11. Feb, 2017

My Poor ol' Puddytat

 Excuse me for getting soggy, but my poor old cat, Jessie, is on the way out. We've had her for over ten years now, and cats do have a limited existance. Our first cat, Moppet, lived into her eighties, which was ancient for a cat, but our cats since then - and we've had a couple - have lived normal lengths of time.

     We acquired Jessie and her brother Benny after the demise of Humphrey of the stubby tail, who died of cancer, poor sausage (we believe his tail had been run over by a car before he was rescued as a stray, rummaging in bins for food, poor chap).

      Benny and Jessie were kittens, and nervous of us. It took a while for them to settle into their new home, unlike their predecessors, who were very much at home almost immediately. Benny would groom his sister, who seemed to enjoy it for a moment, before the session dissolved into a full-on battle and one of them would decide they'd had enough and scarper. As siblings, they never really attached themselves to us. They belonged to each other.

      Several years later, just before Husband and I took a narrow boating trip, and I was mentally fragile, Benny became ill with a heart condition. We left our son in charge of them and took off on our boat, believing all should be okay. Benny would be alright. He wasn't and it wasn't. Halfway through our cruise son rang us with the news that Benny was ill and he just wanted to give us that piece of news. Okay. Nothing we could do. We carried on. The following day I answered my phone. Son announced in a shaky voice that Benny had died of heart failure and that he and his mate had buried him in the back garden.

      I dissolved. Now, if I'd been in today's state of mind I would have grieved, as you do, in a fairly normal fashion, but I was terrible. We carried on cruising because we had little choice – we had to get home – but every time my mind even lingered on Benny for a second, I became a wreck, crying pitilessly. Husband said later that it wasn't normal, to cry over a pet like that, but we knew that it was my clinical depression making it three times as bad. The grieving was nasty while on the boat. I'd have a vision of Benny – black and white with a teddy bear face – and I 'd break down into a shrivelled pile of human misery. It was horrible. We arrived home and I was beginning to calm, although I couldn't venture into the garden for fear of seeing Benny's grave, and it did take me a while to become accustomed to the idea of his demise. Eventually I was able to pass by his grave without turning into a blubbering wreck. And we still had Jessie, who seemed unperturbed by Benny's absence.

      In fact she became more affectionate with us. With me, particularly, because she'd settle on my lap of an evening and stay there, whereas before, both had treated us with the contempt we had deserved (apparently), as cats are wont to do. Mind you, she wouldn't settle on my lap for long. I'd shift slightly, reaching out for something perhaps, and she'd dig her claws into my legs and – pfft! - she'd shot off like the proverbial bullet.

      Today, several more years later, she's begun to suffer. Wobble a little and collapse, as she's done a few times. Several visits to the vet have confirmed kidney troubles and she's living on borrowed time. We feed her pills and she is taking them – injected into Dreamies (what's in Dreammies, for heaven's sake, that makes them so moreish to felines?), and powdered on fish. Last night she collapsed while I was watching Ghost Adventures, as I do, and began yowling. I picked her up and she continued yowling, then quietened down. I placed her in front of our solid fuel fire and she lay flat on the carpet. She seemed okay at that point. I told Husband what had happened. We made a big fuss of her and she seems okay, but we're aware that she doesn't have much longer.

      I'm preparing myself. We all are. The thought of her absence is heart felt. In a way it will be a blessing. When Husband and I have arranged trips away, I can't consider more than a week's absence. I know son looks after her and gives her great attention, but the thought of us not being there for her, not getting the sitting room fire going...eh, well...

      We have plans for the future. One of the big ones is visiting Australia. A longie. That means around a month away. Can't do that to a cat and the son who looks after her. In the meantime, make sure she's comfortable and not in any pain. 'Keep taking the pills.' as my dad used to say.