The Starfire Cats
The Starfire Cats
After 5 years of grieving, I'm finally updating this page. Between Jan 2013 and Jan 2014, we lost Seelie (CHF), Aodhan (old age), Emdee (cancer), Luna (old age), Casteylan (possibly cancer), and Gypsy (old age). In 2015 we also lost Jacky to cancer. It was brutal. I couldn't handle updating anything, but now I'm going to try.
Our current kitties.
Note: Sammy (Samhain), Isis, Binx, and Minerva are our late Emdee's babies and were all born August 2004.
Sweet and silly and independent. And she loves to flirt! and sing. Along with her sisters and brother Binx, she has been allowed to go into the garden this year and last year, and she loves it. She loves to sit on Paul's lap when he's at his computer. She has taken over from her late brother Casteylan as the largest and roundest cat in the house.
Dainty and full of trills. Very fluffy, with lovely ear tufts. Isis became Queen of the clowder after Gypsy's death. She is fierce and loving and adores being outside even when it's cold. She does NOT approve of Cleo.
Sleek, black, polydactyl, and rumpy (no tail at all), Binxy is a huge lovey who jumps up into arms and snuggles for hours. His right ear is crumpled after a case of ear mites, but it doesn't slow him down. He loves to go out when it's warm, but in cooler weather, he prefers to nest by the wood stove, on someone's lap or chest, or cuddle under the blankets with Paul.
Min is silver-grey and bob-tailed (a stumpy) and was attached to her Mama with an invisible umbilical cord until Emdee's death. She transferred it to Gypsy until Gypsy passed, and now she is more independent -- but loves to sit on my desk, where she has a bed in a box. She's very silky and soft now she's grown, but as a kitten when was a bit of a hedgehog, and her furs were like sharp splinters.
Dragon appeared when Luna was failing in early summer 2013. We thought it was an adolescent girl cat following Luna around and guarding her. After Luna's death, Dragon vanished for a while but re-appeared that winter. And at that point the rear view showed that he was an unneutered male. He was very slow to trust us, but he came inside after Jacky's death and we were finally able to get him neutered late winter/early spring 2017. Now he loves every other cat in the clowder as well as his people, and he's helped integrate Mr. Bernstein and Cleo, I think.
Yes, he's named after the character in Victor/Victoria. He showed up late fall or early winter after Jacky's death in 2015. His cropped ear told us that he was already a TNR graduate. But oh, my sweet B, he was terrified of everything and everyone at first! The door to the house opening. People getting too close. Cars going by -- and even more so the postal car pulling into the driveway. He got ill in early 2017 and it didn't help that Cleo (see below) would attack him. But finally, finally, he is happy part time in the house. Getting enough calories in him is a struggle with his renal failure, but so far he is doing much better.
Cleo is our newest love. She appeared last winter and it was several weeks before we found out she was our new neighbors' cat -- and not happy at home. They had rescued her and her almost full grown kitten from an abusive home before they moved here, but with so many kids in the house plus a large dog, she was not happy. Plus she was unspayed, and she and Dragon could smell each other. They tried to keep her at home, but small kids are small kids and she is fast and sneaky. After she and Dragon were both neutered, she still wanted to be over here, so we offered to adopt her, and her person was sad but said yes. There have been some kerfuffles thought; Cleo would like to be top cat, and Isis isn't having any. Isis, Binx, Min, and Sam are all pretty independent of each other, but if someone else hassles any of them, the other 3 run to their defense. Cleo is starting to settle in and will touch noses with Binx and Bernstein -- and she and Dragon are the best of friends. We are hopeful that she will be completely integrated into the clowder soon.
And our loved and missed kitties who've gone ahead to the Other Side:
First, a brief list of the cats I have little memory and no photos of:
Kitty Kitty Come On, a calico who was the first cat i ever named. I was 5 or 6 and it seemed a logical name because when I met her, my mother said that was how to call her over to me. So that was her name.
Genghis Khan, a Siamese that loved my step-father and did not like my mother or I
Charlie and Desdemona, long haired black and white cats.
These are all in the order I met them.
The first cat I remember well (and the second I named) was a sleek shorthaired black cat who appeared on our back patio and didn't want to leave. Mama said I could name her, and I picked "Lucy" because "I Love Lucy" was my favourite show. Lucy went off to the vet for shots and spaying, and then the phone call came -- Lucy didn't need spaying, because she was a neutered male, 4-5 years old. She came back home, and I was devastated at having to change the name. My mother told me the closest male name to Lucy was Lucifer (which came out "lucy-fur") to me, so that was his new name.
