Nipper Has Cancer

bakemom_gw(z6 Central Ohio)March 21, 2005

Nipper is 15 years old and a wonderful old man cat. My favorite memories are of him and my oldest son (now 19) with my son in his footie jammies with his crocheted blankie in one hand and Nipper in another (in a death grip) climbing up his bunk bed each night. (the cat never flinched).

He would carefully fold the blankie. Nipper would then take his cue (after getting enough oxygen) and flop down on the blankie. Michael would then go to sleep with his head on his cat. Every night.

Years later, when Michael left for college (he hasn't been gone more than 5 days at a time) I thought Nipper would just go to sleep under his favorite tree and not wake up. Turns out, he developed a lump in his neck that he's been scratching. We took him to the vet Friday and the biopsy came back today.

He has cancer and there's really nothing to do (I looked at the options) other than to keep him comfortable for a few months and then take him in when his bad days overshadow his good ones.

I know people here have serious issues and I don't want to seem like a whiner, but this has devastated us. It's been me and my three kids and our three cats for 11 years and we are all a team. Funny thing is, my middle boy (15) had his artwork (photography) selected for display in the muni building this spring. It's a photo study of Nipper.

He's a grand old cat. Loves everyone - crazy as can be - I have 100 stories. It's just horrible. We donate to Cat Welfare here in Columbus each month and socialize the cats. I think it would be a tribute to Nips to immediately (upon his death) adopt one of the older Cat Welfare cats who would do well in our situation - teens and two cats.

I'm mourning tonight. I know there are worse things going on in this world and we are quite blessed. I've made most of the calls to friends and family - just wanted to share a bit with my other friends on Garden Web - Mary in particular.

I was going to delete this as it seems silly and trivial, but I think there are those out there who understand.

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I am so sorry to hear this. Lost one to cancer and it was sad. I miss my old friends too . They are all cats but all one of a kind.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2005 at 8:57PM
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SusanC(9b/10a Sunset 17)

I'm so very, very sorry that you are facing the loss of an old and good cat friend. I admire you for committing to rescue an older cat when the time comes; There are so many kitties that need homes, and they all have so much love to give, especially the older, scared ones. A book that gave me some comfort during a similar time was "When Your Pet Dies: Dealing With Your Grief and Helping Your Children Cope" by Christine Adamec. Hugs to you and your Nipper.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2005 at 9:07PM
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Bakemom, so sorry to hear about Nipper. There are plenty of us who understand. Be thankful that you have the photos - and especially the memories.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2005 at 9:08PM
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I'm so sorry Bakemom. I know how hard it is to lose a pet. If you weren't mourning, what would be the point of having your Nipper to start with. He is a family member too. Our 19 yr. old cat, Dickens, is our baby now that our kids are raised with kids of their own & cats of their own. I'm so glad you didn't delete your post as you need to feel the compassion of all of us here. Take Care.


    Bookmark   March 21, 2005 at 9:08PM
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PVick(6b NYC)

I'm so sorry to hear this, Karen. I can identify totally with what you are feeling. Nothing silly or trivial about it at all ....

My Petey (my "husband" of almost 18 years) died almost two weeks ago. God, I miss that cat!

Just about anything I can think of to say sounds so trite. But know that I'll be keeping both you and Nipper in my thoughts.

You should share some more stories - I can just see your son so carefully folding his blankie and Nipper flopping! Quite a picture!


    Bookmark   March 21, 2005 at 9:13PM
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neonposey(z7 NC)

Bakemom, I am so terribly sorry to hear about Nipper. Its not silly or trivial. Its a big deal. Our pets are members of our family too and they have such wonderful little spirits and such big hearts. When they're sick and dying we grieve. And when they're gone, they're missed. I'm so sorry for what you and your family are going thru... and will go thru. But I know you'll do the right thing for Nipper and when its his time, you'll help him go peacefully and without suffering. I enjoyed reading about him and your son and would love to hear more about him if you want to talk. I'd love to see a picture too so I can keep his little face in my thoughts. I think I've seen one before. Is he gray? Or black and white?

My beagle/dauschand mix was missing for 6 hours yesterday and I cried for 4 of them. he went out to PP and never stays gone that long and I was just sure something horrible had happened to him. When he finally decided to roam back home I was able to settle down a little bit and plant a few sprouts but my nerves were shot by then so I just finally gave up. come to find out, he has a little sweetie up the street, so right after easter... snip snip for him. My nerves never did settle down all day yesterday.

Anyway... my point is, there are lots of us folks out here that do understand what it is to deeply love an animal. I lost one of my cats a little over a year ago and still miss him every day.

I'll keep your family, and especially Nipper, in my prayers.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2005 at 9:21PM
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bakemom_gw(z6 Central Ohio)

Thanks so much. He's here and feeling fine. He's had more deli ham and deli turkey than any one cat should have. My 19 year old came home and spent some time with him and left. I don't think he wanted me to see his tears.

We have some time, so that's ok.

PV - I enjoyed Gracie so much and understood your loss with the fab mr. Pete. You know where I am.

For a first story - Nipper is one of those vocal cats. They received reinforcement during kitten years for yowling and kept it up for treats. If you know cats, you know a yowler.

Nipper injured his paw when he was a young cat. The vet (also young) thought it was a thorn and removed it. I believe, years later, this young vet removed a bone. He no longer practices vet med and works for a pet food company. Whatever.

However, Nips had a formidable cast and much sympathy from a houseful of young children. He loved the attention. Subsequently, he learned how to raise the afflicted paw and get basically whatever he wanted.

At the same time, there was this show of America's Funniest Pets, where they actually taught a cat to talk. The cat was a yowler and they basically got the thing to make words. It was very funny. Nipper was a candidate and I thought I could give it a shot.

So, I'm trying to get Nipper to vocalize and he's trying to manipulate deli ham. So we compromised and he learned to say "HAM" while raising his crazy paw. It has worked for years and he's ended up 12.8 pounds. Buy stock in Hillsboro Farms. Just a tip.

