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2012-11-28 22.09.23 - Cuddly Lucy

Lucy was one of two cats I inherited from Nanny and Granddaddy (my maternal grandparents) in 2008 when they both passed away. I promised them I would look after their cats, and I am so glad I did.

I brought home Lucy and her brother Matt in July of 2009, fully 7 months after Granddaddy died, because I kept putting it off. Neither cat had ever particularly expressed much interest in me other than scuttling away quickly when I got too close. They were half-feral, spending very little time inside my grandparents' home, preferring the great outdoors to four walls and carpet.

I had petted them, but it was usually a quick rub on the back as they ran for the nearest door. Or in Lucy's case, hopped.

Lucy lost her right rear leg at some point in her early years. None of us remembers exactly when or for what reason, but either a dog or being hit by a car sound the most reasonable. She must have limped home. They took Lucy to the vet. He asked Granddaddy, "Now, I can either put her to sleep or I can amputate the leg."

Granddaddy was effectively deaf. All he heard was "put her to sleep," so he answered, "Yes, go on and do that."

Imagine his surprise a few days later when the vet called to come get the now three-legged cat and presented him with a bill.

Lucy learned very quickly to ignore the fact that she had a leg missing. She could hop as fast as most cats can run. I've seen her climb over a chain-link fence. She was an excellent hunter, and both she and Matt were the scourge of the area around my grandparents' home. Nothing feathered or small and furry could relax with her around. We once saw her hop up to the back fence, scale it, and leap over into the back yard with a sizable fish in her mouth. The nearest stream was a half-mile into the woods. Quite a feat for a "handicapped" cat.

I wasn't sure how "taking care of" two cats who at best were indifferent to me and at worst hated me outright was going to work. But my grandparents' house sold and the cats were effectively evicted. When Lucy came to live with me, it was pretty stressful. I let her out of her carrier, and she pretty much ran and hid under a chair, her eyes wide. I kept after her and eventually cornered her in the hall outside my laundry room. She hissed at me, growled, and spat, lashing out at me with her claws. I grabbed her against her will and held her tight, talking soothingly, and gave her neck a good, solid scritching.

Because she was missing her back right leg, she couldn't scratch on that side. Her neck would itch and there was nothing she could do about it. She'd lean over the right way, and her stub would twitch and it was obvious that she was trying to scratch.

I felt her melt into a puddle, purring loudly, as I used my fingers to scratch the spot she couldn't reach. It only took a few minutes, and maybe a couple more sessions of that to completely convert her from hating me to following me around wanting to be petted. Well, more like demanding.

From that point on, she was my cat. She stayed close, napping on me if she could, or on the couch if I had the computer in my lap. She would beg for food in the morning and at night, and we quickly got into the habit of having a whole can for dinner and a half can for breakfast.

The cats were 17 when I got them. I expected them to live another year at the outside. Matt surprised me by living another two years, and Lucy three.

That picture above was taken after she spent her first extended period away from home at the vet's office with all the barky dogs and the odd smells. She hated it. She was velcro-kitty for days afterwards, and she never before or after got that clingy. She is literally lying on my arm in that picture with her paws around my wrist, pressing her chin into the back of my hand. Purring loudly.

Unfortunately, some time earlier this year, she began to develop problems. She quit using her litterbox as fastidiously as she had been, and I found traces of blood.

I took her to the vet and we discovered that she had kidney failure, and was anemic, and was very constipated. We took care of all that (special food and medication for the kidneys), but she still wasn't doing well. I took her back in and the vet took a deeper look.

She had tumors. Two big ones. Pressing on her bladder and her colon. She felt like she had to go to the bathroom all the time, which explained the going on the floor thing. The vet told me the tumors were one of two things, and both were fast-growing and bad. It would only be a matter of time.

Lucy made it another week and a half. She never lost her appetite and demanded that I feed her at the appropriate times. Except for the past two days, she met me at the door when I got home. She loved her bedtime treats. She wanted very much to sit with me and be petted, which I've done a lot of in the last week or two.

This morning . . . she peed all over the carpet and it was nothing but blood, and still she was on the litterbox trying and trying, yet eagerly eating her half can of food in between.

I just couldn't watch it slowly consume her any more. So I took her in, and it was mercifully quick. She went to sleep with me petting her in her favorite spot, on the neck where she couldn't reach.

I'm gonna miss that little girl. A lot. It'll be hard going through my morning routine without her at my feet "reminding" me that it's time to feed the cat. She was twenty years old and some change, we figure. A very long, full life for a cat. And I hope I did well by her for her final three years, and especially these final few weeks. I tried to make her as comfortable and as loved as I could. I think Nanny would approve.

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( 6 hisses — Hiss at me! )
(Deleted comment)
May. 23rd, 2013 08:03 pm (UTC)
so sorry, so sad
This made me cry. Losing a pet is so difficult. I am so sorry for your loss.
(Deleted comment)
May. 24th, 2013 01:31 am (UTC)
She was a great cat and will be missed. :(
May. 26th, 2013 11:06 pm (UTC)
Gary, I'm so sorry to hear about this. I'm glad you got to be her human -- she sounds like she was an awesome kitty. *hugs* I'm thinking of you.
May. 27th, 2013 03:48 pm (UTC)
So sorry for your loss. You did right by your grandparents and the cats. Not much comfort now, I know. But hopefully it will be, eventually.
( 6 hisses — Hiss at me! )

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