June 12, 2008


Patient #13194
"Javi", Feline, DSH
Spayed Female
4.49 lbs, 2.040 kgs, 14 years old.

06-06-08 Ult, Abdomen
06-06-08 Consult, Emergency Exam
06-06-08 Siemens Blood Gas Full Panel
06-06-08 Blood Typing, initial
06-06-08 Radiograph, 2 Views
06-06-08 Radiograph, Additional Views
06-06-08 Hospitalization - ICU2
06-06-08 Nursing Care - ICU2
06-06-08 Catheter, IV
06-06-08 Fluid Therapy, IV
06-06-08 Inj, Famotidine
06-06-08 Consultation
06-06-08 Euthanasia
06-06-08 Cremation Communal


Posted by Leigh Witchel at 11:40 PM | TrackBack

June 6, 2008


Several years ago, when I was visiting my friend John in Toronto, I was knitting a pair of socks for my brother. It was in my usual pattern (for the knitters out there, Twin Rib, short row heel, made out of Fortissima sock yarn) and I had finished the first sock and was about three quarters done with the second.

I lost the second sock somewhere.

I don’t know where. It could have been at brunch with John, it could have been where we parked. It could have been walking around.

I spent portions of the next two days going back to places, calling and making inquiries to see if it had turned up. When you lose something, places need to be revisited; possibilities need to be crossed off the list. Until that point, the sock still might have been found – I couldn't allow myself to admit it was gone, I had to keep looking. As much frustration there was in losing the sock, dealing with that point before the loss is final was somehow worse. Sometimes, things turn up, like my driver’s license a few days ago when an airline mailed it back to me. Usually they don’t. In the interim, you’re suspended, unable to deal with the loss, because it might not be lost. You just have to wait.

Javi went to the hospital today. She lost a serious amount of weight while I was traveling. I was haunted by thinking that she may have starved herself (cats do) because she was upset. Because she hated going out of the building so much, I tried to get her to eat first without involving a vet. I tried bribing her with different food. For a few days she’d eat temperamentally, eating one food one day and refusing it the next, or eating the same food on a plate but not in a bowl, or on the bed but not at her usual spot. Last weekend, she started hiding and refusing food.

I took her to a local vet. He tried to not be alarmist, but couldn’t help saying, “You have a very sick kitty.” Things yo-yoed. She looked awful that day and much better in the night. We went over and spent time with our neighbors Janet and Mozart and she was social, even though she was weak. The next morning I went to the vet and got food for feeding via syringe. She accepted it, not happily, but she did. I thought if I could feed her, maybe I could help her get better. I could do something. The vet suggested I take her to a nearby hospital for a sonogram.

When I saw her that night my optimism was gone. She came out to greet me listlessly and I really looked at her. She couldn’t jump up and down and even climbing was hard. She needed to find flat surfaces to lie down on, and she had no energy. I had never seen her look like this. When I held her, she didn’t resist, and all I felt was bones and fur. She had lost more than half her body weight.

When something is lost, you can’t admit it is lost until you exhaust the possibilities.

My eyes kept closing and then snapping open. At 4:30 am I took a klonopin and passed out about a half hour later, getting up a little before nine. I didn’t bother showering and took Javi to the hospital.

The female doctor there was very caring, but more aggressive than Dr. Fisch. She didn’t want to do just a sonogram, but also chest x-rays and blood work, and then if treatment was possible, to keep Javi for the weekend for testing and transfusions. I didn’t know what to say; I said yes and handed them my credit card.

When I got home, I called Dr. Fisch. “She’s really very sick.” He said. “I guess the x-rays make sense, I thought of doing them myself, as does the blood work to see if there’s any movement. But I would have done the sonogram first to see if anything further was even necessary.”

The hospital doctor called me about an hour later. “There are possibilities, but I promised, and I want to check in with you before we do anything.” She explained that there was a mass in Javi’s intestine, and bleeding. She was anemic but the cause of the anemia would require further testing.

