Friday, December 6, 2013

Walking with Ming

Ming is the older of my 2 cats and, for some time now, he's been in ill health.  He's got a host of long-term medical issues but, within the last few months, I've had to confront the possibility that, even though he's just 12 years old, I'm likely to lose him sooner rather than later.  I'll spare you the details of his medical problems.  Suffice it to say, my current focus is on doing what I can to give him as much quality time as possible and providing him enjoyment for whatever time he has left.

He's been an indoor cat all his life but, every once in awhile, he manages to escape through a door that isn't closed quite tightly enough.  Those brief adventures are clearly something he revels.  However, letting him roam about on his own would be risky - he has absolutely no street smarts and drivers in our neighborhood aren't particularly careful.  We also have a serious coyote problem and their hunting activity is no longer only a nocturnal pursuit.   I've tried putting him on a leash/harness but this causes him to panic.  So I recently began taking him for supervised walks around our property without a leash.  Perhaps because he's now so frail, he's less inclined to run off on his own so this is working fairly well.

Our daily walks also give me a cat's eye view of my garden, allowing me to catch details I might otherwise miss.  I thought I'd share one of our recent walks with you in pictures.

Ming leaves his screened porch off the house

"Come on, what's holding you up?"

Iceland poppy blooming in the bed off the side yard patio

Moving on into the backyard

Ming isn't impressed by Acacia cognata 'Cousin Itt"

But I am - of my 4 'Cousin Itt,' this one in a pot appears to be the happiest

"Are you taking pictures again?'

Nothing in the back patio interests Ming today and he heads back to the side yard

"Now what's holding you up?"

Pipig's sleeping peacefully inside the house - she lacks Ming's appetite for adventure

Ming takes a short cut into the area behind the shrub border along the street 

He ignored the Brugmansia I planted a few months ago - it has some ragged leaves but it's grown a lot

He was unconcerned by the fact that the neighbor's shrub has seeded all over

But the woodpile held endless fascination

I was surprised to find that an orchid (no ID) I generally ignore had bloomed - the mother of one of my husband's colleagues brought this home from China

Ming struts down the narrow pathway between 2 shrub borders running parallel to the street, now covered in moss 

We discover that something has gotten to the pumpkin arrangement along the driveway

Ming stops at the front door, probably wondering why it's closed

He's more interested by leaf debris than anything in the front border

He ignored the latest bloom produced by Hemerocallis 'Spanish Harlem'

He wasn't particularly interested in Leucadendron 'Wilson's Wonder' either

However, I was impressed to see that it's already developing cones

He really likes the Carex oshimensis 'Evergold' growing along the garage in the vegetable garden area

But he ignored the fuchsias

He checked out the raised vegetable beds, this one planted with herbs

But, surprisingly, he ignored the flock of small birds (Lesser Goldfinch maybe?) perched in the now-bare Persimmon tree

"Why is the garden gate closed?"

Fallen leaves are the most interesting thing in the dry garden (and mom won't let him scuttle down the slope beyond like he's done before because she can't keep up without risking a fall)

Time to head back to the backyard

"Now that I'm out, I want back in"

After ousting Pipig from her basket, Ming took a brief nap to rest up until his lunch was ready.

These days, the only thing he likes better than a walk is to eat.  If only he could put back on some of the weight he's lost...


  1. Oh, I enjoyed this walk with Ming very much. He is such a handsome cat with interesting coloring and such piercing blue eyes. I bet he has loads of personality too. I know you are enjoying the time you have left with him.

    1. Thanks, Alison. I know you're all too aware of how hard this is.

  2. I'll forgive Ming his obvious lack of attention to the plants, he no doubt has aged beyond all that. And besides he looks like a championship cuddler.

    1. Despite his size (18 lbs when he was healthy), he was always very much a lap cat. He still seeks out my lap on a nearly daily basis but, sadly, he doesn't stay long anymore - he's all bones now and I think its hard for him to get comfortable.

  3. I enjoyed following Ming and you around! Bless him, after that mini adventure he deserves that nap!

  4. He's a beautiful cat. I love his color and blue eyes. He looked like he really enjoyed his time outside!

    1. He purrs throughout his walks. I'm sure he detects things by smell that I'm completely oblivious to.

  5. What a sweet adventure with a great cat. He had so much fun and his view adds a different perspective to the garden.

    1. He definitely has his preferences when it comes to the garden and he repeatedly pulls me into areas I generally pay little attention to.

  6. This is a very fine post Kris. I too have an elderly cat, who is 15 or so, and has been a garden companion to me for all those years. My cats have always been indoor-outdoor cats , mainly because I can't stand having the house closed up in summer so all the windows-doors are open-both the cats and I are in and out all day. I hope you and Ming can enjoy many more walks together before he crosses the rainbow bridge.

    1. Thanks, Kathy. I don't know how much more time we have - he's less than 1/2 his healthy weight now - but as long as he can walk, eat and doesn't appear to be in pain, we'll put off his trip across the rainbow bridge.


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