It's been a family joke for years. None of us really think a thing of it. He walks to the kitchen, raises that paw and says HAM. We give him ham (he lives on cat chow and suppliments - this is a treat).

Other people don't really understand this joke. They nod and smile and indulge us our family humor, but they think it's really just a figment of our imagination. Until...

Michael's girlfriend was over and they were making frozen pizza and watching movies. She's a very sweet, polite girl who puts up with our eccentric ways. Apparently, she was up in the kitchen pulling the pizza out of the oven (we have a 4 level split and Michael was downstairs) and Nipper walked in, lifted his paw and said HAM. She's been around for several years, but didn't really understand and freaked out.

I walked in and she was gasping "the damn cat actually said HAM - I thought you guys were kidding." She doesn't cuss. I told her that while it was a family joke, it was based on fact.

The cat raises his paw and says, "HAM." Seriously. We have had him switching paws if the begging goes on too long. Otherwise, he's a legend here.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2005 at 9:35PM
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I am so sorry to hear about your "Nipper". You know, at times like this, I'm just not sure there is anything worse. I lost my beloved Abby on August 31st 2004. She was my best friend, fur or otherwise and lived to the ripe old age of 18. My son never knew life without her. I am sure that to this day my Abby is still with me. I miss her, she's gone physically from me but her love is still here. I've gotten to the point now that when I think of her I smile and it's easier. She would actually pet us back! I would lay on the couch, she on my chest, I'd stroke her head and she'd stroke my cheek with her paw! I pray that the time Nipper has left is as pain-free as can be, and that you and your family remain strong through this.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2005 at 9:36PM
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So sorry for your bad news. Maybe a little poem for you and Nipper could help.

Make good his time which yet be left,
Memories will leave you not bereft,
Stow this time so very well spent,
Right up until ole Nipper's went.

The years, they brings us such moments sublime,
And love brings us through them; time after time.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2005 at 10:37PM
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Scratch his ears for me, and tell him to say hello to Snow, Helen, Frodo, Fartsie, Rad, Suzie, Bear, Tag and especially Buddy, when he gets to the Rainbow Bridge.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2005 at 10:13AM
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Donn, "Fartsie"? I bet the neighbors loved it when you called that one in!

    Bookmark   March 22, 2005 at 10:34AM
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mrsbee(Zone 5 IL)

Sorry to hear about Nipper, Bakemom. Its gray and cloudy here today so your story just added to the "blah" day. BUT you do have alot of wonderful memories to treasure and I have enjoyed the stories you tell of Nipper. He sounds like he has a great personality so please keep posting more. Sometimes talking about it is the best medicine...

God bless you and your family,

    Bookmark   March 22, 2005 at 10:34AM
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Also very sorry about your bad news :( I also know the pain of losing wonderful and dear furry companions. I have always taken comfort from the fact that they had a charmed and wonderful life while they were in my care...and I gave them as much love as possible. Recently, I lost a dear old friend too...a grey Tabby named Doug. I went to the local SPCA and rescued two that were homeless...and now I lavish them with love. Dougie would be pleased.
Enjoy the time you have left with Nipper and let him go before he suffers...that will be a true gift of love to him.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2005 at 11:38AM
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ronald(Z5 MI)

I feel your pain. A few years ago we lost Midnight. She was 19 and was a real part of the family. I couldn't sit down to read a newspaper. She figured my lap was the best seat in the house.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2005 at 11:59AM
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slubberdegulion(z7 VA)

My second cat Maybelle lived into her 20's and I still talk about her. I was a small chunky kid and when she stretched out, we were the same size. She was an unholy terror and we fought tooth and claw for dominance when we were young. Between the two of us, we ran off Quaalude (the neighbors' soporific cat) and the Nestor girls (mean girls who might, at any time, put a bee in your shorts!). I still miss her now, more than 10 years after her passing and I can very well appreciate your grief. Hang in there!

    Bookmark   March 22, 2005 at 1:16PM
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mellen(4a/5-ctrl. IA)

Bakemom, I know exactly where you are coming from. Cats are family. I had a cat named Nipper, also. I named her that 'cuz when she was young, she would nip on our fingers and toes. She lived to be 18. How did you pick the name? I love the stories. Share some more? Mellen

    Bookmark   March 22, 2005 at 2:20PM
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ginam_oh(COL/OH z5)

I'm so very sorry to hear about Nipper. He sounds like a king among cats. And being devastated is completely understandable. Frankly, I'd be more troubled if you weren't devastated. The devastation stems from huge love, which unfortunately also means huge loss. I love your idea of paying tribute to Nipper by adopting an older cat from a shelter. What a beautiful way to remember him and to help another animal in need.

I suddenly and unexpectedly lost my feline soulmate in April of 2002 (we had two other cats at the time, but Skiddie was my girl). There are still times when I expect to see her and it hurts more than I ever could have imagined to realize again and again that she's gone.

We paid tribute to her by adopting a special needs kitty that otherwise might not have found a home....everybody wants the cute, fluffy kittens and while she was a kitten (and she was absolutely adorable to us), most other people don't regard her as "cute." Now, nearly three years later, Birdie is the light of this household. Every day is new and exciting, and she retains her kittenish joy at finding a spider, or a leaf, or an ankle that just happens to be passing by at the right moment.

Skiddie is looking down from the Rainbow Bridge waiting for me--I'm sure of it--but until that day comes I'm going to enjoy the love of as many kitties as will love me.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2005 at 2:22PM
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anna_in_quebec(z4 QC)

As a big-time cat lover (I have 8!), I have experienced the pain of a loss many times. It never gets easier - we just hold them and love them as long as we can. But I agree with Gina for sure, that I will have them as long as they will have me. All of mine are rescues - and almost all were doomed to a horrible fate had I not taken them in. One does not replace another, they are like snowflakes - all special and unique. I have a quite a herd waiting for me at the rainbow bridge - well, except perhaps for the ever-aloof Buster, (who'd run from me when I'd make a move to pick him up). He'll probably see me coming and say "oh, it's her - maybe I'll say hello a bit later". He was so elegant and I loved him anyway.



