Sugar turns twenty

This is a bulletin for Sugar’s distributed fan club, the hackers and sword geeks and other assorted riff-raff who have guested in our commodious basement. The rest of you can go about your business.

According to the vet’s paperwork, our cat Sugar turned 20 yesterday. (Actually, the vet thinks she may be 19, but that would have required her to be only 6 months old when we got her which we strongly doubt – she would have had to have been exceptionally large and physically mature for a kitten that age, which seems especially unlikely because her growth didn’t top out until a couple of years later.)

Even 19 would be an achievement for any cat – average lifespan for a neutered female is about 15, and five years longer is like a human hitting the century mark. It’s especially remarkable since this cat was supposed to be dead of acute nephritis sixteen months ago. Instead, she’s so healthy that we’ve been letting the interval between subcutaneous hydrations slip a little without seeing any recurrence of the symptoms we learned to associate with her kidney troubles (night yowling, disorientation, poor appetite).

We’re trying not to let our hopes about Sugar’s continued lifespan rise too high, but she’s making it difficult not to be optimistic. She does not look or act like a doddering relic. She is cheerful, active, and bright-eyed – more so than many cats half her age, if the truth be known. Some days her arthritis makes the basement stairs a little difficult, but not most days – and that’s still about the only obvious sign that she’s geriatric for a cat. Her amiable disposition, exceptional sociability and ability to charm humans have diminished not at all.

This is an occasion for quiet celebration. Go, I say to you, find a friendly cat and make nice at it. And hope with us that Sugar keeps beating the odds.

Eric S. Raymond