Gracie turns 16 years old today. She’s arthritic and rheumy and she can no longer jump onto the bathroom vanity, a.k.a. “The Petting Place,” so I lift her up to it these days and place her down on the floor when she is finished drinking from the tap and getting (mostly) enough pats from me. To be honest, I put her down on the floor when I get tired of skritching her, because she would live there if she could. Back when she could still leap up there, in the evening just before bedtime, I’d be playing with Tig (our usual nighttime routine) and Gracie would be waiting, lying comfortably on the vanity beside the sink for her turn. I alternate between the two of them. Tig makes me laugh, and Gracie always purrs her deep, throaty purr when you pet her.
She has a heart murmur. She is allergic to dust, and it gives her asthma. The asthma almost killed her in NJ before it was diagnosed. She had IBD and nearly died from an incompetent vet’s missed diagnosis. And yet, here she is, sixteen years old today, while my poor Tig 2, her “brother” that was raised with her, died five years ago from cancer. Color me still surprised. I thought for sure that Gracie, with all her ailments, would go first.
She got tunafish for breakfast on today, EATAPETA Day. She would have gotten it regardless. She’ll get her usual morning wet food for lunch. And she will get much attention paid to her today, because she is my sweet Princess Gracie, who is the most neurotic cat I have ever had. She is literally afraid of an ant. A carpenter ant crawled on her haunch when I lived in my old apartment complex and the cats were outside on my patio. Gracie saw it, reacted in horror, and ran frantically inside while I collapsed in laughter. I have a picture of it somewhere.
She is the smartest cat I have ever had. She always knows when I’m going to take her to the vet, no matter what I do or how different I try to make the routine. She deduced a long time ago that when I’m wearing my sneakers upstairs, it usually means I’m going to grab her and cage her. So I can no longer wear sneakers upstairs, no matter what. She runs under the bed. If I have to give her medicine, she knows when I’m going to do it. It’s always a battle to grab her before she gets to the bedroom. I swear, she can tell when I’m thinking about giving her medicine.
And yet, she’s used to my friend Sarah’s children, who are the reason Sarah’s blog is called “Life at Full Volume.” When I used to have the four of them over here on an overnight, and Gracie could still walk down the stairs, around 8 or 9:00, she’d slowly walk downstairs and wind her way through the four noisy children to come to me for her evening skritches. Those children and one other are the only people Gracie will stay in the office for. Everyone else gets to see her tail as she zips under the bed.
I adore my sweet girl. And I almost didn’t take her. I just wanted an orange boy to replace my first Tigger. The girl who had him was also fostering Gracie, who, the day I met her, was whiny and crying and covered with milk and rather ratty looking. But look at her now. Gorgeous Gracie, sixteen years old, and still going strong.