My Name is Leo

An adored cat deals gracefully with a jaw tumor while his owner quietly falls apart.

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Location: Philadelphia area, Northeast, United States

Sunday, April 02, 2006

I'm the April Fool

I'll blame parenthood. Sometime about 9 years or so, right around the time my oldest child was born, I decided that Leo and his brother Zeke would mark their birthdays on April 1st -- figuring they were born in the beginning of April (exact date unknown) and the Fool's Day thing seemed appropriate considering how often I had made a fool of myself playing with my kitties.

So, yesterday morning my girls and I wished Leo a Happy 13th Birthday. They wanted to know how old he was in people years, so I found a few cat-years-to-people-years converters (try here or here to see for yourself) and learned that being a 13-year-old cat is like being somewhere between 69 - 72 in human years (different sites used different formulas.)

My sweet senior feline - not the April Fool...

The birthday boy didn't seem to be feeling great -- had only eaten half his food the day I decided it was time to call the vet office and get him back on antibiotics.

I mentioned that Clavamox seemed to mess up his appetite, so they gave me Baytril instead. (And after only two doses, his jaw does seem to look smaller.)

But I digress from THE APRIL FOOLS PART -- as I looked at the receipt after leaving the vet, I noted they had Leo's birth-date as 5/93. Now, I had noticed this before, and assumed the office had made a typo entering his birth-date way back in 1996 when I first moved to this area and brought my guys in for their checkups.

But, being Leo's birthday and all, I started to actually do the math...wait...I KNOW I adopted Zeke (Leo's brother) on Father's Day June 1993 -- came back for Leo the next day...and I had always said the guys were six weeks old when I adopted them.

OOOOOH, this would put their birth in the beginning of MAY, not April. But maybe I was mixed up about how old they were when I adopted them?

To make a long story shorter, I dug into my old cat files and found paperwork from when they were kittens -- Leo had a urinary track blockage mid-April 1994 -- and his age is listed on the vet bill as...11 MONTHS. Then I found another old bill that had his birthday as 5/6/93 -- which would have been a guess on my part anyway since I wasn't there to personally cut the cords or whatever, having only heard via Mom-phone that a stray cat had given birth under my grandparents shed (and the rest, as they say, is kitty history...)

Anyway, it all means that my hopes that my fuzzy guy would at least make it to his 13th birthday have not been realized -- not yet anyway.
And you'll have to wait another month for the silly-birthday-hat on the annoyed cat's head photo.

"You'll have to catch me first," says Leo.
(Photo taken today -- looking the rather youthful 12-year-old, isn't he?)


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