A Twist in the Tale: Senior Cat Moments


By Jenny Kalahar

Every cat has had an occasional lapse of memory. But as we get older those annoying bouts of forgetfulness can strike more frequently, becoming harder to shrug off with a simple tail swish. For cats who are more absentminded now that they are longer in the tooth, here are a few tips to make life a little less stressful. They were compiled by The Committee for Feline Acclimation and Better Domesticity, those wonderful furred folks who brought you “The Newly-Adopted Cat’s Guidebook and Handy Household Helper.”

(1) Sometimes your person will temporarily move your dining dishes, throwing you off if you can’t remember where the new spot is when hunger strikes. They don’t move your stuff merely to confuse you, we’re sure. Perhaps company is coming over and they don’t want their guests to raise a disapproving eyebrow at your “I heart my human” bowls and B. Kliban Super-Cat placemat that usually sit on top of the hope chest. In these instances, just calmly lounge on the dining room table near the sour cream dip during their fancy party, and we’re certain you’ll be carefully and politely shown to your bowls’ new location immediately.

(2) If you have forgotten your name and are under some pressure to remember it because you have an upcoming play-date with the neighbor’s cat and may have to introduce yourself, never fear—just go into the pantry and knock down several cans of vegetables and soup from the highest shelf. One or more people will soon run toward you, and at least one of them will have no trouble remembering your name. This only works, we should add, if they don’t call you things other than your given name when they’re rather cross.

(3) If you suddenly find yourself standing in the center of a room but you can’t recall what you’re doing there, just ask yourself if it has to do with one of these four possibilities: A. Am I here to use the litter box? B. Am I here to eat and/or drink? C. Is this the room that has the best sunbeams for my afternoon nap? D. Did I recently hear a whirring sound that might have been the can-opener?

(4) Before settling down for a nap, store your favorite stuffed toy in a spot that you’ll be sure to remember, and always put it there when you aren’t playing. Ideas: way far under the sofa, in the dirty laundry basket, in the look-out hole of your cat tree, or in your food dish (only if you don’t live with another cat or dog). If these locations seem too risky, stick one end of the toy into your mouth before dozing off. If it isn’t in your mouth when you wake up, the slobbery thing was maybe overdue for a bath and has just hit the rinse cycle over in the washing machine.

We at The Committee for Feline Acclimation and Better Domesticity hope that these tips will make living long into your senior years more enjoyable and carefree. To conclude, we would like to emphasize that the tips in this pamphlet will become more and more helpful to you with each consultation (if you don’t forget where you’ve placed it after this initial reading, of course).

Jenny Kalahar, her husband Patrick, and their pets live in Indiana where she sells used and rare books and writes novels and poetry. Her two novels about fostering cats are Shelve Under C: A Tale of Used Books and Cats, and The Find of a Lifetime: Another Tale of Used Books and Cats. Her collection of nostalgic and humorous poetry is One Mile North of Normal and Other Poems. For more, visit her blog, Bookselling and Writing with Weegee.

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