Saturday, January 22, 2011

Caregiving of a Different Sort

The past few weeks, my caregiving has taken a different direction. Sure, I’m still working on finding Robert a new home and visiting him (just to have him beat me at cards again!) and taking him for a spiffy new haircut and some new (yeah, read: bigger) pajamas. But, I have also been taking care of my beloved cat, Tinkerbell.

Tinkerbell, at fifteen years old (probably closer to sixteen), is the Queen Bee of the house. She’s persnickety (I plan to be, too, when I’m ancient) and does not tolerate the dogs trying to wriggle their way to her food plate. She regally ignores the youngest cat trying to tackle her in the morning while she limps her way over to the food bowl. She has had her share of health problems over the years which we nursed her through (although, there wasn’t much we could do about the limp) but she maintained her perch on the couch and loved to gnaw on whose ever head was closest to her (she had a fascination with Grandma K.’s curly hair and the girls’ blonde locks!).

Tinkerbell came to us as a kitten via my boss’s son who found her roaming around their backyard, not far from the river. Rach has been an animal lover since she was tiny (I called her my little Dr. Doolittle) and we couldn’t turn away the cute little grey cat with the gorgeous green eyes. Rach immediately christened her Tinkerbell (hey, she was 6).

Once Rach and I added my husband and his kids to our family, Tinkerbell survived being put in the bathroom hamper by my 4 year old step-son (because he was a terror like that) and let the girls put her in a baby carriage to walk her (and our other cats) through our new neighborhood.
We have adopted a lot of animals through the years but they all are about the same age (old). We’re doing our best to keep everyone healthy but my friend jokes that we are running a senior care facility for animals (not far from the truth!).

A few weeks ago, Tinky got very sick, very quickly. We tried all kinds of medications (both traditional and herbal) and fed her using a dropper since she wouldn’t eat. She was so good she let me hold her like a baby while feeding her and only really fussed when I had to make her take a pill. I learned how to do an i/v to administer fluids so she would stay hydrated and we actually thought she might pull through. Unfortunately, she took a dramatic turn for the worse yesterday and died last night. We all feel fortunate that she didn’t suffer at the end but we miss our Queen terribly.

Caregiving doesn’t always have a happy ending but, I believe, the bonds forged while doing it make us better people and give comfort to those we care for. Whether it’s our relative, friend or treasured animal, they all deserve the best and the most that we have to give.

Written with much love to my precious Tinky.

1 comment:

Rich said...

Sorry about Tinky. She was a sweet cat.