Sunday, March 21, 2021

Our cats Fred and George are getting old. I hate going through this again.

Fred and George (actually, from left to right, George and Fred) not long after we got them in 2007

In addition to having five children, Terry and I also have five cats.

I have written about them before. There are enough of them that it's rare to be in a room of our house without at least one cat joining you, if not more.

Terry bought a tiny picnic table for squirrels (that's a 100% true sentence) to which she attaches ears of corn for our backyard squirrels to eat. When one of them comes up on the deck to partake of this corn, some or all of our cats will congregate at the back door to stare at it intently.

The only one who seems like he could take or leave the activity of squirrel watching is Fred. Fred and George are our white twin brother cats, and they will turn 14 this May.

The way I describe them these days is that they are both, in their own ways, starting to look bedraggled. That's a strong word in general, and it's a very apt one for Fred and George.

As I've mentioned, Fred chose me as his person some years ago. For most of the past decade and a half, he has slept beside me at night. He comes into the bathroom when I'm taking a shower, and he will start purring when I come near him, even before I actually pet him.

A quick Google search suggests that the average indoor cat lives 13 to 17 years. We are now within that window of time for Fred and George, and I'm seeing signs of decline in both.

Fred walks more gingerly down the basement steps than he used to. He has always had a bad habit of licking himself raw in certain places, but now he has prominent bald patches on both his head and his back.

The other morning I went down to the basement for my daily litter box maintenance and found Fred peeing on the floor right next to the litter box. I was not pleased.

There are other things, but suffice it to say that our two oldest cats are a lot closer to the end of the line than the beginning of it.

In some ways that's OK. It's just the way of things. But I hate this process. We take care of them the best we know how, but this will all inevitably end in a sad moment at the vet's office. I hope that moment is still several years away for Fred and George, but it does cross my mind more often these days.

Pet owners know what I'm talking about. When they're such a big part of your life, losing them hurts far more than you would think. It also makes me reluctant to get more pets in the future, but we'll cross that particular bridge when we come upon it.

For now, I'm going to go pet Fred and listen to his abnormally loud purr. It's the least I can do for an old friend.


  1. I know how you feel! Bob is 18 years old! He's my best buddy! Everyday I wonder if this will be his last! It will be a sad day when his time comes! I am dreading that day! 😥

  2. 18! Wow, that’s impressive. Enjoy him, Jess.