Friday, 20 July 2012
CATS, KITTENS AND THE ELDERLY
I got a call from one of the committee, heard the words "eighty year old" and "kitten" and said very loudly, and without really hearing what I was being told, "No! She can't have one."
But that wasn't what the call was about. An 80 year old lady already had a kitten (see above) but realised she'd made a mistake because it was too much for her. So off I went and took it to Carole's.
Rather than hammer home the message of this post, allow me to illustrate the point I'm making from my own life. Susan and I are 64 (well I will be in about eleven days) and we have 9 cats aged from 2 to 15. We both come from families where it is not unusual to be relatively physically and mentally healthy at 90. I go swimming for 4-5 sessions of 40 minutes each every week. Susan, once she gets up, never stops.
But there are no guarantees in life. At five foot five, I'm at least 40 pounds overweight which classes me as obese. I'm on cipramil, perindopril, and statins and have been for years. I should wear my two hearing aids all the time (but don't). Were it not for two cataract operations ten years ago I'd be legally blind by now. My memory, always poor, gets worse and I can just about feel the brain cells dying in their millions. Susan has her own aches and pains.
There are no guarantees in life, especially once you hit your sixties and what we don't want to happen is that we die leaving young cats behind to an uncertain future. I am hoping for at least another ten reasonably active years at roughly the same pace. On that basis, the plan regarding our cats is that (and all this approximate) we won't be taking in any new cats until most of them have come to the end of their own lives.
And then we will only adopt elderly cats like Lotus whom we took in last year. They are always the hardest to re-home anyway but the main reason is that there's a very good chance that we will outlive them as well as providing a good home for them in their old age.
There's also another reason. As you slow down and your joints stiffen, you don't want a young cat which stays out all night and runs around like a lunatic destroying everything. You want one like our Lotus who just sits in the garden without jumping the fence, likes sitting quietly on knees or curled up on the bed. When you get old you want a cat you can cope with, not, as the lady I mentioned found out, one you can't. So the point I'm making is this, that, for a variety of reasons-
Elderly cats for elderly people is best, for the cats and for the people.