Pharos-Tribune

Opinion

September 5, 2013

ABBOTT: How to manage a grumpy old cat

“To sleep, perchance to dream ... Ay, there’s the rub.” — Hamlet

This is what Shakespeare said through the pensive Dane in one of The Bard’s most famous plays. I’m guessing Shakespeare may have had a cat. The “rub” he’s talking about is the very witching time of night when the cat wakes up and rubs his forehead against your face, just because he can.

With a cat, there’s little sleeping and lots of rubbing.

Our cat, Fala (named for Franklin Roosevelt’s dog) is 16 and is suffering the slings and arrows of aging. He is cranky, bossy and whiny.

Among his ailments are some digestive issues, including hair-balls. We awaken unhappily from precious REM sleep and by then the nocturnal nausea is mostly over, except for a few laboring hacks. We sleep again, and the wretched retching is forgotten until morning when the bare foot encounters the warm, furry remnants on the cold, oak floor. Something, indeed, is rotten in the state of Denmark.

Fala pretends to have no knowledge of his fe-line-onious nighttime ailments.

We use an over-the-counter remedy, a sticky malt-flavored (so says the label) gel in a tube. Here are the directions: “To help eliminate hair-balls, feed adult cats and rabbits a 1-inch ribbon daily until symptoms disappear. Give between meals either by placing on your finger or on the front paw where it can be licked off.”

The label also notes “Satisfaction guaranteed.” (My question is “whose satisfaction – mine — the cat – the rabbit? How did rabbits get involved in this?)

Anyone who has ever lived with a cat (note I did not say “owned” a cat) know that cats won’t do anything you want them to do. Fala easily surmised if I approached him in a certain way I was going to put sticky brown goo all over his paw. Though this be madness; there is method in it.

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