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Cocoa's List of 5 Favorites

Make a list of five of the things that your pet likes to do the most. When your pet can no longer do two of these five things either from physical disability or lack of interest, or he/she can only do them with difficulty or great prodding, then it's time to think about letting him/her go.

Thanks to ethel, I'm thinking about Cocoa's five favorite pasttimes in the 17+ years I've owned her.

How fitting that she pawed the couch (her signal to be picked up and put on the couch since she doesn't jump up anymore) and nuzzled into the nook between my thigh and calf, happily purring, as I sit here to write this list.

1. Exploring outside

Cocoa LOVED to do this during the spring - fall when we lived in our home in Vadnais Heights. She'd paw and meow at the screen door when she wanted to be let out (if she didn't have a makeshift hole in the screen already!). She'd then go exploring for hours. She may eat grass, she may frolick in the taller grasses near the marsh, she may hunt for little rodents, or she'd roll around in the dirt. Whatever the adventure, it'd oftentimes be hard to get her to come back in. There were many beautiful summer nights where I'd be calling and whistling for her to try to bring her in before I went to bed. Usually, I was able to get her in.

I'll never forget the sight of her happily bounding my way on the days she and I both spent out in the yard. Her meows and leg rubs seemed to say, "Mommy! Mommy! Isn't it wonderful out here? I'm so glad you're out here sharing this with me! I love you!"

Her inability to see prevents her from being able to do this anymore. I wouldn't dare let her outdoors, especially unsupervised, because of her vulnerability and proneness to injury due to being unable to see the terrain.

2. Looking out the window

If she wasn't outside, she wanted to know what was going on outside. Our home in Vadnais Heights had these fabulous built-in shelves right below the windows in the basement that she'd jump on and sit herself down to watch the birds and other animals outside. We also had two sliding glass doors, one at each level, that she could easily look out of to monitor all of the action.

During the short time I relocated her to live with my now ex in an apartment, she was often found sitting on the living room windowsill keeping tabs on the outside world.

Once again, her inability to see prevents her from doing this favorite pasttime. When I first moved her to the new place, I put her in the windowsills. However, the stress from not being able to see clearly or know where she was made her antsy to get down. I think it's mainly because of her loss of sight that she doesn't try to jump up to places to snuggle and/or look out the window.

3. Lying in the sun

Cocoa, true to cat nature, loves lying in the sun. If there's sunshine she can rest in, she'll stay there for hours and roast herself. I've made it a point lately, when the sun is very bright, to open up the blinds to let it in so she can enjoy it in our apartment. As our couch is quite comfy, I usually place her there when the sun shines on it.

Since the sun can shine on the floor, she is still able to do this on her own. There have been many instances where she'll lay in a certain spot clearly because of the sun's rays.

4. Cuddling in your lap / Sleeping at your feet

In her younger years, no matter how much I tried to get her to cuddle closer to me so I could pet her before I fell asleep, she'd always migrate toward my legs. I am a side sleeper, and she loved to curl up right in the nook created when you bend your legs in the fetal sleeping position.

You could also find her jumping onto the couch or chair and laying on your thigh or in your lap, just asking to be pet. She'd reply with happy purring, closed eyes, and a hint of a smile crossing her mouth.

As the years passed, her seeming need for cuddles seemed to increase. She grew into the routine of cuddling on my mom's lap every night while she watched TV. Nowadays, she'll paw at the couch to indicate she wants to come up for a little love.

Because of her eyesight, she is hesitant to jump onto the furniture to cuddle. When I first moved to the apartment, she'd jump from the makeshift step I put on the side of the bed up onto the bed to sleep with me for part of the night. Now, whenever I try to put her on the bed to sleep with us, she paces around nervously before finding her way down off of the bed.

Likewise, since she doesn't jump onto the furniture, we'll pick her up and put her on the couch or chair with us. She's more restless these days, staying for maybe 20 minutes before jumping down and relocating to her cat bed. I think she becomes nervous and disoriented if her paws aren't on the ground.

5. Licking the leftovers from a bowl or plate

Cocoa learned from a young age to look cute in order to get human treats. Even though I knew I wasn't supposed to, if she jumped on the couch while I was eating a meal or a snack, I'd always put a little on my finger for her to lick off or put the bowl or plate on the floor for her to lick clean (oftentimes leaving just a hint more than needed for a treat). Her favorites have always been dairy items, such as milk and ice cream, and anything with meat.

I think Cocoa's sense of smell has diminished over the years, as she doesn't beg anymore. However, I do still make a point of giving her treats. I may leave a can of tuna on the ground with some niblets left, put a bowl from breakfast cereal on the floor to be licked, or give her a few pieces of meat from a meal I prepared.

Based on ethel's advice, I should be thinking about letting her go.

And next week, as difficult as it will be, that is what I plan to do.



( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 10th, 2010 04:51 am (UTC)

It's so, so hard. This was a lovely tribute to her, as well; her personality shines through every story.

(If it makes you feel better about being upset, I was crying writing about putting our other cat to sleep, and she was only with us for three months - seven years ago. So I can't even imagine parting from a beloved friend of 18 years, but you have my deepest sympathy.)
Feb. 15th, 2010 02:17 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for your comments to my entries. Today will be difficult, but I know the sadness will lift over time.
Feb. 15th, 2010 06:10 pm (UTC)
I'll be thinking of you today.
Feb. 10th, 2010 02:24 pm (UTC)
Laurie read this aloud to me last night. You knew that Cocoa is a large reason I decided to adopt a cat? If it wasn't for Cocoa, I would be much less likely to have Magenta. One of the first things I did with Magenta was train her to come when I whistled, although she's still not as good as Cokes ever was.

I know you are in the midst of a busy time, but would you mind if I stopped over for a little while, so I can give her some pets?
Feb. 10th, 2010 04:18 pm (UTC)
Of course you can come over, Seth. Have you watched the new episode of Lost from last night? Matt and I are going to watch that tonight, probably around 7:30. We're going to make packets of Indian food for dinner, so you could join us for that.

Otherwise, if tonight is booked, you can come over Friday night, Saturday afternoon/evening, or Sunday morning/afternoon.

I'm in the process of confirming her appointment for Monday morning.

I'm a bit teary-eyed knowing that Cocoa has brought love and good things to not only me. Magenta is a sweet kitty, and I'm so glad you adopted her.
Feb. 10th, 2010 07:36 pm (UTC)
Tonight would work great! Thanks for letting me invite myself over.
Feb. 10th, 2010 10:01 pm (UTC)
Great! Come around 7:30 then, and you can eat Indian food with us if you'd like!
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )


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