Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Swift - 1995-2011

I really don't recommend losing both of your kitties within two weeks of each other. :(

Swift kitty was really about the sweetest and prettiest kitty around.  We got her at the Butte, MT pound for a whopping $10, where they thought she was a boy and 2-3 months old.  Hmmm.  Immediately, she was very loving and affectionate.  The roomates and I were kicking around the name Valentine - that's how affectionate she was.  She was also crazy.  I don't know if it was from her hard time on the heavy-metal laden streets of Butte or if she was happy to have room to run, but she spent most of her time zooming up and down the stairs of our duplex.  She zoomed around so much, we decided to name her Swift.  Swift was also a bit crazy.  She liked to run up and bite the ankles of random people, then run away.  Not cool.  She was so crazy that we actually debated her future as our collective kitty, but then one fall day, Ernie was left with us, and she became incredibly sweet.  I guess she just needed another cat to act all her agressions on, although usually, Ernie was the agressor and she was the victim.

Ernie claimed me and Swift had claimed my roommate.  So much so, that when Brandee would leave to go to class, Swift would sit in the window and cry as she walked down the street.  Swift really only liked Brandee - whenever I tried to pick her up, all I got was growling and hissing.  Ok!  Then, in May 1997, Brandee got married to someone who was not a cat-lover.  She offered to find Swift a new home, but I figured, two cats aren't much more work/money than one cat, and Swift and Ernie got along really well.  It was decided that Swift would stay with me.  And then Swift became my shadow.

Swift was affectionate to the point of being incredibly annoying.  When I came home from work, she would run up to the door to greet me and then follow me around the house.  As soon as I sat down, she was on my lap, sometimes without me even realizing it.  She looooved Will (much to his annoyance, although I think he secretly loved it).  Will could get her to do these drunken-love flops on the bed, on command.  He'd say "roll over" and point to the bed.  Swift would drunkenly flop sideways and roll over.  Very cute.

As much as Ernie didn't want to acknowledge humans, Swift was the opposite.  She was very social and friendly.  Occasionally talkative, mostly at food time.  She was actually very annoying at food time with her incessant meowing.  It was so annoying that we would lock her in the spare bathroom - aka "kitty jail" - so we wouldn't have to listen to her demands.

Swift was always my sleep buddy.  At night, she would curl up on my hip and spend the whole night there.  For naps, she was really weird and liked to sleep under the covers.  She would paw at the sheet near your head until she got her way, and then happily curl up under the covers somewhere near my feet.  A few times Ernie figured out her hiding spot and attacked her from the top of the covers.  Good times.

In June 2010, right after I signed up for IMTX, Swift was diagnosed with high blood pressure and probable pancreatits and/or lymphoma.  Her once beautiful fluffy fur was greasy and she wasn't eating and was down from 12 lbs to 8 lbs.  The prognosis was uncertain.  Some kitties lived a long time with this, others didn't.  Only time (and a lot of vitamin B-12 injections) would tell. 

Swift was my nap buddy.  I loved to come home after a long (early) run or a race, grab her, and take a nap for a few hours.  I knew that with my IMTX training that I would be taking a lot of naps and would NEED her.  There was just something about her being there, lying on me, that made me go to sleep.  It was our routine.  I needed that routine for my training.  I remember holding her up to eye-level, looking her in the eye, and telling her that she HAD to live through IMTX because I would be needing my nap buddy a lot.  She held me to my word.  The literal day I returned from IMTX, she started to decline even more.  Her digestive system wasn't working well and she wasn't absorbing nutrients - her weight was down to 5.75 lbs.  Even while she was getting sicker, she was still very cheerful and cuddly.  Finally, about 1.5 weeks after we lost Ernie, her breathing became labored and finally we knew that she would not be around anymore as the cancer had likely spread into her lungs.  She had a great life and my naps aren't the same without her.

  • Swifter
  • Rooster
  • Swifter-roo
  • Princess (when we were feeling sarcastic)
Favorite things:
  • She really didn't care much for toys, but she LOVED shoelaces.  She loved us to play "fish" with her, us holding one end and she'd grab the other.  She also just loved carrying the thing around.  Frequently, we'd go to sleep with the shoelace in one room and wake up to find it in another room.
  • She LOVED catnip.  The first time we gave her catnip, she actually managed to cup it in her front paws and throw it up in the air like confetti.  She would act 10 times of crazy for about 5 minutes and then pass out in a catnip-induced haze.
  • Laps.  She just loved to cuddle.
  • She was pretty dingy.  I swear, there would be times where she would be in one part of the house, freak out thinking we weren't home and start wailing.  Also, whenever it was time to put her in kitty jail, sometimes she'd run, but 8 times out of 10, she'd hunker down in the center of the room, like she was hiding into the floor.  Yes, the brown floor will hide a white cat.  Sure.....
  • We had issues of her peeing in her carrier on long road trips. The first time was in 1997, when I moved back to college from my internship.  I was in the middle of nowhere, MT when it happened.  I hauled her into a gas station restroom to wash her up, only there was no sink the bathroom - just a utility sink between the bathrooms.  I got a lot of weird looks as I bathed a yowling kitty.  Second time was on our way home after evacuating to Denver from Hurricane Rita.  One hour into our 17 hr drive back to Houston, just as we were about to get on I-70 at Limon, she got very meowy.  We pulled over to give her a tranquilizer, only to find out that she was really trying to tell us something important.  So, here we were with a cat with pee-soaked legs and tail on a dirt pull off, at sunrise, with wind and semi trucks BLOWING past us on the way to I-70.  All we had were Starbucks napkins and bottled water.  She freaked out and I was going to lose her, so I held her to the ground, which resulted in a cat with now MUDDY pee-coated paws.  We had to smell cat pee the 16 hrs home.  The final time was moving to Denver, just outside of Limon (what is it with Limon?!).  Only this time I knew the signs and pulled over to a rest stop.  Not in time to prevent the accident, but at least she didn't get covered in pee.  The air temperature was -15.  I was cleaning Swift up, Will was outside trying to clean up the carrier with paper towels (we learned) only the pee was freezing in the -15 air.  Fun times!
  • The summer I had an internship in Wyoming, I had a 2nd story apartment with a patio.  I'd let the kitties roam on the patio.  One day, Swift twirled around the iron fencing on the corner, lost her footing, and fell to the grass below.  I tore downstairs to get her, and she was happily relaxing on the grass.
  • She loved to roll on concrete, the hotter and dirtier the better.
  • She really did love to go outside.  Most of the time she was supervised (except for when we sold our Houston house and the dumb selling agent let her escape outside....).  Occasionally she would try to run off.  One time, she and Ernie somehow coordinated things, so that Ernie misbehaved and distracted us as she bolted off.
    Taken on that same Feb 1996 day with Ernie's snow shots.  That's the duplex neighbor's dog in the window.
  • 1996 - Will and Swift
    laser eyes (and James)
    So, Ernie was orange and was naturally ready for Halloween.  We thought Swift was missing out on the fun, so we dressed her in an orange t-shirt.  She really didn't like this very much.
    Kitteh in a box!
    roaming in the grass
    Pretty typical view at night watching TV, with Swift lying on my chest.

    Swift acting as Quality Control when Will works from home. 

    More QC support for Will. She would often rest her paws/head on his mouse arm.

    Ernie and Swift, 1995
    Swift had BEAUTIFUL blue eyes but for some reason, they were really hard to capture in a photo.  This is one of the few which really show off how pretty she was.
    more torture, in the name of Stuff on My Cat . com  she was unamused.

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