Wednesday, October 21, 2015
Still, she was behaving more or less normally (for Cleo) when we arrived at Montauk a couple weeks ago. When the screen door was open, she'd sit on the steps staring out. She continued to annoy the S.O. by engaging in claw sharpening on objects not meant to be used for claw sharpening. And she was eating. And then one day she stopped. Didn't matter what was in the food dish, she wasn't interested. Ditto her cat treats. One day we could use them as a lure to get her out from places she didn't belong; a few days later she had no interest in them. I thought about taking her to a veterinarian -- maybe there was something wrong that could be fixed. And then I rethought that idea. The cat was over 15 years old. She had already gone through the stress of having Ringer's solution injected to help get her kidneys back on track -- she hated that procedure. Something told me she wasn't too thrilled about going to the veterinarian every two or three months for blood work -- a procedure that involved dropping her into what I always think of as a kill box to sedate her. The insulin injections seemed to be bothering her more and more -- when she first started getting them 4 years ago, she was pretty much oblivious to the needle, but in recent months I could tell they'd become uncomfortable. It was time to let her go, so I did. After she decided she wasn't interested in eating, she alternated between sleeping on the bed and curling up in a favorite corner in the living/dining area of the Guppy. She grew visibly weaker, but she didn't show any signs of being uncomfortable or in pain. If she had, we'd have taken her to a veterinarian one last time.
Cleo was not a particularly likable cat. She came into our lives under a cloud -- we were asked to take her for "just a week or two" while our older daughter tried to find a different home for her. Zu had been given Cleo when the cat was still one of those tiny bundles of fluff that you'd swear couldn't annoy anyone. Well, Cleo managed to. She decided she couldn't stand Zu's housemate, Lynn. In fairly short order, she'd crapped on Lynn's pillow, Lynn's shoes, and (this was the final straw) in Lynn's Packer hat. The amazing thing is the cat lived long enough after that to end up being given to us.
Oddly enough, Cleo behaved just fine once she moved in with us. She bonded with Tammi's dog Charlie, she got along fine with Tammi's two neutered male cats, Rene and Ares, and managed to co-exist with the humans. She wasn't one of those friendly, cuddly kittens who begs to be held and petted, and she grew into a standoffish cat who kind of liked being around people but never seemed particularly attached to any of us. She slept on our bed, but only at the foot, and she'd hang around people, but never did that shoving her head under anyone's hand in to elicit getting petted. It took quite a few years of her shadowing me for it to sink in that cat might like me, at least a little. Then again, maybe she just recognized me as the person who kept the food dish full.
And now she's gone. It feels weird. This is the first time in many, many years that we are totally petless. No dogs, no cats, no rabbits or mice. Just the S.O. and me. It's going to take some getting used to. I woke up last night at about 2 a.m. sure I could hear Cleo purring at the foot of the bed -- I wonder how many nights it's going to take before that no longer happens?