Little raises the fear of bad things happening – if you’re a cat owner – more than the phrase “high kidney enzymes.”
The last month has been a time of quiet sadness for me, because my sixteen-year-old tortoiseshell, Miss T-Tail, has these aforementioned blood characteristics. As Dr Andrew refers to her, she’s now a “kidney patient.”
T-Tail was a rescue cat, one of a pair. My Silver Tabby, Moneypenny, passed away two years ago, so the decade and a half of memories of both of them now reside in the body of this eleven-pound senior. Cat lovers are infected with a special kind of affection for their pets, which others find hard to fathom. We love that they’re independent, a little crazy and all complete individuals. We adore them when they decide, usually once a day, to spend time with us rubbing and getting close. They’re choosing us. And there’s nothing as soothing as the look of a content cat basking in the sun, purring for no good reason other than the sheer joy of warmth.
Cats live in close quarters with we humans; that’s their nature. We get to see their quirks close up, to recognize their smell, and be aware of their moods. There’s enough that we recognize ourselves in them, which sounds odd until you experience it.
T-Tail then, is pretty clearly in her twilight. She’s on two kinds of pills, and I infuse her with 100ml of fluids three times a week, the cat equivalent of dialysis. Since we began this treatment over the weekend, she’s gained weight and seems happier. Difficulties arise when you ask a cat just how they’re feeling – masking is their forte.
We have to guess how they’re doing, and how best to alleviate their malady.
For me, this is a time to figure out a few loose ends. At what point is it right to say good-bye to Miss T? Why is it that life is a mix of sadness and happiness? Why do we keep going when loved ones leave?