We are cat-lovers!
Hello and welcome my name is Lauren and I’m married to a fine man by the name of Jim Merryfield. I’m a mother to one human, Lynden, and to three felines, Jaspur, Mikey and Gabrielle.
I’m also a member of the following organizations:
The Cat Writers’ Association
National Federation Of The Blind
Volunteer for pet-loss support for the Humane Society Seattle/King County
APLB–Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement
I love cats and have sung in several choruses.
I have a B.A. in integrated studies, an MSW degree from the University of Nebraska and I’ve been published in the following:
The Braille Monitor
News From Blind Nebraskans
Heartwarmers.com (Heartwarmers Of Love Book)
Themestream.com and currently publish and edit CATLINES.
Oh, did we say:
Now Jim my wonderful husband, step-dad to Lynden, Dad to Jaspur, Mikey and Gabrielle, works as a programmer analyst (doing *old* stuff).
Jim enjoys playing the piano, choral singing (We met in a choir!) and is an unusually patient PURRson.
Jim and I are avid Seattle Mariners baseball fans and I’m a Nebraska Cornhuskers football fan (Go Big Red) and we both belong to the Washington Cornhuskers (transplanted Nebraskans.)
“Some humans think we’re really weird. We probably are, and proud of it!
Our kitty-cats accept us just as we are. We hope all of our visitors will, too.”
We have two cats, Jaspur and Mikey! [They are pictured to the left in their Meowmmy’s chair] We want to honor them and former cats — Kabootle, Melissa, Ralph, Katie, Lucky and many others!
(For more about honoring your own former pets, please read more about Pet Loss Support at theSeattle-King County Humane Society.)
Jaspur was adopted from Donna’s Clip Joint and Cat House while we still lived in Nebraska. Mikey was adopted from Hooterville Pet Adoption Centera few blocks from where we live now. We encourage everyone to find a pet adoption center near you by visiting PetFinder.org.
P.S. We now have three cats. More info about our bobble-head cat Gabrielle coming soon!
Gabbie came to us through the Cat Clinic. I went to Pet Finders to ask if orange kitties were ever females, or were they usually males? I received an email stating “Yes, orange cats can be female and we have one; three months old.”
Maryah came to us from the Cat Clinic, too. She was a feral kitty who didn’t do well in several settings, so they asked if we could take her. She is still skittish, but she loves to be petted. Maryah is a tuxedo cat.
In 2004, Jim and I took a train to New York (and flew back) for the APLB conference, at which time I was trained in pet loss counseling by Dr. Wallace Sife. Though I no longer facilitate for the pet-loss support group at the Humane Society, I have, on many occasions, helped others during their grieving processes.
Time has passed and so has some of my family. In 2006, Mikey was diagnosed with multiple myeloma and kidney failure. He was only six-and-a-half but he died on August 2nd of 2006. We will miss our Mickens. He was the most affectionate kitty ever of any cat I’ve known!
My husband, Jim, was sick all his life. He had one kidney, which was a transplant. He had serious heart disease and was prone to infection. He was in and out of the hospital for the nearly thirteen years I knew him, but we were happily able to celebrate our tenth anniversary May 30th of 2007.
Jim went into the hospital for the last time in August of 2007, dying on the 19th. Two different infections spread to other organs from his lungs and his heart stopped beating. He had a peaceful look on his face when he passed. Jim was an intelligent, talented, kind, patient person and I will always love him!
Meriwether Lewis Merryfield was adopted on August 18, 2006, from Hooterville, which is now Homeward Pets. He only weighed a little over 2 pounds when we adopted him, but now he is a twelve-pound long-furred kitty who is the largest of the four kitties.
As of this writing, we have: Jaspur, Gabrielle, Maryah and Lewie!
Jaspur began to lose weight after Jim died and he was diagnosed with some type of bone marrow problem. He became very ill and on March 6th, 2008, we took him to Lynnwood where he was allowed to go to Rainbow Bridge. I have a heart-shaped plaster piece with Jaspur’s pawprint in it. Jaspur was the smartest, most alert kitty I’ve ever known. That little black cat will be missed! But he brought much joy, too!
Gabrielle (Gabbie or Gabeenya) developed liver disease. She began peeing on my side of the bed and hiding to let me know she was ill. On July 13th, 2009, she breathed her last. I heard her final sigh in my bedroom.
In May, this stray gray, silver and white kitty kept showing up. I fed her and she meowed much and smoothed on my legs. One of my neighbors told me that if I fed her, the young kitty would stick around. She did! I adopted her, had her spayed and given shots. Now Sylvawna, a one-year-old, lives with us and delights us with all of her kitteny behavior.
My book, “There’s More Than One Way To Love A Cat,” was published in 2010 and can be found at amazon.com–author, Lauren Merryfield. It contains haiku all about my kitties. I have one braille copy, which was expensive but was brailled by National Braille Press.
