There is one death that is all but certain to hit us this year, and it’s one I’m amazed we’ve escaped thus far. You may recall that back in July, our vet found a mass in Adalyne’s vast abdomen and noted some weight loss.
For a while she was looking grim, and I mean literally looking really bloody awful. Her fur was matting left, right, and center; I am pleased to see that after the ordeal of cleaning out the mess, she has stayed silky-soft. We have stopped feeding canned food of any kind and I think that made a difference as well. She’s made up a whole pound of her weight loss, 10% of her starting weight. I know how hard that can be. And hey, she did survive anaphylactic shock. That was nothing short of miraculous.
Still, I can see signs she might be winding down. She moves gingerly at times, and I’ve caught her gait splaying in that telltale “walking hurts” way. I saw the same in another elder kitty at Wayne County, who was in far more pain with a far worse gait. Addy has aged visibly; she has poky bits where there were once muscles. She also doesn’t feel as solid when I lift her. I go gentle with her because I’m terrified of hurting her. She is officially our nana cat. Yes, she still eats, yes, she still loves her treats, but when the day comes that food stops appealing, I will not be surprised. Just deeply sad.
Adalyne is my girl. She was in the habit of walking me, when we still let her outside. I’ll never forget how she made it known she wanted me to take her home: just grabbed hold of my necklace through the bars. Just like that. Instant love. She’s always stuck close to me, be it in my lap, on my pillow, or in the spaces my legs leave in the blankets. At my heels. At my side. Ready to explore or to head off trouble by shepherding me home. And that one time she walked her pretty self over to Auntie Pat’s? Just trotted inside while Mama and I were visiting for tea? Like I’d gone a little too far outside our territory and would I please come back?
My grimalkin. How I’ll miss you and love you forever. You don’t spend fourteen years together and not bond intensely. She has outwitted and outlasted. Still boxes Emmy’s ears when she finds it necessary. So that makes it all the more important that I acknowledge the inevitable. You see, if I let this one take me by surprise, that’s it. I’m useless for awhile. The clock stops.
I can take steps to make this more bearable. It’ll hurt the same, but I’ll retain some function through my grief. Step one is, of course, remaining faithful to my bullet journal. This thing is my other brain. If I write things down, I won’t forget them entirely as I’m wont to do. Procrastinate? Entirely possible! And if that starts to happen, I can always induce another hypomanic episode by upping my SSRI! I am only a little bit joking!
Thirdly, this cannot become a one-cat household. We need to go up to three ASAP. Adalyne will adapt. She has always adapted. This is all the more important considering Emmy is mainly my father’s cat. I will need solace not weeks after the fact but immediately, and if I know there is fur waiting at home, living, breathing, warm, comforting fur, then I’ll be okay. I will still howl into pillows. Then I’ll go look for the survivors and make a fuss over them. What’s more, Emmy has never been an only cat and I don’t want her to have to start. She lost her mother and sister but gained Addy. If she will lose Addy, she must have someone to whom she can turn. And who knows? Does Addy have such a sense of duty that she’d suffer in silence as long as she knew herself necessary?
Of the losses we have taken — Bodie in 2015, Trixie in 2016 — Addy’s will hit me the hardest. No getting around it. So I have to do what I can now, while she’s still here. I have to savor our time (oh, such a hardship). I have to ensure that Emmy isn’t unduly affected; she’s still a baby in so many ways. And I have to make sure I’ll be okay. Our cats are family members. You lose three family members in the same couple of years, you’ll be hurting. And I will be hurting. So I have to face this before it can take me down with it.