Memories_of_Marmalade Show full post »

Thank you, as always sweet, sweet Anne. I so appreciate your great kindness and understanding. You are a valued member of this forum.

Alexander, thank you for your comment and for being a particpant here on this forum. Especially from as far away as Siberia, Russia! 

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Wow. James, that was something. Thank you for reaching out to us here, many of us has had you take the time to validate and respond to our saddest moments written down here. Your responses helps so much more then you will realise.
I agree with everyone your story needs to be shared. I hope all the life lessons you have gained through your time of hardship have given you the sharpest tools for the rest of your life, I wish you nothing but furfillment.
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Thank you so, so much Sheridan for you very kind and gracious words. I feel so blessed and grateful to be able to post and comment here on this forum, to meet so many others who feel the way that I (we) do and to share some of the stories of my beloved cat Marmalade. I still miss him so much, as I know everyone here misses their lost loved ones. 

My boy just saved my life again! My depression was getting worse and worse and I finally went to a Dr. 7 days ago today and obtained a prescription for Prozac the antidepressant. I have never taken an antidepressant before, until losing my Marmalade. So even now, almost 3 months after Marmalade's passing, he is still looking after me and positively impacting my life. The truth is I should have been on medication many years ago, so it was time regardless, but my boy was the impetus.

"That Ole' Marmalade."

: ** )

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James because of people like you, I think I will get through this.
Not only that, I will help another. Simba was neglected, and living on the streets for 18months before we got him. We took him in after this kitty wore down my partner who didn't like cats. When we took him to the vet we found out he was actually owned by a neighbor, and they advised that the cat ran off when they got new ones. They still saw him periodically walking around. And on top of that they said Simba was a foster cat when he got him so he was about 2yrs old when they got him...14 years ago! Our hearts broke knowing how old he was, that he was a foster Kitty, and that he was living on the streets.
This much I know- there is another Simba out there that also needs to be saved, who doesn't deserve all the crap. I can do something to help. I will. You obviously have alot of love in your heart for these little ones. Get your self right. You will find a way to help another life again I am sure, in some way or another.
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Thank you for saying so Sheridan. I truly appreciate your kindness, as always.

I have actually been fostering a kitten that I named "KID" the past going on 4 weeks, who was attacked by a coyote in early July. Both of his parents ("Blackie" & "Mom-Cat") were also killed by coyotes, as was his best friend ("Cherry".) KID is on the mend and in good spirits. He is here in my office with me playing. He is a Tuxedo cat. I named him after the Charlie Chaplin film "The Kid" as he has a little black mustache.

As I previously posted, I was really not planning on having another cat in my lifetime, but fate seems to have intervened. After the coyote attacks KID ran away from the house where he had been hanging out and relocated 2 doors down from my office. When I would walk by he would cry and cry to me. He was so young, so vulnerable, and so tiny and at the time he was injured. Which I was unaware of. I could simply not turn my eyes away from him or turn my back on him. He needed help. He needed a friend. 

I hope to post some photos of KID here on the forum soon.

All best,

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What a beautiful story James! Marmalade was an amazing cat and the two of you shared so much! 
K. Unger
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Thank you Katie for taking the time to read Marmalade and my "Road Story." I really do always appreciate your kind words. They mean a great deal to me. Everyone is so kind, compassionate and supportive here. I feel blessed to have come upon this forum and be able to talk about "my lad" Marmalade. I still miss him so.

Kind regards,

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Your story is truly beautiful and bittersweet. You are a strong, brave person. You are so courageous to go through all of those obstacles. I am so happy Marmalade was with you during those tough times. He was a loyal cat and I’m sure he continues to be your guardian angel. Your story brought me to tears. I am so happy you continued to push through. Best of luck to you in everything.
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Thank you so much Katrina. I truly appreciate your reading Marmalade's and my "Road Trip" miracle story. He helped me to get through all of those tough times. He was so dedicated and true and loyal as you wrote. I was very fortunate to have known him for the 4 years that I did. He meant the absolute World to me and I still miss him so.

Today is 12 weeks since he departed this World. He took my heart with him when he left. As I had surrendered it to him fully. 

I appreciate your kind and supportive comment.