A hundred possibilities opened. Were any of them not dead ends? When my last cat Winnie died, I took her to the Animal Medical Center. They made her life – and death – hell over a week with exploratory surgery and learned nothing. I asked if I could call Dr. Fisch. “Of course. He speaks to me three times a day. Just tell him to call Jenny.”

Dr. Fisch is easy to read and he’s not one to dissemble. “Well, she has some sort of cancer. They could do something but it would take further tests and at minimum surgery and chemo. Maybe she could live a year. Maybe she’d never get out of the hospital.”

I asked if it was time to put her to sleep. I hate that term.

“I wouldn’t talk you out of it, no.”

I called Jenny and told her what Dr Fisch said. “Honestly, I wouldn’t talk you out of it either. I want to give you every option.”

When something is lost you need to exhaust every possibility before you can admit that it is lost.

I couldn’t. I hope I did it for Javi. But I have to live with the fact that I also did it for me. I couldn’t stay hostage to hope.

Posted by Leigh Witchel at 7:51 PM | TrackBack

April 14, 2007

Live Birthday Kitty Action

Steve asked for something special for his birthday.

Here's some live action Kitty porn.

Happy Birthday, Steve.

This may work better in a new window.

Posted by Leigh Witchel at 11:16 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 26, 2007

Friday Catblogging: Shared Bodyheat Edition

She Who Must Be Petted isn't really a snuggler, and rather prefers being given her due adoration at arms length. But when the temperature drops to single digits Fahrenheit it is another story. The blue striped blob at the side is a convenient human space heater, namely me.


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January 5, 2007

Friday Catblogging - Photographic Assistant Edition

Somebody had to get into the shoot when I was photographing Mom's scarf.




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December 25, 2006

What we're doing for Christmas


Have a restful holiday, whatever you celebrate.

Posted by Leigh Witchel at 3:34 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 24, 2006

Sunday cheap excuse cat blogging

I'm in deadline crunch. Articles for Knit.1 and the DCA newsletter, teaching knitting classes at night and going to Seattle on Friday. Blogging will probably be light, though I will try for some substantive stuff if possible.

But since you only come here for the cat blogging anyway, here is a classic pose from She Who Must Be Petted, Guardian of the Caller ID.


Posted by Leigh Witchel at 10:57 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 8, 2006

Friday Cat Blogging - Striped Blob Edition

Ladies and Gentlemen, Meat Loaf.


Posted by Leigh Witchel at 11:02 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 25, 2006

Friday Cat Blogging - Early Morning with Hobbit Feet Edition


It's good to have a slave. Keep rubbing, infidel.

I'll tell you when to stop.


Like about now.

She Who Must Be Petted With All Available Appendages is also plugging Rachel Howard's The Lost Night, which I will get to read as soon as she's done with it.

Posted by Leigh Witchel at 9:03 AM | TrackBack

August 18, 2006

Friday Cat Hair Blogging


At this rate I should have enough for a spare cat in a few weeks.

Posted by Leigh Witchel at 9:53 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 11, 2006

Friday Catblogging


Following the trend of today's photojournalists, this photo is faked.

She Who Must Be Petted is usually not interested in yarn - I trolled it past her several times like a fishing lure to get this shot.

I love her also because she never tells me the bed is messy.

Posted by Leigh Witchel at 1:11 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 18, 2006

Dialogue with the Cat II - Summer grooming

Because of the heatwave I decided to give She Who Must Be Petted a thorough brushing. Cats are completely overstimulated by brushing, so I gently put a finger on either side of her neck to stop the squirming as I brushed out about half a cat's worth of hair. If I could translate the meowing into English, I think it was:





Posted by Leigh Witchel at 3:15 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

June 30, 2006

Friday Cat Blogging - Guest Kittysaurus Rex edition

This is Archie:


As you can see, Archie is a big boy - almost double the size of She Who Must Be Petted. Unlike her, his bald belly was not self-inflicted; the vet needed to shave poor Archie. Archie is being held by his companion, my Wicked Stepmother.

