I can't sleep. Or nap, rather.
Caitlin has gone off to have a nap and is sending sleep vibes out from her room. Domino and Kaboom are snoozing on my bed, adding their sleeping vibes to the mix. It's a very powerful sopophoric. Down in the living room on the couch, I put down my book and pull the blanket up higher on my shoulders. I pull Pixel up on my chest and pet him to get him to lay down. It's nice to drift off with a purring cat on me, very soothing.
His wordless cry wakes me up, filled with many vowels and pain. "Oh-waaa! Ohh-waaaa!" Pixel is wandering around the dining room, looking for something he can't define. I listen for that sound and don't hear it in his voice. Yet. I call out to Pixel to return to me and be comforted. We try to comfort one another, knowing that we can't, really.
We've decided we're not going to go to heroic extremes to save Pixel from death. He's tired and old. And yes, now he's in pain. That might just be from the blood draws and the urine sample from the vet visit on Tuesday. Every time he goes to sit or lay down, he cries out the same way: the long liquid vowels that aren't imminent death but are painful to listen to. Heart wrenching. He no longer walks around the house with his tail held high like a flag. Now he walks stiffly, in sort of a waddle, with his rump curved under him. Stairs are getting tougher. He takes them very slowly and looks as if he might slip going up or down them.
He's still purring all the time, though.
I locked the other two cats out of the bedroom yesterday and placed Pixel on our bed. I read while he tried to get comfortable. His happiest moment of the day is when Eric and I go to bed and he gets to curl up between us both and gets our undivided attention. He purrs and licks our hands. He leaves the tip of his tongue outside his mouth as if he's forgotten it's there. I think that is the cutest thing in the world, when cats do that. Dogs may wander through life with their tongues lolling out, but cats don't, so it's always striking and funny when they do it. He no longer paces around the both of us in his magical kitty circle of protection, as he did the first bunch of years of his life before he'd lay down to sleep.
He purrs and we pet him. He lays down at the foot of the bed when he's tired of our touch. His purring gets quieter and slows down. We talk to him and his purring picks up its pace again. Verbal petting, I guess. We talk quietly about our options, or their lack. He's had a long and happy life, this one. He outlived Xerxes, my very first cat who died at 12; he outlived Dart, Eric's very first kitten who died at 7. We joked that Pixel threatened to outlive the two new cats, when we brought them home and they made him crazy.
We no longer joke about that.
Maybe it's just the pokes and prods from the vet visit. Maybe he'll snap out of this and feel a little better next week. We're still not ready to pull the plug, although it looks like that choice may not be up to us this time, just as it wasn't the last two times.
So now we wait, our sleep broken, listening to the cries of the cat.