I’ve failed to deliver any news of Fluff recently so thought I should offer an update.
Fluff turned 18 in June; according to several websites, some of which looked as if they might be reliable, that means he’s more or less an equivalent age to an 88 year old human.
As most cat food manufacturers use 7 or 8 to mark the age at which you should put your cat on ‘Senior’ varieties of their food, this seems really pretty old.
He does have some kidney trouble, but is remarkably well most of the time; loves food, loves sleeping, enjoys the garden, loves cuddles. Doesn’t like being groomed but then he should have been a short-hair! All of this is free of charge to him here in the gericatric haven.
On our last vet visit the vet agreed with me that Fluff’s hearing has gone. As the months pass it becomes clearer to me that his short-term memory is pretty well gone too. Both these things explain his loud and frequent vocalising – he forgets his brothers are gone, and calls them. He loses all sense of where I am, and calls me. HE ONLY KNOWS HOW TO SHOUT BECAUSE HE DOESN’T KNOW HOW LOUD HE IS.
Building on (a) previous experience of life with a deaf cat (b) my own hearing loss (c) useful tips from Jackson Galaxy, I’m slowly evolving strategies that seem to help.
I’ve stopped yelling ‘I’m over here, Fluff!’ I still talk to him when cuddling/feeding him, I maintain that if you’re speaking lovingly to your cat then your body language/general aura will be affected by that and convey to the cat that you love him/her. But if he’s downstairs yelling ‘I’VE WOKE UP AND I DON’T KNOW WHO I AM AND WHERE ANYONE IS!!!’ I leave the study, go downstairs, walk round in front of him – and miraculously the yell turns to relieved ‘prrrp,’ which seems to mean ‘O, there you are!’ He’ll follow me up the stairs in pursuit of wiggling fingers (I think they’re saying, ‘This way Fluff.’) In the study we have a little cuddle on the sofa, the I go back to work (or computer games, depends how the day has been) and he’ll have a snooze. Now and then if he wakes and looks anxiously around, I wave through the gap between my PC and my revolving book case, look into his eyes and do slow blinks until he blinks back and snoozes again.
Mad? Cat ladies? Certainly not!