    Bookmark   March 22, 2005 at 3:08PM
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I'm so sorry to hear about your cat. The next few months will be a time for love and'll know when it's time.

Hang in there...we've all been through this too, you're not alone and we share our love with all of you.


    Bookmark   March 22, 2005 at 4:00PM
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bludog1(4 Rockey Mt)

I know how sad what your going through is I lost my dog and my cat within a six month time period. They were both quite old but it is quite lonlely with out them.
I didn't get another animal yet can't seem to go get another animal kind of sad but i do babysit all the dogs in the neighborhood. I have a sheltie for three weeks that gets me my dog fix and then they go home.
Hope all goes well

    Bookmark   March 22, 2005 at 5:37PM
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Ah when Boo had this, well I bought him cocktail shrimp for dinner each and every night, my husband came in and asked? "The cat is having shrimp for dinner and we are having chicken?' Oh no dear, Boo is having shrimp and chicken. Seemed only fitting for him.

Miss that cat dearly

    Bookmark   March 22, 2005 at 7:58PM
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Karen, I tried to respond last night but could not do so.I am saddened to learn of your dear cat being so ill.I adore cats and lost one about three years ago.I still miss her and will not have another.Enjoy the time you have left together. Gabriell

    Bookmark   March 22, 2005 at 8:51PM
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bakemom_gw(z6 Central Ohio)

Thank you all so much for your wonderful words. I made it through work today with just a few tearing up moments. I appreciate ALL the sentiments both posted and the kind personal messages as well. We're doing OK for now. When I came home from work, there was more ham scattered around the kitchen - the kids are stuffing that cat. Maybe the cancer won't get him - he'll have a heart attack from all the treats.

The name comes from the RCA dog - Nipper and the advertising logo where the dog is listening to the gramaphone to his master's voice. There's a link below. My first career was as a radio newsanchor/reporter and I have an extensive collection of vintage radios and some nice examples of vintage phonographs.

Nipper is famous for lying out in the open in the front yard, paws over his head and his hind legs stretched out - breaking wind. It looks a little crazy. Our neighborhood has a strict leash law and each evening we have a virtual dog show. The dogs see him lying on his back all spread out like that and go nuts on their leashes trying to get into our yard. You can tell when Nipper is farting because his legs twitch ever so slightly.

One of my friends who is a cat lover was fascinated by this strange performance. One evening after a few cocktails, she ran out into the yard, flopped on her back, arms overhead and legs stretched out and joined Nipper in a serious gas passing session. I was aghast and delighted at the same time and watched this flatulent duet from the front porch nearly doubled over laughing.

My friend told me that Nipper really had this love of life thing down and it was very freeing and relaxing to join him for a few toots in the yard. To date, I have only taken her word for it. Who knows what this last spring will bring ....

Here is a link that might be useful: Origin of Nipper - His Master's Voice

    Bookmark   March 22, 2005 at 9:35PM
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Hi Karen,
I am so sorry to hear of this news. I, too, know how bad you and the kids feel. Our furry friends become family...they give so much love and happiness to us all.
We can only give them the best home/life as possible and 'remember the good times'

give Nipper a ((hug)) from me..
kindest regards,

    Bookmark   March 22, 2005 at 9:49PM
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not_a_contessa(z5b S Central PA mtns.)

Bakemom, I don't know what's worse, knowing for a time that they are going or having them suddenly get sick and have to be put down. Either way, you'll blubber like a baby at the oddest times, think you see them when you don't, or in Hobie's case, think it's him snoring when it's actually my husband. All three of us snored, so none of us was kept awake by it.

Hobie was very vocal too, and his favorite word was "Af" which DH quickly followed with "lack...Aflack, dummy". What a pair!! He was my husbands first cat, DH used to be strictly a Doberman fan. Hobie changed all that.

My middle daughter who lives in SC has 6 cats, and her cat Fatty is probably 17 or 18. When she loses him, I'll have to go to SC because she'll be a basket case. When she found him he was living out of a dumpster in CT. There's nothing pretty about Fatty, but he is her best cat.

PV, I'm so sorry about Mr. Petes. You suddenly got very quiet here on the forum, and I wondered if there was another sadness in your life to deal with. And so there is, and I understand your pain.

To all of you who have lost pets recently, I can almost guarantee that Hobie will meet them in cat heaven, and invite them over for a beer. That's the kind of guy he was.


    Bookmark   March 22, 2005 at 10:31PM
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Mandyvilla(7a No.VA)


When reading your post, I was saddened with my own memories. I will be thinking of you in your grief.

The other thought that came across is your thought that your grief was insignificant to others.


Take care,

    Bookmark   March 23, 2005 at 9:38AM
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grrltrouble(z6 SE Mich)

I am thinking of you and your family, and glad that you have shared with us. As everyone else has said, our pets are part of our families and their loss can be so hard. Take extra good care of him while you can, and cherish the memories of the years you had each other.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2005 at 1:20PM
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I am very sorry bakemom.
I also have a 14 year old cat and three aging dogs.
Also, I had lost two cats several years back.
So, I really understand how are you feeling right now.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2005 at 1:56PM
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Never apologize for feeling grief and sadness- it means you are capable of love and kindness. I lost my Spoofer after 14 years and it was devastating but I realize that the only way to avoid that pain would have been to not have her in my life--something I would never want to consider. I since adopted two unwanted kitties and have come to love them dearly--and they make me laugh!!!

Know we understand.
miss dirt

    Bookmark   March 23, 2005 at 6:58PM
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neonposey(z7 NC)

Bakemom, can we have another Nipper story tonite?

