The Operation…

Yesterday found Colin and I up and getting ready at 7:15am. The cat carrier was ready to Colin’s liking, absolutely stuffed full of blankets so Blackie wouldn’t get cold (she’d overheated by the time she got to the vet). Then he looked at me and said, “Mom, don’t forget your bag!”

My bag? Oh my purse! I’ve never forgot my purse before and reminded him of that. Then we bundled up, stuck Blackie in her nest, and slogged out through the snow. We’d been standing at the bus stop for several minutes before I went to reach into my purse for a Kleenex and my purse wasn’t there. I’d left it at home. At that point the bus was due in one minute so there was no time to run home and grab it. I was pretty sure I could get on the bus, not so sure I could take the bus home. Colin was grudgingly willing to walk home with me but so grudgingly I knew I’d get attitude and snark the whole way back. So I walked home by myself instead, leaving Blackie and him at the bus stop.

I’d barely got home when my phone was ringing. It was the vet. Of course Colin had no idea when Blackie last drank or ate. That got sorted out and we were told to expect a call to pick her up around 4pm.

I’m in the middle of switching meds and am quite depressed at the moment so the afternoon was full of worst case scenarios. I was so relieved when I got the call at 3pm to say Blackie was awake and ready. When we got there, the vet assistant put her immediately into the carrier before giving us her instructions. Apparently her teeth were worse than they thought and she had several more removed than expected. It sure hasn’t stopped her energy though. She literally dove through the air when she saw me, she was so excited.

She’s on three different medications now. She does not take medication well by syringe. She writhes and squirms and contorts herself until she’s wriggled free. But she’s a hungry kitty and is willing to eat all her medication laced food (before wandering around the plate and eating Angel’s normal food).

I am so glad she’s still here and absolutely grateful for the vet and the Farley Foundation. My vet bill would have been $1060. I don’t have that money at all. As it is, I might have to pay $60. I can manage that.

I am so looking forward to moving into my new apartment with Blackie leading the way for the other kitties; she truly is the queen of our household. I’m looking forward to her nose licks and her imperious walks to get more wet cat food. You’re only twelve Blackie, I don’t want to lose you this soon.

20191115_113721_hdr

Two steps away from reality…

I had a fairly busy morning yesterday. Colin and I hurried through a downpour, sans umbrellas, to catch our first bus. I spent that entire trip checking the bus app to see how long we had until the connecting bus and silently cursing whenever we stopped. By the time we got off our second bus the rain had stopped. We went to meet my Mom and walked to the restaurant for lunch… and it was closed even though their site said it was open. So onward to our favourite Indian restaurant where I had our worst food from there ever (and they’re usually amazing). I tried something new, which turned out to be tasteless, and our onion bhaji appeared to be onionless. From there we went to the grocery store, which was necessary but was one stop too many for me.

I went to pick up one last item then looked around in bewilderment. This is one of our regular grocery stores, we visit it about twice a month. I felt like I slipped though some sort of mirror. Everything was sort of recognizable but at the same time not. The only way I could describe it was by being two steps away from reality. I tightly gripped the shopping cart handle as if I’d fly away if I let go and slowly made my way to the front of the store, which was a zoo. Thankfully my Mom gave me her car keys so I could sit in quiet. There were police dogs by the exit, a promotion for their calendar, and I couldn’t even stop to pet them, that’s how badly I needed to leave. Thankfully I was okay soon after I got home. I looked it up and it’s called dissociation; just something else to tell my psychiatrist.

There’s been way too much happening. So far my occupancy date is set for January 1st but they have staggered move in dates. I can only hope I’m before January first and not after. Then there’s Colin and his move. He’s been having long meetings with one agency and has another meeting tomorrow that might be talking about a potential place. They’re even talking about a site in Toronto, which would make it hard for family to visit. But it’s urgent and any apartment is better than none. And, finally, there’s Blackie. She’s doing a lot better now with antibiotics and is absolutely ravenous, even with her sore, rotting teeth and mouth ulcers. We haven’t been able to see into her mouth so it was an unpleasant surprise to see her back teeth. I’m feeding her whenever she begs because she was starving and needs the calories. So far she’s had three dinners tonight. I need to drop some paperwork off at the vet clinic on Wednesday for a possible subsidy for her bloodwork and xrays. Then submit them again for dental surgery. But even there there’s a lot of uncertainty.  What if the bloodwork turns up something worse? I can’t picture my home without her.

And then there’s the whole move. I’ve bought beautiful things for my new place but it’s not going to be here. I’ll have a brief panic, like an elevator dropping a bit too fast for a few seconds and then the OMG moment hits. I’m not going to have my room there. Not with my teal and glitter walls. It’s going to be different. Everything’s going to be different. And I’m going to be alone in all that difference. Completely and utterly alone. Then I practice my breathing until I’m not going to pass out from hyperventilating and try to get on with my day.

And my world keeps spinning like a whirligig and I just keep hoping that my psychiatrist is right and this move will be a big help for me. Only 65 days to go.

 

Is this goodbye?

20191021_102325_hdrIt was 2007 and our cat Pumpkin had been put to sleep due to cancer two months earlier. The kids were begging for a new cat and, I must admit, there was a hole in our home that needed some extra purring and love.

I decided we’d adopt an older cat and told this to the lady at the shelter. Of course the kids had other ideas.

“Mom! Look at this one!,” Kait said and then she giggled. “She just licked my nose!”

