My geriatric tuxedo cat is splayed across a pillow on my lap.
This has become the new nightly norm. As soon as I go to work, Bandit insists on climbing over the external hard drives, the mouse, the keyboard and making a claws-extended landing in my lap.
I’ve learned to grab the pillow for protection before sitting down.
It would be adorable if the cat weren’t psycho.
We’re not talking cute little kitty “you so cra-zeeee” psycho. We’re talking full blown dementia.
This is the cat that never wanted to be held, never wanted to be in anyone’s lap, was more frequently feral than domesticated, a loner.
Since his litter brother died last month he’s gone through a complete personality change.
Yesterday evening he took off down the road in a rain storm, past our gate, running full tilt another acre before stopping in the middle of the road, looking around as though he were confused, and then charged into the forest. I came after him, padding down the gravel in my barefeet, reaching into the brambles and lifting him into my arms. All the while he was howling at the top of his lungs.
We never heard more than the faintest peep out of this cat in 13 years. Tonight he’ll sing opera – Wagner. The entire Ring Cycle with three curtain calls. Ben Heppner couldn’t compete with this cat.
I slept with a light on last night hoping it would keep him calm. Tonight we may try Enya on continuous loop.
It’s like having an Alzheimer’s patient in the family. We’re constantly checking to see if he needs to go to the litter box, if he’s eating, where he is. (Is he walking across the silverware on the kitchen counter again?)
Fortunately we don’t need to hide the knives. Yet.
His brother, Joker, faded into another dimension in his last month. He mostly slept, and when he did wake up he was very confused about where he was. Eventually he just kept sleeping.
We worried Bandit wouldn’t make it through the winter two years ago. Then he did great last winter, but is barely more than skin and a skeleton. And a bundle of relentless energy. This cat ain’t drifting into a coma; he’s hopped up on adrenaline.
What do you do for a senile cat?
Clean the mess when he forgets where the litter boxes are. (We have several strategically placed around the house now.)
Let him go outside during the day and hope he doesn’t disappear into the forest when we’re not looking.
Let him sleep in my lap every night while I work at my desk.
It’s always sad when our beloved pets, our family, near the end of their lives. I’m familiar with the obvious signs of organs failing as their bodies wear out.
Insanity is a new experience.
Oh, I hope I don’t finish this way.
P.S. Tonight I’m preparing to release the premiere episode of ARIEL’S GOVERNMENT SECRET. I hope you’ll check it out and subscribe to follow the series this fall.