WHAT THE HELL

Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like

Creature comforts

Nipper

I think we all probably get a bit wistful this time of year. I know I do. Between the often crappy weather and the frenetic pace of things outside my sanctuary, it’s all I can do not to seal myself in the house with headphones and a three-month supply of Tanqueray.

But there are a few things that revive.

We have this 20.5-year-old cat. Nip is her name. Every time I look at her, I say, “Wow.”

We adopted her at the San Francisco animal shelter way back in 1993, when we got our first apartment together. We were young. Nip was too. So young, in fact, that she didn’t exist nine weeks earlier. We were young in the sense that we were to grow older over the next 20 years, which in fact we have done. Our young minds are still residing inside the rapidly aging bodies, though, and we still have this ancient cat, so there’s a nice continuity in all of this.

Nip has been getting colds lately. Her life is coming to its natural conclusion. The vet jazzes her up with a shot of antibiotics every so often, but one of these days it won’t do the trick and she’ll mosey on down the line.

The thirty-somethings who picked that critter from the crowd of kitties that day in ‘93 are still here, in an odd way — memories, running gags, photos, stories.

And for now, Nip is still here too.

13 comments on “Creature comforts

  1. J. S. Collyer
    December 10, 2013

    Oh wow Kevin, she is beautiful. 20 years, that’s amazing. That will be a lot to do with the amazing home you’ve provided her too. They are wonderful companions and I’m glad you’ve got her to comfort you through the winter 🙂

  2. John W. Howell
    December 10, 2013

    Lovely cat. I had to send my Maine Coon over the rainbow bridge and have lovely memories. BTW Tanqueray is my choice as well. I don’t ask for a dry Tanqueray Martini anymore. I just say Tanqueray on the rocks. (Saves a bunch of time)

    • Kevin Brennan
      December 10, 2013

      I’ll have Nip look up Maine Coon when she heads over that bridge…

      • John W. Howell
        December 10, 2013

        Thanks. His name is Cujo and he is a big boy at 22 pounds.

  3. ericjbaker
    December 10, 2013

    Like most felines, she’s got that sassy, superior expression that makes cats so badass and funny. Congrats on a well-lived life, Nip!

    • Kevin Brennan
      December 10, 2013

      She’s definitely badass. She tamed two different dogs, and has pretty much the run of the place.

  4. margaretjeanlangstaff
    December 10, 2013

    This goes straight to my heart. One of my dogs is 19 years old now, toothless, nearly blind and deaf, but rickety as he is, he still has a great appetite and trots everywhere once he can get up and get going. It’s so hard to watch our beloved furry friends get old and know what is around the bend for them, but unfortunately that’s life and I can’t imagine life without loving them unstintingly with all I have while I have them. Bless you, Kev, and Nip!

    • Kevin Brennan
      December 10, 2013

      Thank you, Margaret. It sure is a shame to see them on the decline, but they’re such a joy that taking care of them is the least we can do as they go. Nip is still pretty feisty, though… 😉

  5. margaretjeanlangstaff
    December 10, 2013

    Something about loving, maybe its essence and raison d’etre, that’s redemptive, makes all the pain and worry worthwhile

  6. 1WriteWay
    December 11, 2013

    This choked me up a bit as I’ve had to let go of a few cats in my time. Nip is beautiful and doesn’t look a day over 10 🙂 And she does have that look that says, “I’ll outlive you all.”
    All but one of our cats were strays and near adulthood when they came to us (or we found them). None of them made it to 20, as far as we know. The problem with taking in strays is that you can’t always know how old they are really are. We knew Elodea’s age with certainty because she was born to a litter of a stray my husband’s coworker had taken in. Sadly, she missed her 18th birthday by a month. She was my husband’s baby. Now Luisa is our oldest, but again, she was a stray so we can only say she is at least 18. She’s probably closer to 20, maybe older if she was a student’s cat. She’s still hanging in there with surprisingly few issues.
    All you can do is continue to love Nip, make her as comfortable as possible, ensure that she has a good quality of life until she says enough is enough. Bless you and Sue for being such a great staff for Nip. (You know, cats don’t have owners, they have staff.)

    • Kevin Brennan
      December 11, 2013

      We’re Nip’s staff, eh? I like that. She’s like some pop diva and we’re her doting assistants. Oh yeah, she can be a real bitch sometimes, but when she dishes out the sugar we’re ready and waiting!

      • 1WriteWay
        December 11, 2013

        Our girls are like that too!

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