In the past month or so, our cat Nala suddenly got old.
She’s eating a lot less. She’s a lot less active, sleeping more during the day and being grumpier about moving (for example, when you want her to get out of the chair you want to sit in or when you want her out of a room so you can shut the door). She’s just grumpier in general: more likely to try to attack your ankles (well, Sara’s ankles…she knows better than to go after *my* ankles), more grumble-y about getting kicked out of a room, more likely to yowl at you, more likely to have a grumpy-looking, scowly face, etc.
Now traditionally, my relationship with Nala can be described as rocky at best. But it’s funny, but all this grumpy old lady behavior actually makes me like Nala more, not less. This may seem a bit counter-intuitive (why would I like bitey-cat more than non-bitey-cat?), but there’s really two reasons:
- I kind of feel bad for her, getting old and all. It seems like the least I can do is give her a scratch under the chin now and again. She deserves the same respect any old person gets, just for making it this long if nothing else.
- Seeing her like this reminds me of the fact that she’s going to die some day, and that’s going to be hard on the kids. For both of them, their first words all centered around Nala (I think Oliver’s was “Nala” and I think Evie’s was “Meow”, but she said “Nala” pretty quick too). I think, like many kids with pets, Nala’s demise will probably be their first real experience with death.