It’s the Month to Celebrate Our Senior Pets

desk with six cats
Desk with Six Cats; sometimes my office is not so beautiful!

The photo above shows my household in the summer of 2006, and the youngest kitty in the photo is Kelly, in the center, who was 12 at the time.

tabby cat napping
Stanley napping in the sun.

From the left, Stanley, 25, is hard to see curled up behind Sophie, 17; on the desk turning around to bathe is Kelly at 12, then Namir at 13; Cookie,15, is curled up on the other side of the papers from him, then there’s Peaches having a good scratch at 16. Recently with us were Moses, 19, and Cream, 16, and joining us months later was Lucy as a young kitten.

A few things to be observed here, first that senior cats have no problem getting up on the desk, even at the advanced age of 25, as Stanley was.

Second, Peaches had come in the previous year at age 15 and fit in as if she’d always been there, so the idea that pets must be adopted young in order to fit into the household and be sufficiently bonded with its people is a myth, at least as far as I’m concerned.

Third, it’s been a while since my desk was neat, and one of the reasons has always been the habit of cats sleeping all over it! But for anyone who only knows my current household of the two senior torties, then the big jump in age to the family of black cats, Mimi and her children, here is the group that came immediately before them.

Including the two who had passed earlier in 2006, these were the cats who put me through my in-home training in caring for senior cats beginning years before this, observing for symptoms of common and not so common senior conditions such as arthritis, renal failure, hyperthyroidism, congestive heart failure and cancers which I variously treated in this group, and also conditions which they did not have such as diabetes and hypertension, plus the onset of cognitive issues such as loss of hearing and sight and feline dementia. I thank them for what they taught me, and for what they continue to teach me.

cat sleeping on bed
Sophie having a good nap.

The most important lesson was that they can live long healthy lives without illness if we take care with their diet and lifestyle when they are young. This group, especially Stanley, raised the bar for my household, and where our unspoken goal for age was once 15, now 20 has been achieved more than once and two are on their way to that age. I also learned about everyday supportive care for conditions such as renal failure which can extend their lives for months or years—Stanley was diagnosed at age 21 and lived to 25, one of the reasons for his longevity was that I learned the details of renal failure and administering fluid therapy which I did at home for those four years.

Now I’m prepared for Cookie and Kelly, still relatively healthy at 17 and 19, and while I have number of years before Mimi and the Fantastic Four reach senior years I’m taking care of business with their diet and lifestyle in preparation for their senior years.

So this month we’ll have another feature from guest writer Karen Sable about adopting and caring for senior pets; senior pet care is one of the components of her full Pet First Aid certification class. I’ll be telling more stories about some of the cats you see here including Stanley and Sophie, and even Kelly’s story, as far as I know them all.

Other “pet” things to celebrate this month

“Adopt a Senior Pet Month” was brought to you by Petfinder.com, but November is also “Pet Cancer Awareness Month” brought to you by VPI Pet Insurance, “Pet Diabetes Month”  brought to you by Merck Animal Health and “National Pet Awareness Month” from Pet Partners.

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All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.

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Bernadette

From health and welfare to rescue and adoption stories, advocacy and art, The Creative Cat offers both visual and verbal education and entertainment about cats for people who love cats. From catchy and creative headlines to factual articles and fictional stories, The Creative Cat provides constant entertainment and important information to people who love cats, pets and animals of all species.

7 thoughts on “It’s the Month to Celebrate Our Senior Pets

  • November 2, 2011 at 4:14 pm
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    I especially like the picture of Stanley napping – how old was he then?

    Reply
    • November 2, 2011 at 7:01 pm
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      Karen, I think Stanley would have been between 16 and 18 there since it was the late 90s. He didn’t look “old” until his last year when he’d noticeably lost weight. It was easy to forget how old he was!

      Reply
  • November 2, 2011 at 10:40 am
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    Bernadette, this made my day. I’ve trying to clean up my office for months, but you’ve convinced me a messy office with cats is a creative hive.

    Reply
    • November 2, 2011 at 6:59 pm
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      When I think about the desk, how else do you remember that idea you had the other day if it’s not out there, and being pointed out by a kitty?

      Reply
  • November 1, 2011 at 4:37 pm
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    Love that top picture! Your home is obviously a very happy place for kitties. They are safe with you 🙂

    Reply
  • November 1, 2011 at 3:56 pm
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    Thanks for the article.
    I also keep looking at the picture of your office – it’s so great, so many cats, sleeping cozily in one place.

    Reply
    • November 1, 2011 at 6:51 pm
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      Alexandra, it’s always been like this! I hate clutter, but how can I clean up when they are sleeping all over my papers?

      Reply

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