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Saturday, February 18, 2017

Kitty Blues

Worried as I'm writing this; my cat is getting older and arthritis is setting in. Our vet has given us these options:

Chiropractic care (who knew there were chiropracters for animals?!?)
Spinal surgery

My husband and I are trying to figure out what to do.

There are people who say, "It's just a cat, why bother?"

I can't talk to those people, or make them understand. Sydney is a cat, but what cat is "just a cat?" Can you honestly live with an animal in your home many years and not consider him or her to be part of your family?

Our Sydney is magically able to know your moods and manifest them. She is a lovely nurse when you need one, and can always be relied on to lift your spirits and comfort you when you're down. Until her recent illness she routinely slept on my hair. This is a trait I adapted into The Beat on Ruby's Street with Ruby's cat Solange.

This week she has stayed with me on the couch in the evening, but won't sleep near me and mostly hides in the closet. And I can't help feeling sad and helpless while I'm trying to sort through the options we have (and how much we can afford).

A friend told me last week that while cats can live 15 to 20 years, dogs live more like 10 years. I cannot imagine losing a dog after 10 years - I think it would be horrible. I would hate it even more if I had a young child or if our cat had died when our son was small.

I know things like this can be "opportunities" to talk to kids about loss; but what Sydney is bringing home to me is how unutterably hard grief is, how much loss really affects us, and how much animal companions bring to our lives.

I think whatever kids learn about these issues, they will have to learn this. As do we all.