Violet's Place

Sunday, September 16, 2007


We have lots and lots of pictures of Violet but only a few short videos. We've never had a video camera but our digital camera records video and I wish now we would've taken more video of our sweet Violet. Since Blogger allows posting of videos now I thought I'd post a few. Hopefully Violet won't mind sharing space with Simon and Storm. Well, she probably would mind sharing with Storm but she'd get over it quickly.


Simon (this one requires turning up the volume)

Storm's latest trick

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Happy Birthday Violet!

Well, it has been a very long time since I last posted about my sweet Violet. Wednesday, July 18th was her birthday or at least that is when we celebrated it. It also is our anniversary and I guess both Chris and I liked to think she came into our life when we got together also. I also started my business, Natural Violet, around the same time. Violet has always been my inspiration for my business and she continues to be so today. I thought I would share a quilt that I made in her honor. It hangs over our bed and I like to think that she still sleeps with us at night. I call it "Violet Wharhol" of course. I took a photo of her and brought it into photoshop. I then did a contour image and printed it on fabric. The rest came together very easily and of course it has lots of purple fabric. Happy Birthday Sweet Violet! I love and miss you very much!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Sad Songs

Stone Sour's Through Glass is in heavy rotation on our local radio station. The lyrics aren't all relevant but the first lines of the chorus always makes me stop.

I'm looking at you through the glass
Don't know how much time has passed
Oh God it feels like forever.

I guess I do know how much time has passed. Today makes 7 weeks and we still miss our sweetie so much.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Getting Outside

For the most part, all of our cats stay inside, though I think I mentioned once before that when we lived in Arizona we'd occasionally let Simon and Violet out in the back yard since we had a big fence around the yard. In our current house there's no enclosed area outside for them to stay but Violet was such a mellow kitty that we could let her out our front door occasionally and we could get her to stay with us on the front stoop. Sometimes she'd get down into the adjacent flower bed and explore a little bit but she was the cautious type. We were always out there with her and we kept a close eye on her when she was out there but we didn't have to worry about her making a break for it. Sometimes I'd just have her sit on my lap on the front steps for a while then I'd bring her back in. She wasn't always happy about going back inside, especially if her outdoor excursion had only lasted a few minutes, but we believe that was best for her. And for most other cats.

It's possible I could be convinced that in rare situations it's OK for cats to roam free outside but I really believe that in the majority of situations our companion kitties should be kept indoors. There are so many bad things that can happen to outdoor cats. They can get hit by cars, fight with other cats or dogs, catch diseases, get harassed by neighbors, etc. In the places that we've lived especially, traffic is an issue. Not long after we moved into our current house a neighbor's cat was hit by a car and killed right in front of our house. It's been difficult enough losing our beloved Violet to a disease that we couldn't do anything about; I can't fathom losing a kitty that way.

Cats are very curious and there are those who believe that they "need" to be outside but we do our best to entertain our fluffy friends inside the house and I think they're happy. We have many climbing trees and scratching posts and lots of toys and we play with them as much as we can. When the weather permits (and sometimes even when it doesn't) we open the windows and they like to sit and sniff the outside air through the screens. Our next goal is to save enough money to build at least a small screened porch in the back of our house so they could spend time outside but still be in an enclosure. And maybe eventually we'll turn our house into something like The Cat's House. We've already gotten started by building one small catwalk. I wish Violet was still here to enjoy that and all our future plans but I know she had a happy life.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

In the Box

When we first brought Violet home, I spent a lot of time thinking of ways to amuse her and I am sure myself also. I made her a box house complete with windows and fleece curtains. I later added on to this house to make it two story, but that didn't happen until we moved to Arizona. In the top picture she is playing with a back scratcher. She was a strong kitty and she loved to pull items into her little house. In the bottom picture she is playing with her Christmas present from her Aunt Kristie. Today makes four weeks and sometimes things seem better, but other times it feels like it just happened. It seems like only yesterday when I was able to hold her. I feel like she is in the house, but I would give anything to be able to touch her again. I miss her so much and the house seems really incomplete without her.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Getting a Drink

Violet loved to play in the water as we said earlier. She loved running or dripping water. We used to turn on the faucet just a little and she would hop into the sink and start drinking. Most of the time she wound up with water all over her head. These pictures are from 1999 when she was still a kitten. She also loved to sit in between the liner and the shower curtain in the tub while we took showers. She would walk back and forth rubbing against the shower curtain and purring. The minute the shower was over, she was right in the tub watching the water drip down. It is really hard sometimes to go through day to day activities since she was a part of everything. I do have to say that she made me smile more than once on a daily basis.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Curious Kitty

