Best of Companions

By Lorna Foreman

Sharing your life with furry friends

There have not been too many years of my life that were not blessed by sharing them with a pet or two. And now that I am almost at the eighth decade mark, that has added up to quite a number. Even if the pets live to their maximum lifespan on earth, it is certainly less than mine, so far.

So, when I had to have my second cat euthanized about a year and a half ago, I knew it would not be too long before I wanted another furry friend to share my life with.

I have been fortunate — most of my pets have lived long, healthy lives. One cat lived to the age of twenty-two, another twenty and another nineteen — all pretty good ages for cats. Most of them were rescue cats — a couple of them just sat outside until I took them into my home. Others I inherited or were given to me when the owners could not look after them anymore.

So, the day arrived. I wanted another cat. The silence in my house was deafening and I missed the communication and companionship.

What I was not sure about was whether I should adopt a senior cat or a young cat. I deliberated over this for a long time.

Where I buy my cat supplies, they have cats offered for adoption. It is a wonderful place and the woman who rescues these cats — whether senior or juvenile — takes them in, has them neutered or spayed if necessary, plus their shots and then socializes them as most of them are feral street cats.

Over I went to check the cats out. I fell in love with a young (nine-month old) fluffy cat. I begged the employee to give me a day to decide and put down a deposit. I then went home and called one of my good younger friends and explained the situation. What I needed to know was that if anything should happen to me would she and her husband take my cat into their home.

With ‘yes’ being the answer, I promptly went back and adopted Sammie, a fairly large, part Maine Coon cat. She is quite unique with most of the Maine Coon characteristics, except for the large size that that breed can grow to.

I feel that this is the solution for seniors adopting young animals, whether it be cats or dogs. It is so very sad when you see a senior dog or cat at the animal shelter up for adoption knowing that the owner had either died or could not take the animal to a nursing home.

So why did I not adopt a senior animal? Good question. I had gone to the Humane Society to check out the animals they had for adoption. The simple answer was that much like meeting people that you just seem to connect with, the same can be said for animals.

I have had Sammie over a year, and she is an energetic cat. I am considering adopting another cat just to keep her company and work off some of that energy. Will that work? I can only trust that it will. And yes, my friend said she would take in two cats should anything happen to me. Now that is true friendship.

It is interesting that even an indoor cat has the potential to be an outdoor cat and able to live on its own. And most homeless cats would adapt very well to living indoors and treated with love and attention. No matter how you get your new pet, you provide pleasure in their life. If it had been feral, you have given it a chance at a longer life, for living on the streets in a city usually means a short life and often they die in terrible health.

As I am writing this, my dear Sammie is driving me nuts. She is doing the ‘I am nuts’ routine, which only emerges when I am concentrating on something important. I think that second cat is going to be a possibility in the very near future. Hmm — well, maybe two?

There are far too many cats and dogs that are left by the side of the road in the country. The people who dump them, either assume that they will be able to survive on their own, or that someone will take them in. That is not always the case.

An acquaintance of mine had a dog for many years that had been dumped on a countryside road. It even had a tag around its neck giving her name. How could anyone resist a beautiful part border collie with a name tag on it, looking dejected and skittish.

Whatever your choice, be sure to have a back-up plan if you are a senior.

Lorna Foreman is a self-described 50-plus writer, author and artist who lives in Cornwall.