Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Aging--cats and dogs and me

Wywy, my 18-year-old cat, is getting fat again--well, at least he's gaining weight. He had lost weight, and the vet was worried about him though convinced he's not diabetic. I've started mixing just a bit of seafood cat  foot into his kidney diet, and he eats all the time. He's in amazing shape for his age. I feed him on a fairly high cabinet in the bathroom, so the dog won't get his food. There's a seat halfway up, and Wywy jumps up on the seat and then waits patiently for me to lift him the rest of the way up. But I know during the night and other times I'm not there, he gets up on his own. My friend Betty's daughter, Stephanie, had to put one of her cats down yesterday, and my neighbor Susan had to do it today, so I'm aware of age and consequences in my animals But right now Wywy is peacefully curled on my desk, sound asleep.
Scooby, my dog, is also aging, though I don't think he knows it. He's eleven, which is getting on in years for a mid-size dog, but he's still lively, too excitable, and happy with his world. I do notice one of his back legs gives out on him occasionally, and the other day I caught him lazing in the sun watching a squirrel cross the yard. In his best days, Scooby would have chased that squirrel with amazing vigor. He used to lie at the gate and wait for me to come home; when he saw the car, he'd jump up and run after a squirrel, perhaps imaginary, as if to say, "Look, Mom, I'm doing my job." These days, he likes nothing better than his bed, which is right by my bed.
I'm aware and mentally preparing for the fact I may lose both of my animals about the same time. But right now they are such a part of the fabric of my life, I can't imagine it. I don't know if I'll get another cat--Wywy is part Maine coon, which accounts for his sweet disposition, and I am tempted by the thought of a full-blood Maine coon. But I know I will always have a dog, probably from the humane society. Colin and I have a pact: if I get to the point I have to move somewhere and can't take a dog, Colin will adopt the dog.
At lunch today, Jean said she heard me say the other night at dinner that I was liable to lose them both about the same time, and she asked if I was thinking of moving. It was like a bolt out of the blue. No! I love my house, my furniture, my neighbors, my routine--there's not one thought in my head of moving. I use every room in my house plus my guest apt., and I can't imagine giving up any space nor any of my antiques. I imagine the day will come, but I'm sure not thinking about it now. The mere mention of a retirement home gives me the chills, and I haven't seen one that I'd like to live in. The very thought makes me feel old--and I'm not.
Betty and I had supper at a local wine cafe tonight. I ordered the tuna sliders and almost laughed when the server asked, "You do know they're seared Ahi tuna, don't you?" I assured her I did. As she left, Betty said "I bet some people order that expecting tuna salad." Surely not--this is a place that draws a fairly sophisticated clientele, so there I go worrying about age again. Did she think I was an old lady who might now want raw tuna?
I need a haircut--I'm shaggy and really overdue. Maybe with a smart new haircut, I'll get over this fear of people thinking I'm ready for assisted living and not ready to eat seared tuna. It was, by the by, delicious, served on baguettes with a slaw strongly flavored with horseradish.

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