R is for Ramona

Ramona was my very first cat. I grew up with dogs and longed for a pet when I moved out on my own. When I was at a very low point in my life, my dear roommates and friens got me a lop-eared bunny…but lop-eared bunnies aren’t long for apartment life.

When I was living by myself a few years later and still longing for a pet, I finally decided that allergies be darned, I was getting a kitten. (Yes, I am allergic to cats! I have to take medicine but it is well worth it.) A coworker knew of someone who had just had a litter. I excitedly ran out and got all the necesary supplies – cute dishes, a carrier, litter box, food, everything. We drove over to the house and I had two females kittens to choose from. Ramona was so tiny and cute and I loved her unique black & white markings. I decided to take her and we drove off. She mewed and sounded so sad all the way home that she made me cry. I felt so bad for taking her from her sister and her mom!

My friend Liz came over to meet her that night and we laid on my living room rug, checking her out and trying to decide on a suitable name. We tossed around many option before moving into characters from our favorite children’s books…which is how we came upon Ramona Quimby…and a kitty was named.

Ramona was my sweet girl but would occassionally nip at me when bored. I talked to the vet about it and she recommended that I get her a playmate. Surprisingly (not!), they had a litter of kittens there that needed homes. Some had found homes early on but one little quiet girl with humongous ears and white fur with black markings stole my heart. I had decided to name her Olive but after a few days at home, I realized that she really was a Nervous Nellie – every little thing scared her and sent her scurrying for shelter. (I remember the first night I let her have free reign in the house and could not find her in the morning. I was frantic, searching everywhere (even under the fridge) and crying because she was my responsibility and I had let her down. Luckily, I had put a collar with a bell on her and after about an hour of searching, I heard a little ring. She was under my dresser (which I didn’t know was possible – the front of the dresser came all the way to the floor! But the back didn’t.)

As Nellie got more accustomed to our home, she decided that Ramona was her mother. Until very recently, she wanted very little to do with me! But unfortunately, Ramona did not love her the same. She thought she was a threat for my attention and rather a bug. This has improved over the years (I have caught them snuggling like the picture above!) but Ramona still seems to wish she were an only cat. (And oh my, did her world turn upside down when Norman came to live with us! But that is another post.)

About two years ago, Ramona started to act very lethargic. She was eating and drinking a great deal so I took her to the vet. After much testing, she was diagnosed with diabetes. She gets 5 units of insulin two times a day, which is apparently a lot for a kitty. Right now, we are working to regulate her sugar a little better through her diet and such and she is really not handling it well. With my job and other travel, this poses a difficult situation – primarly because she will only let me give her her insulin. She used to allow our petsitter, until halfway through workcamp last summer when for some reason she lost it and would no longer allow it, hissing, growling, hiding, the works. So now Norman & Nellie get to stay home with the petsitter while Miss Ramona has to stress out in a cage at the vet. This upsets me so deeply, I cannot tell you. It’s bad enough to have to leave her there but I also know that the stress does not help her diabetes. I pray each time that she will make it through. And right now, I am hoping that the work we are doing with the vet’s help could reverse the diabetes (totally possible in cats for some reason – diet can be a big factor) and alleviate this situation all together, so she can get back to being the sweet & loving kitty I’ve known and loved for 12 years.

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