My cats are 17 years old. Cinnamon and Pepper are sisters from the same litter, but you’d never know it. Pepper is a skinny, long haired, black and white menace. Cinnamon is twice as big, short haired, and calico, sedate but not as sweet as her name implies.
They have been my faithful companions for most of their 17 years of life, and especially when I was sick. I spent most of my summer of chemo either in bed or on the couch, and there was always a cat with me. They KNEW something was’t right with me, and they stuck around as long as I was willing to have them.
They started out as kittens liking each other and playing together, but along the way they developed into ‘hissing cousins’. Maybe it was that they both have such different personalities and physical characteristics, or maybe it was because they were both stuck under my bed, frightened, while a tornado roared over the house. They never were quite the same after that, and that was when they were two years old!
Pepper has been relatively healthy, in spite of the fact that I have to shave her every year. I never could get her used to regular brushing, and she is very quick with the claws and the teeth. Cinnamon, on the other hand, has had one little thing after another. She just didn’t get good genes, I guess.
Back in February, I came home from work one night and Cinnamon was walking like a drunken sailor. A quick call to the vet, some kitty glucosamine, and all was well. I’ve seen this before with other cats – amazing stuff. But I’m afraid that trick is wearing out. Lately Cinnamon has taken to moaning when she gets up – sort of like we humans grunt as we get older. Perhaps her old bones are reacting to the damp, rainy weather we’ve had all week, who knows.
But I can tell you this. These cats are my family, and I worry about them. Their time is shorter than mine, and I want to do everything possible to make sure they are healthy and happy, because in their own way they have been doing the same for me. A few years ago I switched to a great mobile vet, Jocelyn Allen-Smith, along with her assistant, Pam, who has a very high tolerance for claws and teeth. Pet Bliss has been there for me when I needed them. It certainly makes it easier for the animals when their human owners aren’t all stressed out!
Well, the vet finally got here, and until we get the blood tests back, all we know is that Cinnamon is an old lady with arthritis. If her kidneys are getting worse, I may have to learn how to give her fluids. Oy vey. Giving myself a shot is one thing, but sticking a needle into a cat another thing entirely.
I’ll take it one thing at a time. For now, Cinnamon is resting on the back porch, grooming herself. She seems to be over the trauma of the V.E.T. And Pepper has come out of hiding…