Well, Newbie had his visit to the vet on Wednesday. It went reasonably well. He is nearly 15 now. Had him since he was a scrap of fur, and it is not fun to watch him grow older.
He has kidney issues, which we are trying to treat; but he continues to lose weight at a troubling pace. He is barely 4KG now, having lost a good kilogram in recent months. The vet is not overly concerned about the weight loss just yet, but the signs are there.
Newbie is my buddy. He gets on my nerves, and I probably get on his. I can pet him for a few minutes, and then he will scratch me to pieces when he has had enough. Knocks things over. Runs up and down the stairs. Still and all, he is my buddy, and I want to keep him forever.
|Newbie as a little kitten, in October of 2006|
I can't remember if I told you about this before, in any of the 4022 previous posts going back to 2007. But I had a cat once before, from 1980 to 1986. It was the summer of "Who Shot J.R.?", a long ago tv cliff hanger for a show called Dallas whose main character, J.R. Ewing, had been shot in the season ender. There were rumours of Larry Hagman being replaced by another actor as he wanted too much money to return to the show. Everyone wanted to know who had done the deed. Spoiler alert: it was Bing Crosby's daughter.
Anyway, Dad had a woodpile behind the house. The idea was that he would throw the wood into the basement and use it to heat the house in the winter, as we had a combination wood and oil furnace.
One day during that summer, we heard a plaintive mewling coming from that pile. My sister investigated and coaxed a little ball of fur out of the wood pile. It turned out to be a cat, likely dropped off by some a-hole who didn't want to look after it. The cat made its way to our woodpile to stay safe and warm.
We kept the cat and named him, you guessed it, J.R. We kept him for six years. He seemed to gravitate to me, and I spent quite a bit of time with him, at least at first. Once I was in university, I got busy with other things and became a bit neglectful. J.R. more or less lived downstairs and we fed him and I would sneak him upstairs when my mother wasn't looking. But we saw less and less of him.
That summer of 1986, one night he disappeared. We never saw him again. We can only guess that a coyote or some other animal got him.
|Newbie in 2016|
I didn't blame myself perhaps as much as I should have. He gravitated to me, and I didn't spend as much time with him as I should have, and I felt badly about it. He had become more feral and was on his own more and more, and that is on all of us, but most especially me.
When I moved to the city in 1988, I often wondered what it would have been like to have had a cat with me, J.R. in particular. He would only have been 7.5 or so years old at the time, plenty young to have had many more years with me, but due to my irresponsibility that did not happen. He would have been a fine companion to me during those early times in the city on my own. I can think of many times he would have helped me during dark periods of my life, but that did not happen.
I promised myself that I would never have a pet again. Patricia eventually ended up with me, and then with a cat named Cindy Clawford. And years later, Patricia found a woman at the Tatamagouche Farmer's Market with a basket of kittens with little ribbons around their necks. One of them fell asleep in the crook of her arm and we decided to keep him. We got him back to the cottage and wondered what to call him, because, after all, everything was new to him. He was kind of a... Newbie. And the name stuck.
He was about six weeks old when we got him. I would leave him in the upstairs bathroom when I went off to work. The litterbox was at one end, and his carrier and food and water dishes were at the other. I would leave a radio on for him and close the door. At night, he would have full run of the house and join me in bed after exhausting himself. He was too little to make the leap from the floor to the top of the bed, so he would climb up the side of the blanket to join me, and then make it clear that he preferred to be under the covers, so I would accommodate that request.
Newbie is on the couch next to me, snoring softly. Long ago, I promised him, and Patricia, and myself, and my parents, and total strangers I would encounter on the street, that I would never forget what had happened with J.R. all those years ago, and that I would care for Newbie in the way he deserved. I would not always get back that love and attention and respect, but that is a cat for you.
|Newbie at the Vet's in February, 2021|
The day will eventually come when I will have to say goodbye to my buddy, but I hope and pray that day is no time soon. He has meant so much to me in a way that is difficult to describe in mere words. Rather, it is on an emotional level that I connect with Newbie, and I hope, he with me.
Newbie is my buddy, and buddies stick together.
You all have a pleasant rest of the evening. Talk at you tomorrow.