This week I made a difficult decision.

For some time now… really the last couple of years, Amber, my Mom’s cat, has been less than fastidious with his toilet habits. Before we moved, I was just about at my wit’s end about having to constantly clean up after him, about his using the carpet for a toilet more often than not.

Finally, I tried a lower box and a litter designed for older and long-haired cats and it seemed to work. He often peed outside the box but as long as we put down absorbent pads, he kept it more or less to the vicinity of the box. There were a few accidents on the new hardwood floor and once we moved, he seemed to be staying on the special mats in the bathroom. Until the last two weeks….

He started peeing in various spots in the living room and dining room and in Mom’s bedroom and then pooping, as well.

I finally put my foot down.

As much as I love Amber, I simply cannot add cleaning up after him to my already long list of daily chores. I told Mom that it is time. He is somewhere between 16 and 19 and suffers from arthritis, has a bad heart, and the peeing is probably a sign that his kidneys are failing. During our last visit to the vet with him, I spoke about his drinking and peeing all the time and she had felt that this was the likely problem. This week I went in to talk with her and I said that I would be bringing him in in the next few weeks.

Amber on the farm

Mom says she understands but I know how painful this is for her. He is a lovely old fellow and a loving companion for her. The two spend all day on the couch together and he sleeps in her room at night.

I just can’t continue. Quite apart from the added frustration and work, there is the smell. Some nights I have to spray perfume around my room and burn incense so I can sleep. I can’t bring anyone over to the house and have to warn any servicemen who come. Mom, of course, doesn’t smell it because like many older folks, her sense of smell is diminished. Sometimes I think she doesn’t believe me. And she always says “What about that stuff you can spray to discourage them from peeing…” Firstly, I would have to spray it all over the main floor and secondly, I am one of those humans who can smell it and it makes me puke… literally….

I have done what I can and, as the vet said, judging from his last visit, this cannot be comfortable for him. He is likely experiencing discomfort.

I just feel horrible about having to make the decision and about telling Mom that he has to go.

There really is no other option. No one would take him because of the toilet habits and sending him to a farm is just cruel. He is in his dotage and all he wants is someplace warm to sleep away the days. This is really the only option, much as it breaks Mom’s heart (and mine, truth be told…).

I took him in for his grooming to make him more comfortable for the next two weeks.




Tonight I lost a favourite cereal bowl. It was hand-made and one-of-a kind. I got it at the Great Bowls of Fire benefit for the Ottawa food bank.

Recently, Mom has taken to getting angry at me if I suggest that she’s forgotten something. Usually it is because she has done something dangerous… like taken her pills when I have already given them too her. She will swear up and down that she didn’t but when I try and logically explain how I know she took the pill(s) she gets angry… often to the point of throwing things at me. Usually it is the phone receiver or the TV remote.

Sometimes, like tonight, it is because, for the umpteenth time, she has put water in her cat’s dry food dish. For some reason she has gotten it into her head that he won’t eat it if it isn’t soaked in water . In fact, he won’t eat it if it is wet. The problem is that whenever she goes near the dish, he follows her about because he things she is going to give him something else… like caviar or roast suckling pig.

I see him chowing down on the dry food all the time. In fact, when we were in the old place, he would come into my room and eat Benjamin’s food which is not soaked.

All that happens is that he won’t eat the dry food and then it goes moldy. I have tried to explain that if he eats moldy food, it could make him sick or worse but she still insists that he won’t eat it unless it is wet.

Tonight, she simply denied that she put water in the disk. Since I changed both dishes yesterday, throwing out mold food, I didn’t put water in the dish (both dishes, actually, if you count the second dish in the kitchen which she put down this morning), and the cats can’t reach the taps… It had to be her.

Not only is it dangerous for Amber but it is wasteful and the food isn’t cheap. Since I end up throwing out about 1/3 of what gets put down for Amber, probably about 1/5th of the food is wasted.

Tonight she got mad and yelled at me and a moment later, my bowl was across the room in a bunch of pieces. She said she “dropped” it but since it landed half way across the room… I know she threw it.

I know it is my fault for bothering to try and get her to remember to do or not do something or bother trying to tell her she took an extra dose of her meds.

I need to stop and let go. Just pick up the dish and throw the spoiled food out… Hide the pills in a new place and not worry because she took one dose extra… I worry that she’s going to hit me with something and may well have thrown the bowl at me if I had been in the room. It just isn’t worth the risk of her hurting me or herself.

