What an Older Cat Can Teach You About Aging
Cat lovers know that their cats have many life lessons to teach them. They seem to take life in stride with an attitude that seems to not care what the world around thinks. We can learn a lot from our cats, but one woman shared that her cat taught her a great deal about aging. Here is what Yoshi, the elder cat taught her owner.
Yoshi is Christine Schoenwald’s male cat. Although she’s not sure his exact age, she believes that he is in the neighborhood of 17 years old. Yoshi has some habits that some may find peculiar or even annoying. He sticks close to Christine and likes to sit next to her or lay his head on her arm, regardless of what she’s doing. It doesn’t matter how warm the house is, he seeks the heat of her chest or the computer. This is what happens when the circulatory system starts to decrease in efficiency because of the natural aging process.
An “old man” but “he’s still my baby”
Yoshi has been with Shoenwald through thick and thin. He’s been there after surgery and has stuck by her through everything the two have been through together. Faithfulness is a trait that is not always easy to find in humans or in pets, but Christine has been blessed to have this undying devotion from Yoshi. She shared that it’s in his old age that he is giving her an image of what is on the horizon for her in the years to come. She first made Yoshi’s acquaintance when he was just a kitten, but he was not yet her kitten. He was a rescue cat at home with a friend of hers, but when she moved to an apartment, she couldn’t keep Yoshi. This was a year after she first met him and she’s treasured the gift of love ever since.
A portrait of a family
Yoshi has a fluffy coat in a gray color that has some white patches. His eyes are a lovely green and his distinguishing feature is a white triangle on his nose in addition to some attractive markings, a white beard and white tips on his paws. Christine describes him with the utmost of admiration.
The years take their toll
The years do pass quickly and Yoshi’s owner barely noticed how he went from being an energetic kitten jumping from one surface to another with the greatest of ease, to having trouble with his balance. As she began sliding around more, she didn’t see it as a reason for concern. Nor did she notice the changes that the arthritis was making to the appearance of his body. When this began to dawn on her, she drew a few parallels to her own physical condition. Christine has arthritis in her own knees.
Adjusting to change
Yoshi was experiencing physical limitations because of the ravages that time was taking on his body. It’s a fact of life for pets and humans alike. Christine began to realize that just as people need to make accommodations for their physical limitations, these are also considerations that need to be made for beloved pets. He wasn’t as in control of his body as he was when just a kitten or a younger adult cat. It’s harder to move with agility when you’re stiff and sore. It can be doubly challenging when a pet such as Yoshi has not yet realized their limitations and keeps trying to carry on as usual.
With the changes in physical activity, agility and even thought processes affected, Yoshi’s behaviors are also changing. They’re not bad or inappropriate, they’re just different. He may fall asleep in the cat box, so Christine keeps it cleaned more frequently. He may forget why he went in there. If he wants to jump on the bed, the task may be too difficult so she has made sure to place items around the house that he can manage better to get where he wants to be. She’s rearranging his living environment to compensate for his physical and emotional needs as you would any beloved elder under your care.
Christine’s physician informed her that because of her arthritic knees, she would need to workout in segments of time. This was a limitation that changed her habits and normal routine. Just as she needed for her doctor to advise her on realizing these limitations, it was her job to do the same for Yoshi, to the best of her ability. She began drawing the parallels between the two of them.
Yoshi’s Lessons to Christine about aging
The first lessons Yoshi taught Christine are to acknowledge limitations but still keep active in ways that are safe and healthy. The next is to set goals that are in line with what you can do. When you need help, ask and accept it. Don’t ignore the small things, instead, go to a doctor and get them checked out. Take a good stretch every now and then because it can help to limber your body. Always acknowledge the importance of love and “savor the small moments.” These are the things that Yoshi and Christine have taught us about aging and those of us who are approaching our golden years thank them both.
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