Violet was always the curious kitty. She loved to crawl into small spaces. It didn't matter if it was a cereal box, the back of your shirt or one of her many play tubes. These photos were taken in 1999. I made her a little tube to crawl into and she liked it quite a bit. The funny thing about her crawling into little spaces is that she usually left her back paws and tail hanging out. If you touched her gently she would do a "merrup" like how did you know I was there? We have a lot more photos of her crawling into tiny spaces.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Time to Eat

One thing Violet loved to do was sit on my lap while I ate at the table and I really loved it. She would take her little paw and it would quietly reach up on to my plate and try to grab whatever was available. She especially loved to do this whenever we had company over for dinner. These pictures were taken in 2004 during a much happier time. I look at the pictures and realize that so much is missing now. Violet is missing and I have to say so is my family. When Violet passed I really wanted their support and they were no where to be found though a large part of my family lives about 30 minutes away. They are all getting together for Thanksgiving and it is my choice to not go over for dinner to my parents house. It is strange because if Violet was here, I would feel like our family was complete and it wouldn't bother me so much. However, her passing has shown me how little they do really care and there in lies the conflict. The truth is that if she was here Chris and I would do the same thing as always. We would have dinner here and then likely go over for dessert. It just seems different this year and I am feeling her loss so strongly today.

Monday, November 20, 2006

One Travellin' Cat

This picture was taken in Arizona when she was around 2 years old and already she'd lived in 3 states. Darlene brought her on a plane from New York, where she was born, to North Carolina, where we lived at the time, when she was around 3 months old. A year later she drove with us for 4 days in the cab of a U-Haul to Arizona. She probably liked Arizona because we lived in a big house and it had a back yard with a tall fence around it so we'd let her and Simon out into the yard occasionally for supervised visits. Still, we had to keep an eye on them because they'd climb the fence or the trees. One time Simon shot up a tree and on to the roof before we knew what happened and I had to go up there with a ladder and get him down. Another time Violet scaled a 6 foot concrete fence and ended up in the neighbor's yard and I had to go over there and fish her out from behind the neighbor's shed. But I digress. After 2 years in Arizona Violet and Simon drove with us back across the country to Virginia which I suppose is now her final resting place. We occasionally talk about moving again and if she would've lived a full, long life she may have ended up across the country again but I guess it wasn't meant to be. I miss so many things about her but I especially miss how she used to climb up on my shoulders and just hang out. My neck always got tired before she did and I'd let her down, but otherwise she'd stay there indefinitely.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Many Faces of Violet

This is one of my favorite photos of Violet. She had so many personalities and it always seemed like you knew what she was thinking just by looking at her expression. In this photo it looks like she is thinking, "Oh great, here comes the camera again." She was one special kitty.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Box Kitty

She always liked boxes. You could put a box (or bag) on the floor and she'd climb inside in a matter of seconds. At times I was concerned about the mounting bills from all her hospital visits but in the end I would've sold our house and lived in a box if it meant making her better. And she wouldn't mind because she liked boxes anyway. But sometimes there's just nothing you can do.


Violet loved to hide. She would crawl into cabinets and bookcases. You never quite knew where she would show up. I have fond memories of her in the bookcase knocking all of the books off the shelf. She loved to climb up on your shoulder and jump to the highest point she could reach. Today I feel like she is here, but she is just hiding. I have wanted to find her all day, but I have to keep reminding myself that she is not hiding and I can't go and find her.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Impersonating Elvis

Well, today is my first day home alone without Chris. He went back to work today and I need to do some work also, but it is difficult getting back to life. I keep thinking that if Violet was here that she would make everything better. She was my constant companion at home and she always made me smile. Time to continue our journey down memory lane. My sister, Kristen (aka Krispy), is coming to visit for Thanksgiving and I am really looking forward to seeing her. She has visited us many times over the years. These pictures are from when she came to visit us in Raleigh back in 1999. I was fixing Kristen's hair on the bed and we noticed that Violet was sleeping by my squirrel beanie baby. It looked like she had an Elvis do, so of course we needed to take pictures of her. She just kept on sleeping sacked out on the bed. Such a cutie pie.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Its Raining

