Jimmy stayed overnight at the
It's not like I'm being nostalgic for what life with an old cat would have been like. God, no! The onset of kitty cataracts, the surprise! pool of vomit in my shoe, skin conditions featuring uncontrollable shedding and scabbing, deafness, arthritis, reflux, dementia and incontinence. I've lived with an old cat before. And it's not about the fact that he won't live to reproduce. His balls were *cough* relieved of their baby making essences, so he was never going to be a father anyway. I think he's okay with it.
It's because he's the best damn cat we've ever had. He's sweet and personable and almost human in his communication abilities. He's the kind of rescued animal who knows he was one snowflake away from certain wintery death and was visibly grateful for the life he had with us. But now he sits and stares at the wall all bereft-like and wheezes a little. He takes three kinds of meds four times a day. Two are for his heart because now--without warning--a moment of unexpected surprise, stress or even an especially upsetting episode of Animal Planet might cause him to suffer a tiny myocardial infarction and die. Or simply lose the use of his back legs which will require us to purposefully end what is left of his time with us at the vet's office.
I'm not one of those people who believes that pets are the same thing as children, so don't expect me to ask about your dog's Petsmart bills when we're talking about the high cost of sending kids to college. They aren't the same thing at all. The loss of a child is horrific and sad and....unnatural...even though it happens. Parents don't expect to outlive the kids they brought to the planet, and mostly? They don't. The loss of a pet is...well...the loss of a pet. It's expected (eventually) and normal... but they are still precious family members whose presence brings quality to life. And one, I might add, they will never grow up enough or be old enough to be independent from you. Their trust in your abilities to make them happy, healthy and comfortable makes this situation incredibly hard. So the decision to end their suffering still feels like murder-- while not ending it seems like you're just submitting them to misery. You-- and they--are royally screwed either way.
Jimmy's life expectancy? Somewhere between a few days to a few months. A really sad span of time where we get to watch him sit at the glass door and see the rest of the world having fun. A "little boy" cat with an old man's ticker. It's so unfair.
In the meantime, my youngest son thoughtfully brought home three Western Coachwhip eggs from camp. To put it musically? "My baloney has a first name, it's S-N-A-K-E". An unexpected hatching episode would definitely affect my heart in a negative way, but--truthfully? It is already broken.