It's always a bittersweet thing to watch a pet age and with that age, grow slower and weaker. Maia Louise is getting up there in years, having joined our family when Griffin, who is now a junior in college, was just nine years old. While she's no longer the lunatic younger cat who would leap into the fridge and steal something to her liking (see "My Cat has ADHCD" October 21, 2006) or engage in any of the other insane things she used to regularly do like happily swimming in a full bathtub or straddling the banister and sliding down it backwards like a child, stopping only when she bumped her butt against the bottom newel post, she can still bring it in a round of play fighting and hide-and-seek with the dogs. It's just that the duration of these games are substantially shorter than they used to be. Likewise, a romp with some fresh-dried catnip is fairly brief too. She now takes the stairs very slowly and one at a time, sometimes pausing partway up to take a rest on one and she prefers to be picked up and placed on a piece of furniture rather than make the leap herself. There is much grunting and sighing when anything physical is involved, sort of like the sound an arthritic old man might make when forced to bend over to pick something up and I swear if Maia had hands, they'd be holding her lower back and hips when she moves. As much as it sucks, time marches on. I've grown older and much more creaky right along with my cat, but it pains me far more to watch it in her than it does to watch it in me.