“Those aren’t our older cats,” the lady informed me. “They’re… oh… you’re looking at one of our black cats!!! This one’s Blackie, she’s 11 months old. Would you like to hold her?”

Would we like to hold her? One of the silliest questions ever. I looked at the joy on Kait’s face and decided that was the one.

Blackie smoothly moved into our home, making friends with our oldest cat Angel, then befriending Oreo when he arrived. Colin and I moved with her to this apartment where she got adopted as Mommy Cat by Lara.

I can’t picture our home without her marching imperiously to the kitchen to be fed… her scurry to the front door to greet me… her happy nose licking… and her snuggling under the covers with me in the winter. Right now she’s sprawled in boneless bliss across the bottom of the bed, her sleep punctuated with slight snores. It doesn’t seem imaginable to picture her gone. My greeter of people and stander on keyboards.

I weighed her last week, first by weighing me holding her, then by weighing me alone, and finally subtracting the two numbers. She weighed 5lbs, which is worrisome. So I made sure she got the biggest portions of wet cat food, even at 2am. If Blackie’s hungry, she’s fed. Then I weighed her yesterday and was shocked to see her at 3lbs.

Blackie sees the vet this Wednesday, first thing in the morning. I’m hoping there’s a simple solution… but I don’t see one. And it feels so weird to mourn someone who’s still here and has no idea of the gravity of the situation.

I will update this post on Wednesday when I get more information.

Isn’t it ironic…

flat-blackieI was watching Blackie lie on my unmade bed today and marvelled at how flat she looked, as if she’d melded with the bed in some way. Then my mind wandered to an article I’d watched yesterday about a senior dog getting abandoned. I was on Facebook at the time, I scrolled once and there was another article about a 17 year old dog being abandoned because he was “too old”.

Pardon me but what the fuck?!?

I could write for a while about all the things pets do for us and it would all be true, but it’s not the important part. The important part is they’re our family and we don’t throw away family!

I know elderly pets aren’t always “convenient”. Blackie has accidents that have to be wiped up. She’s also lost a lot of weight so I’ve got her on wet food (another expense) and feed her when she’s hungry. Hello 3am.

Oreo’s getting senile. He’ll start howling on occasion, lost in his own apartment. Which means I have to go find him and carry him to my bed to sleep. He isn’t always sure when he’s done pooping and will leave the box too early. This means I’ll find a trail of poop from the box.. sometimes leading right to a peacefully sleeping Oreo, poop lying right beside his butt. He’s not exactly subtle. He’s also started wetting on the floor, I’m assuming because he’s temporarily forgotten where the litter box is.

Angel, the oldest, is doing the best. She has sore hips, which has me checking every cannabis store for CBD oil. So far I haven’t had any luck. So I make sure she has plenty of soft spaces… and she lies on Colin’s bed anyway. She’s Colin’s cat, she loves him dearly. He used to wear her draped around his shoulders like a scarf and she’d lie there, happy as can be.

Sure, there’s incontinence, anxiety, pain, and senility (and who the heck is throwing up) but there’s also joy and comfort. They don’t want to race around the apartment anymore. They’re not up on my bookcase knocking down the decorations (I see you Smudge) or crying because they’re stuck in the bathroom cabinet (I see you again Smudge). They are lap cats, content just to lie there and purr while occasionally licking your hand. They’re bed cats, content to snuggle against you for the whole night or, in Blackie’s case, snuggle under the covers. She likes the cave experience.

They are our family and, more importantly, we’re theirs. They expect, with the certainty of belonging, that they’ll be here forever. This is their home, their beds, their fuzzy carpets, their cat tree. No one say love was perfect or accident free. Love, in all it’s shapes, can be messy, glorious, painful, and poignant.

And it you’re dropping your senior pet off at a shelter, you have no idea what love is.

Growing old…

There was a faint growl behind me and I turned around to find Angel standing on her hind legs, front paws on the top mattress. She can’t jump that high anymore but wanted to sink into my memory foam topper and rest her 14 year old joints. Mornings are tough, I get that. I gently eased her onto the bed where she slowly lay down, hissing and growling the whole time, looking around as if she was trying to find who was attacking her, as if age could be seen. All I could do was drape a small blanket over her hips. She hissed for a second then stopped when it didn’t hurt. Several minutes later she relaxed and stretched out as the heat soothed her joints. I’ve looked into pain medication but cats don’t metabolise it properly so heat’s her only option.

Oreo, our 12 year old needs a lift onto the bed too and he occasionally starts wailing because he can’t see his people and he’s lost in the middle of the living room. Lost despite the fact we’ve lived here since 2012. I carry him into my room and place him onto the bed, where he snuggles down and immediately falls asleep.

And then there’s Blackie, our 13 year old. She’s lost so much weight again this winter but hasn’t gained it back, despite me feeding her wet cat food twice a day… alone in the washroom so no one can steal it from her. She’s cheerful as heck though, racing to the front door so she can sneak into the hallway and climbing all over my computer desk (usually when I’m writing). I pet her and feel every bone in her spine plus her hip bones and she purrs loudly because she’s getting petted.

I hate watching them grow old. The pain, the senility, the knobby bones, the occasional bout of incontinence (thanks Oreo). I know no one lives forever but they’re so small and innocent that aging just feels unfair.

I don’t know how long I’ll have with them but I’ll cherish every minute and know that whatever amount of time we have will be too short.

20190503_133936_hdr