Golden Days for Angie

grey and white striped tabby cat angie sitting on edge of carpet, bathed in sunshine, while she's surrounded in shadow, you can see her front left leg is a bit crooked Our cat Angie is almost 17-years old. We got her from the Marin Humane Society when she was 2. Our daughters were 2 and 4 at the time, so they barely remember life without Angie.

In the first year or two after bringing Angie home, she would disappear for days at a time. She was an aloof cat, and living with preschoolers, gentle though they tried to be, may not have been her first choice. Once, she was gone for about two months! Of course, on the day I decided I might as well pack away her food bowl and litter box, she came sauntering up the sidewalk. But she came home gimpy. Apparently, she had broken her front leg sometime during her long absence. When I took her to the vet, he said that the leg had already healed in that position, so he would have to re-break it, then set it, but it might not be any better than it was now. So we left it alone, and Angie has never seemed to suffer from it. She could still run and jump, but if you look at her straight on as she approaches, you can see the left forward leg is a bit wonky.

angie drinking out of cabana's big water dish, now her favorite place to get a drinkA couple months ago, I switched Angie to Blue Buffalo cat food. She LOVED it and seemed to eat much more heartily (she also started drinking out of Cabana's water dish on a regular basis). She has always been a skinny thing, even though she free feeds. But suddenly, she started getting fat. We all thought it was funny that little Angie had eaten herself into the shape of a beach ball.

But a few other signals told us that things weren't going so well in Angie's body and that her big tummy was not funny ha-ha but funny in a bad way. I took her to the vet last Monday, and he confirmed that her organs were shutting down. Her tummy was bloated with fluids, due to her poorly functioning kidney and liver. By palpating her abdomen, he said he could feel tumors growing there, most likely cancerous.

slightly nervous looking angie on the arm of a chair, while cabana cranes her head toward angie for a sniffAngie has lived through a lot. Both my daughters considered Angie their "best friend" when they were little. After 3 years, Angie has come to accept Cabana as her good friend (perhaps best friend would be an exaggeration). The photo above was taken shortly after Cabana came to us as a curious puppy, and the photo below was shot this past year. Angie has endured our foster dogs, mostly by making herself scarce during their stays. For years, she kept our house rodent-free, leaving us her spoils of battle in the yard.

angie sitting in front of cabana, as they lay and sit in a sunny patch on the carpetOld age and sickness have actually made Angie much more affectionate. Previously, she only tolerated my company. Now, she eagerly sits on my lap when I sit down to watch TV. It's nice, albeit selfish, that I'm able to enjoy her more during these last days and months than I have in all her previous years combined.

close up of angie laying under a bush in our yardLast week, the vet said it wasn't Angie's time to go yet. He said her heart sounded good, and as long as she will eat and drink, we should keep her comfortable and happy. She isn't in any pain, thank goodness. Every day, I watch her eat a few teaspoons of her soft canned food (she can't chew dry kibble anymore), then she goes outside to sit in the garden for a few hours. I know she appreciates the warmth of the sunshine, and I wonder if she enjoys the flowers. One day soon, we'll be saying goodbye, but until then, I'll feed her whatever she'll eat, let her sit wherever she wants, and be thankful that she's with us one more day.

therufusway  – (January 14, 2012 at 4:08 PM)  

What a beautiful post. My cat passed away in similar way, although his sickness happened suddenly. I had him from the ages of 7-24 (my ages - he was just a kitten when my grandpa brought him to us). He was truly one of a kind, and I have a hard time picturing myself loving any other cat quite as much.

Becky  – (January 14, 2012 at 9:35 PM)  

What a beautiful tribute to Angie. I hope she has some wonderful golden days ahead.

Cassie & The Dogs  – (January 15, 2012 at 8:11 AM)  

What a beautiful post! And great pictures! I am so sorry that Angie's time is short. Our Simba will be there to welcome her and commensurate about all the stuff they had to endure while dealing with puppy raisers / dog people. Simba was sick for 3 years before we lost her just before Christmas. She and I were never friends (I married her with John when she was 11 and set in her ways) until she got sick. But, like Angie, once she was sick, she became more affectionate and would seek me out for attention. So hard to watch them get old.

Jen  – (January 15, 2012 at 4:19 PM)  

What a lovely tribute to a lovely girl. It is always sad how short a time our animals have with us; it doesnt seem to matter how long they live- it's never quite enough.

Here's hoping Angie hangs on a little while longer. :)

Jen and the mostly black dog crew

Bethany and Dahlia  – (January 15, 2012 at 8:03 PM)  

We had a cat that was over 20 who we just had to put down a few months ago. It was hard, but it was his time. Angie has been a great cat and has had a great life! She is very cute too! :)

Also, I have a blog, but it's private. Is there a way I can get your email to add so you can read it?

Mandy and Saxon  – (January 15, 2012 at 8:49 PM)  

wonderful post. good girl, Angie. Enjoy that sunshine.

Mimi and CC Cabana  – (January 15, 2012 at 9:04 PM)  

Sure, Bethany, my email address is in my profile.

Leanne*  – (January 16, 2012 at 3:25 AM)  

beautiful post! had me tearing up! i lost my childhood cat last year. he was around 19 near as we could figure. i loved him from the time i was 4 and dressing him up in my doll clothes and pushing him in the stroller until i was 23. Everytime i went to visit after i moved out, he always knew when i arrived and made sure to come and rub up against my legs. He set the bar high for all other cats in my life.

I love your pet pictures! you have a great eye for the right moment!

Leanne @ www.aloveleemix.blogspot.com

Sammie and Avalon  – (January 17, 2012 at 9:05 AM)  

What a loving and sensitive post about dear Angie. She has lived a wonderful and long life with you all - glad to hear she is not in pain and will still be with you for a while more.
Hugs to you all xoxoxoxo
Sammie, Avalon and Miche

Tessa99999  – (January 21, 2012 at 9:28 PM)  

My first pet was a cat, Prissy. I got her as a kitten and she was with me from just before I turned 6 until I was 22. She lived nearly 17 long years and it sounds like Angie and Prissy are quite similar. Prissy was amazing cat through out her life. She was tolerant of my annoying child-like playing, and later because my wonderful companion. She would curl up beside me, or on my lap later in life, and I too loved the feeling although it was a bit selfish. I love this post and it brings back so many fond memories of my cat. Please enjoy her while she is here. She will be greatly missed when she is gone, and it is quite possible no cat with ever compare.

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