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Memories_of_Marmalade wrote:

A Miracle Story With My Cat Marmalade 

My life took a dramatic and devastating turn at one point in Los Angeles, California.  Like domino's, I lost my beautiful home, my business (which at one point had over 100 employees and a 12,500 square foot factory), my car, my friends, my family, my fortune and worst of health. I have had chronic and severe migraine headaches for decades and they have really impacted every aspect of my life. They contributed to me having severe depression, anxiety and PTSD. So I needed to regroup and decided to move into the high desert country of New Mexico. 

An evil landlord in New Mexico leased a home to my then business partner and I, that was located in a known (but unknown to us) flood zone (No wonder it was so affordable!) I had moved there from Los Angeles to be able to focus on my screenwriting career, now that my business career was over. I had worked in Film, Television, Commercials & Music Video's for many years as a Stage Manager and in locations. 

The first big rain, the house we had rented, as I walked through it watching the rain water coming into the kitchen and master bedroom, sunk almost a foot into the ground. We called the the landlord's handyman, who admitted to us that the landlord knew about the floods and the foundation of the house being rotten from water damage, and that the foundation of the house needed to be entirely replaced. Which was never mentioned to us prior to our moving in.

When we complained to the landlord, he went completely ballistic. All 300 LBS. of him! He was a raging, bipolar, ex-meth addict, alcoholic with a penchant for guns. Now we had to vacate so that the house could be renovated. We had spent all of our savings to move to New Mexico, driving a 24 ft. Ryder Rental Truck filled with Hollywood memorabilia that we were planning to sell via mail order on the side, but now we were forced to leave all that behind in NM. Which the landlord misappropriated (aka stole.) He was eventually prosecuted by the local DA. 

During our tenure at the house in New Mexico, I had been feeding 7 or 8 local strays & feral cats that were part of a cat colony adjacent where we lived, of which the "King" was a scrawny, sick, mite infested, dirty, orange & white tabby cat that I named "Marmalade." I named all of the other cats too. There was: "Big Boy", "Figaro", "Tommy", "Tabby Hunter", "Mouse" and "Baby" the kitten. Next door a mean, new neighbor had moved in and took it upon themselves (without us knowing at first) to use a skunk trap to catch the local cats and take them "somewhere." Where we did not know. "Big Boy" and "Tommy" shortly after taking care of them for about 6 or 7 months went missing, which was so sad. I was able to ask the neighbor to please stop trapping the cat's and they cooperated miraculously. But that danger always loomed. "Marmalade" could have been trapped at any time.

When I had to vacate the house, my partner bailed on me and moved back East. I could not take all of the cats with me, as they were way too wild and would have run away on the road, but Marmalade had the right temperament to make the trip back to L.A. with me, so I decided to take him with me.

Marmalade was deaf and as I mentioned above, had chronic health problems (including choking & gagging when trying to eat for some unknown reason)( but antibiotics from the Vet helped.) When I took him to the local Vet in the Summer of 2016, the receptionist told me that the local stray and feral cats there "had a very tough life and it is always best to just put them down." This was before Marmalade had even been examined! I scoffed at the suggestion. The Vet believed that Marmalade was around 10 years old at the time, due to his teeth and gum issues. She prescribed him Convenia and it stopped his choking & gagging thank goodness. 

I knew Marmalade would not survive long, if I left him behind and did not look after him. Many people around me at the time in New Mexico (including strangers) and other friends, tried to encourage me not to take Marmalade with me (including my ex-partner), considering all of the dire circumstances and financial obstacles I was facing in my life at the time, and they tried to push me into giving Marmalade to a local cat rescue facility called "The Watermelon Ranch" before I departed New Mexico, but I refused.

I left New Mexico with a few pieces of luggage and a cat carrier with Marmalade. Zero money and no credit cards. And no transportation. We were truly homeless and flat broke with really no options. The weather was very cold in New Mexico at the time (January of 2017) and I got pneumonia from exposure. 

