So after some discourse among family members, it has finally been agreed that the cat is twenty years old this spring. She doesn’t look it. She is a cranky old thing but always has been temperamental – a silent, thoughtful cat who became very skittish while outside. She has, however, lost a lot of hearing and I suspect her eyesight too. The hearing seems gone because I can now sneak up on her when once that was impossible. The eyesight I remain uncertain of but sometimes she doesn’t see the food put down for her until she gets up close, then she darts at it.
Otherwise, she still trots about a lot and noses around where she shouldn’t. You can’t leave a bag on the floor without her instantly getting in. Boxes too. She has become more persistent in getting on people, I’ve noticed. Once she would try but run off if you moved. Now she won’t go away. She is also a lot more dirty than before. Her coat used to be silky smooth. Okay, so it still is pretty good, but giving her a good stroke reveals a lot of bits of dirt in there. She doesn’t clean herself the way she once did. So fussy! Now I have to brush and clean her and she will only put up with that for so long.
The main reason her age is so notable is that for the last two years my parents have declared her a dead cat walking. Twice she has gotten ill and the morbid predictions were made. She wasn’t expected to be around for the last Christmas. Yet she is still going. Shrill when demanding, stubborn when tired, happy when getting the attention she deserves.
I knew she was twenty, I must boast. The reason is that her brother died in 2008 and he was fourteen. He became ill and a week in a vet’s clinic didn’t help, simply created a large bill. We still don’t know why he lost weight and stopped eating. We admitted he was old and so it shouldn’t be too surprising, but as his sister sits curled up on the floor at twenty, he seems to have gone too young for my liking.
Sparky and Suzy. A fat, furry loudmouth who would claw you as he sat on your chest. A silent, staring schemer cat who drooled when happy. I always dreaded losing one cat mainly due to what the other would be like. As it was, Suzy has never seemed to care. I guess that was a blessing. They had stopped being close some time before Sparky’s death. As kittens they would chase and play and curl up together; later in life they would barely be next to each other.
The fascinating thing is how Suzy changed after Sparky’s death. She went from being a cat who rarely meowed to a screamer when demanding food. That had been Sparky’s role. Man, he was loud. Persistent too. He also loved cuddling and being carried about. Suzy hated it. I think she still does but she is too old to resist, although sometimes she seems to happily take the ride.
I miss Sparky a lot. His dumb antics and head rubs. I don’t miss the breathing problems he sometimes provoked in me. Not his fault though. I get issues now and then from all kinds of things. He loved to sleep on things too. Put a hat down and it would be crushed. He was also a spot-picker. Once he found his new place to sleep, he would go there no matter what. He would wait or climb on things if he had to. At one point he slept on the microwave. Another time he found he could jump onto the fridge, so that was where he would go. He knew he wasn’t allowed on those places. He would meow in protest as I picked him up. He would shy away if caught about to go there. But give it five minutes and you would hear something be knocked over as he returned. So stubborn.
Suzy has become like that in her old age. Not as bad and, fortunately, not as athletic any more. She finds spots on the floor or a table. Has to sleep on pieces of paper. Just has to.
Cats are adorable pests. It fascinates me how these creatures have become household tyrants around the world. Dogs, I see the appeal. Cats. Cats just behave like cats. So many cat owners spend half their lives telling their pets off. Even if the cat knew what was being said, we all know they wouldn’t listen.
I do love my cats. I miss that fat idiot. I will miss this weird, erratic critter we now have. I can’t believe Suzy has lived this long. We keep preparing ourselves but she keeps living. She is a right pain sometimes – the other day I nearly fell over her while carrying a box – but she is a full family member. I think she deserves a post to her credit.