R.I.P. Boink

PottedBoink.small

Is there a cat who is not partial to ridiculous nap sites?

Tomorrow morning I take our nearly 17 yo cat to the vet to be euthanized. Her kidney disease has advanced that far.

She has been part of our lives for most of my kids’ existence and every memory of her lights up some corner of their childhood for me. My son and daughter were 3 when they got to choose kittens. Actually, this cat chose us, and from the moment we entered the big common room shared by all cats at that shelter, she pestered my son until he selected her. He named her Cock Boink Doc but we convinced him to just use her middle name.

It took more than a decade for the scar on my daughter’s cheek to fade. Boink ran across her face one night while she slept. What a wild kitten that was.

She chose us then shunned us. It was years before anyone got to pet her for more than a swipe or two. The kids would get so frustrated with her lack of affection. Then out of the blue she would hook a claw into their clothes as they passed by, to get them to stop and attend to her.

Eventually she transformed into a relentless lap cat – and has remained patient with these clueless humans, too. Remove her from your lap 100 times, she climbs into your lap 101 times. No resentment. Clearly we simply do not understand.  She is in my lap as I write this, but tonight I had to place her there; she lacked the energy to move on her own.

In her day she was lightning fast. We’re grateful she had little interest in hunting, but we did once enjoy having a landlord thank my son profusely “for having such a smart cat”, because she had caught the gopher who was  destroying his lawn.

porch

Boink (back) and Luna (front).

She had a peaceable nature and no ego problems. She never fought although she would stand up to a bully when pressed. Mostly she was indifferent to other cats. She accepted the rabbits, she made friends with the large nervous dog. When she was 7, we got a kitten, Luna, that she has groomed ever since, even though Luna is now 10 and twice her size. The last couple weeks, she hasn’t groomed Luna.

Our vet warned me that it wouldn’t be simple – she isn’t going to die in her sleep from this disease. I have to decide when she is no longer enjoying life.  Certainly, she hasn’t eaten much of anything for ages. But she still has interest in her favorites: asparagus and feta cheese. Every day this week we’ve been staring at her. Sure she looks awful, but does she look worse? Until today, when one answered yes, another answered no. But this evening there is no denying it. She is worse. It is time.

Goodbye dear friend and family member. We will miss you and all the days we shared.

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I am the mother of a grown-up. I am the …

… mother of a grown-up. I am the mother of a grown-up.

This is a reminder I will need to keep making to myself over the next several days (and – okay –  years).  My son, 19, has gone on his first long-distance road trip with two friends. They are driving across several states to enjoy snowboarding in Utah.

I had some initial knee-jerk reactions about icy roads and chains but after that I did a pretty good job keeping my mouth shut and my advice to myself as their plans evolved. I confess that at the last minute I did throw a weather map up on a monitor.

My son is smart and quick-witted and has at least an average level of common sense for a 19 yo male. But even if none of that were true, my influence is so very limited nowadays. And that is as it should be. We are in an extended period of his learning to fend for himself and my learning to let him.

Sometimes I am startled by just how wise and insightful he has become. Other times I am taken aback by how deeply green and innocent his perspectives are, for all the superficial street smarts. So far I have had mixed success in keeping my opinions and advice to myself. But I think I am improving.

Interestingly, his twin sister asks me for a lot more advice now than she did a few years ago. The opposite holds true with my son.

For me the most rewarding part of being a parent is getting to know the people they are becoming. I used to live in terror that they would grow up to relegate our relationship to occasional obligation, as I did with my mother; but so far that doesn’t seem to be where we are headed.