I was thinking the other day about how old my cats are, and I realised that they are all middle-aged. It’s true that, according to veterinary science, they are seniors. But science also intimates that there is no Santa Claus, so what does it know?
Josie is going to be fourteen this year. She is thinner than she used to be when I first started calling her my Chubs. Her appetite is nothing like it was when she used to invade other cats’ space for their food, and clean the dish of anyone who didn’t finish their meals. But she also displays affection toward me more openly and, now and then, shows her playful side by making rushes at Cammie, then veering away, just to bother her. Cammie thinks this is not playfulness. I worry about Josie the most because of her diminishing weight and loss of appetite, but according to her recent full examination, she is doing well. She has been with me since Christmas-time of 2008. Josie is like the mild, pink-and-fluffy lady who lives next door to you; quiet, but with a sense of fun that allows her to tease her crabby sister.
Tucker will be thirteen. I know this because he had been with his original family for five years, since he was a kitten, when he was returned. He had been wetting outside the litter-box, due to stress at the arrival of a new baby. He had a few instances of that when he came to live with me in 2010, but he settled in soon enough. He has had much to handle in terms of health, including surgery and his diabetes, and his weight is such that he could lend Josie some pounds. My roly poly sausage’s health concerns aren’t due much to his years, though and he has slipped into middle age without much fuss. He reminds me of a fifty year old man, who comes home from work, has dinner, then falls asleep in his chair watching television.
Cammie, on the other hand, fusses a lot, usually because the other beasts are too near her. She is about thirteen years old, as well. This is an estimate, based on the statement of her previous humans. Her bodily problems, like Tucker’s, have nothing to do with her age; they are caused by diet. Otherwise, she is quite fit, and, though she doesn’t often play with me, she will periodically rocket through the apartment, and enjoys climbing the tallest cat-tree at speed. If I can keep her menu controlled, her silver years should be healthy and comfortable. She puts me in mind of an independent lady who thinks the neighbourhood’s gone down-hill…
Parker, my foster-cat, is a fit eleven years of age. Though he has diabetes, and his dosage of insulin is higher than Tucker’s, this orange boy isn’t letting time slow him down. He charges about when he plays, throwing fuzzy mice about and running this way and that. Not all day, mind you, but when he decides to be active, he is very active. He can leap straight up onto a kitchen counter - while I’m preparing his dinner - and though he is a hefty 19 pounds or so, he carries it well. Imagine one of those stocky forty year old guys who likes to brag, gently, about how he still plays football or hockey with the younger guys. That’s my sturdy boy.
Lastly, there is my youngster, Renn. He was about three when he came to live with me, and is eleven and hale, like Parker, but seems more youthful. He has had hardly any troubles with his well-being, barring a couple of teeth that needed removal, and will continue so, knock on wood. Lean and strong, you can see the muscles in his legs when he climbs or scratches, yet he eats like a runway model exhibiting the new Skeletor collection from Armani. How he stays alive, I don’t know, but he thrives. He’s like a New Age devotee existing on granola and wheat germ, while walking briskly uphill just for fun every day.
While my feline roommates are aging, they are aging gracefully (except maybe for Tucker). There will come a time for each of them when they will grow too old for this Earth, and I will have to say good-bye to them. But for now, I am thankful to see them when I come home from work in the afternoons, thankful when I wake in the mornings, and they wait, with varying degrees of patience, for their breakfasts. I remember Tungsten and Bear-Bear, who didn’t live long enough, and am grateful for each day that is added to my age of cats.