“Sir” Max and “Prince Charming” Flix are the two boys that changed my life completely. Sir Max is a 13-year old, big red tiger tomcat, and Flix is a 16-year old black and white tomcat. Both met at the local animal shelter, and they shared a cat house. And that’s where they also met their future service personnel. Max made the decision. At some point, he has put himself on my bag. Ok, that was a pretty clear signal to do the paperwork with the animal shelter, and to take them home.
Now, it’s one year later. Adopting the boys was one of the best decisions in my life. If there was anything within my heart that had to be opened, the boys did. That’s for sure. I was always hesitating to have animals again (we have had dogs at home, and I worked with horses for many years), but then I caught up with work, I was living a consultant life, which means I was, at least, four days away, week by week, year by year. I didn’t want to force an animal into such a lonely life. Animals deserve a real home. So, the idea was postponed and postponed. Then, I changed my job and could enjoy working most of my time from home; I only had to travel for conferences and client meetings. Woohoo! A perfect prerequisite to have animals again.
Max and Flix took the lead
Max is a pretty bossy tom cat, he is the born territory manager, and he is a bit of a control freak, always monitoring the quality of the service personnel’s work. But it’s funny, he is doing that with so much love and care, that I’m already missing it when he sometimes forgets to do it. He is a very busy cat. And there are so many things he has to supervise. He has to make sure that the beds are made for him to reside on, that space in the closet is ready for him to relax, that the food places and that the cat toilets are cleaned. Whenever that’s done, he makes a quality check. And most important, his red rug has to be cleaned for him. That’s his headquarter place. From the red rug, he is managing the family!
Flix is just the opposite. Not only is he a much smaller cat (Max doubles his height and weight), he is also very shy, and, in the beginning, he was full of fear. He was running away, as soon as a human approached him. Apparently he had to process some bad experience with humans. Then, he didn’t eat in the beginning, and he lost weight, and he was already a thin cat. So, I bought whatever kind of cat food I could get to provide him everything he could probably like. And then, step by step, it became better, he has eaten a bit more every day, and he could slowly be transformed from dry food to wet food. And he fought for his own places and kept Max away from them. Good, he needed many places to hide. And he also respected that the red rug in the entrance area and the big cat tree were Max territory. So, he used the smaller cat tree and some other places, only he could reach. The boys have organized their territory quite nicely.
Caring for an animal with a chronical disease
And with Max came the challenge to deal with a chronical illness: chronical kidney disease CKD. I had to go through myriads of emotions until I figured out that the vet I have chosen in the beginning was not competent at all to deal with this disease. At a certain point when his kidney results became worse, I was told, “that’s all we can do for him.” I stopped everything I was doing, focused on all the research I could get about this disease, was angry with myself that I ever trusted this vet for a minute; then I relaxed again and leveraged the social networks to find people who were dealing with the same challenge. There is indeed a lot what can be done to allow these CKD cats a happy life, but it has to be regularly monitored, and the therapy plan has to be adjusted accordingly. And you need a vet who works with you, not against you. And even more important, you need a group of people who help you through the difficult times, and you need to make tough decisions. One of these decisions was Max’ teeth restoration. He had bad teeth; they were an ongoing source of inflammation that caused the kidneys additional trouble. So, the risk of such an operation had to be evaluated versus the advantages (less inflammation in the body, better for the kidneys). Luckily I have found an excellent animal hospital with lots of experiences, and a special procedure for operations with CKD cats. The day itself was horrible – for Max and me. I had to take Max very early to the animal hospital, without breakfast, of course. He debated the issue with me in the car until we reached the hospital. He never meowed. But here he did, 35 minutes. Then, he got infusions for the next few hours, and I said, I won’t leave him alone, I want to talk to the operating vet. So, I waited. After three hours, the vet came and sat down with me, to explain to me what she would do with him. She checked the blood results again, and I asked, “could I see him again?” She must have seen the tears in my eyes, and she brought him to me. And I will never forget this moment: Max was looking at me, with his eyes full of love, and full of questions “what’s going on, why is this shit here happening? I want to go home.” Oh no… I had brought him into this situation, and of course, he connected this experience with me. I hugged him, and I had to go. I was driving home with tears in my eyes, questioning the decision, but it was too late. As soon as I was at home, the phone rang, the hospital! The vet said the situation would be slightly different. His back teeth were fine, but three of his four fangs had to be removed because of cat caries. A more difficult operation, and she wasn’t sure if the anesthesia would be enough. I asked what her colleagues would suggest, and what she would recommend. Long story short, I decided to proceed, and hoped that the anesthesia would be enough for her to remove the infected teeth all at once. You don’t want to do this again with a CKD cat. Luckily, it worked pretty well. Inhale. Exhale.
