I have adopted a cat.
Or I have been adopted by a cat.
Or, perhaps more likely, I have been suckered by a cat.
Kaylia has a cat. A rather elderly cat by the name of Missy-May. the cat had belonged to a former co-worker who had decided to remodel her home and wasn't interested in having the cat (whom she had had since the co-worker was in her early teens) around during the process. Kaylia, upon hearing that the cat was bound for the pound, offered to take care of her, and as such became the new care-taker of Missy May.
During this time, I was out working in Taft, so Missy-May provided some companionship for Kaylia, and the two became fairly tight.
The cat was not a fan of me, however. Whenever I was around, which was only for two-to-three day visits during the first couple of months that the cat lived with Kaylia, Kaylia's attention would be focused on me rather than the feline. Viewing me as an interloper, the cat was more than happy to make her displeasure with my presence known through showy displays of bodily excretions and the occasional use of claws.
For my part, I tolerated the cat. Kaylia liked her, so I would put up with her.
Then I came home to stay. The cat was just as thrilled as you would expect, and outbursts were the norm for the first few days, and then she seemed to accept that I wasn't going anywhere and that she'd have to live with me. The cats dislike for me was helpful in some ways - when she needed to be taken to the veternarian, I could put her in the travel cage without worrying about incurring her distrust, for example.
But she eventually got used to me, and after a while, it was common for the cat to jump onto my lap while I was sitting on the couch, or to climb onto me to sleep when I was in bed. For my part, I essentially tolerated her, I allowed her to sit where she pleased, and I would feed her when necessary, but I was also just as happy to be where she wasn't.
But in the last few weeks, things have begun to change.
A few weeks ago the cat stopped eating, and rapdily became disturbingly skinny. This followed several months in which she would, for no apparent reason, vomit up her food. We couldn't figure it out at first, until I found some wet cat food in a closet and gave that to her in place of the dry cat food that she had been eating. She had no problem launching directly into the wet food and no problem keeping it down, and so a trip to the store resulted in more being available.
She also has begun to show the signs of pain in her joints, and has begun having a hard time jumping to and from places that were once quite easy for her. And she clearly walks with a wobble that is not-quite-a-limp. Now it should be mentioned that she is 15 years old, quite old by cat standards. This is perfectly normal, and is probably arthritis setting in. Still, between the not eating and the wobble, it's hard not to feel some degree of compassion.
And so it is that I find myself driving home on my lunch breaks to make sure that she has food, I have a mental map to the nearest veternarian facility worked out, I have been the one to spearhead the project to keep her fed, I am the one who puts out a comfortable blanket and turns on the heater for her, and I find myself paying attention to see if she wants a lap to sit on and giving her a hand up.
Mind you, I still don't call her by her name. She is still simply "cat" to me. And whenever I speak about her with Kaylia, she is "your cat" not "our cat." I can still put up some token resistance.
Nonetheless, knowing that the cat is getting older, I find myself more and more concerned with making her as comfortable as possible and trying to help her improve her health in the hope that she might have a bit more time being relatively healthy and happy (or whatever the cat equivalent of happy is).
Good lord, I've become a sucker.