My old cat
I have a cat. Her name is Goldberg. She is named after the professional wrestler, Bob Goldberg, because when I acquired her, he was kicking ass in the wrestling world, and I thought my new cat kicked ass. This was many years ago, so don’t hate me for my weirdo logic! Since I acquired Goldberg in the fall of 1998, she has lived in six homes and three states.
I don’t know exactly how old Goldberg is, because she is adopted. She was left behind in a third floor apartment in the New York building on first street in Duluth, MN, that I rented back when it still had a killer view of Lake Superior. The previous tenants left her along with an old tattered mattress, a cool ceramic ashtray, a dragon-shaped pot pipe, and whatever other junk and disgusting mess they deemed appropriate to leave behind. I took Goldberg to the vet about a week later when I was confident that she was now mine. The vet said that he guessed her age, based on the condition of her teeth, to be around 3 or 4 years old.
It is now 2014, which makes Goldberg about 19 or 20 years old, and she in the last year has shown a steady decline. At first her elderly condition was evident in that her hair was getting matted. I had not in the past had to worry much about grooming her, since she was a cat and did a fine job of it herself. Unfortunately, in her advanced years, she is either no longer able or no longer interested in grooming, so that task has fallen to me.
If brushing, combing and de-matting her coat with the occasional bath were the extent of my duties, I would be thrilled. Since this picture was taken, her condition has declined further. She has bad teeth. Since she is too old to go under anesthesia to have her bad teeth removed, she has to be on antibiotics to prevent infection . Because of her bad teeth, she drools – A LOT! If you’ve never seen a cat drool, let me assure you…it’s pretty gross! On top of this, I have had to start feeding her soft food, because she can no longer manage the dry stuff. This would be fine, however, most cats who eat soft food are able to lick themselves clean afterwards. Goldberg gets into her food up to her elbows and then it is my job to clean her up. Anyone who has smelled soft cat food knows that this is not the most pleasant thing in the world.
Okay, so I am caring for an elderly cat, who aside from all of this doesn’t seem to be in pain, and she is still eating. Additionally, she still can get angry when she wants to. So the whole “Why don’t you just put her down?” argument doesn’t really seem to apply here. My dad was in way worse shape when he was losing his battle with cancer, and we didn’t “just put him down.” (Even though there were times I suspect he wished we would have.)
Now to make matters worse, like many of the elderly, Goldberg is no longer “regular.” I have learned, however, that baths prove to be some sort of laxative for her, so this means that I first clean up the cat, then I clean up the cat poop.
According to our current veterinarian, Goldberg has outlived the standard life span of a cat by roughly 5 years. This is quite the feat, but I find myself in the reality of wondering when it will end. Of course, this makes me feel like an asshole, but I can’t be the only one who has ever felt this way. Goldberg has been with me longer than most of the people currently in my life, and I feel like it is my job to stand by her the rest of the way.
I don’t have any summary for all of this. There is no moral to this story that I am trying to get across. I am not looking for an “atta boy” or any of that sort of thing. To be honest, I didn’t know what else to write about today, and they always say, “Write what you know.” So after giving the cat yet another bath, I sat down to write.