Thursday, June 25, 2009

18 years.

In August of 1991 my family took a trip to the Toronto Humane Society. We were looking for a small dog, but what I really wanted was a white cat. At Brownie camp earlier that summer I even wished for a white cat in the Enchanted Wood (there was a section of forest dubbed the "Enchanted Wood". One night during each camp session, the leaders would dress up as fairies and put on a play for us. Paper lanterns hung from the trees and 'fairy dust', which was really fine glitter, was sprinkled all over. It was truly magical, even if we all knew it was really the leaders in costume. There was a concrete mushroom that had been in the forest since the camp was opened, and each of us would take a turn sitting on it and making a wish while 'fairy dust' was sprinkled over our heads.) There weren't any small dogs at the Humane Society, and I was terrified of the larger ones (my cousin had a large dog that used to nip at me, which fostered this fear), so we were going to leave without a new family member.

On the way out, I pleaded "can't we just look at the cats?" My ciocia, who was living with us for the year, convinced my mom to humor me. So off to the cat room we went, just to look. Then it happened. We immediately saw her from across the room - this tiny white thing with huge paws, head and ears, playfully batting at the cage bars. We all fell in love with her and my mom knew she couldn't say no. She was our cat. All the way home my brother and I debated names. Being seven and not quite nine, we came up with some pretty terrible ones. We finally settled on Snowie, with an 'ie' because she was a girl. That's what you get when you let kids name the cat!

A few hours after we brought her home, after she had run around the entire house and climbed up every curtain she could find, we realized she had fleas. We spent the rest of the afternoon at the vet, bathing the cat, and then vacuuming and cleaning the house top to bottom. We had set up a fancy basket for her to sleep in, but she preferred sleeping on my face. That didn't last long! She eventually found many favourite sleeping spots, including the top of the fridge.

A week after we brought her home she got very sick. She lay on a pillow behind the couch all day and the vet was concerned she wouldn't make it. For months she was on medicine to make her strong. It came in a squeeze tube and she used to lick it off a spoon. After that, she was just fine, and she grew into a beautiful 12 pound cat.

Snowie was my best friend growing up. She listened to me, she loved on me, and she let me love on her even though I probably drove her crazy. When I was sad, she showed up at my side. When I was sick, she cuddled with me. When I had an allergy attack, she was the first to realize something wasn't right, and when she was sick I knew right away.

Just over three years ago Snowie was diagnosed with Lymphoma Cancer. We thought it was a death sentence. I felt terrible because we had put her through all kinds of testing and treatment before realizing what it was, and now we being were told she had two years at most, but even that was unlikely. Each subsequent vet visit filled me with worry. She seemed fine on the outside, but her test results told us she wouldn't make it past the winter, then the spring, then the summer, then the fall...

Right after we brought Lola home Snowie's test results improved significantly. Suddenly all her blood and liver values were nearly normal. It was incredible! More recently her kidneys haven't been doing as well, and again we were told that she wouldn't have much time left. Well, she's still here and going strong. This girl does not give up! She doesn't seem to be uncomfortable or in any pain either. She jumps and plays, explores our yard (supervised of course), cuddles up on our laps, begs for her favourite treats, stands her ground when Lola bothers her too much, likes her water straight from the faucet, and naps in all her favourite spots. I hope she continues to prove everyone wrong. She is so strong.

We're not sure of her actual birthday since she was a rescue, but she was around eight weeks old when we brought her home and the vet guessed June 25th. So today we celebrate 18 years of Snowie.

Happy Birthday sweet girl!


Vonlipi said...

Happy 18th! And many more.

I had a cat with diabetes who lived to be 21!
Cherish everyday you have with her. Cats are so precious.

Anonymous said...

I love this entry! LOVE it!
She's beautiful.. I hope you have as many more years with her as possible!
I get so sad when I think about how animals don't live as long as us... I keep telling myself that Buddy will still be around when I'm 60, lol...
(have you seen Marley and Me? if not, DON'T.)

Craftyphoenix said...

What a wonderful story. Happy Birthday sweet Snowie.

moomily said...

Aw, I love those pink paws. What a sweetheart. Happy birthday, Snowie!

loliecraft said...

Thank you for the wonderful comments! We had a very good time celebrating 18 years of Snowie.