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Elfman-2 Good 2 Ever B 4gotten

July 21, 2011

We have been blessed with many special pets over the years.  There have been only short periods in my life when we have not had a pet.  We have had cats, dogs, mice, hamsters, fish, turtles, birds, a duck, bunnies, guinea pigs, a tarantula and a snake (the last two were NOT my idea) thankfully not all at once!  The constant pets have been cats and each one has had a distinct personality and some have had more personality than others. 


One such cat that was filled with personality was a skinny orange cutie named Elfman.  She was from Ludwig’s second litter and she was the only kitten we kept from that litter, the rest were taken to a pet shop.  We weren’t even supposed to keep her but thanks to a strange twist of fate she was ours.  We never intended for Ludwig to ever have kittens but that is another story for another post…

My beautiful little fiery Elfman

Elfman was an adorable little kitten with bright orange striped fur and big light goldish green eyes and she was trouble from early on.  Elfman started hanging out with Fangy even though Elfman was just a kitten and Fangy was full-grown.  I have established in an earlier post that Fangy could be naughty.  One morning when Fangy was being naughty she jumped on an adjustable shelf in the bathroom and knocked it down, the shelf hit little Elfman and gave her a bump and a cut on her head.  Elfman was fine just temporarily challenged cosmetically.  This happened right before we were to take the litter to the pet shop.


My sister and I were heartbroken at having to bid the rest of the litter adieu, Honeyman the Russian blue, Jezebel the lovely calico and Amadeus an orange and white cutie.  We simply could not keep them all in our apartment, as we had other cats.  We kept Elfman because we knew the pet shop wouldn’t take her with her bump and cut.  My sister and I were very happy that even through a strange turn of events we were going to keep one of the kittens we cared for and weaned. 

She was full of spunk

Elfman was devilishly naughty pretty much from birth.  She was smart and she always looked like she was up to something…and I think she probably was.  I loved her, but for the first two years or so of her life she didn’t care for me, at all.  As favorite people go, I was on the bottom of her list and my sister was on the top.  My sister had Fangy and Elfman as her devotees.  I had Mica who adored me (I don’t know if I will ever be able to write about her) from Ludwig’s first litter and Ludwig who loved everybody.  This was pretty much the way things were even after we moved again, this time to a townhouse. 


A while after we moved into the townhouse, Elfman got very sick, she wasn’t eating and she just wasn’t right.  The night before the vet was to see her we gave her special treatment part of which was keeping her company through the night.  I volunteered to keep her in a basket on my bed and keep watch until she fell asleep.  Little did I know she wouldn’t let me sleep. 


I laid down beside her basket and I watched her and waited for her to close her eyes, I would wait a couple of minutes to be sure she was sleeping and thought it was my chance to get a little sleep.  As soon as I closed my eyes she let out a loud, scolding, “meow”.  I opened my eyes and there she was staring and me with wide-eyed admonition.  This went on all night, every time I closed my eyes hers would open wide and she would meow if I didn’t open mine right away-I had a bit of fun with it for a half an hour or so.  I then decided to keep myself awake because that was the only way she would get some sleep.

Elfman looking thoughtful

Near morning my sister relieved me of Elfman duty and I fell asleep, I woke up to find that the vet had taken her for tests.  We didn’t have a car so we had to call the Visiting Vet-a vet and van that came to your home.  When the vet came back with Elfman he told us that he couldn’t find out what was wrong, and he suggested that we put her to sleep.  My family emphatically declined that option.  He told us we would have to force feed her and my sister and I readily agreed to the task.  He shook his head and didn’t think she would make it.  We were given kitty Valium to relax her throat muscles so the food would go down, and a tube of high protein, high calorie food to get nutrients in her. 

Elfman making herself comfortable in a basket atop a bookcase

One of us would hold her while the other would take half a tranquilizer coated in butter, to help it slide down, on the end of a pencil eraser (so she wouldn’t bite us) and place it in her mouth.  We got various baby food flavors to try out on her and we would feed her with a plastic syringe.  We gave her water and corn syrup this way too.  She always made a fuss, but the food stayed down and we went through this ritual at every feeding.  This lasted several weeks. 


Then one day I happened to go in the kitchen at night because I thought I heard something, and there was Elfman licking a pan in the sink!  She had been sneaking food here and there.  My sister and I concluded that she liked the attention that being hand fed gave her.  We kept feeding her by hand a little longer and then we let her know it was time for her to eat on her own.  She liked me a bit better after the entire ordeal, however what really won her over was a special gift I have-my belly rubbing technique, or my “belly rubbing ways” as my family refers to it. 


One day, I don’t remember how or why, but I picked her up and cradled her and began rubbing her belly.  I know, it seems like something so simple, but it won her over completely and made her completely confident and comfortable to ask for belly rubs whenever she wanted which was quite often.  She would jump on me, and assume the position.  She would get in my arms and flip over belly up.  She could stay like that for hours while I was watching TV or a movie and just stretch out her legs and purr while intermittently making kneading motions with

her front paws. 

Elfman lounging on the church bulletin and just looking her adorable self

She was my sweet and faithful companion for many years, over 10 after the vet had told us to put her to sleep.  She got sick many years later and had an episode where we thought it was over.  Veronica brought her to me because she thought it would give Elfman comfort to be with me until she passed.  She wrapped her in a towel and gave her to me; she seemed to be already going into shock.  I held her to me and put my blanket over her too, and slept with her.  She rallied and gave us three more months to show her how much she was truly loved. 


Her last three months she was treated like the queen that she was.  I cooked for her every night.  Near the end, the last couple of days, she didn’t even want her special food and we knew she was fading.  Even to the end she showed us how much she loved us.  She wanted to be with us when she died.


We came home and she was on the console table in the front hall anxiously waiting for us.  You could almost see the relief in her eyes that we had gotten there.  I went up to her and she began to get sick, and she eventually jumped to the floor.  Veronica went and gathered some towels and blankets to make her comfortable and Elfman began to die.  It was quick but seemed to last forever; but in the end she didn’t want to leave without saying goodbye and having us by her side. 

Simply Elfman

She will have been gone 8 years this September; I love her and miss her still.  It doesn’t matter how many pets you have…each one is individual and irreplaceable and a part of you.  They teach us to love and care for another living thing, and they teach us how to grieve and how to let go and how to love and begin again.  They are a part of the family and you will miss them until you are together once more.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Fern permalink
    July 21, 2011 1:32 am

    She was so beautiful! I have to admit, reading this brought a tear to my eye. What a special kitty she was!

  2. July 21, 2011 5:00 am

    This one is too sad-write up something jaunty! Hee. I remember her love for cheeseburgers and fear of men. She used to sit in my lap when we watched the House of Elliot. I think it was to steal food but maybe she loved the fashions.

    • July 21, 2011 10:23 am

      I will try to make the next one more of an upper! Hey, there doesn’t only ever have to be one Elfman post…her fear of men was amazing! Maybe it was a combination of food and fashion and good company. 😉

  3. July 21, 2011 9:38 am

    Great post! Thank you for sharing:)

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