The State of the Kitty Union

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My new book comes out next week--so before all the craziness starts, a general update on Homer and his health!

I'm thrilled to be able to report that Homer is doing well.  Exceptionally well.  Unbelievably well, given the dire predictions the doctors gave me a few weeks ago.  He's eating like a champ, playing a bit (perhaps not as frequently or vigorously as he did a few years ago, but he's an old man after all), and cuddling and purring like crazy.  Laurence goes out every single day--even Sundays--to get Homer fresh deli turkey, because Homer has expressed a clear preference for fresh, moist turkey over turkey that's even a day old.  Homer has become very mistrustful of anybody who isn't me since that horrible experience at the vet's office, and unfortunately that means he won't let Laurence (or the kittens, for that matter) pet him or even get too close.  I can't help wishing he'd show Laurence a teensy bit of gratitude, since Laurence waits in that loooong line at the deli every day for Homer's sake.  Still, Laurence gets a huge kick out of seeing Homer eat so enthusiastically, and when Homer hears Laurence's voice he does start sniffing eagerly on the ground, "looking" for the treats he's come to associate with Laurence's presence.  Laurence gets a kick out of that, too.  So I suppose the two of them have their own understanding between them that makes them both happy, even if it perplexes me a bit.  ;-)

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As you know (at least, I hope you know!) my new book--LOVE SAVES THE DAY--comes out on Tuesday of this week.  (Eep!!!)  A few of you have expressed concern over my leaving Homer (given his current health) to go on my proposed 15-city book tour of no-kill shelters instead of bookstores.  Even when the concern is critical of me (;-p), I'm always genuinely touched and grateful for all the concern people have for Homer,and his happiness and well-being.  So I wanted to take a moment and address some of those concerns here.

Let me start out by saying that the tour won't commence until April or May.  I want plenty of time to work out the logistics, and of course to see a bit of warmer weather in the shelters I visit up north.  I don't know what will be with Homer's health four or five months from now--four or five months ago, he was fit as a fiddle!--and have decided not to worry about that right now more than I can help.  And Homer's been on such a wonderful upward trajectory these last couple of weeks that I'm cautiously optimistic that his health will continue to improve in the months to come.

I'll also say that my plan is to visit the shelters on the tour at the rate of about one a week, so that I get to spend some quality time at each shelter--which means a) that the tour will take place over a few months, and b) that I shouldn't be gone from Homer more than two or three days at a time.  That may end up stretching out a bit by the time I get to the west coast, as it may not make sense--for example--to fly out to Seattle, fly back to New York two or three days later, and then a few days after that fly back out to San Francisco.  Again, though, we'll see where everything stands at that point (I may not make it out west until July) and make decisions that make sense at that point.

In a more general sense, though--and perhaps this is me being defensive or rationalizing things--the simple reality is that this is what I do for a living.  One of the many tremendous benefits in doing what I do is that I get to work from home.  For the past five years or so, and with the exception of a handful of brief trips, I've been able to spend about 21 hours a day every day with Homer right by my side.  Having spent the past three years pretty much continually nursing elderly cats through things like chronic renal failure, cancer, hyperthyroidism, diabetes, liver infections, IBS (and more!), I've come to appreciate this luxury all the more.  I've heard from many, many, many readers over the past couple of years who've nursed their own cats through similar illnesses, and never fail to marvel at how utterly, painfully difficult it must be to do so for those who also have to be in an office eight to ten hours a day.  

When I was unable to get a cat to take his or her morning pills or shots, I was able to wait an hour or two and try it again.  If I put down food and noticed at around midday that it was still untouched, I was able to try a different combination that would hopefully prove more tempting in getting a sick kitty to eat.  Any sudden changes and declines in their general health were noted and acted on immediately rather than hours later.  (If I hadn't been home at 11:30am on the day Homer fell down a few weeks back, I might not even have known he was so ill in the first place.)  I know all the worry and anxiety I felt and feel for my cats, and can't even imagine what those of you who have to be away from your own elderly cats for such long stretches of the day must go through.  All I can do is admire your strength and commitment from afar and ask myself if I'd be able to do what you do if I were in your shoes.  I honestly don't know that I'd be able to live up to the standard so many of you have set.

