aging cat is a hassle

My Mom Cathy has been distracted by our elderly roommate, Tiger, which takes attention away from me. No way to treat a princess.

See, Cathy is supposed to be giving Tiger fluids. So far she managed to stick herself with the needle. She immediately went to her online support group. Apparently there is a HUGE group of people taking care of cats with kidney disease. As soon as she posted she got half a dozen awesome responses.

“Not to worry. We’ve all done it. Just keep the area clean.”

Sigh. Saturday afternoon is no time for a scare.

I’m angling for a fast walk to the Dog Park.

More about my elderly feline roommate

Tiger went to the vet yesterday. My mom returned looking grim. She has to give Tiger fluids. The poor cat is dehydrated.

“I think Tiger has lost her sense of smell, not her appetite,” Mom said. “She’s even backing away from the tuna fish. But she’s very interested in what’s on her plate…and my plate, too.

“Tiger just looks like, ‘I’m hungry! This looks good so I’ll sniff….Oh no! Why are you serving me gravel?'”

Apparently cats use their sense of smell to decide if food is edible. Once it’s gone, they have no clue.

But she will be happy to be proven wrong, if a newly hydrated Tiger starts eating again.

I will be on my best behavior, knowing Cathy has so much going on. But hey, I’m a dog, not a saint. There is a patron saint of dogs but no saintly dogs as far as I know.

So I hope my mom Cathy hides the chewables. And I suspect we’re in for lots of walks while mom is feeling stressed.

Who’s Top Dog In This Household?

What’s wrong with this picture? That’s a 19-year old cat, sitting on her old cushion, looking smug. It’s Tiger, the Queen of our household. cat as top dog

Sometimes I try to play with her. She’s such a grump! She just swats me with her paw and yowls tha raspy meow. Since she’s old, she’s fussier about everything.

My mom ordered a couple of cases of canned food because Tiger won’t eat dry food anymore. I think she’s lost her sense of smell.

Cathy adores Tiger. They’ve been together since spring of 1994. More than some people have been married.

Tiger used to sleep next to Mom’s pillow. Now she prefers to sleep in the closet. But during the day, she likes to sit near my mom.

When my mom works on her laptop on the couch, Tiger sleeps on the armrest next to her. When my mom eats a snack (a lot more often than she should, but don’t tell her I said that), Tiger tries to share.

“When I get old, I want someone to spoil me,” Mom says. “So I’ll spoil Tiger as much as I can.”

How about spoiling me too, Mom? I’m bigger. Double the karma.

Birkenstocks bring back memories…

Yesterday I blogged about Mom’s defeat (or should I say de-feet) by a blister induced by an over-zealous pair of running shoes.

Today my mom’s Birkenstocks are getting into the act and rubbing against her toes.

My mom Cathy has very bad shoe karma. That’s probably why I’ll never wear booties, unless I become an Alaskan sled dog. With a mom who takes cover at the sight of a single snowflake, that scenario is not likely.But the Birkies brought back memories, she was telling someone on the phone.

“People used to think I was a hippie,” she said. “I was never a hippie. Back then I wore make-up and dress shoes.”

That’s hard to believe. But I do believe she never did drugs. In this house, all the prescriptions have my name on them.

The only drug in our house is catnip. My mom loves to say that.

“Back in the 1980s, I was living in San Francisco and going to grad school,” she was reminiscing. “I was in one of those funky studio apartments in between the Tenderloin and Pacific Heights. One day I hired a handyman (recommended by our building manager) to put up screens for the cats and add a shelf. As he leaving, he said, ‘Oh, I found your stash.'”

I just imagine my mom freaking out, even back then. She was terrified some former tenant had left a pile of drugs and would either come back for them or send over the narc squad.

So I am not surprised to hear she demanded, “Show me.”

And then…

“Ohmygod…you smoked the catnip!”

The handyman (who had a very colorful past involving all sorts of things that would be considered edgy even in SF) turned bright red. He said, “Well, it wasn’t a very good high. But please don’t tell anybody.”

Of course my mom told everybody, but they didn’t run in the same circles, so it was no big deal.

Frankly, I’m surprised my mom didn’t demand a replacement for the smoked catnip. At that time she had just one cat, Kitty, a sweet but rather neurotic calico whose size earned her the “Goodyear” nickname.

How do you explain to your cat, “Your weekly fix has just gone up in smoke?”

Life is hard when you’re a CUPPIE

Being a CUPPIE -a Canine Urban Princess – can be tough. Whenever my mom Cathy gets frustrated with anything, she takes me out for a walk and she gets frustrated a lot these days. I have to rouse myself from my cushion just because she needs a break.

