Cats, floor with quilts, and letting losses define me

I posted photos of the four of our “inside” cats that are here with me.  (Megan, my youngest daughter has our other cat, Dollie, with her in the basement where she is presently staying).  Our cats traveled with us after we had to leave our little farm in October of 2009 to 3 different locations in North Carolina, then here.  They lived inside – outside when we first arrived, but after our beautiful maine coon cat, Dusty, was poisoned and died, then our big long-haired gray cat Smoke died (the vets ran tests but couldn’t figure out what happened to him), and lastly Whiskers broke his leg, we decided to keep the rest indoors.  These four beautiful family members have lived in a 10′ X 13′ room down in the barn for the past year and a half, for I have no other place to take them.

Slept on the living room floor on the two quilts again last night.  The couch has those huge pillow cushions on top of which my daughter’s cats sleep.  It pushes the cushions down so there is just room to lay down, but none to turn or move at all which tends to be rather uncomfortable.  So I put down the quilts and sleep between the coffee table and television stand with their old cat Gracie.  She waits for me to lay down and pet her till one of us falls asleep. It was 8 degrees F (about -13 celcius) this morning. I waited until it was up to 16 degrees F to venture out and down to the barn to feed the cats.  It is only about 350 yards, a fifth of a mile, to get there, but it seems much farther when it is way below freezing, the wind blowing and /or it is dark outside. I make this trip 3 times every day. Had to carry a jug of hot water to get the ice out of the water bowls for the feral cats/strays who stay in the barn.  (Megan caught or trapped all of them over 4 months and we transported them in batches to get spayed or neutered).

When I took food and water into the stall  where our three chickens stay, the oldest one who is almost 8 years old surprised me with a beautiful light green egg.  Gave me a smile out there in the cold.  Blessings can come in small packages!

One of the feral cats is presently inside the house in a dog cage. Jazz was out back on the deck next to the sliding doors in the sun dripping fluid from his nose and mouth and his poor face was raw.   I put on gloves and got him into a carrier to take to the vet.  Jazz has pneumonia.  I took him on Tuesday and am so worried for he still has thick drool and his breathing sounds terrible.  We are doing all we can.  The feral cats have dog houses filled with hay, or heavy cardboard boxes lined with styrofoam and fluffy warm sweaters and blankets, but the temperatures have been down to as low as -20 F with the wind chill and I feel so badly for them.   I do hope this cold weather is over very soon. Today I happened upon a comment on a post  written by a man with a disabled wife and two children who will be homeless in two weeks unless he gets some help.  Several people who left their opinion were rather negative or even quite rude, but this comment touched me, as I know  the fear and pain this family is feeling. A woman replied ” Keep your head held high. You are the same GOOD person now, as you were prior to this set back. And it is only a set back. Please don’t let this define you.”

For 25 years,  I was the “puzzle lady” , with my biography in ‘Who’s Who of American Women’ for 4 years; I was a homeowner.  I was helping others on the streets, on an online site and also with herbal remedies.  Then, in 2007, my creative and much loved job disappeared; in 2009 my dearly loved home.  I could no longer even help myself. And with those things gone, I let the losses define me.   It is difficult not to.   I never in my life expected to be where I am at this stage in my life.  Homeless, staying in someone else’s home week after week, month after month, year after year,  with not a single room of your own does nothing to assuage those feelings of  loss and worthlessness. 

Homeless is not just drunks, winos, druggies; it is good people that bad things happened to.  Many people are just a few paychecks away from being there themselves.  A job gone, and your life with it.

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