Through a few loans from a couple of producers I knew, and some business consulting gigs, I was able to somehow pay for a motel room each night for 3 1/2 months while Marmalade and I were on the road back to L.A., 850 miles away. We would at times check into a motel and I would be locked out of the room each morning (it was like losing Marmalade again and again each day), while I had to try and raise funds to pay for another night's stay from the motel lobby, with Marmalade locked in the motel room without me. At any time I could have lost him. But he motivated me to raise the funds needed for both of us in order to survive, just with his presence. I would raise the funds each day and be allowed back into our room late each afternoon, by some miracle. Marmalade would be so, so happy to see me. Laying on the big motel room bed purring away in gratitude and pure contentment. We had a running gag where I would hear him purr and say to him:

"We're in trouble! and you're purring!"

At times I would have bad migraines (the stress did not help) and be crouched next to a motel bed, vomiting, alone except for Marmalade. He would stay right there with me. He would always be within reach, without being too close. He would slowly and gently approach me when the migraines would lesson, it seemed in order for him to check on me and reassure me that he was still there. He would purr and I would pet him and let him know that I "was okay", and then he would go back to holding vigil over me on the motel room bed close by. Months later we would hold other health vigils over one another. Sometimes I for him and sometimes him for me. This little cat, my only trusted companion and real remaining family left in my life.

We finally made our way back to California, but at the very end of our road trip, my funds eventually ran out, and Marmalade & I found ourselves literally on the street. 

I had no money left for a motel room or food (including for Marmalade) at that point, there was no one that I could call to ask for help. A friend had said he could pick me up possibly the following night, and allow me to stay in his warehouse about 20 miles away for a time, but Marmalade & I were on our own for that night. So I would be sleeping in an alley or the bushes for the first time in my life. Something Marmalade had been accustomed to. We were both "strays" at that point.

Next to the parking lot of the Motel 6 that Marmalade and I had just vacated in Arcadia, California was a building that was closed most of the time, and another parking lot that was empty. Marmalade and I made our way into this parking lot, found a shade tree and sat down. Me with my few pieces of luggage, Marmalade in his cat carrier. With no place to go. 

Next to that empty parking lot ran the L.A. River, a long concrete aqueduct that runs through much of Southern California straight to the ocean. A tall fence ran along the side of the concrete canal on both sides. As I was sitting there contemplating my limited options and fate (I was very, very close to commiting suicide), I noticed a torn hole in one part of the fence, at its bottom, that was right behind us. It was a nice neighborhood surrounding us, and I had no transportation to take Marmalade anywhere. We were stranded. So at that point, I thought (although I was not in my right mind at the time and was stricken with total hopelessness and despair) with the desperate position I was in, Marmalade might have a better chance to make friends with some of the locals vs. sticking with me. Or going to a local animal shelter, where they might put him down if not adopted as he was a senior. The thought of letting Marmalade go, broke my heart even further to pieces. He was my only true friend and family member left in my life at the time. I was seriously contemplating where I could take my own life in the vicinity afterwards. Just a shade tree to sit under and get it over with, without inconveniencing anyone by leaving a mess behind.

After some thought, I opened Marmalade's cat carrier and reluctantly took him out, petted him and placed him at the entrance of the fence and gently crying said to him (although he could barely hear me due to his being deaf):

"I have no money and no place to live buddy. I have no money to buy you food. You'd be better off on your own than with me. I'm so, so, so sorry. I love you. I'll miss you. Thank you for being in my life, for the time that you have been." 

I put Marmalade at the torn entrance at the bottom of the fence and I let him go. I encouraged him by gently pushing him, to just walk away from me. He walked through the fence took a few steps and gazed alone at the bank of the L.A. River in front of him. Which was hundreds and hundreds of feet long. Brush, trees and bushes lined the fence next to the canal. Marmalade was now "free" again, if he wanted to be. He was now completely out of my reach. I could not have gotten to him through the small fence opening if I wanted to.

Marmalade stared ahead of him, as if contemplating walking away, and then he slowly turned around and looked back up at me through the fence. Then he walked back through the fence opening and over to me, bumped into my legs and just sat down besides me, and then I knew we were meant to stay together and would do so through thick & thin. It was fate. It was meant to be. We were meant to be together and to stay together. I wept with joy as I petted and gently hugged the purr out of my boy. We were reunited!

