Living with an Elderly Feline

Did I tell you we live with two cats? My mom Cathy adores them but they’re totally useless.

Cat #1: Tiger is a fat old tabby. My mom adopted her in spring of 1994 – 14 years ago – from an SPCA shelter in Winnipeg. She thinks Tiger is descended from a long line of Saskatchewan barn cats — big tough tabbies.
Tiger has lived with Cathy in half a dozen cities. She’s flown twice by commercial airlines and survived countless car rides.

Tiger rules the household. Sometimes she goes into my crate and curls up to sleep. She hisses when I try to claim my territory and Cathy has to come mediate our dispute. I don’t mess with Tiger.

Tiger makes her wishes known 24/7. Since we moved here, she’s developed a raucous meow…it’s loud and ugly. I cover my ears. Cathy says, “I remember when I brought Tiger home from the shelter. She was full-grown, allegedly five years old, just separated from her sister. She tucked her head in my arm because she was so scared of everything. She was so quiet I thought I’d got a dud cat. But then, she found her voice…”

Did she ever.

The vet says Tiger seems amazingly healthy for a cat who’s probably 18 or 19 years old. Tiger eats voraciously and jumps up to the counter to eat her food, just like a much younger cat. So I guess I’ll be putting up with her for few more years…which is good, because my mom adores Tiger, yowling and all. She’ll be heartbroken when Tiger disappears for the Great Sandbox in the Sky.

As the resident dog, I do my part. I try to get the cats to play. I steal their catnip toys and chew them up. Do I get thanks? Hah. I get hisses, swots on my nose, and an icy glare from Tiger. Good thing I’ve got a thick skin…and first dibs on Cathy’s bed.

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