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Cat post

Recently I have been reading a number of posts on my LJFriends List and also in my RSS Reader about cats, pets, their loss and their humans' grief. I have been thinking long and hard about this subject for a few weeks, anyway, but now seems to be the time to write a post on the subject. This was very hard to write. I may be more draconian than usual about uncaring comments.

In reply to this post from fjm which refers to the death of Neil Gaiman's blind cat Zoe, human training by her cat Miss P and feeding medicine to Miss P, I replied as follows:

You BAD minion-human! Learn to heat the cat better! ;-p

Baby-food blender for cat medicine + food = brilliant idea!

Luckily, Pixel will eat pretty much anything I put in his bowl and so his syrup heart murmur medication (a beta blocker) just gets licked up from his (steel) bowl as he vacuums the Iams kibbles from the bowl. We have to buy the triangular Iams kibbles variety (hairball, I think) and feed him in tiny amounts (1/3 at a time, twice a day) otherwise he drinks it so fast it just bounces back up and he then eats it all over again off the floor! Sorry about that TMI!

Smudge, however, is VERY fussy. She will only eat the usual Iams kibble or one type of prescription all-in-one kibble (for kitties with "tender tummies"). She hates gooshy fuds unless they are on my plate (and I do not intent starting to eat Whiskas so that she will!). If I add anything to the food be it syrup or ground up pill, her radar detects it and she refuses to eat even a lick of it. When well she will eat cooked chicken or scrambled egg occasionally instead of her adored kibbles but, when at all ill (usually gastrointestinally, in her case), she just stops eating. I dread her getting ill on a more permanent basis like Pixel and needing regular medication.

Both cats are impossible to pill. Pixel lets me clip his front claws but Smudge will not. Attempting to get her to take medicine regularly would kill one of us.

I too, however, have been following the story of Zoe. It has been so sad, as are the stories that so many on my LJFriends list have been retelling or linking to, and I have been thinking about what will happen when one or both of ours go. I feel a post coming on.

copies and pastes this comment to start the post, linking to here and a few other places

brightlotusmoon made a post linking to the relevant posts on Neil Gaiman's blog about Zoe (which I reproduce here:

http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2010/01/zoe.html
http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2010/01/small-cat-story-and-tabs-to-close.html
http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2010/01/zoe-part-two.html
http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2010/01/olgas-arrival.html
http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2010/01/and-in-end.html
(Neil also links to blog posts by Zoe's other humans))

…as well as linking to a post about the death of her cat Tuesday which made me cry as if one of ours had died. As I said in my comment to her, it made me cry very hard and I am dreading losing these two balls of comfort, inconvenience and fun. They are my kids. We are not supposed to outlive our kids. With furkids, we usually but sadly will.

I cannot, personally, imagine not having a furkid of some kind. I always had guinea pigs as a child and teenager. We had a dog, Trixie, when I was a teen. I can still replay the moment when she was put to sleep and can see the reproach and fear in her eyes. For years after that I was furkid-less and, in retrospect, lonely in a way that humans cannot salve. Sadly, though, I am less and less able to look after them myself and so much of their upkeep falls to hubby.

I am not sure how serious he was when he said this but I remember him saying that he does not want any more cats / pets once these two are no more. I understand why (responsibility, restrictions on travel, etc.) but this does break my heart just a little. These two add so much to my sanity. Pixel always knows when I am unhappy or more unwell than usual and comes for a cuddle. Yes, Smudge can be annoying in her attention-seeking behaviour sometimes (e.g. when I am trying to sleep!) and Pixel is VERY loud when he wants us to feed him but their unconditional love and caring attention is such an important part of my life; one that I was without for years and do not want to have to live without if I can work out a way. Yeah, I am not being 100% rational here, but love is not always rational and I am not 100% normal.

Hubby remembers when Pixel's sister Muffin died and how heartbroken I was. It still hurts to remember the loss of her or of Trixie. However, although Muffin only lived for a few months, I have many happy memories of both her and Trixie that do, in the end, soothe the pain to a dull background niggle, only painful when I think about it.

Should we avoid anything in life that might cause us upset and thus miss all the love and happiness we would gain in the here and now? I don't, personally, think so. There are so many cats out there that need loving homes and are not in no-kill shelters (which seem to be more rare in the UK).

The choice as I see it is to never have that warm fuzzy-therapy love in my life again because it is hard work for us both and it will be heart-breaking when they die or to share our lives with a smaller, dependent and loving warmth because the many years of love and belonging (us to them and them to us) far outweigh the relatively short but intense grieving.

Yes, I grieve as much for them as for many humans. More for some adults if I am honest. I used to be confused by that but realise now that adults can, usually, look after themselves. Many adult humans can be cruel, nasty, abusive and hurtful. Just sayin'.

Most pets like guinea pigs, indoors-only cats and so on depend upon us for love, caring, food and shelter but give so much back in return.

I think I need to think about this some more.

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Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
marypcb
Jan. 27th, 2010 03:24 pm (UTC)
the issue of how much work it is to look after a pet is one thing; it's the responsibility bit of the relationship. but avoiding pets to avoid loss: to quote Princess Bride, life is pain and anyone who says otherwise is trying to sell you something. you can't avoid loss without cutting yourself off from the world. I miss all the cats we've lost hugely, but that won't stop me wanting more cats.
natf
Jan. 27th, 2010 05:08 pm (UTC)
Yes. Exactly. Thank you for your comment. *hug*
natf
Jan. 27th, 2010 05:09 pm (UTC)
P.S. Muffin, Pixel's sister, used to sleep on her head like Joeffy. Pixel does it sometimes as well. I no longer have her headstand-sleep as a userpic but will try to dig it out elsewhere…

Ah - here she is:
P9020023

Edited at 2010-01-27 05:14 pm (UTC)
marypcb
Jan. 27th, 2010 05:16 pm (UTC)
I refer to those positions as 'melted cat' ;-)
natf
Jan. 28th, 2010 10:10 am (UTC)
I like that! ;-p
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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