Kelsey "Romanian Baby"
I got Romanian on a Saturday in July 1990 -- I was leaving Wal-Mart in Warrenton, Missouri and there was a lady out in front of the store with a shopping cart of kittens that she was giving away. The moment I saw the tortoiseshell kitten (just like Ashland Smokey Bonder), I knew I had to get her. I think there was also a black and white kitten and an orange one but I wasn't interested in them at all. The lady told me they were eight weeks old. She gave me a little cardboard carry box shaped like a miniature castle to put the kitten in.
I was supposed to meet Mike and John at Chic Lumber. I knew John would not be happy with me for getting another kitten. At the time he had Smokey and Ellen had Taylor. So John was upset with me for the rest of the day.
Kelsey Was the First Name We Gave Her
I decided to name the kitten Kelsey. That first night with her at the A-frame, I put her in Smokey's pet taxi next to my bed so she wouldn't be too scared in her new home. Somehow she ended up sleeping with me and she slept on my face. I had some kind of allergic reaction and my face was swollen and puffy.
Kelsey was an active kitten. Before we had her spayed and declawed, she loved to climb up the window sheers, to the great delight of the family, especially Ellen who didn't like the sheers. Kelsey also loved to dig in the hanging plants in front of the windows. Her antics earned her the nickname of Pesky!
Unfortunately, we think that something very bad happened to her while she was under the anesthetic getting spayed and declawed. Doc Prewitt told John she suffered some kind of oxygen deprivation. She was never quite the same after that. She became rather aloof and kept her distance from us. And she didn't get along well with Taylor and Smokey and then later with Princess and Mikayla. She hissed at them and would fight with them.
She had a habit of doing what we called "covert action." She would walk around the house in a panther-like movement, her head turning from side to side and her tail twitching -- like she was some great ferocious hunting animal. She loved going out on the deck at the A-frame and particularly loved the deck at the house in Columbia. During her last months, she would curl up in the flower pot on the deck in Columbia. she enjoyed lying in front of the patio door, watching the birds and squirrels on the deck.
How She Got the Name Romanian Baby
One night, the family was watching the news on television. The newscaster was talking about all the abandoned Romanian babies that were available for adoption. I said something about wishing I could have a Romanian baby. And John said, you do -- your cat is your Romanian baby. The name stuck and from then on we called her Romanian Baby.
About a year and a half before she died, she started losing weight. She eventually became very weak and in March 2003, we took her to the vet, where she was diagnosed with diabetes. She spent almost a week in the emergency animal clinic -- at the cost of several thousand dollars -- but she was worth every penny of it to us. She almost died that first time, and we felt very blessed to have her with us the additional 14 months that she lived.
In October 2003, we took her to Rockbridge with the five of us -- John, Mike, Ellen, Mufasa and me. John fixed a place for her in the van with the metal cage. I think she enjoyed being with us in the motel room -- she seemed to be friendlier towards us than usual.
When we were having trouble getting Romanian to eat, the vet, Dr. Ryerson, had suggested we try baby food meat. We did and Romanian loved it! So did Smokey so we had difficulty keeping Smokey away from Romanian's food. Romanian's favorite was turkey. For the past few months, she seemed to be gaining weight and doing fairly well.
During her last 14 months, she got sick several more times and all those times we thought we would lose her. Finally, over the weekend of May 15 and 16, she became very weak again. John took her to the vet on Monday morning, May 17. Despite their best efforts, Romanian Baby died in the middle of the night on May 18.
We'll always remember her and love her and miss her. She was a very special, important part of our family, and we know she's now with the other family members who are no longer here on earth with us.
As our last remembrance of Romanian Baby, John arranged to have her cremated and her ashes put in a black kitten urn.