Archive for November 23rd, 2009

Assisted living facility

Well, I know I have mentioned previously that my aged cat Smokey is having health issues.   He is definitely in his geriatric period, he will be 18 years old in March.   If I had to describe what was going on for him, the easiest metaphor is that he is an aging warrior whose battle wounds are paining him.   I call this shot of his ear “You should have seen the other guy.”

That, and he appears to have some sort of dementia.  He honestly looks sometimes like he totally does not know where he is when he walks into a new room.   He REALLY hates it if you rearrange the furniture.  He reminds me of Mr Tiddles in Terry Pratchett’s “Going Postal”.

(Excuse me, sir,  it’s 11:43. . .)

Right now, he loves sitting in front of the fire, and a measure of how age has mellowed him is reflected in this photograph, where he is sharing the warm spot with Ruby.  He has gotten very thin, but Jim points out that very old men are often awfully thin.

Notice that Ruby is not completely comfortable with Smokey.   He may have mellowed somewhat but he will still take a notion into his head that Ruby is a Dog and therefore in Need of Correction, and smack her (he does not pull his punches either, it is always with all claws out) just on General Principles.

He has always had chairs that were “His, by God,” and will come and sit in the living room and fix an interloper with a pained expression if they are so gauche as to sit in the leather chair that he has staked out as his own since the day we moved it in here.   When I am in the family room where the love seat is, he has always liked to sit at the other end of it from me (which is as close as Smokey has ever come to “sharing” a seat with anyone).    However, lately he has decided that he would prefer to sit at the end where I always sit.    I’m not sure why.  Maybe because it is closer to the water bowl.  Anyway, I can move to the other end of the couch and do.   I don’t care.

He has certainly not lost his ability to look pained if someone is in a chair he feels he needs to sit in.

He is not blind, or deaf, it’s just that some of the joints that got bashed around when he was duking it out with the neighborhood “Gang Cats” are stiff and get sore.  He has no kidney problems, in fact I would hazard the statement that possibly his kidneys are just a little too good.  He really takes it amiss if he has used the cat box and no-one has scooped the result out before he needs to use it again.   Sometimes he takes it so amiss that he just can’t bring himself to actually get into the foul box, and so he will pee on the floor.   This only happens if we are home and therefore “should” have taken care of the situation.  If we are out of the house he will use the box even if it is besmirched.

He has developed what I will choose to refer to as “Problems” with his bowel control.   If he walks around after he has been lying about all afternoon, and especially if he has gone and used the facilities, this activity will stimulate his bowels, and unfortunately for me and my white hall carpet, that is usually where the movement assails him and he pretty much has to stop and make a deposit right then and there.   This actually embarrasses him, but I just clean up the little specks of shit and tell him it is okay.

I have figured out that even though it takes a lot of effort for him, he feels much better if he gets some regular exercise, so I regularly carry him out to the pond, a spot he has always loved because of the bird and fish watching opportunities it provides.  Then I put him down and he is required to walk back to the house on his own.  This always results in a stop to mark spots that the young Turks of the neighborhood have peed on, and he also usually winds up having a bowel movement too.   This is great for me and the hall carpet.

He has gotten very finicky about food too, extremely moody.   A variety that was “Creme de la creme” five days ago is the most worthless shit today, and vice versa.   I have gotten rather bitchy about the situation, being as how I can’t afford to be throwing perfectly good cat food away just because today Smokey has decided he just can’t eat it.   For a while when he started being finicky I thought his teeth were bothering him, but then he showed up with a baby rabbit and proceeded to eat about 75% of it, crunch crunch.   So I figured there was nothing wrong with his teeth.

Walking back from the pond seems to stimulate his appetite too.

So here we are at The Havens, where basically we have become an Assisted Living Facility for Smokey, making sure he has nutritious meals, a warm fire to sleep by, regular exercise, fresh water, cleaning up the unavoidable messes.   I give him baths with a damp towel because he doesn’t really get behind his ears very well any more, and under his arms is right out.   Then we brush him with the slicker brush, and he hates it to death the way he always has.  Afterwards, if she doesn’t lie low Ruby will often get smacked as he goes by just because of the load of ire he is carrying.   Then he feels bad and will come back to try to make up with her, and Ruby just gives him the “I don’t trust you, you are Mean” look.

But he’s so handsome.

Not sweet.   Just good looking.  He reminds me of Donald Mills:  he’s the Crabby Old Fart incarnate in feline form.   I can just hear him:  “Damned young whippersnappers. . .”

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