a&a; our poorly pussy

This week’s awkward and awesome takes a slight step away from the usual format.
You see, Smudge isn’t very well and as I write this we’re still waiting to find out what, if anything, we can do for him – or as the case may be afford to do for him.

he’s ugly, but the kind of ugly you can love.

I don’t think anyone ever thinks of their animals as simply ‘pets’.
I’d had gerbils and fish and a rabbit when I was growing up, but I’d never had a ‘big’ animal, one with a personality and a life span.
I did love all my pets, but I was never emotionally attached to them, bar my first fish: I sobbed uncontrollably when I found out he’d died and Mum valiantly went out in the rain to bury him.
It was of course sad when a pet died, but it was to be expected, after all, they were only small, they didn’t live very long, right?

I’d never really thought I was an animal person.
I’d campaigned, rather unsuccessfully, to get a puppy, but Mum and Dad don’t really like animals so I figured neither did I, it was obviously just a phase I was going through and I’d soon forget all about a puppy.
I haven’t.

I figured when the time was right, I’d get my own puppy, or maybe a kitten, I’d always liked the idea of my kids having a family dog to grow up with.

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And then I met Zac and sort of inherited Smudge.
The first time I met Smudge it was pitch black and this alien looking think was slinking towards us, meowing with these terrifyingly big eyes, green from the reflection of the streetlights.
Zac was clearly besotted with his ‘Mudgey, so I pretended to like him, while telling Zac I wasn’t really a cat person and hoping he wasn’t being serious when he said he slept with him.
He was.

​I did love having a cat around, it was a novelty, I liked playing with him and stroking him, having this alive thing fall asleep in my lap was comforting and terrifying all at once, but he was so noisy, he wouldn’t shut up and he’d come in and out all night and wake us up. Somehow he’d always end up with most of the bed and there was a love hate thing going on between us, each vying for our territory over Zac and the bed space we deemed to be ‘ours’.
He wouldn’t let me hold him like Zac would, and he’d wriggle away from me when I tried to stroke him.
Every now and then he’d curl up to me and nestle in to my bosom, and I remember one particularly cold night falling asleep while Zac was watching the footy with Smudge on my chest. I was so cosy and comfortable, and when he jumped off me to go to the loo and snuggled back in to the bed with Zac I felt a pang of jealousy – I was having second thoughts about Smudge, realising that there was something about him that I loved.

Hidden under that fat belly he’s got tiger stripes, you can see them on his tail

not your regular ‘cat’.

He’s more than just a pet. He was ‘there’ for Zac after his Dad died and in a lot of ways he’s been a therapy cat for everyone.
He has such a great personality – I tell everyone he’s more like a puppy than a kitty.

Smudge moved in with Mama G while we were in England.
Thoroughly spoiled, he got fat and lazy and every time we Skyped we were gently teased that Smudge was Shane’s cat now, that he’d forgotten all about us.
I knew Zac was slightly upset about it, but he kept telling me they were kidding themselves if they thought Smudge had forgotten him.
I was pretty sure he’d forgotten me though.

Smudge’s usual spot ✌🏼

We come back and I hadn’t realised how much I’d missed this ball of almost fur.
He’s got the most personality of any cat I’ve met and yes he’s noisy, but he makes some of the funniest nosies I’ve heard come out of a purr-baby.
We’d put a ban on him coming in to our room to sleep, but there were a few nights when he wouldn’t stop crying, so we relented and had him with us, and slowly he became my cat too.

If I lay down on the sofa, he’d come and lie on my chest, or if I was sat on my iPad or laptop within a few minutes I’d have a cat in my lap too.
He adored my dressing gown (super soft) and would jump up and paw at the tie to get in underneath, trying to fit his head down the sleeve as he wobbled on my boobs.
As I was leaving my morning routine was coffee in bed, quickly followed by the ungainly thud of paws and a curious ‘meow’ before a Smudge cat would appear on the bed for his morning cuddles.

Distracted by a butterfly, he jumped off to go chase it just after I took this pic

I was at home a lot while everyone else was working and he’d follow me around, calling out for me if I’d moved rooms and he hadn’t noticed. He’d come in to the hammock with me when it was sunny and I wanted to sit outside and read (sometimes not altogether willingly, I did take him with me, but he didn’t immediately jump out, usually there was a suitable distraction, the wind or a butterfly).
I gave him all of the attention and I was genuinely sad about leaving him behind when I had to leave for New Zealand.

can’t just go and have a normal illness, now can he?

I got a call from Zac on Wednesday, in tears because Smudge had gone to the vets with what we thought was constipation and was leaving with what they thought was total organ failure.
As it stands now, it’s not FIP (death sentence for a cat), but the right side of his heart isn’t working the way it should, affecting his liver and it’s causing fluid to build up in his belly. At the moment he’s not in any pain, at least, not that they can tell, but because it’s a more unusual problem and it’s taking a consult with a specialist to find a solution.
We could try medicine, but that might only extend his life for 6 months – and what quality life will that be?
Other options come under the ‘how long is a piece of string’ category, and without speaking to the specialist, we don’t know how long he’ll keep going as he’s going.

The best part of my morning ☺️

For now, he’s still normal Smudge.
I can hear him in the background when Zac’s on the phone, but apparently he’s wobbling and bit and hasn’t been so keen to cuddle.

Everyone’s been all over the place this week, and I’ve felt awful because there’s nothing I can do. I was surprised to find tears in my eyes when I thought about Smudge not being there when I came home and found a new empathy I’d never understood when people were grieving for a family pet.
I think Zac has come to terms with the fact he’s going to say goodbye to Smudge sooner than he’d like, but he’s holding on hope that he can afford the medication, buy him some time until I come home and can say goodbye, too.
I just don’t want him to suffer, and it feels selfish to keep him around so I can have my goodbye.

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