When I was moving in with Wendy in 1996, I took an extra month and a half rent at my old place so I could move over in a relaxed manner. At one point, she asked me "if half of your stuff is over there and half is over here, then where's home?" My instant answer was "Home is where the cat is." I used the same line during the move to Surrey and on the long drive to Toronto (CJ was "airmailed" two weeks later).
So now I'm homeless.
In 1992, I broke up with a girlfriend. On my next birthday she brought me a cat, so I wouldn't have to be alone. A mutual friend had been probing me, asking what kind of cat I might want if I ever got another cat. Solid colour, not a couch potato, someone with personality. That was passed on to Moria who spent the next few weeks picking out just the right shelter rescue for her ex BF.
CJ was with me for one entire marriage and into the next -- with the same person who dropped CG at my door more than eighteen years ago.
The shelter vet where the cat was picked up from estimated her age at 18 months, so I backdated her birthday to November 11, 1990 -- a day I could "remember". The formula I use for cat ages is "First year is worth twelve; second year is worth 8, then four years per year." So, 19.83 years comes out to 91 and a third in human years.
CJ never got along with other cats. I had someone stay with me in 94 for six weeks with a cat and a dog. CJ would attack Eva's cat, lose the fight and retreat, attack again, lose again and retreat. Again and again, till she only owned half of my bedroom. Eva's dog was OK to hang out with until the dog figured out that my cat had sworn warfare on her "sister", and was forced to pick sides.
Wendy's two cats never got along with CJ. Our apartment in North Van was divided up into spaces owned by CJ and spaces owned by Wendy's cats, with a few battlegrounds in the middle. Wendy's favourite cat followed her within a week, and the other one in 2007.
Two and a half years later, Moria moved in with me ... with the cat she had given me fifteen years earlier.
CJ has mostly been an indoors cat. When I first moved in with Wendy, she had access to the tiny space we called a yard. She would jump onto the fence and watch the greater universe, but would never jump down on the other side. In Toronto, our outdoor space was barely larger than a small closet, but we put mesh over the gate and she had an outdoor space. The rental duplex where we stayed while looking for a place in Calgary had an enclosed yard, and CJ had the run of it. But she was never an outdoor cat with a free run. The vet thinks that has a lot to do with her making it to nearly 20.
CJ has been on a thyroid blocker since 2008. At that time, I didn't think she would make it through July. The transdermal rebalanced her metabolic rate for more than two years. Two weeks ago, she started suffering from diarrhea. On Thursday, we thought that had been fixed, then she stopped eating and drinking and rapidly went downhill. There just weren't enough reserves left at her age. By noon today she was barely walking, and by six she wasn't. My vet closed at 6 on Fridays rather than the eight she's open the rest of the week, so we came home, and decided to let CJ pass in her sleep. But about 10, she started complaining and clawing weakly at something I couldn't see. So we took her to a 24 hour vet where the doctor advised "the needle".
More than eighteen years. It's a long time.