Both Renn and Neville are doing well. The latter is once again talking as his food is brought to him and sometimes mumbling as he eats; these are good signs. He is putting away a satisfactory amount, though not as much as he had been. That is probably good, too, considering his size and weight. Renn has shown no signs of rejecting his food after it is consumed, and I am preparing to try a new medicine on him that has proven effective with other cats of my acquaintance.
My older cats’ most recent troubles started me thinking about the affinity I have for them. It’s rather like other relationships humans have with other people, with animals, objects and less tangible items. When I was young, I would consider my parents and people of their generation as rather out of touch with current modes. As I myself aged, I have come to realise that they weren’t out of touch, they just had more in common with the past, or, more accurately, with what was contemporaneous with them.
Those with whom we grew up, with whom we lived through the same eras, speak the same language, in terms of slang and idiom; we comprehend the same attitudes, even if we disagree with them; we have experienced the same events, and know the same references. The chances are good that the best - or at least the most vibrant - parts of our lives were earlier, and we are entering that long period of slow bodily decline - though not necessarily of dissatisfaction or sadness - that seems to occupy the greater portion of our physical lives. And we of a generation are entering it together.
Just as did those who came before us, we have a fondness for what we knew and liked, the music, the movies, the clothes. We see the actors we grew up watching at the cinema or on television and, because they were usually already established when we came to know them, we are shocked that they are so old now, or have died. We think that there is no one comparable to replace them. The films and music are of different styles, and not what we enjoyed, so we enjoy those of the present - if we enjoy them at all - less.
I understand my parents much better now - now that I can’t tell them so - and I understand relationships better now. That includes relationships with cats.
I have written about my First Four, the Old Guard, of whom Renn is the last survivor. But Neville is included in a similar group, due to his age. These are the cats who have lived a long time, in cat-lives. They play less, if at all, and sleep more. They move more slowly than they did, and they complain about more. They and I have these traits in common, and so we have a bond that I don’t have with younger cats.
I seem to be able to develop affection for most cats who come to stay with me. There is always something unique about each, and each has its own character that creates affection. Hector and Auric have vitality and energy, and it’s fun watching them play and run; I enjoy their closeness when they snuggle with me, and I am grateful for their trust and affection. It is easy to love them.
But they are not of my generation. That is missing. It may be similar to how one feels about one’s children; there may be no limit to one’s love for them, one may enjoy their company and even revel in it. There is pride and protectiveness and a sense of family. But there is rarely that camaraderie, that fellowship that comes from being of the same generation, a fellowship that need not even be accompanied by friendship; two enemies of the same generation will roll their eyes in unison at the antics of the young.
I suspect that, as the young cats in my care age, they too will fall into ‘my generation’, their shorter lives causing their ages eventually to ‘catch up’ to mine. They will become slower and complain more, and we will have that affinity that I once had with their elders. And together, we will look askance at the silliness of youth. These are the dynamics of generations, how they come and go, and how they understand each other, no matter the species.
I tend to agree with your thoughts, though I must admit I'm not nearly as big a fan of things from the 70's as I once was.ReplyDelete
As for Hector and Auric, your comment that "as the young cats in my care age"....seems to suggest they will be permacats? Or I am I reading something into this that I ought not to?
I always take in foster-cats assuming that they will remain with me. To do otherwise would create in me the impression that they are just guests and might be unconsciously treated differently than mine. That would be unfair to them. Besides, if they are not adopted, there is no adjustment to be made: they would have gone through that long before. Hector is black, so has less of a chance at adoption. Auric hasn’t been advertised yet, but I expect he will have a lot of interest when he is.Delete
So unfair about black cats color. All cats are in my mind, too special and should be loved.Delete
I'm so glad to hear things are going better with Renn and Nev.ReplyDelete
I know what you mean about feeling that certain cats are "my generation," but for me, it doesn't have anything to do with their age. Ernie's my oldest cat--he must be about 16 by now--but I can't think of him as anything other than a goofy little kitten. Faux and Blackie are much younger, but they seem to me more like "my age."
