Allow me to introduce you to a few good friends of mine. There is Amelia, a hound/beagle cross who is my biggest fan, Frodo one of the coolest cats on earth and somewhat of a mentor to this housecat, and then there is Claire a cat that seems to live forever.
I have had many pets over the years providing me with unconditional love and companionship, each with their own unique personality and a joy to me. I'm sorry to say, Claire, the cat that just keeps on going like the Energizer Bunny, has not been one of them. Not that she does not have her own charms, small as they may be, but from the day she arrived in my arms, a little calico beauty with more gumption than I could possibly imagine, she has at best been miserable. Claire, along with her brother had been dumped at the side of a country road when a coworker of mine came across them. Her brother had not survived but they brought Claire home and began to nurse her back to life. Knowing I had a penchant for Calico cats, this little fluff ball eventually landed at my house to spend the rest of her life. She was always somewhat on the defensive side and wanted very little to do with human interaction of any kind. But she was awful cute and feisty too! Generally a Good Morning greeting to Claire with any attempt to show affection was reciprocated with a very grumpy "Back off" growl/meow. We learned to just leave her alone. She would rarely go outside (a true housecat) but slept in the sunbeams and be a general curmudgeon around the house. She became quite fat and her beautiful coat of many colours prompted me to nick-name her the big fat geisha. Now I'm not one to give up on an animal so we carried on with her. Pets came and went and after a few sharp scratches soon picked up on the fact that this family member was not interested in playing whatsoever. When she hit about age 12 the Vet pointed out to me she could really use her teeth cleaned. "Naw.." I thought. "I'm not about to spend money cleaning 12-year-old cat teeth. She's not likely to survive another 2 years". About 5 years ago we moved into town and soon Amelia entered out lives. Claire, by all respects an old curmudgeon at this point, was not happy with this floppy eared bouncy puppy so she picked up and moved to the basement and basically stayed there. Many people did not even know we had a calico cat. Every now and then she would stomp up the stairs and meow at me angrily letting me know she needed more food or water and I would comply.
Well here we are; Claire is now pushing 17 years old. She has gotten a lot thinner and actually mellowed out a bit. She now comes upstairs but still lets Amelia know who's boss and she purrs like a nuclear machine contstantly. She will huddle up to us on the couch, probably seeking warmth. There is a warning look in her eye you must be aware of that means she could turn on you and slice you open if you are not careful and she still grumbles and complains. Claire poops and pees and throws up in places I would rather she didn't and every year when it comes time to visit the Vets I consider....should I have her put down? But the family has decided we will see just how long this cat survives. In all respects, other than the fact she moves like a 100+ year old woman, she is still going strong. I never expected that the cat I would own the longest would be the most miserable, grumpiest, unfriendliest thing I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. So for all of you wondering - yes Claire is still alive and kicking. Kudos to Claire - she has shown me the true meaning of tenacity.