Saturday, January 24, 2009

Not a good week...

It's been a horrid week. Not usual for me to be down on a blog.. but it has been just that. Horrid.

On Tuesday 20th January, I had my 44th birthday...and one of my best friends died.. my beautiful and unique cat, Magick. :-( As you can imagine it threw the whole day out of synch, I cried most of the day, on what should have been a happy occasion.. and I had really been looking forward to that particular birthday as I love the number 4.

Oh dear God, what a time.

Magick came to me three years ago, along with my other male cat Mojo. I had, at the time, just lost my two male cats Smokey and Arnie, who had travelled with us from the UK and had died within two weeks of each other at the Christmas. Now, this Witch cannot live without a cat and finding one in Lapland is no easy feat as cats are not the most popular pet, like they are in the UK. Adverts are far and few between. I had been truly gutted to lose both my boys so quickly and was beside myself.

I made several phone calls (with much more limited Finnish in those days) to local vets, shops and council offices. Eventually, I heard of a Pet Rescue centre, based in Rovaniemi. Hardly what you would call local, but it is the next major town from is 130-140kms away. The lady there, spoke excellent english and said she had a black and white cat to home. It sounded promising, so we arranged the trip - double quick! A cat would cost 30euros to re-home - being purely veterinary fees. My husband said it would be his birthday gift to me. :D

The night before we went, I was laid in bed thinking about my new cat. I was SO excited! I thought to myself...'Oooh, I am going to get my new cat tomorrow!!' and a voice that was not mine, said back to me... 'Yes, and you must call him Magick!' Now, it has to be said here, that I am quite used to these sorts of messages. They have happened to me since I was a little I just replied 'Oh, Ok!' and was quite happy with the choice of name!

When we arrived, there were several wire cages with cats in. Some, it turned out were 'on holiday' not in sheltered accommodation. The lady we needed to see was busy and there was a young girl there filling in. I asked her which cat it was that I was coming for.. as there was more than one black and white cat there. She shook her head, unknowingly.

"Which one of you lot is Magick then?" I called out. "Miaowwwwwwww!" said Magick from an upper cage, right up in the corner of the room! "Oh, it's you is it?" I said. "Where on earth have you been my darling?" I asked.. because he was in a right mess! He busily miaowed away at me, trying to tell me all about his woes on the road and how his fur was all matted and his shine all but gone... Oh and that some awful person had cut his left ear with a pair of scissors! My husband said to me, "Don't get too excited, it might not be him! - What about this one? He is very friendly" - he said, as he was gleaning lots of 'me too, me too' affection from another black and white cat, that looked more like the cat on a Felix tin.... and was himself falling in love.

Of course Magick WAS Magick and we also ended up bring a renamed Felix look-a-like 'Mojo' home with use too! Although I am THE cat lover in this household and my husband is the dog whisperer... he has actually been responsible for the vast majority of extra cats I have had the honour to love during my time on this planet. Considering he is really the dog lover of the house.. it's quite funny!

A few days after being rehomed - Magick looked much better after a good bath! His eyes looked overly large for some while, until he filled out again...

Despite being advertised as black and white, Magick was really more like a black cat. He had just a tiny touch of white under his chin..but in most photographs it gets missed. He came home with such a huge appetite. I think that he thought he was unlikely to see the next meal for a long time - so devoured everything with gusto for ages. Only tinned food mind, he wasnt so keen on dried - although he would eat it if pressed. He couldn't believe his luck that the got water AND milk!

His mistreated fur gradually gave way to the most glossy fur I've ever seen on a cat. So much so, that my nickname for him was my 'Glosspot'. He was a real talker too. I'd never had a cat like him before and although my old Smokey used to talk, Magick truly was something else! He was a real character. His teeth looked like fangs as they hung over his top lip and were really noticeable on his black fur. He and Mojo got on very well.. until I took on two more cats. Female sister kittens - my Goddesses, Maia and Gaia. Then the problems started and poor old Magick got picked on quite a bit by Mojo. I guess Mojo was vying for masculinity with the ladies, when in reality, Magick wasn't interested.

Magick grew very close to my eldest son, who has found his loss quite hard. This was the first pet family member that had got close to him and shown preference for him. He wasn't such a massive cat lover before either. However, Magick always was to be found sleeping on the end of his bed and Magick would go and find him to talk to instead, if I wasn't free!

Magick's eyes were often very reflective! Eery!

Magick was also a hair eater! I didn't know that cats did that before. He loved to sneak up behind you, sit on the back of the sofa and start licking your hair! Crazy. Apparently it's fairly common. He also adored the colour Purple.. if there was something purple, you can be pretty sure he would be found sat on it! :D Being that Purple and Green are my favourite colours.. he didn't do badly for Purple seating arrangements!

Anyway, we had Magick for three years.. in which time, we often wondered how old he was.. and presumed he was about two or three when we first got him. However, the vet now thinks that the problem he died from, indicated he was much older.

Magick showed signs of illness a few days before my birthday, he started to walk differently and miaowed in pain if you picked him up a certain way. Initially, I thought that maybe he had hurt his leg in a brawl with Mojo, then I considered it might be his hip. Then I realised that he wasn't going to the toilet. Cats have to be indoors in Finland - they are not allowed out - (although many do - but not mine). So, I knew that he was just sitting in the tray and not doing anything. I rang the vet.

