How High the Cost

6 Mar

Doogie turns 14 this spring.  That seems so impossible, as he came to us as a kitten, only 4-5 months old.  He was a wild thing, as most kittens are.  And a climber.  Oh my, how I had to stay on him constantly to pull him off of anything and everything!


The bad thing about his kitten days is that was when he learned to fear children.  My niece, who is now 15, was only 2 years old when she came over and followed Doogie, thudding behind him with that heavy step toddlers have, giggling and chanting, “Doogie!  Doogie!”  She did absolutely nothing to hurt him, but the experience terrified him, nonetheless.  From then on, he practiced avoidance of all children who entered our home.

I had hope that he’d learn to tolerate Alex.  I remember being up in the middle of the night for feedings when Alex was new, and I’d rock him back to sleep after he ate.  Doogie would come and sit in my lap, snuggled up against the warmth of the baby.  He accepted the presence of this little intruder, despite the noisiness of his cries.

But Alex grew and started to crawl.  Then walk.  And run.  Doogie lives in terror of this little tornado of energy and happy shrieks.  So he spends his days hiding.  This isn’t too horrible, I suppose, as he’s old and sick with kidney disease, which means he sleeps much of the day.  But he does like attention from his people.  However, he refuses to be in the same room with Alex.  I’ve had him come in, see me, get into my lap for a snuggle, then catch sight of the baby and hightail out of there.  *sigh*  He knows Alex’s nap schedule and bed time, so he’s always waiting for me when I come down the stairs after laying Alex in his crib.  He gets his needed attention and plays for a bit, then heads back into hiding when Alex awakens.

Fear comes with a high cost: time with his people.  My heart hurts that this is how his last days will be.  Hiding.  Running away any time he sees the baby.  Not feeling like he has the freedom he used to have.  We simply do our best to let him know he’s still loved and treasured.



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