By Rondo, Roving reporter
For those that don’t know this... Grammy is a little bit (choke, choke), oh, alright then, quite physically challenged. Yes, she is. To put it mildly, Grammy has never learned to stand on her own two feet. We’re not saying that she isn’t independent. No, to put it mildly, she is independent to a fault and yet those two feet give her more grief than those of most people’s give them. So to fix this we, the M&M crew at Mischief & Mayhem Central have taken it upon ourselves to get to the bottom or base, or might we say, foot of the problem.
Now, we need to go back about a hundred years to when Greatgrammy was on this terrestrial orb... to let you know that our dear Greatgrammy had her work cut out for her. She never went anywhere, and we mean ANYWHERE, without carrying a full medical kit with her.... Gauze, bandages, disinfectant, more gauze and more bandages. - the whole kit and caboodle. Invariably, our dear, accident prone Grammy would do a face plant – most often knees first in the park, on a cinder path, down the stairs. You name it she’s done it and has the scars to prove it. We have heard, and we are not divulging our sources, that this continued into her dating years and might we add from first hand knowledge, into near distant past.
Imagine this... Grammy goes on a date! Now her dates were few and far between and soon you’ll see why... Off she goes on a first date to a movie with a boy...and all is going well, sodas, sharing a bag of popcorn, enjoying the movie, laughing in all the right places, crying when appropriate, movie ends and time to go home. Boy brings her home, helps her out of the bugg.. (well let’s just say car so’s not to give away her age) car, all the while chatting and gallantly walks her to her door. Not hearing a response he turns to see why she isn’t laughing at his witty comment.
Where did she go? Nowhere to be seen, not to the left of him, nor to the right, but then where else to look? Yes, down... and there she is, face first, sprawled like a starfish on a fishtank wall in the middle of a parking lot, on the grass, and once – in the middle of a main street cars coming at her from both directions. AND she’s laughing! Yes, you heard me, she’s laughing her head off. Well, enough said, unceremoniously lifted, scuttled to the door and off the poor young fellow goes...never to be heard from again. AND can you blame them? No, we agree, wholeheartedly! KITTEN’S WHISKERS
Did this end when she reached adulthood? Noooooooooooooooooooooooooo! It didn’t! But those stories must wait for another time..... Jump to the near past – in other words within our lifetime.
Suffice it to say that despite assistive devices to keep the old dear upright and in a short span of time there were three incidents... and hilarious as they were to Grammy, they weren’t to us. Bruises, fractures and a mild concussion called for drastic measures and since wrapping her in cotton wool wasn’t an option we, the M&M crew, had to do something about this.
Whiskers was appointed to trot on over to the Family Practice and get something organized with the GP. Oh, yes, the GP was startled to see Whiskers in her office, but to give her credit she took it in stride and did as bidden. Whiskers is a persuasive puss. Shortly thereafter Grammy was enrolled in a Falls Prevention course... and that has been most beneficial. Now, not to jinx things... the old dear has stayed upright for close on a year, a few close calls but upright nevertheless.
Next step in the plan was to get her fit so this time Whiskers trotted over to the Arthritis society for a list of community resources and enrolled her in a Stay Active workshop. With that under her belt, we decided to do our part. Yes, exercise... that’s the ticket. And that brings us to the absolute present.
This is serious. We, the M&M crew, are not rolling in dough! No we aren’t. Messy business, that! Oh, isn’t the English language just delightful? No, we don’t roll in dough, nor do we have much money... so, there’s no sending the old dear off to a fitness club. No siree bob! We had to come up with a solution, economical and yet effective. And Whiskers did and she thinks it’s brilliant.
Now a good exercise plan includes warm up, stretching, strengthening exercises, aerobics, a good long walk and a gentle cool down. And, we’ve managed to incorporate all of these into our plan. It’s brilliant, totally brilliant because it’ll take care of another few issues.
Three of the five at Mischief and Mayhem Central are a little, might we say, portly and/or matronly.... Yes, Etude and I, Rondo the magnificent, each weigh a meagre 17 pounds while dumpling Whiskers is somewhere at the top of normal for the feminine feline. No, I have no intention of divulging the number. I value my life too much. To explain this a little further, all three of us saunter across the living room, belly pouches swaying side to side, and for Whiskers this isn’t so bad...brown stripes disguise the pouch, but for Cow kitties in Holstein fur... and male kitties to boot, it is embarrassing. Udderly embarrassing, to say the least.
