What’s going on? How is this possible? My geriatric cat is physically more active, having lost some of his mobility handicaps. Smudge is now officially 16 yeas old. He’s snoozing a lot as to be expected, and had months ago, stopped going outside and playing hide and seek chasey, but then things suddenly changed.
Miraculously, a feline fairy must have sprinkled him with youth serum, and now he’s often hanging out in the garden, catching some sunshine or napping under a bush, and occasionally even doing his business in the soil, rather than using litter. Yay! For a minute, he’s started to play hide and seek chasey again; is pole dancing around his scratching post and sharpening those claws at the same time. Previously, I had taken him a few times to get his ‘ninja’ claws clipped. When he’s up, Smudge is happy following me around and head-butting my calves. His purr factor is getting a workout.
Instead of placing his behind in front of my face or flicking that tail across my nose to get me up, (I suffer from hay fever), he now sits quietly close to my head waiting patiently while I doze. I literally have my own living, furry head-warmer. Sometimes his paw gently touches my cheek, whereas before he’d whack my face. What happened to my delinquent/aging cat?
Constantly effervescent both in personality and his actions—Smudge is always getting into trouble and regularly exasperates me. He still thinks he is ‘Top Cat’.
Years ago after finishing his breakfast and dinner, Smudge used to burn around the house—fuelled with energy that sent his paws into hyperdrive. Now literally lighter after using his litter tray and leaving a lingering door, he races down the hallway and round the house in a state of euphoria.
Every morning he wakes me up for his breakfast constantly pawing my cheek, flicking his tail across my nose, or placing his backside in my face. I spring-up, then zombie-like feed him and stumble back to bed. Later he’ll return and snuggle next to me.
In contrast, it’s been awhile since he has slept on the bed all night because I snore. Or maybe it was when my belly was full of chicken, veggies and a big serve of Jerusalem Artichokes—a winter root vegetable—delicious when roasted.
Unfortunately, the later has a bad effect on me… After eating artichokes my belly swells up like a balloon, full of wind. It was that night Smudge leap on the bed and tried to snooze, but for hours I was burping and banging. In the morning, I wasn’t quite as bloated and he was still there. Apart from getting-up to have breakfast, Smudge remained curled-up like a snail shell for the rest of the day.
Since the artichoke episode, Smudge hasn’t slept over. It’s an excellent deterrent for a cat-free zone, but an unpleasant experience.
However, it’s a way of getting him back for my daily torture.
Smudge doesn’t support equality. The geriatric moggie (15½), follows a ‘Top Cat’ policy and envisages that I will serve him 24/7.
While I’m watching telly he’ll jump up on the couch, make himself comfy, and sit on my lap. I’ll get up to make a cup of tea, but find when I return that he has strategically moved across to my seat in the centre—which is perfect viewing. The fluffball expects me to now sit on either side of him.
The other night I rebelled and pretended to sit on top of him. Smudge didn’t budge, but his ears were flat. I then sat mainly on the seat cushion next to him—filled with foam, it sank down—and partly on the side of his cushion, which also dipped a little. The look I received would have caused a bird to shudder. Immediately, Smudge pulled out a paw from under his chest and leapt off the couch, retreating to the tub chair in the spare room.
A few hours later ready for bed, he jumped on the couch and pawed my arm. Dozing myself, I was being kicked off.
History repeats itself… The next night after getting a cup of tea, I returned to the couch and sat next to Smudge. However, this time, the big mog grudgingly shifted across so I could sit in my prime spot and rested his front paws on my thigh. For a while, I was no longer a slave to the moggie!
It’s hot, my eyes open and focus on the clock. ‘Oh no!’ I’ve slept in courtesy of Smudge waking me at 6.00am and having stayed up till 2.00am this morning. Since I changed his wet food, the big mog is obsessed with his breakfast and tortures me until I get up. (See previous post for methods of torture)!
I stumble out of bed and open a sachet of cat food, placing it in his bowl. Gobbling up three quarters of the fish pieces, there’s no sauce left. I cover the leftovers with plastic wrap and rush to get ready for work. Already on my bed, Smudge makes himself comfy.
The rest of the day it’s difficult to concentrate and others tell me I look terrible.
Last month, I caught-up with a friend who asked why I was so tired. When I told her about Smudge’s obsession with breakfast, she rolled her eyes and told me to close the bedroom door. I did—there was miaowing and scratching from the hallway. He’d then lunge at the door if it wasn’t securely closed, forcing it open…
The other night, Smudge snuggled on the bed with me. The next day I had bags under my eyes and my brain was scrambled. The furball had woken me up at 5.00am. To avoid ninja paws and a suffocating tail, I constantly turned over and ducked under the doona, but to no avail. My tormentor was diligent, showed no mercy, and was enjoying himself.
After being stomped and prodded on this morning, followed by a fluffy tail placed strategically close to my face, I promptly got up. Half an hour later, I find Smudge still lounging on the bed contemplating his day.
He is a paradox—his actions both predictable and unexpected. Sometimes early morning, he will snuggle on the bed making himself comfy. Yesterday, as I rolled over on my side, Smudge bulldozed his way between a gap in the covers beside me. Turning around, he parked his head on the pillow, his body, hidden under the doona. The big mog has always been a connoisseur of comfort. He has numerous beds, his own rug and regularly uses my belly as a makeshift cushion. During winter, he hogs the heater.
Last night before getting ready for bed, I let Smudge out hoping that he’d do his business in the garden. Later, I checked the opened, front door, his usual sleeping spots, and called out his name several times. Ten minutes later, I found him hiding in the kitchen.
I was typing this entry at my desk when Smudge reached up and spiked my thigh. Not happy! As he released his paw, a claw remained caught in my pants. The harder he pulled, the deeper it became embedded in the fabric. While trying to separate us, I slowly slid off the chair, but he kept tugging. I’m embarrassed to say that after dropping my pants, Smudge finally managed to draw his paw free.
According to Smudge, I’m responsible for his care and comfort. Unfortunately, I’m also the constant source of his amusement.
His on again/off again use of the new, house-litter tray—I keep the flap open with a cushion—is exasperating. Lately for entertainment, Smudge deliberately steps inside and churns up the fresh litter before quickly making an exit. Of course, he’s anticipating that I’ll check to see if he’s used the tray again. Cleaning it is not one of my favourite pastimes. ‘Tricked again!’
It’s late, I’m in bed typing on my laptop when he suddenly jumps up and tries to bulldoze his head into the folds of the doona. Finally, after stomping around, he’s curled up at my feet.
Smudge will sit at the front door testing how many times I’ll spend opening and closing the door for him. Or, sprawled across his rug, I’ll toss him a small, rubber ball and immediately he whacks it with his right paw. Airborne, it reaches the dining room, lands near the buffet, bounces and rolls underneath the dining table and chairs. He yawns, as I’m expected to retrieve it. Shouldn’t it be the other way around?
The other morning after his breakfast, he was loitering in the hallway when I sauntered past. Suddenly, he extended his paw and I tripped over. Surprised, I stood up and turned around. ‘Why did you do that for?’
Although sitting upright and looking nonchalant, I detected a glint in his eyes. ‘Gotch ya!’