Feeble Knees

Friday, September 23, 2005

Regarding My Beast

When Little kitty and I lived alone, before Mr. F came into our lives, I got into the habit of talking out loud to him quite a bit. (If you live alone, and you're a pet owner, this seems completely normal to you. Others may view it differently.) When I was particularly nice to him or had given him a treat or special toy, I'd ask him half jokingly, half seriously if I was fulfilling Proverbs 12:10: "Am I doing a good job regarding your life, my little beast?"

It's been over a week now since we put Little Kitty down. I still struggle with feeling guilty for feeling relief that his ordeal is over, but I know that's normal - to feel both guilty and relieved. It's been a process. I figure it's progress that I'm not randomly dissolving into tears on a daily basis anymore. The present condition of our other little beastie, Senior Kitty, isn't giving me too much time to reflect on the loss of Little Kitty.

Senior Kitty and Little Kitty in better daysMy mom hit the nail on the head when she said it's like we're running a Kitty Hospice around here. We have a variety of medicines, IV bags (for the administration of subcutaneous fluids) and a plethora of every kind of cat food imaginable, both prescription and regular store brands. There is even a stockpile of tuna fish and jars of baby food meat on hand for when Kitty gets really picky about what he'll eat.

Senior kitty (the orange guy in the above picture) is getting harder to keep happy. He complains a lot more now than he ever did, and his howling has a tendency to get on my last raw nerve lately. I try to remember that he's not feeling good, and that's why he's so cranky, and that he can't help it. In the morning he follows me from place to place squawking while I try to comfort him with a variety of things - fresh food, fresh ice water (this is a new development; he's decided he much prefers ice water to regular cold water, the more ice the better), a pat on the head, rubbing his chin, carrying him up or down the stairs. Usually I run through all of these motions and still he cries, which tears me up. He's been such a good guy for so long, it kills me when he gets to the point where he can't be comforted or calmed. Usually at that point nothing else will do but that I have to sit with him quietly, let him climb in my lap and stroke his nose and forehead while he purrs.

It gets tough sometimes, and already I find myself wondering if I'm going to have the patience to go through similar soothing routines with a cranky baby. I worry about having to take care of both Senior Kitty and Baby F at the same time. If one or both of them cannot be consoled, it might just send me over the edge.

Usually I hate it when people say "Oh it was a blessing" when someone passes on. It just irks me, and I studiously avoid uttering this cliche whenever someone passes. Yet it has been a bit of a relief to me that I don't have to care for two very sick kitties while also trying to prepare for the birth of my first child. (Again, I struggle with some amount of guilt for even thinking that way, but there you have it.) Given how sick little kitty was, and how much senior kitty now seems to be declining, I'm pretty sure I would have snapped somewhere along the way.

So I'm doing what I can right now to take good care of Senior Kitty and make him comfortable, because I do believe that is the right thing to do. He's honored us with so much loyalty and affection, he deserves to be treated well. I'm just hoping for some more grace and patience so that even when he's difficult I can deal with him lovingly and respectfully and not lose my temper. After all, that's how I'd hope to be treated if I were sick and in need of constant care...
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