Farewell to Stella

When Stella started to show her age, acquiring the bony look that old lady cats have, I thought we had a couple of years left to enjoy her cat-ness. stella_huntress

She was all cat: an athlete, a hunter, a courteous and amusing room mate. She was aloof but not indifferent. She liked us and paid us attention in pure cat terms. I have received numerous rodent offerings, and could always count on her to flop over on the mulch to welcome us home after absences. Continue reading

Three billion heartbeats

Thanks to a great video in The Guardian, I now know that we humans have three billion heartbeats in a lifetime. Even if the rest of our bodies could escape aging and could function indefinitely, our heart muscle quits after beating three billion times.

They say nobody knows the day and hour of her death, but for me, knowing the number of heartbeats in a lifetime comes close. It is the specificity of the number that gets to me.

That very specific number made me wonder whether an athletic person, who regularly engages in activities that increase heart rate, is in effect using up his allotted number of heartbeats more quickly. But then a friend pointed out that an athlete’s resting heartbeat is slower than a non-athlete’s, so that probably averages out. And we all know that exercise has tons of benefits for all kinds of bodily systems.

Prof Michael Shattock of King’s College London¬†certainly packs a lot of information into his eight minute video, and I thank him for it, even if some of what he said was too technical for me to follow. The video is worth a couple of listens to try to understand everything he’s saying.

Farewell to Sweetie

My old blind cat Sweetie died at the age of 20-something. I don’t know what that is in human years, exactly, but recently I’ve thought of her as 106.

For the past couple of years, my home office has been a kitty nursing home, with her litter box and food bowl at one end, the rug folded and put away to save it from her accidents. It often did not smell very good, so I stopped using the day bed in there.

First thing in the morning and first thing when I got home from work I fed her the smelly soft food that was all she could eat. I scooped her poop a lot, to keep the smell bearable. These were the sacrifices I made for her. I felt that taking care of her in her old age was my duty, and I obscurely felt that if I did this for her, someday someone might treat me well, if and when I get very, very old.
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