I couldn’t do anything useful at home, not to mention working. I picked him up in the evening. I got a morphine for him, and antibiotics as a precaution. He got a fancy cone around his neck, and we were driving home. He was already in the mood to debate the whole situation with me. Again. He made pretty clear that he hated the whole day, and what I was thinking! This is when no valid reason helps.
Long story short: I have spent the next days with him, to care for him, to make his life as good as possible, given the pain in his mouth. A few days later, he was suddenly sitting on the red sofa in my office, and told me that I should continue to work, he wasn’t a baby anymore, and he would be OK. That’s what I needed: his approval! And he recovered pretty fast. He is doing much better, he is feeling much better, and his blood results became slightly better and are now very stable. What a process.
Animal communication to learn more about Flix’ past
Each cat showed certain patterns, as we all have our patterns to deal with. Especially because of Flix’ fears and his often sorrowful eyes, I tried to learn more about his past. So, I worked with an animal communicator, who could connect with him on an energetic level. This way, she could have a conversation with him, and that’s what she could share. So, Flix’ fear came from the fact that at a certain point, he could no longer return to his home. And he has loved his home. The door didn’t open for him anymore. He was offered a place in a garage, and all of a sudden, the humans surrounding him had no faces. The story with his human is not solved for him; maybe his human had an accident or died. This is where his deep sadness came from. It didn’t take a long time until he was a stray cat. And that’s how he got into the animal shelter. Given this highly vulnerable and sensitive tomcat, I can only imagine how much this situation must have damaged his beautiful soul. This is where the deep sadness came from. Good to know.
So I focused even more on spending time with him, on having him on my lap, and simply love him and hold him. We got better over time. In the second half of the year, after a lovely summer, both could enjoy on two balconies (so they could go with the sun), he relaxed more and more. And slowly, he became a brave and cheeky cat. His playful soul helped him as well to deal with his sadness. While playing he could forget his sadness, and now he knows how to use his service personnel to relax, to enjoy life, to be happy.
I cannot put in words, how beautiful it is to share my life with these lovely and wise souls. It’s a tremendous gift, a continuous source of joy and inspiration, and it’s a beautiful responsibility to have.
Rescued animals rescue their humans as much as the other way around. That’s so true. I also had deep downs this year. And whenever such a situation happened, I didn’t need to say anything. No, but Max sensed that immediately. Then, he has always curled up next to me, and he spent the whole night in my bed. In good times, when he feels that I’m fine, he spends the night on his cat tree and comes later or early in the morning. And Flix has another ritual. Whenever I make a cappuccino for me in the afternoon, he joins me on the sofa, jumps on my lap, and we make a ten-minute cuddle break. Then he goes back meditating, and I go back working.
These beautiful souls have inspired me in so many ways that I can hardly describe it with words. They taught me to live in the moment because “I want to be hugged now” doesn’t allow to be postponed. They taught me to play when it’s time for a play, and they taught me when I should make a break, and they taught me what priorities mean: having a cat on the lap; cuddling and loving the cat is always the first priority.
Who would argue with that?
I love these boys very much. And I will do whatever I can to make their life as happy as possible. They had enough misery to experience, and they deserve to be happy tomcats. They don’t need to worry any longer. They are in their forever home.