“Don’t complain about getting older, it’s a privilege denied to many”
I understand this quote in my head, but am having a hard time with it in my heart right now. If you have ever watched anyone go through the aging process and all that can happen during this time, you will see how it can rob you of precious gifts such as your hearing, sight, memory, and so many other things. I watched this happen to my sweet grandmother, my wonderful mother, and now my beautiful cat “Kiki”.
Kiki is approaching her 18th birthday, and has been showing signs of aging for the past couple of years. She has lost her hearing, has been slowing down, and even her eyes have been cloudy for a while now, which I expected to occur in an aging cat, but what I was not prepared for was the sudden blindness that happened last week. One day she could see, and the next she was completely blind!
Walking into furniture and walls has been an extremely painful thing to watch. To see this beautiful cat suddenly look so confused and scared has broken my heart. To also see her bravery when she gingerly reaches out for the edge of a chair to jump down to the floor, not knowing how far the jump is going to be, is almost unfathomable to me. I can’t even imagine that kind of fear and bravery!
What the aging process is robbing her of seems so unfair and yet, I am so grateful for all of the years that I have been able to share with her.
If she could hear, I might feel a little better as she could hear my voice telling her that I am here and she is not alone, but since she can’t, I just hold her close to me so that she knows she is not alone. I help guide her to her litter box and food, and hope that she can learn her way to these spots using her sense of smell.
I wait for the results of her blood tests that were run yesterday. Because of her age, the probability that she may be going into renal failure are fairly good, so I am trying to prepare myself for that news, but am hoping that this isn’t the end of her life and whatever is causing her issues are still treatable.
I keep trying to focus on a positive outcome, while thinking about these past 18 years that she has been with our family.
Kiki was a kitten of a stray cat that we took care of 18 years ago. “Jones”, “Kiki’s Mother, was named after “Indiana Jones”, because she wandered everywhere. We fed her and gave her a place in our garage to have her kittens once we realized that she was pregnant. She gave birth to 6 kittens, 2 didn’t survive but the other 4 did and were left to us to bottle feed and take care of as Jones didn’t stick around long enough to take care of them. We took turns nursing the 4 kittens to health. When the time came to make a decision on what to do with Jones and her kittens, we knew that we could only keep one of them, so we spent a great deal of time with each of the kittens to determine which of their personalities most closely matched our own.
First there was “Big mouth” who was named this for obvious reasons, then “Chelsea” who looked a lot like Kiki, “Amy”, who was small and frail, and finally “Stripe” who later became to be called Kiki.
All of the kittens were sweet and cute, but there was something special about Kiki. She just had the perfect personality for us, so we found homes for the other cats and welcomed Kiki into our family.
As all pet lovers will attest to of their own pets, she has been a wonderful, warm, loving, fluffy member of our family, and as with anyone you love, you want them to stay with you forever, but you know that this is not possible.
So, until I absolutely have to say goodbye to our beloved Kiki, I will continue to love her and take care of her the best way I can, and when I do have to let her go, I will not let my memories of her be of the these last few days that have been about what aging has robbed her of, but rather, of the last 18 years and the wonderful times and joy that her life has brought to our family.