I have an unusual relationship with our old cat Dusty. He’s been with us for just over thirteen years now, and was about three when we got him. Or he got us. We were so despairing after our little old girl Stephanie died that we went to the animal shelter and came back with not one to replace her, but two. Squeakie, a female calico, was tiny and Dusty, a male tabby, was full grown, but they were best of buddies. So much so that Squeakie suckled on Dusty for nearly a year. Dusty wasn’t embarrassed by it, but we certainly were.
And now, Dusty is showing his age, growing skinnier and skinnier and losing more and more pep, his coat all snarly. Now he sort of wobbles when he walks and it takes him forever to lie down. I made the bad error two years ago of feeding him canned food. Now he won’t even consider hard food. I guess that’s good since he’s also lost most of his teeth. Which leads me to the unusual relationship. He now insists on being fed about every two hours. Not a large feeding, since he can only eat a little at a time. He’s also gone completely deaf and now can’t hear himself when he talks to me, talks very loudly like a crow cawing. My fix is that I can feed him when we go to bed, but two hours later he wants more, and then two hours later, and two hours after that until it finally gets to morning and I can arise for the day. Most nights, around midnight, he’ll crouch near my sleeping head and smack his lips, then touch my face with his whiskers. And if that doesn’t get me up, he squawks like a duck or caws like a crow and I’m up in an flash. I go to the kitchen, he wobbles along behind. I put a dish down and he may or may not like what it is. If not, I pop it in the microwave for ten seconds and he may or may not like it. I go back to bed and he returns sometime later. Two o’clock and we do it all again. And four o’clock again. And six o’clock when I finally give up and stay up for the day. If he liked one or two of the Fancy Feast varieties and stayed with them, I wouldn’t have a problem. But he’s so fussy that a variety he ate well for one week, he’ll turn up his nose the next week. Damn cat! But I love him dearly and will miss him when he’s gone.
Dusty in 2001.