But the trade-off to this wonderful luxury I get to enjoy is that every three years or so, I have to hit the road for a time.  I do so to pay for the other little luxuries we've all become accustomed to around here, like food and rent and the insanely high health insurance premiums you have to pay when you don't have employer-provided health coverage.  ;-p  I'm being a bit facetious (we're not in any immediate danger of starving--I promise!), but the reality remains that books don't promote themselves, and unsold books don't earn their writers any income. 

Again, I acknowledge a certain amount of defensiveness in the length of this post.  But I do also want to assure everybody that while I don't value my work above Homer and his health, realistically it is something that has to be factored into the equation of what's best for my entire family--kitties and humans alike.  I will try very hard to stay on the right side of that balance.  I will try even harder to ensure that Homer's health and happiness are not negatively affected even a tiny bit by the work that I do.

Best of all, I go into this knowing that I'll have all of you to help me make sure I keep that balance straight!  :-D

 

 

Comments

  • Christa Cote Saturday, 12 January 2013

    Not to worry

    You do what you have to do. I'm sure Homer will understand, he's lucky to have you. People underestimate kitties, I think they understand a lot more than we know! I say, "Good luck to you on the tour!"

  • gabriele ben mustapha Saturday, 12 January 2013

    hello gwen, i am absolutely sure you will find the right balance. i am also sure that people who mention their concern don't think you will neglect your homer - but i guess every one of us feels a concern within - as you also just wrote homer won't laurence touch him - and you just can't explain to a cat you'll only be gone a few days. but as i said - i am sure you will do the right thing. i am praying god will give you the wisdom AND good health to homer - wishing all of your family the very best, godspeed in all you do and greetings from vienna, austria - gabriele

  • Kumo Saturday, 12 January 2013

    Super-hero, super writer, super family

    Dear Gwen and Homer,
    The fate that brought you both together, a blind super-hero and a writer of exquisite talent, has graced the world, through your books and blog, with a depth of understanding few of us have the ability to express. Your books and book tour will help spread that understanding and, very likely, improve the lives of many more animals. That's why Homer is a hero, and hopefully a heathy one. And Gwen; a caring and compelling communicator. And the C-L Family doing your day-to-day best for "our" super-hero, and for Fanny and Clayton.
    May you all go from strength to strength.
    By the way, has Laurence tried lying on the floor, on his back, with a piece of that fresh deli-turkey in his hand stretched out in Homer's direction?
    Best of luck,
    Kumo

  • Audrey Davis Saturday, 12 January 2013

    Super kitty mom!

    Gwen, anyone who has read Homer's book knows you will always have his best interest at heart.

  • Hansi Saturday, 12 January 2013

    No Need to Be Defensive

    Gwen, First of all, I am thrilled that Homer is doing so well. Doctors are not gods and can only make their best guess. Sometimes they are way off when it comes to the future. My mom, who was not supposed to see her tenth birthday is 79 despite living with diabetes for 76 years. Secondly, there is no need to be defensive. You have a living to make and it is not like you are leaving him in a kennel or with someone coming in daily to feed him. You are leaving Homer in Laurence's loving, capable hands. We are sure if something came up, you would head home, and your fans would totally understand if you had to suddenly reschedule your visit. Go on and promote your book while lending support to shelters without guilt. Now if your book would hurry up an get here...

  • Andy Heller Saturday, 12 January 2013

    Thankfull!

    I am very glad to hear how Homer is doing. I pray for his continued health. He is a precious cat who brings joy to many, many people. Meow! Lol

  • Peggy Saturday, 12 January 2013

    Always happy to hear news on Homer!!!

