Sunday, March 26, 2017

That's Him... He's The One...

I don't know why he was sent back to the pound not once, but twice, before we wandered in.  We had been looking for a pet to complete our family, someone for Youngest to take care of, to help him learn empathy, compassion.

My list was simple, spayed, of course, and declawed.  Having worked with the Humane Society before, I am not an advocate for de-clawing, and would never have it done, but practically speaking I knew that having 4 and 5 year old boys and a cat with claws was not a good idea. Lastly, I wanted an older cat.  Everyone loves the kittens, but the older ones, they sit the longest and are most often put down.  And the realist in me was only up for a 6 or 7 year commitment.

We sat in a little room, my boys tearing through it like caged animals themselves, while one by one, our "choices" were brought in.  Three females, some long hair, some short, all good tempered, and all uninterested in the crazy kids descending upon them wanting to hold and pet them.  The last one they brought in was a 6 year old, short hair tiger cat. He growled.  He hissed.  He had a large patch of fur missing from his back.  Apparently, some cats, not unlike myself, rip out their own hair when stressed out.  He spent most of the time hiding in the corner under the bench of the little room.  I don't even think the boys held him.  But as we left, Youngest knew.  I tried to dissuade him, said we'd come back in a week, but no.

"He's our cat. This one."

So, here we are not 6 years later, but 11 years.  ELEVEN.  This May, Mr. Chewey Cat will be 17, which roughly translates to 84 in people years.  His hair grew back after a few short months and I don't think he's even so much as hissed at us since, despite being carried around like a baby, stuffed in pillowcases, and trapped under laundry baskets. At times I think the boys treated him more like a baby brother than an animal.  He greets everyone as they arrive by crawling into their lap and attempting to eat their jewelry. He refuses to leave the house, taking two steps out the back door only to run back in as soon as the opportunity arises. He prefers his car rides out of the carrier, so he can take in the sights, just so long as his paws don't get dirty.  When he was 12 we discovered he has an intolerance to gluten, just like Youngest and myself, forcing us to put him on only wet food.  Because of this, when we vacation we have people stay at the house, and he has convinced even the strictest dog-only humans into trying the cat-nip.

He is, simply, one of a kind.

In October we noticed some changes in his behavior and I brought him to the vet.  I assumed he was diabetic, or maybe it was his thyroid, but no.  He is in early stage Kidney Failure.  We changed his food, had his teeth cleaned, and while this helped slightly, last week he stared showing other signs.  Going through bowls of water, an ammonia smell from his mouth, decreased appetite, excessive snuggling, and the husband's favorite, peeing behind the couch. His numbers revealed that he is now in Stage 2. We pumped him full of fluids, gave him anti nausea meds twice this week, and while the first round helped, the second seemed ineffective. I've moved the litter box to his choice area in the living room, not that it helps much, as he is literally standing in it while peeing over the side onto the pee pads.  I change the pee pads in the living room now like I am changing diapers.  I have ripped out the carpet padding in that corner and thrown it away.  When the weather improves a bit I will be cutting out that section of the carpet and washing it outside.  I suppose the only upside is that we were planning to replace it in August anyway.  I burn candles, have air fresheners, and am considering buying stock in Fabreeze.

We estimate, based on his numbers, he has six months to a year.  I've done a ton of research and I am not comfortable waiting until he goes to stage 4.  Renal Failure is not pretty in it's late stages, and quite frankly, it's a horrible way to die.  I will watch his symptoms and follow his lead, but we all know his time is coming to an end.  Until then, he will snuggle to the point of annoyance, I will spend a small fortune on prescription food, and change the pee pads.

I have no idea why two other families gave him away, and at times when I was at my wits end with him, I could understand why they would have.  But over the last few days I have come to appreciate that they did, and I can not imagine our home without him.  His absence will leave a hole, much larger than the cat door in the basement.

One that just may never be able to be filled.


Sunday, March 12, 2017

It's Still Good...

I had most of February vacation off with the kids, including the big one, who's aspirations for his vacation week amounted to basically nothing.  It started off productive enough... bought a dryer, installed a light in the downstairs stairway, the basics.  By Tuesday night I found myself eating just the colorful marshmallows from the rest of the box of Lucky Charms and realized this might be the least productive stay cation we've ever had.  Even Mr. Chewey got lazy with us...


So we moved onto March and the onset of the Lent season.  As we all know, I am not much of the religious sort, but I do try to better myself in some way during lent in the hopes that I can grow as a person and learn some discipline.  Some years it works, some years it doesn't. One year I gave up carbs.  I lost 40 pounds. Two years ago I gave up my enjoyment of snow... we got seven feet of the white stuff and I can safely say I hate it now.  Last year I gave up all things Donald Trump.  That didn't work out so well since we will now all be inundated with him for the next 4 years.

This year I decided to de-clutter my life. Now, as a general rule I am not much of a consumer.  After spending 17 years in some form of retail the last thing I want to do is wonder the mall.  Combine that with a tiny house with one closet, and there's not much room for things we don't need. And yet, somehow, it accumulates.  So I set out on making a list...

Clean out the kitchen utensils.
Clean under the bed.
Purge the DVDs.
Purge old emails and the FB friends list.

The list goes on to include the fridge and freezer, the attic and garage are broken over two days, you get the idea.  I can't say that I'm getting to something everyday, but I am about 15 through the list, so I've got that going for me.

I started with the smaller ones and am working my way to the larger ones.  On the first day I cleaned out the antique secretary and found 6 rolls of scotch tape and enough light bulbs to last until my grandchildren have grandchildren.  Exhausted from that day's clean out, I opted for a quick and easy dinner and grabbed some steam fresh veggies from the freezer.  Staring mindlessly into the microwave as they cooked, I grabbed a bowl and got ready to eat the delicious array of veggies featured on the bag.  Honestly, all I remember is that once I finished, they tasted... weird.

I dug the bag out of the trash.  July of 2015.

*gag*  

Later that night I was convinced that I'd be the first person to ever encounter death by vegetables.  Asparagus is tough when it's fresh... it's unimaginable when it's 2 years expired, take my word for it.  We all had a good laugh about it though, as I made a mental note to move "clean the fridge", and "Purge the freezers" closer to the top of the list.  Which of course, I didn't actually get to until today.

It started innocently enough, tossing expired stuff, boxing up the things we will never eat for the food pantry at the church. The freezer was a quick purge, as nearly everything was either unidentifiable, or from 2013.  I found a pack of hot dogs from 2012.  Yummy.

The fridge is quite simple as it gets rotated quite frequently.  Condiments all checked out as good except for the plastic lime from 2012. I found some questionable carrots in the back, and some sketchy apples that the squirrels outside were happy to take off my hands.  And then I saw them,  WAY in the back, four cans of beer.

Tony: "Um, WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH MY BEER???"
Me: "I'm throwing it out."
Tony: "That's still good!!!"
Me: *flips can over* "Sept 4th 2015..."

Apparently, alcohol poisoning has an entirely different meaning in this house.