Living with an old boy

My Bed - he says.. My 17 year old Somali boy, D'Artagnan

My Bed – he says.. My 17 year old Somali boy, D’Artagnan

My original love of Somalis rose many years ago when I met a fantastic kitten named Czardas. He MARCHED out of the cat carrier with such attitude and personality that I instantly fell in love. However – he was just as much loved by his breeder, so I couldn’t have him.. After about a year she decided to use him to sire just ONE litter, and I begged her to let me purchase one of the kittens. When they were 5 days old, I went to see them and immediately focused on a big, clumsy kitten – Must Have More Milk, he said while determinedly shoving his sister out of the way, Need To Grow Up Big To Take On The World! What can I say – it was love at first sight.
D’Artagnan (named from the Three Musketeers, because he was so clumsy when he was small, but I guessed he would grow out of it) developed into a cat of a lifetime. He has been with me for 17 years now, and as is entirely appropriate when you have such a special, old boy, he is the undisputed master of the house (yes, that includes my husband ..). As he has gotten older and a bit senile, the usual old cat patterns have appeared. He will wake us several times during the night for example. Must Eat, he demands. World Will End If Not Fed IMMEDIATELY, he proclaims – and when my husband gets up to feed him for the third or fourth time in the night – he changes his mind; Fuzzy Persian on Mum’s Pillow, he mumbles darkly. Does NOT Belong There – DO Something, he insists – and continues to pester my husband until he wakes ME up and asks me to move Ulysses to the OTHER side of my head….so D’Ar can get the preferred pillow and my poor husband can get some sleep.
As he has gotten older, his hearing has deteriorated as well. This leads to interesting situations where he will seek out a nice place with good acoustics – and proceed to exercise his voice. Just Checking, he cheerfully shares with us. Might Have Lost My Hearing Completely Since Yesterday, he explains. NEED To Shout Very Loudly! Important For Well-being, he insists…. As he sometimes does it when he doesn’t think that the litter box is COMPLETELY clean – we tend to come running..
Recently, he has been eating a bit less. He seemed to struggle to pick up the kibbles, and while it doesn’t entirely surprise us (he only has 5 teeth left, and yet he STILL prefers dry food), we did think it was worth it to get the teeth checked. After the mandatory blood sample found that he was in surprisingly good condition, we brought him into the surgery on a Friday (in case he needed extra nursing on the weekend, so we could give him more attention). He decided that regal was the right approach – sat completely calmly in his cage, only slightly ruining it by pressing against the front and STARING at the nurses whenever they came in – and sticking his paw out and poking my husband in the back when he had the audacity to stand right in front of the cage – and NOT pay attention to D’Ar. I guess I should explain – both my husband and I are vets – so veterinary stuff gets done between us.
Everything went fine with the anaesthesia – the only thing was that he VERY loudly informed the nurse that he has ARTHRITIS in his paws, thank you – so could she kindly not hold them so hard! The nurses love him – he is such a good patient and always lets them do whatever they need to. When I started – very gently – to clean his teeth, I noticed that his lower jaw was moving rather strangely…. Let’s just say that the lower jaw on cats is NOT supposed to have a hinge in the middle on the front!! Needless to say – a swift x-ray was taken and the awful conclusion was there to see – he had a broken jaw!!! Our only conclusion is that he must have hit his jaw while jumping down from one of our tables – because he only goes out in an enclosed garden.
I was mortified… my big, brown baby was hurt – and might have been hurting for a while!! Thankfully it was quickly and expertly fixed by my husband, so now we are waiting for it to grow back together again. D’Ar now has his lower jaw screwed together with a wire – and what does he say? Well, let’s just say that I am the most kissed kitty mom ever… He has been purring and rubbing himself all over me since he woke up from the anesthesia – and he is eating like a horse!!
I did apologise to him.. Daft, he said contentedly, Couldn’t Have Known, Could You? Was a BIG Boy Wasn’t I? Can Make It Up To Me, he earnestly commented – Just Need Constant Cuddles For The Rest Of My Life – Oh – And Food, he triumphantly concluded..

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