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Toby’s Gnomish Hovel

by Patti Waltz (cat illustrator of Patti's Paw cat art cards)
Posted on December 18th, 2010

Toby's Gnomish Hovel

Sometimes it may be better to create a warm space for a stray cat with what is in your own backyard.  Just outside my window is a large boulder that juts into the ground.  There was a small opening on the other side of the boulder with the beginnings of an underground dwelling.  So I proceeded to finish what nature started, and dug out an underground hovel. When that was done I filled the interior with straw.  It is a nice space, and warm!  Toby was not sure about it, so I had to give him a hint by initially putting a dish a food for him in there.  Now he has claimed it as his own.  He crawls out of there every morning, stretching and yawning from a good nights sleep.



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Shelter from the Storm

by Patti Waltz (cat illustrator of Patti's Paw cat art cards)
Posted on November 27th, 2010

Cat Shelter

Winter is fast approaching.  And, unfortunately, there are feral cats without shelter.  But there is something us cat lovers can do for some of our homeless feline friends that live in our own backyard.  Build an affordable cat shelter.  If you are not sure how, here is a link that leads to a few other links on how to build one.  Just a site I found in my “How To…” search ~ http://www.wvcats.com/outdoorcathouses.html

There are several strays that come to my apartment window for food, but it is getting cold.   Tis the season to build shelter and ensure a cozy comfortable place to sleep for those feline friends less fortunate than our own.

If you have any other recommendations, please feel free to post to this site.

Patti Waltz

My Eldest Cat, Sequoia, died today

by Patti Waltz (cat illustrator of Patti's Paw cat art cards)
Posted on March 3rd, 2010
Sequoia, the last photo I took of her.  Yesterday, in her comfy little cubby under my studio chair

The last photo I took of Sequoia.

Sequoia died today.  She was peaceful and filled with grace throughout the day and actually throughout the entire dying process.  Amazing.  I  am thankful that I made the decision to let her go in her own time.  The picture above is the last photo I took of her, yesterday.   It is an image of her in her comfy little cubby under my studio chair where she spent the past 2 months.  Rest in peace, Sequoia.   Beautiful little teacher, you deserve the best.

your companion and friend,

Patti Waltz

My Eldest Cat Sequoia

by Patti Waltz (cat illustrator of Patti's Paw cat art cards)
Posted on February 27th, 2010

My Eldest Cat Sequoia

My eldest cat Sequoia, who is 19 years old,  is now in her final days.  She seems to be relaxed and calm, but weak.  I’ve been keeping her space clean and quiet with a small alter nearby.  Votive candles are burning as I sit here in the room with her, typing away at this blog.  The cat illustration I did of Sequoia is the one of the cat playing with a fish toy, the back of the card describes a daily routine from the perspective of an old cat.  I’m so thankful I did that illustration of her last year.  It is a keepsake that I will always hold dear.

So many things to do in the midst of this loss.  Send her blessings for a peaceful transition.

Patti Waltz

(cat illustrator of Patti’s Paw cat art cards)

From pauper to Prince

by Patti Waltz (cat illustrator of Patti's Paw cat art cards)
Posted on January 3rd, 2010

The Prince

The Prince

So here is another short story about tux.

Tux’s period of convalescence is taking longer than expected.  So, he whittles away his time sleeping, chasing toys, or getting into things he shouldn’t.  And one other thing, he loves playing pretend…

“Being that I’m the only boy in a house full of queens, I think I should be Prince,” tux mused from his velvet throne of make-believe.  “Older cats can be so lazy.  That’s why I’m here… to keep things hopping.  I miss the days of chasing rabbits.  And since I can’t play outside… and since there are no rabbits inside… then I MUST use my imagination!”  Tux leapt off his velvet chair and began to scout around the room sniffing and jumping on little bits of unswept dust and dirt, as if they were crickets.   That was until he heard an alluring sound.

