It is common for folks with dementia to repeat themselves, at least some of the time, on some question. From the first moment of the day until time to go to sleep, my mother's world rotates around the imaginary needs of her cat. My mother's question is "have you fed the cats yet?" Seven or eight times in an hour. But it isn't just feline nutrition that drives her. Mom won't leave the house until she is sure all the animals are fed. She won't eat her breakfast until she feeds them treats. But it works both ways. Because she is often too picky to eat what is prepared for dinner, I won't feed the dog until she eats her dinner. The dog does not mind, and mom eats.
|not mom's cat|
Mom sits with the cat on her lap in a recliner most of the time now. She stopped coming downstairs regularly sometime before May, unless my husband was going to be there. Her arthritis being so bad, to ease her pain, we sometimes would take her her meal on a tray. Funny. When she is given her meal that way the cat climbs in the tray, making eating next to impossible. If you try to remove the cat, my mother tells you you are mean and pouts. Forget going anywhere if the the cat is in her lap. As soon as that happens she will not get up, lest she disturb the beast. She will sit in uncomfortable positions, do without a needed item, even wet her pants, before she will move the cat. It is as if this cat is her whole world. It is quirky, demented and kind of cute if annoying.
In a world of such losses and pain, the happiness this beast brings mom is a gift.
Yesterday, when I was helping mom meet the people at an adult day care center we are hoping to use my cell phone rang three consecutive times. It was a freind, trying to reach me in the hopes that, of all things, I would feed her cat while she was away for the weekend. I had ignored each ring, allowing it to go to voicemail, in order to finish the paperwork with the program director so mom could enjoy her day. When it rang a third time, I asked if I could be excused to take it. Mom looked up at me in all seriousness and wet eyed asked if something had happened to her cat. The calls were from a neighbor fifteen houses down the street. The cat was at home where we had just left her well fed self less than 20 minutes ago, sleeping on mom's chair in her room while my husband worked at home. Really mom?
|still not mom's cat|
She responded, "She is my daughter." "Mom, I am your daughter," I replied. "You got married and left, but she stayed." Really? Apparently the cat is my good step-sister, and my friends are more loyal to her than me. Explains a lot.
Good to know I guess. How do I explain what comes next to her? It breaks the heart. Few if any places will allow mom to keep her cat. The ones that will are way too expensive.
As we prepare to go get a birthday gift for a family member today she has reminded me six times. "We need Cat Treats."
meow, meow, meow?