A Cat

8

If you own a cat or a dog you know going in that they don’t have very long life spans compared to humans. Dogs generally live between 10-14 years depending on the breed, what they are fed, and other factors. Cats can live up to 18 years, but 14-16 years seems to be the normal range.

In the case of cats, it’s very often kidney failure that causes their demise, although heart disease and Feline Leukemia are not uncommon.

We had dogs when I was young, because my father liked dogs and my mother didn’t like cats for some reason that was never made clear to me.

When I was grown, married, and had children we didn’t have any pets because I just didn’t have the time needed to properly care for one. At that point I was still a “dog person” although I always liked cats and cats seemed to like me. More than once I’d go to a friend’s house and their cat would cozy up to me. I’d hear from those various friends that their cats never liked strangers, but apparently I was an exception.

When my son was in his senior year at college he lived in an off campus apartment. He met a girl and she liked cats. In fact her mother lived on a small farm and they had several cats. At some point, my son decided he wanted a cat around the apartment. I’m pretty sure that this decision had something to do with the girlfriend as a lot of his decisions at that point in his life involved something to do with his girlfriend.

The girlfriend departed, but the cat stayed. Cute little orange Tabby guy and at some point my son had to go out of town for several days for job interviews. He asked us if the cat could stay with us while he was out of town.

Mrs. EMS Artifact, never an animal lover, agreed but Lenny had to stay downstairs in one part of the house. She didn’t want him roaming around the house, so I set up his litter box, food, water, and some toys in the room that was my office.

That lasted about two days and then Lenny had the freedom of the house and would sit with Mrs. EMS Artifact while she was upstairs in the Living Room. I’ve heard in the past that cats would gravitate to people who didn’t like them and this certainly seemed to be the case with Lenny.

In due course my son returned from his trip and and retrieved Lenny. I missed him and thought that I’d like to have a cat around the house, but was pretty sure that Mrs. EMS Artifact would object.

As is so often the case, I was wrong about that. A couple of days later Mrs. EMS Artifact mentioned that it would be nice to have a cat around. You think you know somebody.

I was given the task of finding a suitable candidate and so I turned to the internet and in due course found a shelter that had four kittens from one litter available for adoption. One of them was named Moe and being a die hard Three Stooges fan, I was immediately attracted to the cute little fellow.

We went to meet the cats and be interviewed. Not by the cat, but by the people at the shelter. We passed muster and Moe was going to be ours in a few days.

While driving home Mrs. EMS Artifact mentioned that Moe would be lonely without another cat to keep him company while she and I were at work. I looked at my wife and wondered if she had been abducted by aliens and replaced with someone who like cats.

Thus, a cat lady was born. I agreed that we could handle two cats and we called the shelter to arrange to adopt a second cat. Her name was Minnie, and she and her brother looked like twins, because they were.

An interesting thing about cats is that females can mate with more than one male and have a litter with more than one father.

So, we became a two cat family. Initially, my wife wanted to have the same rules about staying downstairs as we had with Lenny, but that didn’t last long and the soon had the run of the house.

It’s amazing how quickly you can bond with an pet.

That was in early 2005 and the cats quickly became part of the family. Minnie was the alpha cat and Moe spent a lot of time hiding in various places. He was good at it, but still affectionate when he wanted to be. Which was often at about 03:00 when he’d jump up on our bed and want to be petted. Somehow, we never minded.

All was well until early this year when Moe’s behavior changed. He was still affectionate, but didn’t have much of an appetite and didn’t want to be petted. After a few days of that I took him to the vet. The doctor couldn’t fine anything wrong with him other than the early stages of kidney disease. He prescribed a change of diet and advised us to make sure he drank a lot of water.

In a couple of weeks Moe was back to being Moe.

What lasted until the end of April, when he again lost his appetite, became morose, and his fur started to look ragged.

Early on the morning of May 1 I took him to the emergency 24 hour vet and they took him in. At the time, and actually for a couple more weeks humans weren’t allowed in with their pets. It’s a silly rule that was put in place because of Covid. I don’t understand it and frankly think it’s stupid.

A little while later the doctor called and told me that Moe wasn’t doing well and that his kidney disease had progressed rapidly. We discussed options and agree that they should attempt aggressive resuscitation and see if he got better.

He didn’t. The vet called again and said that he hadn’t responded at all and in fact was worse. I had to make a very hard decision, but I put his best interests ahead of my desire to try and prolong his life.

In due course we received his cremated remains in a very nice wooden urn.

We also learned that cats mourn. I never thought of it, but Minnie knew that he was gone, although not why. Here we are a month later and she’s started accept that he’s not coming back, but she’s still confused.

For that matter, so am I.

I don’t know how much longer we’ll have her, but we’re going to cherish the time that’s left. After that, I don’t know that we’ll adopt again. As Mrs. EMS Artifact pointed out, we’re not kids ourselves and there is a decent chance that any cats we adopt will outlive one or both of us.

Anyway, that’s the story of a cat. Here is a picture of Moe on his bear rug, which was his favorite napping spot.

 

 

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After a long career as a field EMS provider, I'm now doing all that back office stuff I used to laugh at. Life is full of ironies, isn't it? I still live in the Northeast corner of the United States, although I hope to change that to another part of the country more in tune with my values and beliefs. I still write about EMS, but I'm adding more and more non EMS subject matter. Thanks for visiting.

8 COMMENTS

  1. Good story, G… sorry for your loss. Those little critters can quickly become part of the family.

    • Thank you. I’m going try to start posting more often, so feel free to comment as the mood strikes you!

  2. Sounds like Minnie and Moe both lucked out with you bringing them into your home and hearts. I am very sorry that you had to make the call–it’s the part about being the human that hurts the most. They say that animals don’t know or remember, but I’ve never ascribed to that. Give Minnie a scritch on her ears for me. I’m sorry for your loss.

    • Thank you. I’ll give Minnie a scritch. I do that every time I walk by her. Sometimes she likes it, but sometimes I’m not sure what she’s thinking.

        • Sometimes, but generally that’s when they’re hungry. Over the years I learned that they are far more complex creatures than I had ever realized. And smarter.

  3. Consider adopting a Senior cat. They may have been abandoned, or orphaned when their Hooman passed away. Often they are left unadopted because of their age, and that only puts further stress on them. We took in three older cats over the years, and they were very happy with us, and our clowder of rescues.

    • I’ve been window shopping adult cats, but it’s only to gather information. Senior cats have more medical problems and of course they die. It was heartbreaking when Moe died and I know that Minnie’s time will come sooner than later. Maybe that makes my wife and I bad people, but I don’t know that we’re up to that right now. A 2-4 year old adult would be something that I’d be willing to do, but I’m not ready yet.

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