I noticed over the last year or two that they had been losing weight. However, since they have always been on the, well, morbidly obese, side of the cat weight spectrum I figured they had it to lose. I just attributed it to aging and the fact that I purchase the cheapest cat food on the planet. I don't take them to the vet regularly either. They are inside cats so unless something is ailing them, we have an agreement to generally ignore each other's weight problems.
But when I actually stopped to pet Dodger the other day, who ironically I used to refer to as Jabba the Hut, I realized he wasn't much more than skin and bones. After scrutinizing Tigger and discovering he was only marginally better, I started fearing they had some kind of parasite. Ewww.
So last week I shoved them into their crate and toted them off to the vet. $350 later we discovered that Dodger has intestinal cancer, and Tigger's kidneys are failing. My cats, my temperamental furry companions for the last 12 years are dying.
Now I am not going to pretend I was particularly attached to them. Over the years I have added a husband, four children and a dog to my inner circle and as far as my affections go, even the dog ranks higher. But what can I say? She's a great dog.
As for the cats, I am more inclined to grumble about them trying to get on the kitchen table or puking hairballs on my floor than I am to pet them. But still, the news made me sad. Time marching on. Mortality. Change. It's all somber stuff. And it's just weird to think of the cats walking around our home as ticking time bombs. That one day soon, I won't have them anymore. And I find myself snuggling them more, (which for the record, I don't think they actually like) and paying attention to them when I never did. I am glad they are just cats and they don't know that they are so sick. Oh for the peace that comes with a simple mind.
And I can't help but wonder if I will even miss them. Or if I will just miss the idea of them, their story. I love telling people about how they were mine before The Man, before the kids. How my college roommate and I got them when we moved in together when we were barely more than teenagers. The Man never has never really liked those cats and in a way that made them more special. They were a little piece of me from before. There are not many of those pieces left now. They have all been replaced by things we have built together. And that's good, it's as God intends it, I believe. But still there's a twinge sometimes at letting it go. At watching the stragglers of my brief independent youth become just one more story to share.
But, don't be sad for me, and for goodness sake, don't think I am looking for condolences on my old sick cats. I'm not too sad really, but maybe just flinching a bit at such an obvious reminder that nothing on earth is here to stay.
Castles or cats.