It's raining today. I have to say I always loved it when it rained. It always seemed like a good time to relax and basically do nothing. I work from home a lot, so when it rains I basically stay put and hang out with the kitties. This changed over the last few months because it seemed like every time we got a lot of rain that Violet would be worse with her breathing. It also seemed to intensify as we went into fall. We got a lot of rain this fall and with the leaves falling, the mold count has been very high. The second time we brought Violet into the hospital in September, the vet warned us that the worst was coming with the leaves falling. I remember him saying the words, but I didn't believe him. We had her on all the medications she needed and though she had lost a lot of weight, I felt like she could gain some back. I knew we could make her better no matter what they told us. Even on the last day I felt like she still had a chance though I don't believe anyone at the critical care place felt that way. I am not sure what changed in my mind, but I think I will always feel like I somehow gave up on her. The vet told us that each time she crashed it would get worse and worse and the time in between would be less and less. It seemed on the last day that instead of weeks or days we had maybe an hour or two in between. I still don't understand why she got so sick so fast and I probably never will.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Morning Meditation

About 6 months ago I started doing mindfulness meditation in the morning. We bought a meditation cd a long time ago and I always had good intentions of starting, but never did. It was really hard at first to sit for so long and just focus on your breathing. The one constant through the whole process was Violet. She always came over to cuddle with me during that time. If I was sitting, then she nestled in my lap. If I was laying down, then she came up on my chest and stretched out. I think the meditation helped me live in the moment some. When she was ok, then I was ok. When she wasn't feeling well, then I just tried to concentrate harder on her healing. I am still doing my morning meditation, but I have say it is pretty lonely without her. I was really fortunate yesterday that Simon came sit on my lap. He nudged my hand and crawled into my lap. He is not typically a big lap sitter, but he made the exception for me yesterday which was really nice.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Bathtub Kitty

Last night for the first time I felt that Violet was with me. She always liked to climb up on either my chest or Chris's toward the wee morning hours. Last night she stopped by to say hello for a few moments. It was really nice. Violet was always a bathtub kitty. She loved the water and the minute you got out of the shower, she was in playing in the water. The shower used to drip all over her head and she came out all wet. One time when she a kitten she fell into the bubble bath while she was trying to lick my toes. These pictures are from her bath time adventure. At the end she is all snuggy with a towel in her bed.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Playing with Mousey

These pictures were taken in 1999 when Violet was still a kitten. She seemed to have the biggest ears when she was little. I guess the ears stayed the same size, but it took a while for her to grow into them. She is looking all sweet in her bed with mousey toy laying outside. That of course changes quickly and soon she is letting mousey know who is boss. She moves on to big red and is getting her back feet into the action. Today makes one week. Miss you so much sweetie.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Taking Time to Smell the Flowers

Thank you everyone for all of your kind words and thoughts. They are very much appreciated. I feel a good way to honor our little Pookie Pie is to share more stories of our life with her. I have been going through all of the photos we have of her over the years and I am so glad we have many. Each one or series of photos tells a little story. The photo of Violet and me above was taken in July 1999. Chris and I were celebrating our first year of marriage and also Violet's 1st birthday. We weren't exactly sure when she was born, but it seemed to be close to the time when we got married, so we combined the celebration and always celebrated her birthday at the same time. Chris bought me pink roses and purple irises. I have a very vivid memory of leaning in with her when Chris took the picture and enjoying the wonderful smell of the flowers and also the sweet smell of her. Yesterday Chris and I planted purple iris bulbs in the front flower bed for Violet. A friend of mine told me that to plant bulbs was an act of faith since you had to wait until Spring to see the results. I look forward to seeing her again in the spring time in the flowers.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


Goodbye my sweet little girl. Words can't describe how much I love you and how much you'll be missed.

Sleeping Peacefully Now

Violet, our sweet kitty, is gone. She went to sleep today around 4:20pm. She was 8 years and 4 1/2 months old. We were with her to the last moment and in the end I didn't want to leave her. She looked so peaceful and sweet. Even when the the vet took her away, she was all bundled up in a blanket and she still looked so sweet. I hope we made the right decision. My heart is filled with so much sadness that I feel it will never go away. The day has been full of so many ups and downs. We went to visit her this morning and I was able to get her to eat. She perked right up and came over to the open door in the oxygen tent. She was purring and grooming herself. She kept eating off of my finger and she seemed so content. I wanted to stay with her longer, but we had to leave since our visitation time was over. Since she was eating they decided to try to ween her off of the oxygen, but she started to not do so well. She was not able to keep her food down. By the time we came back for afternoon she was sitting in the corner and seemed so tired. We talked to the vet and there seemed to be no way to bring her home again, so we decided to let her go to sleep. I didn't think that I would ever be able to make that decision. I miss her so much and so does Chris. I wish we had more time with her. She will always be in my heart.

