I've kept this blog, on and off, since 2006. In 2015 I used it to chart daily encounters, images, thoughts and feelings about volcanic basalt/bluestone in Melbourne and Victoria, especially in the first part of the year. I plan to write a book provisionally titled Bluestone: An Emotional History, about human uses of and feelings for bluestone. But I am also working on quite a few other projects and a big grant application, especially now I am on research leave. I'm working mostly from home, then, for six months, and will need online sociability for company!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The old cat

Jeffrey has posted here about the death of his old dog; in a meditation that is also about vegetarianism, to which I increasingly aspire.

But this post is about my old cat — nineteen next spring. We had a lovely year together last year, as when I was not gallivanting around the US and Italy, I was home most of the day. We'd take regular breaks and wander around the garden together. These days she's small and thin — a real bag of bones, I'm sorry to say. She has renal disease (special diet); hypertension (medication); thyroid disease (medication); and growing arthritis. She is also pretty much deaf. But she seems content enough. She still grooms herself carefully. She still loves to sit on our laps and be cuddled. She particularly loves to sprawl all over Joel, or around his neck, when he's watching TV. She still talks to us. We give her her medication (with the vet's approval) in tiny clumps of cheese, and after several months, she's still licking her lips in great surprise at the odd taste of the stuff. She spends most of the day outside, nestled in amongst the gardenias, or sprawling on the stones in the sun.

The last few days she has taken to climbing up on the kitchen benches, after years of being trained not to do so. She's there in the morning, looking down at you when you fill up the kettle for morning coffee. She was there tonight, as Joel was doing the dishes. So I brought a chair for her, and she sat on that and watched him clean the kitchen. She weighs almost nothing, and when I pick her up, I can feel the touch of skin and bone, her delicate ribs, the arcs of her spine, the joints in her tail. She is growing old as gracefully as it's possible to do. I hope she has many more days in the sun, and in the gardenias.


Jeffrey J. Cohen said...

That's my wish to you, too. Our dog seemed to us to have a sense of her own mortality: as she neared the end, the pushed her bed as far against the wall as she could, and she didn't linger near us like she used to. It seemed like she was trying to find her peaceful corner in which to die. I worked at home yesterday and kept reaching down to stroke her and not finding her asleep next to my chair. 15 years of routine are hard to end. We all miss her terribly.

May your cat have much health. 19 is impressive!

elsewhere said...

I sympathise...my oldest cat is almost 19, looks like a wafer, yet is perfectly happy commuting between a flowerpot outside and my bed at night.

I don't know how much longer she can go on like this, but I'll be sad when she goes.

Stephanie Trigg said...

It is sad, no question: learning about our own mortality from these dear animals, too. Mima disappeared for much of the day today (hot and windy), and I found myself rehearsing that sad absence...