So, my cat is really old. I’m not exactly sure how old, because she came from New Mexico and traveled two states over with her owners before I took her in. Everyone’s memory is spotty on that year and on pinpointing the year she was born. I’ve had her for twelve years, I think. She’s not my first cat, or even the first animal that I’ve cared for in their pitiful accelerated last days. This, of course, doesn’t negate the fact that it sucks to watch your pet’s health fail.
At first, I didn’t notice my cat’s odd behavior because our dog with the personality disorder earned our family freak show’s top-billing. However, life without dog pushed cat into the limelight, or should I say Lime Away, as she began lapping from the toilet bowl in her top-dog attitude. Aw, she’s acting like a dog we mused. Then she started begging for table scraps and we were not amused. Then we caught her crouching down beside the swimming pool to lap from an even bigger bowl! Aw, well–she’s weird.
Then it got weirder. She decided to go on a hunger strike for a few days. I moistened her food with water. She resumed eating. Then she started hiding out in the bathtub. I tiptoe in and out, and turn off the lights to let her sleep. Lately, she’s been licking our furniture incessantly like it needs a bath (well, maybe it does). She’s losing it, we agree. She starts bringing up her back haunches in an over-exaggerated hunchback imitation and limps along occasionally. Okay, okay–
So, I took the skinny thing to the vet to talk about comfort measures. It’s obvious she’s dying. Her old diva attitude accentuated by her hitler mustache have faded. On the scale, she weighed a puny 6.4 pounds. She didn’t have a temperature, but manged to regain her temper by letting out a grand hiss as the rectal instrument was inserted. She offered proof that her poop was normal when she squatted right there on the silver platter exam table. Good for her!
The white-coated young doctor asked what I wanted to do. Run a battery of tests to see exactly what is killing her? No. Transport her out-of-town for IV infusions and observation? No. Give her a dental exam and possible sedation to clean up her foul mouth? No. Buy her the joint supplemental moist cat food for $1.69 a can? Maybe. “Could you trim her nails?” I asked, “She can’t maintain them anymore and gets stuck walking across the carpet.” We were done.
I took her home, put her in a nice dry bath (only kidding) and popped open a can of 50 cent fancy feast. She wolfed it down as voraciously as any hound would. She’s been waiting me out for fancy food?! Wonder how long this will keep her going? I can wait on the old prima donna awhile longer. I penned this overly dramatic poem for her, while she lay at my feet purring.
Get out of the tub A dry hard bed Mile high walls Death’s cradle
I miss you now that You’re planning to die I hold you near And close to see My shadow and the rub–
Loss won’t easily wash away As I live and breathe And you have snowflake ribs
Get out of the tub Don’t die in the tub Please get up and eat