Monday, June 15, 2009

Ripe Old Age

My parents have the amazing ability to keep pets and plants alive long past their usual lifespan. Such is the case with the family cat. We got Tanga when she was a too-small kitty who would hop around like Tigger, and had the stripes to go with the name. But that seemed a little wrong, and her coloring did have a bit of the grey kangaroo so we mixed up Kanga and Tigger to get Tanga.

She was a bit of a standoffish alleycat in temperament. She liked to go into the wilderness of the back yard, also shared with deer, enormous racoons, a snotty woodchuck, birds, rabbits, squirrels, and the occasional fox or bobcat. Her 'street smarts' stood her in good stead though. She became deaf as a reaction to her vaccinations, so we made her wear a bell on a harness. Even deaf, declawed, and wearing a bell, she could still stalk the birds and rabbits and squirrels and avoided the predators.

The thing with deaf cats, though, is they aren't afraid of motor noises. Her favorite thing in the world was to be vacuumed. (I've spent fruitless time looking for a picture of her during a vacuum massage.) Second place was probably getting her damp paws blowdried after a romp outside in wet grass or snow. Third was knocking over breakables or eating guppies out of the fish tank - "what, I thought they were snacks!" - until mom figured out where the fish were disappearing to. Mom said she got cuddlier with advancing age, but my allergies to her which weren't noticeable when I lived there full time became horrendous when visiting after moving out, so I have to take that on faith.

Recently though, Tanga'd been having trouble walking up stairs. Then this weekend she stopped walking pretty much at all, and didn't eat anything either. So mom took the day off to hold her for a while before taking her to the vet to be put down. Dad emailed back that they buried her in the yard under a new plant. It's hard to lose a pet, even if I haven't seen her in about 3 years. I'm not sure how my parents are going to take it, even though they knew the end was near. They've had Tanga for 21 active years (maybe even 22, we lost track) which is a good run for a cat. Bye, kitty.


Alaskan Hellcat said...

Holly crap! 21 years??? Craziness!!!

sniff sniff. Thanks for the vicarious memories :)

S said...

Tanga was one of of a kind; I can't count how many people I have told over the years about your deaf cat who enjoyed being vacuumed! I'm glad she had such a good long run on this earth, and would like to imagine she is now happily stalking varmints in the afterlife, maybe even without a bell to warn them off. E and I send our sympathies to you and your parents.

Junior and Orion said...

Oh Cranky Otter, we are sorry to read this. It is great that Tanga lived such a long life, especially since she was an outdoor cat and deaf to boot. We believe that when we cross the bridge all is well again with our bodies and we have nothing to do but play, eat and sleep as we wait for our humans to join us. We know a great many cats who have crossed the bridge and we know that your Tanga is in good company. We are sending out hugs and gentle headbutts to you and the rest of your family.

CrankyOtter said...

Thanks guys!

She was a good cat, all told. Was up to 3, maybe 4 vacuumings a day at the end there, so she was lovin' life. She actually had some kidney problems for the last 6 years or so. The vet said she'd be fine as long as she drank a lot of water so they made sure she had plenty of water sources and she never had to get IV fluids or expensive meds and did very, very well. Only in the last couple months did she really go into super-slo-mo. And only in her last couple days did she really not function right.

The 'rents seem to be doing ok for now. I do wonder if they'll get a dog though, and if so, how soon.