the years, he became less fearful of his human caregivers and became courageous enough to come to me and lick baby food from my finger when I sat on the floor in the yurt.

He went through another readjustment when Rescue Village closed and the remaining cats were moved down to Cat World. Popper was assigned to a room in the Colonel’s. He initially reverted to being shy and running, but after a while he began to exhibit that calm confidence of his.

Popper was a gentle soul, you could see it when he stared into your eyes and gave his bashful smile. Yes, Popper had a smile for us and it touched me deeply when he sent one my way.

Bob and I traverse Cat World when we are volunteering, going from one building to another and we frequently passed the patio where Popper hung out. Each time we walked by, we would call to him, Aurora, Tootsie, Tonto and the others. Popper would come to the edge of the fence to say hello and give us sweet eyes.

When we visited with Popper and our other feline friends in his room, he would steer clear of us at first, yet still giving us sweet eyes and listening to all we had to say. Once I pulled out the treat bag, he would tentatively make his way over to me. And when he remembered our routine, he would sit beside me waiting his turn for a treat.

I will miss spending time with my feline boyfriend and I will cherish the memories of this kind and handsome boy.

Farewell dear Popper – you were truly a cat worth knowing and I thank you for blessing me with your attention.