Popular culture depicts crazy cat ladies as feline hoarders—gray-haired women of a certain age with multiple cats far exceeding all zoning laws. But I’ve learned that you can earn this designation based on your devotion to a single animal. I believe I garnered this title when Lino entered my life. I adopted a beautiful, healthy, three-year-old cat. Two years later, I learned he had five diagnosable conditions, two of which could kill him: feline AIDS and a heart condition. I kept Lino alive for two and one-half years after learning of his multiple illnesses. This mostly involved noninvasive procedures and purchasing very expensive cat food as well as plug-in feline pheromones. He eventually had a stroke one peaceful Sunday morning, and I hauled him off to the emergency vet who euthanized him on my lap in less than two hours.
Now I live with three cats, all of whom I adopted in adulthood. The oldest, Simon, was eight years old when he moved into my home. I alternately call the cats the loves of my life and the evil cats from hell, because they are a little of both. If people think of me as a crazy cat lady, it’s fine with me. When we live with chronic illness our health can change suddenly, and we have to grab the good stuff when we can, even if it comes in the form of three furry faces. If I am a crazy cat lady, so be it. Here kitty, kitty!