Monday, April 9, 2012

Sadie Pearl

Sadie Pearl as a Kitten
“Sadie Pearl, born to run,” was what I used to say about our older cat when she was a kitten.  Tiny enough to sit on my folded arms, she was a mischievous, rambunctious creature who, because of her poor daytime vision, sometimes crashed into furniture as she careened around the house.  She would mock-attack Presto, then a venerable 9 years old, like a tiger going after a buffalo, front legs encircling his neck.  She adored Presto and would creep up to sleep beside him after he had dozed off.

Presto is gone now and Sadie is 14.  When she got to be 10 or 11 we started giving her the same proteolytic enzymes we had given him to help her maintain muscle mass.  Lately I’ve thought that her condition was deteriorating.  She was having more trouble jumping up on the bed and her coat was looking dull and starting to separate instead of lying down smoothly.  The vet prescribed a vitamin tonic, an omega-3 fatty acid supplement, and an NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) for her arthritis.  After several weeks she seems more comfortable and her coat is shiny again.  If vets are giving enzymes, vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acid to their patients shouldn’t older human beings be getting them too? With us, as with cats, the body is a proficient scavenger.  If it doesn’t get enough of what it needs from diet because of malnutrition, illness, or old age, it breaks itself down in order to keep critical processes going – bones are raided for calcium, muscles for glucose – leaving the body depleted and weakened.

Left to herself, Sadie would probably sleep all day.  Fortunately, she has Rowan, the feline equivalent of a personal trainer.  Rowan is 6, no longer a kitten but still playful and energetic.  He has plenty of toys but he’s bored with them.  What he really likes is to chase Sadie Pearl.  The two of them enact a daily cat soap opera for our entertainment.  Rowan chases Sadie.  She growls and hisses but then goes to find him after he has left the room.  They take naps about a foot apart from each other on the bed.  Sometimes they lounge tail to tail on the top of the sofa like some Egyptian hieratic emblem. 

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