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Age Is in the Mind

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Seeing what condition my condition is in

January 22nd 2010 9:14 pm
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Hey, why should the kids get all the fun? We senior cats have something to say, too. Like... uh, what was I saying?

I'm the eldest in my house and believe me it's no picnic. I'm having a nice snooze on my favorite sheepskin bed in the office, and some hyper-adrenalated tween comes gallumphing in on its way to scale the cat tree. Kids, there are levels there. Jump to level 1, move to level 2, then hop up to the top. No need to shred the sisal by taking the vertical route. Oh, and when you both get there at the same time, no need to wrestle for king of the mountain. Some of us are trying to sleep.

Anyway, I am clearly the smartest, coolest and most experienced cat of the household. I have a little trouble making the leap from floor to top of radiator cover these days, but the glucosamine that Mom is slipping into my daily lactulose (she thinks I don't notice?) is helping.

The kids think I'm an old fogey, but let me tell you, when I want to sit on a lap on TV night and someone else is already there, I know how to secure that prized perch. Listen up, kids. People like head bumps. They like purrs. They like (claws in) kneading. Life is not all feather wands and laser lights. You'll learn.


Finally, the recognition I so richly deserve

January 24th 2010 2:55 pm
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In recent days, I have been invited to join some rather special membership organizations.

In recognition of my senior-ness, I have been inducted into the Olde Furts group, where I look forward to exchanging viewpoints with others endowed with the wisdom that comes only with age and experience. I don't expect I'll have to answer any questions like "What's that awful scary noise, Jasper?" It's a vacuum, silly kitten, and you would do well to retire to another room until the pink monkey is done in that one, unless you fancy having that big floofy tail sucked into that long hose.

And then there is the Brilliant Orange Cats Unite group, which Miss Kaci Sunshine was kind enough to introduce me to. Nicely named, that one, considering that we are, for the most part, not only Orange but also Brilliant.

I am feeling rather pleased with myself, indeed. I'm even feeling kindly toward the kids. Perhaps tonight I will magnanimously allow the fluffy white one a small bite of my food. She seems always to be hungry. And I shall clean the ears of the little Viking prince. He's not that bad, after all, and, besides, at 10 months of age he already weighs more than I did at my prime.


A moment of great pride

January 29th 2010 9:19 pm
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I am humbled and gratified that my modest scratchings were selected as a daily diary pick today (well, actually yesterday. It has been a busy day and I am only now getting caught up on my journal).

And I was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from my fellow catizens. I was showered with notes of well-wishing, and gifts from my new friends, like Casey and Aedan, and of course Kaci Sunshine, my sponsor to the BOCA fellowship.

Mom was very proud, but our household celebration had to wait a bit. The little Ragdoll urchin was taken ill overnight. Onyx, the calico, speculated that Vicki was trying to deflect attention from me to her, but I think not. In the first place, the kitten is young and inexperienced, and not devious enough for that. Possibly not even bright enough for that, but let us be charitable.

But it is weekend, and we shall celebrate properly. In the meanwhile, Bear shared his favorite jingle ball with me today. I think he would like me to be his writing coach. That lad does have promise.


Valentine Tag

February 2nd 2010 10:20 pm
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The beautiful and gracious Kaci Sunshine has tagged me Valentine's Day. Now I have to answer these questions:

1. Do you have a valentine?

Alas, I do not, although I know many accomplished and amiable lady cats whom I admire very much.

2. If not, do you wish you did? Is there anyone particular? Or would you rather be single? Why?

It is every mancat's wish, I believe, to be partnered with a gentle lady. They soften us. They complete us. They are to be worshiped and given the very best place in the sunny room, and the finest morsels at mealtime. But I am a cat of some years, and I have responsibilities for my young wards.

3. What's your favorite love song? Who sings it?

"All I Need Is the Air That I Breathe (and to Love You)," the Hollies

4. What would be a perfect Valentines Day for you?

Fortunately, it will be on a Sunday this year. So I will get my human and feline family all together. We will eat and play during the day, and pile onto the couch at night and be content.

Now I tag 5 furriends:

Guido (the Italian Kitty)


The succession game

February 13th 2010 1:42 pm
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I cannot help but notice that my brother Severian is distraught. Sev is a very loving and gentle cat, but given to periods of insecurity, depression and despair.

He seems to dislike rugs, for instance, so we have none. He will even pee on things that resemble rugs, like the Roomba that we got for Christmas from Grammy. (He LOVES Grammy, and surely would not have peed on it had he known it came from her.)

I think he has delusions of grandeur. He has challenged me for alpha cat many times, without success. I am both magnanimous and peace-loving, however, so I do not give him the smack-down. He and I live in relative tranquility -- me knowing I'm top cat, and him thinking he could be if he really wanted to.

But the young Viking seems to disturb him. Sev has taken to picking fights with the Nordic one. Norwegians strive to be neutral, and Bear has been extremely generous in his response. He wants to maintain a placid, loving household.

Mom says we have to work this out, and there is only so much she can do without inadvertently altering the social contract, whatever that means in psycho-social babble. She has been giving Sev extra attention. I suppose that's something the rest of us will have to live with temporarily.


You have all made my day -- in fact the whole week

February 17th 2010 9:24 pm
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I am overwhelmed with your outpouring of congratulations on my diary honor, and your warm well wishes for my brother Sev's happiness. He is such a good cat, really, and we all hate to see him feeling sad. Little Vicki is a great comfort to him -- she likes to share the cushy donut beds with him, even when there isn't enough room for them both. (There's a picture on her page.) He pretends to ignore her, but we all know he loves it.

