Change traumatic for cats, mom
If it’s true that older people are set in their ways, then most cats are very old souls. Neither like nor adapt well to change.
As I get older, I find myself not liking certain changes, and I’m only in my 40s. I hate getting a new cell phone, for example. Younger people assume we’re too stupid to grasp new technology, but that’s not it. We can easily learn the ropes, we just don’t want to, because it means taking precious time learn the new bells and whistles. If it ain’t broke we don’t like to fix it. Who knows what will happen when I get even older—I’ll probably turn into my mother, or a cat.
Cats and my mother despise change and aren’t shy about expressing displeasure.
My sister’s cat, Sassy, is an extremely sweet and loving girl. One year, they took her along to the shore for a week’s vacation. Sassy, normally a quiet puss, meowed her head off during the entire, 3-hour drive. Sis figured once they all got settled into their vacation paradise that she’d return to her normal self. Wrong. Sassy hid under a bed for the entire week, then whined the entire ride home.
My Catfish is traumatized by change as well. He was born and struggled for survival at the RiverWalk. Passersby noticed a fish hook stuck in his lip and tried to snatch him up, with no luck. Cats Are Us got many calls about poor Catfish. It took several attempts, but they finally trapped him, and I adopted him about a year later. When I brought him home, I already had the cat fence installed, but wanted to acclimate him to his new surroundings before giving him free rein. It took him about 30 seconds to escape and run under the porch. I didn’t see him for three weeks. The Boss thought he somehow got out and accused me of bringing home a “wild” cat. We couldn’t even spot him with a flashlight and knew he was around only because the food was gone every morning. We figured he probably holed up in the hollow of the concrete front steps.
One day, I gazed out the window and spied him lying in the grass! Of course, the minute I went out, he darted back under his security blanket. Most cats don’t take as long as Catfish did to feel comfortable in new surroundings, but be patient if your new kitty isn’t jumping for joy upon arrival.
Elephants supposedly never forget, but cats and mothers both have them beat. The first time I squirted monthly Revolution medication on the cats’ back, they were fine. But the second time, the minute they heard the pop of the cap, they ran for cover. And putting a cat in a pet carrier is a snap the first time, but after that, you’ve got to trick them into it.
But I can’t trick my mother. She’s 75 and her mind is as sharp as her tongue. She remembers what she wore back in 1968 to a family picnic and is shocked if I can’t remember the same trivia. And if she can’t remember the exact date she got her gallbladder surgery, she thinks it’s a sign of Alzheimer’s, even though my memory is much worse than hers.
She’s a whiz at hand-held games like Yatzee, Hangman and 4-Across, but when I dared to suggest she get TiVo and give up her dinosaur VCR, she ended the conversation faster than Catfish ran under the porch. Even though she complains about her VCR, the tapes, the time setting, the thought of idiot-proof TiVo gives her heart palpitations. She actually cried when my sister got her a new-fangled microwave oven decades ago. Her attitude reminds me of an Everybody Loves Raymond episode when Ray wanted to replace his Dad’s scratchy albums with crisp-clear CDs. Wasn’t gonna happen.
So, with cats and older people, you just have to let them be. If you want someone who’ll happily accept your bright new ideas and changes, stick to dogs. They’re up for anything new and won’t lay a guilt trip on you.
Above, picture of Mom on her last visit with Tarzan.
posted by Sandy at 8/07/2007 12:02:00 AM