I have an incredibly annoying cat, and I love her very much.
Her name is Jazz, and she’s pretty ancient. She’s set to turn 19 in May and has been in my family since I was eight years old.
Last fall, I informally “adopted” Jazz from my parents, who had finally grown fed up with looking after her. While this may sound harsh at first, if you stayed at my apartment for a few days, you would probably come to sympathize with them.
In her senior age, Jazz has become a pretty high-maintenance cat. She eats a particular wet food that stinks to high heaven and costs me about $30 a month. She also takes pills for hyperthyroidism, which I smoosh into a piece of chicken or cheese every morning and night to try and coerce/trick her into eating. This medication costs me an additional $45 a month. I've also spent more than $500 on three vet trips since I've taken her in.
Then, there’s the early-morning meowing. Every morning between 4 and 6 a.m., Jazz wanders around my apartment and yowls like crazy. I’m not sure why she does this – I think she might be senile – but if I get up and join her in the living room, she’ll stop. And once I do that, I’m usually unable to get back to sleep, so she’s become my unofficial alarm clock, in a sense.
Growing up, Jazz was always “my” cat. I cleaned her litter box, took her to vet appointments (once I was able to drive) and it was my responsibility to make sure a neighbour or friend would look after and feed her if my family was leaving for a trip. I was the only family member Jazz seemed to have any affection for, and she would always sleep on my bed, often curled up against my head.
Having moved out of my parents’ home in my early 20s, there was a period of about four years where I barely got to see Jazz. So, despite the hardships of caring for her in her old age, it’s been really nice to be reunited with my cat these last several months.
Truth be told, I don’t know how long Jazz has left. While she’s doing quite well for a cat of her age, she has developed arthritis in her back legs, is pretty deaf and could possibly have lost vision in one of her eyes – I’m not going to splurge on the test to find out. Then, there’s her hyperthyroidism and the fact she weighs only half what she used to.
But for however many weeks, months or years Jazz has left, I’m glad she gets to spend them with me – even if she can be annoying and high-maintenance.