Our oldest anipal (Charles Wade Barkley McGlinchey, AKA "Barkley," "Bark," "B-Boo," et cetera, et cetera, ad nauseam) is getting on in years. Specifically, he will be 15 in April. He's still fairly spry - wrestles with his "brother from another Coon kitty mother" Max and jumps onto the bathroom counter several times a day, demanding fresh, cold water from the faucet.
But I think that his eyesight is starting to go. The vet has not said anything about it, but I insist that the proof is in the pupils: they are huge, and they were not that huge before. Based on my wealth of veterinary medical experience (okay, so maybe "wealth" is an exaggeration - three-week internship in a vet's office my senior year of high school for AP Biology II credit, plus I dated a vet's kid for a week the same year - different vet, non-overlapping week, but the vet's kid was in my AP Biology II class, and it's possible that he and I got caught kissing during open heart surgery on a field trip - but that was a lifetime ago), I am convinced that Barkley's oversized pupils are a sign that he has glaucoma. That, or high blood pressure. Internet says that dilated pupils in a cat could be a sign of hypertension. And everyone knows that Google is the functional equivalent of attending veterinary school. (Or, you know, not.)
My husband tells me that I am insane. But, then, he says that frequently.
The vet just ignores me.
I am also convinced that this fading eyesight and/or generally failing health is the reason why Barkley has morphed into a situational succubus. Situational, because it only happens at a certain time each night (LATE at night): I roll over, and BOOM, there's the cat, waiting for me. He roots towards my face and hovers millimeters away from my nose and mouth. This wakes me up. I pull back - and he lunges forward. I roll onto my back - and he follows, climbing onto my chest and angling his face down into mine.
It makes me very claustrophobic. Half-asleep, I try to shove him off of me - and I imagine that I hear tiny little bones cracking in his aged body. Then my guilt prevents me from going to sleep: he is just getting that close to me because he can't see me, and he is triangulating towards my face using his heightened sense of smell. That, or he knows that he is in his twilight years, and he wants to enjoy every quality moment of mama time that he can.
My husband tells me, once again, that I am insane. Barkley has always been, and always will be, a Stage 5 Clinger. It is one of his defining characteristics. He was our first "child" (or child substitute), the only one who remembers what it's like to have Mom and Dad to himself. And he WILL have it that way again, DAMN IT. Even if it's in the middle of the night, when Ruby Dog is curled up in her bed, Ace the Batdog is in the bottom bunk with Parker, Max Cat is in the top bunk with Connor and Gabby Cat is - well, wherever Gabby Cat goes in the middle of the night. (Gabby trickles out personal information on a "need to know" basis - and, most of the time, she doesn't think you need to know. We should have named her "Nunya" - as in, "nunya damned business.") Night in and night out, Barkley will climb into bed, breathe his warm kitty breath onto my face until I wake up and stare at me with an expression in his Mr. Magoo eyes that says, "I WILL NOT BE IGNORED OR FORGOTTEN."
Don't worry, B-Boo. You will never be forgotten - and, no doubt, many nights in a Barkley-less future I will wake up and find myself missing the full-facial intrusion of Little Succubus Boy.