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As some of you know, I have a cat. His name is Henry, and today, 1 April 2010, is is 18th birthday!
Henry was adopted from an animal shelter in Kansas by a couple who later moved to Florida. My then-girlfriend and I adopted him from them in mid-2004 and, except for a 10-month stint in Vilnius, Lithuania, he’s been with me ever since. So far, he’s lived in Kansas, Florida, Minnesota, Connecticut, California, Wisconsin, Florida again, Slovakia, Lithuania, Spain and Slovakia again.
18 is getting old for a cat, and unfortunately Henry’s beginning to show his age. Late last year, he gave me several scares. It seems that Henry’s kidney function is in decline. In August, September and December he had urinary infections. In the first two cases, I took him to the vet for a bunch of tests, antibiotic injections and overnight infusions to flush out his poor tired old cat kidneys. He hated it, of course, perhaps more than anything else he’s experienced (and he’s no fan of travel). When it happened again in December, I monitored him, but he fought it off by himself. Since this started he’s been moved completely onto a special diet for cats with kidney issues, and he seems better. Hooray!
However, in the past month or so, Henry’s vision has really started to go. I first noticed that he had cataracts (CATaracts, get it?!) about three years ago due to a bluish coloration in his pupils, but they haven’t affected him until recently. Now, however, when he’s not curled up comfortably sleeping on the bed or amidst my clothing, he often either bumps into the wall or things on the floor, or comes close enough to doing so to need to catch himself.
At the same time, Henry is more and more lovable as he gets older. He sleeps against my side or chest now instead of exclusively at the foot of the bed. He comes to me regularly hoping to receive (and sometimes to give) affection, whereas some years ago he was really quite aloof, preferring to be admired from a distance and generally left alone.
So, happy birthday Henry! It’s time for the hookers and cocaine, yeehaw!
In closing, I’ll leave you with this photo. Henry was always the alpha chordate, but this picture — from before I knew him — really sums it up. Poor puppy. Maybe that’s why the folks who gave him to us wanted rid of him!