So hours later as nightfall approached, Marmalade and I were sitting in that empty parking lot in Arcadia, California, me with my few pieces of luggage and Marmalade back in his cat carrier, just watching the sunset and everything around us was glowing a beautiful and enchanting orange (< like my Marmalade.) It was what they call "Magic Hour" in Hollywood, which is a very desirable time to shoot actors, as they all look good in that orange glow lighting. We felt grateful, blessed and content. Even though we were homeless, hungry and broke with nowhere to go. 

A large peacock came slowly strolling up and past us. In Arcadia, Ca. they are allowed to roam free and have done so for many decades. Marmalade had never seen a peacock before. Again, we only felt grateful and felt blessed to see such wondrous sights, despite the circumstances. Marmalade & I still had each other. We were still together. Still alive. My compadre and me.

Suddenly, in the distance, a woman was walking down the sidewalk about 50 ft. away and began to look in our direction, and I was hesitant to wave to her as I thought:

"Don't wave at her, she may call the police. This is Arcadia. A nice neighborhood. And you are homeless."

But I was still in such a grateful and blessed mood, with Marmalade having returned back to me, that I went ahead and waved at the woman regardless. And she waved back.

As the woman walked down the sidewalk and got closer to Marmalade and I, she suddenly veered off of the sidewalk and made a beeline for me and Marmalade, across the empty parking lot. Which concerned me. Now mind you this was a large parking lot. She had to walk that 50 ft. to get to where we were sitting and I was a strange man, near a fairly secluded tree and bush lined area alone. I wondered what she was going to say? Soon she was standing over us and smiled gently and said:

"I don't know if you are spiritual or not? and this is going to sound really strange, but a voice just told me in my head 'Please help him. I love him so much.' "

And she then proceeded to hand me $120 in cash. I wept with relief. I could not thank her profusely enough. And she seemed equally moved and touched by the experience.

Marmalade and I checked back into the adjacent Motel 6 that night and had a good supper together. Then we slept like babies in the comfort of that room. The next day Marmalade and I took a train ( a first for Marmalade!) to the historic Union Station in downtown Los Angeles, and my friend picked us up. And that night we began staying in my friends warehouse loft, where we resided for 2 more (mostly wonderful) years together.

Step by step I began to rebuild my life, with Marmalade inspiring me with his loyalty, love, devotion, trust and companionship the entire way.

8 weeks ago this past Thursday, I felt I had to put Marmalade to sleep. He had succumbed to an injury sustained in a vicious Tom-Cat fight defending his girlfriend cat "Star" from a neighborhood bully cat named "Blackie" and the operation Marmalade had to have, in order to address the wound, unfortunately lead to a stroke. Which contributed to Marmalade's ultimate decline.

Someone on the Reddit Pet Grief subthread that I shared this story with above said they thought it might have been MARMALADE who whispered into that woman's ear that evening who helped us, whereas I always thought it might have been God or a Guardian Angel. But Marmalade WAS my little Guardian Angel!  : ) 

My lucky silver dollar. "Dat ole' Marmalade." 

Thank you James for your beautiful words. I completely understand the bond you had with Marmalade. Rosco was also the very best friend I have had in my life. And he also took care of me and had me service the toughest years if my life. If I only could be such a happy, loyal friend as he was. I am happy you got on your feet again, and that you can carry on knowing you were loved so much. It makes me think that I need to be more grateful, instead of just sitting in my room, sobbing and not eating. Rosco would never had let me. He would have said, out for a walk, come on! lets go! So many lessons, Marmalade and Rosco have given us.
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You have an innate gift and I love how you express your love and relationship with Marmalade. In grieving for my Ana Ng, this past week I have come home every day from work and re-read your postings on Marmalade and sobbed my eyes out. It has been very therapeutic!
How are things going with The Kid?
I had a question. The quote that you gave at the end of your story: "Dat' Ole' Marmalade". Is that your saying, or a quote from another source? Regardless, I love it!
Thanks for being awesome,
K. Unger
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Dear Katie,

Oh I thank you so greatly for your very sweet and complimentary words. They made me smile and warm my heart, things I drastically need during these difficult times. Again...I thank you!

