Monday, December 10, 2007

The old yellow cat, he ain't what he used to be

This cat of ours is getting kind of old. And crotchety. And demanding.

Sam used to be a low-maintenance pet. I found him at the pound in Erie, he ate whatever I fed him, whenever he felt like it (he always had dry food in a bowl), and he slept a lot and basically liked being left alone most of the time. He was, in fact, an ideal pet for a lazy, busy person who isn’t home a lot—which I was for many years. (I’m still lazy.)

Then he had that issue with his parts, and he couldn’t pee: he was a “plugged tom” (although his parts were altered long before I ever got him, and he’s no tomcat, I know). I rushed him to the vet and they unplugged him and assigned him to special, low-ash dry food that could only be purchased at the vet’s, for a small fortune. Of course, I paid for it. He was my baby. I didn’t want him to get re-plugged and die. It was a small price, really, for my best friend.

And then the plugged thing happened again, more recently (after Todd had entered my life), and we suffered through waiting at the vet’s for the doctors to do their work, wincing each time we heard Sam’s pained cries through the thin walls; it was awful. To make it worse, I was pregnant at the time, so I was a bit of a wreck to begin with. The vets managed to work their magic again, and this time we were scolded for feeding him dry food (huh?) and told that for the remainder of his life, he’d need to be on special vet-purchased wet food, which just happens to be—say it with me, now—even more expensive. To make it worse, we learned that the cat was overweight, so we'd need to start feeding him small amounts twice each day.

He never lets us forget his meal time. Groan.

I purchased that silly vet-approved food, for a short time. Then I found out that Frisky’s offers a competitive type of food, available at supermarkets, for much less money. So, I figured that would be a livable compromise: Sam still gets the wet food, and I can still afford to feed my husband and kid, too.

Then, the puking began happening a short time after the kiddo was born, which makes it awfully hard to determine whether the cat really has developed digestive issues, or is simply suffering from jealousy issues. He does seem to get sick more often when his hair is long… hence the stupid, pricey haircuts he gets 2 or 3 times each year. Which is what leads me to write this post: I was awakened shortly after 5:00am this morning by the lovely echoes of cat regurgitation. And he just had a haircut last week, as you all know from that silly picture I shared with you in a recent post.

So, maybe it’s just the under-layer of fluffy, loose hair that’s making him sick. Or perhaps, just perhaps, he enjoys watching one of us come hurtling out of our bedroom, half asleep, muttering oaths under our breath as we turn on lights and frantically search for the nasty spot on the rug, or furniture, or steps… I wouldn’t put it past him. He’s never forgiven us for bringing someone else into the little love triangle we had going on.

Worst of all, he wants attention now—all the time. He’ll still disappear for hours, but it’s only after he’s begged for a lap, meowed ceaselessly for more food at an unassigned time, rubbed incessantly against the nearest ankle, been chased by the boy only to return for more punishment, and has generally gotten underfoot several times, especially in the kitchen when I’m moving boiling hot items. Then I yell, or nudge him with a foot, or he tires of being tormented by the small person, and he retreats to hidden places.

And I feel sad that his world has been forever turned upside down. But mostly, I feel annoyed. And then guilty. And then disgusted at my own sappy nature—because honestly, if I hadn’t taken him from that shelter in the first place, he may not even be alive now. He gets healthy food, and a warm home, and haircuts that cost more than mine, and plenty of soft cozy places to sleep. And I remind myself that he is, after all, a beast. MY beast, yes, but a beast nonetheless. Sorry, animal lovers. Kids change everything.


Cari Skuse said...

I know what you mean about aging animals. Millie is still with us (along with Max--he's a year and 4 months and acts like it). She has some real interesting habits. When it rains she goes into a tizzy because that means it might storm (and leaves us a unwanted present). She can't go outside when it rains either for the same reason. If it does thunder, she runs around the house. Pukes for no reason and sleeps in the most inappropriate places.

We still miss Buck and Cap!

Mel said...

Yep, the animals definitely get more weird as they get older. And some of them age infinitely better than others. (Like people, I guess...) My sister and her hub have had German shepherds, and they seem to be always extra-sensitive to the weather. Sam is clueless, unless it's really really thundering, and he doesn't go out at all so the weather has no impact that way. But man, he drives me batty sometimes.

(Saw the other comment re: kids rising at the crack of dawn--what the heck? Those boys need to sleep in!!!)