This week we have a post from Sheryl Stewart of Stoughton, MA. Sheryl is a member of the PetTrax family and the proud pet mom to Ricky and Teddy, her beautiful senior cats.
It’s been a long time since I’ve seen my two cats (Ricky and Teddy) chasing each other all around the house, up and down the stairs, scattering the rugs as they ran through the hallways. It seems like forever since Ricky leaped up from the floor to the bed. How long it has been since they engaged with me in a game of chasing the feather bird around the living room and seeing Teddy take fabulous leaps up in the air like an Olympic champion. I remember the days when Ricky would bound up the stairs as soon as he saw me or my husband Bill going up – afraid to miss a moment with us. Though Teddy still has a spring in his step, he isn’t the same spry leaper he used to be. There is hesitation and reluctance, where there used to be none.
Ricky and Teddy are almost 18 years old, and are classified as geriatric. That means they are more senior than a senior, and with that dubious distinction comes a whole host of physical changes. What used to be a quiet conversation between us is now a very loud meowing that can happen at any time. When we’re asleep, gone are the days where Ricky and Teddy would knowingly keep their voices down. Dementia and hearing loss have taken their tolls. The morning and evening meals are not just food anymore. Now they each take various medicines with their food, especially Ricky who is suffering from severe arthritis and hip dysplasia. He is not only taking traditional medication, but he is also on a Chinese herbal treatment to stabilize his Qi. Teddy deals with kidney disease and hyperthyroidism and hyperesthesia, which has worsened over the years. In fact, the two of them are taking so many medications now that we have to keep a schedule in the kitchen to make sure they get the proper meds! This is especially important because we have someone come in and take care of them when we are out for the day or vacation.
It’s a scary and frustrating experience to see your cat’s health decline. But after all the years of joy they have given us, there is nothing we wouldn’t do for them to keep them comfortable and stave off further decline. We have grown older together, and maybe a little wiser too. No matter how old they are, they will always be our “babies”.