Normally, she is placid and easy-going. It is just once in a while and always when I have pushed her trying to be logical or to “make” her remember.

PhotoHunter: Mother

I thought it apropos to post my PhotoHunter selection this week on the blog that I started about living around my mother’s Alzheimer’s.

My mother

Moving mess.

The moving process is, well…. maybe not HUMMING along, but “getting there”.

We’ve managed to whittle down a lot of the stuff in the basement that has been hoarded over the years, much of it Mom’s. I finally managed to talk her into donating a lot of her old floral arranging stuff and was able to throw a lot more out. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on the point of view) we have had mice off and on over the years here and while I have managed to get rid of them,again (I think) they have had a field day in the boxes of floral stuff that consist of natural materials.

This has also meant disposing of some books which have been pooped on and peed on.

As well, Mom accidentally locked Benjamin (my cat) in the back room of the basement and while it took me three days to find him…. I discovered today where he had been peeing all that time. Luckily on mostly readily disposed of stuff. All of it, disposable or not, went out.

Treasures have been found, however. Mom’s school and Territorial Army photos… some of my bronzes that I thought had gone missing, the photo of Benjamin sitting watching the Dalai Lama on TV.

Mom has tried to help but there really isn’t much that she can do. She was able to do a lot of wrapping of dishes and glassware on the first day but beyond that, she just can’t do much and she’s been pretty unhappy about that. And, because of the upset and muddle and confusion, she has been repeating questions and concerns. I know things will settle once we are in the new place.

However, I discovered that instead of hardwood floors in the new place, we have carpeting in her room and the living/dining room and now I have concerns about Amber (her cat) peeing wherever he likes. This is a stress I REALLY do not need.

They also haven’t done the kitchen and bathroom floor tiling, yet which means another upset in a few weeks or a month (hopefully sooner, rather than later).

Unfortunately, I just discovered that Amber, probably because of the noise and confusion downstairs, peed on Mom’s bedroom carpet… JUST what I needed.

My brother is supposed to come tomorrow and help move the washer and dryer and dishwasher (though WHERE the dishwasher is going to go…. I don’t know. I am thinking of getting rid of the dishwasher and getting a counter-top one). I am hoping he either brings someone with him or is able to come AFTER my niece’s boyfriend gets off work because there is no way I can help move anything heavy.

Sigh…. 5 more days and HOPEFULLY we can have the move done and the cleaning, patching and repairing done. I want to be able to sleep a night through without waking up or not being able to sleep for worrying about this and that…

Finally able to get keys… Finally able to start moving things in. We have 10 days to get moved in.

So much shit, so little time.

Luckily, I have been able to get rid of a lot of “stuff” that just takes up space and aggravates me…. like stupid Tupperware “systems” — 4-part microwave steamer/server sets that do nothing but fall out of the cupboard on my toes when I am looking for a storage container.

Hopefully, now I will have room in my kitchen to actually COOK.


We finally got to go into the new house and have a look around.

There is new carpeting on the stairs and both upstairs and downstairs bedrooms. New wood flooring in the living room, new tile in both bathrooms, kitchen and hall. Both bathrooms are very big and the downstairs one can accommodate a wheelchair. The kitchen has a new side-by-side fridge with an ice-maker, as well as a new self-cleaning oven (AND a large ring on the front right. I was complaining the manufacturers seem to always put a small ring on the front right.

The buttons and knobs for the stove are on the front rather than on the back which means that Mom will be able to reach them while she is using her cane.

The bedroom on the main floor is about as big as the master bedroom, here and the two upstairs bedrooms are very much larger than my current room. As well, the basement is half finished. All it needs is a carpet. But we will only really be using that as storage.

There is room in each bathroom for the cat boxes which means we won’t have them sitting in the hallway. We can also, I think add a folding door to the small foyer which will keep Benjamin from dashing out the door when we open it.

As soon as they have cleaned it (it is dusty from being empty for 5 months and from the workmen putting in the carpets and flooring) we can start moving in!!!!!

A few more photos

A comment was posted to my previous post on showing Mom the Street View images of places she lives and where she was born.

Some links were shared to more photos.

Former United Free Church, Canonbie (Alan Reid)

This was the first church where my grandfather preached and beside the manse where Mom was born.