We have a great many cats at the Sanctuary who are senior because they have lived much of their lives with us, but most of the cats in the Moore House – also known as GeriCatrics – have come to us as seniors, and often from a situation that indicates that they might not deal well with a bunch of other cats. Some are clearly made for this situation. Tuxedo Joey, who we have just lost, was blind. Baby is very arthritic. Jimmy was a Cariboo fires survivor and is still nervous around people. Smoky, though not elderly, hates all other cats and most humans.
But some cats come to the Moore House and blossom. Bangles has become quite sociable. Rufus looks wonderful for his age. Shaggy is everyone’s love.
Earl Grey is a blossomer. He came to us last year, feeling sad and rejected – at around 18 years of age, his family surrendered him for “inappropriate urination issues”. The sad fact is that as we get older, we all get less bladder control, and peeing in the wrong place is common with senior cats. Sometimes there is a physical problem, sometimes the cat is feeling stressed, sometimes it’s just being old. Most people, faced with an elderly family member, don’t rush to put grandpa into care – they try and find out what’s wrong first. Sadly, Earl Grey didn’t have that sort of family.
A year later and he is relaxed and at home. He likes to be out on the deck when it’s warm, and enjoys the attention of visitors. He tends to establish himself on the back of the couch in a raised position that indicates clearly that you are a level below him; he likes a little petting and grooming, but will settle in the lap of only a selected few.
He doesn’t interact much with the other cats – he’s not aggressive in any way (well, he doesn’t like Baby much!) , it’s just that they’re not worth noticing. He is clearly among the aristocracy of cats, whether he was named for the Earl Grey who was a British Prime Minister, or for the tea named after the Earl.
Many of the volunteers end their day with quiet time among these sweet senior cats. It won’t be in fancy china, but I must remember to take my cup of Earl Grey tea over to the Moore House next time, to share it with his Lordship.