Old Cat, why aren’t you smarter?

My cat Poonie is nearly 20 years old. She’s 137 in cat years. She’s deaf and skinny, but still she’s a wonderful snuggly cat. She meows in my face in the morning because she’s hungry. Sometimes she screams loudly because she can. I don’t really know why, unless she is getting louder and louder because she can’t hear herself, or if, like Kiki says, that she’s got Alzheimers and just gets confused and scared. She still likes to scoot close at night and sleep right next to me. I like that.

But as I looked at her the otherday I realized that she will never learn to speak. She’s 20. She’s been alive years longer than most cats and she doesn’t add to her skills. It’s such a weird thought, but as I watched her doing cat things, I just thought, Come on, you’re old enough to vote and to drive, the least you could do is tell me which cat food you want BEFORE I open the can and feed you, before you vomit it up in the doorway I am about to walk through barefoot. But no, you are still just a cat. Nothing more.

When she was younger I trained her to jump and catch cards I threw at her. She was good, she could jump pretty high and she would catch them between her front paws. After a number of tosses she would walk away expecting me to play 52 pick-up all by myself. As she’s gotten older she’s gotten crankier, thinner and more demanding. Like most of us will I suppose. She still wants my attention as soon as I get home, follows me into the bathroom and beats a hasty retreat when she realizes the shower’s on. When she was little she used to sit at one end of the tub on one of the ledges just watching and playing with whatever water got sprayed on her.

I know Poonie will die someday soon, every now and then her sleep is so still I think she’s passed. But she’s always responded with a little “prrrrup?” when I touch her. I will miss my kitten when she goes, but I will get another. She’s special and sweet, to me anyway. I don’t think I’ve ever be tempted to fork over $50,000 for a cloned kitty. Half the fun of a new pet is finding out who they are. Half the fun of $50,000 is never worrying that it will get eaten by a hawk or run over by a car.

I read a bit about a woman in Texas who cloned her favorite cat for $50,000. I am awed by just how profane that is.

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