Kira is an old cat. Next month, she'll be celebrating her 16th birthday. Which makes her 80, according to Purina. I've had her since she was 13 weeks old. Which means I've had her about eight months longer than I've had my husband.
Here are some things I do to make her twilight years the best they can be.
- I give her Cosequin. If you're not familiar with it, it's a joint supplement similar to glucosamine for humans. It certainly helps with her hips. Because she's not only old, but also hefty, she has hip problems.
- I have the house set up so she never needs to jump up on the beds. I bought pet stairs for the master bedroom and I set up a bunch of plastic tubs as stairs for the bed in the spare room. We lift her if she wants lap time. She has never been one for jumping on tables, counters, etc. so that's a non-issue.
- We let her do whatever she wants to do, for the most part. Don't mess with the old lady cat.
- She gets urinary tract formula pet food. Which comes in these too-big bags that she takes too long to eat so it gets stale and causes its own set of problems. So I've started portioning the bags out into gallon baggies and storing them in the freezer. When one gets low, I defrost the next one. That way the food always stays fresh.
- We give her purified water. Our tap water is extremely hard and I was thinking it was contributing to her UTI problems.
- She eats whenever she wants. Right now, we're on a can of Fancy Feast four times a day - most of which gets thrown out. The Cosequin goes in the third can, because that's the one she eats most of. She also get about a third of a cup of kibbles before bed. She grazes on that throughout the day.
- I put fish oil on her food twice a day. It helps prevent constipated-kitty. Use a pin to poke a hole in the capsule and squirt it on her wet food. One capsule in the morning, two in the afternoon. She prefers salmon oil.
As she's gotten older, there are now a few things I have to do to make her life easier. I carry her and set her in front of the litter box because sometimes I think she's not exactly sure where it is or whether she needs to use it. Sometimes, I have to encourage her to go inside. If she then needs to use it, she does. Sometimes she goes in and then comes right back out, but I'm okay with that.
If she needs anything, she isn't shy about letting me know. She lays on the kitchen rug and meows until I attend to her needs. The problem is figuring out what she's asking for. If I've already fed her, then it's probably time for fish oil. If she's already had food and fish oil, she probably needs to use the litter box. If none of the above, she either wants pets and loves or she wants me to carry her to bed. I pet her and love her and then put her on the bed next to her flannel pillowcase. She loves the flannel.
Playtime for Kira consists of her laying on the floor next to her toys and occasionally batting at one or grabbing hold of one and biting the hell out of it. Sometimes we'll get on the floor with her and shake a stringy toy, which she'll bat at vigorously - as long as she doesn't have to chase it - until she's bored.
She's the reason we don't have a dog. She's also the reason why, after we lost Max, we didn't get another cat. She prefers to be an only furbaby.
Her life is good. How much longer we have with her is anyone's guess. They say if I put her on a diet, she'll live longer. I think the stress of going on a diet will do more harm than good. (And the stress of having an unhappy cat around the house certainly wouldn't do us any good.)
What are some things you do for your pets? Did you ever think you'd do some of the things you do?