First of all, it’s important to note that we have had all three of our cats now for 15 years. That’s a long time, and longer than the age our other two cats were when they went on over to kitty heaven. Still, these have been pretty resilient, and since they are 100% indoor cats, they’ve not been exposed to the other stuff that wandering-through-the-neighborhood cats might get.
Phoenix, as I have mentioned before, if our female cat. When we first brought her home with her brothers, it was apparent that she was a bit slower in development and what you might call cognitive skills. We attributed that to the probable fact that she spent a bit more time in the birth canal than the other kittens, but she has always been a bit less… intellectual than the others. Still what she lacked in that department, she made up in being pretty sweet.
Over the years, she has managed to keep a pretty good appetite, to the point that at one time, she weighed about 24 pounds. She has pulled back a bit from that, but she is still structurally, and all sorts of other ways just a very big cat. Her biological brother, Hermes, is a good-sized cat, but she dwarfs him. Her head is bigger than my fist, and her tail is twice the size of her brother’s. She’s a pudge, but she started out and remains a big orange cat in all respects.
She likes to drink black coffee, if she can get it. Usually that means that Cheri and I have left our cups unattended, and when she hops up on the table, via one of the chairs, if she sees any coffee, she will move like greased lightning toward it. Cheri really loses most of the time, and this crazy cat doesn’t drink the coffee for the cream or sugar – we have our coffee straight black, and she sticks her whole face into the mug, and laps it down. Needless to say, that becomes her cup for the day…
She’s not like her two other brothers, including Thor, who is her brother from another mother – our Siamese. The boys are terrible beggars, especially when they hear either cheese or tuna being opened in the kitchen. They are relentless pursuers of a goodie or a snack. Every morning, the two of them hound their human brother, Adam, to give them a little taste of cream cheese. Like I said, Pheeny doesn’t join in the hunt. She just likes her cat food, and plenty of water.
However, these past few days have seen a bit of a change in her behavior. Now, I see that 90% of what she is doing is exactly the same. She sleeps in a laundry basket in the master closet, and then she comes out and sleeps in another cat bed in the living room, and then she heads downstairs and sleeps on the couch in the family room – you see a pattern, right? The only thing different these couple of days is that she has gone into the breakfast nook to drink some water, but she has avoided any food in the bowls. Usually, she powers her way past her brothers, and just eats to her heart’s content. Realize that this is the very same food we have given the cats for probably ten years. Still, we all become suspicious, and start wondering if this newest bag of food that we opened had a different formula than the ones in the past. Not much at all has been eaten by any of the cats, so today, I’m going to venture forth and try to select a new variety of food that hopefully tastes good to them, and is good to them, so that it doesn’t cause digestive issues or “other stuff.” When our former cat, Venus, a bit white deaf female, got older in her life, she came to be allergic to fish of any kind. Since 95% of cat food contains some kind of fish, we had to put her on a special prescriptive diet. Arrgh. So, we are hoping not to have to do that for these guys, and especially for our girl.
One huge problem is that you get so darned attached to these little animals. Pheeny wakes Cheri up every morning by gently tapping her cheek with her paw, and then licking her hand until she gets up. She has a huge purr, and will fuss until she gets what she wants. She absolutely has the boy wrapped around her finger, so much so that when she is downstairs, and wants to go up, she will stand at the bottom of the stairs until someone carries her up. Spoiled? No – not in the least. She just gets her way in most every event.
But these past couple of days, by and large, she has been off her game. Again, she has done lots of things that are exactly what she always done, but it just seems that she either has a belly ache, or is just hungry or whatever. Now, I just went into the closet where she is sleeping in the laundry basket, which doesn’t hold laundry, but instead is fluffed up with a couple of Cheri’s soft robes – did I say spoiled? – I bent down to scratch Pheeny’s head, and she let loose with a huge cat purr, just like always.
But Cheri’s worried and concerned. The cat is 15, and all that is involved with that, so I’ll be watching her all day, and checking to make sure things are fine.
If there is one thing I truly detest and abhor in this life, is being helpless. I know we could wrap Pheeny up and take her to the vet, but that’s not been our normal plan of action. I think the last time she was at the vet, she had an ear infection, and that would have been probably 7 or 8 years ago. Living in the inside house bubble that they do, it’s more traumatic than not to take them in a car and subject them to strangers. So, we will watch and see how she does. Yesterday afternoon, she went by herself downstairs, bothered the boys and seemed to be just fine. But, you know like I do that things can change, and that life goes through its patterns and courses. Just not today.
What we must intend, in this world that offers few assurances, is that we must love. We must love one another, and all of God’s creatures, and this world as a whole. Woven into our hearts is that need and capacity to do so, and when we apply our intention to that essential activity, then no matter what the outcome in any situation, love is the product, and love is the destination.
Pheeny isn’t feeling good today, but perhaps tomorrow she will be her old self, and we will continue to love her. That’s what we can do.
Word for the day: kilter. Pronounced KILL-tur. Sometimes we will discover a word that has a marvelous Latin or Greek root, and a whole deeper level of understanding will appear that will give us a stronger and more informed meaning to the word as it appears in our language.
This is not one of those. Strangely, today’s word is one rarely used as it is, an English term, once written kelter, which means “in good condition, in good order.” The motorcycle, though having many miles on it, was still in kilter – that is, in good working condition, with no real problems or questions. Usually today, we tie “kilter” with a negative, and use it to explain when something is all messed up. “The plan went all off-kilter, or just a-kilter”, which means it seemed to no longer be balanced and working right. It’s rotating off its axis – it is messed up, or not running well. We just have to kilter it, is all.
Enjoy the things that are kilter in your life.
After 43 years of ministry, Randy Cross lived his "fourth life" and shared about retirement, living boldly and intentionally in our world. To be sure, there was some North Dakota thrown in.