Our dear kitty Tommy is quite old, and her mind is sadly degenerating. She does things now that she’s never done, not even when she was a kitten e.g. messing with our sleep through routinely demanding breakfast with yowls at any time from 12.30am to 4am, then demanding (usually two hours later on the dot) with more yowls that someone come and keep her company while she eats, sometimes going so far as to demand someone join her a third time. Other methods of messing with our sleep include: walking all over us; standing over us and staring very closely at our faces (making sure of who we are, we suppose); and walking all over desks and knocking everything over with a tail she no longer has full spatial control over.
Other things she does now that she’s never done before include: demanding lunch on top of breakfast and dinner; tolerating being picked up for much longer; and tolerating being petted for much longer.
Tommy does some things now that she hasn’t done since she was a kitten, too, e.g. pushing beneath books/iPads (not when she was a kitten) that we’re reading to draw attention back towards her. She used to do this all the time when she was young – barely a book would go by without a little kitty nose pushing its way beneath it to find our faces – but she hasn’t for years and years, not until recently.
Another somewhat unusual (to us) behaviour dear Tommy has taken to is hair chewing. She was doing it again last night: I sat at my desk, leaning down to put something in the rubbish bin, and suddenly I feel pulling at my fringe – Tommy was sitting on the desk, and had decided to have a good old gnaw at it while my head was down. I’ve woken up at least once with a sizable strand firmly in her jaws, and Mum has told me of any number of times Tommy has tried to eat her hair stealthily from behind.
Wound up looking this behaviour up – apparently hair chewing is undertaken by cats that are either in dire need of attention (as social animals, cats groom each other frequently, which includes hair biting), or are stressed. I don’t think Tommy has ever had as much attention as she does now, so stress it probably is. The stress of aging, most likely. Poor, dear kitty.
Just that second. She knocked my clock clean off my desk …
So, the reason all this elderly cat behaviour has come up, is that I wouldn’t have even thought to research the hair chewing phenomenon if I hadn’t looked up something else about cats just a few hours before then.
Do cats cry? According to what I found, they do. I’d already thought so – dear Tommy’s eyes have often been teary – but I had to check something more specific. Cat tears seem to exist only for eye maintenance purposes – they are shed in response to allergy, eye irritation, etc. Though there are many anecdotal tales of cats crying in situations of loss, there is no true scientific evidence of cats crying in relation to sadness or joy. Apparently, kitties have little to gain in shedding emotional tears. Again, this is only according to the site I looked at – this one here . If you’ve heard (or witnessed) otherwise, drop me a comment below.
This may be so for pure cats. But what about those cats with a little human in them?
Don’t scorn. As my dear Mum would say: “It’s a fantasy!”
For the purposes of this particular fantasy, I’m saying cats with human ancestry can inherit the ability to cry emotional tears. Poor little weepy kitties – probably ridiculed by all the others. After all, what self-respecting cat expresses pain by leaking water from its eyes?