There are many things I don’t know.
Why Jimmy Fallon hasn’t been elected president.
Why there are no Waffle Houses in New Jersey.
Where the following amazing writer gets all her amazing.
At any rate, I trust you’ll savor this belated blessing as much as I did. The following comes to us from Patches and Sirius’ mom, AwesomeAdopter, AwesomeVolunteer, ExceedinglyAwesomeHuman Carrie.
“Several years ago, I had an older gray tabby come into my life. She came with a name and a few medical problems. Buffy was 9, had needed all of her teeth removed due to advanced gingivitis, and had abnormally low muscle tone in her rear end. Buffy was also the gentlest cat I had ever met. Her dark little tail had a bend in it about midway down. She had a crooked toe. Her soft squeak of a meow was frequently marked by a trill from purring.
“If I had ever come across a cat with a soul, it was Buffy. After a stressful day, I’d lie on the floor and Buffy would touch her forehead to mine, siphoning away the negativity.
“On July 7th, 2012, Buffy seemed a little off. A visit to our veterinarian was uneventful. By the following morning, I had found what I feared most: my little tabby girl had passed away overnight. After discussing further with our veterinarian, the most likely scenario was that she’d had a stroke. Throughout the evening prior, she had seemed like her mind wasn’t quite there, and unfortunately, there was nothing we could have done.
“Buffy was only 13; I had always hoped she had more years in her, but 13 was it. I ugly cried, the kind of choking, hacking sobs that you don’t want anyone else to see, for days. The other two cats, white-and-grey patched Rue and Buddy, seemed to know something was amiss. Buddy, in particular, looked for her.
“But she was gone.
“In the weeks that passed, I saw that there was still an emptiness. I had the capacity to take in another cat, to love him or her as endlessly as I had loved Buffy. I thought a female might suit my home a little more easily, so I went to Tabby’s Place to meet Sophie, a large five year old resident.
“That day, fellow Tabby’s Place resident Squidward demanded my attention – and within a couple of weeks, I’d taken him home. Squidward, who I dubbed Sirius, was 12. I know – it sounds crazy. Buffy died at 13, so I replaced her with a 12-year-old. The number did not bother me: Sirius needed me, and I needed him.
“He fit into my home. He is now part of my family, a furry little child that I couldn’t imagine life without. He is gentle, like Buffy, and stays by my side like a loyal dog.
“This pushed me into the world of elderly cats. The kittens come and go – they are cute, for sure! But the old cats…their grisliness is appealing to me. Their meows are gritty. Their ears are often scarred and rough around the edges. Perhaps their coats aren’t as soft as they once were.
“I love them – all of them.
“Now, I told you all of that so I can tell you this:
“An email recently went out to Tabby’s Place volunteers from the Sanctuary Operations Manager: two elderly cats in need. Old – ANCIENT old – who abruptly lost their home to an unfortunate change in life circumstances for their owner.
“Sight unseen, I sent a reply back as quickly as I could type it out: I’ll take the female.
“A few days later, I met her. Patches was 18, soon to be 19 on the 25th of May. She was tiny, six pounds and change. Her coat was brilliant white with large areas of black. Her tail is all-black, and her little toes are speckled pink and black. Even her little nose is pink patched with black.
“She was cute – kitten cute – and it was difficult to believe she was almost 19. A run-down of her health was very quick: she has a sort of twitch that doesn’t appear to be an issue. She’s a bit arthritic. She’s adorable.
“I put together a comfortable space for Patches in my craft room – cushy beds, soft blankets, a ton of toys. I brought Patches Rosenberg home.
“A very consistent trait that Patches has is her facial expression. She is usually asleep or ON HIGH ALERT. Her eye-to-face ratio is a little off, I think, and those gorgeous peepers play into her abundant cuteness. Her alertness, mixed with this cuteness, lead us to nicknaming her ‘Turbo.’
“Patches observes all aspects of life with this turbo charged inquisitiveness, usually from the safety of the third shelf of my fabric storage unit. The beds, blankets, and poufs, you see, were all ignored. Turbo sleeps in a plain cardboard box – and she likes it. So much, in fact, that the beds/blankets/poufs were all returned to Tabby’s Place, as they went entirely untouched!
“From her cardboard bed up on the shelf, Patches will hop down to my desk. She meows, a very raspy, old-sounding ‘mraaah’ – and she waits for pets. It took about a month, but Patches finally made the connection between me and lots of lovin’, and now she leans into it to have her head, cheeks, and chest scratched. And she purrs – and purrs, and purrs, and purrs.
“As much as I dote on her, I am careful. Patches does not like her hind end touched, likely due to the arthritis. Every three weeks, I give her an injection of a joint support medication. (My tremendous gratitude to the Tabby’s Place veterinary assistant for teaching me how to do this!) If she seems very uncomfortable, a little squirt of pain medication along her gums will let her take a very long, luxurious, pain-free nap.
“At her six month check-up, which was just a couple of weeks ago, we were delighted to see that her weight has not changed. I give her all the wet food, kibble, and treats she wants: elderly cats frequently experience long-term weight loss as their muscle mass shrinks and their appetites slowly deplete. Not Patches.
“After gushing about her remarkable health and condition, the awesome staff veterinarian at Tabby’s Place added, ‘I forgot how soft she is!’
“It’s the truth, friends. Patches has fur like the softest, rarest bunny you can imagine. Touching her fur is like petting a cloud. She’s fantastic with her hygiene and grooms regularly like a cat half her age.
“Speaking of young cat activities, Patches is also a rather big fan of fresh catnip. Every week or so, I pluck a few leaves off of my plant and give them to her. She rubs, rolls, and drools with delight. She plays – only with wand toys – when the ‘nip is putting an extra turbo charge through her brain.
“And then, the old girl that she is, she naps – peacefully, adorably, curled up like a croissant in her little cardboard box. I peek in to say hello and give her a kiss. Patches gives me a raspy little meow, purrs, and settles right back into sleep.
Amen. Long may the rarest of bunnies rule her realm and your heart, Carrie. And may your tribe — your old-cat-loving, generous-beyond-words tribe — increase.