Cats…

If you have ever been owned by a cat, this will resonate with the deepest part of your soul. How is it that a cat will expand to fill any sized empty space on a bed at night? And why do they prefer to lay between your legs, trapping you in one position instead of next to you?

For those of us of a certain age, the between the legs thing is torture! I already struggle with hot flashes, or power surges, as my friends who don’t want to admit they are getting older say. You put that furry little ball of heat between, or on the legs and it is a recipe for setting the bed on fire! I kid you not! I used to appreciate the extra heat during the cold winter months, but no more. Maybe once I have the hot flashes under control?

Then there are the water drinking habits. Our girl, Spanky, Otis Spankmeyer the III, LOVES to be hoisted into the bathroom counter to drink water from a dripping facet. Our facets don’t drip, but we oblige and turn it on for her. Of course we wait for her to be done. We wait, and wait, and wait, wondering if she is part camel. She used to jump down on her own, but the older she gets, the more often she will wait for us to gently lift her down. I think it is easier on the bones and brain than the jarring jump.

Our black cat, Spankie, aka.: Pookie and Butthead, was a stray. She joined the family when we had two teens, our two dogs and one cat, my parents and their cat all under one roof. She is a hisser, and would often hiss and batt at the dogs. Our other cat at the time rules the roost, and Spanky avoided her. Mom’s cat stayed in their room near mom. It wasn’t until a few years later when we moved my dad and his cat PK into the same house with us and Spanky that we learned she is also a screamer. I still remember the first time she and PK went at it, and she let out a blood curdling scream that belonged in a horror movie! My heart was beating so fast when I heard that! Over the past 5 years, I have gotten used to the sound. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, I don’t jump anymore. We do keep the cats separated at night though, just so that scream doesn’t jump start our hearts at 3:00am.

My dad’s cat PK, short for Phantom Cat, has always had health issues. When he got the beautiful Tortoise Shell cat as a rescue after my mom died, he didn’t see her for six months. He knew she was in the house, because there was poop in the litter box, and the food would disappear. It wasn’t until he took in a stray kitten I had found that she magically appeared. Since then, he hasn’t been able to shut the little chatter box up. For the first several years, she hated being picked up, and was skittish. We think she may have been in a less than tolerant house at some time. She is also afraid of the outdoors. After ten years of lovingly and quietly working with her, she will tolerate being picked up, and sometimes enjoys it. One reason she didn’t like being picked up, was that it would often trigger a coughing fit. A vet said she needed drugs, or eventually all the cats in the house would have it (we had three at the time). But we are pretty sure it is asthma. We affectionately say she has a smokers voice and cough. Who knows what her past held. And so, I will be trying some homeopathy on her here real soon. It also appears that she may be having seizures. This manifested in front of me the other day for the first time. It would actually explain some other behavior we had been wondering about.

You may be thinking that we are just cat lovers, but that isn’t at all true. We have had dogs too. Raised them, fallen in love with them, lost them. After my Australian Sheep dog Sunny died 8 years ago, we decided that our lives were too busy to have dogs. There is an element of stress making sure they are let out regularly, finding someone to housesit them when you go on vacation, walk them. We just haven’t been ready to tread that path again.

Probably the hardest part of being a pet owner is the end of life. You spend ten to twenty years with these animals. You learn their personalities, they become a friend you find yourself talking to when you need a listening ear, and then you watch their health decline. It’s hard knowing that inevitably, death will happen. It does to us all, eventually. I am trying to learn to reframe death as being as much a part of life as living is. We gave her a good life, filled with love and care. As hard as our furry friends deaths will be, maybe that will just give us an open space to rescue another one, and continue the cycle of loving.

We’ll see. In the meantime, I will tell her to stop snoring on the other couch.

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