My cat Hoover H. Higgins is getting sweet in his middle age. It almost makes me sad.
Don’t misunderstand me; I love the unexpected cuddles. But seeing the change in his personality over time reminds me that he is getting older. He’ll be nine this summer, which means he is only a year and a half away from “senior cat” status. His littermate Rodmilla will be a senior as well. And my cat Agatha is only one month away from being a senior. My kitties are aging—except for Winnifred, who is just a year old and full of energy. She scaled the closet door this morning—ran up it like a squirrel running up a tree.
When Hoover was a little guy, he used to avoid the cuddles. The only time he purred was when I played with him. I’d move my hand under a blanket, and he would purr as he attacked it. If he voluntarily sat on my lap, I would call the vet—because he only wanted to sit on my lap when he was sick.
Now, he curls up on my lap when he’s cold. And he sleeps pressed up against my legs. Occasionally, he stands right in front of my feet—Hoover-speak for “pick me up, human.” He lets me cuddle him for minutes at a time. He purrs—and has become quite generous with his head boops.
He doesn’t even mind when I kiss his nose.
He still plays. Just this morning, I hid my hand under the blanket so he could attack it. And he purred as always. I like to see aging cats play. It means they feel good and still have energy. I try to help them stay semi-active, and I keep a closer eye on their health.
The other worry with older cats is their teeth. I’ll be making an appointment for Agatha soon to have her teeth looked at. I have known two senior cats whose deaths began with bad teeth. Of course, they’re not going to live forever, but I want the cause of death to be Extreme Old Age, not an infected tooth.
My goal for all my cats is that when they cross that rainbow bridge, I can say they lived a long, good, pampered life.