Today we’ve got a special treat for you! Our kitty friend Asti Spumanti is celebrating her 20th birthday today. She’s the oldest and most well-traveled cat we’ve ever known, and we want to share some of her wisdom and tales of her amazing life, so we interviewed Asti and her person, KK. We hope you enjoy reading this as much as we enjoyed talking to them.
Siouxsie: Asti, where were you born? What was it like living there?
Asti: I was born in Panama. We guess my Mamma was the pet of someone in one of the four services, as my kk found me in a cage, five weeks old, at the Corozol kennel in the Panama Canal region where all animals entering the country must be kenneled for thirty days. My kk couldn’t take home her SheRa (that damned dog I’ve long outlived), so she said she had to adopt me. She was lonely.
My kk was so worried that a dangerous animal would grab me if I wandered on the Howard AFB, where she lived when I was just a kitten, so I stayed inside the house all the time. That awful dog stayed outside on a leash, mostly fight/playing with the coatimundis. I didn’t miss the dog!
Thomas: Your KK says you’re a very well-traveled cat. Where have you lived?
Asti: I’ve been to so many places it will take a moment to recall them all … hmm, as I said, my life started at that cage in Corozol and the list goes like this: From Howard Air Force Base in Panama, I flew to North Carolina, and then to Rapid City, South Dakota for a visit with kk’s old friends, and then we went to Fresno, California.
I lived in Merced, Atwater, and Fresno for a few years, then I went into a pet carrier and we crossed the United States to live in Van Buren, Maine. Then kk moved to New Hampshire where I joined her for two months nine years ago. We went back to Van Buren for a few months till in the middle of a blizzard, after many family arguments, kk drove us through a blizzard to move to Northport, Maine.
While kk was moving again, I lived on Islesboro for about four months, then finally — and screaming all the way as I always do — I moved home to Swanville, where I live today.
Dahlia: And what were your favorite and least favorite places to live?
Asti: Ah, my favorite places … hmm, it’s a toss-up between Van Buren and here at home. In Van Buren I was younger, more willing to walk farther, and I loved my sunny bedroom upstairs where I could avoid those nosey dogs.
Here, I’m on my throne in my comfy room, and my kk brings my meals and water, and cleans away my litter. I do like my life here, and all the affection I get from the kids I like. I usually do not like kids, but these little girls come softly and pet gently, who could ask for more?
My least favorite place was that apartment in Winston, just outside Merced, where the neighbor girl grabbed me by by my back legs and carried me into the kitchen when kk wasn’t watching her. I hated that kid! It’s why I hide and have stayed hidden my whole life. kk was talking to her mother, and, well, kids are kids. Who knew hiding would become my favorite sport?
Siouxsie: I just turned 14, so I wonder, what’s it like to be 20 years old? How do you feel these days?
Asti: These days I just like to sit on my throne. I like to be visited and have company. I don’t do much more than sleep and purr. I do not like to travel, ever. I prefer to walk to wherever I am going, and not far. I dream a lot. I get my favorite food delivered on time. I get gentle, quiet, comfy days with occasional guests and lots of love. Mostly, I go slow, but who’s rushing? Life is grand.
Thomas: Asti, we’d like to ask your person some questions if you don’t mind.
Asti: I suppose.
Dahlia: Thank you, Asti. So KK, you’ve been Asti’s caretaker since she was a kitten. What inspired you to adopt her?
KK: I needed someone to love and sweet little baby Asti cried in her cage. I could not resist. I’ve never regretted the urge.
Siouxsie: Well, that’s a very respectable reason to adopt a kitty! We all know that cats are great at filling holes in people’s hearts. So, sometimes as cats get older, they get sick or need extra medical attention. How healthy is Asti?
KK: Asti has a heart murmur. The vet said she couldn’t fly anymore about six years ago. But even with a heart murmur, Asti is still quite healthy. She has all her teeth. The vet said she has great teeth even for her age. She has good attitude except when she’s been without attention for too long, and rightfully, she meows with a scream. She’s so loving and fun, even when she’s quiet, but especially when she’s purring and tossing herself at my chest for love.
Thomas: Has Asti had any behavior problems as she’s aged?
KK: Besides her refusal to participate in life outside of her room, she does not ride in the car well despite the number of journeys she’s made in her lifetime. She’s screaming when we drive down the drive, and has passed something very, very strong smelling by the time we arrive at the vets. But I soothe her, clean up her fear poop, and treat her with the delicate and loving hand she deserves.
Dahlia: I don’t blame her. I hate riding in the car! I scream and cry the whole time too. And sometimes I even mess my crate. *sniffle*
Siouxsie: What kind of special accommodations are you making to meet Asti’s physical and/or emotional needs?
KK: Well, the fact that Asti refuses to come out of her room and sit in my lap has been a little sad for me, and probably sad for her. Sometimes I wrap her in a blanket and carry her to sit in my lap in the living room, and she seems not to know where she is, till she peeks that is.
But she’s spoiled and well cared for. Everything she needs is carried to her. She has her own room. The dogs and children are not allowed to harass her at any time. She is loved, petted, visited often, and respected. I come to lay down with her every night till she wants to go to her pad to sleep apart, then I go lay down with hubby. It’s our tucking-in routine. Everyone sleeps better.
Thomas: How has Asti helped you as you’ve spent your lives together?
KK: She’s been my constant companion. She’s been a reason for me to care for and look after a “little” one, and it is my duty in life to love the little things. I consider loving her in every way she requires an honor, and a challenge to my spiritual responsibilities in life.
Dahlia: That’s so sweet, KK. What a wonderful mama Asti has! How has your relationship with Asti changed as she’s aged?
KK: Our friendship has deepened, and I now understand how a cat can laugh. That takes time to discover.
Siouxsie: What’s the thing you cherish most about Asti?
KK: She loves me with all her heart, and that’s more than anyone can say about humans.
Thomas: Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about Asti?
KK: Asti is my hero. Once when she was young and I was having problems with a family member who was leaving me and sitting at my kitchen table talking mean to me, she climbed into his lap. He said, “Look, Asti still loves me.” (As if I didn’t.) And she promptly peed all over his lap. I remember that with a smile. Some wrongs just deserve the truth. Leave it to the cat to show it.
Dahlia: Tee hee hee! That’s wonderful, KK! Thank you, and thank you Asti, for sharing your story with us. We hope you’re having a wonderful birthday and that you have many more!