Flaps- Our Curmudgeonly Elder Cat – The Good-Bye And Farewell

Cats seem to go on the principle that it never does any harm to ask for what you want. – Joseph Wood Krutch

Flaps is our senior cat at Maison Steinbuchel.  He has been a very healthy cat, but early during the lockdown in 2020 he had a seizure and we almost lost him.  We found ourselves at the emergency vet clinic at 2 AM in March sitting in the car while they worked on him.  He remained on anti-seizure meds twice a day since then. What we do not do for our fur babies!

Over the last few weeks, Flaps has grown more feeble in his almost twenty-one year old cat body.  In spite of that, he managed to get down the stairs for breakfast and dinner most days, with mid-day feedings closer to his upstairs resting places..  WE chose to let him make his own way, only helping when he obviously needed it.  Even elderly cats deserve some independence and dignity.

Married To A Cat Person

I became a cat person when I married. My husband is a true cat whisperer and could give Jackson Galaxy some serious competition. He has an amazing way of

  • bringing out the unique personality of any cat,
  • restoring cats who are damaged
  • actually getting them to mind! Well, mind in that “I’m a cat” sort of way.

We have a lot of fun with our kitty tribe. No, we are not crazy cat people, but I have learned to truly love, appreciate and even train these furry soul-mates.

Aviation Cats

Senior Cat

Flaps got his name from a control surface on an airplane. We started aviation names when we acquired a hangar home. The cats’ job, besides keeping us company and entertained, was to keep rodents under control in the hangar. Rodents can be very damaging to aircraft and this was our way of dealing with them. Our version of barn cats.

What Makes Flaps Special Even As A Senior Cat

Flaps is an odd cat. His black and white coloration is more like a cow than a cat. He was born to a feral mom who lived in a rock pile behind  Maison Steinbuchel.  He went on a stroll one day and got lost.

My husband heard him mewing at the top of his little four-week-old voice, snatched him up, gave him some tiger’s milk and a warm place to sleep. He slept for 10 hours, woke up, and decided life in the “big house” was sweet. It did not take any time at all for Flaps to adjust to civilized life.

Senior CatIf I were to describe him in a word, it would be “curmudgeonly‘. Until he went deaf a few years ago, he grumbled and griped about almost everything, except mealtime. As a born feral, meals were immensely important to him.

If meals were not exactly on time or served with the swiftness his tummy sayed they should be, he paced, meowed, and even slammed doors.  As he declined and meals, even those yummy liquid treats, were refused we knew his time was close.

He remined lovable; enjoying ear and heat scratches.  He made us laugh out loud – a lot.

Flaps’ Our Senior Cat

We will miss and remember how:

  • He meowed backward!
  • His imaginary friend visited. Although not much in His later days days, we did hear him pacing the upstairs hall meowing on occasion.  I suspect HIs friend just stayed close as he slept.
  • His specific times for scratches were like clockwork, but ONLY on his head and neck.
  • When Flaps wanted scratches, he put his paw on your arm or butted his head against your hand. (sooooo cute)
  • Valued his sleep. Other cats would get a “pop” om the head for coming around while he is napping!
  • Before he went deaf:
    • Knew his name. You could say his name anytime, even while he slept, and his stub* of a tail would move.
    • Flaps responded to “nite nite’ and “no”, always getting his last kitty sass in response to the latter, while reluctantly obeying.
    • Sometimes retaliated to a “no” by opening drawers and doors and pulling all of the contents out onto the floor.

Senior Cat Soul Mate

Flaps is attached to us: Even in his last hours He valued our presence and scratches. After loosed his hearing, he still got up when a light came on or he smelled fresh car food.  His sense of smell was amazing!

Caring for a senior cat, especially in his last hours, is a commitment.  It is hard to say goodbye.  Flaps kept me company at our hangar home, traveled with me by car and once in my airplane.  We grateful for the time, the long time, Flaps stayed with us.

Rest In Peace Dear Flappers.

*We had to have most of his tail amputated after he broke it in a fight with a neighbor cat. He is also missing one of his toes as the result of another skirmish. Flaps does not like to fight and obviously is not very good at it.

Do you have a fur baby that has added value to your life?  Tell us about them in the comments or email me at: nhcullen@cfaith.com

Encore Thought

What does this have to do with Rescuing Lost Stories?  Writing a story before it has a chance to get away from you is a sure way to capture it.  I have on my list a book about the Cullen Cats beginning before I married a cat whisperer.  Flaps will be among those listed in that book…..start today by getting your free download of Five Legacy Story Types today.

I am a former air traffic controller, pilot, Aircoupe owner, married 42 years to a great guy. We live in a 125+ year old historic Victorian, enjoy cats, vintage anything, precious friends. My passion is Giving Lost Stories A Voice – Giving Found Materials Fresh Form and Purpose!

5 thoughts on “Flaps- Our Curmudgeonly Elder Cat – The Good-Bye And Farewell

  1. I Loved it, Nancy. I am not a cat person and thankfully my wife of 41 years has never suggested getting one. However, you kept my interest in your human and feline families. (I didn’t know anyone could make a cat behave! LOL) Cudos to your cat whisperer husband.

    1. Thanks Dan – cats can be an acquired taste for sure! Kittens are the best and can sucker you in so beware!

  2. I love reading about your kitties. I AM a cat person and I had the pleasure of having the company of my sweet Caramel Coffee Toffee II as my last fur baby for 13 years before I had to let her go. My Sister and Brother in law are also totally cat persons. My sister even tamed a feral cat and now he (Jazz 3 yrs old we think) is so domesticated that he rolls around wanting to be petted on his tummy and follows my sister like a dog. She showed him so much love and patience and now he rewards her back with his purrs and kisses and adoring gazes ( thought the latter – not sure if he does that when he wants something from her :))
    How does Flaps meows backward? I thought that was hilarious. Love that Dr. Dave is a cat Whisperer and you are his soul mate.

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