Casper’s mom here.
I want to write a special post about a special little lady. Today Lucy, the first Basement Monster that Casper met, turned 19 years old! Lucy is the grouchy old lady that Casper was so scared of when we first brought him home. She was pretty nasty to him most of the time.
She isn’t as mean now. There are some hissing moments, but she is just too old and tired to be a grouch.
I decided to write a full post about her because there are so many animals who get abandoned by their families because they are old or because they move. Lucy is the perfect example of why that is ridiculous.
I got Lucy 2 weeks after I was married in 1996 (to the human puppies’ dad). She is my first child. She slept on my neck for the first few months to be near my pulse. Most people didn’t like her that much. She was pretty judgmental. I was her person and no one else would do.
She has grudgingly accepted new cats into our lives and eventually trained them to do what she wants. She never really accepted any of the dogs we have had, but she has learned to at least tolerate Casper.
When she was 4 we moved from Oklahoma to Connecticut. She and one other kitty came with us. Over my 14 years living in Connecticut Lucy has known 9 homes! She never liked moving, but we got through it. Of course, this year she moved back to Oklahoma with us. I have promised her that she will never have to move again.
She has raised the human puppies with me. Until they were about 8 she really didn’t like them at all, but she tolerated them. She would often sneak into Alyssa’s crib to sleep when she was little, but never on the baby. Once they were old enough to pet her nicely she started appreciating them.
About a year ago she got really, really skinny. She had always been a bit chubby so this was concerning. She wanted to eat ALL THE TIME and would steal food off our plates. She even bit our hands. I knew that either she was sick or she had died already and was now a zombie.
The vet diagnosed her with hyperthyroidism. Her body was burning up all her food so fast she can’t keep on weight and is always hungry. She started medicine, but there is only so much at her age (then 17) they can do without damaging her kidneys. Now that we are moved and I don’t work and Dan works at home we are able to feed her more often (she gets special wet food that the other cats try to steal) so she is not on medicine. It could do more damage than good at her age.
She is still SUPER skinny. Her muscles are weak. The vet assures us she is not in pain, but she is slower and has more trouble getting up on the couch and bed. She doesn’t bother to boss the other cats around at all. But she will sure let us know when she is hungry and has even run to the kitchen from time to time to eat.
We have to watch her eat. She has dementia. She will be in the middle of eating, walk away, then come ask for more food. We have to put her back in front of her food and then she remembers. The kittens also try to steal her food and she is either too weak or too unaware to defend herself. She just looks at us for help so there is a water spray bottle on hand in the kitchen. She pushed more food out of her bowl than she eats and steps in it. She knocks over her water bowl regularly. And all the while she is “meowing” for more.
I put “meowing” in quotes because her thyroid has made her voice really weird. Her meow reminds me of Patty and Selma from The Simpsons. (If you are not familiar then imagine a chain smoker voice.) She grunts and wheezes most of the time and often makes a noise like she is gagging, but then nothing comes out. Again, the vet says this is ok.
Her eyes are cloudy and I know she doesn’t see well. She is going deaf. She has peed herself more than once, a few times while sitting on me or Dan! (We have 2 comforters that cover the couch now just in case.) She often doesn’t actually climb into the litter box and just goes outside of it (so now there are pee pads on the floor around it). She gets lost in her own home on a regular basis. Her breath smells like something died in there. (She is too old to get her teeth cleaned.) She no longer bathes herself so I have to bathe her weekly. It is really sad, she tries to put up a fight for about 10 seconds then gives up. Once she feels the warm water I think she likes it anyway.
Every night she sits on Dan’s lap for hours. She likes his lap better because he doesn’t fidget as much as me. She prefers for him to put on flannel pj pants (flannel sits time), but will still sit on him in jeans if she has to. Some nights she “gargoyles.” She just sits there, doesn’t lay down and get comfortable, and wheezes. She likes to gargoyle on my chest when I am in bed. Or she does it on the back of the couch right by your head with her stinky breath! When she does get comfortable she basically becomes a puddle of cat and won’t move for hours. We have been known to check that she is still breathing, especially if the wheezing can’t be heard. I dread the day we have to say goodbye. If all her issues start to give her pain one day I will make sure she doesn’t suffer, but for now the vet says she is doing fine considering her age.
She is a LOT of work. And a lot of money. She is annoying. She smells. And you know what. Dan and I will put up with all of this for years and years if she is able to stick around. We know she probably doesn’t have much time left, but we value every flannel sits and gargoyle.