    I am so grateful that Homer is doing better. No doubt the outstanding care he received from you and Laurence have made his recovery possible. Keep on keeping on and hold those sharp tongue fools at arms length. No matter what we do as parents, there is always someone else that is certain they could/would have made better choices. There are no instruction booklets, we do the best we can. I am anxiously waiting to get my hands on Love Saves the Day! :-)

  • Connie Saturday, 12 January 2013

    YEA! for Laurence

    OK seriously, I think I just developed a little crush on Laurence.. :)

    I am sorry you feel the need to be defensive about the decisions you make for your cat. You obviously love him and care for him dearly. ANY decision you make out of love is the right one, even if no one else agrees with you. I am sorry you have to leave Homer alone because I have come to understand how much he loves you, and you love him, but you are right, you need to put food on the table and litter in the box, and I do it by going to an office 8-10 hours a day, you do it by going on a 15 city tour every 3 years.. (seriously, can we swap jobs?? I should probably mention I hate traveling)

    I am happy for Homer's improvement. I enjoy the world a just a little bit more knowing he is in it.

  • sandra Saturday, 12 January 2013

    Ms

    Hi just to ask you if while you are away, will someone be with him 24/7 ? Is he ever left alone ?

  • gwen Saturday, 12 January 2013

    Maybe it's my fault for creating the impression that we live a completely sedentary lifestyle, but Laurence and I do occasionally leave the apartment, Sandra--sometimes even for hours at a stretch! ;-p

  • Jean Saturday, 12 January 2013

    You'r a great Mom

    Gwen, I admire you so much. I know that Homer is always in your heart and thoughts and that he definitely has your love with him all of the time. I am a senior citizen and am with my kitties and little doggy most of the time. I love them and care for them and do everything that I can to be sure that they are taken care of, but this is all that we can do. I love them so much. If you visit anywhere near my city of Richmond, VA., I hope that I will get to meet you.

  • Nancy Saturday, 12 January 2013

    Thank You for the Update !!

    I've anxiously been watching your blog and so glad to hear Homer is doing well. Bless Laurence for being such a good daddy and making the deli runs!! Can't wait for your new book!! Hugs to you, Homer, and all in Homer's family.

  • Mimi Katz Saturday, 12 January 2013

    Turkey Tuesday (fresh, of course!) for "Love Saves the Day" and Homer!

    We'll be eating fresh turkey on Tuesday to celebrate "Love Saves the Day" and Homer's good health! Thanks for the update on Homer and best of luck on your book. It ought to skyrocket to the top of the NY Times best-seller list from purchases by just Homer's friends!

  • Mary Saturday, 12 January 2013

    Awesome Mom and Dad

    Ya'll are an awesome set of Parents to Homer and the rest of the siblings. What we won't do for the safety and well being of them. :)

  • Jeannette Roth Saturday, 12 January 2013

    Hi Gwen and Homer,

    Just know that there are many of us out here in your cheering section as well as Homer. I will be one of the first people to go out and buy your book. Take care of yourself as well as Homer! Best wishes on your book tour and I just know you will sell lots of books!


    Take care and Good Luck!

  • Anna Shelton Saturday, 12 January 2013

    "Conflicted"

    Those of us who mentioned your promo tour vs Homer's health were all, I'm sure, as conflicted as you are and only worried about your baby. I don't think anyone actually meant to imply that you would leave a sick Homer without the best of care. I certainly didn't and hope no one else did.

  • Leah Odom Saturday, 12 January 2013

    Great update! You write beautifully & are an equally beautiful "Kitty Mom"!!! So happy Homer is doing well & happy about the book tour too!

  • Leslie Webb Saturday, 12 January 2013

    RIP Katie

    Gwen, I am so happy that Homer is doing well. We did find our 15 year old cat, Katie, yesterday in the kitchen and she had passed away. She was an energetic kitty to the end. We had no idea she had been sick. I am glad she went fast, but I still can't believe she is gone. Can't wait to read your new book.

  • Cathy Horan Saturday, 12 January 2013

    Ms.

    Wonderful update, Gwen! And I know what you mean: since retirement 3 years ago, I realize everything I've missed And wish so much I could have done that when they were young...being able to work from home is fantastic, and a privilege few have! So don't feel guilty about going on required job trips. And SO GLAD Homer is doing so well now!

  • Myrl Pardee Saturday, 12 January 2013

    Thank you!

    Thanks so much for the blog. I have five fur-butts, old, young, feral, cuddley, they are all wonderful, and Homer fits right in. I know the joy of a sick kitty getting better, and the sorrow of losing one to the unimaginable. May Homer live strong and healthy as possible.

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