Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Beyond Geriatric

Okay, so cats are supposedly "senior" by between ages 9-12, and "geriatric" by age 14. So what would you call one who's now 23? Super-geriatric? Tenacious? Determined?

That would be my little Vixen, whose birthday we celebrate this month, when she first came to live with me 22 years ago! That's her pictured on the fake Cat Fancy cover (which I created at; very fun site!). She's always had a habit of crossing her front paws, so ladylike. It always makes me smile to see her do it.

Vixen has a lot of the symptoms of aging; her knees bother her, her heart races sometimes, she can't hear at all, doesn't see as well, and her sense of smell isn't as sharp as it used to be. She gets cold more often, and no longer jumps up on anything. There aren't as many teeth in her mouth as there used to be. Her voice has dropped down from the sweet, soft little "meows" she used to emit into a gravelly, old-lady yowl, sort of like the chain-smoking aunties on The Simpsons. She gets grumpy when she's hungry. (We old maid cat ladies can relate to that one!)

But she's also much wiser in her old age. Every morning, if she wakes up before I do, she walks by to see if I'm awake yet. If I seem to be asleep, she'll quietly move on, eating some crunchies or going to the potty. Then she'll sit next to her heater and check on me every few minutes until I awaken. After a quick little "Aaar" greeting from the floor (her way of saying "hey"), she wants to come up and have some cuddle time with me, followed closely by her first of several breakfasts.

Cuddle time is much more important to Vixen these days. She'd told pet psychic Laura Stinchfield that she thinks we should spend some time together every day, "thinking good thoughts." The types of thoughts she described sounded an awful lot like the positive visualization that's hyped by motivational speakers. See what I mean? She's a wise little lady.

And so we both continue, her into the twilight of her life as I venture boldly forth in my middle age. We're both thankful for every day, both a little apprehensive about what the future may bring. But we still have each other, a roof over our head, and good food on the table. As she regularly reminds me, what more do we really need? We are rich, indeed.

Little Vixen was the inspiration for the Senior Cats section of If you have a kitty who's getting up in age and needs a little help every now and then, you may find just the things there to help.

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