Monday, August 04, 2008

My Sonny is Deaf I Think

My old Sonny. He is my ROCK. He is the cat who just will not end. At 18 he is an old boy. He flew to Japan with me! He lived in Japan and was my ROCK there! Honestly there are days when I am sure he will live to 25 and others when I am sure he will not survive the night.

To be clear here he is NOT in pain or discomfort. He is happy and content and well fed and well hydrated and certainly well loved. It's just that some nights he seems to be more away from me than he is with me.

When I am away from home for work it is the worst. Sonny's very favorite thing IN THE ENTIRE WORLD is to be let out in the backyard to sleep under the shed or in the weeds or in the pinestraw and when it starts to get dark and I go out to coax him in he hisses at me and then goes into an old man coughing attack and it's so sweet and funny and upsetting because I talk to him and calm him down and it passes and I just wonder what on earth he does when I am not here. The back yard is loosely fenced in and now Sonny is far too old and apathetic to try to jump over the fence so he is the only one with outside privileges. Because it is what he loves. I want him to leave this world in my arms giving him the love he has given me for 16 years but even more I would like for him to walk out into the backyard, lie down, watch the squirrels and birds for a while and just go on. It is the way I know he would want it.

I am sure as of today that Sonny is completely deaf. For a couple of years I blamed it on him being an old man who would absolutely not under any circumstances answer to me. In the past 2 months I have thought maybe it was hearing loss. Today I set off a Japanese holiday firecracker (the kind where you pull a string and there is great noise and confetti - not the kind where there are actual explosives) and there was no reaction at all.

Lately Sonny's favorite thing is to get in bed with me and while I read he slowly moves until he is halfway on my chest and I talk to him and he gets so relaxed. If he is deaf as I think he is I am sure he is going for the vibration in my chest as I talk to him. I think certainly he is not after my boobs as I am sure he is more discriminating than that. If I stop talking and he is still awake after a couple of minutes he will pat my face with his paw until I pay attention and start talking again. Over and over I say "Sonny is a good boy.. Sonny is SUCH a good boy. Mommy LOVES Sonny. And he is lulled into his very aged sleep and is content and I am content and it is a good night.

Sonny got a flea treatment last night and a bath today. I haven't given him a bath for 3 years due to his age but he got one tonight and despite his irritation I know he feels better. We sat for a long time with him wrapped up in a towel and me holding him close and talking to him. He is truly a mess. When cats get old they decide grooming isn't worthwhile and they get dirty and their ears need constant cleaning and all sorts of stuff.

Y'all I would want every one of you to adopt one or two or three shelter cats. If I lived in a bigger house I swear I would have 8. They love the best because I swear to you they remember where they came from and they will love you until the end with all their hearts. But it is a long term committment - a lifetime committment. That kitten eventually gets old and needs special care. It is 100% WORTH IT but you have to make sure that first you are ready. Please DO NOT do it if you are not 100% willing and able to make every accommodation. To pass an animal around to various homes is as confusing to an animal as it is to a human. It is truly very bad that I travel a lot and my cats must depend on a catsitter but I am thankful that I can at least make sure they have the very best veterinary care and the very best catsitter I can find. I am thankful that I have a sister and brother in law who are vets and a vet here in Atlanta who trusts in me enough to train me to suck out Sonny's old man bump with a hypodermic needle every 2 weeks and give fluids if necessary.

Sonny is deaf and certainly senile now and I suspect cataracts but his quality of life is great. He does what he wants and can go in the backyard and at night he gets on the bed and sleeps on Mommy. He has been a constant companion for 16 years and has seen me through multiple roomates and one very bad husband and many changes in home including a long trip to Japan and back and he is just a ROCK.

Boo was my animal soul mate for the 3 years he was with me but Sonny is coming in at least a very close second. And if you had known Boo you would know this is a huge thing.

I want to come back as a cat owned by me.

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