I can understand that. Tucker was both a middle-aged man bordering on old age and the baby of the family. And it sounds like Faux has fit in to the household very well.Delete
I'm surprised how quickly the Fauxster has settled in. He must have had a good home at some point, since once he decided he could trust us, he instantly became the most sweet-natured, purry, affectionate cat in the world. And he's the only cat I've ever lived with who uses his claws on the scratch pads instead of the furniture.Delete
There's that old quote about how smart your parents become when you reach their age.... I see it as simply coming to terms with a novel experience. When I was young myself I would look at my Grandmother and think how old fashion she was, not able to identity that she too had been young once and had ideas probably not that different than my own. Now that I'm a Grandmotherly age, I can see how misinformed I was, that is why teenagers think they have all the answers and parents know they don't. I wish somehow we could transfer that wisdom into our younger selves, but alas that isn't possible. I was thinking the other day since I'm down to two indoor cats, they are both over 10 now and Boo is nearly 18, how am I going to handle a younger cat one day. I'm an old lady just like they are now and we have our ways with one another, I just wonder could I handle an youngster? I doubt it, so if the day comes and we adopt a new cat it will be an older one. Kittens are for the youth.ReplyDelete
Interesting and thought-provoking post, John. For me, I think my connection with my cat(s) has more to do with personality and less to do with their age/our generation. Nicki could have lived to be 20 and he still would have driven me mad with his dominant, bullying personality, and Derry could live to be 20 and always be my baby. But the antics of younger cats, while they would entertain me, also would exhaust me.ReplyDelete
In my life in general I see that I'm doing things at a more leisurely pace. I don't want to say "slowing down," because I CAN move and do quickly if sufficiently motivated, but I find the older I get the more I lack the motivation! When I was younger everything had to be done right away, I walked very quickly, hurried almost everywhere. I was in a rush or at full stop (to literally smell the roses). Far more black and white in my opinions and general outlook. Age and life experience have taught me that most things are shades of grey, and now, as I think more and more about (early?) retirement, I just don't WANT to rush anywhere, go at top speed, and I don't care how much I get done in a day anymore. The bar is set pretty low now, and I'm kinder to myself, more forgiving. I figure if I'm moving forward, it doesn't matter the pace, in every sense. :-)
We share characteristics! I could about say, same here!Delete
I have always "started" with a young cat and they aged slowly it seemed as I aged faster. I'm old enough now that when ever years and years away, I lose Precious, I'm not sure I'll be young enough to take on a young cat. I worry too much about who will take over my responsibility and love of my pet. Always before, I just saw what I hoped would be a long lifetime for me and figured I'd be available for a 20 year cat life. Not so much now.ReplyDelete
Have to reply and say that I will wager we all of us who love our cats, have the same thoughts. I do. I would need to take a senior cat which would be good, should Katie fly away.Delete
Glad to read that Renn and Nevsky are doing well.
Your post was so thought provoking, John. I was 23 when my parents passed away, so in retrospect, I wouldn't consider them old, (especially since I'm now older than they lived to be). But now that I'm "no spring chicken" anymore I do have a different perspective regarding geriatrics. It seems that everyone is getting old but me! I got my first cat after my parents died, and since then all my cats, except for Pete, were kittens when I adopted them, so I had them from kitten-hood to old age. But as Kea noted, I am slowing down a little. Is it due to getting older or is it that I want to stop and smell the roses? I don't know. But as the saying goes, "too soon old, too late smart".ReplyDelete
P.S. To Kea: I can't tell you what to do, but I took an early retirement. It was the best decision I ever made!
how long ago was it that we thought "30" was old; that our parents and grandparents would ask is THAT music, that I now look at people that I "grew up with" and think, oh my cod they are my mom's age.....and.. in my 65th year, I wonder... if I make it to my 85th, how many times I will say; you know, back in "my day" ☺☺ReplyDelete
glad that both renn and neville are fairing well, st francis' blessing to them both, that they stay on the healthy side of the street ♥♥
It's all about becoming part of the family and I'm glad Renn and Neville are doing better.ReplyDelete
That's a deep and thoughtful post, John. I'm so happy that Renn and Neville are doing well. Purrs to you all.ReplyDelete
I have had thoughts of this nature once in a while, esp at the time when I was 51 and undergoing cancer treatment...somehow I had to get my head around this idea that my family might have to go on without me...but God had other Ideas, and now even though I am of retirement age, I still work, albeit part time...and I work with those who mostly are much older than I am!...And I work circles around some who are younger than my sons. Go figure.ReplyDelete
Anyways hubby and also had discussions about if we should get another cat or cats, because we thought at our age they could outlive us.
Glad that Renn and Neville are doing better, that's a good sign.
I am glad Renn and Neville are both doing better.ReplyDelete
Although Eric and Flynn were litter mates I always thought of Eric as the older more sensible big brother. Flynn was the young kittenish one.
Like myself John..You write and speakReplyDelete
from the heart and the soul..your words
are very moving, and as an older Sicilian,
l understand where your coming from...!
We had coffee morning round at Sue's yesterday,
my turn next week, as l sat down, Fudge jumped
up, and settled on my lap, he never settles on
anyone else's lap but mine, as l'm tucking into
sausage rolls and coffee, he looks up from time
to time and mumbles..l'm still here..! A little
scratch around the head and ears, and he's happy..! :).
I enjoyed each word and nuance in your blog today John. As I can see all of us who responded do, as well. There is a sense of family among those of us who rear cats and love them.ReplyDelete
We all of us understand without explanation when another of us writes of these things. And too, I agree with you in your feeling of affinity with your cats. I share that regarding mine, as does everyone else here referencing their own cat family.
Your thoughts regarding aging in both the cats we share our homes with and ourselves is spot on. I feel I could have written a blog much like yours. Strangely, I was thinking along those lines just yesterday!
I had already started my thought process concentrating on one part of pet owning life. How we grow to love our cats; and the places they have in our hearts and lives. I was going to write of that, I still may yet do.
Neville and Renn...WHEW! Be good boys and just stay well!