It is now March, 2011. Sylvawna was peeing highly inappropriately and it seemed that she and Lewie had territory issues. I was really only supposed to have 2 cats. She knew Christine’s dog, Jack, through the screen but I had no idea whether they would get along or not. Christine adopted her, calling her Miss Kitty, since she obviously knew the word “kitty.” She and Jack get along fine and the inappropriate peeing ceased immediately.
On March tenth of 2011, I had the shingles and had given up on the possibility of a job in Fairfield, California. Surprise! I was interviewed on the phone and offered the job the next day! I had already begun researching apartments, travel possibilities, hotels allowing pets, and staying in touch with Rick and Cindy. Rick and I have known each other since kindergarten. He is the one who let me know that Steve was hiring. I was able to find an apartment in the same complex as Rick and Cindy, one building over. They allowed two pets.
Friends from the Evergreen Unitarian Universalist Fellowship helped in the frenzy of packing. Sandra and Tony spent countless hours with me so we combined going through items, discarding some, and packing the rest.
Not wanting to put Maryah and Lewie through airlines hassles, and due to my dislike of flying, plus the expense, I rented an Avis car and hired WeDriveU.com. On Monday, April 4th, the movers came. The kitties and I stayed at a hotel in Everett, Washington, that night. The next day, they meowed at first, but my kitties slept most of the time and were great travelers for the 13-and-1/2-hour trip. Paul was great with the cats and with me. Paul named cities and towns as we rode. The kitties and I spent five nights at a hotel in Fairfield. Again, they were PURRfect travelers. As soon as I put food, water and litter box down, they understood. On the tenth, our belongings arrived and we moved into our new apartment. I am now working at Travis Air Force Base as a phone operator. I use the same speech program, JAWS, as I have on my home computer. I also have a braille display which is great, especially for reading numbers back to callers. Though I am anti-war, and have many characteristics of a Hippie, I am very proud to be assisting military people and their families.
On Tuesday evening, April 10th, 2012, Lewie was doing fine. He had eaten his canned food as usual and we played with his Cat Dancer toy. The next day he was ill and on subsequent days he hid. On Saturday the 14th, Cindy found him under my desk. He was cold and limp but meowed when we moved him. We took him to Sunset Animal Hospital, here in Fairfield, and the staff was wonderful with him. Tests showed that he was in acute kidney failure (something that can occur suddenly especially in male cats) and that evening his heart stopped. They were able to revive him but as Cindy and I walked in, as we had been advised to do by Dr. Saxon, Lewie’s spirit left for Rainbow Bridge. I am certain he knew we were there with him. My part Maine Coon kitty with the “pluminous tail” is with me in a cedar box containing his name and a picture of him with one eye open and one eye closed. Of course, I would prefer that he still be here in kitty form, but I do feel some comfort that he is still here with us. He sits in the right-hand corner of my desk. Above him, on a shelf, sits the Buddha.
Maryah, (Mariah with a Y) and I felt as if it were too quiet in here without Lewie. Maryah wandered around calling for him. I felt within my heart that it was time to find out if there was a kitty out there waiting to adopt us. I discovered Cat Tales Rescue in Vacaville, and was excited to read that though they do not have a shelter, the cats are fostered in homes until ready for adoption. They bring the adoptable kitties to Petco on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. The next day was Sunday, Earth Day, and I just *had* to go! I only met two kitties, Reebok and Bambi, and Reebok chose me. He is a tuxedo kitty like Maryah, so I kid that he is her son. As of this writing, he is six months old and now named Tobias or Toby for short. His full name is Tobias Reebok Merryfield. He is such a playful and smart kitten! He has grown from 2-3 pounds to, as my talking scale announced one morning “5 point 4 pounds.” His paws, tail and body are all bigger but it is difficult to know just how much he is growing when I see him every day. He likes canned food just like Lewie did and has a small crook at the end of his tail as Lewie did. I feel that Lewie sent him to us.
I am doing well at work but my insides seem to be quite stressed from my working full-time. I have missed some days of work and feel sad that my intestines seem to be running things. I hope to be able to straighten this out, or opt for part-time work. Cab fares have gone up recently, too, so though we have a half-fare program, getting to work and back is now more expensive–and no raise at work.
In the winter of 2013, I was forced to move, with no explanation. I smell a rat–a big one–but I do not have the funds to hire a lawyer and the apartment management probably knew that.
I hurriedly took the first apartment that came available and I did not like it. Neither did the kitties. Maryah would jerk whenever she heard loud noises, which was fairly constant. My bedroom window looked out on a main street in town with Walmart across the street–constant traffic noise! The heat and a/c fan was in the ceiling in the hallway in front of the bedroom door–bad planning–very little sleep for me. We moved again.
