So a few weeks ago we adopted two senior kitties with medical problems to help us mourn the loss of my familiar, Hazel. One of these kitties, Bootsie O’Sullivan, Snuggle Enforcer, is gregarious, vocal, and social. She demands all the pets, all the time, from all the people.
The other kitty is Dame Marble of Purrcatua, First of Her Name, Seeker of Softness, Master of Westerly facing windows. She is sicker than Bootsie. She is shy and retiring, doesn’t want to snuggle, and recently got very ill, with a high fever, lack of appetite, and lethargy.
After taking her in we are now giving her five pills morning and night and eye drops. She takes her pills like a long time spoonie, in a resigned way that almost breaks my heart. She doesn’t fight the eye drops either. It is clear this is a cat who has seen her fair share of vets. I was watching her try to find a comfortable place to lie down today when it hit me.
She is a Spoonie!
This cat who so touched our hearts with her sad story was unwanted because she is sick and broken and not like other kitties. The sick and broken within me recognized the sick and broken within her and my heart screamed “you are still worth loving!”
So I am spending my self-isolation in the company of an animal who was too much an invalid to be adopted, too broken to be given a home, by anyone other than us — a family of sick and broken people who understands what it’s like not to fit with society’s idea of valid.
A few weeks back my family lost our precious Hazel kitty, the fluff of my life. The pain of that loss is still crushing but her absence in the house was impossible to handle. So we went out and adopted two cats. This is their story.
My son and I were looking at the profiles of several cats at the Denver Dumb Friends League when we came across one for an older cat who had lived well with dogs, children, and other cats. She was described as being very friendly and cuddly. She was also described as having stage two kidney disease. We looked at each other and said, “That is our cat.”
We gathered up my daughter and husband and drove down there to see Bootsie, the cat in question.
When we arrived and explained who we wanted to see the staff arranged a room for us and suggested we also look at another kitty known for being good with dogs, Marble. She had been in the shelter for 6 months because she has hyperthyroid issues and needs medication twice a day. She is 10 years old. We agreed to see her so she could have some petting time but we were pretty set on Bootsie. We knew she had stage two kidney failure but Hazel had kidney issues so we were familiar with the drill and felt confident we could provide for Bootsie without changing our routine much.
We went in to meet Bootsie and she came to each of us (four of us) one at a time and rubbed her head against our hands. She was funny, talkative, and instantly friendly with everyone.
We went into the room with Marble and she was present. She was a beautiful kitty but a little shy. She had been in the shelter for 6 months so who knows how much shyness was a result of that. We left Dan in there with her for a few minutes while I went to talk to the vet about Bootsie’s health. When I came back in my husband told me he liked this little kitty. He has a real thing for the “undercat” as it were.
We took them both home.
Bootsie rules the first floor of the house. She sleeps curled up in a planter in the sun sometimes, she cuddles on the arms of the couch and in laps, on the backs of furniture and on chairs. She wants to be a part of all the doings in the house and adores being petted. She is a joyful addition to the household. Her new full name is Bootsie O’Sullivan, Snuggle Enforcer.
Marble now rules my bedroom. She is unaffected by the presence of our dog and isn’t fond of the other cats yet. She spends her days in one of two windowsills in the sun or on our bed. She plays with toys, takes her pills easily, and sits near us when she wants affection. She enjoys head scritches and has a delicate purr. She is an elegant cat. Her full name is Dame Marble of Purrcatua, First of Her Name, Seeker of Softness, Master of Westerly and Southerly Windows.
These ladies have huge hearts and personalities. They know how to use their catboxes. They are used to the medical routines they developed. They grow more and more loving the longer they stay in our home. They are thankful for attention and love, soft places, open windows, and sunshine.
Our lives are better because we adopted two older cats with medical issues. They need a little extra care but give so much in return for it.
If you are considering adopting a cat please consider walking past the kittens to the older kitties. They have so much love to give you.
While it’s true that you may have less time with a kitty who is a little older you will have a better idea of the kind of animal you are bringing home. What you see is what you get with an older cat and what you get is really, truly, amazing.
Throughout the day it hits me. I’ll be working on my computer and you aren’t there to disrupt me, I’ll be falling asleep and my hand isn’t resting on your paw, your head isn’t resting on my hand. You aren’t in my face wanting to go out to your condo whenever the weather is good.
Most of all you aren’t here, ever present, on my legs while I deal with migraines, fibromyalgia, anxiety, etc. As a cat you weren’t ever trained to be a service animal but without fail when my life went off the rails you were in my lap.
When I was crying you would rub your face all over mine to tell me it was going to be okay. When I was sick and alone in the dark you would jump up on the bed and sit with me for hours. When my heart broke from losing my health, my career, my marriage, so many friends, my activities, my energy, my life you were there, loving me.
Even on the night when we had to say goodbye to you you comforted me. Your final act was to rub your little head against my chin, against Oliver’s chin. Your final act was to comfort us.
A small part of me will never forgive myself for letting you go. It doesn’t matter how many times I remind that part of myself that you were suffering, that there was no cure, that it was the right thing to do. I killed my best friend and the one creature in the world who was there for me through everything without question. I held you while they put in the medication and I held you while your life fled your body.
Now I sit with your ashes in a pretty little box. No more squeaky purr, no more midnight pillow raids, no more presence on my legs.
My emotional support cat is gone. Today I sit in my room with a massive migraine, horrible body pain, and a strange cat in my window. She doesn’t know to come to me, to curl up on me and remind me I am not alone in the world. She isn’t you.
You and I had a magical relationship. You walked out of a swamp 14 years ago and asked to come home with me and we’ve been thick as thieves ever since. I have hand made your cat food, taken you on walks in the mountains, and spent countless hours simply enjoying your presence.
Losing you is one of the hardest things I have ever had to go through. I feel your loss every minute of the day and I can’t imagine a time when I don’t miss you. A part of me died with you and the cruelty of death is there is never any going back.
I love you so much Hazel. Thank you for being a constant source of comfort, a bright spot of joy, and the best friend a person could ever want to have.
Managing life with chronic illness requires savvy spoons