May 11 will mark the first anniversary of Cali’s passing. She was 18 1/2 years old.
She was such an integral part of my work life that in many ways, when she died, time stood still. Somehow I couldn’t get around to dealing with some of the products that I had earmarked for her to test for me such as soft and comfy orthopedic beds, ideal for elderly kitties.
They have stood for a year, untouched.
Cali was also a transient diabetic and I was left with bottles of unused insulin in my fridge.
Admittedly, I made some phone calls trying to find a cat that would benefit. But the bottom line was that I couldn’t part with the packet in my fridge. So they just sat there and I looked at them every time I opened the refrigerator door.
Last week, I took the packet out and checked the expiration dates. They were all still months away, but it made me realize that if I wanted another kitty to benefit, I needed to do something about it.
Suddenly a light bulb went off. I live 15 minutes away from the Blue Bell Foundation for Cats in Laguna Beach, Calif., a wonderful retirement home for cats who have lost their beloved people, but whose owners were clever enough to make provisions for their pets’ welfare after they died. This was the perfect place to donate all of Cali’s medicines and products. So I called the manager Donna Herbst and went to meet her.
The Blue Bell is a beautiful facility and its elderly residents are a total delight. Sitting in front waiting to greet visitors was a cat named Mittens, who I had met last time I visited some six years, ago along with his elderly pal named Roofer. Both are now 20. The twosome somehow reminded me a bit of Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon, in the movie “Grumpy Old Men,” except there was nothing grumpy about them. They were full of purrs and offered countless head butts.
Then there was Baby, a shy 17-year-old tortoiseshell who Donna says didn’t warm to strangers. I was so flattered that she came to me and wouldn’t leave me alone.
It made me realize how much I missed the company of elderly kitties and I realized what time I had wasted. For the past year, I could have been visiting these kitties on a regular basis. They would have benefited from the love and affection. And it would have been mutual.
A cat called Donut is going to be using the orthopedic bed. She is arthritic and didn’t have a very good life before coming to the Blue Bell Foundation. And the insulin is definitely going to help other kitties in the home feel better on a daily basis.
I just want to get my book manuscript, which is due in a few weeks, out of the way, and I am going to make up for lost time and visit regularly. I owe it to Cali.
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