Jeffrey has posted here about the death of his old dog; in a meditation that is also about vegetarianism, to which I increasingly aspire.
But this post is about my old cat — nineteen next spring. We had a lovely year together last year, as when I was not gallivanting around the US and Italy, I was home most of the day. We'd take regular breaks and wander around the garden together. These days she's small and thin — a real bag of bones, I'm sorry to say. She has renal disease (special diet); hypertension (medication); thyroid disease (medication); and growing arthritis. She is also pretty much deaf. But she seems content enough. She still grooms herself carefully. She still loves to sit on our laps and be cuddled. She particularly loves to sprawl all over Joel, or around his neck, when he's watching TV. She still talks to us. We give her her medication (with the vet's approval) in tiny clumps of cheese, and after several months, she's still licking her lips in great surprise at the odd taste of the stuff. She spends most of the day outside, nestled in amongst the gardenias, or sprawling on the stones in the sun.
The last few days she has taken to climbing up on the kitchen benches, after years of being trained not to do so. She's there in the morning, looking down at you when you fill up the kettle for morning coffee. She was there tonight, as Joel was doing the dishes. So I brought a chair for her, and she sat on that and watched him clean the kitchen. She weighs almost nothing, and when I pick her up, I can feel the touch of skin and bone, her delicate ribs, the arcs of her spine, the joints in her tail. She is growing old as gracefully as it's possible to do. I hope she has many more days in the sun, and in the gardenias.