This is my life now. Never mind I have a busy full-time job, an active secondary writing career, a human family, and a home. Never mind all that.
The complete and entire focus of every free waking minute is caring for and feeding an 18-year-old blind, demented, toothless, deaf, arthritic feline.
About three months ago, Fala was diagnosed with pancreatitis. And the vet recommended a switch to wet food. That was a difficult change for the Gray Prince, who loves his “crunchy fish” as we deem his Acana Pacifica food. Despite having only two teeth, he manages to crunch it from his little red cartoon mousie-covered bowl.
Our kitty sitter, Nan, suggested the Pacifica after she learned we were feeding him bowls of Friskies Original Party Mix. Offering this high fat snack is the equivalent of feeding your two-year-old child Cheetos for three meals a day. Salt and fat are yummy. Are they good for old kitties? That’s a resounding no.
Since the vet changed Fala to wet food, we’ve been feeding him Lil’ Friskies chicken with gravy (he favors chicken. In younger years, he stealthfully stole the chicken from a plate). He’s been licking the sauce off and leaving the rest. This behavior cannot continue, or he’ll die. Last night I went on a buying spree at our local pet food store. The clerk told me they have food for senior cats, but none of them work for a toothless old Tom. She suggested I check out the gourmet food, as well as the kitten chow. The clerk also instructed me to look for cans with the labels, “pate”, and “minced” and “kitten”. I bought fourteen cans (mostly gourmet labels, so my total was about $341.)
Sure, he’s worth it. There’s constant midnight cater walling, hairballs on a newly washed bedspread, puking on my rug daily, and his timely and odiferous evening constitutional 10 feet from us during “Wheel of Fortune”. Who wouldn’t want to care for a kitty like this one?
There is this one tiny payoff. His Majesty cuddles up between us each weeknight as we watch “Perry Mason.” And he purrs and acts as he likes us. A lot.
This morning the Potentate of Pussycats limped to the kitchen for breakfast, “Super Premium Fussy Cat Grain Free Chicken with Egg Formula in Gravy.” Herman put out the food and immediately the Czar of Catdom started eating. We decided to leave him alone for the first course. He acts an adolescent; any encouragement means he’ll eschew instead of chew.
His walk is so distinctive and lumbering that I heard him return to the kitchen thirty minutes later. And then a third trip. I grabbed my camera. He heard me. I think he likes the new food, but God forbid his handlers observe him enjoying himself. He turned his back on me and walked away. We might be on to something. So what if it is the most expensive cat food in the world? Why else do I work? I mean, seriously? Taxes, bills, the occasional vacation? None of that is as important as catering to the whim of a cat, who in human years, is 89 years old.
And the damn bowl still isn’t empty.
© Amy McVay Abbott, The Raven Lunatic, April 9, 2016
If you are interested in reading more about Fala Jo, buy his book. You didn’t realize he was a famous feline, did you? The Many Moods of Fala Jo by Herman and Bernadine Spitzsnogel