Sunday, October 25, 2009

Enjoy her while she's here~

“Just enjoy her while she’s here,” my husband says. "It's all we can do."

He’s talking about our cat eighteen-year-old cat Becky, who is sleeping at the other end of the couch. Comfortable now, it appears. No twitching and tossing and turning. No frequent change of position. Just what looks like a normal cat nap. She’s napped for most of the day, but that’s par for the course for an old cat.

Becky’s my baby. We got her when my youngest, was three. He’s twenty-one now, and Becky is… old. And so loved by us all.

Early on, she chose me as her objet d’amour, and she became mine.

The kids always said, “You love Becky more than us, Mom.”

Of course I didn’t, and they know that, but damn, she ran a close second!

And now she’s on borrowed time.

“If a cat lives beyond fifteen,” the vet said, “that’s something!”

Something, but not enough, really.

Just enjoy her while she’s here. Bittersweet love.

She’s had a healthy life until recently when old-age issues led us to the vet, who, with a gloved finger where the sun don’t shine, discovered a mass. A mass. Such a loaded word, and it matters not what it’s loaded with in Becky’s case—cancer or benign, it’s inoperable according to the vet--Becky’s pediatrician cum gerontologist.

Better to have loved and lost than never too have loved at all. Undeniably true. The sorrow when a pet dies is balanced by a lifetime of pleasure she provides—and  the reciprocal love that passes back and forth is priceless.

For now, Becky seems to have rallied from her setback. I knock on wood as I type; I’m aware that she’s fifteen plus three. I’m realistic. Even stoic, in a small way. Been here, done this. It hurts. I'll heal.

But for now, she’s here. And I’ll enjoy her company for as long as she stays--my sweet girl.

If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans. ~James Herriot


Ross Eldridge said...

Hi there, Ruth,

This is lovely, and wonderful pictures of Becky as well.

My cat reached 19, and died in my arms. He'd always been a big, quite heavy fellow, but suddenly lost all his heaviness. He knew me till the end though.

Cailean and I did a new walk-route a few days ago and saw a cat outside. In almost 4 years I'd seen a couple of cats inside windows, not a single one outdoors. The weather is not fit for man nor beast, I guess. Cailean had never seen a cat ... And he looked at it and walked on.

We had no autumn in this part of the British Isles this year. Well, a windstorm many weeks ago knocked all the green leaves brown and down and blew them into the North Sea. A weekend was autumn! Summer Time has finished and it's dark by 4.15 and closing in daily. Scarves and hats and anoraks. I have Cailean's overcoat ready ...

Wonderful quotation by James Herriot. Herriot Country is south of here, Thirsk, Yorkshire, where my grandmother's family lived until about 1880.

Again, as a pet-lover I so enjoyed this entry and I'll hope Becky has more time to share with you.


Tere said...

I have missed you. Our Pomeranian is going through the same thing right now. Not sure how old she is, we adopted her when she was over 10. She rallies then she fades. It's very hard to watch. I don't know how much longer we CAN watch. It's hard. I'll be thinking about Becky and hoping both of you find peace.

Lisa said...

Hello, Ruth...
I haven't had the pleasure of meeting beautiful Becky, but I'm always touched by your photos of her. A coworker/friend of mine just lost her 14 year old kitty. It is so hard to lose a member of your family, whether it's human or animal. Their spirits communicate with us in ways we don't understand.
I'm thinking of you, and hope that Becky stays with you awhile longer, and is free of pain and suffering.
Much love,

Pauline said...

Becky is lovely. I had to go cuddle with Parker (my grandcat) before typing here, just because. He's only 11 but is showing signs of slowing down. I can't imagine life without a cat...

Ruth D~ said...

These replies are all special to me. I know this is a shared sorrow; I'm not alone. You understand. That matters.

Ross~ Your tale is a sad one, but what better way to go than in the arms of a loved one. I know you have sad stories about Alec, too.

Tere~ There were two little Pomeranian pups at the vet when Becky was. So cute. I hope the end is peaceful for your little girl. It is hard to watch, and making the call is hard, too.

Lisa~ Miss you. Your caring means a lot.

Pauline~ Slowing down is a given. Hope Parker gets to age gracefully.

Karna said...

Oh my gosh! We have a calico cat too -- 11 years old -- Spots. (My kids were very creative with names when they were 5, 3 and 1. :))

Calicos are the best. I can only imagine how good a companion Becky has been. Take more pictures!

Linda said...

Such a lovely post for a lovely member of your family.

May your final days together be wonderful ones as you relive memories and make new ones to cherish forever.

I'm sure that Becky knows just how much she has been loved and will continue to be after she's gone ahead.

Barbara said...

The last days with any animal are always difficult. You will know when it's time to let her go if she doesn't decide for herself.

Jody Ewing said...

Ruth - oh, how I feel for you. Yes, most of us have been there, but just knowing what you'll face (all too soon) never makes it any easier.

Enjoy her, love her like you always have, and know we'll all be here for you when the "day" arrives.


Wanda said...

Oh Ruth ~~ Those of us who love animals, and have felt what you are feeling just now, so understand. You words as usually touch me deeply each time you share a story.
We have had to put down two dogs in the past that were "family members" due to health, and it hurts so bad. But, yes ~~ enjoy them while we have them.
All my treatments are done, energy back, and now I look forward to lots of blog visits.

Love and Hugs

Bob Sanchez said...

Hi Ruth,
Becky is such a beauty. Thanks for the post and the pix.


Anonymous said...

I am completely choked up. I was so saddened when you left me your voicemail about Becky's "diagnosis". I sympathize with you and hope her final times are those filled with love. I know that's all she knows being with you and the family anyways.
Thanks for sharing!
Your friend,

P.S. People in the library are looking at me funny!!!

Rozel said...

Wow, 18 years old?!?! She is a pretty little cat.