by Nomi Berger
Familiar with the axiom: “There may be snow on the roof top, but there is fire in the furnace”?
Now, imagine it this way: “There may be snow on the fur/hair, but there is fire in the soul.”
Not to mention a springy step, a feisty spirit and a loving heart. Describing both a senior cat and a senior citizen, when these two are placed paw in hand, more often than not, they form the perfect forever pair.
While understandably attracted to the “idea” of a kitten, the “reality” of one –brimming with energy, climbing everything in sight and scampering underfoot – may paint a rather exhausting pussycat picture for the average senior.
The solution to this purr-plexing problem is as clear as the whiskers on a fine feline’s face: match a senior cat with a senior citizen.
There are many benefits to adopting an older cat, a true “adult” in every sense of the word. One who has long been comfortable inside her own “skin”. One who is likely to relish sitting on a warm lap or atop a cat tree to watch the birds fly past the window. One whose appetite is no longer ravenous but reasonable. One for whom litter box training is not a learning experience, but a lifetime habit. One who will take the occasional absences of an active senior companion during the day with good grace and a genial “welcome home” meow.
For less active seniors or those in assisted living facilities that allow pets, felines make fabulous roommates. Unlike their canine counterparts, they don’t require a daily regime of being walked and exercised outdoors — whether it’s hot or cold, raining or snowing. Whatever the weather, cats will remain contentedly indoors, provided their food dish, water bowl and litter box are near by. Playing cat-specific videos whose themes range from birds and butterflies to squirrels and mice will keep them endlessly entertained whether their humans are with them or not. Entranced and stimulated by the movements and sounds, they can happily view the same tape over and over.
Some cats adapt easily to a harness and leash, enabling their humans to take them for walks in the hallways of their seniors’ residence, outside in the garden, into the common areas, and on visits to those without pets of their own. For more finicky felines, there are specially designed, enclosed strollers, allowing them to ride safely and stylishly both indoors and out.
As beneficial as senior cats are for senior citizens, senior citizens are equally as beneficial for senior cats. More difficult to adopt than younger cats and kittens, but just as deserving of permanent homes, they’re all too often overlooked at shelters, humane societies and rescue groups — and for all the wrong reasons. Senior cats seem to sense when they receive a second chance at the rest of their lives. And any senior citizen savvy enough to adopt one, will not only reap the rewards, but will be the lucky recipient of a love as endearing as it is enduring.