Despite my optimistic nature and glass half-full philosophy of life, I find myself struggling to put a happy spin on a certain situation in my life, namely, the fact that my cat, Gilligan, is declining. Although the decline has been gradual, it has become extremely obvious over the past few days, the missed litter box fiasco being a symptom of the larger problem.
At this point, Gilly has lost most of his body weight despite eating from a menu fit for a king. When stroking his body, I picture my hands running over a soft bag of delicate bones and, lifting him to cuddle against my chest requires less energy than it would take me to lift a marmalade-colored whisper.
While climbing the fifteen stairs to the second floor of our home appears to present no problem to him; the task is accomplished at a slower pace than ever before and, descending the stairs doesn’t happen in any big hurry, either. His daytime naps are becoming even more frequent which is saying a lot for a cat who has always loved his naps and, it’s been a long time since he had the energy to bat at one of his cat toys.
I am just so sad about this. He was our first pet; coming to live with us as a tiny ginger puffball just days after we returned from our honeymoon. He spent the first few nights of his life with us sleeping in a tiny ball, nestled in Hugh’s armpit before adopting one of the pillows as his own. He was never very good about company, ignoring guests for the first day and throwing hissy-fits every day thereafter but; he was always loving and sweet toward the children and the dogs. He is agoraphobic, slightly anal about his space and completely in love with Hugh, whom he follows around the house until such time as the man finally offers him his lap.
He’s family and now, he’s failing and my heart is breaking and I can’t think of anything happy to say about that. Indeed, yesterday's joke about being able to replace my pets was the equivalent of whistling past the graveyard; if I joke about it, it won't happen. I wish that were true.
Really, I do.