    Bookmark   March 23, 2005 at 7:13PM
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bakemom_gw(z6 Central Ohio)

Nipper has lusted after birds all his life. He has spent his entire life with one mission - catch a bird. He has sorely lost.

In Oklahoma, in our suburban neighborhood, we decided we would all get ducks for our kids for Easter (one of those hoods competely filled with young families and tons of kids - we were on the edge of the county and had a greenbelt with a creek through the neighborhood). One neighbor promised that he had a spot for them later and all the million kids in the hood would have a riot with new spring ducks.

We did and I have the pictures. Problem is, Nipper had his bird lust. Here's some cute birds he could probably catch. Second problem is that they imprinted on him and took off after him. He fled in terror and never really got over it.

Next, one of the ducklings died. So I substituted it with a gosling. Nipper was again enthralled until it got bigger than him and more aggressive than he has ever been from day one. The goose chased him and pecked at him. Foiled again.

No luck. Then we adopted a great rabbit named Pumpkin. He was fab- about 20 pounds of red fur - a fuzzy lop. He screwed everything in sight. I caught him with my daughter's Mickey Mouse in the Fantasia costume and decided enough was enough and he needed to be neutered.

In the meantime, Nipper had decided he could catch this rabbit (8 pounds his senior) and crawled after him. Pumpkin decided it was love and you can imagine the rest. Nips retreated completely disgusted and puzzled.

Poor Nips. There was a bird with a nest in the yard across the street in Oklahoma. I don't know what kind of bird it was, but the darn thing chased Nips home everyday screaming and swooping to protect its young. He came home wailing almost everyday and ran indoors for shelter.

Nipper did bring a few birds home as kills. Problem is, they were hit by cars, flattened and dried by the time he got them. The joke is that we knew Nips had brought it home as the carcass had Firestone stamped on its forehead. No satisfaction for Nips.

Finally, one day in Oklahoma, I opened the door and found a thigh of original recipe Kentucky Fried Chicken on the front porch. Nips couldn't be prouder. (We don't like dark meat, but I thought it was not the time to press that point). He was standing there like a true dragonslayer. I have no idea where it came from. It was a whole thigh unmarred. None of my neighbors were missing KFC so I have no clue where he stole it.

He was lavished with praise for being a good cat. His only true kill.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2005 at 9:53PM
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blackcat333(z6 NY)

So sorry to hear your news, Karen. Enjoy the time you have left and when it comes time to let go, know you're doing the right thing for Nipper and that he loves you as much as you love him.

I had to put my first cat, Marmalade, to sleep when I was in college, and I cried like a baby.

Keep the stories coming. They are great! And cats can sure pass some rank gas, can't they?

    Bookmark   March 23, 2005 at 9:57PM
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PVick(6b NYC)

Rank isn't the word! I swear I never smelled cat gas until I got this new one! LOL! She's sleeping in my lap now, happily farting away. I'll be right back ........

Had to get her out of my lap. She was killing me!

Nipper may never have gotten his bird, but he sure as heck gets his ham! What a character your Nipper is ...........


    Bookmark   March 23, 2005 at 11:24PM
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dighappy(z7 NJ)

Bakemom.....just wanted to say how sorry I am to hear about Nipper....I never realized how easy it was to fall utterly in love with a cat until one showed up on my doorstep. Of course, now I have 4 (and 7 kittens, yikes!) and each one is precious to me. Your Nipper stories are delightful, I truly think you should write a book and call it "My adventures with Nipper". I am sure it would be a best seller. We all understand and feel your pain, there is no need to apologize for sharing the love you feel for your Nipper with your friends here. Please keep the Nipper stories coming and consider writing that book....I for one would be happy to buy it.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2005 at 10:47PM
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earthlydelights(6 pushing 7)


heartfelt thoughts are with you. i don't own a cat, but i do have a dog who means more to me than quite a lot of humans i know. she was terribly ill this time last year and i cried for days straight - on the train to and from work, the grocery store, in my car, at work...didn't matter where, the tears just didn't stop. she is my baby and i can't believe the love i feel for an "animal" (although she is mostly human :)

last year we added a second dog to our family. unfortunately, he didn't live too long and i still get teary-eyed thinking about him. especially now that his memorial garden is beginning to bloom. we only had that baby a month, but fell in love from day one.

i don't find it silly and trivial to express your love as well as your grief. i find it compassionate, warm, human and quite loving.

God Bless You and your Family.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2005 at 1:00AM
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not_a_contessa(z5b S Central PA mtns.)

Bakemom, please put up a picture of Nipper so we all can see him and get to know him. It helps later to have those pictures, I go to them often to say Hi to my cats who are gone.

Before I lost Sophia, I held her all of the time and told her how much I loved her. She wanted to stay warm on my lap and hated being put back down on the floor. I had beds for her in a couple of her favorite places.

Hobie never was much of a lap cat, but after Sophia died he started to show more interest in being on my lap and he was so big I would have to put a towel on my lap to cradle him so he wouldn't slide off. He loved to be petted and give my fingers cat licks and nips, a real expression of kitty affection. I used to tell him "Aw, you loves your mums" and I would give him a squeeze and a smooch. Then he would fall asleep. I knew he was getting older, but I always thought I'd have him for few more years.

As I write this, I can look out my window at the birdfeeder, and Hobs is buried close by, next to my tree-stump garden of red Monarda, white Shasta Daisies, and blue Veronica. We planted a flowering crab-apple about 10 feet away from there. He never chased birds, but he loved to watch them, so I think this is a good place for him. If I ever find an orange cat statue that looks like him, I'll add it to the garden.

Sophia is buried in the back yard of my daughter's house because she started out as my daughter's cat, and my grandsons wanted her to be there. A rose bush grows on the fence next to her grave.


    Bookmark   March 25, 2005 at 12:07PM
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bakemom_gw(z6 Central Ohio)

Will do this weekend. Thanks to everyone for support. Perhaps others who have stories would like to share as well. Seems this thread has a lot of folks who have lost. Please feel free to add.

