Old Boy Network

It’s only after spending what seems like weeks catching up after my short holiday that I realise I’ve forgotten to post the update that probably most people care about, i.e. my old moggy Columbo.

Well, although he’s not getting any younger he’s still doing OK. I had to make use of the services of a petsitter while I was away (both at NAM and then on holidays). It turns out the lady who usually comes wasn’t available all the time so I had two different people coming to the house at various times. His support network is becoming extensive.

He is of course pretty old now – he was 17 in March – and he’s showing quite a few signs of age. He has been suffering from arthritis in his legs for a while, but the medication seems at least to have stopped it getting worse. He still has a bit of a struggle sometimes getting up and lying down but the discomfort obviously doesn’t last too long. If it gets to the point where he’s in pain all the time then I’ll have to think very hard about what to do.

Despite this ailment (and his continuing diabetes) he still seems happy enough to potter about in the garden in between lengthy snoozes, more often than not on my bed. He’s also still got a healthy appetite. The only times he’s ever been off his food have been when he was really ill, so as long as he’s eating I reckon he’s basically OK. That’s why I don’t mind him cadging for snacks, as is his wont..

Columbo’s basically a friendly old chap and there are occasions when he clearly enjoys having other people around. At other times, though, increasingly frequent now, he clearly prefers his own company and goes off on his own somewhere. I know him well enough not to bother him when he’s in that mood. Actually, Columbo and I are pretty similar in that craving for solitude. We old boys like to keep ourselves to ourselves.


6 Responses to “Old Boy Network”

  1. Our family feline is 19 and has had arthritis and diabetes for several years now. We’re amazed she is still going as the prognosis was very bleak at first.

    There have been a few toilet incidents, but she is generally happy and content. She’s delaying my parents travel plans!

    • telescoper Says:

      I think lady cats generally live longer than toms, but 19 is still a pretty good age.

      Columbo does commit the occasional lavatorial indiscretion including once, bizarrely, in my rucksack. He also sometimes needs a bit of help cleaning himself up. I won’t go into the details.

  2. Anton Garrett Says:

    Peter, I recall you saying that he is half pedigree and half moggy. Would you be interested in expanding upon that for all of his fans?

    • telescoper Says:


      Yes, Columbo’s mum was a pedigree British Shorthair. Silver Tabby, obviously. She was in fact owned by a gay couple I knew when I lived in Bethnal Green. She produced lots of fine kittens by cats of similar pedigree.

      However, it seems one night she got out and had a night on the tiles, producing a litter of three, two girls and one boy. (Incidentally, cats can have a litter of kittens each by a different father…). They easily gave away the two female kittens, but male cats are less popular and they found it difficult to find a home. Until I saw him and couldn’t say no.

      Vets always point out that he has classic features – a big round head, for example – but clearly is mixed because of his white and ginger patches, mainly on his chest and paws.

      Curiously one of his sisters – called Polly – turned up living in a neighbour’s flat. She and Columbo did play together a little when he was young, but the neighbours moved away and Polly went with them.


  3. Phil Uttley Says:

    My parent’s cat is 18 and a wonder to behold. He was hit by cars on at least two occasions more than 10 years ago and lost his tail and badly damaged his hip, and amongst other scrapes he has soldiered on. Now his hip has virtually disintegrated but he still manages very well, although he can’t leap like he used to but uses his forelegs to drag himself 5 feet vertically to his favourite spot, the top bunk in the spare room where he can’t be bugged by the dogs. He’s a cranky old sod but seems content enough and eats like there is no tomorrow, which is funny because he’s doing pretty well regarding tomorrows. 9 lives? I reckon he’s had at least 20 by now.

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