Print Story I guess...
By ana (Thu Jan 10, 2019 at 07:25:26 PM EST) (all tags)
this seems to be my diary of record.

Today my cat Calcifer came to the end of his run. He was about eleven and a half years old. We picked him up off the street when he was about a year old, in the summer of 2008. He was trying to make a living eating birds and mice, and not doing too well at it, by the looks of him. Once he figured out we were good for two squares a day, he rarely failed to turn up at mealtime.

On move-out day, the two cats were closed in one of the two rooms in the attic with food, water, and a litter box, to be out of the way. At some point during the day toxicfur saw Calcifer, closely followed by Silas, zoom down the stairs and out the open door. But they were back by dinnertime, so Silas got to move with toxicfur and the dogs, according to the plan. Calcifer bit the f*ck out of my hand that night.

We sorta kinda held each other together, neither one really understanding what the other was on about. I've often said if you want to write about aliens, you should live with a cat. Sometimes you might think you understand, but you're always mistaken in fundamental ways.

Anyway, the last 3 years or so, 2.5, something, Calcifer seems to have had a subscription to the Feline Vet Med Journal or something, and their disease of the month club. He was diabetic for a while... that was easily managed because he was all about the food and would let me stick him with needles while he ate. And then he wasn't diabetic any more (apparently that happens with cats sometimes), but hyperthyroid. So they started him on the same drug I took for Graves' disease. He HATES pills, so I ground them up and put them in his food. Each blood test failed to show the desired effect; well it was there but not at the desired level, so the dose got raised. And it turns out that grinding pills is a bit of a hit-or-miss process, with some random fraction going over the side. Once I noticed that, I covered the process with a bit of nylon netting I had, thus capturing nearly all the drug. And oh by the way, upping his average dose by some unknown fraction.

And so he lost his appetite. Which in a food-motivated critter is alarming. Vet visits produced head scratching. Along about November he developed a pattern of not eating for a couple days, and then starting up again. This repeated every couple of weeks (typically at holidays and weekends, of course). The emergency vet place shaved his tummy and did an ultrasound, and decided he either had lymphoma (treatable with chemo drugs to produce a remission, with emphasis on quality of life rather than long-term cure) or IBD (inflammatory bowel disease, treatable with steroids). They wanted to do abdominal surgery to get a biopsy to tell which. The regular vet and I agreed he was not a good candidate for that, so they sent him home with an injection and a prescription for appetite stimulants. I got one of those down his throat, and have a 3 inch gash on my hand to show for it. But he started eating again (see above under "pattern"). For a while. I figured maybe if he'd eat we could nuke his thyroid (rather alarmingly enlarged) and maybe give anti-inflammatories and see. We didn't get that far.

He kept losing a little weight with each cycle of the pattern, and finally gave up eating altogether last weekend. When the back end of the cat doesn't follow the front end, it's time to do something.

I'm going to miss that guy. He's been a big part of my life during a difficult period.

But this is just one of a number of changes, which will leave my life more or less totally changed in a few months. Selling the house back to toxicfur and her critters. Moving to Colorado, into a Continuing Care Retirement Community (where my brother's been living for 8+ years now, and where my folks spent their last couple years). Making new friends in a ready-made community of my peers (for once). You lot are almost all of you a decade or two younger than I am. Oh, and retiring. Don't hafta work no more, that's a good thing. Not knowing what to do with myself when I don't spend 8 hours a day at a desk... could be trickier.

Write books. Publish them. See earlier in this diary under Necessary Lies for details of the first installment to hit the street. It's available for cheap on an Amazon near you, either as e-book or in paperback.

So... weird week. The paperwork is coming together; I'm excited about that. And now, this.

I keep thinking I see an orange cat sneaking by just out of my field of view.
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I guess... | 8 comments (8 topical, 0 hidden)
The Ministry of Feline Affairs thanks you. by me0w (4.00 / 7) #1 Thu Jan 10, 2019 at 09:40:53 PM EST
The Ministry thanks you for your service in taking care of Calcifer for his lifetime. He was able to do his duties because you cared for him.


Sorry for your loss by hulver (4.00 / 2) #2 Fri Jan 11, 2019 at 04:56:20 AM EST

Cheese is not a hat. - clock
Cats, you know? by Phil the Canuck (4.00 / 1) #3 Fri Jan 11, 2019 at 08:51:13 AM EST
I said the last one was my last pet.  My current cat suggests I wasn't too serious.

I'm really going to miss him too by miserere (4.00 / 4) #4 Fri Jan 11, 2019 at 11:05:32 AM EST
He was so very Cat, you know? And I was looking forward to his being there when I move. You took such great care of him, and gave him such a wonderful life. Thank you for that.

Very much Cat, yes. by ana (4.00 / 1) #5 Fri Jan 11, 2019 at 11:37:36 AM EST
He reminds me of Sasha in some ways.

One especially cute thing was me getting down on my knees to reach the switch behind the garbage disposer, making it growl, and him coming over curiously to investigate what was going on in there. Is it eating your arm?

Also over recent months it's like he was rebooted several times, and made up very Cat things to do around the house, some of them different each time. Different places to hang out, or sleep, or watch the neighborhood go by. Giving himself permission to eat a meal in three installments instead of snarfing it down in 2 minutes flat. Deciding he liked upstairs water from the fountain better than kitchen water from the bowl next to his food.

Or get rabies. Also don't do that. --scrymarch

[ Parent ]
rip by gzt (4.00 / 2) #6 Fri Jan 11, 2019 at 04:53:27 PM EST

I'm sorry to hear it. by clock (4.00 / 2) #7 Fri Jan 11, 2019 at 04:57:38 PM EST
Saying goodbye to our animal friends is hard.

Good luck on all of the change! I sense good things ahead.

I agree with clock entirely --Kellnerin

sorry to hear by LoppEar (4.00 / 1) #8 Sat Jan 12, 2019 at 07:32:01 AM EST
Good cats are good.

I'm encouraged by the idea of retirement care with the continuity of siblings and parents before you, your new neighbors must have met and storied connections to you already. The decisions of LTC are all around my life right now, by a remove or two, and your path inspires good thoughts.

I guess... | 8 comments (8 topical, 0 hidden)