Love those kitty nips. Non-pet owners seem to be suprised those loving nips demonstrate love.

Nipper is doing great! Thanks again everyone.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2005 at 10:20PM
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neonposey(z7 NC)

Bakemom: whats Nipper having for Easter dinner?

    Bookmark   March 26, 2005 at 11:54AM
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ccoupkir(z5 Il)

Bakemom, My heart just aches for you and I have tears in my eyes. I, too, have spent my life with cats. My siamese lived to be almost 21. She got sick and died within 18 hours. What a blessing! However, the love of my life is a 22 pound (huge barn kitty)red classic tabby named Oscar. He is 10. I waited 20 years for a cat like him. He thinks that he's a dog, greets everyone at the door, spends every moment with me when I'm home (even helped me ws!)and chases dogs! Six months ago he was diagnosed with diabetes. Although I knew it was treatable in most cases, I thought my heart would shrivel up and die I was so sad. It end's up that he is what is called and "uncomplicated case". Two shots a day and Rx food and he is back to his old self. THey don't know if he will live a full life span ( 17 years) but it is possible. Anyway, I decided that I will doubly appreciate him every single day we have together. He's still not going to be too spoiled, but I feel the need to truly appreciate everything he adds to my life. We are so very lucky to have "special" animals in our lives. I will keep both you and Nipper in my prayers. In the mean time, be sure to enjoy every day with him for they are all gifts.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2005 at 12:46PM
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bakemom_gw(z6 Central Ohio)

Here is a picture of Nipper taken about 10 minutes ago.

Here is a picture of all three cats. The white one is Beetle, then Nipper and the blue and white is Maggie.

Here's a pic of just Maggie. She's 22 months old.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2005 at 4:18PM
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not_a_contessa(z5b S Central PA mtns.)

Bakemom, this is what I think I see in Nipper. Hobie had to be part Maine Coon. They are extraordinary cats, and that could explain his talking. Does he chirp at the birds? Tell me what you think.

Boy, this has got to be an awfully tough time for all of you.


Here is a link that might be useful: Maine Coon

    Bookmark   March 26, 2005 at 5:52PM
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bakemom_gw(z6 Central Ohio)

I think you're on to something. Both Maggie and Nipper have the same tail, vocalizations, and chirps. They don't chirp at birds, but they do chirp at me. Both are stocky in the front and taller in the back. They are water cats and enjoy digging just for fun.

Nipper was born in Oklahoma City. Maggie was a rescue kitten at Cat Welfare here in Columbus, Ohio. Although neither one is a tabby, I always thought they resembled Maine Coon.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2005 at 7:00PM
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PVick(6b NYC)

Yup, they're part Maine Coon! Both Mandy and Petey were part Maine Coon - very, very vocal cats with that distinctive bushy tail. Mandy looked very much like Nipper, but with the finer features of Maggie. And Petey looked like Maggie, just reversed coloring.

They are all beautiful!

Nipper looks like he's feeling pretty OK .. good to see.

How does Beetle stay so clean?


    Bookmark   March 26, 2005 at 8:28PM
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bakemom_gw(z6 Central Ohio)

I thought Petey looked a lot like Maggie. Same reasons. Nipper is in great shape for 15 years. Vet said he was quite healthy and looked wonderful. In fact, they thought the wound was just an infection until I told her about the lump. Nips is feeling fine and will enjoy a delicious Easter meal of diced Hillshire Farms deli ham.

Bee is an 8 year old formerly feral cat I rescued from a park in Oklahoma City. She weighed less than 4 pounds (she's a plump 9 now) and was dying of basically everything. She crawled into my car in a last ditch effort to save her life. I ran her straight to the vet who, unfortunately, was hungover after a tequila night with the girls. Luckily my vet was overly kind although I told her to charge me full price. (I think she lied and totally cut the price - great gal).

Bee is one of those feral cats that was horrible for the first few months. Six months into domesticity the light bulb went on and she is now devoted to cleanliness, warmth, comfort and perfect food. A total princess. I have heard other stories about ferals who decide the following: "I have been rich and I have been poor. Rich is better."

    Bookmark   March 26, 2005 at 8:49PM
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not_a_contessa(z5b S Central PA mtns.)

No wonder we love them so much, they're more like little buddies than pets. Hobie didn't have a bushy tail, but he had the Maine Coon tiny little voice that just didn't sound like it could be coming out of a gentle giant.

He was also a water cat, having lived on a houseboat the whole summer before I took him. They said he loved to watch herons and ducks, and more than once he nearly went into the canal.

He would catch his prey, read that catnip ball, with both paws. He loved deli ham and turkey but his favorite food was french fries, and I think he learned that when he was a young stray at the marina. He loved any kind of seafood, and would really carry on whenever I opened tuna or clam cans.

The day I picked him up to take him home, my houseboat friend cried her eyes out, and I couldn't understand all the emotion over a cat that only lived with her over the summer. I soon got to know what that was all about. If I am ever going to have more cats my first effort will be to rescue a Maine Coon mix.

It's been 4 months since I lost Hobie and I still have not been able to write more about him to my houseboat friend, except to let her know that he was gone. I think I can do that now, it's getting easier because I've been writing here.


    Bookmark   March 26, 2005 at 8:51PM
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mrsbee(Zone 5 IL)

Handsome cats Bakemom! Nipper reminds me of our cat we had named Ollie. Looks just like him. Have a great Easter!