Monday, October 30, 2006

And again...

Back in the hospital again :-( Her breathing got worse but not terrible when we had a lot of rain a few days ago but this time the main thing was that she stopped eating and drinking. We kept hoping that once the weather cleared she'd get a little better but finally we had to bring her back to the hospital. She's been in and out of oxygen today and is hanging in there but still not eating yet. She's gotten some fluids and some medicine that should settle her stomach so hopefully that'll help.

To top things off, after we left her there we hung around Richmond for a while and then the clutch went out on our car when we left to come home. We had to have it towed the 70 miles back home and now we're borrowing a car from a friend until ours gets fixed. Not a good day to say the least.

The quality of this picture isn't great but still it's one of my favorites. This was taken somewhere in New Mexico when we were moving from Arizona to Virginia. She's always been great on car rides and for a lot of the 40 hours of driving on this particular trip she was either in one of our laps or sitting up on my shoulder like this as my co-pilot.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Waiting

As Tom Petty once said, "the waiting is the hardest part". Though she's only 8 years old, our sweet furry girl likely won't be with us for too much longer. It could be next week or next month or next year but it's coming and we're just trying to enjoy our time with her and not worry too much about the future.

For now things are stable. It's hard giving her medicine so often but we're managing and she's managing and mostly doing pretty well. For a few days it seemed like she was starting to eat a lot more but she still hasn't gained any weight. She hasn't lost any weight in the last week or so either but at 6 1/4 pounds now I really don't see that she has any more to lose.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Settling In

So far, so good. She seems to be eating fairly well and she's even playing a little bit and of course getting plenty of sleep. We worry when she gets too active, like today when she was chasing Storm around the house, but I guess she knows her limits. Now it's just taking it day by day.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Home Again

We brought our sweetie home this evening and she's adjusting well to being back in the house. Now in addition to the inhalers we have to give her pills again for at least the next week but we managed last time and somehow we will again. Her long-term prognosis isn't good (I don't have the energy to expand on that at the moment) but we'll enjoy our time with her as much as we can.

This picture is from back in her more playful days but she still does like drinking from faucets - these days it's usually the tub.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Hope. Disappointment. Repeat.

We were awakened at 7:00 Monday morning by a phone call from the doctor. Violet was off the oxygen and doing very well and we could most likely bring her home Monday night. So we drove to Richmond in the afternoon to visit for a bit, figuring we'd come back later to take her home. But when we got there they had started her back on oxygen because her breathing had become more labored again. We knew then we wouldn't be bringing her home that night. We went back to visit later at night and she was doing OK but still with the oxygen on. There's a big Plexiglas door on the oxygen chamber with a little flap that you can open to stick your arm in and pet her. It's a pretty small opening but she's a small kitty, especially now, and while we were visiting she managed to pull off a jail break and climb out onto Darlene's shoulder and then onto me. One of the techs came right over and helped us get her back into the cage but it was great to hold her just for those few seconds. As we often do, we cried when we left but later we laughed about that incident.

This morning we called for an update and they had weaned her off of the oxygen overnight and she was doing well. The doctor said we could probably bring her home tonight. So we went to visit in the afternoon again and she had been off the oxygen all day and was still doing well. But in the 10 minutes that we were there she got a little too excited and started having a hard time breathing again and they had to turn the oxygen back on. She had settled down after about half an hour but again, after that they (and we) didn't think it was the best idea to bring her home just yet so we've come home empty handed once again. Now the latest is maybe tomorrow.

Thanks to everyone who has left us comments; we appreciate your kind words and positive thoughts. Bazu asked about what exactly is Violet's ailment and others of you might be wondering as well so here goes. We've never gotten a positive diagnosis but the general answer is "lower respiratory disease". It's maybe akin to bad asthma or chronic bronchitis. She basically has something going on in her lungs that makes it difficult for her to breathe well. We first took her to be checked out in June because she had lost a lot of weight. What we've been told by the vet is that she's working so hard to breathe that she's burning a lot of calories just doing that and it's hard for her to eat enough to keep the weight on. The two measures of her difficulty breathing are her respiratory rate and effort. The rate is kind of like measuring a pulse - how many breaths she takes in a minute. For those of you who have cats (and that's probably most of you reading this), when they're sitting still or sleeping count how many breaths they take in 60 seconds (or in 30 or 15 seconds and multiply). For most cats the rate is anywhere from less than 20 to around 30. Violet is generally in the 40-50 range these days. The first time we had to take her to the emergency vet she was in the 70s or 80s. The other and probably more important measure is effort. Are they normal relaxed breaths or is her rib cage heaving and her nostrils flaring? And when respiratory effort is extremely high they'll have their mouth open. That was the case the first time this happened but she didn't get to that point this time.

