Monday, September 24, 2012

Furry Angel

When we were going to counseling - my attempt to get Ron to take better care of his health so that he wouldn't die which didn't work at all - the counselor had a pitiful-looking, skinny grey tabby that was the friendliest cat we had ever met.  Ron told the counselor that she should feel guilty about having this cat in her office where he had to stay all alone at night and on weekends.  He kept guilting her until she finally gave us the cat named Cisco.

Ron was always bringing home animals he'd talked people out of because he thought they weren't taking the best care of them.  I love animals too so it was fine with me.  But this scrawny little cat had to be the best one he'd ever rescued.  I'm sure Cisco thought he was an angel sent to earth to unconditionally love as many people as possible - which is what he set out to do.  He sat at the door as soon as he heard footsteps coming toward the door.  As soon as someone came in, he greeted them in melodious tones that sounded like human speech and stood on his hind legs with a front paw extended.

For the last months of Ron's life, Cisco spent much of his time on Ron's lap, rubbing his face on Ron's, seeming to love him as much as he could all day long. I got a little bit jealous because Ron kissed Cisco on the top of the head many, many times a day and I would have liked that many kisses myself.  Ron said Cisco required at least 100 kisses a day.  Cisco slept between us at night and kissed both of us off and on through the night.  Overnight visitors were treated to visits from Cisco in their beds too.  He tried to spread himself out among all the sleepers so that everyone got a small love fest.

The main trouble with all this love was that Cisco had the worst bad breath in history.  (I can't prove it, but I'm still sure it's true.)  He was a rescue cat and apparently someone had shot him in the throat, food caught there and...well you will just have to imagine the result.  I got used to it and some other people did too, but others had to hold their breaths while being kissed.  It was a definite drawback for some, but not for me.  The same injury caused him to throw up a lot so every day it was necessary to clean up the spots.  Eventually I would have to have the carpets cleaned.  That might have been a drawback for some, but not for me.

He seemed to eat normally but never gained an ounce.  So I tempted him with tuna, salmon and other cat treats.  These usually made him throw up more, so I quit trying to get him to gain weight.  I took him to two different veterinarians trying to find out if there was anything wrong because he was so skinny and the bad breath thing.  After a thorough exam, both vets said that for a cat that looked so sick, he was in terrific shape.

I didn't know this but apparently vets can tell the exact age of a cat by looking at the inside of their eyes.  I was told by both the vets that examined him that Cisco was a lot older than we thought.  By the time I was told this he was already almost ten years old.  Very slowly he began to show signs of age.  The first thing that happened was that he stopped running to the door to greet people.  Then he stopped grooming himself and that really scared me.  I took him right to the vet who just said that he was old and to use "cat wipes" every day and brush him.  So I took that responsibility off his shoulders. 

During the year that he stopped grooming himself, the vet said that he was in kidney failure and later told me he was in liver failure also.  The good news was that the bad breath went away and so did the throwing up.  But he took less and less interest in anything but love.  Finally he left us a few days ago.  I guess he thought we had had all the unconditional love we needed.

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