    Bookmark   March 26, 2005 at 10:02PM
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becksyard(z6 PA)

Karen, I saw your post a few days ago but had to wait until an appropriate time to read everyone's response and post my own thoughts. You know, a time when DH isn't around to wonder why I'm sitting in front of the computer bawling like a baby. Not that I'm embarrassed, I'm just sparing him the emotional distress.
You see, 2 1/2 years ago DH and I said goodbye to our "once-in-a-lifetime" companion. Our Foxy, the sweetest little Pomeranian dog, roamed into our lives as a tick-infested, flea-ridden scroungy little thing. She was with us for only 7 years and people said how at least we gave the little stray a good home in her final years. No, she gave US a good home. The food and warm bed were only repayment to her for her kindness and devotion.
DH and I both had pets previously in our lives but no loss was as devastating as letting go of Foxy. We cried and held each other for a week afterwards. I still cannot bear to see her picture and the family rarely mentions her name. We are not forgetting her, it's just that the pain of loss is still too fresh.
So, your are definitely not alone. We all know the time will come, but that doesn't make it any easier. I would have spent my last dime on Foxy had I known it would make her life more fulfilled. But she had kidney disease and there's not much you can do. And I loved her enough to know that fancy treatments would just prolong the inevitable. I wanted her to be happy, not me. You know what they say, money can't buy happiness. So the day came, much to soon, that her devoted brown eyes had a look of sadness behind them and I knew it was time to say goodbye.
I hope I haven't been too much of a downer today. Just wanted to share my story since I have been in your shoes. I found WS after Foxy was gone and one of the first things I sowed was Foxy Foxglove. Thanks to Trudi and everyone here, her memory is now running all around the yard and I sowed more this year to plant on her grave.
I think it's great that you'll adopt an older cat when Nipper is gone. We have since found another Pom that needed a home. Nothing will take their place but might as well try to fill the void. In the meantime, don't dwell too much on the end. It will only spoil the remaining time you have left with your Nipper. He looks fit and sassy. Give him a scratch on the chinney-chin for me.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2005 at 10:12AM
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lblack61(z5 NY)

I'm so sorry. I always knew I loved animals and I resisted getting any pets for several years before I picked up a cat at the Humane Society. I used to resist getting a pet because I knew how intimate the emotional relationship becomes between a pet and his/her human. Now I have three cats and a dog. The passing of any of them (and myself) is inevitable, but it doesn't make it feel any better when the time comes.
Love him with everything you have, try to make him comfortable, and be present in every minute you have with him. They are knowing as much as (if not more) than we humans are. Nipper will treasure ever special "transfer" of emotion.
My Mufasa looks a little like Nipper. Mufasa is the one cat I have that makes me KNOW why someone would clone a cat. If I had tons of money, I probably would clone him.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2005 at 9:40AM
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storygardener(5/6 central oh)

This has been incredable to read. Our pets...yes, they ARE part of our family. Nipper is such a kool cat - I hope you all enjoy his time left together.


    Bookmark   April 11, 2005 at 10:16PM
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neonposey(z7 NC)

Bakemom, thought of you and Nipper the other afternoon. My brother slipped in the house and put some pictures and a couple of his new CD's on the coffee table. He had just developed a roll of film and couldn't remember what was on it. They were of my son's T-ball game when he was about 6. There were also 2 in there of my 'Little Boy Blu' that I lost about a year ago.... It immediately tugged at my heart strings but it was sooooo good to see his face. Thought of you and remembered I hadn't told you thanx for posting the pictures of your babies. They are all absolutely beautiful.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2005 at 7:49PM
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PVick(6b NYC)

Karen - how's Nipper feeling these days? Still asking for "Ham!", I hope .........


    Bookmark   April 24, 2005 at 12:39PM
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bakemom_gw(z6 Central Ohio)

You know it. Someone forgot to tell him he's dying. Or at least he forgot. He's slept in the sun, chased after the girls' mice (two so far this spring) and wrestles with our 2 year old cat Maggie. He has gained weight from all the HAM! A neighbor cat came over to visit and he escorted her sternly to the border. No sign of illness!

My neighbor's grown daughter came over and said she was getting married and couldn't keep her cat of 8 years. Her mom said to ask me to take Mia. I was astounded because I know my neighbors do not like cats and mine are a sore trial for them despite the fact they appreciate the mouse patrol. So, what could I say? Mia will be here in a week. She's spayed, front declaw, fully vetted, mostly indoor except for garden excursions (just like mine) and perfectly housebroken.

I guess no one wanted an 8 year old cat and her owner was at her wits end. She had been crying and crying about it. Problem solved, I suppose, but Nipper's showing no signs of pegging out (that's good, but it's going to be crowded around the cat bowl). We have a 4 cat limit here in my burb, so we are at CAT CAPACITY!

Mia has lived with a dog, so she'll probably adjust fine. BTW, after all that, I have no idea what this cat looks like. We'll see soon.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2005 at 1:08PM
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I'm so happy to hear that Nipper is doing so well! He's making the most of what he's got left, we should all enjoy life the way that he is.

People don't understand. Eight years old is a perfect age to adopt a cat. They don't have the destructive behavior of a kitten anymore, they still love to play, but by now they know the value of a warm lap and a nuzzle. I have always adopted adults, and I'm not sure I'd have it any other way.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2005 at 10:35AM
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storygardener(5/6 central oh)

WOW...good for NIpper! I am so glad to here this.

Good for you..taking in this new kitty. Everyone (the other cats) will adjust with time.

Thanks for the update.


    Bookmark   April 30, 2005 at 10:16AM
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I'm so glad to hear Nipper is in fine form. Tiger says hi & enjoy the ham. The seeds from you have sprouted & are ready for planting out. Thanks, Bev

    Bookmark   April 30, 2005 at 1:38PM
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not_a_contessa(z5b S Central PA mtns.)

Bakemom, please put up a picture of Mia when you get her!


    Bookmark   April 30, 2005 at 7:51PM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

Bakemom, we are at Cat Pacity too, and people are dangling kittens under my nose. Orange kittens. I don't have an orange cat!
Nipper is going the way we'd all like to go! Living each day to the fullest until that day when he's taken to kitty heaven. May all his days be filled of laying in the sun, chasing mice and lots of HAM!

I've almost lost my Boo Boo twice, and she sure learned to relish each day, and Beef Loaf!