We are now at a senior complex where it is much quieter. It is a one-bedroom apartment so I have had difficulty fitting some of my belongings in here and the living room/office is quite crowded–but not so much that the kitties can’t play. They have Lewie’s tunnel, all kinds of toys, and a new scratching post.
In April, my friend, Sue, mentioned that the feral mother cat who came to her yard had kittens. She was not tending to them so Sue did. One disappeared but Sue weaned three female torties. I said I wanted one and on July 8th, 2013, Lelaynya Sue (Laynie) came to live with us. She has already grown from 2.9 pounds to 4.2 pounds and some of her meows are no longer mews. She does still have a crackly kitten’s purr which she blesses me with often. It was very difficult for Sue to give Laynie up but she does get to come to see her often.
Please check back frequently; we will keep you updated with their progress.
In 2013, my second book, “there’s more than one way to be okay:a blind woman’s PURRspective on life” was published. Of course, it had to have one whole chapter devoted to cats. The audio version at Audible contains my testimony.
I became very ill at a party in Oakland but made it back home okay on the train. However, I prayed like I’ve never prayed before for God’s help!
Jesus rescued me. Through Joshua Lester, I was directed out of New Age-type Unity, which is not Bible-based. I switched to where I was baptized by immersion in Jesus’ name at Promise Land Worship Center, which is apostolic, Pentecostal and very Bible-based. I’ve visited four of their churches now with my moves.
I also had had many episodes of intestinal issues. The day after my baptism, I was in the ER. I had surgery the next week for a hernia and twisted bowel, which could have killed me at each painful, sickening episode.
In the new church, I met Sandy and her kitty, Dagwood, who lived to be twenty-something; and orange kitty.
I worked for Travis Air Force Base through a Government Contract with Newview Oklahoma for five years. I had not planned to retire, but then my grandson was on the way. I had a terrible time sitting for most of eight hours a day and I had kidney and heart issues, plus venous insufficiency (swelling in my legs with bubbles that burst and became infected with cellulitis. It was time to move again.
We moved to Eugene Oregon to Grace Manor where I got three meals a day, transportation, and other amenities. Maryah, Toby and Laynie made the trip just fine, after some preliminary meows.
Julian Gerard Scahill was born on July 16 weighing ten pounds. I did not get to see him very often. Disappointed, and wanting to be closer to work friends and Sue, we moved back down to California. We relocated in Sacramento because paratransit was much better and they would have more of a variety of everything we needed. We settled in Carmichael at a sr. complex with issues.
I had tried for months to get into another apt complex and in August, we moved to Carefree. The apt was probably the best we have ever had but the attitude of some of the people was outdated. They were very rude to me regarding my blindness and my size. They did not want me living there. Western Dental refused to treat me unless I was accompanied by a caregiver. This is totally illegal. Kaiser Permanente treated me like a two-year-old when I was hospitalized. I was not allowed to get up and move around on my own because they feared I would fall, being blind. This was also very illegal.
I finally had had it with what a friend calls “Suckramento” and we relocated back to Eugene, once again at Grace Manor. Ivan drove us up here but I could not afford to pay for the move of our belongings so they stayed in a storage unit until I could pay Ivan to bring them up. It was kind of nice to live in an uncluttered situation for several weeks. My friends here remembered me and although I started at a different table, I moved back to table four with Merritt, Ken and Steve. (Ray had passed away). We have a great time and “it is a hoot,” as the guys say.
I felt sad not to bring Maryah with us. Her health had failed. She lost too much weight, she had breathing difficulties due to fluid in her lungs and she probably had kidney and heart issues. I felt her last breath on October 19, 2017. She was fourteen years and four months old. We are not supposed to have favorites, but she was one. She was the softest kitty in the world. She was also the most affectionate kitty in the world. Even in the exam room at the hospital, she climbed up onto my right shoulder, put her little paws around my neck and rubbed her sweet little face on mine, all the while, purring up a storm. I worked with her so much to tame her and we were successful. She was there through many aspects of our lives. Maryah Mae Merryfield, rest in peace. You were so loved and so loving. I am taking her loss harder than usual. I knew I would. So are Toby and Laynie.
Laynie and Toby are getting reacquainted here in Eugene. The other day I saw Jules, my grandson. He is walking and jabbering. He cried whenever we tried to get him to come to me. Hayes, my granddoggie, was funny. He was more than happy to come to me. A child ought to be able to know his grandma and not be afraid of her. I loved seeing them but felt sad afterwards.
One Saturday, Tori (a caregiver) and I visited two cat shelters. The only one to really pull on my heart strings was a 12-year-old female kitty. I’ll have to think about that and go back again sometime.
If we do adopt another kitty, it will not be a kitten. I’ve said that before however.