Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Casper the Friendly Cat

Today, I received sad news. My long-time companion, Casper the cat, is starting the downhill slide. He is almost 16 years old and absolutely one of the sweetest, most docile cats I’ve ever had the pleasure to know. Casper came to live with me when he was about 4 years old. His previous owner was tired of him. He was neutered and declawed when I adopted him, so I’ve always felt very protective of him. This was also the reason he had never spent any time outside in his previous home.
Not long after Casper moved in, he discovered our back deck. Casper is very dignified and maybe just a little snooty. But he loved sitting out on the back deck soaking in the sun. After he gained some confidence in the safety of the deck, he started strolling the perimeter of our small fenced backyard. Soon after that, he discovered the front porch. He loves our porch swing!
Casper has been my protector in his own quiet way. When my dear hubby, Steve, and I were dating, Casper gave Steve the ultimate, “are you going to stick around?” test. Steve had put his suitcase in the guestroom. We were going out that night so he had brought dress clothes. Not used to being around cats, Steve left his suitcase open. Casper decided to inspect it. Apparently, he didn’t like what he found whether it was Steve’s taste in clothes and shoes, we will never know. Casper sprinkled Steve’s shirt and just flooded his shoes! I knew Steve loved me at that point, he didn’t kill Casper and he didn’t leave without ever seeing us again. After four years, Steve and Casper are great pals. They watch TV in the recliner together several nights a week.
Casper’s meow and paw are his way of letting me know he needs something. He will touch my leg with his paw very gently and then proceed to speak. I swear this cat is talking to me in sentences. He says what he needs and then just sits down and stares at me with those big blue eyes. He knows I’ll stop whatever I’m doing to make sure he either has food or milk in his bowl or let him outside for his daily stroll around the borders of our yard.
I know I’m rambling on and after all, to some people, Casper is just a big old furry white cat, but he has been my friend for many years. He has seen me through some very lonely times. He has been through a couple of dogs’ lives with us, watched the bird business grow, “helped” in my romance with Steve, moved to three new homes, and seen the children leave home. He is comfortable today and eating well. I am praying that he gains some of his previous weight back. He had lost 7 pounds between vet visits this time. Right now, he is sitting on the top step at the back door foyer overseeing the Christmas decorating and bathing himself. This is the first bath I’ve seen him do in a couple of weeks so I have a glimmer of hope that he will not only see this Christmas but maybe a couple more.
Growing old is hard on all of us, but it is especially hard to watch a dear friend and family member, not only enter the twilight years, but know that his final light is shining.
When you cross to the rainbow bridge, please wait for us! We love you, Casper!

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