10 Jan What it’s like Adopting a Senior Pet
Razz was my senior cat. I knew Razz most of his life. He was a store cat raised from a kitten at a pet store my family owned. I cuddled and played with him as a child when I would visit but that was the totality of our relationship. When Razz was about 12 years old, my family closed that store and Razz needed a home. I wasn’t looking for another cat at the time. I didn’t think I had time for another pet. I already had one to keep me busy but somehow he ended up in my home.
When Razz came to me I noticed signs that indicated some health issues. Urinating outside the litter box is one of the first signs that a cat has an health issue. It can be a behavioral outburst but it is commonly one of the first signs of kidney disease. Cats instinctively do not want to feel like prey or be vulnerable; because of this they are excellent at hiding illnesses for a long time. This is how paying attention to these behaviors can help you catch disease early on. After noticing these issues we made a trip to the vet and I was correct, Razz was in early kidney failure. He also had some major digestive issues. These were likely caused from his life as a store cat eating all kinds of foods and treats and breaking into dog food bags often helping himself to whatever smelled good at the time!
After the diagnosis I switched his diet and started including lots of moist treats such as wet food, goats milk, and bone broth in his diet. Cats suffering from kidney disease are often dehydrated because their body cannot hold water as well as a healthy body would. They often drink more and urinate more than a healthy cat. So if you notice changes in drinking and urination habits its best to see a vet. It is vital to keep them hydrated as best as possible. Another trick I used was putting multiple water bowls throughout the house. We had at least one bowl in every room. And to my delight all our efforts made a difference. Razz’s kidney function actually improved!
Through the next couple years Razz was the most cuddly, loving, grateful little guy. His favorite place to be was on your lap or sleeping next to your head at night. He was the sweetest cat I have ever spent time with. Razz also loved to wear sweaters and sleep on a heating pad as he would get cold in the winter nights. Razz loved going on adventures in the car, visiting Pet Oasis, having guests over, and even enjoyed going to the vet. He was such a sweet little kitty. We ended up with a bond stronger than I could have ever imagined.
However, after a couple years things took a turn for the worst. Razz became weak. His kidneys were not functioning as well, he was losing his appetite and muscle mass. We started seeing the vet more often. Razz started needing subcutaneous fluids to stay hydrated. It was so hard to see this loving sweet guy getting worse. It broke our hearts. Razz was part of the family now. He greeted us every time we walked in the door. He rejoiced at bedtime because it meant us all cuddling in bed together. We wanted to keep him happy and comfortable as long as possible. We decided as long as he was happy, purring, eating and drinking we would do all we could to keep him around. We learned how to give fluids at home to save trips to the vet. We brought home a variety of food to keep him excited about eating. He had his own cat bed with a heating pad on our bed to sleep with us. When I say we did all we could I mean it. This little guy had my heart. But we all know what was coming; eventually his body just gave out. Pets are the most wonderful blessings but they also cause heartbreak. No one can fully explain the pain caused by loosing our furry friends. And no one can make that go away. Its been a year and half since I lost him and I still get sad.
Razz changed my life. I only spent a couple years with him full time, but those years changed my life. It was so rewarding helping him and giving him a loving comfortable home for his last few years. He was so grateful, loving and he brought so much love and joy into our lives. Adopting a senior or special needs pet can be intimidating and overwhelming but it was one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. Every animal deserves a loving home and a loving family. And if you don’t adopt them, who will?
Check out your local shelters and rescues today.
Coachella Valley Animal Campus
City of Palm Springs Animal Shelter
Hope Ranch Animal Sanctuary
Humane society of the desert
Living Free Animal Sanctuary
Loving All Animals
The Pet Rescue Center