Friday, May 17, 2013

On Aging

I am sitting on the couch with a big, soft and cuddly silver tabby draped lovingly across my lap.  He is purring like the engine of a luxury car and he occasionally flares and kneads his claws in a state of contented bliss.  I take a sip of my warm, rich French Roast coffee and think "Holy shit! I better call the police! Someone has replaced my cat, body snatchers style and put in a replicant. "

To know Spike the Hotness Monster is to know the true independence of a cat.  The idiosyncratic, aloof behavior, the mousing like a madman,  the obsessive need for privacy.  Yes.  Privacy.  Do you know that in the 14 years that we have had this cat, I have seen him do his catly business exactly once. I can't say the same for my kids or my dog.

 As an aside, I can see why he would be protective of his technique.  Let me lay it out for you:

  • First he digs a hole.
  • Then he sticks his head in the hole to see if it is big enough.
  • He makes adjustments to the hole (i believe he is looking for a 2X diameter of his head here).
  • He carefully positions himself on the ledge of the hole, somewhat like Greg Louganis would set for a high dive.
  • He does his thing
  • He buries it with obsessive perfection, almost daring you to ever find the spot again. 
  • He saunters away and assumes nap position in a sunny spot.  Genius, really.
But in all the years that we have filled his bowl and let him in and out of the house, he has never been what you would call "cuddly".  When I personify him and imagine what his human form would be, I usually come up with a vision of a chain smoking European playboy in a slim fitting suit with a skinny black tie who never takes off his sunglasses and drives around in impossibly expensive sports car and never works, yet seems to always have a lot of money.  The European playboy has become my lap cat.

Over the past year we have seen a change in Spike.  The once lush and silvery grey coat now looks raggedy.    He often sits on a kitchen chair and stares at the ceiling, seemingly looking at something that isn't there until he falls asleep sitting up.  But most alarmingly of all, he seems to always want lovin'.  The only explanation that I can come to for this behavior is that he is in his twilight years.

I know that of all the domestic pets, cats are usually graced with the longest lifespan, so its not like I think we need to start singing "Swing Low Sweet Chariot" any time soon.   But I do believe that the Hotness Monster has gone into retirement and in his head and he is reclining poolside in the Riviera in a speedo that only he could pull off, flirting with the waitress that brings his refreshments and never taking off his sunglasses.  And that's OK.

On the kitchen chair where he ponders the universe

Up close and personal





8 Your comments, banter and witty repartee:

Lin said...

Hmmmm...is he just that way with you? Or everyone in the family?

My Grace is nearing 8000 years old and I find that she is attached to my hip after years of aloofness. She may let my daughter pet her now and then, but it is usually only if I'm right there and it's as if she feels guilty snubbing the kid with me there to witness.

How old is the Hotness Monster now? Or is it rude to ask? (I don't want to offend Spike, you know)

He is looking good though....I have missed him.

Diary of a Mad Bathroom said...

14 years old Lin. It went by in a blink. He is more affectionate with everyone. I guess he's just gone from badass to oldass. He is a weird old dude, but we completely love his brand of crazy.

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The Empress said...

It's amazing how MUCH you can love a pet. I remember, over 25 years ago, when our dog Coco, who was only seven, only seven, passed away from cancer. It was so sad and the seven years we had her felt like only one puppy year.

I know he feels your love for him.

Diary of a Mad Bathroom said...

Empress - so sorry about your pup. Same thing recently happened to a friend 's dog.

I think/hope we have my strange and wonderful cat for a few more years.

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