He is particularly fond of ham.

Posted by Leigh Witchel at 11:03 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

June 16, 2006

В пятницу котенок блоггинг

(Friday Cat Blogging)


Seen on the wall of an alley in St. Petersburg:


Котенок, я люблю тэбя!

Kitten, I love you!

But then again, who doesn’t?

Posted by Leigh Witchel at 5:13 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 21, 2006

Friday Cat Blogging - Kitty Nest Edition

Someone thinks that there can never be too much laundry on the floor.


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April 14, 2006

Friday Cat Blogging - Kitty on the Keyboard Edition


Someone's been using my computer for her own personal affairs again.

Posted by Leigh Witchel at 12:24 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 7, 2006

Friday Cat Blogging - Kitty at Rest Edition

Naturally, every time she did something interesting, by the time I got the camera out she was back to a more typical pose like this one.

And she looked so cute when she was tap dancing and juggling.


Posted by Leigh Witchel at 11:46 AM | TrackBack

February 24, 2006

Friday Cat Blogging - Kitty Nirvana Edition

Who gave you permission to get on a plane? Finish scratching my chin, Infidel.


Posted by Leigh Witchel at 3:32 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 17, 2006

Friday Cat Blogging - French Movies Edition

Some Guest Kitty Blogging again, but with multimedia.

Venise, la chatte de Lyon shows us how well she can jump.


Posted by Leigh Witchel at 4:05 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 10, 2006

Friday Catblogging - Rotten father edition

I hate you so much for this, Dad.


Posted by Leigh Witchel at 8:48 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 3, 2006

Good Luck Kitty

She Who Must Be Petted is thinking good luck thoughts for Steve, who pestered for a kitty picture. So here's one with mood lighting:


Note the presence, as in Italian portraiture of the Renaissance, of important symbolic attributes of the sitter in the background, in this case tasty plastic-sheathed cords.

Posted by Leigh Witchel at 11:04 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 11, 2005

Friday Catblogging

Stupid Kitty Tricks


I get a kick out of watching She Who Must Be Petted figure out how to get a Tempting Tuna Treat.

Posted by Leigh Witchel at 11:05 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 20, 2005

Multi purpose blogging

I had to post this picture of my dear friend Connie's son Alex.

First off, the cat looks remarkably like a less impeccably groomed version of She Who Must Be Petted.

And Connie, smart friend that she is, has dressed Alex in a sweater I made for him.

There's no pattern. It's a raglan cardigan in stripes knit from the top down according to an article from Hand-Knitting Techniques from Threads Magazine,"The Magic Raglan". The yarn is various oddballs of cotton and machine washable wool; some is doubled sock yarn. The sleeves have no shaping to make it easier for the parents to put them on a squirmy toddler. The borders are five rows of garter stitch in stripes, with the cast off on the wrong side. I put shank buttons on the original sweater, Connie immediately replaced them with standard buttons sewn on firmly. She says it is harder for a baby to chew and swallow them.


Posted by Leigh Witchel at 12:43 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 7, 2005

Dialogue with the cat: A brief, repeating drama

Scene: The kitchen. I am making khatte channe (chickpeas in tamarind).

I open a can of chickpeas. Even before I pierce the lid She Who Must Be Petted comes racing into the kitchen with her tail twitching.

SWMBP: Meow?

Me: It's chickpeas. Not cat food.

SWMBP: Meow!

Me: You don't like chickpeas. Besides, what's with the can opener deal? I don't even feed you canned catfood.


Me: It's chickpeas!

Repeat until fadeout.

Posted by Leigh Witchel at 11:18 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 29, 2005

How to speak cat

Scott Bateman is going to produce an animated film a day every day for a year. This is Day 11. I believe Mr. Bateman has ambivalent feelings towards cats. He shows no ambivalence towards George Bush.

Posted by Leigh Witchel at 11:13 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 3, 2005

Friday Catblogging - British Empire Edition


A big bronze kitty in Trafalgar Square

Posted by Leigh Witchel at 5:33 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 25, 2005

Kitty out of the doghouse

My computer is working again thanks to the nice folks at Hewlett Packard.