My mother told me in my teens that she'd always loved the names of the black cats in "Magic for Marigold" by LM Montgomery: the Witch of Endor and Lucifer. When she saw an opportunity to have a black cat named Lucifer, she jumped at the chance. We'd had him a year or two when a schoolmate asked me "doesn't it scare you to have a cat named after the devil?" I was SO indignant and responded "Lucille Ball is not the devil! How can you say something like that?" I was not raised in a religous home *grin*
I adored him. He was also a wonderful best friend to Regis and a fabulous uncle to Rafi, Rryl, and Cali. He lost his sight about 1980, but still got around the house just fine (so well that we only realised when he had the runarounds one day when a door that was usually open was closed. He was fine, just surprised to crash into a door that shouldn't have been there. When we moved to Kings Ct and had a fenced back yard, my mother let him out into it. And then I had to go around to the houses behind ours asking if they'd check their back garden for my blind black cat who had climbed the 6' fences and gone exploring! He was still allowed out on the lawn, but he had a lead after that attached to the clothesline so he couldn't hurt himself climbing or falling into the fishpond.
Lucifer slept with me and cuddled me and soothed me from the time I was in 2nd grade until his death when I was 23, and I was a mess for weeks after his sudden death from pneumonia.
In 1980 a stocky little cat with Siamese markings started coming round to eat at our Valley View house. He looked like the feline equivalent of a dockworker who'd stolen someone else's suit -- had *nothing* of a Siamese shaped body. Mama had always wanted a Siamese cat who was her cat (vs my ex stepfather's), and urged me to feed him and tame him. He was to the point where I could cuddle him when I went to visit a friend for a few weeks in Milwaukee. And when I got back, he had transferred his affection to my mother and was very much HER cat until the last few weeks of his life. Me, he tolerated, especially if she wasn't available. Mama named him Regis Rafael after a character she loved in a book series she loved. Regis bonded immediately with Lucifer and they were inseparable, and when we got Rafi and Rryl, he adored them and uncled them beautifully.
He loved to go hunting, and then he'd bring back whatever he caught and give it to Lucifer, like tribute. When Mama went to Europe, I was horrified when he vanished 2 days later. I didn't know how to break it to her that he'd been missing 2 weeks. The day she was due home, I suddenly heard him singing his "Mama, I'm coming! I'm coming, Mama!" song and he gallopped up the street and into the back yard -- and about 30 seconds later (literally!) my mother pulled into the driveway! Definitely HER cat!
But when Mama was dying in 1990, as she became less able to pet him and cuddle him, he transferred his affections back to me. It was very odd, but I had been so worried about how he'd do after Mama died, that it was reassuring. He was the sweetest, kindest soul, too. When he died, well, if it had been at home, I'd have blamed myself for not getting him to the vet fast enough to "save him". So instead, on a routine trip to the vet (who he loved; he'd needed eye surgery a few years earlier, and got to know the vets and the techs and loved them all), while he was sitll in his carrier and had just been carried into the back, he suddenly had distress. They immediately did everything they could, but it was a sudden massive heart attack, and there was nothing to be done. The oddest thing is that I had had a warning. I KNEW the appt was routine, but in the car before hand I suddenly had to give him a cuddle and tell him "I really hope you will be here for a very long time. But Regis, if you need to go see Mama and Lucifer, it's okay. I'll be okay, I promise." He took me at my word.
Rafi was a lovely little torbie whose full name was Rafaela (after her uncle Regis). She was a firelizard in cat form and regularly leapt up to the valances above the windows in one huge leap. She and Rryl (below) were born to a semi-wild kitty in our garage. Our landlady's daughter kept the mama and one baby, a friend of my mother's took one, and we kept two of them. She was so sweet and lovey. She gave Mama a foot massage every day when she came home from work and took her shoes off, and she loved more than any other cat I've had to "help" make the bed -- by attacking fingers, toys, and the sheets themselves. She was so very loved by Mama, me, and Paul. She died from renal failure in 1998.
Rryl was a shorthair white cat who looked from birth like someone had left a greasy black smudge on her head. She was very happy with me and mama and her uncles and sister until Cali appeared. Rryl promptly moved next door to our neighbor Ruth -- who adopted her and loved her all her life. Sadly Rryl of all things loved to sunbathe, and she developed cancer on both ears. The vet said they could remove her ears, but she'd have to be kept out of the sun the rest of her life. Ruth chose to let Rryl enjoy the sun as long as possible, which I supported.
