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Jill Nicholson 11/22/2005 Descriptive Essay

I have a cat, Leonard, and I love him dearly. The problem is that heís not the same as he used to be. Most cats live to be about 11 or 12. Sometimes youíll hear of a fourteen-year-old cat. Leonard? Heís really old. He was born in 1988, so Leonard is now 17óalmost 18. According to an age chart from my veterinarian, Leonard is equal to about 112 in human years. Thatís ancient!

My mother used to call Leonard handsome, but now she says he looks like a cartoon of an old, sick stray cat. He is very skinny; in fact, you can see his ribs and hip bones poking out under his skin. Yes, you could call him bony or even skeletalónot the fat, soft fuzzy guy I knew so long ago. Moreover, he has ratty fur which is thin in places, and he doesnít keep it neat like when he was younger. He doesnít have much fur on his feet, either. There are bald spots around his ankles where itís all worn off. Also, Leonard used to be shiny, silky black. Now heís got white hair around his mouth and nose, and all over his body. He looks like a little old man; a skinny, frail, fragile old man.

He also behaves like an old man. He just wants to sleep and sit near the heat. Heís not very active anymore, and he has no interest in playing and running. He doesnít even care about birds and mice anymore. When Iím home, he is always with me. He cries until I sit down, then he just sits on my lap. Thatís all he wantsóto sit on my lap and be warm. Even more than that, he likes to be in a warm bed. I wake up often in the middle of the night to find Leonard fighting to get under the blankets. Once inside, he snuggles next to me and purrs until he falls asleep. Although heís been doing this nightly routine for sixteen years, he seems to enjoy it more than ever now. I think he must sleep 20 hours or more a day.

The saddest thing for me is that Leonardís body functions like a very, very old manís. He moves very slowly. It takes him a long time to sit down. Sometimes he has no interest in his food, and often when he eats, it makes him sick, so he throws up. He also isnít as neat as he used to be with his kitty litter. I think thatís because he doesnít have total control over his old body anymore. Itís giving up on him, and thereís not much he or I can do about it, except clean the flooróa lot.

I donít know how much longer Leonard will live. It doesnít matter if he is old if he is happy and comfortable, but Iím afraid he might not be for long. I donít care if he looks old if he feels good, but he is more and more often appearing to have health problems, especially with his digestion. I donít know what to do about Leonard. He has had a long, happy life, but I may have to make a very difficult decision soon.

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