Friday, August 24, 2012

Not About Beads

Today is my kitty Samantha's 23rd or maybe 25th birthday. She has been with us for so long, we are no longer sure whether we adopted her in 1987 or 1989, when presumably she was about 8 months old.  We counted back and found ourselves approaching the end of August and decided, "Hey, we both have birthdays on 24th days of the month, the cat should have one too."  So we chose it for her.
I want to preserve her story in my blog today, because this summer, she has declined, and I don't know how much longer she will be with me.  She has always been a beautiful cat, and very petite.  At her prime, she weighed just over 8 pounds, and now, I think she has slipped under 5.  See the curled whiskers on her right side?  That is her sleeping side.  She has not groomed herself for years.  I do my best for her, but she does not like her legs or tummy groomed, so those parts get ignored as much as possible.  She does love to have her head rubbed, washed and combed, and her ears cleaned, so those things we do often.

We have gradually adapted her home, as her age has limited her movement.  Her food and litter box used to be in the laundry on the ground level of our split level home, but she has always liked to sleep on our bed, and the stairs got to be too much for her a couple years ago, so the box moved into our bedroom.  The food came up too, but to keep the dog from eating it, we had to build an enclosure that only Sam could enter.
And her sight is failing, so she needs a night light to find the castle door and her food inside.
Last fall, her arthritis made it difficult to get into the litter box, so we put the box on a waterproof bed pad, and began to put puppy training pads around the box for her to use.  Over the course of this summer, that group of pads has become an ocean of pads.  This is my side of the bed, this morning.
So, this is her life.  She demands one brand of cat food (the chicken pate flavor only) 8-10 times each day, by yeowling.  I can hear her from my studio, or anywhere in the house.  Occasionally she leaves the bedroon in quest for food, and sometimes, even manages to negotiate one short flight of stairs to find me, if I do not respond immediately.  The can of food is divided into sixths,
...because no more that a couple tablespoons are eaten at a time, and the rest goes to waste.  The food must be warm to be considered edible, so I soak the dish in hot water before putting the food in.  Then it is smashed with a fork to fully encorporate the stool softener/bulking agent that is her only medication, hopefully to the texture of fluffy mashed potatoes.
YUP.  That is a 101 Dalmations bowl.  The food must be oriented to only 1/2 of the bowl, because she can't reach the far side and I always like the dogs peeking at her when she eats.  She adopted this bowl after my son, who turns 20 this year, out grew it.  SO... she eats, but only as much as she can stand and bend over for, and then, off to the water cup (which she has had longer than the bowl) for a drink, and maybe, if her balance holds, a quick swipe of the paw in an attempt to wash her face.
She might then toddle to the sea of pads, but more often, she is just too tired, and curls up for a nap on the floor, no longer able to jump to the bed.

She is not in pain.  She is not sick.  But today, getting to her feet is a challenge.  I have to demonstrate for the Upper Midwest Beading Society at the MN State Fair this afternoon, and I feel badly leaving her.  But my son will be here with her, and can call me in a emergency, and keep her fed and comfortable.

She has been as faithful a companion as any cat chooses to be, for nearly all of her life.  It's hard for me to imagine how she ended up at the humane society, because she is an easy-going little creature.  If she has a fault, it's that she was only rarely a lap kitty, but many are not, and she has been affectionate with us on her own terms.  I know she has lived a full and long life, and it pleases me that she is still happy to purr when her head and face are groomed and petted.  But I also know she will not be with us much longer.

For my beading friends, yes, this is certainly a departure.  But I was told to use my new camera in preparation for my first photography class next week, and have done so for this post.  Indulge me.

POSTSCRIPT:  Samantha experienced a sort of feline stroke and was unable to swallow without choking.  On Sunday, September 16th, we took her to the emergency vet, where she was euthanized to end her suffering.   

24 comments:

  1. Marsha - my heart goes out to you and Samantha. Your post shows just how much she is loved and cared for and what a fantastic life she has lived to date. I'm so sorry you are slowly losing your fur-baby. (((hugs))) Candys

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Candys. It's been a long and wonderful ride together. She is certainly loved!

      Delete
  2. What a beautiful story...in both words and photos. I will be thinking of you and your faithful Samantha in the coming days.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Marsha I read your story through tears. How wonderful for you and Samantha to have found each other and to have had so many years together. No matter the age its always too soon to lose a beloved pet and member of the family. I had 15 wonderful years with my sweet feline companion Sable and after 6 years I still miss her. Candy's comment says it all.
    Thinking of you.
    Helen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Helen, and so sorry for your own loss.

      Delete
  4. Dear Marsha,
    I admire your gorgeous beadwork but your story about Samantha moved me deeply,it is wonderful to see that you´re doing everything good for Samantha to make her life as comfortable as possible.It make me so sad,that you believe,that your beloved cat leaves you soon,I hope, you have still a long time with Samantha.
    Warm Greetings
    Marion
    PS.:please excuse, my english is not perfect

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your English is just perfect. Thank you for your thoughts!

      Delete
  5. Marsha:
    What a nice tribute to Samantha. She has had a wonderful life with a loving family. Lucky cat!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Sorry. I forgot to put my name on my comment. That last one was me, Pam. 8/24 at 4:34pm.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OH Pam, thank you. And thanks for checking up on us. I am home is she is as she was when I left. Every time I think, "today might be the day," she pulls through and surprises me. I appreciate your leaving me a message!

      Delete
  7. Ahhhh... what a great post. Obviously the two of you and Samantha found the perfect companion.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True! I feel blessed to have found all the "creatures" in my life. My husband, son, pets, friends, all are mine for a reason, I am sure of it. Thank you.

      Delete
  8. This post really touched my heart.Always hard to say goodbye to a family member.
    Hugs

    ReplyDelete
  9. This made me cry .I remember my cat Pissi that died in november last year of old age. Even nowing that it will hapen was a hard blow for all the family and for her friend my other cat Mitzi .Sorry for my english

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Funny how feelings come easily through any struggles with language. Thank you.

      Delete
  10. From the heart to the hearts of others. Beautiful post and share.
    -Eva Maria

    ReplyDelete
  11. Sweet and noble Samantha is the oldest kitty I have ever met. Regardless of being 23 or 25. You gave her a most wonderful life, and you take such great care of her. If only all kitties had such good mothers as you are to her, Marsha.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Kinga! From your relationship with your fur babies, I know you are a most excellent pet mama as well!

      Delete
  12. Such a beautiful little creature. Thank you for sharing her story!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Marsha, thank you for a beautiful post that means much to all of us out here who have loved (and lost) pets, as dear to us as family. Your sweet kitty has had a loving home and no pet could ever ask for more!

    ReplyDelete
  14. what a beautiful kitty Samantha and you were an amazing mom to her.
    Thank you for the beautiful post.

    ReplyDelete