That's the thing with senior pets: They leave us all too soon.
But, as a dear friend of mine said on my Facebook page: Focusing on the loss when a senior pet leaves tends to blot out all of the joy that comes with living with a senior.
So I thought I'd share a few photos of Troy taken by awesome cat photographer Marilyn Scahill, and explain why I would adopt Troy again, if given half the chance. Here are my top 5 reasons.
1. Senior cats have sass.Like a lot of seniors, Troy didn't put up with a whole lot of guff. He knew what he wanted, and he knew what he would tolerate. No wishy-washy hiding for this boy. He was bold and brassy and bright from the moment I met him until the moment he left me.
Where a tiny kitten or a nervous adolescent cat looks to an owner for guidance and approval before making a move, a senior cat just plunges ahead with a decision. That makes them tremendously entertaining. Whether Troy was trying to steal ham, taking turns working on a puzzle or taking over my computer, he was always confident and in charge. That's a lovely senior cat trait.
2. Senior cats come pre-trained.I never needed to help Troy understand what a scratching post was for, and I never needed to help him either find or use the litter box. He knew what those things were, and he also knew not to get on the kitchen counters or amble across the television set. He was trained by someone else, and that's a great time-saver.
3. Senior cats have time to love you.Ever spent time with a busy kitten? Often, they're too busy playing with their toys, the air or their feet to spend time with a person. They have other things to do, and they don't want to waste time bothering with people.
Senior cats are different.
Troy was remarkably loving with each and every person he met. He greeted me every morning with a chirp of hello, and he spent hours whirling around with joy on my desk (which was kinda yucky, but whatever). He didn't really need to play or run or jump. He was done with that. All of his waking moments were devoted to loving his people. Senior cats are often like that.
4. Senior cats need help.Did you know that a senior cat spends about 33 percent more time in a shelter than a younger cat? And some seniors don't make it out at all. They get overlooked and passed by and pushed over. People want the young and pretty, so seniors get the shaft.
Anyone who can take a senior should do so. They need us, as cat lovers, to help them live out the rest of their lives with dignity.
5. Senior cats may have been alone, on their own, for months or years.I took this photo of Troy on the day I brought him home. Look how exhausted he is. And it's no wonder. He lived on the streets, all by himself, for months before he came to the shelter. And then he spent months in the shelter hoping for someone to pick him. Who knows what happened to him before that.
I'm not trying to toot my own horn here, but if I hadn't taken Troy home with me, he probably would have lived a life of stress and pain until he died. Hadn't he experienced enough of that already? Haven't most senior cats?
My ardent wish would be for the story of Troy to inspire other people to take home their own senior pets. Troy would want to be an inspiration, I think. Can you help make it happen?