After years of neglect, and since the passing of my kitteh, I have taken to cleaning. I even repaired one of the louvered closet doors. You know, the kind where the joints dry up and the louvers fall out. I remember getting rid of a set of louvered doors that were completely in the way, but this one I liked… so I collected the scattering louvers on a shelf and yesterday I finally got down with some carpenter’s glue and put them all back in. With any luck they will stay until I sell the barn.
As people with large collections of "misc" and "junk" can attest, cleaning is an opportunity to get rid of that which you never found a use for. You can also rediscover things you forgot you had, such as a bottle of Ortho Diazanon, a powerful insecticide that you can no longer obtain commercially. This may come in handy this afternoon.
The kitteh is resting peacefully in her grave. It’s still disturbing how it all came to an end two weeks ago. The light of my life and the keeper of my heart was laying on the stainless steel exam table at the veterinarian’s office, unable to stand, dehydrated, body temperature way low, with horrible breath. Tammy the vet has been through this drama with me a few times now.
When I first moved here, the kittens were five months old. Their mother, Dirty Boulevard, was in good health. Back then I don’t think Tammy was even in the office yet. The original vet was a kindly gentleman named Jonathan. He handled Yin’s first repair job. She managed to cut her foot pretty badly on an aluminum can, so he stitched her up and put a pink dressing on her foot. Then, he put his face in her fur, because Yin had the softest fur of any kitty I ever saw. She didn’t have the sense of adventure that gets some cats into big trouble. She was lucky.
One got hit by a car. One drank some anti-freeze while she was checking out somebody’s chickens. One got sick and died within two days. Another got sick and lasted a week. One developed a sarcoma in the vicinity of a FeLV vaccination and survived for a year. Yin outlived them all by at least a decade. She was the only cat in the house for quite a while, and she had it made.
One time she brought a mouse into the living room, unharmed, and let it go. I had to chase the thing around and catch it. She used to sit on the sofa and hunt birds out the window. She tolerated the 85-lb. lab-shepherd sniffing her fur and slurping at her, so I could teach the dog to love the kitty. She had a huge cyst removed from her liver and recovered from that. She survived a lot of things quite comfortably for 21 years.
It seemed her mind was in and out, depending on things, but I figured my kitty could do no wrong. Every morning I’d make coffee and she’d sit next to me on the couch while I stared at the internet. She’d get in my lap, between me and the keyboard, so I’d be typing with a kitty laying across my wrists. Sometimes I would have to put the keyboard down and talk to the kitty. Every day I’d come home from the wurk and she was here, singing me pretty songs. I would tell the kitty she’s the light of my life and the keeper of my heart, and she’d say, I know that.
She developed an anal gland issue which you can Google. I devised a tray to put under her litter box and I went through a lot of paper towels. We managed it with lots of Fancy Feast and cod liver oil. At some point this spring I decided she’d be better off with some exercise, so I started letting her come out back with me in the afternoons. What harm could it do? In cat years, she was 147.
For a while I wondered if she had developed an anal gland infection, or if she had experienced a vitamin overload from all that cod liver oil, or if she had contracted some horrible thing from drinking from a pan of stagnant water, or if she had worms from eating a flea. But the single biggest factor she had going against her was her age. Kidney failure is almost certain in the geriatric cat sciences.
So there she was, not too thrilled to be at the vet’s, laying there on that stainless steel exam table, and me and Tammy were thinking she might last another day, or maybe two. I’m such a chicken when it comes to euthanasia. I figured my father had passed away "peacefully" at home, so why not Yin? But her demise and discomfort had lingered for two weeks as she gradually became more wobbly and incontinent. More paper towels. Knowing I had to find a good time to dig her grave, since it was a Saturday, I let Tammy take her into the back room.
So I’ve been cleaning. Bob is on my left and Careful is on my right, here on the couch. They know. They spent ten years being second-class kitties, waiting for an upgrade. But it’s weird with no Yin.