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Feline Friday: Foiling Kitty Senility

Smokey was 19 when I took this picture--a lovely Halloween model!

Many of y’all know I now live with a senior citizen cat named Serendipity. She doesn’t know she’s old–and that’s the beauty of pet old age. They only know how good they feel THIS MOMENT–and we can keep them engaged and happy so that the year’s weigh lightly on their furry shoulders.

I took that picture of a friend’s cat. She adopted Smokey when the kitty was about four or five–the shelter didn’t know her age. Smokey had been returned TWICE to the shelter because she “scratched the sofa.” So my friend Judy adopted her, interrupted the scratching one time and gave her other options–and never had another minute of trouble from this dear girl. At best guess Smokey was 19 when this picture was taken and lived another couple of years. She had a few “senior moments” (needed to be reminded to eat once she found the food bowl) but was happy and healthy.

It’s funny–when I wrote my COMPLETE CARE FOR YOUR AGING CAT book, Seren was a youngster. Those who have a copy of the book will see her picture in Chapter 4, Nursing Care acting as a furry model to help demonstrate kitty restraint, taking a pill and more. In fact, she’s also the model in the AGING DOG book (shhhhh, don’t tell!). Can you say “extreme close up!” LOL!

Why am I talking about old age issues? Well, it’s nearly November and that month celebrates the lives of our golden oldie pets. It’s Adopt A Senior Pet Month–after all, you might find another Smokey and enjoy many more years with the love of your life!

Yesterday I was interviewed on a radio show about caring for your aging cat, today the pet columnist from PREVENTION Magazine will interview me about care for your aging dog, and my first article–about old cats– just went “live” on the awesome site:

“Cats are living longer than ever before — it’s not unusual for felines to reach their mid-to-late teens or even early twenties. A longer lifespan, however, can leave felines frazzled if their once-spry brains aren’t properly stimulated. In fact, cats over the age of 15 can develop feline cognitive dysfunction (FCD), a cat version of Alzheimer’s disease in which a starchlike, waxy protein (beta amyloid) collects in the brain. . . Here are 10 Tips to Keep Your Cat’s Brain Forever Young.

Do you have a golden oldie? I’m an equal opportunity pet lover (sometimes the weekly topic is “Furry Friday” after all) so you can share about your oldster dogs, too. And here’s why I know that I”m also in the “oldster” cat-egory–I’ve not sent out my Pet Peeves E-newsletter in ages! (my bad…) So to make it up to my subscribers, the Halloween issue will go out later today–subscribe via the link, below, if you haven’t already–because I’ll be giving away a copy of Aging Cat and of Aging Dog to randomly drawn subscribers.

Meanwhile, what are some “old pet” topics near and dear to your heart? This next month I’ll cover some of the biggies but am happy to address specific ones that y’all might have. Dooooo tell…please!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

About amyshojai

Amy Shojai, CABC is a certified animal behavior consultant (dogs/cats), award winning author of 30+ pet care titles and thrillers, and spokesperson to the pet industry.

11 responses »

  1. My Funny Face is 15. One problem he had was forgetting to use the litter box, but once he could revert to going outside in our protected neighborhood, he was fine. Our one-year-old early in his life discovered a way in and out of the garage, and we have a cat door from the garage to the kitchen. It took Funny Face months and months to “discover” the trick, but he finally did — to leave the garage. However, he’s never figured out how to get back in. So, Shadow comes in and yowls for me to open the door for Funny Face. Guess it helps for a slightly senile cat to have a younger caregiver.

  2. Both of ours are around 13 years old now. Anubis still runs through the house like a kitten. Simba is mostly a chubby lump but sometimes Anubis chases her through the house. And more and more I’ve caught her playing as she seems to be realizing it gets Anubis attention. LOL

    Ours don’t need to be reminded to eat… but Anubis does sometimes ask for permission. Throwback to that old wild animal “the leader is in charge of the resources” instinct.

    Tried to get them some new treats this weekend – Bonito flakes and chicken jerky with glucosamine and chondritin for healthy joints. Simba snubbed the bonito flakes. Anubis snubbed them until James got home and gave him some (he is not officially allowed to have something until Daddy says so). Both of them snubbed the chicken jerky. I suspect because it has flaxseed oil added. On that note, actually… any ideas for other treats fortified with joint healthy supplements? Preferrably ones without heavily-flavored additives like flax that will cause them to spit it out. LOL

  3. Amy, your posts help fill the vacancy of real pets in my life after years of beloved dogs, cats and even a pet squirrel ( … yup … not that I advocate this but it did happen … ). I pass on your tips and info to the rest of our large family. Thanks!

  4. Pingback: Woof Wednesday: Old Fogey Pets « Amy Shojai's Blog

  5. Smokey was a beautiful cat. Thanks for sharing that picture & the post! Our furred one is six now, still runs and jumps and plays but we are sad that time is slipping by so fast though that is okay too as long as he is one of the lucky long-lived ones.

    • Brenda, I “stole” a dedication from a friend’s pet book and used it in my aging books–“…13 years were not enough.”

      It’s never enough is it? So glad your six-year-old has lots of life and fun ahead of him with you!


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