When you came into our condo, the stairs were to the right and a long, kitchen counter was to the left with a walkway between them. Chris could never be bothered with walking around and would jump from the stairs to the kitchen counter or from the kitchen counter to the stairs.
About two weeks ago we were driving out of our neighborhood when we noticed an old couple outside with a couple of pet stairs that they labeled “free.” I stopped and mentioned that I had an older cat that might benefit from them. She said that she had them for her cat. I assumed the cat died but I didn’t pursue it.
I have been unsure about Chris’s capabilities lately. When I am sitting at my computer he scratches at my legs to get me to pick him up. He used to just jump on my lap but that ship sailed over a year ago. He also scratches at my legs or cries at me when I am sitting on the sofa, even though I know he can jump onto the sofa when I am not there.
In the bedroom, he jumps onto the footboard and then continues up from there. It is usually one fluid motion but lately, he seems to struggle to get onto the bed. He looks like someone who has slid off a cliff and is trying to pull himself back up.
I thought the stairs would be a big help so I put one in the bedroom and one in the living room next to the sofa. He didn’t use it at first and I had to put him on it a couple of times but he soon got the hang of it. I originally had it in front of my nightstand but my wife feared I would trip over it at night so she pushed the nightstand over and put it where it is now in the photo.
Having it this way does make more sense. It also means that Chris has to stop at the top and turn before getting on the bed but he quickly got the hang of that.
The stairs by the sofa are another story. Chris never used them and would either just jump onto the sofa or ask me to pick him up. I decided instead to put them next to my office chair. My hope was that he would climb the stairs to get on my lap.
So far he has never attempted to climb those stairs. He always just scratches my legs until I pick him up. They aren’t totally useless though. When I have to get up I sort of guide him to the stairs as I stand up. He then walks down the stairs and follows me, hoping this will be the time I will open the container of kibble.
I guess this is our reality now. Chris is not getting any younger or any lighter and I don’t expect that to change, although it would be helpful if I could get him to lose a few pounds.
When we first brought our cats to our new West Virginia home last November, I was concerned that Chris’s age and weight would be a problem when going up and down the stairs but, to our surprise, he was the first one to investigate the upstairs. During that stay he would not hesitate to go up and down the stairs.
Fast forward to a month ago when we returned and Chris would still go up and down the stairs but he seemed to spend more time upstairs and would come down later in the day or evening when Rose and I were both downstairs. Several days ago I noticed Floki and Frankie were spending time on the catio without Chris. I started to pay attention and noticed Chris stopped coming downstairs.
I also noticed that sometimes when Chris gets off my lap, he doesn’t land gracefully like a cat but seems to stumble. I am concerned that maybe he is getting arthritis or is in pain for another reason. My concern is that he just all of a sudden stopped coming down the stairs. That tells me that something got worse pretty quickly.
I will say that since we have been back he has rarely come downstairs for breakfast. Usually he waits in the bedroom or at the top of the stairs. Since he cares about dry food more than wet food I consider it to be at least partly because of apathy.
Once downstairs I and open a can of wet food and put it on three plates. By then Frankie is on the counter eating off one of the plates before I can put it down. After I put his plate down I head up with Chris and Floki’s plates. I learned that if I put Floki’s plate down too he will eat until I leave with Chris’s food then he will follow me. So now I just take both plates and Floki follows me up the stairs, talking to me the whole way up.
The last couple of evenings I picked up Chris and carried him downstairs and then carried him back up again. On the way up I put him down on the landing and let him walk up the last three or four steps, which he seems to do okay.
I want to take him in and have him looked at but there is no vet in this town. This town of 3800 people has three auto parts stores and two hardware stores but no veterinarian. I hope this is not a reflection of the priorities of the people in this town.
He seems okay otherwise so I guess I will just carry him around for the next month and then see his vet in Florida whenwe return.