After I wrote about Black Boy, Glenda Palmer sent me this story about the cat who became caregiver when her parents were ailing.
Guest post by Glenda Palmer
Miss Carlie, our beautiful Birman cat, was a rescue kitty from the Kelowna SPCA in 1996 when she was about five years old. I brought her home to be a companion to my mother, aka—Grandma—who was slipping into Alzheimer’s disease.
Grandma needed a quiet, loving companion and so did Carlie, who was badly frightened and shy. They became inseparable buddies till Grandma went into special care. When the move took place, we made sure there was a plush white life size toy cat to go with Grandma, and she kept it by her side.
Miss Carlie seemed to sense her work was not over because she then turned her attention to Grandpa and became his close friend for almost two years before he went to the same senior home. Grandpa only asked to visit home once after he went into Care. He wanted to visit his kitty.
This gentle, affectionate cat definitely made my work as primary care giver to my parents more manageable.
Fast forward and Carlie became the senior. She remained a cat who was gentle, affectionate and purred up a big, big, storm when she was getting attention. She developed kidney disease and required meds every day. It took a little coaxing but true to her nature she was nice about it. Carlie loved looking out the patio windows to watch the world go by, especially birds and ducks. She and the ducks were used to each other but kept a respectful distance of about one metre. We referred to it as a Mexican standoff.
In mid-December 2008 we had the vet come to our home and Miss Carlie was euthanized. She had been stiff and sore for a while and she was pretty much living on the living room lazyboy chair. We were lifting her up and down to use the litter box. About six days previous to this she quit eating and only drank a tiny amount of water. The vet came over the same afternoon phoned and I was able to keep my arms around Carlie and cuddle and talk to her till it was completely over. As far as I could determine the kitty was not frightened or hurt by any part of the procedure. So our sweet, shy, beautiful Miss Carlie was gone, but our family will always feel indebted and remember her.