I don't think these kinds of respiratory problems are extremely common but they do happen. So I think the most important take home point is that cats generally don't breathe through their mouths. If you ever see a cat that's breathing through their mouth and appears to be struggling to breathe then they need to be seen by a vet immediately.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Here we go again

She'd been doing fairly well but yesterday afternoon we noticed that her breathing was becoming very labored. Sometimes she gets like that but then she settles down after a short time. But this time she wasn't getting better even though we tried a couple extra doses of the broncodialator over the course of the night and that's supposed to help. By early this morning she was still laboring a lot and she hadn't moved from the same spot all night. So we made the very difficult decision to bring her back to the hospital in Richmond. The doctor we talked to this morning seemed to think that they could get her stabilized and that she'd be ready to come home in a few days so we're hopeful. The latest update from this afternoon is that she's still in the oxygen chamber but her breathing is much better than when we brought her in. We're trying to hold out hope that this is just a temporary setback. We'll see...

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Our Skinny Little Girl

I haven't posted here for a while so that must mean that things are holding steady. Mostly anyway. She's still doing relatively well but the main thing that's still causing us concern is that she continues to lose weight. It's possible her weight may be stabilizing now because in the last week she's only lost around 2 oz. It's a little scary how skinny she is now though. She's a small kitty but for a long time she was quite the plump one. We changed her food and put her on a bit of a diet 4-5 years ago because she was over 9 pounds. A year ago she was a little over 8 pounds and our vet said that was a good weight for her. Then when all this started earlier this summer she was down to 7 1/2 pounds and right now she's just a little over 6 1/2. A pound and a half is a helluva lot of weight to lose when you're only starting at 8 pounds. We've tried many, many different foods to try to get her to eat more but she's a very picky eater. We even broke down and got a slice of roast turkey from a non-veg. friend but she didn't like that either and I ended up feeding it to our neighbor's dog. We have found one particular kind of treat that she'll eat occasionally so at least that's something. Now we're off to Sammy's Snacks, a local place that makes dog & cat food so we can try her with some of that.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Still doing OK

I guess we're starting to get into somewhat of a routine. She'll probably always hate taking her medicine but we're getting slightly better at giving it to her and she doesn't stay mad about it for quite as long. This shot is a couple years old and is Violet with her 'bro Simon. Darlene found Simon at a water treatment plant when he was about 3 weeks old and it took Violet a week or so to warm up to him but they've been best buds ever since.

Looking back through old pictures though makes me realize just how much weight she's lost. She looks so skinny now it's a little scary. She still hasn't gained any weight since coming home from the hospital - in fact I think she's lost just a little bit more. She seems to be eating regularly but maybe it's not enough. We're at a loss for ideas about what to feed her since all she's willing to eat is her standard dry food. We've tried at least a dozen different kinds of canned food and our other two scarf it down like they haven't eaten in weeks but Violet just sniffs it and walks away.

Her coughing isn't getting any better either but other than that she's doing well. She's up and about and even playing a little bit and generally seems pretty content. So onward we go.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Last Pill!

We just gave her the last pill she needs to take, hopefully for a good long while. It took 2 tries to get it in this morning but we managed. Now it's "just" 2 different inhalers twice a day but those are slightly easier than the pills. She's still doing well, all things considered and I talked to the vet yesterday and he's still encouraged by her progress.

This picture demonstrates some of the personality that we love so much about her. She really has a sweet tooth and this was taken several years ago when we lived in Arizona. I didn't think she'd eat a popsicle but as you can see I was mistaken...

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Big Yawn

I hope this blog just becomes an excuse to post cute cat pictures. For now though it's still health updates. She's still doing pretty good but she still hates taking her medicine. It seems like giving her the medicine makes things worse for a short time but then she settles down fairly quickly. Yesterday she slept on my lap for a good hour and a half. Times like that make me happy. Forcing the medicine on her doesn't make me so happy...