|hanging signs, hand-lettered|
having a blind cat of 18+ years means many things. namely, it means patience, with a side of concern. today, it meant cleaning up pee and poop in the usual spots, in my usual manner: wipe, rinse, spray, repeat. it also meant sitting on a bench outside in the sun, waiting and watching, trying not to count the minutes while max explored the sidewalk out front. it means leading him with my voice, with pats on the ground or surfaces, leading him to the soil or the gravel, where he can sniff around and pee like a man, like he wants to, outdoors and on his terms. it means occasionally getting up to run defense, between him and the road, the cars, or the customers, while he wanders around not really knowing where. today, it means your neighbor andrea finds max standing there blankly in the middle of the street, and picks him up like a good Samaritan to put him back in safety of the fenced enclosure. sometimes it means running defense between him and pato, the territorial duck who comes a'running and flapping beak first toward any cat in his backyard. on a daily basis, what it means for me is slowing down for long enough to give max what he needs, like fully supervised time outside, lap time, belly rubs, and a carefully concocted meal. it means trying my hardest to read his signals, to interpret his quiet subtle version of cat language, so i don't piss him off too often, so i don't confuse or disorient him, so i can guide him gingerly to the places he wants to go. it means not flinching or cringing every time he bumps his nose into a wall. having a blind cat, well, somehow it changes everything.
since max has gone completely blind, all of these little things happen on a daily basis. they're new chores, new mental clutter to add to my already long list. as his caretaker, his momma, i feel it is my duty to see him through this phase of his life without complaint. it's hard sometimes, but i keep doing it, if for no other reason than the hope that someone will have the patience to do the same for me when i grow old and clumsy. i guess that's what love is for, providing us with the patience and willingness to see each other through the roughest spots, and to show each other the beauty hidden in the darkest corners.