His ears perked, and he stopped.  Sensing something lurking in the shadows beneath the bed, he slowly prowled toward the draped flounce.  “Prey tell, what have we here!  Perchance a rabbit?”  Tux plunged into the hideout with hunched back, claws and fur extended.  “Touche!!!” he cried.  It was a most horrible sound.  Smudge spitting and hissing and tux growling and snarling with bad intent.  It was alarming and pathetic at the same time.  Smudge, who once prided herself as top-cat, was no small match.  She’s the biggest cat, tipping the scales at a hefty 20lbs.  But she cowered, and the battle continued until tux succeeded in toppling her throne.

to be continued…

Patti Waltz

(cat illustrator of Patti’s Paw cat art cards)

natural death vs euthanasia

by Patti Waltz (cat illustrator of Patti's Paw cat art cards)
Posted on January 2nd, 2010

When it comes to end-of-life issues with pets we often hear that euthanasia is the more compassionate route.  Natural death almost seems controversial.  And with humans it is obviously the opposite.  My Mother died 10 years ago this month, I certainly never would have considered putting her down.  I took care of my Mother the last few months of her life.  And I was with her when she died.  Words I would use to describe the experience of being there for my Mother from the beginning of her diagnosis, to the end of her life, would be as follows: bonding, empowering, surprisingly joyous, of course sad, loving and compassionate.   I believe there are invaluable life lessons to be learned when helping the dying.

In regards to Sequoia, she is facing her death with grace.  She almost seems to be trance-like.  I love doting over Sequoia, just as I devoted myself to my Mother through her process of dying.  Death can be drawn out and slow, but once we come to terms with the inevitable, caregiving for the dying teaches us about compassion in ways that only death can.  It’s heavy stuff, but there’s no avoiding it.  And besides that, it may help us to confront our own eventual death with a greater understanding.

I have had 9 cats throughout my life.  I’ve had to face the difficult decision of putting my first cat down and eventually my beloved Bubba Boy.  I’ve also had 2 cats disappear, leaving me with the endless and mournful wondering of whatever happened to them.  And now… Sequoia.  If she was in severe pain, I would consider euthanasia, but she doesn’t appear to be.  The only time she cries out is when she is either cold, or wants to sit on my lap.  I’ve given a lot of thought to Sequoia’s death and feel no desire to interfere with her living out her life in her own way, facing her death in her own time.

Not only do I believe euthanasia depends on the circumstances surrounding the cat, but it is a personal decision as well.  And all of our personal decisions and philosophical views of life are based on the collective experiences of our past.  However, euthanasia is so commonplace.  I was in emotional turmoil for 3 days over this decision.  I felt pressure from the veterinarian and from some of my friends.  I tried to find sites on the Internet that discussed natural death and was overwhelmed by sites that encouraged euthanasia.  I began to doubt myself.  Here is a quote from a popular website which seems to be a standard response.  “Keeping your cat alive and suffering because you cannot deal with his death isn’t humane.  When he can’t enjoy even the most basic of life’s pleasures, such as eating, ask yourself: Is it time?”  Am I picking up on a contradiction?  Isn’t it more like, we euthanize our pets because we can’t deal with death?  Does mainstream America turn a blind eye to the process of dying and death?  And if so, maybe we should think about why.

Anyways, maybe I wrote this to reassure those who are making a decision to let their cat die naturally.  Or maybe I just wrote this to reassure myself.  Whatever the reason… it comes down to two things, is your cat comfortable, and your philosophy of life and death.

Patti Waltz

(cat illustrator of Patti’s Paw cat art cards)

A Sacred Space

by Patti Waltz (cat illustrator of Patti's Paw cat art cards)
Posted on December 9th, 2009

Sequoia and I

Sequoia and I

Yesterday, the veterinarian told me Sequoia’s test results.  As suspected, she has chronic renal failure, is anemic, and her thyroid medication needs to be cut back drastically.  For the past few days I have been struggling with the vets suggestion, that maybe it would be best to put Sequoia down since her quality of life is slipping away.  In my heart I’m still leaning toward letting her go in her own natural time.  But until my emotions settle, I can’t even think about making such a serious decision.

