Sunday, March 18, 2007

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Alfredo?

Meet Alfredo "Al" Pacino, our old alley cat. Al will be turning 15 years old this year and is the love of my life (okay, after Christ Jesus, Mr. Clean, the kids, my parents, brothers and sister, some friends and a few random other people).

I got Al when he was just a few weeks old from an alley behind (I kid you not) a Chinese restaurant in Georgetown. He was from a litter of feral kittens and since I was just 18 and naive that didn't matter. No one told Al that he was either feral nor a kitten. He decided he was a dog and royalty at that (although he still wears that tough alley cat exterior on the chip on his shoulder). Al settled in straight away playing fetch, swimming in the bathtub and obsessing over the last few licks of fudge bars (now please do not tell me how bad chocolate is for cats who think they are dogs, he is 15 years old remember?). To sum it up, Al has been a pretty great pet. He loves the kids, adores me and tolerates Mr. Clean, who would like to see Al take a long walk off a short pier (I will state for the record however I did see Mr. Clean pet Al once; I believe it was 1998).

Last year Al got an eye "funk". The vet could not diagnose it, it caused a crater sized hole to form on his eye and was aggravating, to say the least, for Al and myself. It eventually healed and went away much to everyone's relief. A couple months ago Al began to lose weight. Dramatically. The once 15 pound mini panther is now quite skeletal to the touch. He has that "old man gut" that sways when he walks and going up and down the steps is getting a little tougher for him. And the eye funk is back.

I watched my stepmom agonize over the plight of her old cat when he aged and how sad it was. Her cat eventually took off one day to die. He was over 18 years old. In hindsight she wished she had put him down long before that happened, but like Al is to me, her cat was extremely special to her. I don't want to be selfish when it comes to this old cat. I want him to have a great life and not "stick it out" for my benefit. However, I am actually not a cat person, so for this feline to be so important to me means that he has to be pretty phenomenal and I would like him around for a long time.

But how do you know when it's time?

1 comment:

Carolyn said...

I am not a cat person, but I like Al! (It helps that he likes me too!) I understand your dilemia. I'd like to see Al live a lot longer too. Murphy didn't eat for two days and I started to worry, but his apetite is back now. He probably just had what everyone else in the family has had!