After Javi made a snack of the power supply cord, the poor computer acted as if a circuitbreaker went or it had a blown fuse. The phone tech support guy said to try this fix before sending the computer in: Take the battery out and disconnect the power supply. Depress the "hard reset" button for at least 30 seconds - on my ancient Omnibook XE3, that's on the left side of the computer next to the PCMCIA slots. You will need a needle or some other thin object to do this.

This action drains the capacitors (or I think that's what he told me). When done, replace the battery and try turning the computer on. I have a second battery with a charge in it, so I used that one.


Kitty has been spared my wrath.

Posted by Leigh Witchel at 11:59 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 23, 2005

Kitty in the Doghouse

Somebody thought the cord to the power supply of my computer looked mighty tasty.

I saw the frayed power cord and touched it to see if I could fix it with electrical tape.

*zzzzZZZZzzzzot*. And the computer turned off and would not turn back on again. Luckily I have a second, older computer but that took 4 hours to get up and running, put necessary information on it and hook up to the internet. So I was late with copy to Danceview Times as well.

And the most frustrating part is there's no point in even getting mad at her, because she doesn't understand why unless I catch her in the act. So I get to feel either frustrated or like an ogre.

SOMEBODY is lucky she wasn't made into a purse or a hat.

Posted by Leigh Witchel at 7:13 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 13, 2005

Friday Cat Blogging - Hallucinogenic Ted Nugent Edition

[Slashing electric guitar riffs]

Cat Scratch Fever!!!

[More guitar riffs]


That is just one scary picture. She's not at all a scary cat.

Posted by Leigh Witchel at 2:22 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 6, 2005

Friday Cat Blogging - Quieting the masses edition

All right, already.

Here she is.


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April 10, 2005

Sunday Cat Blogging - Kitty Australis Edition

And I thought cat blogging would be impossible this week. This kitty was lounging by a tomb in Recoleta cemetery


and was much more interested in getting petted and skritched than in posing for a picture.



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April 1, 2005

Friday Cat Blogging - Hide and Seek Edition



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March 25, 2005

Friday Cat Blogging - Overgrooming Pussy Edition.

Somebody is going to lick herself bald. Or has already tried.

Talk to the paw . . .


Posted by Leigh Witchel at 6:20 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 18, 2005

Friday Guest Cat Blogging - Chat Français edition.

Meet Venise.

She is the newest member of the family of my friends Estelle and Philippe, who live in Lyon.

I think she's adorable, in a Gizmo kinda way.

More pictures of the New York Kitty next week when I'm not getting up at 5 am to get to JFK.

Posted by Leigh Witchel at 1:25 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

March 11, 2005

Friday cat blogging - Egyptian Cat Goddess edition

You know who on her wooly.


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March 4, 2005

Friday Pomeranian Blogging

Well it looks like a cat.

I believe this puffall's name was Charlie. My friend Peter was taking me around San Francisco last March and we went on the cable car up Nob Hill. At the park near the Fairmont we met Charlie, sunning himself and generally being adorable. He consented to pose for this picture, being far more photogenic than the creature hiding behind him.

small Leigh with Pom.jpg

Posted by Leigh Witchel at 12:59 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 25, 2005

Friday Cat Blogging

Let sleeping kitties lie.


Lascivious kitty (Note the overgroomed belly. That's from more than two years ago and it's finally growing back.)


Posted by Leigh Witchel at 12:19 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 18, 2005

Yes, we do Friday Cat Blogging here, too.

Call it Internet Peer Pressure.

So for our inaugural Friday Cat Blogging, I offer you -

The Blair Kitty Project


Posted by Leigh Witchel at 12:48 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

February 16, 2005

SOMEBODY is in trouble.

And that somebody is striped and furry.

And that somebody thinks plastic, especially plastic sheathing on wiring, tastes and smells delicious.



Posted by Leigh Witchel at 12:51 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack