Figaro is 19 and he's dealing with health issues common to any grand, old man. Sometimes he just wants to be alone. Sometimes he rides Michael around like an amusement park attraction. Figaro is smart and alert and aware. But he's no longer young, Mrs. Treadwell.
A few years ago, Figaro finally deigned to put up a blog. Typical of his "always leave them wanting more" approach, he updates it about every six months. Still, his words resonate throughout the biosphere.
In his stirring tribute to catnip, he begins with a bit of whimsy:
You gotta try it. But I'm warning you, it can be habit forming. Ever since I had my first sniff, I've been doing nothing but playing and sleeping and eating. Even something as ordinary as a toilet paper roll can provide endless hours of amusement.
But then turns that into a strong social statement. For instance, he suggests for Britney Spears:
I think somebody should give her a nice roll of toilet paper and lock her in a room someplace with nice padding on the walls where she can play and stay out of trouble.
A cat of multiple talents:
As for my recording studio endeavors, making a new album is very hard work. I do it anyway, because I love you all. I know how starved the masses are for solid entertainment. Since I'm usually starved too, the new album is dedicated to breakfast, the most important meal of the day.When Michael and I took him to the vet, he was very animated and really friendly. I held the case and Michael opened the door and played with him. There were other cats and dogs there, too. And we were facing the elevator door.
At one point, a very stern looking man who wouldn't smile at me got off with two of those whippet-looking pointy faced hounds. One had his leg in a cast. As they stood at the counter, the one in the cast, squatted right down and had himself a poop.
His owner never noticed it. The cleaning lady, who seemed to be everywhere at once, had it cleaned up and out of there within a minute. It was really remarkable how smoothly it all went. I don't think the owner ever even knew. He was filling out forms.
When it was time to bring Figaro in, Michael let me come along. The doctor talked to us like we were a gay couple. It was kind of sweet, really. Since the subject never came up, there was no reason to explain that I was just the family friend, but it didn't matter.
Figaro did okay. He struck once when the doctor pushed a button on him that he didn't like, but the doctor was great. Something like, "It's okay, little fella. I won't do that again. You're okay."
He also proceeded to write on a chart what the possibilities were with his particular ailment, what tests would be needed and what treatments were available. It was all rather dizzying, but I tried to remember as many details as possible since I know Michael was probably a little bit in shock from the whole situation.
I didn't bring my camera because I hadn't secured written permission (three weeks in advance with catnip bribe) from Figaro, who is very strict about his public image.
Having just lost Thurber, I can kind of know what Michael's going through right now, though, and I felt really honored and privileged that I could be there with them.
While tooling around the hospital store, I also found some new food for Steinbeck. Now that Thurber, the cat vacuum, is gone, it's time to do something for Steinbeck's weight. I got something called "Science Diet." In the doctor's office I saw a big Science Diet chart about what to feed your cat under certain circumstances, two different kinds for weight control. One gives him balanced low-fat nutrition and the other is more fiber, giving him a feeling of being full.
And he likes it! So, that's a relief.
When Steinbeck wants or doesn't like his breakfast, he sings so loud, it almost wakes up the neighbors. He's auditioning to be in Figaro's back-up group.