Then, we have the little ones – Sweetie and Mouse who are at or below the bottom of normal and need to bulk up a bit. What to do about them? Good question! We’re still working on that one. So...... back to the exercise plan.
Grammy is to walk each of us in turn on leashes up and down the hallway... simple, to say the least. No need to spend a penny. Harnesses and a lead already in house from Grammy’s days as a Feline Foster Mom! Sturdy shoes. Indoor activity so, no need for jogging suits or outerwear. The perfect plan – start slowly and build up. Don’t overdo it. Three cats... that’s the ticket.... One from each weight range to start and down the road work up to all five of us.
Day 1 -
The Warm up – Bend over, lift the single stepstool, straighten, move it to the appropriate cupboard, bend over, set it down, straighten, step up, stretch, lift down the bin with the harnesses and leash. Stretch to return bin to the shelf. Step down, bend over, lift stepstool, straighten, walk to original location, bend over, replace stepstool, straighten. Retrieve harnesses and leash, walk to living room.
Aerobics 1 – The Harness... Locate Etude, bend over and lift him, carry him to chair, wrestle him into a harness that is somewhat snug, attach lead. Lift Etude and walk to door, open and walk through, close door and bend over to set him on the ground.
Brilliant in theory but from there the plan went awry. Or in other words the brilliant plan went to H E double hockey sticks in a hand-basket.
Firstly, Etude was not thrilled to be in a harness that was lacking that extra finger of space between it and the furry underbelly,
Secondly, Etude was not thrilled to be in the hallway of the condo,
Thirdly, he made it known – at the top of his howling voice. AWWWROOOOOOO!
Doors unlatched up and down the hallway, snap, snap, crrrrick times eight. Heads peered around door frames, agog, phones in hand, 9-1-....prepunched waiting to see if that last single digit was needed. And just as suddenly, heads retreated into those units - startled turtles into their shells. Doors closed and latched.. crrrrick,.snap, snap – again, times 8. They wanted nothing to do with that lunatic and her howling Holstein. KITTEN’S WHISKERS
Well, the old dear, the worst behind her figured she might as well carry on with the walk. Yes, I’ve said it before... she’s delusional! Believe me! She is! Grammy hadn’t taken into consideration the FRF (feline resistance factor). Etude decided he wasn’t going anywhere... no, not one step, plunked that Holstein belly onto the hall floor and dug in those claws. HE WASN’T BUDGING, no siree! Might I say it again? KITTEN’S WHISKERS
Grammy, not to be waylaid from her fitness regimen carried on with her aerobics - Bend over, unpeel the claws, lift the feline howler, walk to the end of the hall, set him down on the warm radiator, chat him up a bit while peering out the window, start walking back as far as the leash would permit. Of course he’ll run to join her. Hah, delusional! Call to Mr Uncooperative, return to said mister, bend over pick him up and walk back along the hallway, open door and wrestle to remove a tight harness while said cat wiggles and writhes to escape to his condo safety zone.
Aerobics 2 – repeat step by step with practically weightless Sweetie and the smaller harness. More major howling and octave higher but fortunately, only one door opened, startled turtle appeared and disappeared, door closed in 3 seconds flat... no phone in hand, thankfully! AND much easier to unharness.
Aerobics 3 – repeat said exercise, step by step with Whiskers. Only differences were: finger space between harness and furry underbelly was generous, 25% lighter cargo than round 1, chirping and squeaks of pleasure replaced all-out howls. But Grammy got in a third walk down the hall and back with no wriggling, lots of cuddles and purrs and a few whisker tickles but no feline walking. I’m thinking that was Whiskers’ plan all along - an adventure in Grammy’s arms. Devious old dear put one over on all of us.
Once Whiskers was unharnessed, the cool down began... gather harnesses and leash, bending and stretching to place them back in their cupboard using stool.
And where were Mouse and I during all this? Well, I was on the laptop, writing this blog as details unfolded and Mouse was preparing an Epsom salts bath for dear old Grammy.
Well, do we see any improvement in Grammy? Absolutely! She didn’t topple over once. Not even a stagger! Well, maybe one or two, but they were little ones. So, hard as it is on the M&M crew at Mischief & Mayhem Central, we must be selfless and continue the regimen for Grammy’s sake.