Dazed and Confused

As I mentioned recently Smokey is in his senior years. He is 17 as close as we can figure.

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We’ve had a few health scares in recent years as he tries to age gracefully but his newest issue is upsetting the whole household.

We think, that’s the vet and me, that he may be getting a little senile. It started a couple of months ago.  At first it was only occasionally at night, always after I’d gone to bed (of course). I’d be awakened by this horrible caterwauling. I’d get up only to find Smokey in the bathroom, sometimes in the tub, crying at the top of his lungs. I don’t know if he liked the way the tile amplified the sound or what but he wouldn’t “snap out of it” until I touched him. Then he’d seem to refocus on me  and start purring. Over the course of the past few months these episodes have become more frequent and no longer confined to the nighttime. On the good side, a word from me will now snap him out of it instead of having to physically touch him.

After a complete physical the vet confirmed that there was no medical reason for this behavior so we concluded it was Feline Alzheimer, not uncommon in senior cats.

Since this behavior has sprouted Smokey actually seems happier. He wanders around the house purring at the top of his little lungs. He doesn’t seem to mind Buddy any more. (That had been a bit uneasy) and he seems to have more confidence.

Maybe that increased confidence is what started Smokey  competing with Rocky for the spot under the heat lamp. Maybe he gets cold easier since he’s lost weight and is the “old man”. I don’t know, so although Rocky doesn’t like it , we’re dealing with it. Rocky frets and paces but doesn’t force Smokey down. If Smokey stays there too long Rocky just gives up and takes the other cat tree or occasionally takes Smokey’s old perch. The point is, they seem to have worked it out.

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But now, just this past week, Smokey has decided to take on Buddy.

Why this is strange is because cats are by nature territorial, even if the territory extends no further than the end of the couch. Each of the cats  has a “spot” they call their own. Rocky’s was under the heat lamp, Smokey’s was one level up and the top spot or “crows nest” was empty. When we got Buddy he simply went to the empty spot and made it his own. For the past year that’s been the hierarchy and there’s been no conflict.

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A couple of nights ago I  went to my “spot” at the end of the couch and Buddy was there! That was a surprise.

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Usually none of the cats sleep in my seat. It’s like they respect it as mine. Then it occurred to me that a few days before I’d almost sat on Smokey because he’d curled up there and his gray fur blended with the gray couch. So I started looking for Smokey and there he was … in Buddy’s spot in the crow’s nest!

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I patted Buddy and told him not to worry, Smokey would give it back soon. Then I sat down on the bench where I had a small throw for the cats and got out the cat nip. Buddy moved over immediately. About 15 minutes later Smokey moved down to his normal perch and all was back in order.

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This morning I heard hissing and the blinds rattling and Smokey was back up in the crow’s nest. Buddy had climbed the cat tree to try to get in and Smokey was under siege. Even weighing 7 lbs less than Buddy and with no claws, Smokey won the day. Buddy moved down to the middle perch where Smokey usually relaxes.

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Not too long after his victory Smokey gave up  top spot and wandered over to the food bowl. Buddy didn’t miss his chance to reclaim his “spot” of choice. Smokey seemed to have forgotten all about it.

I can see life will be interesting as Smokey’s condition advances and disrupts the balances among the 3 cats.







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