My cat is 18 years old. She’s a forgetful, crotchety dreadlocked ball of raspy-voiced meows. She poops on my bedroom floor. Her claws no longer retract and I’ve rescued her a few times with her paw stuck in a piece of fabric while she dangles, balanced on her back legs, looking at me with her hazy unfocused eyes as if to say What in the fuck is happening to me? I’m fairly sure she forgets where she is from time to time, and her moments of lucidity are comical in a bittersweet way.
Admittedly, I spent the last few years more resentful towards her than affectionate. I’d joke with an underlying sense of seriousness that maybe, juuuuuust maybe she would pass away. I have googled “how to euthanize your cat”. Her time should be up, you guys. I was so done with her constant meowing, discovering (and cleaning up) her fecal treasures in the computer room or our bedroom, trimming her goddawful clumpy cat-dreads since she couldn’t clean her self any longer. I was okay with her dying.
But then I remembered that they are deserving of your love and devotion from the moment they come into your life until the moment they leave it. They deserve your love, for better or worse and in sickness and in health. They need you when they’re a tiny ball of fluffy kitten that chases crumpled balls of tinfoil thrown down the hallway, or when they pounce on your face at 4 am. Exasperation and anger need to be checked when yet another regurgitated mouse is deposited on your doorstep. Love is given during the nightly cuddles, as aging steps in and bit by bit takes away the pet you knew and replaces it with a pet you need to get to know and love even more. These little sparks of light are not meant to be turfed to the wayside just because they’re annoying and old and smelly. In fact, this is when that true love really shines, when cuteness isn’t that beacon that draws you in with snuggles and soft affection. No, I realize now that my devotion and yes, my love for my old cat needs to be stronger than ever as she travels down this road to the end of her sweet little life.
In remembering this, I have found that I really do love her and enjoy our cuddles. Her purring and soft warm body won’t be here much longer, so I bid myself to enjoy these moments and let her know that she is safe and loved. Always.