Friday, May 25, 2007

In the House of Aged Felines

Laurette and I go in a few minutes to see our cat Ajax off. He's 16, and he has led a very nice life with us, considering that he came to us as a stray with a broken leg from Durham, NC.

For most of his life he wouldn't let me touch him, remembering an episode from his youth when it was my job to remove a number of ticks from sensitive parts of his body. He always resented me for that, at least until last year, when he decided move indoors permanently and retire to our bed. Then he would let me pet him when I put on my shoes in the morning.

A few days ago he started intermittent howling, obviously in severe pain, and after much veterinary consultation, it seems that his arthritic spine is to blame. It hurts him terribly to move.

To be honest, I will not miss him much, because I'm really not a cat lover. But I don't look forward to putting him down. Though Laurette and I will be there, he will be afraid, in an unfamiliar place, and in pain. I wish he had been able, like another of our aged cats, simply to lie down in a soft and familiar place and stop breathing.

Unfortunately, we have more of this to come. Our cat Bito has a mass in his abdomen, and although he is in no pain, he is slowly wasting away. He totters around the porch like a feline Ichabod Crane, but still seems to be enjoying what's left of his life. As our vet said, "Bito doesn't know what Bito's got."

I hope he falls asleep on the porch on a warm June afternoon while watching the birds in the yard, and doesn't wake up.

Update: We're back from the vet, and Ajax made his exit without undue discomfort or fear. We're sad.

4 comments:

Vada said...

My sympathies to you and your family. :(

David Wharton said...

Thanks, Vada.

Jessica said...

i am so sorry to hear about your kitties. bart and i have three fuzzy buddies ourselves and they bring an endless source of entertainment and love. we have always enjoy stopping to talk to bito as we walk through the neighborhood. he looks so much like our griffin.

David Wharton said...

Please keep stopping by to pet Bito -- he's still very sociable!