Since cats are now considered senior at 7+, according to the food manufacturers, I've not give much thought to him ageing... until this year that is. Now health problems have crept in with vets muttering about teeth problems and kidneys and liver etc etc.
If you're a pet owner you'll be familiar with both the terms and the words 'quality of life'. My sister and I had the conversation about care and 'letting him go with dignity' but he survived that episode and we go on day by day.
But he is getting grumpier. Now since cats can't tell us exactly what's wrong I have to make more or less intelligent guesses... in particular where his food is concerned
Perfectly fresh good food, including real fish and chicken as opposed to packet or dried can be sniffed at, regarded with suspicion and then ignored. Sometimes for an hour or so till he's worked his way round the garden in a morning. Sometimes for a whole day till for no reason that I can see he suddenly decides it's okay.
I stand there aparently helpless trying to second guess that he can't smell it, it's too hot or cold, too dry or wet till I end up as grumpy as he is and answer him at the same pitch of moans and cries that he's directing at me!
If you've hung in with me this long then I know my words are resonating with you and you've more than likely 'enjoyed' such a conversation with your cat/dog/animal of other species. Though to be fair to the others, this is a more likely scenario for cat owners.
It struck me one day as I got down to his level on the floor to plead with him to eat something, anything, that it must be as frustrating in his cat brain that this person responsible for his care shouldn't be able to understand as it is for me.
And that's how I often feel when I have grumpy moments - it's perfectly clear to me in my head what the problem is.
So why doesn't the other person see it like I do?
When you're trying and at that moment failing to live a spiritual, sacred life, the problem is made worse because you know that at centre, it's not important. Not in the whole scheme of things. On top of that, being grumpy with an other person is being grumpy towards myself.
With Humphrey the answer I try for is a bit of tactile contact.
And with myself - well a quick self hug often works - and a willingness to release the grump and hurt inside me with a laugh and a self hug.
How do you manage your grumps?