February 20, 2012

What My Cats Teach Me - Lesson #1 Agnes

I am in awe of an animal's ability to quickly, and without drama, adjust to physical limits. Remember that cat who was abandoned when some people I know surrendered their townhouse to the bank and left the state? Well, it's almost two and a half years now and the old broad is still kicking and will turn 19 sometime in the Spring. She's always been on the skinny side and barfs quite frequently. She's also been owning the dogs and has both of them absolutely terrified of her (which is hilarious because each dog weighs at least 50 pounds and I don't think she tips the scale past five).

Anyway, when we took her in I knew she was a Senior cat and Hubby and I agreed that we would simply give her a safe, comfortable home and lifestyle in which to live but there would be no dollars available for a veterinarian. Other than the one visit when we first got her, if she developed any illness at all, we would simply take care of her until there was nothing left but to euthanize. Kitty hospice, as it were.

Over the past month or so it has become blatantly obvious she has lost most, if not all, vision. Luckily she has lived here long enough that she knows how to get from point A to point B without smacking her head on something (usually). While it is a little disturbing to watch, I do smile when I see her heading toward a stationary object only to skirt around it. She doesn't run anymore, rather never moves any faster than a mozey. She doesn't jump up as high as she used to, but she can easily get to the end of the sofa where she has a comfortable place to sleep (which she does pretty much all the time). She can use the litter box (99% of the time). She can find the food and water bowls, no problem. And since she can't really see the dogs anymore, she doesn't terrorize them like she used to.

I've also managed to hit on a feeding schedule for her which has significantly reduced both the frequency and volume of barfing (yay). I like to think that if she's not throwing up then she's actually getting some benefit from her meals, right?

Like my friend Mark says, "If she eats, poops and grooms, leave her be." And she does all of those things. Maybe not with the same gusto but shit, she's an old lady and none of us - human or animal - can move as well in old age as we could when we were younger!

Animals are a perfect example of doing what you can as well as you can. They don't act out because they can't do it as much or as fast. I strive to live with whatever MS throws at me in the same way as Agnes.

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