Since we got her aunt Rembrandt put to sleep last year, Buddha is now the oldest cat in the house. She was born… let me think. I was living on the farm, it was before I lurched into the training marriage… so it was… 1992? Early 1993? Ow, my brain, digging into the past! I think I got married in — OH! It was the September before my 25th birthday – I remember because I had been saving money to go backpacking around Europe for 6 months, and 25 was the age cut-off for a student Eurail pass. EurRail? SpellCheck doesn’t like either of those. SpellCheck also doesn’t like SpellCheck. So I got married in 1994, and that means that Buddha was born in either late ’93 or early ’94. Which means that she is now… in the 16/17 range.
I named her Buddha because when she was a kitten her belly was 95% of her. She would stand in the middle of the tin of milk, or the plate of food, all four feet stretched out and cramming as much into her gullet as she could.
Now she weighs less than five pounds.
Sunday she had a seizure in my lap. At first she twitched like she was going to have a rather large and gross hairball, but then she fell/slid off my lap while having convulsions and panting heavily. I didn’t know what to do other than sit near her and let her hear, if possible, the sound of my voice. The twitching lasted about 45 seconds, after which she tried to rise but couldn’t. She sort of heaved and spasmed a little bit more, breathing heavily, and although her left eye was normal her right eye was completely dilated. I really thought it was the end, and while half my heart is hoping that she’s not in pain, half my heart is naming my new Replacement Kittens. Is that heartless? Then she had about 15 more seconds of a less frightening looking seizure, after which I held her head and she sort of nuzzled me in a really drunken uncontrolled way. She tried to get up again, and this time she was able to – she lurched around the living room doing her best Bill the Cat impersonation, howling piteously. Then she laid down and took a nap for an hour. When she got up, she was fine.
We had to have the vet out anyway – gawd but do I ever love a vet that comes to the house – and while I was a little nervous that he’d yell at us for not taking her to the 24-hour Emergency place… it turned out (and I shouldn’t have been surprised) that he felt the same way we did. The cat is lovely and sweet, but she’s old. If this is the end, or close to the end, tests and prodding and making her uncomfortable isn’t going to show us anything other than what we can see – she’s old – or anything that we care to hear. The cat is almost 17! Is it fair to force her to undergo testing and possibly surgeries to give her a little bit more life? And what quality of life would it be? I’d rather just give her all the wet cat food she can eat, and hope that she goes in her sleep while dreaming of catching birds.But then, for both animals and people, I’ve always thought that quality is more important than quantity.
So… here’s to Buddha! The oldest cat in the house! And all the wet cat food she can eat! Which believe me, even though she’s merely a shadow of her former self, she can still put that shit away.