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Our Aging Pets

July 27th, 2012 by Magdalena Tabor
Isis, our Siamese cat, is 18 years old. I distinctly recall the day I brought her home. We claimed the entire back seat of the bus from New Jersey, she and I, bound for Port Authority Bus Terminal in NYC. She was actually meant for Michael; I was the designated guardian whose mission it was to drop her off at Michael’s apartment while he attended a Giants game at the Meadowlands. Because of this, I got to bond with her first. Frightened by her new and ever changing surroundings on our travels, I sought to comfort her. Scooping the tiny handful from her carrier, I held her to my chest. She purred, nestling up under my chin. I melted, giving myself up to her completely. And so we came to share a very special first connection. (She’s mine , Michael. Nah nah, nah-nah nah).
She thinks of me as mother, protector, (Snowshoe! Leave your sister alone!) friend, sister-feline, and not necessarily above all but oftentimes, waitress. (May I take your order, M’aam? No, I’m terribly sorry. We’re all out of trout. Might I interest you in today’s special: Chicken Florentine in Savory Sauce?) At one time possessing a voracious appetite yet managing to retain her sleek and slinky figure, Isis has grown increasingly discerning as the dawn descends on her aging profile. Ultimately thinner and fragile as a butterfly’s wing, I frantically reinvent creative ways to entice her to eat. (Isis! Look! It’s FANCY FEAST! WOW!) I even pretend to eat it myself as she watches in bland disinterest. The slightest consideration proven to tantalize her palate is served in double portions, in hopeful anticipation of a bowl licked empty to reveal the fishbone image at the bottom.
Isis has always been a complainer, whining at the tiniest inconvenience as though hapless victim to the  hardships of her posh lifestyle. Now, even more so. I attribute this to actual pain and discomfort in her aging, brittle boned composition, and rush her off to the vet. Various tests are run revealing a multitude of dysfunctions, some of which can be helped, the rest as insurmountable as the bill I’m handed when all is said and done. (Sixty dollars for taking a little blood out of her scrawny arm???) Charges for this. Charges for that. And there you have it….Three million, five hundred, forty two dollars and twenty nine cents. (Why can’t I include her on my medical benefits plan? She is my daughter. Well, no. I didn’t actually give birth to her. She’s adopted).
These days, I lavish extra love and attention on my tender friend. It’s as much a contributing factor to her slowly  increasing better health as the medication administered in her daily dosage. But facing facts and the harsh reality that will inevitably befall us, Isis will one day cease to walk the hallowed halls of home. Face it I must, with a sigh and a moan. It won’t be easy. In the meantime, there’s an oft repeated phrase in our household given Isis’s non relenting, audible demand for attention…. “What Isis wants, Isis gets!” For example: Open the closed door so that she might enter and reappear a moment later satisfied that there is nothing of interest on the other side of it after all. Repeat as often as necessary. Another example: Screams of bloody murder (from her) are soothed with gentle murmurings (by us) in attempt to calm whatever ailment afflicts her body, mind, or spirit. Sometimes this works, more often not. She’ll pace the house from room to room, a dispossessed being uncomfortable in her own skin. I turn a deaf ear, and she quiets. She can’t tell you what’s wrong, only that there’s something amiss. I know what it is. Old age digs in its heels. We either bear it or we don’t. There’s no third choice. But Isis is a survivor. Watching her prepares me for life’s final hurdle. To conquer it, is to go out fighting.
So…..whadawethink? How are you coping with your own aging pet? To what extremes do you go to comfort and provide?
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8 Responses to “Our Aging Pets”

  1. Chip Says:

    So, whadawethink? I think I’m going to be sick!! Seriously, I have Jack Russell that came into my life when he was only 6 weeks old and I was in desperate need of……………..everything he gave me. The sheer thought of anything happening to him makes me ill and yet I know that it is something that will have to be faced. My only hope is that, as you do with Isis, I give him everything he wants (which turns out to be mostly (food, treats, squeaky toys and love, love, love) and make him happy. After all he does so much for me I can’t list it.

    I definitely agree with you how costly care of our animals can be. Hey, I spent over $3500 for a neurological exam, MRI, bloodwork and Lumbar Puncture to try to rule out anything we could when he began to display neurological issues. If I would do it for a child, I would do it for my “furry son”; animals are not disposable as some people seem to think.

    The dog I had before him was an orthopedic nightmare that required several surgeries (3 knee surgeries, 3 hip surgeries), he had bladder stones that required surgical removal and a liver biopsy and he ultimately developed congestive heart failure and died at the age of 12. I estimate that his total vet bill was approx. $18,000.

    Bottom line, any animal lover will understand and personally I don’t care if other people don’t. I agree with you………….they’re family and give their all to make us happy. They are worth every penny we spend on them and sadly all the pain we feel when we lose them.

  2. magdalena tabor Says:

    I know it’s absolutely crushing….but I’m certain that the money spent prolonged/prolongs the life of our dear furry friends. The only thing left to do is LOVE THEM TO PIECES.

  3. Rick Says:

    even liberal pets are awesome

  4. magdalena tabor Says:

    Yeah, and they’re liberal too!

  5. chip Says:

    Definitely Liberals. Compassionate and non-judgmental; and from a non political viewpoint, liberal with their affection and devotion.

  6. magdalena Says:

    That’s right, Chip. They don’t care if you’re pink with purple polka dots. Everyone gets equal amounts of abundant affection regardless of race, creed or color. We can learn from our liberal minded animal friends. THAT’s what makes them “awesome”.

  7. Rick Says:

    I was going to leave this alone but here it is: Liberal like living off someone elses work like a kitty welfare sytem, Liberal like forget the food stamps serve me the food. Liberal like living off someone elses hard work. Liberal like running around the neighborhood producing offspring not caring who takes care of them. Liberal like goign to the vets on someone elses dime. Oh PLEASE WOMEN. DONT GET ME STARTED! Its too fun.

  8. Rick Says:

    Now dogs……. their conservative. They protect you from intruders, they believe in the family unit, they do tricks (work) for their food, they are potty trained and don’t peeeeeeeeeeeeee in the house (good manners). They say hello with a wagging tail & a cry because they truly appreciate their family members, they lay down by the sick and donate their love instead of donating little and telling everyone else they should. Wooooooooooooo Dogs are great! I don’t know a liberal dog.

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