The Aging Heart

Our cat Sam rests atop the cat tree with the TV in the background on January 30, 2021. Original: _CAM9550.arw

Sam needs oral surgery but in preparation they noticed some odd heart behavior so he went to a cardiologist and was diagnosed with heart disease, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), so he’ll get his surgery at a specialist with an anesthesiologist trained for his condition. Then he’ll be on a blood thinner to reduce stroke risk, thankfully I think it’s in pill form as he likes pill pockets but getting liquid down his throat is not for the faint of heart. He’s not showing any symptoms yet so depending on how his condition progresses he might be with us for years to come, he’s to get periodic evaluations every six months and we need to keep a close eye on any symptoms that develop.

A Quiet Moment

Our cats Emma and Sam in the cat tree in the dining room in July 2009. Original: _MG_6006.cr2

Emma and Sam spend a quiet moment in the cat tree in front of one of the picture windows in the summer of 2009. It didn’t stay quiet long, in a minute Emma snuck down and poked Sam from above. The sneak attack poke was a favorite game of theirs and fortunately they had each other to play it with as the much older Scout was not a fan.

Slowing Down

Our cat Sam relaxes on top of the cat tree in the living room on October 4, 2020. Original: _RAW6040.arw

Sam has slowed down a bit in his 13th year. He still loves sleeping atop the cat tree but now he hops onto each level instead of jumping to the top in one fell swoop. He still grouses at me when I get home from work or a hike if I take too long to get settled, as he loves to jump into my lap and purr to beat the band.

One change over the past year, and I don’t know if it’s related to Ellie’s death or a coincidence of timing, is that when he first climbs aboard he likes to hang out as high on my body as he can, even up by my face if I’m reclining, before eventually going back to my lap or legs when he wants to fall asleep. As a youngster he considered that Scout’s space, and since he adored her he let her have her spot (she would have demanded it even if he didn’t). Perhaps now that all of the pets he grew up with are gone he’s feeling a little insecure, or he’s claiming it as his rightful space as the oldest, or maybe it’s just a change with age.

Sometimes he snuggles up behind my head but that’s usually when Trixie, who worships him as he did Scout, smushes her face into his when he’s not in the mood.

Cat Tree, I Love You

Our cat Emma hugs the cat tree on July 18, 2009. Original: _MG_5849.cr2

After we got out first cat tree in 2009, it took Emma a little while to try it but once she did, she fell in love. I found her in the afternoon hugging the tree, even if it was just the way she was sleeping it does reflect her feelings for what became a favorite hangout. In the second picture she looked back through the big picture window and her face was lit by the afternoon light.

Our cat Emma in the cat tree on July 18, 2009. Original: _MG_5909.cr2

Changing Elevation

Our cat Sam stretches out along the top of the cat tree in my office in June 2020

As the seasons pass some animals change elevation seeking temperatures more to their liking, Samwise no exception. With the full heat of summer coming on our snuggler extraordinaire will often come in for some affection and then flee to the tops of the cat trees where he can stretch out and cool off a bit. Trixie feels no such migratory urges and the little furnace has been stretched out along my legs all morning as we watch Formula 1 practicing in Austria.