Aging with an aging, occasionally obnoxious pet | For Animal Lovers Only

Pets age just like people, only faster – much faster. Unlike people we don’t celebrate their birthday nor do we really have the stages that humans do. There is kitty or puppy hood and adult. That’s all. So after you go through the chewing everything to bits and burrowing under the covers stage, you lose track. Then one day, it smacks you in the face. Your pet is old. He is going to die and probably soon.

As a child I lived in a rural area and our cats were indoor/outdoor pets. They did not get neutered nor did they visit the vet unless something was seriously wrong. They lived about two years before they disappeared — hit by a vehicle, eaten by a predator or shot by a hunter. I remember seeing my beloved three month old kitten squashed by a truck. No child should ever see that.

That all changed when I was an adult. I had a cat named Noah and I had her spayed. That was a novel thing to do according to my mother (hey, it was the 70s!).  She still would go outside but without the roaming urge that horny intact cats have. As she got older she went outside less but I didn’t notice anything until she got sick.

The vet told me she had kidney failure which is very common in older cats. She was fourteen. How did she get to be fourteen? She was just a kitten biting my toes at 6 a.m.!

I’ve had cats since Noah. When I get reminded that they are aging, it’s just so sad. Jake is aging. He has been diabetic for several years and he’s doing well but you can tell he is not a spring chicken (or cat). He has lost most of his teeth although he can still catch a slow mouse and gum it to death. His sleek black fur is thin and spotted with white hairs.

I wonder if he thinks the same thing about me. (I do have all my teeth!)

Jake’s thought bubble: Yo, I like live with this ol’ person. She’s like da bomb but a little, like slow wid da tuna. Cutting her a break, man and not tryin’ to trip her anymore. Dis chick falls and hurts somethin’, da tuna get slow fo shizzle. Or worse, the big bruh will feed me and he’s gets, like…well…all up in my biznezz. Hard to boss up! Dang!

(By the way, even though the vet chart says he is comparable to a 70-year-old person, I like to think of him as a teenager with attitude. Don’t even ask!)

He has always been a very meticulous cat especially with his litter box. He wants it cleaned out every day and there is hell to pay (or clean up) if it isn’t. We might have a conversation something like this.

Jake: Whaddup kemosabe! Da potty got a poo in it. Not mine man. That is like…nasty! Keep them there peeps outta my box!

Me: Yeah, yeah, I’ll get to it.

Jake: Whatever, but, oops, hmmmm….too late.

He has trouble with uncarpeted steps so I recently put a litter box on the first floor. That actually saves me from escorting him down to the basement in the early a.m. (Yes, I am that kind of pet owner!) Sometimes he “overshoots” the side of the box so thank God for doggy piddle pads! (I hear men do that sometimes too. Maybe it’s the gender and not the age.)

The Peeps!

It’s interesting to watch the other two younger cats deal with him. He can be crotchety to them but they are very accommodating and kind. Too bad people aren’t like that.

As “they” say, “aging isn’t for sissies.” That’s just straight up fo shizzle!

PS: My apologies if my slang is not quite right. In researching this I found that there are more slang terms for women’s derrieres than anything except street drugs! Really? Whassup wi’ dat?

12 thoughts on “Aging with an aging, occasionally obnoxious pet | For Animal Lovers Only

    • The picture does show him at his best. It doesn’t show the thin patches of fur on his sides or how thin he is or how few teeth he has. The picture reminds me of the old Jake that was a force to be reckoned with! Will pass on the hugs.

      Like

  1. We’ve had several cats – and I’ve had a few dogs – over the years. It’s difficult when you realize that they’re slowing down or they’re not in great health. We try to enjoy them as long as we can. It is difficult to have them put to sleep, but it’s more humane than letting them continue to suffer.
    Hope yours continues finds his youthful stride. Love his attitude, and, yes, I do think your slang was right on. 😆

    Like

  2. This is a timely post. We have a dog, an old lab who has been with us for as long as our youngest son, and she is getting old old, losing her sight and has gone from outdoor dog to an indoor dog. Very much a part of our family. We think that since she has given us years of pleasure, it’s time for us to look after her in her senior citizen years. She hope she has many more of them,

    Like

  3. Very courageous with the street slang….your cred is good with me. LOL! I can’t even pretend, how sad is that? But with your story! These pets are just amazing, and it is just so hard to see their little bodies slow down and then they just go! I need to find the pictures and scan them, but when I do I want to share the story of our cat, Licorice. He was my son’s cat, given to him when Jonathan was 3…the cat died 20 years later (yes!) when my son was in San Francisco looking for housing for Law School! That’s cat longevity! Debra

    Like

    • That’s pretty long. My oldest cat ever was 18. Most of my cats died between 14 and 16 years old but the treatments today are so much better. Jake is doing so much better than my last diabetic cat. Better drugs.

      Like

  4. My Merlin is 19. He is quite senile and some of his obnoxous behaviors make me want to scream. But I don’t. He’s my baby after all.
    Our 3 other cats still defer to him as alpha cat, but they could easily dominate if they wanted to. I guess he is their baby too.

    Like

    • Oh dear, I had a senile cat once. She was the alpha cat and it wasn’t until she lived under the bed full time that I figured out there wasn’t any quality of life left for her. Fortunately she physically took a turn for the worse and the decision wasn’t as painful. Good luck with Merlin.

      Like

  5. We have two geriatric kitties. Our 16 year old was just diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. He is on meds now and is doing much better, but Oregano and I both know that we won’t have that much more time to spend together with him. He’s been with us since he was a 6 week old kitten. The rational part of my brain knows that we’ve been so lucky to have him for such a long time, but who is rational about their pets?

    Like

  6. I’m a cat person. Two Ragdolls are currently tolerating my presence in their home. Teddy is 11 and Buddy is just 1. We lost Simon at age 10 a couple years ago. It still surprises and saddens me deeply that he’s not here. I too was raised with cats and dogs that were not cared for in the way I care for my pets now. My cats are indoor only cats, visit the vet routinely, have their shots, are neutered, etc. etc. I too am dismayed by the thought of losing my cats. Too soon, too soon. We nursed our Simon through renal failure, even giving him subcutaneous fluid. NEVER thought I could ever stick a needle in any living being, but it’s amazing what we do for our furry family.

    Anyway, I just wanted to tell you I understand. We brought our little Buddy home after Simon died because Teddy was depressed… well, so were we. Buddy brought a lot of life into our house again and Teddy is acting younger. BUT, now we worry… Teddy is 11… what happens to Buddy when, oh Lord. It’s just too hard to think about, but, like you said, you know it’s coming, and always sooner than we want. Thanks for sharing your story, and your humor. It’s the humor that pulls us through. 😀

    Like

Don't be shy, I'd love to hear what you're thinking!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s