In which I go on and on about one of my cats

Ethel, aka Kitty, is my elderly 16-year old cat. The majority of her teeth have been extracted due to periodontal disease; now her tongue regularly sticks out. I did try to brush her teeth for a while, but it didn’t work for us. Fortunately, she adapted and eats quicker than my other, younger cat. She finishes first, and then sits and stares at him while he finishes, or tries to steal his food.

Ethel is arthritic. She’s always been a floor and sometimes bed cat. But now when she wants to get on the bed, she needs to be lifted onto it. She’s very strategic about it, too. As soon as I get near it, she’ll appear and meow until I move her onto it. Sometimes she’ll even go there and meow and meow until I come over and boost her up. Then she’ll lie there all day until dinner, curled tightly into a ball. Or press herself against the radiator. Or haunt the kitchen when the oven is on. On warm days, she likes lounging on the window, but also needs to be air lifted onto it. I offered her a microwavable rice heating pad a couple of times, but she wasn’t interested. Sometimes she crawls under the duvet with me at night, but then she unleashes her claws as she kneads me, and neither my skin nor my sheets can take much of that.

I adopted her when she was already an adult, and she has never been very playful. In order to get her to play, I have to wave the cat toy right in front of her several times. Then there’s a 20/80 chance she’ll move a paw.

One cool thing about her is that she’s polydactyl, which means she has six toes on all her paws. She can actually catch a ball and hold it in her paw.

Another thing is that I swear she could talk when I first got her. Every morning, she would very clearly say “cat food” in a soft voice right by my ear. She’d say it over and over, with each repetition becoming less enunciated. Unfortunately, she kept trying to wake me up earlier and earlier each morning, and I think she gave up speaking after I decided that I was not going to wake up at 4am to feed her.

She’s very much a lady, with impeccable scaredy-cat manners. She’s not very athletic, but she is more agile than my other cat. She can dart across a shelf with a bunch of things on it, and not disturb a single tchotchke. As she’s grey on the top and white on her belly, I’ve always thought of her as shark-coloured. But mighty hunter is she not. And here she goes meowing, so I’ve got to go feed the cats now.

Leave a Reply