Within the last few weeks, several of Daniel’s friends have gotten new pets. His friend Jeff’s family got a Great Dane puppy. His friend Mateo’s family just got a mastiff puppy. (I forget exactly which kind.) His friend James just got a python. He comes home from visiting their houses, full of stories about how sweet and cute the puppies are. (And how cool the python is but that is NEVER happening as long as I am still breathing.)
“I want a puppy,” he says sometimes, rather wistfully because he knows there’s a 0% chance of that happening.
“Sorry. The only pet-related thing we’re getting this week is thyroid medication for Scooby,” I told him, earlier this week.
I’m already WAY over my head in the pet care department. Something I’ve learned the hard way is that getting too many pets close to the same age is a bad idea. Cats can live a really long time and they can become extremely high maintenance when they get old.
Kittens should come with warning labels.
Frosty, in the photo at the top of the post, is 18-years old. He has kidney problems, an overactive thyroid and dementia but he’s still going strong. He’s such a pain, in so, so many ways. He’s also a super sweet, happy kitty that has lived with us his whole life. For awhile, his personality seemed lost to the dementia but, recently, we’ve seen a return of the old, sweet Frosty.
Then we have the brothers, Trouble and Scooby. They will be 14-years-old next month. I took Scooby to the vet last week because he lost a lot of weight (and fur) really quickly and he started acting like he was starved all the time. It turns out that he has hyperthyroidism, which is apparently a common problem in senior cats. We have to give him half a pill every twelve hours and try to keep him supplied with food that is acceptable to his picky palate. He now won’t eat out of the communal food bowl and he won’t eat chicken. It has to be salmon or sea bass.
Scooby is hungry every two hours, which is a problem because his brother Trouble is getting fat and he shows up every time a can of stinky, fishy food is opened anywhere in the house.
Frosty, because of his failing kidneys, is supposed to eat a low-protein diet. Right! Like he’s going to eat his veggie pate when Scooby is getting sea bass. Somehow, I’m supposed to feed the cats all different things, all day long, all while fighting the dog off. It’s so much fun!
To add to the fun, I’ve been waking up to LARGE puddles of cat vomit on the stairs, the tiles in the entry way or any shoes that have been left in the entry way. Don thinks it’s Scooby but strategic placement like this is more Frosty’s style. He’s always been very talented at pooping and puking on multiple, usually grooved and hard-to-clean, surfaces at once.
Then we have our dear Smarty boy.
Smarty doesn’t make messes around the house but he is definitely developing some weird (and annoying) behaviors in his old age. Yesterday he wouldn’t eat his breakfast because he was paranoid that the squirrels, the cats and the dog in the TV (his own reflection) were after it. He won’t eat his dry food at all, unless you mix it with canned food. And the canned food can’t be any of the ones that come from the store closest to our house, they have to come from the super-busy, stressful store or the expensive pet food boutique that shares a parking lot with the super-busy, stressful store. And sometimes, if you haven’t placed the food in the just the right spot (the middle of the living room, maybe so he can keep an eye on that dog in the TV) or done the right amount of cajoling, he just won’t eat. Then he spends the day guarding his food, chasing the cats out of the house and the squirrels off the deck.
I won’t even get started on what walks are like now.
Yesterday was a particularly bad pet day. I spent all afternoon cleaning up pet messes and going out to get their special food. So, when Daniel came home talking about the puppies, I didn’t even hesitate before saying, “Sorry, no puppy for you!”