Last summer, Herb the Magnificent died. He was one of two cats I got as kittens before I met MTG. Keaggy, the surviving, less magnificent cat, is now 17 years old and senile.
He’s also ornery and anti-social. He’s always been ornery. When the cats were young, he would boss Herb around, even though Herb outweighed him by three or four pounds. But when Herb was about four or five, he escaped for an adventure for three days. When he returned, he would not be bossed and things evened out a bit. He has a deep and abiding hatred for the dog, who cowers in fear of the animal a fifth his size.
As for the anti-social bit, I’m his person and he loves me and he’s grown to tolerate the rest of the family. But he will only accept attention on his terms, and certainly not from strangers. He has a passive aggressive way of showing his displeasure, i.e. peeing on any and all belongings left on the floor. (A fact that you think the family would have picked up on by now.) He’s been peeing on MTG’s stuff since they met 16 years ago. If any non-family member comes in the house, he’ll hide till well after they’ve left, and often find something to pee on to express his displeasure at the intrusion.
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Well, he used to hide. Last Tuesday, Little Miss’s cello teacher came over. Not only did Keaggy not hide, but he kept chasing Jack out of the kitchen where I wanted him to stay so as to not interrupt the lesson. He’s also taken to sitting in front of the communal water dish staring at Jack who whines piteously. I have to bodily remove the cat so Jack can get a drink. Whether his new-found courage is just extra belligerence for the dog or realization that he no longer cares, I have no idea.
Other than his belligerent and sometimes weird behavior — he’ll spend half an hour yowling at who knows what — he seems to be in okay health for a 17-year-old cat. He’s shrinking, as old cats do, but he’s still eating and drinking fine. And if he’s a less active, he’s still able to jump onto beds and laps and tables. He’s weirder than ever, but not worryingly so.
And yet I get the feeling that we’re getting close to the end of his journey. Seventeen is old for a cat. I wonder if Herb’s death didn’t affect him more than we know, seeing as his weird jumped exponentially after Herb’s death. I’m preparing myself. I’m sort of preparing the kids, but it’s hard to talk about. I guess the best thing to do is enjoy him while I can. And keep my clothes off the floor.