For all those lovely gifts, I cannot thank you enough. My thanks to the Bush Brothers, my fellow Man Cats at Work (you all look so studly in your hardhats!). Big Harry, you handsome devil. You n' me could be the Blues -- uh, Orange -- Brothers, with matching fedoras. Thank you Aeden, Piewackit, Scooter, Gracy, Casey, Leo, Frank, the whole Carolina Crew, Muppet, Nakita and my new friends Milani, Mei Mei and Tai Xi.

Thank you King Henry, and how are the gums feeling? I have been there, my dear friend, and believe me it feels better to have the bad teeth out! Thank you for the Brussels sprout, my dear friends Kitty Pryde and Indiana, but I have to confess that I chased it for only a bit and then ate it. One of my little idiosyncracies. I like some veggies.

Thank you, Angel Alfie, for my Forever Crown. How I wish I'd known you better before you crossed the bridge. But you will be great friends with my brother Patch there until I join you both one day. And speaking of Patch, I want to thank the lovely Rizza for remembering him as well as me. He was my best, best friend for many years, and a nicer cat could not be found anywhere. I miss him still, as Mom does.


The mantle has been passed

February 20th 2010 2:02 pm
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"In war, the victorious strategist seeks battle only after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat fights first and looks for victory afterward." (Sun Tzu, "The Art of War")

After some weeks of building, the defining battle for alpha cat in this household has been briefly fought and quickly decided.

Severian has been taunting Bear, and Bear has turned aside the gantlet again and again. But this morning, Sev ran up to Bear and gave him the smacky paw, and this time Bear did not turn the other whiskers. Instead, he rose up on his haunches, paws wide and claws out, and hissed loudly. Yes, our quiet, peaceful Norsecat hissed! For the first time ever in this house!

We all widened our eyes, including Sev, who quickly backed off, turned around and ran up the stairs with Bear in hot pursuit. There was a short period of yowling, and then Bear trotted down the stairs again with his usual placid expression.

This afternoon, Sev and Bear approached the same doorway at the same time, and Sev stepped back to let Bear pass through first. Sev did not raise a paw, and Bear did not hiss. There may be some further negotiation over territorial rights to certain parts of the kingdom, but for all intents and purposes it is done.

You wonder, I guess, where this leaves me, who has always been the alpha cat in this household. Well, I could argue that they were actually battling for beta cat, but the truth is, I think I have abdicated to the Viking. He is a worthy successor, and respectful of the elder statesman. Bear never tries to take over my food dish, though he will nose into any other cat's without hesitation. I accept him as our household leader and will become his counsellor. A king so young -- Bear is not yet a year old --needs the benefit of an old cat's wisdom.

And Sev seems actually not to mind so much. Miss Vicki has been consoling him.


To every time, there is a season

February 27th 2010 2:59 pm
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I was reading my friend Ka-zar's diary entry about summer coming to an end in Australia, and it struck me that it has been a very long time since summer came to an end here in New Jersey.

I don't dislike the winter, indeed it has some advantages. The humans stay in more. The radiator covers, which are nice high places to sit any time, become very warm and cozy places to sleep. The dad human also has a red blanket that he plugs in while he watches TV, and it gets all warm and toasty. I love to sleep on his belly then.

But the humans seem not to care for the season. I see them outdoors, using big metal pooper-scoopers to move the snow around. I have no idea why they do that. It seems to make them tired and cranky, and what's the point? New snow soon replaces it, and if they left it alone it would melt of its own accord sooner or later. Two-leggers have many fine qualities, but practicality would not seem to be one of them.

I hear them all the time, wishing it were spring, but it is not a good idea to wish one's life away. That is especially true when one reaches the autumn of it, with winter just ahead. It is best to enjoy each day as it unfolds and each season as it happens. On Mondays, it is not good to wish it were Friday. Who knows what joy might happen on Tuesday or Wednesday that you would miss?

Still, even though I don't wish for it, I will be glad to welcome spring. For many months, we have not been allowed on the porch, where there are big windows with wide shelves perfect for lolling, feeling the soft breeze and hearing the birds sing. In the warm weather, sometimes we get sprigs of fresh catnip plucked from the garden.

That will be good. But meantime, the two-leggers went out today and laid in a fresh supply of food for us. The radiator covers are warm, and tonight dad will plug in the red blanket. It is still all good.


Off to the vet again

March 1st 2010 8:25 pm
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Well, it's time for my quarterly fitness exam on Tuesday. Actually, it was time last Friday, but mom saw on Thursday that the sky was going to be dumping white blobs for a long time, and since it wasn't an emergency, she rescheduled.

She's a bit nervous about what the blood tests might show. I always enjoyed a good meal, and my appetite is still fine, but I can't seem to gain any weight. I lost a bit while eating that prescription kidney diet (yecch! bleah!), but thank goodness we're back to Fancy Feast and Max Cat and Blue Buffalo. It's not like eating out at Maxim's, but certainly tasty enough.

Still drinking heartily and peeing heartily as well (what else would one expect?) Personally, I feel fine. True, I enjoy somewhat longer naps than I used to, but I am of retirement age, after all. Daily lactulose helps immensely with my, um, irregularity issues. And the Dasuquin is making trotting up and down the stairs a little easier. I even chased my tail for a while the other day. Haven't done that in a while. I felt it in the morning.

So I'm not the least bit worried. I've been resting my voice today so as to be in top shape for yowling all the way to the vet's tomorrow.


All clear on the health front

March 3rd 2010 8:09 am
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Blood results are back from Dr. H. My kidney function is stable, thank goodness. And I've gained three ounces! I like to stay on the lean side, but the pink monkeys have been trying to fatten me up a bit. I don't mind the effort. Keep the food and the treats coming!

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