My cat was bitten by a radioactive cockroach
My cat was bitten by a radioactive cockroach. That really is the only logical explanation for her transformation the last few years. Just like Spider Man gained his supernatural powers after being bitten by a radioactive spider, she has been transformed with the powers of the critter that bit her.
TC (named after "True Colors", the Cindy Lauper tune) was going on 20 years old when I took this photo. I considered changing her name to Skeleton. But the Amazing Cockroach Cat is probably more appropriate. The first of her cockroach powers appeared shortly after when she began to transform from my neat, fussy, tidy cat into a creature that can tolerate -- no thrive -- in all manner of filth. She pretty much stopped cleaning herself. Her feet stink, she usually trails dingleberries, has a constant secretion of goo coming from her eyes and keeps a perpetual hunk of dried cat food clinging to her nose. I no longer have a small out-of-the way liter box discretely available for her use, but an entire room covered with a tarp and three big litter boxes hoping one might appeal to her. And once in a while one does.
The second cockroach power TC developed was an insect-like bony exoskeleton. Petting her is like touching some kind of tiny crooked, hardened washboard with a tail. She has weighed less than three pounds for over a year, consuming three tins of cat food and a cup of half-and-half a day. Each night she selects a new location to vomit about three quarters of that, which I usually discover in the morning before I get my shoes on.
The third cockroach power she has gained of course, is that she will never die. I've taken her to the vet several times wondering if she is suffering, but she seems to still be hanging in there enjoying her new cockroach life. She's actually become far more affectionate now than in any of her previous 16 years as a cat, purring and climbing on my lap and doing her best stinky cockroach-cute impression. I can't help thinking that is just her reaction to knowing how much I'd like to get new carpet though.
Anyway, here's my TC after one of her baths she must take now, drying out in the sun, and planning how to how use her cockroach powers today.
7/12/09 update - I posted this photo over two years ago. My cat passed away shortly after that. She didn't quite make 20 years but had a great life and enjoyed playing and hindfooting with her toys right to the end. I do miss her.
Thanks to all of people who empathized with one of the toughest decisions there is to make - how long to let an elderly animal live and when to put it down - especially when you can't talk to a cat to hear its wishes. Even humans have vast differences in how much they want to live or die if in pain.
Twice we packed her up, said our good-byes and took her into the vet who said she was still hanging in there and no need to kill her yet. Again, its a tough tough tough thing to go through - and sometimes you have to laugh through the tears .
Thanks to all for the considerate concerns - and best of luck to the many of you who have faced similar difficult situations. Take care all.