There’s nothing sexier than a robust woman cleaning herself for hours at a time. Or at least that’s what Isobella would have you believe.
She spends hours laying in the sun and stretching out her volumptuous frame, prepping herself for some serious maintenance. She doesn’t care who sees her. It’s not that she has no sense of decorum – she’s insulted if you catch her on the toilet with the door open – but for grooming, it’s an all-out lovefest and she’s oblivious to everyone and anything. That is, until recently. Sure, she still makes an attempt, but even her toiletry skills are slipping.
Last week, she didn’t make it to her bathroom so she picked the softest, most absorbent spot and squatted – on a pair of jeans, and again on a bath towel. We’re not sure why she picked that spot, but we’re just glad that she avoided the lovely bedroom carpet that is significantly harder to clean.
Since then, she’s been monitored, prodded and probed. She’s not a happy girl and certainly not feeling like the temptress she believes herself to be. She hasn’t cooed in the last day, still reeling from the car ride, the initial consultation with the doctor and the needles and rectal probe. Oh, the rectal probe. Later today, I will have to attempt to take a urine sample. I suggested that we just squeeze out the towel, but the doctor just looked at me with one hairy eyeball, disapproving of my brand of humour.
He also suggested that Isobella is 5 lbs. on the opposite side of svelte. Her eyes opened wide at the suggestion that she cut back her food intake and step up the exercise regime. “What, and give up my life of leisure,” she pleaded with her eyes. “Not a chance. Now, go fetch me some peeled grapes, you pion.”
The next two days will tell more about Bella’s current condition. Is she lazy? Yes. Is she overweight? For a cat, yes. For a baby, not so much. But at 15, she’s so set in her ways that it will take bulldozers for her to change. It took almost that to get her out of the carrier and into the vet’s hands. She also lost clouds of her Holstein-coloured fur, which, I say, should account for at least one pound of her fighting weight.
After numerous references to her weight (yes, I know she’s fat but she’s like a soft, round, cozy ball of fur), the doctor uttered the dreaded words: diabetes. At 15 and at her weight, it’s a very real scenario. She’d have just another thing to bond over with my neice. But, unlike her, Bella has only a few good years left (if that), and I am certainly not going to have her spend her last days stuck with needles on a daily basis.
The vet was surprised, aghast even, when I said that I would say my goodbyes to her if diabetes was the reality. I would be extremely sad and probably would need a good day to cry over my girl. Okay, who am I kidding, it would be longer. But, I am not going to keep her alive for a year or two for my own benefit.
Gone are the days when pets were a member of the family, but when it was time to move on, we did just that. We had our pets put down, put out of their misery or their health turmoil. We let them go when they needed to go. Despite our attempts at humanizing our dogs, cats and even rats, they do have a shorter lifespan than we do and it’s not unimaginable that we will have to bury at least one pet in our lifetime. Insulin needles will not bring Bella back to her playful, kitten self, and I for one, will let her go in dignity and not when she’s unable to control her bodily functions. She has her pride and I’d like to keep it that way.