The Changed Cat

I still can’t believe that our cat Wapshot is 11 years old this year. That is 55 cats years. Why, he is almost the same age as Tom =) We first got him when he was 3 from the shelter. He was exactly what I wanted my cat to be: big, long haired and handsome. The opposite of what you commonly see in Philippine cats.

photo taken by Evan this afternoon

I remember joking to a family friend Dondon who was bound to the U.S. for the first time as an immigrant at the age of 15, to get me an alley cat as his pasalubong when he visits us in the Philippines.

Wapshot’s personality however, was a far cry from what we were used to for a pet cat. He was aloof. He wasn’t a lapsitter and doesn’t want to be petted or stroked for longer than 5 seconds. As children my siblings and I would fight over who would get to sleep with our pet cat Miming, who could comfortably lay on our stomach or rest in the crook of our arms throughout the night. Because we had lots of dogs it took us a while to get a pet cat (I was around 10 already) even if my maternal grandmother living 2 blocks away had dozens. Miming was a stray kitten who wandered into our backyard during a storm during our dead paternal grandfather’s birthday. I think my parents took it as a sign that the cat was for us even if it meant keeping her as an indoor cat forever (safe from the dogs) an unusual arrangement in our country.But this year however there is an enormous change in our cat. He has started becoming more affectionate, to me particularly. He has taken to sitting on my lap whenever Tom and I would watch a movie. It has taken him 8 years to let his guard down with us. Once in a while I would wonder why his owners gave him away in a shelter. Wapshot was kind of destructive with our rugs though, and he was very fastidious with his litterbox. Don’t clean it for one day and we’ll have a goldmine on our floor to show his displeasure. So that could be the reasons although the past year he has been more lenient litterboxwise – he now gives me a week.

Which made me a little worried if this is all a sign of aging because if you go by the average lifespan of an indoor cat he only as 4-6 years more to go although I have heard of cats living up to 22 years old – but it wouldn’t be pretty (lost eyesight, teeth, too long nails).

Wapshot has been a huge part of my new life here in the US – we got him 3 months after I arrived. Evan has known our cat from day one of his life and treats him like family. Just today after coming home from school he greeted our cat with: “Hi Wapshot, I had a good day today.”

I hope he’ll stay around for a long time – even if he can be a pain sometimes =)

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5 Responses to The Changed Cat

  1. Ed says:

    I can assure you that cats that live to be 22 years of age can still see, have claws and teeth intact and be just as friendly as they were years younger. I can say this because my grandparents first cat lived until 21 and still hated me up until the time it finally had a heart attack jumping up on their bed one evening. My mom’s cat which she got when I was just a wee lad lived to be 19 years old and would still play fighting games with me when I visited back home from college up until her liver gave out. The vet while diagnosing her failing liver said she was the best muscled cat at her age he had ever seen so I think it certainly depends on their environment to some extent. So Wapshot is just a youngster at 11 and has lots of good years to come.

  2. MC says:

    Thank you for this update on Wapshot Geri. I was curious because in the past year I have become adopted mom to 2 cats, both I got from the shelter.

    Your Wapshot is a handsome dude. I see he’s outside. Does he spend time outdoors too? My two cats have been indoors all the time. I’m afraid to let them get out of the backyard even as the fence in the backyard is only waist high and they can easily jump out of that.

    I took them to get their vaccinations last Saturday and they were sluggish all weekend. It worried me, even though I was told this would happen. The car ride also may have traumatized them as the younger one kept meowing the whole time until I took him on my lap.

  3. geri says:

    Ed, I seriously hope Wapshot will have the same fate as your grandparents cats. My officemate had a 22 year old cat and hers was the one I described. I do worry about Wapshot getting older, he may not be very affectionate but he is a part of our small household of 4.

    MC, oh, you have 2 cats – so fun! Congratulations! Wapshot spends 99% indoors but Tom lets him out once in a while because he feels bad for him. At first that made me nervous but I soon learned a pattern in his outdoor behavior whenever he sees strangers/dogs passing by – he is pretty good at hiding behind the bushes. Although there was one time – way back when he first got him – he snuck into our neighbor’s yard which was a big dilemma for Tom.

    There is a cat leash sold at pet stores if you want to take them outdoors for a short while – I am sure they will love it.

    How are they doing now after the vaccinations?

  4. MC says:

    both don’t like the leash :( they are almost back to 100% normal in appetite and behavior on Monday, so I’m happy.

    here are photos of my furbabies:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/15205767@N03/sets/72157625316471219/

  5. geri says:

    MC, your kitties are sooo adorable. They look so mabango too! And so young – now my Wapshot looks old after seeing those photos hehehe

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