Friday, October 17, 2008

Feline Nursing Home

We live in and operate a feline nursing home.  We travel with two cats, who are 15 (Partner) and 16 (PC) years old.  They have been part of our household since they were each about 5 weeks old and we love them.  But caring for aging cats isn't much different from caring for an aging parent or spouse.


        When my mother was in the last couple of years of her life, she was wearing Depends.  When she came to visit our home, we covered a couple of chairs with plastic and made sure she sat there—both for the protection of our furniture and for her protection.  She often wouldn't realize she had to go to the bathroom until she had wet herself, and then she was very embarrassed.  It was a very difficult time for all of us.  Finally, she moved to an assisted living facility and then, at the last, to a hospice for about one month.


        We haven't seen assisted living facilities or nursing homes for cats.  Instead, we provide those facilities.  Our floors are covered with plastic.  PC suffers from dementia and often can't remember where the litter box is.  He regularly thinks it is a corner under the dining room table in our RV.  Partner has a very sensitive stomach and vomits often—sometimes from hair balls, more often because his food doesn't agree with him.  Hence—the plastic on the rugs.  We also have gates to limit the cats to certain areas of the RV or our stick house. 


        For the same reasons, we keep the cats off our upholstered furniture.  Mainly, because Partner vomits so often.


        The litter box was stored under one of the benches of the dining room table in our old RV.  In the new one, it is in a closet just inside the front door.  The area has to be lined with plastic, and then covered with newspaper.  They are old guys and their aim isn't what it used to be.


        One of the advantages of having cats in the family instead of dogs is that you can leave them for a couple of days and they will eat moderately and don't need to be taken outside.  But we can no longer leave our cats.  For five years PC has needed an insulin shot each morning for his diabetes.  Now Partner needs medicine with his food three times a day to prevent constipation.  So much for the flexibility that comes with adopting cats.


        Any of you who have pets can identify both with how difficult all of this is and why we put up with it.  Anyone who has never owned and loved a pet will think we are crazy.  No, we aren't.  We just love them—while counting the days till we are free again.


1 comment:

  1. My KiKi died at age 17...I Miss her but when asked if I'm ready for another cat, my answer is the same...NO! The last 2 yrs of her life was much the same as your cats is...I can't imagine getting another cat at my age of 57...I'll wait...hahhhaaaa...I'll get a Young cat and be an Old lady...hahaa....happy day sweetie!hughugs