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So now the cats are miffed that the dogs got their picture on the banner up above, and have demanded equal time, so I’ll introduce Spinner, the senior critter around here (Nemo’s younger–she can wait for her 15 minutes of fame). We got Spinner as a kitten, a birthday gift for our son’s second birthday. Darling little fluff ball she was.

Darling little fluff balls, though, especially long-haired darling little fluff balls, have a disconcerting way of turning into large, lumpy, geriatric cats. The 2 year old boy is now nearly 20 (and not a bit lumpy), but poor old Spins is deaf, blind, arthritic, and so averse to either grooming herself or letting us groom her that she’s become sort of a walking dreadlock. The mainstay of her diet is food formulated for elderly felines–my husband refers to it as “Friskies’ Decrepicat.” And yet, she is still much loved, and for all her creaking about, she’s still very much tuned in to us. In the daytime, she snoozes in the warm space behind the upstairs bathroom door. Late at night, though, she wants to be where the action is (which is to say, sitting with us on the couch watching TV).

Did I say she was the senior critter? Turns out she’s much older than even the oldest 2-legs in the house. Even though it was only 18 of our years ago that she came into our lives, she’s gotten a little bit ahead of us. A few days ago I was Googling for information about the care of geriatric cats, when I came across a link to the Real Age test for cats.

So I gamely filled out the questionnaire. What kind of food did she eat?

There was no box to check for “Decrepicat,” but I think I got the point across.

Did she ever go outdoors?

Are you kidding me?! There are COYOTES out there!

Did she have companionship?

Lots and lots.


Yes, but she’s too old to play with them, though in her earlier days she was especially fond of paper grocery bags, taped end to end (with the bottoms removed) to make tunnels and mazes.

And so on. And at the end, the clever test spit back the result: Spinner is 100 years old. No, let’s be accurate–she’s 100.6 years old.

I wonder whether Medicare would pay her vet bills.

My husband said those words tonight, the ones I never thought I’d hear a man say to me. “You’re the dog person,” he said.

I denied it, of course. I am a cat person. Really, really I am. I have always lived with cats, from the time I was very tiny and my parents let my sister and me adopt a cat whose given name was Pugsley, but whom we quickly dubbed (I still shudder to think about it) “Fluffy,” until the present day. If J. Alfred Prufrock measured out his life with coffee spoons (go ahead and look it up–I’ll wait), then I can name the intervening years by naming the cats:




Bilbo (who could say “rowerbazzle” and who was run over by the school bus on our about–depending upon who’s telling the story–my 16th birthday)



Vicious (you hit me with a flower . . .)

Reuben Katso (Katso, me boys, Katso . . .)

Spinner (still walking the earth at the ripe age of 100.6 people years)


Nemo (the heiress apparent)

Cats. I’m telling you, it’s all about the cats. Cats keep away the evil spirits. Keep the mice down. Have the ability to curl up in any-shaped space as needed. Love us and accept our love without letting us get all maudlin about it.

But 6 years ago the unthinkable happened. My husband turned to me and said, without drama or unnecessary preliminaries, “I need a dog again.” How we got from there to here is a long story, a 3 dog tale for a 3 dog night.

Suffice it to say that tonight, when we are worried about a little health problem that Dinah, the queen of the dog roost, might or might not have, he turned to me and said, “Let’s just watch her until tomorrow, and then we’ll call the vet again as needed. You’re tuned in to her, so you’re the one who will know if she’s really sick. After all, you’re [wait for it . . .] the dog person here.”

Me? The dog person? You coulda knocked me over with a Milk Bone.

I’ll keep you (and the vet) posted. In the meantime, stay tuned for the ongoing saga of someone who once thought she was a cat person.

Who knew?

He is so shaggy. People are amazed when he gets up and they suddenly realize they have been talking to the wrong end. --Elizabeth Jones
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Nancy Hall ©2009
April 2008