Memories of Misty - Aging Ungracefully

Misty and Me

Many times I would arrive home from work to find her sitting in my driveway, waiting for me. I always figured that would be the death of her; I can't count the number of times she would run out into the street to meet me—straight under my tyres, and straight into the path of any other traffic coming past! Fortunately my street is not a busy one, and the couple of cars she actually did run in front of saw her, and stopped for her.

Speaking of being greeted by Misty: the photo here is one of the most recent photos of her (and of myself!)  This was taken in August last year (2012) on my return from one of my first few runs (such as they are.)  I staggered into the yard, dropped down on the front steps to try and find my key, and the cat appeared out of the undergrowth, trotted over, and climbed straight up onto my shoulders.  It seemed like too good a photo-op to ignore.

By this time she had mellowed somewhat, but she would still complain bitterly about being placed in the car! A few times, however, she actually jumped up into the car to have a sniff around—and several nights she spent the night in the car (in the garage, its door propped open.) Anything that would allow me a good night's sleep was fine with me!

Finally her age began to show. She became a little unsteady on her feet at first, a little less able to perch confidently on the arm of the couch—or my shoulder. Those were dangerous times, because if she lost her balance while perched or climbing, she tended to dig her claws into whatever she was sliding down, and that whatever was usually me. There were times when it seemed that she was utterly, profoundly deaf—and other times when it seemed she could hear after all, in which case she must have honed the art of ignoring me to a fine perfection. There were even times when I worried she was losing her eyesight.

She started to yowl, randomly. She would wake up, find me not there, and run out into a central location to sound the alarm until I came running. At first I took her to the vet to get checked out, to be sure she wasn't in any pain, but ultimately I decided she was just going slowly senile in her old age, and panicking at being alone.

That visit to the vet did reveal high thyroid levels; not too high, but skirting the upper edge of "normal". Subsequent blood tests revealed it to be holding fairly steady at that high level. We attempted to put her on a renal diet, to help her kidney function, but after the first few meals she quickly refused to eat the renal food. I decided that it would be wrong of me to try to extend her lifespan by making her miserable and forcing her to eat food she didn't want; I reverted to her normal diet, with the occasional pouch of the renal diet to keep her going.

The yowling continued—and much like the crying of a baby, it could mean many things. "Pick me up!" or "Feed me!" or "I want to go out!" or "I want the toilet!" or "I'm awake, leave me alone!" or all, or none, of the above... That was our second (or third?) long, wet summer: day after day of pouring rain, making it very difficult for the cat to get out and do what she wanted to do. Which made it difficult for me to get too angry with her when she decided to start using my shower stall for her toilet. Sure, there were worse places she could have picked—but it was quite frustrating when she would be outside (dry day, yay!) and come bolting in, past her dirt box, to head for the shower! If I caught her at it, I would pick her up and put her out again, in the hopes that she'd get the message. Sometimes she did...

And then there was the time she decided, after a week of constant rain, that she really had to go out the front. I opened the door for her, and waited there as she darted out into the rain and squatted for a quick call of nature. When she finished, she bolted back in, practically leaped up the four steps into my front foyer, landed her wet paws on the tiled floor, skidded, bounced, and sailed down the four steps back down to the garage door, clearing the lot of them, skidded again on the tiled floor down their, and disappeared out into the garage. (Fortunately, once again, the door had been open!) Moments later she trotted back in and gave me a "what? Oh that? Yeah, I totally meant to do that!" look.

When the end came, it was quick.

Comments   

0 #2 Pete Jones 2014-06-19 19:58
Quoting Melfka:
Ahhh! Comments at last! ;)


Yep! :-) Although they don't seem to support nested replies, and I'm gonna have to do some CSS tweaking to get them to match the rest of the page! :-)

Quoting Melfka:
... though I don't really like cats (and they don't seem to be very fond of me), I am more of a dog person.


I always considered myself more of a dog person too -- after all, cats don't seem to be fond of anyone! -- but I figured the cat would be "low maintenance" compared to a dog. Wrong on all counts. She was a lot of work, surprisingly needy "for a cat" ... but she was very affectionate, towards me at least. Definitely my cat... :-) And yeah, maybe one day another one will come along -- there are certainly indications that I'm missing the company -- but so far it's been a year and I'm still in no great rush to get another cat. Or dog. Having no dependents has its advantages... :-)

Quoting Melfka:
I remember when I was learning English and have been told something along the lines of: use "he" for boys, "she" for girls and "it" for animals, this is a rule. It didn't sit well with me, as animals, especially pets, were not "it". Only later I've learned that English-speaking people use he/she as well :).


Yeah, we might use "it" if we don't know the sex of the animal (a thought which led me to wonder whether animals can be transgender; I guess that would require some level of self-awareness, though) but on the whole, if we don't know, we're quite likely to use "he" or "she" anyway. I tend to lean towards "he" for dogs and "she" for cats... The less cuddly an animal is -- the less relatable it is -- the more likely we'll fall back on "it"! :-)

Quoting Melfka:
I loved how you called their "the cat", as our dog was called many things besides multiple versions of her name. To amuse you, the one that got her attention almost immediately was "Children! Supper is ready!" - I can tell you she was always first in the kitchen ;).


Yep, I can see how that would work! :-)

I'm not sure what it was, but I was just never comfortable giving her a "human" name -- and "Misty" came about because I felt bad listing her as "Cat" at the vet! Maybe I'd have felt differently if I'd gotten her as a kitten, but I always had this feeling that she didn't need me to start making up names for her. And she responded equally well to "Misty", "Cat", "Puss", or anything else -- which is to say, hardly at all. For a long time, what actually brought her running without fail was a click of my fingers... (Hmm. Maybe she was originally owned by a Kalahari bushman, and *CLICK* was her name... :-) )

Thanks for your comment. (It was my first! ;-) )
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+1 #1 Melfka 2014-06-18 13:45
Ahhh! Comments at last! ;)

I don't even know why I clicked on this text, I guess something grabbed me in the first few paragraphs. And then I couldn't stop and had to read to the end. Probably because I can somewhat relate to your story, though I don't really like cats (and they don't seem to be very fond of me), I am more of a dog person.

But then... I remember when I was learning English and have been told something along the lines of: use "he" for boys, "she" for girls and "it" for animals, this is a rule. It didn't sit well with me, as animals, especially pets, were not "it". Only later I've learned that English-speakin g people use he/she as well :).

I loved how you called their "the cat", as our dog was called many things besides multiple versions of her name. To amuse you, the one that got her attention almost immediately was "Children! Supper is ready!" - I can tell you she was always first in the kitchen ;).

And in the end, you didn't lose just "a pet". You lost a family member. Anyone who claims otherwise can be punished in the afterlife by having to read a phonebook through the eternity.
I just hope that one day another "Misty" will come around. She or he won't be the same, but maybe will become yet another family member.

PS On the unrealted note, I am not registering to check if the moderation/addi ng comments works properly ;). I hope your Joomla doesn't eat all the letters I typed. ;)
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