Wednesday, May 4, 2011

AJ, beloved little AJ

So, yeah, part of this is about the cats. Those two above are Bug and AJ (the black one). AJ was the best kitty. She was old: 16 years old when this photo was taken. And she was a stickler for timetables. If I dared to stay up past "our" bedtime, she'd remind me that it was time for bed. Her first reminders would be gentle: a head butt and a glance at the bedroom door, a paw on my arm and a significant look towards the bedroom, or, perhaps, a wail from the bedroom that was intended to get me up off my duff and into that room. If I ignored those, she'd get more insistent: the paw on my arm would have claws extended, the head butt would turn into a full in-my-face head nudge, the wail would be in my face instead of in the bedroom.

On the opposite end of the night, she'd wake me up, too. Usually right about 5:30am. She would, at least, let me go back to sleep, though. She'd also stay in my bed, curled right next to my pillow with one paw touching me.

Once I added Bug to the mix, AJ's life didn't change much. The big change came when I had her life-long companion, Amber, put to sleep. After that loss, AJ did her best to go join her friend. Her teeth went bad; she ended up with one molar and three fangs. She stopped eating then her kidneys failed. I ended up giving her subQ fluid injections on a daily basis for several months. Eventually, she recovered (something her vet claims usually doesn't happen with renal failure).

But then she went downhill again. She lost weight despite eating voraciously; she lost her fur (ripped it out, actually). After a month of vet visits, a blood test showed that her thyroid was on the fritz. Twice-daily pills brought that under control, to a degree. About a month into that treatment, on a Tuesday, she went blind in one eye; by that weekend, she was bumping into walls and furniture: she was completely blind. That was tough to watch, but she seemed to be adapting. The following Monday evening, though, she suffered a stroke and couldn't figure out how to get out of a corner. It was, still is, heartbreaking.

Bumping into walls was one thing; having her cry in fear and frustration because she couldn't see and couldn't turn to her left, that was another. The next morning, she quietly let me hold her in the doctor's office as we waited for him to take us in back and put her to sleep. She's no longer by my side, but she's forever in my heart.

With her gone, I was left with just the very handsome and very affectionate little Bug.

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