"Dat Ole' Marmalade" - Ha. It is so odd, when I first lay eyes on him in New Mexico, he came walking through our rustic driveway gate. He was so dirty and scruffy and kind of wild. And for some reason I just called out those words to him, as he was orange: "DAT OLE' MARMALADE" and the name stuck. My roommate / business partner / ex-girlfriend, thought I was cRaZy to name the cats and feed them and she kept her distance. She kept getting mad at me when I would feed them our Deli meat. Lol.

I also used to make a sharp "click, click, click" sound with my mouth, when I would call the feral and stray colony that Marmalade was the King of to feed, and for some reason, although he was mostly deaf, "Marmalade" could hear that sound. And he never forgot it, all the way to the end of his life. Later, when we arrived in Los Angeles, I would make that sound again and he would look all around (as it must have sounded to him like it was in the distance) for where it was coming from, as if it was very important, and then realize it was just me and slowly blink at me in his realization, as if to say "'s you."

I made that "clicking" sound one last time, as "Marmalade" sat in his cat carrier in the Sphinx pose, right before he was put to sleep at the Animal Hospital, and he once again kind of perked-up gently with his eyes and looked up, and to the side, and then once again towards me. It must have been a matter of life & death for him in New Mexico, when he would hear that distinct sound, as he couldn't eat dry-food like the rest of the colony, due to this chronic choking & gagging at the time, so I would feed him only what he could eat, and very carefully, inside the house. So that the other cats would not disturb him. I was touched that he still remembered that call from 4 years prior.

"KID" the rescue kitten appears to be doing very well, thank you for asking! Today it will be 4 weeks since he moved into my office and he seems to be well-adjusted and happy. He never tries to run outside. He plays & plays and eats & eats. He is already getting big. I hope to be posting some photos soon here. He is a real cutie and I could not have asked for a better behaved, gentle, kind, sweet and intelligent cat.

I have no idea where "KID" parachuted in from, or who sent him, but he's really helped brighten my days and nights, even though I had not planned on ever having another cat in my lifetime. I have been on the fence about adopting him somewhat, but each day he impresses me more and more and he makes me laugh and smile, and that is pretty priceless at this time in my life. And "Marmalade" was always kind to the kittens in his cat colony, so perhaps he sent "KID" to me. I don't know for sure. But it is so odd that KID and my paths crossed when they did. 

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That is amazing. I still regret
Not having my final moments with Roary
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Hi James,
I just read your story of how you and Marmalade became family in New Mexico. I need to tell you that I think it was wonderful how you fed the colony of stray cats! So many people don’t bother and I will never understand it.
I also agree that Marmalade was your angel. He was there when you most needed him after the flood and all of the terrible dealings with the unscrupulous landlord. I believe Marmalade whispered to the woman who gave you money to help out when you really needed it. So good that you were both able to have a room and dinner for the night and then be able to make it out to see your friend! It sounds like the next 2 years living there really cemented your bond with this beautiful boy.
I lost my dog, Bailey, on 11/10/15 and I found this amazing forum and so many wonderful people whose hearts were also broken from the loss of precious soulmate. It’s so helpful just to find people who understand how devastating it is to lose your best friend.
I’m so happy that you adopted the kitten! I also adopted another rescue dog, Charlie, and although he will never replace Bailey, he has his own unique qualities that make him so very loveable! I think you will become closer to the kitten as time goes by but of course Marmalade will always have his very own special place in your heart. He’s such a beautiful cat!! Thank you for sharing him!
I’m so very sorry for your loss.
MJ 😊
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Hi James,

I was so happy to hear that KID has found his way into your life and heart.  It is difficult to give your heart again.  When we adopted a puppy 4 months after losing our Daisy last summer, there was so many emotions; guilt, resentment, need and love.  It took a while for us to bond, but bond we did and Luna is now my dear friend and companion.  I learned a lot from my Daisy and her legacy of love lives on in my Luna.  I read a beautiful poem once about how when a person dies they can leave possessions and gifts to family and friends, but when a pet dies they leave their most treasured gift; love of their human companion to another furry soul. So the love continues, grows and multiplies each time we welcome other life into ours.

Post pics when you can and give KID a scratch behind the ears for all of us. 

Best to you,
Lori, Daisy's Mom and now Luna's Mom
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