Blog: Aging Cats

Aging Cats
Aging Cats
Date: 2018-Jan-27 20:37:05 EST

Over the last few months, I've had the sad experience of watching one of my cats begin to decline. I've had both of them since around 2002-2003, meaning they're both quite old. Beefalo, my female calico, is still doing alright; she's lost some weight but still seems pretty active and happy. Tortfeasor, my male tuxedo, is the one undergoing decline; he's lost a lot more weight to the point of being fairly bony, he's had dizziness issues, and he's no longer willing to try to jump up to the sink (where I used to give them water). I've started keeping a water bowl on the floor for him. I've done the necessary things for old cats; they've been to see the vet more often and I've been giving them more wet food. I'm just facing the realisation that I can't count on them both being with me a year from now. That's hard, both because I'm not a very social person and because they've been family to me for so long.

It gets me thinking about the grand patterns of life - cats have smaller cycles but I've seen the slow turning of generational clocks in my family too as my sisters and cousins have kids and older generations of my family grow fragile and die. Occasionally I almost panic at this, thinking either of myself or of losing people I care about. At other times I am at peace with it. It's strange to think of how clearly I can remember my grandmother on my mom's side's voice and personality. I think I'm realising I should stop skipping family gatherings as much as I have. I've also tried to write, in Google Docs, as much as I can remember about some of the people I miss. Maybe to remind myself-of-later what they were like, maybe to act as a record for others who never knew them. A kind of long epitaph. I wonder, if I can convince my parents and my sisters to do the same, how much agreement we'd find on what they were like. And likewise, whenever I die, I wonder if the understanding I have of myself is at all like that that others have of me.

I suspect these are just-about-universal aspects of the human condition; pretty much everybody faces mortality at some point, even if what other things people bring to that topic differs wildly. Philosophies, superstitions, notions people have of how they should-but-maybe-do-not-actually think about these things.