My cat has Alzheimer’s. And so none of us are getting much sleep.
I suppose it’s not REALLY Alzheimer’s. It’s a loss of cognitive function that comes with age, when a cat starts to get older and their eyesight and hearing starts to fail, and they wander off and get “lost” and wonder where everyone went, so they start howling. Opus wanders downstairs and starts yelling for someone’s attention. We’re never sure which someone it is, although it’s usually me. Sometimes it’s Cinnamon she wants, but normally, she wants me.
She bellows for me to come and play with her. She howls for me to come and open a door. She has this bloodcurdling, from the diaphragm, other-worldly gurgling howl that she unleashes when she’s really, truly concerned that she can’t find someone or she thinks she is alone. And while I try to be sympathetic to her old-kitty-ness, and try to be understanding… sometimes, she just bugs the crap out of me.
At 2 am, when she stands outside the bedroom door and lets one of these bloodcurdling howls go, I find it hard to be sympathetic. At 4 am when she is walking through the house bellowing, I have a very hard time being understanding. At those times, the kitty tends to have a very uncomfortable meeting with the squirt water bottle.
Sometimes, she is like a small child who is crying, and begins to sob, and then the sobbing continues after the tears have stopped. Even though she is standing directly in front of me, she seems to get herself so worked up that she can’t stop. And that’s when it really frustrates me. There’s nothing wrong with her; she’s got me standing right there in the room with her. And yet, she keeps yelling. And so then I yell at her to stop, yelling over top of her yelling. There’s a lot of yelling here at our house recently. My throat is hoarse from the yelling.
At least I take consolation in the fact that she’s healthy enough to do all this yelling. I mean, at her vet checkup the other day, she’d put on a half a pound, and she’s almost back up to her ideal weight. She’s bright and happy and playing a lot, and the wonderful Dr. Germain says she looks like a completely different cat. She’s never seen Opus when she’s healthy, so she was genuinely pleasantly surprised with her yesterday. So yeah, the upside is that she’s healthy enough to yell. When she was sick, she could barely muster the strength to get up and eat, let alone walk around hollering like a weenie. And the fact that she’s happy and healthy enough to be yelling at me to chase her and play with her? That’s gold, right there. I really cannot complain about that. So, I have to learn to be more patient, and play with her when she wants it, and pick her up and cuddle her when she wants it. Because in the not-too-distant future, she won’t be with us to cuddle or play with any more.
One thing the vet wants to check is her blood pressure. Sometimes cats who are hypertensive do a lot of yelling. And since we are concerned about my blood pressure these days, maybe the two of us can work on our blood pressure together. Sure beats yelling all the time, I can tell you.