    Bookmark   April 30, 2005 at 10:15PM
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bakemom_gw(z6 Central Ohio)

Mia is here and has been in residence since Wednesday. Although she is not as tough as a feral, she is having a hard time and is very fearful. She attacked me Thursday morning while I was getting ready for work and bloodied my foot pretty good. It's fear biting and I'm not that concerned. She's scared.

But think about it: she lost her mommy, her indoor home and her outdoor home. She's in a house that's a four-level split with hardwood floors (echose) three hostile cats, three teens and friends, and she can't get outdoors.

She's eating fine - hollow leg in fact. She's using her own litter pan (she's confined to my room with food, water, her old carrier and pan in my bathroom).

She will likely be in isolation for a while. I left the door to my room open today, but she was content to stay in there. She enjoys the windowsill and plays with toys with the kids. I'm waiting to see her groom - that will be the key.

As for Nipper, he's appearing healthier than ever and loving this spring. Oh well.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2005 at 10:31PM
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I am happy to read that Nipper is doing well. My heart goes out to you. Hope your new kitty adjusts quickly.
I lost my Tommy/Mr. Kitty March of last year, and it is still hard for me to talk about. I can't think about it for long either. We were so close. He influenced a lot of my decisions. My first trailor I bought partly because he needed a good home and could'nt live in my parent's home with the dogs, so we had a new home. I did'nt date men for long that did not love cats. We were a package deal! He was friendly like a dog and fierce like a little bobcat. He loved to sit in my lap, and although, he got to sit there a lot, I still remember the times that I thought I had to get the house clean or do other things, and did'nt let him jump into my lap. I miss him terribly.
But I am so thankful to have had him. He was family and my friend! I know he was my gift from God!
I am so glad to hear that Nipper is still enjoying life and enjoying his ham. I love your stories! Maybe at some point you could write a little book or put together a little scrapbook with his pics and stories. But right now, I am so glad to hear that you are enjoying your time together. Loved his pictures and the pictures of your other cats. Nipper is a beautiful cat! Give a little smooch on the head from me! Blessings to you and Nipper and your family and kitties.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2005 at 1:48AM
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Just happened by here Bakemom, and have enjoyed all the stories of "our friends" and their "pets". I know that they are more than that. I, also, am a cat lover and lost my 19 year old about six weeks ago. Just plain old age. When "he" Willis (as in Bruce Willis)started to go down hill it was very quickly. This is the firstcat I have had "pass" in the home and it was terrible!! His last cry was so dry and raspy, from lack of water, that I knew he was saying good bye. I miss him dearly. I am now down to two black cats, one long haired. They are both nice but I don't have the closeness that I had with Willis. I lost another a year ago last Thanksgiving. I believe a wild animal got him. Came home a couple of times with his "butt" taken a bite out of. Would patch him (stitious==as in superstitious) up and back out he would go. Guess he didn't get away the last time. He had a different face and his eyes looked right through you. They all have their place in our lives, and they all have different personalities, just like humans. I have had cats for ever and every kind I guess-except a Coon Cat and I originate from Maine!

Bakemom, I can tell that you think the world of your Nipper and glad that you are still able to hold him close.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2005 at 2:59PM
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Bakemom it is now over two months since your last report. How is Nipper health wise now? Is he still on mouse patrol?

How is Mia adjusting? Would love to see a picture of her since she has had two months with her new loving family.

Please give us an update. We have not forgotten about you and Nipper.


    Bookmark   July 13, 2005 at 8:51AM
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kitty32_z8(WA_ keypen)

Oh by NO MEANS trivial! I am sorry for your family. Hope you all do well with the transition.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2005 at 2:35PM
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bakemom_gw(z6 Central Ohio)

Nipper is dead. He lost five pounds in the last few weeks. His back was arched and tonight he seemed to have trouble breathing. Michael, Stephen and I took him to the vet and we had him put to sleep. We bawled our eyes out and couldn't stop kissing him goodbye.

I know lots of pet owners down south are hurting now and I share that pain - for different reasons.

Rest in peace my precious boy.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2005 at 8:08PM
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bakemom - I am so sad for you and your family. The only consolation is in knowing that you gave him such a wonderful life. I know what you are going through and I feel for all of you from the bottom of my heart. Please take care of yourselves. Carrie

    Bookmark   September 15, 2005 at 8:12PM
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I had wondered about Nipper. I'm saddened to read your post. Pets really are a part of the family. I'm sure thinking of you and your children. Gabriell

    Bookmark   September 15, 2005 at 8:24PM
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bakemom_gw(z6 Central Ohio)

Mia didn't work out. She just couldn't live with other cats and as the weeks went by, she got worse and worse. Her owner found another home for her with no cats. I hope she does better. There are just some cats that can't live with other cats and become fearful constantly and very aggressive. There was nothing we could do to help her short of tranqing her and we didn't want to do that.

Thanks for your support. We are devastated.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2005 at 9:12PM
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My heart goes out to you and your loved ones. We lost our cat Chelsea (only 12) this past spring to liver failure. Her brother Harley, is a godsend to still enjoy, but a day doesn't go by that I don't think of her. I tell myself that some day Chelsea will be with her family again, as I know she waits for us at the "Rainbow Bridge", as Nipper is waiting for you.

Take care

'Rainbow Bridge'

Thank you for fighting to save me,
Thank you for letting me go.
I tried so hard to stay and when
at last I had to leave your arms
I didn't know you'd cry so much,
for such a little friend.

I saw you put our toys away.
Don't you want to play?
with the ball or the squeaky toy.
Maybe it wouldn't be as much fun
to play with them alone.

That place you made in the yard
is nice with flowers and a teddy bear.
I'll try to get my teeth on that
and drag it laughing through the air.

I watched you find a photo of me
and put it on the fridge.
I will remember your face as well,
and I'll meet you at the bridge.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2005 at 9:28PM
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neonposey(z7 NC)

I'm so sorry to hear about Nipper. My heart aches for you and your family. I wish so much I knew how to comfort you, but as you well know I just went thru it myself and I still struggle to keep my composure every day.

