Who’s Next?

By Christy Wiseman

cat sleeping


My son is very patient and took his time in finding his life’s partner.  Finally he met THE ONE and proposed, with one request.  “I want a dog.”  It seemed a simple request as he owned a house with a nice, fenced back yard. “Well,” said she; “I do love you and want to marry you, but I have two cats.”

This took some negotiating, but finally they came to an agreement that when both cats died, he could get his dog.  For years I was the proud grandmother of two grand kitties.

Over the years, I visited and helped them welcome first a daughter, Reagan, followed by a son, Carson. The cats remained healthy, but one eventually died. I’m sure my son missed that cat, but it was a double-edged sword as there was one cat left and after all, a deal is a deal.

This last August I went to visit and the cat, Annika, was closely watched by four rather eager people. Cats can have long lives, but this cat didn’t seem to look geriatric, didn’t require special attention and didn’t seem to be in any hurry to cross the river Styx. Her housemates (my son, his wife and their two children however, seemed eager for that move.) Annika’s main interest seemed to be napping. Just how old was she, anyway?  

Each family member thought when Annika would choose a new spot for her nap that just maybe she was going there to die. The interest in that theory had become almost obsessive.  “Where is Annika?”  

“Maybe Annika is dead.  We have to find her body.”  

They always did. She always stretched, showed her annoyance at being disturbed and went back to sleep. Her favorite place seemed to be on my pillow. Was she getting ready to die? No such luck, but they feel she bears watching...

To figure out a cat’s age, “a one-year-old kitten is developmentally the equivalent age of a 15-year-old human, and the physical maturity of a two-year-old cat is roughly equivalent to a 25-year-old human.”  After that you add 4 years for every year so Annika is at least 24 human years which would make her 113. Damn, no wonder she sleeps so much! Surely that’s a sign she’ll die soon. The vigil continued; so did Annika.

Finally the day came when Mark wanted to re-negotiate. “Honey, the ‘men’ in this family need to have a dog — no make that two. We’ve been patient. Annika is not going anywhere and our daughter Reagan has her horse and you have Annika. Carson and I want our dogs. Carson will be in high school soon and then off to college and its only fair that he have a dog while he is here to enjoy it. He wants a French Bulldog and I want a Berniedoodle.” He had been very patient. And so it came to pass…

The Berniedoodle arrived. It was seven pounds and so cute and everyone loved it. Everyone, with the exception of Annika who simply tried to avoid this obvious interloper. Mark soon seemed exhausted as he had been given the task of training the pup; so he had to get up every hour to let her out, until he finally got her trained to hit a little rope to ring a bell when she wanted out. Very clever and soon he was looking rested again. Then along came the little French Bulldog and Carson began the training of his new family member. It is now six months later and the dogs are growing and seem to love one another. The horse is definitely totally Reagan’s and is boarded away from the house. And Annika? If she could talk, I think she would be saying, “Die? I can’t die. I am needed to oversee all these new folks, besides I heard the big folks talking and they were saying Grandma is coming again soon and you know, she is getting old. Just how old is she anyway? Pretty old for a human. I want that pillow in the guest room to be all mine. When she dies it will be. She bears watching.” As for me, I’m ready for another nap.


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