Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Me and My Cat

Ted.  His name is one of the first things that my kids have said on a regular basis.  He also happens to be my favorite animal. I used to believe that I was a dog person, but after owning him, I've discovered that I'm much more of a cat person.  Ted is loyal, aloof and loving.   I don't like it when cats lay all over me constantly and he only wants that kind of thing every now and then.  That's why we get on so well.  We're not overly needy and only need that kind of animal/human cuddly thing every now and then.

This year, Ted is around 13 years of age.  He's been a part of my family for almost the entire time.  When I found him as a kitten, I tried to find him a new home but they all sent him back.  They said he didn't play well with other animals and he wasn't very people friendly.  They were right.  He only really liked my dog and for some reason, I was his favorite human.  It's kind of funny how that worked out.  But now my favorite animal has officially entered his senior years and it saddens me.

He's always been a tom cat.  The alpha male in every neighborhood that we have lived, Ted regularly chased out any competing cats. But now a new gray cat has come to live in our neck of the woods and the two are fighting for that top spot. Some days Ted begrudgingly tolerates this new cat's presence.  On others, they fight and the young buck gets a few good licks in.  And that is how my guy got a golf ball sized abscess on his face.

Over the course of a week, it grew larger than any he had managed to get before. I finally decided to start the warm compresses to see if I could encourage it to pop. Today I gave him another warm compress and let him walk through the house for a while. A little while later, Ashton started yelling, "Ted spilled milk in the hall!"  I wasn't sure what to make of it until I remembered the abscess and that the pus would be a creamy white color. Ashton thought it was milk! 

We got Ted wrapped in a towel and with my free hand I put hot water on a rag and then grabbed some paper towels. Ashton and I took Ted out to the front porch where I spent the next 20 minutes squeezing pus out of his cheek. For the most part, Ted was a trooper.  But towards the end, he had enough and started protesting. Ted has always had a loud meow.  It rivals most other cats and has served him well when fending off his territory.  But this loud meow startled Ashton and he ran in the house and refused to come out until I was done cleaning Ted up.  It's not easy explaining to a three year old how sometimes even though something we do hurts, we must do it to make things better.  He was also concerned because Ted bit a rabbit earlier in the week and it died.  He thought that becaue a cat bit Ted that Ted would die also.  It's amazing how perceptive 3 year olds can be!

For the next few days, I'll have to squeeze his cheek and make sure that the inside of his wound heals before it closes up again.  It's a gross job, but I love that little cat and if I don't do it, the outside will heal and the abscess will come back.  Some may say that he should go to the vet, but I've cleaned out many abcess' before and know the drill.  Unless it doesn't heal up right, we'll be letting mother nature take it's course.  We've been through this many times before and I I'm sure I'll be cleaning out a few more abcess' before all is said and done.  It's what any owner of a tom cat does or else they will go broke!

As for the aging though, I do wish he would retire from the top cat position. It breaks my heart to see him losing his strength.  And since his kidney's are not functioning as well as the once did, he's losing weight and just not as strong.  There is not much that I can do but let him be a cat and provide him all the love I can.  He's already loving the fact that he'll spend the rest of his life on canned food.  And every now and then he supplements it with fresh bunny or squirrel!  There is a selfish part of me that wishes he'd last another ten years or more.  Sadly we only have a few short ones left.  He's such a great cat and I've been blessed to have him in my life. 

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