Why you should adopt a senior pet

Posted: June 6, 2009 at 6:15 pm

 I found this story Sheila wrote about Carlton a few months after we adopted him to promote adopting a senior.   It made me laugh.  We lost Carlton April 24/09.  He had many health issues which all had its beginning with some very bad teeth.   Every day is a day without Carlton and so things are just a little less bright.  We all miss him especially Little Face the little orphan kitty he looked after. 

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I met Chevy… named by the shelter volunteers, on December 31, 2006 at the BC SPCA Surrey Branch.  He had been at the shelter for just under two weeks.  His stray time had come up and his kennel card now read adoptable. I asked the volunteer how many people would really be interested in adopting Chevy. I am sure the answer she gave was obvious. Chevy was a 15 1/2 year old unaltered orange cat that had serious dental problems.  He had a hard time eating and at 15 it was hard to tell if there were any other health issues. 

Our Persian cat Scotty had passed away in July.  We had adopted him as a senior 15 year old cat.  He had lived almost to 18.  Scotty had brought so much to our lives that we had promised ourselves that we would adopt seniors in honor of Scotty. So six months later we were looking for a new cat as a new companion for myself and my sister and Abby our 16 year old female black and white cat.  For some reason I kept thinking we would find a male cat that looked like Abbey.  Instead I found Chevy… renamed Carlton because he reminds us of a Carlton.  He came up and he accepted my pets and he was so gentle and then the next thing I new I was calling my sister over to show her the cat we were going to adopt. 

In the first two weeks Carlton endured a lot but the end result was a pain free existence.  Carlton now only has six teeth left in his little mouth because his teeth were so infected they were unable to be saved. His kidneys and liver, because of the severity of the infection are now seriously compromised.   Even when his teeth were removed the infection came back in his mouth and he was back on antibiotics.  His kidneys are know compromised and cannot be corrected.  

Carlton isn’t exactly what I was expecting. Scotty and Abby have never scratched, spit or hissed at us.  Nor did they ever try to swat the dogs.  They also knew to sleep quietly and peacefully next to you.  Not on your face.  Carlton however, uses his paws as a way to get your attention and it has taken forever for him to learn no he cannot sleep on your face and chew and take bites out of your hands.  That is another new thing we have to adjust to – he loves to bite your hands when you are petting him.  Thank god he has no teeth.

The first month was agonizing while he learned where his litter box was.  Do you know cats like to pee on cloths left on the ground and then you have to wash your clothes THREE TIMES, in hot water, before you are satisfied that the smell is out.  Carlton has finally stopped trying to swat the dogs when the come near him.  We had to teach the dogs not to go near him because we were afraid there would be a fight and Carlton would win.

So after all of that complaining – Carlton still lives with us.  Why because we love him. Maybe it is because he amuses us with his odd behavior.  He hunches on the stairs every night and watches all the dogs with such intensity.  It was hilarious when our foster border collie dog would run up to him and play bow at him and Carlton would take a huge hissy fit – opening his fists and mouth as wide as possible.   Or maybe we love him because he seems to love us so much.  He runs to sit in our laps whenever he can. And yes maybe he loves us because he knows he will never be hungry or worry where is next sleeping spot will be.  According to our vet Carlton’s body is a roadmap of the tom cat life that was his existence before he came to us.  For a cat that lived outside, with the scars to prove it, Carlton has never asked to be let outside. Carlton has never looked back at the life he left behind.  He is content with what he has and that is one more reason to love him.  I think he feels safe and cherished and he lets us know it and I think that is really why we love him… because it hard not to love a soul that so easily loves you.

Please consider adopting a senior. 

5 Comments on "Why you should adopt a senior pet"

  • Carol says

    you get my…..2 wet eyes up….on this one

    lucky boy.

  • Carleton is very lucky to have found you.
    God Bless you!!

  • Tammy says

    Sorry for your loss. Carlton sounds like he was a great cat. Orange cats have always and always will have a special spot in my heart.

  • Deb Thomas says

    There are so many reasons to adopt seniors, and they are not totally altruistic.

    Senior animals have loved and lost, and sometimes not known love at all. They have an abundance of unconditional adoration that they are just desperate to share.

    Seniors are loyal, they don’t play head games, and they are grateful for the smallest acts of kindness. In return for the care they receive, they give back pure unadulterated devotion in spades. Seniors are good for the ego, they treat their rescuers like gold.

    Chez Thomas family members believe in quality over quantity…..and each senior here will be loved, respected and cherished every day of her/his life.

  • Carol says

    seniors are the very best…but they aren’t for everyone to jump into without a ton of thought and a bunch of personal insight into yourself and your limits of caring.
    most folks with seniors grow into them..they develop that love and trust over a lifetime of sharing. it is different adopting an animal near the end of their life..you have to do it for the right reasons and a good whack of understanding of what you are getting into or the animal will suffer again in the end.

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