Monday, February 16, 2009

Opposite Ends of the Spectrum

Gracie and Millie are getting so big, they have the gangly long legs of adolescents, their adult teeth and fur and are honing their hunting skills by playing with anything and everything. They have the sweetest dispositions: affectionate, loving, curious and playful. They really are the sweetest things.

Tomorrow they go in for their spaying, just in the nick of time it seems, as Millie was quite randy towards the end of last week. Thankfully she didn't get outside, nor did any Toms find their way in, but it still made me nervous and I don't want to be a grandma (to kitties or otherwise!) just yet. I feel a bit guilty bringing these sweet, innocent and trusting little kitties in to the vet to go under the knife, but I know it is the best thing for them and us. I somehow imagine that they will see more into the situation than they actually will, most likely they will just think: Hey, I don't like being in the cage, and ouch, my incision hurts. I definitely don't like this!

In my mind though, they will be thinking: Why did She do this to us? What's going on here? When can I go home? Sure, I know cats don't think like that and it's only my guilt and overactive imagination at work.

So, I have these two young kittens who are just starting out their lives, not quite adults yet and in contrast, I have my Charlotte, who is about 18 years old. We're not even sure how old she is as we adopted her from the shelter when she was 3-ish. She had the loudest and most pitiful meow and both Wilson and I fell in love with her. She has been the sweetest cat, purring the moment she sets eyes on either of us and each night sleeping tucked into the crook of my arm. She's always been "my" cat, or more aptly, I have always been her human.

In the past year she has slowed down considerably. First, she stopped grooming her back legs and I'd dutifully comb out the snarls. As she became more stiff she stopped grooming altogether and now she's a bit snarly and tangled all over. She growls when I try to comb her so I imagine she's sore. She's very slow and stiff when she walks but can still make it upstairs to the bedroom at night. Age hasn't stopped her purr, though! She still goes at it full blast and it just takes one little tickle under the chin or a stroke on top of her head to set her off.

With Charlotte, I'm wrestling with the decision of euthanasia. I don't think she's in any pain, but then again, cats are masters at hiding any sign of sickness or hurt. Certainly, she's not as sprightly as she used to be and does end up sleeping most of her days comfortably away on the perch over the heater in the window. She eats, she purrs and enjoys attention. But that's about it. She's been the most wonderful cat and doesn't deserve to suffer. On the other hand, as long as she's comfortable I can't justify euthanizing her. This is by far the most difficult decision I've had to face. With Benji it was obvious he was sick and that it was the kindest thing to do; this situation is a bit less clear cut. I have a feeling it's going to be soon so I'm trying to enjoy each moment with her that I can and not dwell on what next week might hold.

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