Nipper and Dallas (my dallas loved cats....) are at the bridge having a blast and probably eating loads of ham and pizza crust and we're left here with our memories and the hole left in our lives. But we will see them again one day... and as I tell my 12 year old.. they probably won't even realize that we weren't just at work and school for the day. They are at peace and happy and free. Now, we just have to figure out how to live with our pain.

Be gentle with yourself and I'm thinking and praying for healing for you and your family, and I'll light a candle for your beautiful boy. Let me know if you need me.... im here for you....

And I'm so sorry Mia didn't work out.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2005 at 10:02PM
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not_a_contessa(z5b S Central PA mtns.)

Karen, every time I try to post here my eyes start to burn and fill up. I know exactly how you feel, it's so sad to lose a beloved pet. My heart goes out to you and your family.


    Bookmark   September 16, 2005 at 9:04PM
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PVick(6b NYC)

Oh, Karen, so sorry to read about Nipper.

He's probably out there, asking for "Ham!". Love to you and your family, both people and animals.


    Bookmark   September 17, 2005 at 8:40PM
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shoregrowin(Z 7 DE on the bay)


I am so sorry for you and your family in the loss of your beloved Nipper.

Know there are lots of prayers and hugs from your WS friends. God bless you and yours,


    Bookmark   September 18, 2005 at 7:30PM
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Raney10(z7 TN)

Karen, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family in the loss of your little friend Nipper.
Seeing his picture and reading about your loss has brought tears to my eyes. I can only imagine the enormity of your grief.
Even though it's often quoted do try to remember that time does heal all wounds.
Your GW buddies are here for you, just come on back and talk to us. It may help.


    Bookmark   September 18, 2005 at 11:13PM
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solsort1_dk(z7 Denmark)

Karen... Im so sorry to read that Nipper lost his fight :-(

But feel happy that he knew how much you loved him, and I can see that someone else already mentioned the Rainbow Bridge.
Im sure hes sharing his HAM with little Dallas while my two sweet bunny babies are probably close by munching on lovely green grass. Who knows, maybe they will teach Nipper and Dallas what a delicasy (sp?) green grass really is:-)

Take lots of care,

    Bookmark   September 20, 2005 at 8:30PM
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blackcat333(z6 NY)

I'm so sorry to hear about Nipper, Karen. I've thought of you often in the last few months even though I haven't been posting here too much lately.

Since you first wrote about Nipper, my parents have lost Hannah, 19, and her son Rufus, 18, and our poor kitty Lucy died last Saturday. I keep expecting to see her lazy self snoozing under the bench in the kitchen when I come home!

I agree with Hanne that they are all frolicking together happily and fluffing up some clouds for a nice afternoon nap.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2005 at 3:41PM
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I'm sorry to read about Nipper... I was wondering how he was doing. My heartfelt sympathy to you and your family, and to the others going through bereavement here as well.


Annie in Norway

    Bookmark   September 28, 2005 at 7:45AM
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Karen, I am so sorry to read about Nipper. Pets are part of us. They are there when we need them, no questions asked. No unnecessary words to mar the beautiful silence, a partner in the garden, couch and bed. It is so hard to let them go. Thank you for sharing Nipper with us. He was absolutley gorgeous. Shannon
P.S. I had to put my Australian Sheperd down in April. I planted an Endless Hydrangea in her memory. I chose EH because it blooms on old wood and new- I got Cappie when she was a puppy and I was a teenager- young. She was a retired trail dog. She has been with me through hs, college, getting married, and kids- old. It blooms all summer/endlessly like Cappie's friendship and companionship. The hydrangea doesn't replace her by any means but it helps to look out my window and see her shrub. It is also easy to take cuttings so that if we move she can go with us. Shannon

    Bookmark   October 3, 2005 at 9:57PM
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ChefLisbeth(z7 PacNW)


    Bookmark   October 7, 2005 at 3:25PM
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bakemom_gw(z6 Central Ohio)

Thanks everyone. We're limping along here with the loss of both Beetle and Nips this summer it's been a rotten time. I can't imagine what the folks down south are doing with the loss of their pets. The human toll is awful enough, then to add the pets to the loss - crazy.

In the meantime, Kelly and I participated in the Cat Welfare first annual 5K and today I dropped off donations for their weekly garage sale. I was cuddling kittens and petting the older cats - if my son hadn't been with me, I swear I would have picked up a coupla kittens.

Maggie (2) and Max (7 months) are still at odds a bit, mostly because Max is full o beans and wants to jump Maggs when she would rather nap. He's at that age... I think we will make it through the winter with only two cats, but come spring...well I can't make any promises - cat welfare will be calling my name...

    Bookmark   October 9, 2005 at 8:05PM
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Nipper and Beetle are proud of you. Shannon

    Bookmark   October 10, 2005 at 6:11PM
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bakemom_gw(z6 Central Ohio)

Perhaps a bump of this thread will help those out there suffering the loss of a beloved pet. You can't ask for better GW friends. Gardeners seem to know.

Those darn poems brought me to tears again. So lovely and yet so sad.

Maybe this will help someone a little.

BTW, Maggie and Max are now 4 years and 2 years old. The relationship between these two felines is still rocky at times, but they do know they are family and can be delightful together. Max really needs to mature.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2007 at 4:15PM
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PVick(6b NYC)

Oh, my! Reading this again has brought tears to my eyes, but it has also had me laughing out loud! Those Nipper stories! And I'd forgotten about Gracie and her stinky farts!

She's not so stinky anymore, and she's grown up a bit - she's almost 3 now - but she's still a handful. I love the little vixen - and a lot of it has to do with the fact that she always comes when I call, even if I do call her Petey or Mandy from time to time!


    Bookmark   August 14, 2007 at 11:32PM
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