We have two old lady cats at our house, both about 14 years old. One, Puss Puss, got the following review from the vet at her visit last spring: "Doesn't look a day over 3!"
But Baby, who is actually a little younger, is starting to show signs of her age. A cat who used to go in and out all the time, she rarely ventures out the door now, and when she did the other day, she couldn't seem to figure out how to get back in again, as if the timing of coming to the door had gotten beyond her.
I remember watching Nicky, our Old Man Cat, begin to fade. Even when the vet said nothing was the matter with him, I could see him thinning out, not so much literally as energetically.
Now Baby is the cat who over the years has created a number of headaches with her indoor behaviors. We've purchased feline Valium and Feliway (the pheromone stuff you plug into the wall) and moved a litter box into the master bedroom, which is probably what solved some of the problems in the end.
She's a little old lady cat, eight pounds of possessive purrs. She sleeps as close as she can get to me, drinks my water, walks around my head when I'm sitting on the sofa and is sure she can help with my knitting.
As she sat in my lap yesterday, I noticed some unaccustomed matting of her fur. I wondered if she had injured herself and tried to gently comb the area.
Baby felt it only appropriate to put her teeth on me in response.
I never found an injury and in fact noted there were quite a few areas of concern; I realized she must not be grooming herself as well as she used to do. Really, I can't remember seeing her do much grooming recently.
This afternoon I consulted Google and concluded that this must be part of the aging process. Matted fur feels uncomfortable, so we're going to have to help her with her grooming. She's not going to love that, I fear.
Readers, if you have experience grooming older cats or can recommend a grooming tool, I would appreciate your wisdom.