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.
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!’
It was late and a winter’s night. As usual, Smudge lay sprawled across his rug hogging the heater, while from the couch my snores accompanied T.V. sounds. Suddenly, a thumping noise work me up.
Smudge must have gone to his water bowl, and now limped towards me, his right, front paw curled under. He tried extending his paw again, but quickly retracted it, dropping to his belly. I rushed to his side. Minutes later, he hadn’t advanced further. Smudge didn’t appear to be in constant pain, so I lifted him onto the couch and hoped that he would be okay.
The next day he was walking, but didn’t jump up on anything. I took Smudge to the vet who coaxed him out of the carrier with a few liver treats. The vet found that the big mog couldn’t move his right shoulder as high as the left one, then miraculously he could. Possibly, he had slept on his paw.
Back in the carrier, I lugged the fluff-ball to the car. ‘Expensive treats!’ I exclaimed.
Three days later he’s leaping like an acrobat and been snuggling on the bed. Smudge is now sprinting down the hallway as we play hide and seek. Recently, there was another toilet incident—a trail of droppings inside—even though the back door was open. See ‘Holding On’, February, 2017. Smudge’s excuse: It was a frosty morning.
At almost 15, Smudge’s attitude and good looks defies his age, although his belly hangs low.