Coca-Cola is a black and brown tabby, with a white chest, and a white coke bottle shape on her nose. She is approximately 16 year sold. I say approximately, because I don’t really know. She was about 8 to 12 years old when we adopted her. My wife says she was 8, but based on my physical exam, I would say she was more like 12. And that was 7 years ago, so splitting the difference, we get the 16-year age.
She came in to our life when she was a random outdoor farm cat at a friend’s house. See, this house was at the end of a farm based cul-de-sac in Marine City. It was typical for anybody who didn’t want any cats to just dump them, and/or their kittens at the end of this road right next to our friend’s house. They ended up accruing nearly 40 cats. They were all in various degrees of indoor/outdoor status. The nicest ones got invited inside, and were able to hang out with people. Coke was one of those. But it really started with Smoky.
We were visiting, and it was winter. Cold, bitter, freezing winter. I was grabbing a glass of water from the kitchen sink and saw a cat silently meowing, seemingly for help from the cold, at the kitchen window right by the sink where I was filling my glass. There are always moments when you just reach out to an animal. I certainly have more than the average person, but I also try to be realistic. You can’t adopt every single animal you come across. At the time, we only had my dog Strummer, and that was it. So the mouth miming meowing of this cat plucked at my heart strings. It just so happened that these friends also were moving. They were concerned about all the cats that would possibly not be taken care of as well by new owners. So they were seeking new homes. Much to the surprised joy of my wife, I recommended that we adopt one of these cats.
Fast-forward to the day we were picking up Smokey. Our friends had decided that they would keep her. Who else to choose? I quickly called my wife and asked who was her second choice. She mentioned Coke, the other cat that always snuggled on the couch when she visited. The decision was made.
She fit in extremely well in our household. After an initial hiss and bat, Coke and my dog Strummer got along very well. They often would sleep in bed together, or snuggle on the couch. She had been an outdoor cat, sitting at the drop-down feeding trough for about 40 cats, just munching away most of the time. When we got her she was about 14 pounds. Extremely obese for her size and shape. She is currently 6.5 pounds and in great shape. A bit of persistence with her feeding paid off in the long run because she would have been much more prone to many different metabolic disorders being as overweight as she was.
Even though she had been an outdoor cat, she never looked back again. She knew she was fine indoors, and didn’t want to leave. For 6 years that is. Then, after the local flood in the area, we were cleaning the basement and she just walked out the side door. No interest for 6 years, and then suddenly got a case of the walkabout. We got her in about 5 minutes and she only pulled that stunt one more time, which happened to be the very next day. This time she left the house entirely and was wandering around in our garden. My frantic search for her turned up nothing, but she walked right up out of the daylilies when my wife called her name.
She’s a great cat, and her time with us was almost shortened. I have routinely had her bloodwork checked about every 6 months. Initially, her bloodwork was normal. Then, I noticed an increase in some of her kidney values. Not unexpected with an older cat, but still something to watch for the future. As I continued checking, her kidney values (which remained in the normal range) started showing an upward trend. She was at the low-end of normal, then mid-range, then higher-end of normal. Given this change, I started her on preventative care, most notably a prescription kidney diet. This was about 4 years ago, and she is still doing well. Even though she has to deal with two new younger cat.
Overall, as they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.