Friday, April 11, 2008

For the Love of Fluffernutters

Kittens. Can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em. Am I right? I believe I am.

Dakota must suffer numerous nicknames, some of which are Peaches Cheeks, Kola Nut, and Pooky Bear.

I have lived with these two furballs for 14 years. They have lived with me everywhere I have lived since moving out of my parent's house.

Sable sez, I am prettyer than u. Now, pet me now. Tanks!

They are not so much kittens and more 72-year old geriatrics.

Sable got sick last fall. Diarrhea, twice a day, mostly on the carpet. I took him to the vet three times in the last three months of last year. I went through four types of dry food before I found one that he both liked and agreed with his GI tract. I tried different types of wet food and cleaned up a lot of vomit before I found one that he could tolerate. I've given him two different antibiotics twice per day for weeks on end, and vitamin injections once per week. I switched the litter boxes from scoopable litter to shredded newspaper, which must be changed twice (or more) daily, and regularly washed with soap and water.

After a while, I moved their bedding into the kitchen and put up a toddler gate blocking access to the rest of the house (and carpet). I had to put both of them in the kitchen, as it was the only access to food, water and potty boxes.

The range of emotions I have experienced in that time having to do with that cat could furnish a theme park with enough roller coasters to satisfy the most discriminating 7th grader.

I don't know what I would do without those two cats. They have always been there, sometimes to the exclusion of people.

It's been a long haul for us. Sable is eating and pooping normally now, but he has aged a lot since his illness. At many low points points when he was sick, I was ready for him to die and put us all out of our misery. As soon as I had that thought, I felt bad about it. As tired as I became of cleaning up everpresent messes, I still loved him.

Dakota is quite healthy and even runs around a bit after using the litterbox before settling in to his 23-hour nap. He is the most personable of the two. He's the one who wanders around the house looking for me so we can snuggle, or just hang out with me. If I'm reading something, he finds a way to settle down right on top of the book, or in the middle of the newspapers which are spread out on the floor. When I'm sick, he wants to lay down on my stomach by way of letting me know that everything is going to be okay. He is so relaxed. One of my favorite things about him is his chilled out attitude. He is no scaredy-cat.

Sable is a scaredy-cat, but he's so pretty. He's solitary and happy to be on his own, except for a vigorous, once-daily petting and appreciation of his beauty.

I know it is near the end of their lives. In many ways I can't believe they've lived this long. I had a cat in my childhood who lived to be 12, and for some reason I thought these guys would die around the same age.

Yesterday, Dakota went to the vet for a dental cleaning. I had avoided it for two years because the anesthesia was pretty hard on him. However, I noticed one of his teeth had a problem, and I began to imagine a raging infection which would kill him. The vet was fantastic! She assured me of their up-to-date methods and techniques, of the gas anesthesia which is much easier on the system, and how much better he would feel without a toothache. His bloodwork came back very good for a 72-year old, and at this very moment I'm waiting for a phone call to hear how it went.

I'm not ready to lose them. I know it's crazy. After losing people several years ago, I know this is not the same thing. I know they're just stupid cats. The thing is, they are SO NOT just stupid cats. Everybody poops, and everybody dies. Knowing this is one thing, but it still feels bad. It's hard to lose a friend no matter what form those friends take.

I don't know how much longer we have together, so I find myself picking them up more often and, much to their chagrin, kissing their furry heads like it's our last day together. I can't help it.


High Desert Diva said...

Hope Dakota comes home soon!

We adopted a 9 year old cat last Nov. I kept thinking...this is crazy....she's already so old. But we love her.

I read a really touching post recently about a very loved cat:

Amanda said...

Of course you do. So sorry, animals are no different than family.