Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ignorance is bliss.

Popoki, 8/07
This is my very old kitty, Po.

It's short for Popoki, which is something of a mouthful, and the literal Hawai'ian word for cat.

I tried to tell Hubby, when we first got her as a not-nearly-as-small-as-we-thought 8-week-old kitten, that we were not naming her that.  Po had other ideas, because it stuck, way better than any of the other name ideas we'd bounced off each other in the few days the not-so-wee beastie had been living with us.  As it turned out, it quite suited her.

Yep.  HER pillow.
In two months' time, Po will turn 14.  That's old.  How old?  Well, I mentioned before that she'll compute to being nearly as old as my mother-in-law.  (Forgive me, Mom.)  .Fourteen kitty years translates into roughly 72 human years.  Po is already older than both of my parents, and by that scale, she's outlived my father-in-law.  She's diabetic, too, so it's really saying something that she's been diabetic half her life and is still kicking enough that she keeps Koa mostly in line.

She's my baby, my first pet ever that didn't come in a tank and only had a lifespan of a month.

Medium does not slow her down.
I live in a state of denial that she is so old, that she's gotten slower, that her coat is showing the signs of age and less fastidiousness on Po's part, that she's not the hefty 20-pound, Do Not Mess With Me Ever cat that she was when we moved here, four and a half years ago.

The only time Po looks dainty.
Or the Do Not Mess With Me Ever Or Be Sweet To Me cat that she was back in Columbus, where we lived when we learned she was diabetic.  The vet and the tech (God bless 'em) looked at me funny when I dropped Po off that first day for blood glucose monitoring, to figure out Po's insulin dosage.

"Do not be sweet to my cat," I told them.  No, seriously.  "If you're nice to her, she'll see that as a sign of weakness and she'll walk all over you."  I'd seen it happen at least twice before.  Only the techs who wouldn't put up with her guff were the ones who earned her respect.  Po terrorized anyone who tried to be nice to her.
Still cute after all these years.

They did not believe me.

Enduring the love of the twins.
When I picked Po up at the end of the day, the tech admitted she didn't.  (I could tell even before I left.)  And she admitted I was right.  Apparently, the next day, Po was an absolute grouch, and they were grouchy back, and she stopped trying to terrorize them and settled down.  Why, yes, I know my own cat.

One of many indignities suffered.
After we moved here, I set up the kitties with a new vet and took Po in.  The tech told me that they would record Po's weight as 19 pounds, rather than the actual 19.9, because that way she wouldn't think she was going too far and tipping the scales over 20 pounds.

I laughed.  "She'd be proud of it!" I told the vet.
On patrol.

For all that Po was a beast, both in build and occasionally in bearing, I was never worried about how she would handle children.  She never struck without warning, and she rarely did more than warn.  She would put up with the most grabby little interlopers, because she wasn't going to give up her turf without a fight, dagnabbit!

Dr. Medium checks Po out.
When we'd leave her behind when we'd travel, I would simply remind my friends to enter the house with the understanding that everything from the shingles down was Po's, and they'd be fine.

She's been the reigning queen of all she surveys since the day we brought her home.

It saddens me that she probably won't hold the title much longer.

Christmas 2010.
Age has stopped creeping up on her and has started to take over.  She sometimes looks a little shaky when she gets up.  She's willing to snuggle and cuddle so much more these days.  This, from the cat we used to cuddle as punishment, because she couldn't stand it.

Tonight, she clambered slowly into my lap.

I can feel almost every vertebra along her spine.
Best fwiends.

I don't think we could do that when she was a kitten.  (Contrasted with Mika, whose spine we've always been able to feel.  Skinny little dude.)

NOT giving up her spot.
Po stood on my legs as she decided how she wanted to take over my lap, and I stroked my hand down her back.  As soon as I got past her ribs, I realized she wasn't just skinny...she was alarmingly skinny, and I could wrap my hand over her spine.

Duckie is Po's best fwiend too.
The last time I could do that was about 13 years ago.  She's been a stout thing for most of her life, and my hand has always slid without much curve along her back, all the way down to her tail.

Not now.

Po settled into my lap and began to purr.  I continued stroking her.

I could see loose folds of skin behind her front legs, just laying flat against my jeans.

The world is her bed.
My poor Popoki.

I've worried that this move will be too much for her.  That she won't have the reserves for one more change in location.

She doesn't seem to be in any pain, though; just the occasional stiffness from being in one position for too long.  She is still so tolerant of Medium's absolute adoration, of Large Fry's attempts to completely cover her with blankets, of Small Fry's tentative touches.

Po with a very young Large Fry, '07.
While Po might not be in pain yet, my heart breaks for what I know is coming.

I want to be ignorant for awhile longer.

I want to enjoy what time I have left with my kitty, without worrying about the specter of death that I know is lurking.

What's cookin'?
I want to prepare my children for the fact that their "best fwiend" isn't going to be around much longer, but I don't know how to define how long "much" is going to be, and I don't want them to prematurely grieve.  I don't know how to prepare them for something I'm nowhere near prepared for myself.

Also a Dr. Seuss fan.
It's a hollow consolation, to hold up her nine lives and look at all she's lived through.  Yes, she had the best life Hubby and I could possibly give her.

I don't know that nine lives are long enough for my heart, though.

No comments:

Post a Comment

If you are rude, spiteful, or just plain mean, there will be a $10 charge just for putting up with you.

Please be nice.