A year and a half ago, we realized that if we were going to fulfill our dream of traveling fulltime, we needed to get on with it. And at age 18, Spotty was coming with us.
We were astounded at how readily she adapted to life on the road. She loved looking out the window of the truck, and then settled down with her head in my lap as we traveled. She quickly staked out her favorite place in the trailer—the window seat behind the dinette—where she had a great view of the outdoors.
Spotty did not travel lightly. She had a big thick leopard blanket on the window seat, a heated pet bed, a litter box, food and water bowls, litter, and at least a month’s supply of cat food. We wanted to make sure that she always had her preferred brand, Spot’s Stew. The stinkiest seafood variety, of course. It took us all a couple of months to settle into living together in close quarters, but we figured it out, and we were amazed at her adaptability and resilience.
Spotty loved going outside to explore when we arrived at a new location. Despite her advanced years and creaky joints, she cruised around our campsites in the desert, on the beach, and in the forest. Given that she couldn’t move quickly, we found we didn’t need a leash. Most of the time, of course, she spent sleeping. But she always greeted us with an enthusiastic “Ma-row!” when we walked in the door and she turned on her purr motor at every opportunity. Having Spotty with us made our trailer feel like home.
Not long into our travels, Spotty began to need daily injections of subcutaneous fluids because her kidneys weren’t functioning well (a typical malady of older cats). A few months ago, we added EPO injections to boost her red blood cell count. And then added antibiotic shots every 10 days to combat the tooth infections that also often plague older cats.
It was a lot of care. It was hard at times, especially traveling and living in such a small space. And it was worth it. Despite her decreasing abilities to get around, Spotty continued to have a good quality of life. As our vet told us, “If Spotty could talk, she would tell you how grateful she is.” Just seeing the spark of light in her eyes, hearing her purr, and having her reach out with her paw to draw us close was enough.
On Wednesday we knew that she was failing, and that there was no hope of recovery this time. She stopped eating and drinking, and all of her body systems were shutting down. Our vet came to us and we held her gently while he administered the sedative and anesthetic that helped her leave this life at age 19-and-a-half. We wrapped her in her favorite blanket and had a little ceremony by candlelight where through many tears, we talked of all that we loved and appreciated about her. We buried her next to the pond on the land of our dear friends Ted and Katherine, close to where we park our trailer and with a beautiful view of the mountains.
We keep reminding ourselves that Spotty lived a long and adventurous life. But there’s a big empty space in our trailer and in our hearts that was occupied by that little black kitty with the beautiful green eyes and the big personality. We miss her terribly.[portfolio_slideshow]