1) They are ALWAYS up for a cuddle
My two cats Burt and Dave are cuddlers. I am never at a loss for a reading buddy, or someone to watch a movie with. All I have to do is sit down and voilà a cat appears. They have gotten me through some wicked illnesses and other difficult times. Just knowing that they’ll be there whenever I need a hug makes life a little easier to navigate.
2) They are creatures of habit
Being part of the family for so long they have learned my routine as I have theirs. This can be both good and bad I suppose. For example every morning at 5:30 am the cats know I’ll be in bed and I know at that same time, outside my bedroom door, I will hear not the faint pawing, sweet mew of loving kitties but rather the hammer paw pounding, blood curdling yeowling of two absolutely famished cats (you cat owners know what I’m talking about). Do I like being woken up before the crack of dawn? No, but do I appreciate Burt and Dave’s consistency and conviction of their starvation? …. That is also a No – where was I going with this? I guess I like knowing what to expect. Whether it’s the number of times they’ll spin around before they poop, the time of day they like to nap or the very specific type of food they’ll eat, with long-term senior housemates there are few surprises in the day to day activities.
3) They move at a slower pace
Now, this may seem like an odd one as often times senior pets have joint issues causing them to be uncomfortable and therefore move slower, but that’s not what I’m trying to highlight. I mean that they’re not in that crazy adventurous kitten or puppy phase anymore. They’re in the stop and smell the roses phase and, I need that. Being a working mom of two life is always go, go, go. It’s nice to take things slow every once in a while. Sitting in a ray of sun reading a book while Burt warms himself and lazily plays with the tassel of my bookmark. Or when I took my family’s 11-year-old lab-cross Oxford for leisurely strolls as he sniffed every tree and I breathed in the fresh air. Ahhh just writing that relaxed me.
4) They know what they want
This rings true mostly for my childhood dog Tia. She was a shepherd-lab mix who lived to the grand age of 16. I called her the gentle giant. Sweetest thing you’d ever meet but if she wanted a bed one of the other pets was lying in, your place on the couch or the piece of food you were about to put in your mouth she’d let you know…..by standing and staring you in the face until you gave in. And she always won 🙂 Senior pets aren’t afraid to let you know their hearts desire or express their displeasure of certain situations. With them, you always know where you stand because they are unapologetically honest.
5) They are young at heart
Probably one of the greatest lessons my senior furbabies have taught me is that age is just a number. Even in her last days, 16-year-old Tia would take a moment each day, “forget her aches and pains” and gallop out in the backyard to bark away a bird or squirrel trying to steal her coveted fallen birdseed. And not a day goes by when Burt and Dave don’t run around chasing an imaginary ball of fluff, jumping and spinning like a 6-month-old kitten. It’s a great reminder that life is not all about “adulting” it’s ok to act like a kid every once in a while and have fun!
Whatever your list of reasons, senior pets add value to our lives in so many ways. For me, it’s their unique individuality, their unabashed love of life, their honest nature and the simple lessons they share that make the golden years my favorite.
Erin Morris RVT
Erin, a registered veterinarian technician, has been a member of the Western Animal Clinic team since 2008. She resides in London sharing her home with her husband, two children, and two loving senior cats. She frequently visits her parents and the family’s senior dog to enjoy quiet walks as the fast-paced world zooms by.