Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Teach an old cat new tricks : Part 1

Seventeen in cat years is like ninety-something in human terms. And of course I was concerned about Her Imperial-but-Geriatric Fluffiness being locked in a cage in a dark cargo hold for 30 hours. But I couldn't leave her behind. 
She's been in the family longer than my daughter.

And I'd already had to give my dog away. 
(Still can't even type that without crying).

Clearly because I wasn't already angst-riddled enough, one of my caring and supportive friends heaped a few more heebies on my jeebies by casually querying, "Aren't you sort of worried that there'll be a dead cat in the carrier when you get to London?"
Well, I am now!

So all the way from Tullamarine to Heathrow I fretted. Every time we hit turbulence, I dissolved into champagne-enhanced tears in my fabulously comfortable company-paid-for-it business class seat.

But she made it.
We both did.

It's only recently that we've begun to have a near-terminal-velocity bumpy ride.
She's killing me.

Night yowling.
Apparently it's a thing.
She's not sick.
She's not hungry.
She's not cold.
She had a hysterectomy 17 years ago, so it's not about calling the boys.
She's not even lonely.

She's just losing her marbles.
At regular intervals between midnight and 5:00am the bitch-cat-from-hell
finds her way into our midst and begins summoning her demon buddies for the ritual slaughtering of all humans in residence. 
It's spine chilling.

I tried talking nicely to her.
I tried shouting at her.
I tried throwing everything from my bedside table at the wall.
No change.

So I switched to a more pro-active approach and left the radio on upstairs where she sleeps. BBC 2.  Surely that would either bore her to sleep or engage her with its interesting interviews in soothing voices.
And it worked for one night. 
Maybe two.

Next I amped up the love, and left a night light on for her as well. 
So far so good.
Some time between 2:00 and 3:00am, she does start to wind up the howlelujah, but then like a baby crying itself to sleep, she self-soothes.

I think she'd probably prefer that I left the TV on, but I fear the inevitable next step would be the expectation for me to stay up all night to explain the bits she missed while she was asleep.

It's a slippery slope.


  1. Ha ha. Great blog. Loved it. We are having the same discussion about taking our dog to Tasmania, an hour flight not 30 and nine years old not 17. Should we take her, or leave her with the boy? She hates the cold, leave her in Melbourne. Can we trust the boy, better take her with us. She is very anxious at loud noises, leave her in Melbourne. Can we trust the boy, better take her with us. We'll make a decision before the end of 296 days.

    1. Take her... and make her some lovely warm coats. My dogs had jackets that were just sleeveless polar fleece vests I bought in the kids department at K-Mart.

  2. Try talk radio - or I listen to a station that is stand up comedy all the time!! A hot water bottle??
    Trying to be helpful here, but I did get a chuckle out of this post (sorry it is at your expense of a good night's sleep.)

    1. All help gratefully received... and mostly completely absorbed into list of things Willow spits upon!

  3. I suppose like old people, she just doesn't fall asleep easily and wakes early. Glad you have found some things to sooth her. When you love an animal it's amazing what you'll find yourself doing.
    Visit me at Life & Faith in Caneyhead. :)

    1. Of course the fact that she sleeps almost all the sunlight hours of the day might have something to do with it too.

  4. You do make me laugh.
    I've never heard of a cat getting sundowners but I should know better than to be surprised by anything...

    1. ...anything is possible...
      especially in my household...

  5. Ah Wendy...what can I say. Not a cat person, but I know how deep people's feelings for their fur-children go. I can't believe you're friend said that about your cat not surviving the journey...so mean. Precious memories. That's what you're making.

    1. Precious!?
      Not really the word I would have used.

  6. A brave decision to bring her with you. Have you tried the plug in pheremone gadgets that are supposed to be calming?

    1. That's an excellent suggestion. We had one of those collars on her for the trip over. I will go track one down. And maybe a bit of catnip.

  7. It is down to you and your loving care that she has lived for so long Wendy. I hope the howling dies down soon! :-)

    1. So do I, Judy... but sometimes I think she has lived this long just o punish me.

  8. Not a cat person but i do understand the feeling..As my uncle s house they have 3 cats and they have precious memories and have spoken a lot about it


    1. We have always had both cats and dogs, but this cat is rally quite special. Thanks so much for visiting and leaving me a message.