01 June, 2006

My Cat, Fluffy, My Precious, Princess, Sweetheart, Darling, My Special Cat

I think my cat is dying. She's stopped eating solid food, and is starting to dislike even wet food in favor of milk. Her hair is falling out, and she's got odd growths under her skin, as well as raw sores in her skin. I don't know what to do for her!

This cat is significantly unlike any other cat I'll ever have. Squeaky was the second cat I ever owned, and had a litter of 5 kittens the second time she got pregnant. Two weeks after giving birth, she was poisoned on my neighbor's antifreeze and was put down. My family raised her two-week old kittens using formula in eye droppers and syringes. We took those little kittens on vacation with us so we could keep feeding them every four hours. It was amazing watching their tiny bodies grow and get strong. Since they saw humans as their source of food, they loved us and responded to any sort of affection we could give them. At the age of 8, I was probably clumsy in my affection, but my kittens still loved me. From the moment I saw the smallest kitten, I determined to keep it. She was so small and round! I made sure she ate lots when it was feeding time. As she got older, it became apparent that she'd be the only long-haired cat of the group, which only made me love her more. We kept another cat from that litter, and he became Candy. I named my little girl Fluffy.

Not long after they turned 1 we moved to Pennsylvania, and the cats adapted from suburban life to country living. They caught all sorts of small animals and ran all over the woods. We got two other cats during that time, who promptly had a litter each. All of those new cats were given away, but my Princess and her brother stayed with us as we moved to Carrick. From fields and woods to a 10 square-foot backyard, they rolled with the punches and adjusted. Since we spent so much time on the front porch, they also congregated there and we built homes for them in boxes with woolen blankets and pillows.

We eventually moved to suburbia again, and the cats seemed glad of that. They had a few run-ins with the locals; however, they quickly established their own territory and held it. It was such a pleasure to come home and, at the sound of wheels crunching gravel, see my Precious' round body bobbing up over the hill to greet me. My cats were constantly around when I was outside, and all I needed to do was start singing or whistling for them to run to me. Planting strawberries took hours longer than it should have, simply because my Darling needed my attention during the process. Even when I wasn't outside, the cats would sit on the windowsills and watch my activity from the outside.

As we moved less than a mile away to another suburban house, the cats would wander back to our old house. Candy continues to do this, especially when we leave for the weekend, but my Sweetheart quickly learned that "home is where the heart is," even though her territory was close by. The new house may not have seemed like home at all times, but my Precious was always near to cuddle and kiss. Her age, 12 by now, was never apparent until after the move, and then she declined rapidly.

She no longer jumps up on the porch to greet me, but must use the stairs. She's weakening, and rarely wanders outside of the backyard, even when I come home. She sleeps a lot and is either anxious or in a lot of pain when she's awake. Her brother is noticing this, I think. One morning I went out on the porch to feed them, and she was laying inside her box while Candy was "bathing" her. That's the last time I saw a smile on her face, and such a peaceful one it was!

How can I handle this? The death of a person is quite a different matter, I think, but though this relationship is much more temporal, it still hurts to think of ending it. If Daisy is John's sister, then my Special Kitty is my daughter. Next year she may be just a sweet memory, but right now the pain of losing her is so acute it consumes my thoughts. Oh, Darling, how many times have I cried over you, and you just purr back at me! What will I do when you purr no longer but I'm still crying?

1 comment:

Breka said...
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