I was looking at this path in our yard a couple of nights ago – and wondering how much longer it will be there. This is part of the meandering path that our 17-year-old tomcat takes from the back of our yard to the garage. The garden area where the path ends is about 150 feet straight in front of those cars in the driveway, but the path has always been exactly the same. Our other cat (she is eight) comes straight to the garage in leaps and bounds, but Tom will not be rushed – ever. So he follows his path, one step at a time – and has done that since he was a kitten.
My grandpa used to watch our house when we were on vacation, and even though he knew we had two cats at the time (Tom and his sister, Patches), he only saw one – Tom always comes out to greet (and investigate) anyone who comes to visit.
But I am beginning to wonder how much longer he will be around. Tom has been living on borrowed time (or at least we thought so) ever since he fought off a really nasty bout of toxoplasmosis 14 years ago. I still have visions of watching him go into convulsions and taking him to the vet emergency room in the middle of the night. If cats have nine lives, Tom used up eight of his that night. He always seemed to appreciate my efforts to keep him alive, and even though he is “Ryan’s cat” we have had a bond since.
The past few years, Tom has needed a special diet to keep his weight up. In his younger days, he weighed about 11 pounds – the past few years, about nine. But now he’s down to about six, even though he seems happy and active, and has quite an appetite. The vet says it could be cancer, could be medicine, could be old age. Who knows . . .
I found this shot on my computer – I took it about three years ago. When I saw it, I realized how much Tom has thinned out over the past few months. But he’s tough – and he continues to walk that path.
When I took that picture of the path, I realized that it used to irritate me because it disrupted my well-manicured lawn. But I know there will come a time when I’ll long to see it again. For now, I’ll just appreciate it and what it represents.