Aging cats

I remember a while back reading and commenting on a few posts from The Dancing Professor regarding aging cats. You can read her cat related posts by following the link above, but in essence she was commenting on aging felines who seem a bit off. Things like peeing in inappropriate spots or the rather plaintive cries they like to scream out for no apparent reason.

Our cat Snowflake has been howling for many months.


She started this habit when she would wander upstairs looking for our youngest daughter who was in and out and back and forth during school. The serenades then progressed to her howling in a rather pitiful way when she left the area we were in to find a warm spot to sleep.

She is incredibly great at sleeping, doing that for probably 20 out of 24 hours per day. Her howling though is becoming louder and more prolonged. It usually occurs when she has had her dinner, visited with us for a bit and then sets off to find a dark, warm spot (usually our bed) to sleep. Tonight was by far the most intense round.

My suspicions have always been that this is a characteristic of older cats, probably signs that they are lonely or maybe confused. I visited this website tonight and feel confident that the diagnosis is confirmed. Snowflake probably is exhibiting CDS or Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome. Anxiety, confusion, maybe loss of sight and/or hearing and early kitty dementia.

I’ve long suspected the eyesight issue as she doesn’t do as well jumping onto or off of things. There’s that hesitation like she’s just not sure exactly where to step, or how high up she is, or how far down she has to travel.

She is often easily irritated like an older person who is ticked if you bother them. She often can’t seem to make up her mind and she roams and wanders much more at night than she ever used to. She actually doesn’t like to go to bed unless someone is with her and I think the eyesight issue is spot on. Kitty’s sense is skewed and off-balance when it’s dark, things aren’t quite right for her and I’m sure she doesn’t understand why.

Older cats apparently also have a harder time regulating body temps. This might explain why she likes to sleep so close to me at night. Night lights are recommended if kitty begins to wander the house and leaving a radio on low when kitty is alone can help ease anxiety.

Somehow I thought I would be the first in the family to show signs of dementia, not our cat.


Reading Homer

So I’ve jumped into the Iliad and am rather enjoying it so far.

This translation by Stephen Mitchell includes a long introduction which has been useful in giving some clues about the basis of the poem itself. Mitchell also details the richly descriptive language used by Homer and a pretty darn good ability to use simile and metaphor to add drama to his work.

I have read through Book 2 at this point which has detailed some of the background of the prolonged war between Troy and the Achaeans.

Some things of note:

1. Honor is a huge deal with these characters who represent ancient Greek culture. Rules are to be followed at all costs and dishonor is met with retribution – really horrible retribution.

2. The gods seem to enjoy trifling with mortals, as if they were placed on earth for their amusement. They are also vengeful.

3. Even with great power, Homer gave mortal qualities to his depiction of the gods. In a conversation between Zeus and Hera they carry on as a mortal married couple complaining, nagging, withholding details and plans, sharing suspicion and revealing many of the same inequalities seen between mortal men and women.

4. Prophets were both revered and hated and probably lived in constant fear for the implications of their words.

Some things I question:

When Zeus sends a dream of falsehood to Agamemnon declaring that Troy would fall under his hand why was it necessary to tell his army a lie? I certainly understand the concept of loyalty to the king and a test of this loyalty but what did Homer mean when he said the test of false words came “as custom dictates?”

Why in the world did Homer feel it necessary to devote page upon page to the list of troops and ships involved in the sudden march toward Troy at the end of Book 2? I have the impression that this was used to dramatically show the legions of men involved in this campaign but it became really rather confusing as unfamiliar names piled on top of each other and then the army of Troy was included also. Could the imagery have been just as powerful without this long list? Was this form of writing in such drawn out fashion common?

The use by Mitchell of a few words that don’t seem to fit Homeric language: whip your ass out of here (line 247, page 24), so eager to open his trap and mouth off at our leaders (line 260, page 25). Are these words as close as Mitchell could get when translating into English?



A Homerian Odyssey (IlReAd)

One of my fellow bloggers has created a challenging community reading project that I decided to take part in.

Trophos over at the dancing professor has suggested that we read Homer’s epic, the Iliad together. She suggested this community reading project as a creative way to force herself to pick up a new version of the Iliad by Stephen Mitchell.

Now you must understand that this lovely lady is very intelligent and KNOWS Greek, as in all things Greek. She most certainly does not need to read this latest translation of the Iliad, but there is controversy surrounding this translation and being the person that she is, wants to see what all the hubbub is about, and I’m sure add her own spin to Mitchell’s attempts to make a classic by Homer reader friendly.


I on the other hand do not KNOW Greek which translates to: I could probably find the current country on a map; Greece’s economy is going to hell right about now, and way back when there were numerous gods and goddesses flitting about this mystical land interacting with mortals who were trying to get life right by ancient standards. Oh, and there was something about some sort of Trojan War–which involved some sort of wooden horse thing.

To be fair to myself, I’m not completely obtuse when it comes to bits and pieces of Greek history as the above paragraph might indicate, and to blow my own horn I did, without any provocation, read the Iliad at some point in high school. Sadly though I have no idea what I read, which really means I was overwhelmed and didn’t understand a thing. Thus, when this idea arose I decided to jump on board with the group.

The book arrived from Amazon a few days ago and I have slowly been making my way through the introduction with much help from my daughter, her love of the ancient worlds and her two semesters of Greek language skills.

Honestly, I think this is going to be a fun adventure. As I have a class winding down in the next few weeks it seems like a perfect time to see where this journey will lead. I’m not sure just how this will all go but if you see posts with the odd acronym IlReAd, then you know it has something to do with this translated classic piece of literature.

Here’s to some adventurous reading over the next few weeks.