I’m not good at intimacy. I can count the number of folks in my life who have known the Real Me on one hand, with fingers left over.
Charlie the cat is long and lean
The color of the night
And his eyes are green
He likes to snuggle…*
With Charlie, snuggling is a fairly formalized proposition. If he doesn’t invite himself, I do so by patting the bed next to me three times. He then waits what he considers an appropriate time–varying from a few seconds to a couple of minutes–to demonstrate that he is, indeed, his own cat and not responding to any orders. Then he hops up and walks back and forth a few times, purring. My position has to be just right; if not, he waits until I’ve completed my part of the ritual. Then he curls up so that his rear feet and head are in one of my hands, his body firmly pressed against my other arm and chest. Purring ensues, usually tapering off into little snores.
Sometimes it seems that you can’t win for losing…and yet, as the old Chinese saying goes, “Who knows what’s good; who knows what’s bad?”
The vet tells us that our old Frby cat has between 4 and 8 months left before his kidneys fail completely. He’s 16, and that sort of thing is to be expected in cats that age (Slim’s survival to almost 20 was unusual), but that doesn’t make it any easier to handle. Shel and I are both head over heels for that cat; he’s the best cat we’ve ever known (sorry, Slim), and between us we have well over a century of cat acquaintances to compare. So the news sucks.
But who knows what’s good…etc.? Dr. Nancy was able to pull him through his last crisis pretty well, and he’s at home and back to normal for now. We have a chance to love and cherish him, care for him, see him interact with Fred — the kitten we got to keep him company after his housemate left us last month — and, when the time comes, make informed decisions about his quality of life and the best time to let him go.
With a little luck and care, we’ll have a few more months with our old buddy. And if we aren’t that fortunate, we’ll at least have had a chance to say goodbye and get used to the idea. One of the cruelties of life is that people usually outlive their pets. The good news is, we have them to begin with.
Frb’s ashes will join those of Ebbie and Mr. Slim in our collection, and someday they’ll be mixed with ours and spread lovingly in a nice place by our kids (who will totally “get” it).
Ms Ebony Ankledancer, our nearly 16-year-old chocolate kitty with champagne eyes, is going to leave us today. We and ourexcellent vet have done all we can, but the infection she’s been suffering from doesn’t respond to antibiotics, and she’s lost strength to the point that she could no longer win the battle even if it did. Our love for her and common decency demand that she be released.
I would love to be able to invoke some sort of magic and cure Ebony’s infection. If we were less-balanced people, we might spend hundreds of dollars more and put her through a lot more misery simply because we don’t want to let her go. Ain’t going to happen. It is what it is. We can either accept that, grieve for her appropriately and get on with things — or not. It’s up to us. We don’t have to like it; We only have to accept it and move on — or not. Continue reading “Letting Go, And Other Stuff”