Monday, December 6, 2021

Time On My Hands

Tucker’s death has had, and will have, many effects. I note now the practical effects of his departure, and they are many. He was what one might call a ‘special-needs’ cat. They all are, really, but his needs were specific and particular.

He was diabetic, and he had kidney failure. He had no teeth, and he was old. There was much that I had to do for him. I had to give him his insulin. Because his diabetes was periodically unstable, his dosage was sometimes twice a day, sometimes once; it was a small thing to give it to him, especially since I also had to give some to Neville. But I also had to conduct ‘curves’ on the roly poly, testing his blood over the course of a day once a month or every six weeks. The results I recorded and sent to the veterinary hospital for the doctor’s opinion. A consultation between us then determined Tucker’s treatment for the next while.

For his kidneys, I had kidney-powder, a binder that helped his dying organs do their duty. I mixed this every day in some watered down Recovery food, and put it in a syringe. Tucker disliked having to be force-fed the contents, but it didn’t take long, and he was reluctantly coöperative.

I also had to give my boy his fluids, furthering the assistance rendered to his failing kidneys. He hated this. I would lay out a thick towel on the dining table and, having prepared a syringe, and warmed it a little, place my boy on the towel. Inserting the needle rarely caused a difficulty; it seemed to be the injection of the fluids to which Tucker gave such an ill will. It must have given him an uncomfortable feeling. Nonetheless, he endured it.

Feeding Tucker was a chore in itself, especially as he grew less amenable to the different varieties of nutrition I offered. I would sometimes prepare three or four flavours over the progress of a meal; if he didn’t eat those, I would have a stand-by ready, in the form of cut-up roasted pork or chicken, which he enjoyed. But even of those delicacies he ate not enough, and they don’t contain ingredients that cats need. So I would be ready to feed him whenever he was hungry.

Then there was the company I gave him, or, rather, that we gave each other. This part of my duties I enjoyed thoroughly. But it as well would mean time. Most nights, he would come to bed and work his way up to my head at some point. He would purr while I petted him; during his last few weeks, these demands became more eccentric, but I was happy to oblige. I felt that at no point in the future would I tell anyone that I regretted spending so much time with Tucker. But at night, it kept me awake, and sleeping in was not an option.

Now, I have time. Well, a bit more time. None of what I did for Tucker occupied hours out of my day. But added up, they were a considerable portion of it. As well, when one must perform a series of tasks, each component of which takes up several minutes, and interrupts what other activities one is doing, the opportunity for doing those activities diminishes.

But I did it because Tucker required it for his well-being. I did it because he was my friend. And even while I was doing all that needed to be done, I would rather have been helping my friend than anything else. Because now my friend is gone, and all I have in exchange for that loss is time on my hands.


  1. Oh John, I feel your pain. Tucker required a lot of care, as do all special needs cats. But that said, you loved Tucker, and he loved you too, so giving him the care he required was never a burden. Meanwhile, Tucker will forever remain in your heart, and he will never be forgotten.

  2. You must feel Tuckers absence this week, sad to lose such a special friend.


  3. I recall the same train of thought after Admiral passed away. It had been a very tough time for she too became special needs, and as we all of us do, we take care of them fully. We want to. It's not a duty, it is a thing of love and care.

  4. You did it out of love, even if it sometimes, or often, was a bit of an inconvenience to you in some ways. I know it was not begrudged and that you would prefer to have him with you, taking up that time. I wonder if Tucker would say the same; perhaps he's delighting in no longer being encumbered by an ailing body. I would hold to that thought.

    I, too, remember what it was like after Nicki passed: No twice daily Flovent and umpteen different foods in the hope that he'd do more than nibble at something. No trips to the vet every three months to have his anal glands expressed. I didn't begrudge the time Nicki took, and it was nothing like the time you needed for Tucker, but if I'm being honest, I didn't miss all the effort, either. I missed Nicki, but not the daily challenges, med-wise, with a willful cat.

    I don't know what I will do with Derry, really. He's not as good as Nicki was regarding meds, so I would have to think long and hard about his daily quality of life versus extending that life if he needs a drug cocktail.

    In a perfect world, our fur family would be with us, alive and healthy all through our lives, then pass peacefully in their sleep beside us, as we, too, passed peacefully in our sleep.

    But then, I remember a comment someone left on a cat blog years ago, that all the holes in our hearts are to let the Light in. I guess if we don't have the loss, we don't appreciate the love, either.

    I just wish it wasn't so immeasurably painful to go through, for both ourselves and for our four-legged companions.

    1. I can't begin to express my thoughts this well about you and Tucker. I only add my sympathy for your loss. I know after 9 years, the hole in my life and heart from Seney is not healed.

  5. I didn't realize until Sasha passed, how much time I was spending with him - especially in the last few weeks of his life. But that realization, only meant the pain of his loss was in the forefront of my mind.

    In the weeks that have passed since that day, I've gotten accustomed to the new routine. It doesn't mean I miss him less but thinking of him now is less painful. I hope that will be your experience as well.

  6. I notice this as well, both morning and night, the "time" that seems to be there, what was, isn't, what should be, won't ~~~~ ♥♥♥

  7. The extra time hurts and is unwanted. I remember it so well when Flynn passed. After a while the time gets used up in other ways, but the memories of the caring stay forever.

  8. IT's heartbreaking when a friend leaves, there's really no describing it, but you did justice to the love and the pain.

  9. That emptiness is hard to fill, maybe the excess time can be spent in thought about all the treasures in your memory box right now.

    I had Minko in special needs care for three years, and he was thriving more or less wen he passed very suddenly of a stroke...and I too had the extra time that I wish was still being used by that little rascal kitty of ours. Pipo became special needs, too, but not to the same extent, and for sure not as long.

  10. I'm very upset..and lost for words..
    Unusual for me..l agree with each and
    every comment made up above..!
    At least John you have many photos
    of Tucker, and many happy stories and
    events on this your lovely wonderful Blog...!x

  11. The above comments say it all and I'm at a loss for words. You and Tucker have been on my mind daily. The emptiness in the beginning is so hard to bear but time does dull the pain. I hope 2022 is a better year.
    I would like to comment on your cat food cabinet. You are WELL prepared for anything. I need to do the same for my three rascals.

  12. Poor Tucker, he really did have more than his share of--as my grandmother liked to say--"crosses to bear." And he maintained such a sweet personality through it all. He was so lucky to have a human who loved him and gave him all the special care he needed.

    1. He really was my most purry cat; when he didn’t purr, I knew something was seriously amiss with him. But even at the end, he was purring. He was an optimist.

  13. We understand, John. Our Gracie, in her final years (she lived to be 20) required fluids and special supplements. When she passed, the time we had was like a weight. We would gladly lose that time to have our beloved girl back.

  14. Angel Tucker has left a hole in your schedule in so many ways, but the hole in the heart is most painful.
    Hugs and purrs.