Friday, January 30, 2009

Tyler will be 17 Years Old this Spring

I got Tyler when I he was about 7-8 months old in October of 1992. Tyler was probably born in February-April of 1992, but we don't know for sure. I picked him up out of the dumpster in south Minneapolis behind my friend Sarah's house. I asked Sarah if the cat had and owner and she checked around and found out he was homeless.

I thought he was a dark grey cat with blue eyes until I bathed him and found this lovely Seal Lynx Point Manx underneath all the grime. He is a tail-less cat with no tail at all. He has a divot where his tail would be - so cute. They call this kind of cat a Manx - because they first found tail-less cats on the Isle of Man in England. We know he has Manx in his breeding because that breed also has long back legs and shorter front legs making them kind of hop when they walk - just like bunnies. Tyler has blue eyes and medium-long fur and that also makes him unique. A long-hair Manx is called a Cymric. Technically, he called a Seal Lynx Point Cymric but even fewer people know what that variant of the Manx breed is all about - only the true Cat Geeks like me and Guy! (We've been to a few cat shows and have many back issues of Cat Fancy.)

I was surprised when I first got Tyler that he loved to ride in the car - most cats hate the car due to inner ear disturbances, the balance sensitivity that allows them to land on their feet gives them car-sickness. But Tyler didn't scream like the others and loved rides - I gave him the middle name of Toonces. Tyler Toonces Redwing! Tyler is one of those unflappable cats that love the veternarian, are good in the car, loves other cats and even dogs, and is kind of the boss around the house - he often bosses Guy and me! His calm and confident demeanor is unusual among cats and it make him "the king" of our little pride.

Back in 1992, when I got Tyler - I soon realized that I had adopted a dumpster or "street" kitty. I was eating a tuna sandwich on the couch and watching T.V. when along came Tyler.... He slapped the sandwich out of my hand and ran off with it - swallowing as much sandwich as he could until I caught him. He was well schooled in "life on the streets" in Minneapolis and if you wanted some food you had to "GRAB IT". I laughed and once he figured out regular mealtimes he calmed down a bit.

It should be noted that I knew Tyler before I even knew my husband, Guy. I owned Tyler for 2 months before Guy and I met. Despite this, Guy has bonded to Tyler incredibly over the years - he has truly adopted him has his own (who adopted who is up in the air).

Mr. Tyler Toonces Redwing has had some weird habits over the years:
1) he used to lick the cheese off of Cheetos leaving little dead, white Cheeto corpses around the house
2) he had a sweet tooth and went nuts for anything sweet - I think that is because sweet things would rot less in dumpsters so he probably ate that first...?
3) He has always been a cuddler. He loves to be held, snuggled, kissed, petted - any type of attention is fine with him. He lets Kaylee (Shih Tzu) lick his face and ears!

He doesn't do the first 2 items anymore because of his advanced age - although he is great at still coming when you call him. He is almost like a dog that way - very obedient.

These are pictures when Tyler's was a younger cat. He's looking a bit raggedy these days after his stroke and his ear and teeth issues. Three years ago, Tyler had a stoke or a blood clot on his spine that burst and he ended up paralyzed from the waist down. We had to turn him every 4 hours or he would develop bed sores and Guy learned to express his bladder manually. We kept him in diapers when we went to work and we bought a washable lambswool pad that they use in nursing homes to prevent bedsores and it helped us not need to turn him during the day. It was tough, but over a few months he recovered and now just has a pronounced limp. The limp does not keep him off the kitchen table though! He has amazing capacity to jump over gates, on counters and on the kitchen table (all no-nos in our house) despite his limp and his low body weight. Tyler has had a couple of those "stroke-like" episodes since and every time - Guy and I think - Oh no! - we are watching him die. We have had him at top veterinary clinics and local ones too and they don't know how to treat his "spells" or even what they are... But, at his advanced age, we need to let him go through his "spells" and potentially pass on. He takes a daily cortisone pill and is generally pain free in addition to getting the best food in the house :-)
Last summer, June 30th, 2008 - the moment Janis, Grayson and Greta came in the house Tyler let loose his bladder and bowels and vomited all at the same time. He then staggered around and seemed really confused and started panting heavily (it was 68 degrees in the house so that panting was part of the stroke-thing.) He went down by the furnace and we thought - omigosh, this is it he's dying right now. We tended to Janis, Grayson and Greta and over the next few days he returned to normal. Weird.
Now he is doing fine and Kaylee and Guy keep him well groomed but if they get to rough with him he yowls. Kaylee sleeps with Tyler in the kitchen among 3 big, fluffy pet beds that we put down before we go to work. (This way Tyler can escape to another soft bed if Kaylee gets too rough)
How old is Tyler in Human Years?
How to convert human age in years to cat age in years:
1) Allow 15 human years for the first year of your cat's life.
2) Add nine years for the second year. A two-year old cat will approximate 24 human years.
3) Add four human years each for successive years of his life.
Total = Using this math Tyler is 84 years old! Yep - he is the sweet, old King of our Jungle.

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