Well, it’s October 1st, and you know what that means. Halloween Mood Table time!
I invented the Halloween Mood Table back in 2007. You can think of it as Halloween’s Christmas tree. Just set up a small table somewhere in the house, and cover it with spooky junk. Beyond the decorative factor, the hope is that you’ll have “a spot” to turn to whenever you need to rejuvenate your Halloween spirit.
My Halloween Mood Tables have gotten weirder over the years. Back in 2018, it was more of a Halloween Mood Monster. Then last year, I skipped the usual bric-a-brac and let my action figures enjoy a month-long Halloween party.
As for 2020? Well…
This year, I decided to make a Halloween Mood Table for my cat.
All it took was a trip to Petco and, jeez, 75 dollars? How the hell did that cost 75 bucks? Oh well, my cat is worth it. Let me introduce you to him:
Meet Halloween. Yes, that’s his name. Halloween the cat.
He’s around four months old. We weren’t intending to adopt another cat, but this guy almost literally fell in our lap. At first, we told ourselves that we were only fostering Halloween until we could find him a forever home. That lasted roughly twenty minutes. This is his forever home.
Halloween has a condition called cerebellar hypoplasia. The part of his brain that handles motor skills is underdeveloped. Some cats have a milder form of CH that gives them balance issues and a “wobbly gait,” but Halloween has a severe case. He can’t walk at all, except for those 1-2 second instinctual bursts that always end with him sideways on the floor. The condition will never get worse, but it will never get better.
It’s usually a death sentence for strays and ferals, but cats with CH can manage perfectly well indoors. You’d be amazed at what this kitty can do.
Halloween was immediately enthusiastic about his Mood Table, and didn’t even care that it was really more of a Mood Couch. The spooky toys on top are actually meant for dogs, but he doesn’t mind.
Caring for a cat with severe CH definitely means extra work, but probably not as much as you’d expect. We help him during meals, but he’s totally capable of eating on his own. We had to build him a modified litter box, but the dude rocks it every time. Thank God cats are such clean freaks.
Most of the extra work involves keeping Halloween away from things that can hurt him — like the stairs, or the unforgivingly hard corners on certain pieces of furniture. (And for now, other cats — we’re still slowly introducing him to our other two.)
He gets where he wants to go through a combination of climbing, crawling, tumbling and even jumping. It sounds like it’d be frustrating for him, but that’s all Halloween has ever known. He has no idea that there’s anything unusual about his skillset, nor does the condition cause him any pain.
We’ve had a lot of cats over the years, and I can honestly say that none of them have ever seemed as constantly happy as this guy.
When we brought Halloween home, he weighed one pound and was completely disheveled. I’ll never forget the sight of him looking up at me from that veterinarian’s oversized Happy Meal box. Those blazing blue eyes, wondering if I was friend or foe.
He couldn’t have known that he’d hit the jackpot and found a couple of suckers who were going to spoil him for as long as he lived. Honestly, even we didn’t know that at the time.
When he plays, he’s feisty. Really feisty. He bounces around like a pinball, biting and swatting everything he can. When he relaxes, he goes all-in. If I sit with him on the couch, he’s out like a light within two minutes. Personality-wise, you could not hope for a more perfect pet.
We’ve never had another cat that is so into human contact. We currently have two others, both girls, and they dole out affection like Immortan Joe with his water. By contrast, I genuinely cannot think of a single time when Halloween wanted a moment away from us. Sometimes it feels more like we’ve adopted a capuchin monkey.
Now we have this cat that we weren’t at all planning for, who will require special care for as long as he lives. And yet, we feel so incredibly lucky to have him. He’s so sweet and so lively and so loving. Exactly the sort of cat people dream about when they think, “boy, I want a cat.”
For those wondering, cats with CH can live just as long as cats without it. There may eventually be other complications tied to the CH, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. For now, we’re just happy to be living with this teensy orange ball of sunshine.
When I invented the Halloween Mood Table in 2007, it was because I was an emotional wreck and needed some tangible form of joy to grab hold to. This year, Halloween the cat has been that for me. So he can have the Mood Table — I really don’t need it.