And then whenever she meets somebody, I have to go along so Cathy can show me off. On Tuesday she decided to meet her friend, my Uncle Lance (he’s big into privacy so she can’t use his real name…gimme a break). My job was to give Uncle Lance a canine experience, since he lives in a no-dog apartment building. (Shouldn’t species discrimination be illegal?) I had to let him hold my leash and deal with all the people who wallked by and said, “Ooh, she’s so cute.”

We ended up walking over a mile. I voted for the bus but Cathy decided we need the exercise. Hah.

And then yesterday, my Aunt Sara took me for my weekly outing to Magnuson Park. I ran and ran. I played with Bailey, Violet and all my other dog friends.

My mom should be exhausted too. When her Wednesday evening class was cancelled at the gym, she booked a session with the trainer so she can work the machines. She got into some new muscle groups, she moaned as she curled up on the couch.

But no. “After today’s teleseminar,” she said to me, “we should enjoy this beautiful sunny weather.”

Uh oh. My royal calendar had marked the afternoon for a Long Hard Nap.

Being a Princess means being on call 24/7. Maybe somewhere there’s a Canine Urban Queen who gets to say, “No thank you.”

Me? I can’t even get into my own crate. Tiger the tabby cat has invaded my territory. She may be over 90 in human years but her strong right paw still packs a mean punch across my nose.

Cats are so dumb…

…and I nominate Creampuff as our very own candidate for Feline Airhead of the Year.

We have a small laundry room in our apartment. My mom keeps the dog food and cat food there. When she goes in to scoop up my daily ration, Creampuff races inside and hides behind the washing machine. Cathy turns out the light and leaves, closing the door. One minute later, she opens the door…and there’s Creampuff, waiting to jump out. You’d think we’d forced her to go in there.

Occasionally Creampuff doesn’t come out and then my mom forgets…until we hear yowls coming from behind a closed door.

But here’s the mystery. Hasn’t that cat caught on yet? What does she expect to find behind the washing machine: A rare treat? A juicy mouse? A secret door to the outside world?

To be fair, Creampuff really wanted to be an outdoor cat. But she got dumped at a shelter in New Mexico and nobody wanted her. Talk about age discrimination. A two-year-old cat is over the hill.

So when Cathy turned up, the shelter staff begged, “Please take her. She’s been here 3 whole months. So you know she’s flexible.”

Since when was flexibility a valued character trait in a cat? Needless to say, Cathy didn’t probe too deeply. She thought Creampuff was adorable.

Hey, don’t blame me. I wasn’t there. In fact, I wasn’t born yet.

Hmmm….humans have tasteless “dumb blond” jokes. So I’m going to ask my canine friends at the Dog Lounge, “Hey, did you hear the one about the calico cat who …” Works for me.

So the pope likes cats…big fat hairy deal.

Yesterday’s New York Times reported that Pope Benedict is a cat-lover…a “soul-mate” to cats, they say. Read the story here.

According to the Times, Popes have enjoyed a special affinity with cats over the years:

“Pope Paul II, in the 15th century, had his cats treated by his personal physician. Leo XII, in the 1820s, raised his grayish-red cat, Micetto, in the pleat of his cassock. And according to The Times of London, Paul VI, pope from 1963 to 1978, is said to have once dressed his cat in cardinal’s robes.”

A cat dressed in cardinal’s robes? Those guys need to get a life.

Sure, it’s nice to know that the tough-minded Cardinal Ratzinger took care of cats in the gardens of his Congregation and even bandaged their wounds. But…wounds? What were those cats fighting about? Could a little spay-and-neuter clinic be the answer? Please tell me it’s not against the Pope’s religion to … um…fix the situation.

Anyway, if the current Pope wants a little souvenir to take back to the Vatican, I’ll make the supreme sacrifice. He can have our two spoiled felines…either or both.

There would be only one downside, as far as I’m concerned. Our cats like to eat on the floor, especially our fat old tabby. Jumping up to the counter, out of my reach, gets harder as we age. So Cathy leaves a food plate on the floor when we go out.

If I’m lucky, she forgets to pick it up when we return. So I get to sneak a delicious snack. I always look very smug when this happens.

Other than that, who needs them? They take over my dog beds. They run away when I try to play. Or they even swat my nose. Cats do not understand the concept of living in community.

cat sitting on backpack

A one-way ticket to Italy…perfect.

Here’s my candidate for deportation, sitting on top of Cathy’s backpack. She looks so innocent… but don’t be fooled. Those little paws can do a lot of damage.