#LoveMe Challenge: Day 15

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Something you have done right.

I’m going to go with taking care of my cats. I’ve kept them alive and happy into their golden years. Sometimes I do feel insecure about their health, because I have PTSD from every surprise trip to the ER they’ve made. But they are old, and sweet, and very affectionate. So I’m going to go on record as saying I raised them well.

#LoveMe Challenge: Day 9

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Share something beautiful.

art wall

clockwise from upper left: artwork by Amarah, modified estate sale find from Eric Pisani, painting by Salam El Zaatari, and painting by Xavier Evans

worship altar

Not one, but two Cthulhu figures on my altar..

books

My witchy books, handmade runes, tarot cards, craft books, candles, etc…

Also these guys…

Renfield and Pork

The love that dare not speak its name.

Renfield and Pork

They almost make a little heart…

Renfield and Pork

Glamour Shots

How could you not be in love with those faces?

#LoveMe Challenge: Day 4

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Name someone who loves me?

Just one? I mean, what do I quantify and bestow that mantle on? First would have to be my mother who would give up a kidney for me if she had to, and has always had my back. But I have a number of good friends, virtually family, who I know down to my toes, they love me.

My roommate has known me since high school, and we’ve been through the shit and the shenanigans. Xavier and I can communicate with a look. Steve has seen me at my best and my worst for a very long time and he still loves me. I don’t know how I would have moved, or had my birthday party, or gone to that charity prom function, or gone swing dancing without Eric. Laney is definitely a partner in crime, and snacking, mostly snacking, and plenty of heart to hearts, with a sprinkle of high jinx. And TJ loves me probably the most unconditionally I’ve ever had a lover capable of being, with a weird twin-speak understanding starting to form between us.

Wait a minute, you sneaky 30 Day Challenge you… I’m supposed to say “myself” aren’t I? I mean, that’s the point, right? Okay, I do TRY to love myself, but it’s usually a touch and go situation. I suppose in the truest sense I do “love” myself. Like, I do actually want the best for me, even if I am my own saboteur. I’m just not always patient and kind to myself.

How about my cats? They love me unconditionally. Well, with the acceptable caveat that they are fed. I don’t blame them, they don’t have thumbs. But this does not explain away all the cuddles and the snuggles, the hanging out with me in the room. I have to remind myself that for these little vomit and shit machines, that I am their world, I am their sunshine. Both the sun and the moon shine out of my ass, as far as their concerned. I am their entertainment. I am their “social network”. Renfield is definitely a total Momma’s boy. He’s very social, but he’ll generally prefer my company, if the choice is available. Pork as well, despite how I lovingly tease her, you’d think she’d shit on my pillow every day like a hotel mint, but she doesn’t. Thankfully.

So my life is pretty rich with love. I count it among my assets, to tell you the truth, to have this strong a network of people that care about me. It is one of the things I remind myself of when I am feeling down. If this many people think I’m groovy, I must be pretty damn groovy.

Renfield

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Sorry to have missed my usual Monday posting. Life has been crazy.

I’m dedicating this week’s post to my cat, Renfield.

renfield

Ren came into my life in April of 2001. I moved in with my boyfriend with one cat, Pork. My friend’s cat had gotten pregnant and had a litter of extremely adorable kittens. I convinced my fiance, Buddha, that we needed a second cat. A kitten from this litter could be *his* kitty. He could chose the kitten and name it. Okay, maybe this was more of a ploy for me to have a 2nd cat.

We were both excited when we met the kittens. Despite having a small eye infection, Renfield came right up to us to say hello. He was a tiny bundle of grey fur. He was a charmer from the start, with no fear of life what so ever. Buddha decided to name the kitten after the crazy assistant to Bram Stoker’s Dracula. We brought him home once his infection was treated, and right away he was up to kitten shenanigans. He was always climbing things. He tried to nurse from me once in my sleep. He sneaked out once overnight and came home with a tender bottom and suspicious sniffs from the other household cats. I suspect he got his first dose of prison love from a big, burly Tomcat on the outside. The cats worked as a team to capture and mangle a large grasshopper, and left the sloppy remains for me as a trophy. He made me laugh, he frustrated me, he was loved.