Instead I have been spending time with Sequoia, taking photographs of her and playing music.  I’ve been cleaning house, and creating a sacred space in a quiet place where she can relax and feel safe.  I’ve surrounded her with flowers, statuettes, artwork and votive candles; and she sleeps on her favorite chair that I’ve draped with purple velvet.  Doing this not only gives Sequoia a beautiful place to spend her final days, but it is healing for my own state of mind and prepares me on some spiritual level.

Patti Waltz

(cat illustrator of Patti’s Paw cat art cards)

Sequoia’s Journey

by Patti Waltz (cat illustrator of Patti's Paw cat art cards)
Posted on December 5th, 2009
Sequoia

Sequoia

On December 4th, Sequoia, my eldest cat, peed on my studio floor which raised a red flag.  The following day I took her into the vet for blood work.  The vet was somber and forewarned me that the results may be grim, possible chronic renal failure.  We began to discuss options.  I expressed my view that I didn’t believe in trying to prolong her life any more than necessary, after all, she’s 19 years old.  I went on to say that I wanted her to die naturally.  Throughout all of this, my eyes were welling up with tears and I couldn’t stop myself from sobbing between words.  The vet left me with this last thought… “It maybe time to put Sequoia down.  The results will be back Tuesday.  You have time to think about it.”

Death always arrives unexpectedly.  I knew what was coming, but that didn’t soften the shock of it all.  Every time I talk about Sequoia, I lose control and burst into tears.  She is the friendliest of my cats. Whenever I am sitting, she has to be on my lap.  And whenever I am sleeping, she nestles under the covers with me. She has been my shadow for 19 years, she can vote and she’s just 2 years away from drinking age.  That’s a long time, and a lot of memories.  Sequoia is about embark on her final journey, and when she is gone, a part of my everyday life will feel hollow.

Death is not something to be taken lightly.  In my opinion, euthanasia should not be a knee-jerk response, but should be given thoughtful reflection and serious consideration.

Patti Waltz

(cat illustrator of Patti’s Paw cat art cards)

Cats Predict Snow

by Patti Waltz (cat illustrator of Patti's Paw cat art cards)
Posted on December 4th, 2009
Frosty the Snowman

Frosty the Snowman

My cats predict shitty winter weather with this collaborative sculptural representation of Frosty the Snowman.  Seriously, I didn’t move this shit around (although, I must admit, one dropping was out out of place, so I added it to Frosty’s grin.)  Merry winter!

Patti Waltz

Rethinking “tux”

by Patti Waltz (cat illustrator of Patti's Paw cat art cards)
Posted on November 28th, 2009

The reason behind the lower case “t” in tux is due to the fact that we’re having a tough time deciding on a name.  “Tux” is purely a description.  So we’re trying to think of a fitting name for the little boy, possibly… Alvin Leon, or Alvin L. or simply Alvin.  That was the name of my Great Grandfather on my Dad’s side.  He was a homeopath and manufactured his own pills for his patients.  I figured since my cats are my children, that I might name the new boy after someone in the Waltz lineage.

Another choice… Claude Damon, my Grandfather’s name, or just Damon.  My Great Grandfather choose Damon for his son’s middle name from the Greek myth, Damon and Pythias.  It was his favorite story, revolving around friendship and loyalty in it’s purest sense.  Unfortunately, the principles of the parable did not influence my Grandfather in regards to his first wife.  But that’s another story.

Any other ideas?  Should Granddad be left in the dust?  Should my Great Grandfather’s name be resurrected for my newly adopted son?

Tux sprang out from nowhere, “Don’t I have a choice in the matter?” tux cried.  “Oh my tux, you startled me, and Sequoia too!”  Sequoia gave a defensive growl at the boy from her comfortable perch upon my lap.  “O.K. brainchild, give me a suggestion.”  “You didn’t mention your Great Uncle William Farrel.  Now that’s a name I can relate to!  Or just call me Zoomzoom,” tux said as he bolted out of the room as fast as he came in.

So cyberspace friends, what shall it be?

Patti Waltz

(cat illustrator of Patti’s Paw cat art cards)