Time and Perspective – Happy 15th Birthday to Zee!

In this current COVID era in which time doesn’t seem to evolve, but drifts endlessly from one day to the next with nary a distinction between what day of the week it is, let alone what month it is, the same does not hold true with my beloved senior cat, Zee. With him, I’m painstakingly conscious of every fast-paced tick of the clock that passes within this slow-motion world.

Every meow he greets me with, every meal I feed him, every scoop of litter I clean, every time he jumps up on the counter, making me a nervous wreck due to his frail bones and I tell him to get down, every time he swats at one of his catmates, all milestone markers in my mind of our time together.

I’m not trying to be morose, but today is Zee’s 15th birthday and it’s hard not to be reflective. I see my time with him no longer measured in infinite possibilities of days ahead, but of finite moments that are coming closer to an end. Despite my tone, I’m not being maudlin, rather I’ve trained myself to be appreciative and to live in the now, seeing each breath of his a beautiful gift.

Happy Birthday sweet Zee!

I don’t know what the future holds. For now, his fur is thinning, as is his body. His once bright, alert eyes are glossy and dull, and he spends most of his days conked out on our bed napping, but don’t let that fool you. Zee is a cat very much young at heart and with age, he has assumed a delightful new arsenal of quirkiness for a cat that already had that covered in spades since kittenhood. His current repertoire includes his love-affair with technology, paper bags, and puffy white clouds.

The technology? A digital mouse zooming randomly around a computer screen from a video called Catching Mice! Dan found it by searching on YouTube for cat videos and Zee is so mesmerized with this, along with another video he found called String String Thing, that he’ll stare at the screen for as long as Dan will let him, batting at the mice and the strings. And now when Dan sits down at his computer, Zee comes running from wherever he is and jumps on his lap, waiting for the show to begin. I was also surprised a couple of weeks ago after hosting the virtual awards ceremony for the Cat Writers’ Association. As president of the organization, one of the guest presenters, Dr. Lynn Bahr of Dezi and Roo sent some cat toys my way to show her appreciation.

Honestly, while I was grateful for the gesture, I wasn’t prepared for the reaction I would get from my feline gang. One of the items, a Hide and Sneak Unique Cat Toy Tunnel, looked like nothing more to me than two paper bags joined, with holes at either end for easy entrance or exit for kitties. Ingenious, sure, but would my cats really find it all that appealing? In short, yes, they did. Especially Zee. It quickly became his playland castle, he was king of it, with him promptly letting his much younger, other seven catmates know by possessively napping and sitting on it nearly 24/7 that it was his, despite how much they loved the contraption, too.

Jazmine loved the tunnel, too, but Zee had other plans in store.


Ironically, as is sometimes the case in a multicat household in which marking territory can be a normal reaction, Zee peed on the bag to further demonstrate it was his. Nonplussed and proud of his liquid achievement, I, on the other hand, was not, and the tunnel found itself a new home in the trash bin in our garage. Oh well, tis lovely to be a king, if only for a few days.

Among the other gifts was a 3-pack of Little Puffs cloud toys. Again, nothing special on the surface – tiny little toys in the shape of clouds made from an Eco-fil plush felt fabric with fibers made from 100% post-consumer recycled and BPA-free plastic bottles, lightly dusted with Cloud Nine Silver Vine – but they were a game-changer for Zee. Zee is already prone to plush toy hunting and over the years he has regaled Dan and me with his nightly ritual of bringing a parade of plush kills into our bedroom as gifts. He’s had his favorites – stuffed kitty, stuffed carrot, stuffed ferret, and more but over the past year or so, he has not brought toys to us with his previous militant regularity.

Meet the Little Puff Cloud Family. A bit worse for wear with time, but loved nonetheless by Zee.

Until now. Little Puffs are all over the house – near the water dish, at our bedroom door, and most recently, all three Little Puffs together at the foot of the couch like a nomad cloud family taking refuge for the night. This fills my heart with absolute joy because I know these new toys have contributed to Zee’s physical and cognitive well-being, something very important as cats age. I find it fascinating, too, considering the mountain of toys we have – baskets overflowing with mice, balls, and every other configuration you can think of. That Zee can single out his favorite toys, or now, these three Little Puffs out of the dozens of other toys never ceases to amaze me.

