Hello my fellows in grief— I'm Fi ("fee"). I'm a 63-year-old retired physician. I am a writer (nonfiction) and an artist (mostly collage & mail art). I have been married for nearly 40 years to a ponytailed botanist named Bob. Bob and I chose not to have human children, but instead to live with cats. We are not the kind of cat people who don't like dogs, though: we love all sorts of fur people. We have had four pairs of cats, each pair a brother & sister (littermates). The first three pairs were oriental shorthairs. Our 4th pair, currently living with us, are oriental longhairs.
The reason why I sought out this forum is that I am struggling with deep grief over the deaths of our third pair of cats, Oscar and Nénu ("nay-noo"). We got Oscar and Nënu from our breeder in August of 2014. Oscar was named for one of my literary heroes, Oscar Wilde. Nénu is short for Nénuphar, the French word for lotus or water lily. They were beautiful orange cats: Oscar was a tabby whose markings were a mixture of spots and stripes—splotches, really. He was the most beautiful cat we have ever had—long, tall, sleek, with a head that was exquisitely shaped. Nénu was an orange "ticked" tabby, the kind of tabby who has tabby markings (stripes) on face and legs and tail, but whose body is a solid color—light-colored underfur and darker "ticked" hairs.
Let me get quickly to the point. Oscar got sick in October of 2017, and died when his heart suddenly stopped, when he was in an animal hospital after minor surgery. We don't know why that happened. He died on October 26. When I called our breeder to tell her Oscar had died, she said, "You are in luck! I have a robust, healthy pair of four-month-old oriental longhair kittens, ready to go to a home. Since Oscar and Nénu were in poor health [it's a long story] when you bought them from me, and I have always felt guilty about that, I will give them to you for free."
So a month later we drove to where my breeder was at a cat show and picked up the longhair kittens, which we named Stevie Ray, for the late great Texas blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Emmylou, for the vocalist Emmylou Harris. Stevie Ray is bicolored—part black-and-grey tabby, part white. Emmylou is a chocolate ticked tabby—brown underfur and black ticking. They have big ears and green eyes, like all orientals. Their long hair is silky, a medium length, not really long like a Persian. We brought them back home and introduced them to Nénu. They got along just great—not a single hiss—and Nénu showed our new kittens around the house and helped them get settled in.
A few days later, Nénu got sick with a respiratory infection. We took her to our vet and got her on antibiotics, but she died a couple of days later, unable to breath because her lungs were filling up with mucus. She died on December 9th. Needless to say, Bob and I were devastated. We had had two wonderful kitties, three and a half years old, and within six weeks they both died. TWO cats dead!
We have tried hard to weather the grief and stay strong for our new kittens, Stevie Ray and Emmylou, but frankly, I'm not doing very well. I have good days, when I'm crying, but able to function, and bad days, when I lie in bed, weeping and wailing.
I joined this forum in the hope of getting some support. My mourning is so intense, it's standing in the way of my bonding with Stevie Ray and Emmylou. The kittens are strongly bonded to Bob, but with me they are pretty shy. Why wouldn't they be? Bob is feeding them and taking care of them, and I am a weeping, wailing mess.
What am I asking of you? I would like to get to know you, as people who will understand how terrible the grief can be, after losing two cats, only three and a half years old, within six weeks of each other!
I don't know yet how to put a picture in a posting, but I would love it if you went to my artist's website on ipernity, where I have an album devoted to our cats. The most recent, first, pictures are of Oscar and Nénu. (I don't have any pics of Stevie Ray and Emmylou up yet.) If you click on each picture, you'll go to its individual page, with a description underneath. Then, if you click again on the picture, you'll see a larger version of it. Here's the link:
I look forward to getting to know y'all!