Cali was a sleek grey girl a white "dribble" going down her chin and white trimming. She appeared in our back garden on Kings Ct during a storm and never left. She didn't get along well with other cats, and she was too smart: after Mama stopped letting the cats go out because the vet bills from fights were too high, Cali figured out that if she attacked someone else, she'd be put out. As soon as we realised, she got put in the bathroom instead, but it took a while until she accepted that she was a house cat. She was a bit odd. She'd sit on you and growl if you moved too much. She also had a chronic sinus issue that made her sometimes sound like a werewolf. I loved her through it all. She also died of renal failure in 1998.
Mousebait appeared as a tiny 5-6 week old kitten when my mother was dying in 1990. I'm pretty sure in his previous life he'd been Lucifer and came back because he knew I needed him. He appeared in our back garden and was stealing Faolan's wolfhound chow! My mother had always joked that if I wasn't careful, she might trade me in for another kitty, and when he appeared, she laughed and said she'd gotten it backwards all those years. He was so tiny when he arrived, but later was the longest and tallest cat I've had. He loved spicy food, including cajun sausage. The first time Paul ate here and we had pork chops, Mousebait calmly tried to steal one from his plate. Mouseabait was also Aodhan's adopted mamacat -- and developed one great big nipple from letting Aodhan comfort nurse on him for a long, long time. He died 1 Nov 2006 of renal failure, and I still miss my sweet Moosie. He is the first of the cats who died here in Oregon and is buried up the hill.
Aodhan is next in age; he was born in 1994, one of a litter born to a feral mama that our neighbor Ruth was trying to catch (she succeeded a couple litters later, I think). Paul and I had married in April, and I told him I wanted to adopt Aodhan, which he agreed to. (He was still stationed in Georgia until October.) But I unknowingly brought home Aodhan too early, and he started nursing on Mousebait -- who washed him and mama-ed him and let him nurse for for over 3 years, the best and most patient Mamacat in the world. Aodhan chewed on wool and cotton all his life. He also loved to kill toy mice and sing as he ran around with them. His name meant "fiery one" because he was a tiny spitfire as a baby. I believe he was my mother's cat Regis before he came back to be with me and Paul. He developed renal failure and died after a year or two of hospice care fon 19 Feb 2013, age 19 years.
Sunspot was our lovely big black floof. In 1996 I was housesitting for my neighbor Ruth while she spent the holidays with her daughter, and he appeared on her back porch, a wee kitten. I brought him over to show Paul but then took him back to Ruth's (where there was food outside). He followed me back home, got up (somehow) onto a windowsill, and shrieked until we brought him in. And so we had a little fluffy black kitten.
And then Ruth got home with a stray black kitten from So Cal, Donny Blue, so we both had little black kittens to raise. Sunspot was a love. He sang and danced and trilled anda had random curly white whiskers mixed in with his black straighter ones. He had some problems jumping in 2008; it ended up that he had metastasised lung cancer that caused tumours on his feet. The prognosis is usually pretty dire, but we were blessed with him for 2 more years. I made him turkey tail tea (the mushroom) and put it on his food, and most of his tumours on his feet fell off. He was mostly back to himself until he suddenly slowed down about 2 years later. First he didn't want to go downstairs any more and wanted to eat upstairs. Then he stopped eating, and then he told me he was done and wanted to die at home. Second only to taking care of Mama when she died, letting him die at home was the hardest thing I'd done in my life. His last night I was cuddling him before bed, and just went I got into bed I knew I had to get up. I cuddled and rocked him and he purred, and then he had a little shake and was gone. That was late the night of 4 September 2010.
30 minutes later I jumped as I heard his voice and the lights flickered. It was actually the surge protector chirping, but it sounded just like him, and I had to laugh through my tears at how he told me he was okay.
Gypsy's mother, iirc, was a younger sibling (but not littermate) of Aodhan. Our across the street neighbor had caught one of Aodhan's mother's wild kittens, and she was pregnant. The neighbor's child gave them all Disney names: Quasi, Mo, Gypsy, and Belle, I think. I fell in love at first sight with her, and Suzanne gave her to Paul and me, but asked me for the child to not change her name, and I agreed. Gypsy was very petite and shy with strangers but had a huge voice and was the Queen of the household. If she wanted to lay on you, you were laid on, even if you growled and grumbled about it! I believe she was Cali come back to us.
Gypsy sounded like a herd a elephants when she ran; we didn't realise until her old age that she'd always had a little trouble with her legs. She developed cataracts in one eye, but was still chatty, cuddly, and purry until almost the end -- she started failing in Jan 2014 and passed a week later. She spent that week on our bed with a heating pad, being treated like the queen she was.
