When our cat Samantha was recently released from her farm cat duties of caring for the young birds we were raising in the house (“Farm Updates – Late Summer“), our friends from the blog Momma Kat and Her Bear Cat commented “I guess Sam’s on a grandparent footing with the babies … not full duty … can enjoy them for as long as she likes … and then she’s off!” It struck me how true that is. After all, at 16 years old (which equates to at least 80 in human years), Sam is well past Mama age and definitely more at Grandma age!
She gets to do exactly that – visit with her “grandbirdies” who she helped raise, and then go back to the house and relax! Her latest venture out to visit with them was a fun one – especially watching the “guinea boys” with her. They were so curious about her, and she was so oblivious to it all! She simply enjoyed being outdoors in the warmth, sunshine, and grass, and listening to the birds chattering near her. She wandered around with them often close behind.
Sam’s outdoor visits are completely supervised. Considering the fact that she is mostly blind, she gets around quite well. She seems to always know where I am, and even though she walks a bit gingerly at times, she really doesn’t hesitate much when exploring. Luckily, we have a lot of big open areas, so she doesn’t have to worry much about walking into things. I think she sees better out in the bright light too.
Speaking of Sam’s advanced years, she recently had her wellness visit at the vet, and it could not have gone better! Both her blood pressure and T-4 tests (for her hyperthyroidism) showed little change from her last checks 6 months ago! The vet was also pleased with her heart, her weight, and her body mass. She feels Sam is at the perfect weight now, which was a relief for us.
Most of the time, Sam’s appetite is pretty good, but it does wax and wane at times. She is mostly good about taking her pills in a pill pocket; though on occasion we do find out that she sneakily dropped it after the fact when we weren’t looking! If that happens I usually just crush it into her food, or don’t worry too much if she misses one here or there. I’ve also noticed she sleeps a little longer and sounder lately, I used to get up in the morning to her wailing for her breakfast, and now that rarely happens. But when I call her (she still likes to sleep upstairs in the room where the birds used to be), she hears me and comes down the stairs. Only occasionally do I have to go up and get her.
The vet did say her eyesight has deteriorated further, though at least her retinas are still attached (retinal detachment can be caused by high blood pressure and would lead to complete blindness). Her pupils’ response to light has diminished though. We weren’t too surprised by that, we suspected it because for a while she didn’t seem to be getting around as well, she was far more hesitant in her movements. She has seemed to adjust more now though and knows her areas quite well. Only occasionally does she stumble off her wide shelf by the window where she eats. In true cat fashion, she always lands on her feet and is never the worse for wear. Some days she seems a bit wobbly and hesitant, but most she gets around well. She has no issues with going up and down the stairs, or getting up to her shelf via the futon which is next to it.
We are pleased that she is happy and healthy at 16 years old, especially considering all the ailments she has. She will hopefully be able to have more visits out to her birds before the snow flies again, when we’ll all be following her lead and enjoying more cat naps and sleeping in on the shorter days.