This month I’d like to introduce you to Tabitha and Cindy, my two senior cats. I don’t like to call them “old girls” because they are still very sprightly. (I truly am a LoveCat!)
We’ve had Tabitha, age sixteen, since she was a kitten. My then seven-year-old daughter had begged us for a cat of her own and spent her life’s savings of $100 on adopting a tiny tortoiseshell kitten. She was advertised on the noticeboard in the tea room of the magazine company where I worked.
|Tabitha as we first saw her - first on the left|
Daughter and kitten became immediate best friends—and sixteen years later they still share a special bond. Theoretically, I’m Tabitha’s cat-grandmother my daughter informs me. Tabitha has a very sweet, lovely nature, and is constantly on the lookout for a lap.
|Tabitha at six months - in a box as always|
My other golden oldie is Cindy, our lovely tabby farm cat. We don’t actually know how old Cindy is—she arrived on our veranda one dark and stormy night.
|Cindy some years ago|
She had probably been dumped in the bush near our little farm in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney. But she must be at least fourteen, maybe even close to the age of Tabitha. Cindy is the most amazing animal. We call her our dog-cat as she follows us everywhere and likes to go for bush walks with us. At the same time she’s fiercely independent.
|Cindy - the classic farm cat|
Sadly both our precious cats are slowing down. Both have lost weight and Tabitha is sometimes grumpy beyond the usual tortoiseshell snarkiness.
Other symptoms have lead to a diagnosis of the start of renal failure, very common in cats. It’s all to do with their origins as desert animals.
|Tabitha - looking pretty good for sixteen!|
So we now have two cats under a low protein feeding regime. That means expensive prescription diet cat food and constant offering of liquids. They’re both pretty good with eating the special food. But not when regular cat food is on offer to the two other three-year old cats who need regular high protein food.
This means segregated feeding, constant snatching up of forbidden foods, and adjudication of dry food disputes—with resulting grievances from all four cats. I adore them so fuss over my felines without complaint.
|Cindy helping in the garden|
Tabby also needs a regular laxative that tastes so good she thinks it’s a treat. The others like the smell of it too and get quite miffed when questing noses are pushed away. Heaven help me the day they learn to squeeze it from the tube…
The good news is the latest blood tests for both my seniors show a definite improvement so it’s all worth it!
I hate the thought of my precious animals getting older—just had to stop typing to help Tabitha up on to the sofa as her legs are a little stiff these days—Tabitha is around eighty in human years and Cindy not far behind her. But I figure the love and attention we give them is so worth it for the joy they give us. I got my last cats who were diagnosed with failing kidneys to the respective ages of eighteen and twenty-two—very, very old for cats! Wish me luck I can keep Tabitha and Cindy with me for some years to come yet.
What about you? Do you have an older animal you cherish? Any special care you’ve had to give them? Any advantages you see in having older pets? I’d love to hear about it—please make a comment!