It was the sunday. Why do these things always happen on a sunday? The emergency service was only available in Kemijärvi. That's another good 100km drive from here. The vet suggested that I give him some paraffin oil - to get him to 'go'. Of course, I didn't have any! It's not what most people keep in the house is it! I found the number for a Sodankylä vet, who was off duty - and whilst she wouldn't see Magick as she was off duty, she did agree to give me 20mls of paraffin oil in a syringe so that I could start trying that, but get to the vets on Monday. A friend of mine, who lives near to the vet, collected it for me and dropped it off. Thanks Sari. (I have some very good friends here!)

Magick with one of the kittens from Mojo and Maia's pairing in 2008.
Gaia also in the pic facing away..

Well, it didn't make one iota of difference, other than it made Magick sick a couple of hours after having just a few mils of the stuff. He became confused and I was really worried. At 8am, on the Monday morning, I rang the vets. You have to ring the same day here.. to the vets or the doctors etc.. to get a time. In the case of the vet.. they might well be out on rounds (especially with Reindeer) so sometimes you just have to wait! I was lucky, I got an appointment for 12 noon.

The vet was rather concerned because Magick was so dehydrated. As I stood there with him, the vet put him on a drip. However prior to this, for some reason he had anaesthetised him. I am still not sure why. I guess so that he could feel around his belly without hurting him. He discovered a swelling the size of a tennis ball. I'd not found it before and felt bad that I hadn't nor did I understand why I hadn't! Again, the vet gave him some medicine to help make him 'go'. He asked me to call again the following day, at 9am to book another appointment, when he would operate to remove whatever the ball was.. in all likelihood a tumour, although it was quite far down in the intestine.

Magick didn't come to, from his mediation, until around 11pm! He was naturally confused, but his walking was worse, he was losing the use of his back legs and miaowing pitifully and with a new deep tone or growl to his voice. He had a sore throat and bad breath and would not drink. When a pet stops drinking..that is a really bad sign. Still, he could not 'go'. He gradually got worse over the night. I stayed up all night with him, as he just could not get comfortable. I rocked him like a baby..that was the only thing that seemed to settle him for a short while. He was in such pain and I felt totally useless.

Happier times, Magick was my baby! Can you see his fangs?

Come 8am and I rang the vet again. I didn't wait till 9am. I was at the vets before he was! As my husband was at work for 7am and had the car, both trips meant potku-ing there on my kicksled, with Magick in the cat box, well insulated from the cold temps, laid on a pillow, a blanket over him and another over the box itself! Not the easiest of trips and the road to the vets was pure ice. Magick miaowed in pain all the way there on the final trip. I was concerned though that another anaesthetic might be a bit much, so soon.

The vet took one look at him and said he would make a start. However, he also said that he had never done this type of operation before - resectioning the intestine. (Inspiring confidence!) However, I thanked him for at least trying..reminded him, that he was the he could do it just fine! (He had already told me that the lady vet there, wouldn't even consider doing such an operation!) He re-anaesthetised Magick and I kissed him goodbye. I said to him that at least, for now, he was out of pain again. He was in the lap of the Gods. The vet said the operation would take about an I sat down to wait outside. I called my husband to let him know.

Only a few minutes passed and I heard walking around and a washing of hands from the vets room. I knew what that meant.. He opened the door and said. "Ok,, he died. He couldn't handle the anaesthetic and he has gone". Then I went in to see him. He was on the table still and worse still.. he was still agape and open from the operation. (The vets show you everything here!) He showed me his necrotic bladder and that the problem was actually uremia..a kidney poisoning that mainly older cats get. He told me not to feel guilty, that I hadn't done anything wrong... that this would have occurred quite recently. That nothing could have been done. He reckoned also that Magick was much older than we had considered.

There was my baby and he was laying dead. I cried and I cried - Oh, how I cried! The vet sewed him up and brought me home in his car, bless him. My potku was collected the next day by my elder son as the vet is next door to the ammattikoulu/college that he attends. My husband drove home from work.. as he couldn't bear to think of me this way, not any day..but least of all, on my birthday. So strange that I should lose him three years on, on my birthday - when he had initially come to me to celebrate that same event.

It is just so awful to lose someone you love...even if to others it is just a pet. His spirit and his energy are so missed in this house. It seems so quiet. I still expect to see his beautiful little face pop up from the end of my son's bed.

He was buried on the 21st up at the pet cemetery. It was 6pm, windy, very dark, bloody cold and very snowy. No time to hang around and get emotional. I wrapped Magick up beforehand, in some black fabric with rainbow cats on it and put in a rose quartz crystal with his body. We all held the crystal (a heart chakra crystal) for a little while, infused it with our love and said our goodbyes. He was buried in the small pet section of the cemetery (the slots are pre-dug and covered over with wood and of course now several inches of snow) then in the spring they will be dealt with properly.

For those of you, that read my blog to find out about about Lapland life...I won't apologise for this being such a long blog purely about my cat. He was a big part of my life. The Rainbow in the Arctic is less colourful for his loss. R.I.P. Magick. Thanks for having had the chance to know and love you. You won't ever be forgotten.