Louisa May Alcott was once accused of having an “inordinate love of cats.” Count me guilty too. There is nothing as sweet and wonderful as a cat (except children).
Today I lost my elderly cat, Bacci. I adopted him a year and a half ago from the assisted living home where my mom had lived. She passed away a year ago April.
Baci (the newest edition, and the oldest kitty at 14)
Bacci had lived an exceptionally sheltered life in the lower level of the home. His owner had passed on and the staff took care of him. He never saw the outdoors (no windows in the lower level room where he lived) nor other cats. He was friends with a dog but other than that, there was little stimulation except for attention from the staff and residents who lived on that level.
On one of my first encounters with Bacci, I knew he had chosen me. He took his paw and tapped me on the leg. Bacci had exquisitely huge double paws that looked like mittens. I was hooked.
When I found out the staff was looking for a new home for him, I opted to adopt Bacci. My hope was to expose him to those things that cats love, so he could remember that he too, was a cat.
Bacci was a very sweet gentleman but he was not up to living with other cats. At the time I had 2 other cats, a ginger male (Spencer) and a torti (Jenny). Spencer was the first to bully Bacci and Bacci was no match for him. I made it my goal to make Bacci feel safe. I picked him up often and cuddled him so that he would know he was safe. Eventually he took to it and purred whenever I would pick him up. He soon began to greet me with little chirps and meows.
Spencer passed on last summer and while I was heartbroken at his sudden passing, I thought things would finally get better for Bacci. Jenny took over the role of bully (and diva) and gave Bacci an even harder time of it! Still, I managed to make him feel safe, adding lap times to cuddle times.
As Bacci grew more used to our active household, he began to explore more. He discovered the family room with the glass doors to the deck and the wonders of the multiple bird feeders. He began to enjoy basking in the sun and watching the birds. My dream of him remembering that he was a cat was coming true.
I wanted him to experience the exquisiteness of summer nights and the wonderful smells of the grass and flowers that drift through the summer breezes. I would hold him up to the open window and let the breeze rustle his fur. Bacci loved to smell and enjoyed that immensely.
I celebrated Bacci’s 14th birthday on Thanksgiving and looked forward to a good year together but it was not to be. He developed a thyroid condition and his gums were very irritated. He was slowly deteriorating physically even as he was getting better emotionally.
Because he was so sensitive emotionally, the last visit to the vet really did him in. A little over a week after that visit, he spiraled downward and I had to put him to sleep. But before this past horrible week, Bacci was at his best – sweet, friendly, enjoying the lap times and cuddle times more and more. We had many nice times together and it was hard to say goodbye.
While I would not adopt an elderly cat again, I do not regret one minute having adopted Bacci. He was my sweet gentleman and watching him reawaken as a cat was worth all the hard work. I loved covering my Bacci with a multitude of kisses.
Bacci was my last physical connection with my mother and it felt like losing her all over again. But I am comforted at the thought that both are free from pain and suffering. I like to think of my mom receiving Bacci into her arms in heaven as he passed from this world into the next. I think of Mommy now, showing him the birds, flowers and nature she loved so well while giving him the lap times and cuddle times that I will miss so much.
Bacci is truly a cat now.
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