As always, Zee remains beloved in our household – by Dan and me and by his catmates. To this day, his true love, Zoey, is still enamored of him, spending her naptime snuggled next to him. We pray for many more happy birthdays but until then, we appreciate each day with Zee for the treasured gift it is.

Zee & Zoey – aging gracefully together.

hearts

All cats need proper nutrition, exercise, mental stimulation, environmental enrichment, veterinary care, and more, but especially so as they age. If you have a senior or aging cat, please consider reading my article, “Stairs, Safety, and Senior Cats – 10 Tips to Help Ease Your Cat Into His Golden Years,” winner of the Cat Writer’s Association 2018 Senior Well-Being Cat Award as judged by Briony Scott, pet-sitting entrepreneur and certified cat behaviorist.

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  1. Brian Frum says:

    We hope your special day is super special Zee, Happy Birthday from all of us!

  2. Happy birthday, Zee, and many more.

  3. Ellen Pilch says:

    Happy Birthday Zee! XO

  4. Mary McNeil says:

    Happy Purrthday Zee ! You give and receive so much love !

  5. Mr Puddy says:

    Happy Birthday Zee !
    Have a great 15th =^x^=

  6. Jo Singer says:

    Happy Purrthday Zee!!

    Your meowmy wrote such a touching post that got me remembering the joy and yes, the bitter sadness of sharing my heart with a most mystical and life-loving senior; Sir Hubble Pinkerton. Although I knew intellectually that life is not forever ( at least not in a physical form) I knew I my heart that all my beloved angel kitties will live in my heart and spirit forever. I try very hard to live in the moment with our kitties those “ what will I do without you?” thoughts creep in.

    15 is a glorious age! May there be many more years ahead and many more wonderful toys to enjoy. Your spirit shines through your meowmy’s words. Much love to you both. Jo, Edgar, Aki, Hubble Pinkerton , Hush Puppy, Marty and me.

  7. Happy Birthday Zee! Deb, I totally get where you’re coming from. That’s exactly how I felt when Cody and Dakota turned 13 this past year. You’re not being maudlin, just aware, sensitive and appreciative. Lots of kisses to Zee and to you too! ❤️❤️

  8. databbiesotrouttowne says:

    DOOD !!!! a MOST happee 15th two ewe & heerz two a day oh fun, trubull cauzin, cake, pizza piez,
    playin with yur total lee awesum toyz, and gettin in trubullz a gain 🙂 a yeer a head of happeez & healtheez
    two ewe, and heerz two de next 15:) ♥♥♥♥ N ewe betcha, itz possa bull 🙂 ♥♥♥

  9. jmuhj says:

    Happy, happy FIFTEENTH PURRthday, sweet ZEE! Enjoy it thoroughly, doing all the things you most enjoy doing, on your own time and in your own way.
    How your post resonates! Last month on the 17th we said a very unexpected fare well to our beloved Tarifa. She would have been 18 on the 11th of this month. What I thought was an eye infection resulted in a trip to the vet, who right away said he needed to sedate her because he was pretty sure there was a tumor. And there was. And it was aggressive and inoperable. I had to put her before me. What I had hoped would be a trip for some antibiotics was in fact goodbye for now.
    Tar was the sparkle and soul of our home and our lives. She was with me for over 17 years, playful, intensely social, friendly to every living being she met, and as her name suggests, a true and precious treasure.
    She loved toys, up until she left us. Her favorite of all was a purple twinkle ball which she never failed to fish out of the two bowls full on the coffee table. She’d carry it proudly through the hallway, yargling, and drop it in front of my door, bellowing. When I clearly showed myself to be an abysmal failure at hunting, she tried with my roomies. At all hours of the night she could be heard, yelliing. In the mornings, she could probably be heard in the street as she registered her complaint at there not being a full bowl of something good automatically ready. Even on that last morning, she finished her plate.
    In these times especially, we are reminded how fleeting and how absolutely dear to us life with our loved ones is.
    Every moment is a beautiful gift. May every one of Zee’s be loved.

  10. Happy Birthday Zee ! We wish you many many more ! Purrs

  11. LINDA says:

    Belated Happy Birthday Zee! Hope that you had a furbulous celebration!!
    Love,
    Samantha,Olivia,Henry and Jack
    =^..^= =^..^= =^..^= =^..^=

  12. meowmeowmans says:

    Happy birthday, Zee! We hope your day and year are special, just like you! XO