One day, when the cat was about 2 years old, we were sitting around the apartment and he was no where to be seen for the evening. This is unusual behavior for the little grey shadow, always wanting to be where the people are (and thusly the action is). I sought him out and found him hiding under the bed. When I touched his abdomen he let out a pitiful meow of pain. It was late in the evening, so we had to take him to for an emergency veterinary visit. His urethra had blocked with pH crystals. We didn’t have the money for him to stay overnight, so they flushed him and we took him home. He soon blocked again and we had to take him back. By the time it was all said and done, we spent nearly a grand of borrowed money to save the cat.

At this time, this was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me emotionally. The cat had to be isolated for a couple of days before he was returned to the populous of the home. Renfield and I spent an entire weekend in my bedroom watching The Royal Tenenbaums. We bonded that weekend and he’s been my boy ever since. Generally speaking, if I’m in the room, his preference is my lap. If I’m home, he is usually not far behind. My love for him cemented as I stared into those gold eyes with white eyeliner, with my heart broken, that weekend. He was my guy, too.¬†Often I refer to Renfield by the nickname Stinky Pete, which came from the Cartoon Network Adult Swim show Sealab 2021.

At one point the relationship with the fiance ended. He moved to New York. We still owed money to my mother for his vet visit. So I looked at Buddha sternly and said, “I hope you don’t think you’re taking that cat with you.” He didn’t fight me on it. As much as he also loved Ren, I had a stable home that he was situated in and Buddha was moving in with his new girlfriend. So keep the cat I did. I continued to feed him his prescription food as often as I could afford it, and make sure he had a warm bed, and boobs to cuddle up to (he is still overtly fond of kneading my chest until I start scratching his chin, and then he’ll settle down for a good petting session).

When times got tough and I had to move back into my mother’s house, my landlord/roommate at the time cared for the cats for a while (with funds I sent on a regular basis). Initially I couldn’t move the cats into my mother’s house because of her allergies, even though she loves them dearly. Eventually the friend caring for the cats began making plans to move to Florida, and there was a panic about where the cats were going to live. My mother made the concession that the cats could stay in the basement. On occasion I would sneak them into my bedroom to spend more time with them.

Renfield has won the hearts of friends and strangers by being the one to greet you when you come in the door. At a recent New Year’s Eve party, he literally walked into the middle of crowded rooms and sat as if to say, “Hello, thanks for coming to my party. Who wants to pet kitty?” He made no qualms with being passed around for petting and generally being fawned over.

Ren, the seat stealer, says "I'm people".

At the NYE party: Ren, the seat stealer, says “I’m people”.

Renfield is also an excellent model, and doesn’t mind terribly my penchant for dressing the cats up for “holiday fun”.

renfield6

tutu ren

ren halloween

In the time that Ren’s been back with me, he’s had pH crystals on the other end of the pH scale and sometimes occasional colds, etc. His health has always been the tricky, silent issue. He’s had allergic reactions to plastic feeding bowls and most recently, since he has officially hit the “senior stage” of his life, he has started to lose some of his kidney function. His teeth have always been healthy, but most recently it appears that there are some that will need pulled and his vet and I agree that we should address this before his kidneys get to the weakened state that makes surgery extreme difficult. As it is he’ll have to stay over night to receive fluids.

Financially this is going to be difficult. I work for a non-profit, which means I don’t bring home the big bucks. I’m an artist, but that generally makes no money at all. So at the suggestion of friends, I created a WeFund page for Renfield and his dental surgery:

http://www.gofundme.com/21seh8

As a reward for helping this outgoing, loving, quirky tabby cat, I will personally create artwork as outlined in the rewards on the link. But I’m also open to negotiation for donors of all levels. Any thing can help and if you can’t contribute, spreading the good word is also helping.

These days, Renfield is still the cat that goes on random running sprees and has learned how to break into the cabinet despite my addition of Velcro to the door. He likes to poke his head out of the vinyl cube in the corner and has a fascination with the bathtub bordering on obsessive. He makes me laugh every day. He’s a big guy with a tiny, almost silent, meow.

Thanks for taking the time to read this, and thanks for anything you can do for a poor artist and the general love of cats. Ren would thank you with loud purrs and kneading your chest with his large paws, if he could.