The Duke Diaries

It’s been a challenging week at Casa de Copelan. My hair needs to be washed. My face is puffy. My heart is tired. We are entering a phase of the New Normal, yet I don’t know what that is or really what it means. I only know that what was will no longer be.

Duke is my youngest. He was unplanned. Yet as many unplanned things turn out, he is one of the best things to happen in my life. Duke is my constant companion. We have great conversation, and he snuggles into my hip nook every night. We cook together, and he hangs out with me when I get dressed every morning. He’s not much help with laundry or cleaning, but he will kill a spider for me when asked to do so. Yes, Duke is my cat. Or rather, I am Duke’s human.

Two days ago, Duke was diagnosed with Stage IV kidney disease. It’s serious. Very serious. He was displaying some subtle, odd behavior such as occasional vomiting and some excessive water consumption. Though not obese, this big boy weighed in at 15+ pounds at his peak. Even though he was on a diet, he seemed to be looking a little too slim in the hips for my liking so this was the trigger that led us to the vet. If I look back, perhaps he’s been slightly lethargic – it’s hard to tell with cats who sleep 20 hours a day. But he is still jumping to to the high places, he maintains his Alpha status with his brother and sister, and still brings me ALL of his toys in the middle of the night. He is 100% on task even if he’s not feeling his best.

Yesterday Cassie the vet tech with the huge heart took lots of time to teach me how to administer IV fluids to Duke (and shared a much needed hug with me). The plan is to add enough fluid to his system to help his kidneys function. While the vet could make no promises, he is hopeful that we caught the disease at a place where the fluids will help. All of Duke’s other numbers are perfect, so if we can get this under control we will have more time together. I don’t know how much time that will be. As long as it’s quality time for him I will do whatever needs to be done.

In the meantime, I’m starting The Duke Diaries. Yes, you will be seeing more social media posts about Duke and I’ll be sharing the stories only Duke could make happen. He’s an incredible creature and sharing his story makes my heart happy. I think it will make your heart happy too.

With love and gratitude,

Duke’s Mommy


Warning – For Cat Guardians Only

Ted, innocently snuggling in my lap as I write this blog


Because I don’t have ENOUGH to do, my little darlings have been creating more work for me. Or, perhaps they are trying to inspire me to write more blogs. If that’s the case, kudos to you cats. Kudos to you.

I had a “flurry” of guests and activity at my home in November and December and then Christmas decorations which require moving furniture (guests also require furniture moving) and then the partial removal of Christmas decorations (don’t judge me – I have garage reorganizing to do to get those bins back in place – it’s gonna happen. Before Valentine’s Day. I swear.).  I have no idea if this is the WHY because honestly my cats appeared relatively unaffected by the activity. Cecilia waddled from my office / guest room into the master bedroom. Duke continued his role as protector and “next to” cat. Ted was in 7th Heaven with all the extra attention. He’s SUCH an attention whore. He will be up in anyone and everyone’s business 24-7 because he LOVES it. If anyone would be stressed I think it would be Duke because there were more people to protect me from. He was tired, I could see a little shift. But he’s back to his kind-of normal self, although he’s walking around the house howling right now. I have no idea what he’s howling about. ???

Random thought: My favorite and oldest mug, the first mug I ever owned as a single girl out on my own says, “Ask me about the cute thing my cat did because I’ll tell you anyway.” I’m using that mug RIGHT NOW.

Anyway, during this time, after everyone had left, my little Trouble Bubble (Ted) decided not to use the litter box anymore. At all. Just quit. Fortunately he used the wee-wee pads I put under the boxes for protection and he wasn’t peeing all over the house (good job Ted). I deep cleaned the boxes. He didn’t care. I did extensive research. Extensive litter box monitoring at all hours. Determined it was “litter box aversion.” I’ve had the same two boxes and same litter for years. YEARS. By the way, I love the Internet because you think you’re a really bad mom and then you Google these things (I also love that “Google” is now like Vaseline or Kleenex) and see all of the people who have the same problems you do. It’s like web therapy.

Anyway, I pulled out a third box, a standard box with low sides. The two regular boxes are clear storage bins. They easily hop in, do their thing and hop out. Cecilia stands up as she pees so high sides are necessary (go ahead, I DARE you to Google this – it’s a thing). The storage boxes were a reasonable, cost effective option and they took to it right away. YEARS AGO. So anyway (I should re-name this blog “Anyway”) they ALL started using the ONE low sided box. Apparently all species will opt for convenience vs any level of effort.  Because they ALL used one box, Ted didn’t like that either, and I refused to set an alarm for 3:00am to clean out the litter box for the midnight eliminators. So, to my dismay, he still didn’t use the boxes (rather it was hit and miss depending on the timing of when the other two used the ONE box).

I researched other litter boxes. Found the NVR Miss. Looked interesting. Was going to buy it. Cost like $30. No. no no no no. Not happening. Do you know how many shoes I can buy at DSW for $30? I mean with my coupons and sales, etc (at least ONE pair, ok?)? So I broke out my rotary drill and cut a hole in the side of one of the storage bins for easy (aka lazy cat) access. Success. Now there are TWO boxes they will use and I’m on DAY 2 of no accidents. I’m giving it one more day, then will cut into box #3. Oh, the drama.

In other non-cat news: Today is my grandparents’ 70th wedding anniversary. Seventy years. I can’t equate that to anything. I think it’s amazing. They have good stories – even the “bad” stories are good. So many stories. I love them dearly.

Cheers, love, and kitty cat purrs