Paul brought home Nala from the vet one day (I think when he picked up Gypsy from being spayed), saying he could tell she just "belonged" here. And oh, how right he was -- the first thing she did was find Rafi's old bed and claim it. Yep, another kitty who came right back to us. Nala also had springs like Rafi and loved to jump up on the valences in Calif and up to the top of the bathtub enclosure and the top of the back bedroom closet here in Oregon. She was the smallest of the cats with the longest whiskers. She died very unexpectedly in 2011.
In 2001 we found a cute little silver grey kitty hiding under our house. I thought he was a girl at first due to his style of neutering, but the vet corrected that and estimated he was about 3-4 years old. I chose the name "Seelie" because it means "blessed" and also as a pun on his silver colour. He loved being held at first, but Mousebait didn't like him, and he stopped feeling safe in the air. After Mousebait's death in 2006, Seelie came out of his shell more, and I treasure the time he had sleeping on the heated bed with the others. He loved playing "the toes game" where we'd scrabble our fingers on his bed and he'd sharpen his toes in return, and he loved being combed and brushed and rubbed. He started being a love one day, and I was thrilled; he wanted to be in my arms and no where else, and he'd purr until he was vibrating. We had no clue that he was in congestive heart failure until one day he didn't make it to the litter box and peed, then wanted more cuddling, and either later or the next day (it's a blue still) he collapsed on his way, so I picked him up and he peed on me. I comforted him and wiped him off as he purred, and when i set him down, even his *tail* was limp. Paul rushed him to the ER vet, and they said he was actively dying of CHF and there was nothign they could do. He died 29 Jan 2013 and was the first we lost in that dreadful year.
Luna showed up my first spring at the new house in April or May 2004. She was HUGE -- easily the size of Gypsy and Nala put together. She was spayed and the vet thought she was between 4 and 8. A friend who knows Maine Coons thinks she's either all or most MC. She was sweet and loving, but also very, VERY independent. She didn't like to be picked up, and she only wants to be petted on her terms. She absolutely refused to be an inside cat, so she became our beloved garden guadian, who always stayed far away from the road.
She failed very suddenly over about a week in the summer of 2013. After vanishing for several days and then coming back to see me and lie in the dappled shade on the front porch, she left again, but in the morning she was at the french doors under the chair and had the breathing that said the end was close. I sat down next to her and told her how much I loved her and that it was okay for her to go. She took one more breath and she was gone out of her body.
Emdee (short for Misty-dactyl, as she looked just like my friend Ruth's late cat Misty in Calif -- but with added extra toes; Paul gave her the name) appeared a couple months after Luna. She was thin as a rail but had swollen teats, and when I called the spay clinic they said to call to schedule the appt after the swelling went down. I did, but the first appt was 3 months out! And by then she was swelling up with babies on board; I couldn't bear the thought of having her spayed and them killed.
I was finally able to catch her in late July or August, and she moved into the back bedroom. In due time, she presented us with Isis, Minerva, Samhain, Binx, and Casteylan, who can be seen as babies and she presented us with 5 lovely babies, seen on very out of date the kitten page. She was a superb and loving mama who let them nurse until they were quite large.
In late 2012 or early 2013 (which is all of fog for me between Aodhan's hospice care and his and Seelie's deaths), Emdee started having discharge from her ear. Paul took developed a mass in her ear in 2013. I misunderstood (see above re fog) and thought she meant an infection, but she didn't. Antibx did nothing. Emdee was still pretty comfortable for a few weeks, but less and less interested in food. Then suddenly she retreated to the a box in the bedroom, and when her Cas son tried to cuddle with her in it, she snarled and attacked him. She wanted to be left alone. We called and made an appt, and the night before it she crawled into bed with me for the first time and purred under the covers until I started to fall asleep, then she went back to her nest. I held her as she was euthanised the next morning. I am so grateful she gave me that love and let me know everything was okay when it didn't feel okay at all.
Jack showed up a few times before I got Emdee tamed; I suspect he's the kittens' father, but he may have been Emdee's son from an earlier litter. Or both. Both he and Emdee had tumours. He stayed very wild for a couple more years but got very ill the winter after Mousebait passed (2006). He had to stay inside while he recovered, and decided he wanted to stay. He was very much Paul's baby, and his greatest joy was snuggling on Paul every single time he could. Jack lost his hearing in about 2011 and got a head tilt. In 2015 he started failing and had what we think were a number of strokes. We could not afford an autopsy, but I suspect he also had a tumour pressing on his brain like Emdee did.
Casteylan was a splendid, ginormous, floofy, polydactyl tea cosy of a kitty, and a lovely singer. He had the same types of lumps as his mama, and died of what we suspect was cancer the day after his 9th birthday.
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All original content (including but not limited to artwork and photographs) on this website are copyright C. Starfire 1996-2018
This page was last updated on New Year's Day 2018