We were walking into my apartment one summer evening and heard a half-plaintive, half-demanding meow from across the way. A very friendly but scraggly cat (skinny, missing hair) kept meowing at us and responded warmly to attention and to the food I brought down for him. We decided he was officially lost, ’cause he was so friendly I couldn’t believe he wasn’t someone’s cat. Later I heard he’d been living off his charm and several people I knew at the apartment complex.
He had such a non-feral manner that I called the Humane Society who told me that the best way to find his owner was to take him there. I had started to fall for his insistent, demanding meow and his extra-soft, gentle purr. So, when I took him to the Humane Society and they told me they’d put him down in 1 week if his owner didn’t come forward and I didn’t ransom him back, I was flummoxed. He sat, scared and quiet, in a cardboard box in my lap, and I sat, in tears, in the waiting room, and a passing woman chided me gently “just keep him, honey.” And so I did.
I took him to the vet and got him neutered and vaccinated, and the vet said he was lucky and I was kind. It was time for me to have a cat again, and this one was terrific. Well, the new boyfriend and I got married, and the cat has been along for almost the entire ride. He bulked up after his “lean times” and has been a fat and sassy 12+ pounds for the last 12+ years.
Over the last year, he’s been losing weight, and drinking immense amounts of water. He was 10 pounds in January, 9 pounds in June. That’s 75% of his former weight, a lot to lose for a little guy. The vet ruled out diabetes, but she’s concerned about kidney failure or hyperthyroid. She gave me samples of special diet food to try and then told me he could eat whatever he wants (this is when I got scared). The blood tests will come back Monday. UPDATE: kidneys OK.
After my dad died and when the cat used to roam a lot more than he does now, I always feared I’d find him dead on the street. I’d call out for him if he was gone too long. Losing my dad made me afraid of losing everything individually and I held on too tightly, afraid to trust in permanence, simply afraid. I found myself fearing the cat’s death when I should have been enjoying our time together. I’m less paranoid now, maybe I’m just forgetful or maybe I’ve matured.
So, while still feeling the impact of scary words like “kidney failure”, I’m reveling in watching him roll around in the sun on the back deck, in watching him enjoy the wet “kidney failure” food the vet recommended (wet food over dry to help him not have to lap up so much water). We had the same vet today, the same one that checked him out in 1994. I’m hoping it isn’t a symbolic thing to have her again, that it isn’t yet full circle time with him, that we have some good years left together, and watching him wolf down the new food and enjoy the sunshine on the porch, I’m thinking he’s got similar plans.