Some Life in the Old Boy Yet


I haven’t written much about my BooBoo kitty, largely, I suppose, because he’s always been his own cat and has never really felt like MINE. He originally “belonged” to my cousin Patty’s daughter, Jen, when she was little. But about the time she became more interested in boys than cats, Boo’s brother was killed on the road and he decided to move next door to my house. For a time, he paired up with my barn cat, Charley, but was always the independent one. Charley would come when I called. Boo would take a message and get back to me when he was good and ready.

Then Charley died of a rare cat illness and Boo became THE barn cat. His personality changed and he loved not having to share me. His favorite thing to do was to climb up on my shoulders and lick my hair. The look was somewhat punk and I called it getting a Boo-do. He also loved to help me sort laundry on hot summer days, rolling around in the piles of dirty clothes.

When Ray built his workshop out back, Boo moved in there from the barn. It was easier to keep him contained at night.

Eventually, Boo moved into our basement. It was as close to becoming an indoor cat as he was willing to tolerate.

A few years back, he developed a problem with hyperthyroid and has been on medication for it ever since. I just drizzle it on his food and he eats it. No problem.

Lately, he’s lost weight. A LOT of weight. Right now, he’s down to skin and bones. I suspect his kidneys are beginning to go. He's always been a terror to medicate (other than the stuff that goes on his food), so I've opted not to go the subcutaneous fluids route and just let nature take its course. Considering that he’s at least 18, possibly 19 years old and lived as an outdoor cat most of that time, I figure he’s had a good, long life. I'm not going to torture both of us by sticking needles in him at this point.

I’m not freaked out over his impending end like I was with Sammie. Possibly because Boo’s never lived upstairs with us. Possibly because, as I mentioned before, he’s never really felt like MY cat. Oh, I know I’m HIS person, but he’s too independent to be “owned.”

Yesterday morning he went out to explore the world, which generally means the yard. When I went out to call him back in, he was nowhere to be found. He wasn’t in the catnip patch, he wasn’t under the porch, he wasn’t in the barn or under his favorite pine tree. I was heartsick, believing that he’d gone off to die. But when I was about to give up, I spotted him trotting in from the neighbor’s field…with a mouse in his mouth! The old boy can still hunt! He brought his prize to me and I carried him (and the mouse) into the basement. Yes, he ate the mouse after I left.

Later, he “helped” me sort laundry and asked to be picked up. From my arms, he climbed onto my shoulders and gave me a Boo-do.

So he may be a little furry bag of bones, but he’s still happy. I suppose one day soon, his condition will take a turn for the worst. But for now, there’s still some life in the old boy yet.

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