Besides being a cat behaviourist I work as a cat sitter as well.
People ask me whether I just feed and clean litter trays all day. Well, yes and no. I mean I do feed cats and clean litter trays, but there’s much more to it.
In the series of posts I’ll share some anecdotes from my life as a cat sitter. I promise these stories are all true, though the cat’s names have sometimes been changed to protect their identity 😉
Today: a few ‘golden oldies’
Older cats often have special needs. Many of them suffer from arhtritis but they can have a history of other illnesses too, most notably kidney disease. Some of them have dementia: they forget why they walked into a room, they forget they already ate their food, they forget where you are or what time it is and meow loudly in the middle of the night. It can help to buy a timed feeder so your cat gets more smaller meals a day rather than 2 main meals (don’t forget the night feed or they will still wake you). It also helps to give them multiple warm places to sleep. And don’t forget to play with them: cats remain playful throughout their life. You may want to change the type of games and forego jumping games, but they still like playing with laser pointers or chase or kick toys. Don’t play for too long, short and frequent is better for them.
And if you think older cats are never mischievous then think again…. Thom is a perfect example! He’s a gorgeous 13 year old boy with a history of liver problems. I’ve been visiting him for a few days now and he always comes inside as soon as he hears me. Either that or he is already home and asleep on the sofa.
When I come I notice something strange lying on the kitchen floor. ‘What on earth has the cat dragged in?’ is going through my mind. I walk closer and somehow it looks like raw chicken?? Did he go through any of the neighbours’ bins? Well… no…. Thom has found a way to open the freezer and made a hole in the bag with chicken thighs. He’s eaten the skin and left the rest. He’s sitting in the kitchen grooming himself and looking rather pleased with himself…
My next cat is a lovely old boy named Mr. Biscuits. He was 11 years old when his owners adopted him. Rehoming an older cat is very rewarding. Older cats are often overlooked in shelters and have more medical needs than younger cats. Mr. Biscuits is no exception: he has hyperthyroidism and chronic kidney disease and needs medication twice a day.
He loves the company and sitting with me. But he’s not ready to just sit behind the window: his owners take him ‘walkies’ in the park!
If you’re thinking of getting an older cat or already have one and would like more information, please click here.