Adopting an Older Cat
Curtis, my special old boy:
I want to talk today about the rewards of adopting an older cat or any animal for that matter.
In September of 2012 Curtis was brought to the shelter by one of our volunteers. Curtis had been abandoned outside of her house by a neighbor in St. Johnsbury. He was abandoned there because this neighbor's brother had given Curtis to him and he didn't want Curtis either. He is an all black cat and he looked so sad in the shelter. Curtis was an older cat and didn't like having his life uprooted and not knowing what was happening to him. He vomited frequently and had been to Littleton Area Veterinary Emergency Services twice to control it, as well as being taken to our local vet.
He would just stare at the wall towards the back of his condo at the old shelter. We had reduced his adoption fee to 25.00 to try to get him a home, but still he was in the shelter for 3 months. At that point, I decided to adopt him. I remember paying Nancy Rivet in five dollar bills to pay for him, the best 25.00 I ever spent. We really didn't know how old he was but we knew he was at least 12 years old. I took him to see Dr. Sechrist a couple weeks after the adoption and she said she really didn't know how old he was either, but that he was "A really old dude". He walked rather stiffly but still could run when he wanted to chase a laser light. I didn't know how things would work out as I already had several other resident cats. Being as old and sick as he was, Dr. Sechrist said that she fully understood if I felt the need to have him put down. But I declined and wanted to give it a try.
Curtis settled in quickly and became a big part of my life. I work at home, so he enjoyed coming out in the workshop and watching me and my employee work. He would sit on the desk next to the computer and also in the window to watch us and to be able to look outside as well. This old “unwanted” cat was enjoying life to the fullest. He always kept his distance from my other cats but he would tolerate them. He would cuddle with me on the couch while watching TV and he always slept next to me in bed. For the most part, he felt pretty good. Occasionally he would go through periods of lethargy and vomiting and then he would have months of no symptoms.
As time went by, his vomiting became more frequent so Dr. Sechrist suggested that we have an ultrasound done. It was discovered that he had Irritable Bowel Disease that had progressed into a form of Lymphoma, a common cancer that can happen with an older cat. I decided not to take him to a specialist for an operation. I felt that would be too much stress for him and not a good idea at his age. He lived another year or so with lots of love, Dr. Sechrist's great care and the medications. He eventually passed away at home.
All told, I had Curtis for 3 1/2 wonderful years. There is such joy in helping an older or special needs cat. You know how much they need you and it's so appreciated. I have to tell you, I got way more back from Curtis than I ever gave to him. I can't imagine if I had just left him there in the shelter to decline with no home to thrive in. We gave him the best care possible in the shelter, but there is no substitute for a loving home.
Won't you consider adopting an older cat or special needs cat? I guarantee that you will never regret it and the experience will leave your life greatly enriched on top of helping a cat in need.