5 Things Senior Kitties Can Teach Humans

Sometimes I feel 11... in human years!

You may not believe it by looking at us, but Binga, Boodie and I are all technically senior kitties! I am 11, Boodie is 12 and Binga will be 13 around the middle to end of this month! We certainly don’t act like senior kitties — none of us is anywhere near ready to lie down and nap the rest of our lives away. We have fun and are curious about life, and we are all pretty healthy — even me, with my digestive upsets. I don’t let that get in the way of my search for fun, or the occasional whapfest.

So even though August is Senior Pets Month, you are not going to get any tips on how to care for aging kitties here. That is for geriatric cats, who are in the very last stages of their lives, or kitties who have one or more diseases that can happen to older cats… but don’t always. Nope! I’m turning Senior Pets Month around and I’m going to tell you humans why your assumptions about your own “aging” are wrong — and how to change them! Read these five tips, and learn:

Thankfully she is not screaming like a banshee here1. Drop the word “senior” from your vocabulary. Did you notice that we cats don’t even have a word for senior? (Yes, I know that we cats don’t have words, period, but that is beside the point.) You humans are strongly influenced by the words you say and think, and when you hear “senior,” or find out that another human is a certain “age,” you get all these negative images in your head: creaky bones, shuffling feet, stooped posture, nursing homes, etc. So no wonder that’s the way that so many of you grow old. We cats don’t know we are supposed to do old-kitty stuff, so we tend to hang onto our youthful, active ways for a lot longer than humans of equivalent age. Binga still goes psycho on a regular basis, leaping on high dressers in a single bound, clearing counters as she slides across them, screaming like a banshee — and at nearly 13, she is the oldest cat out of all of us! She doesn’t know what the word “old” means… and you humans should forget!

I am glad I'm the one who does not have to straight up this desk!2. Stay active and engaged. I doubt I will ever retire from supervising my human, which is a good thing because she would be lost without my help — and she doesn’t plan on ever retiring either. But of course, both my human and I love what we do. If you don’t, then figure out what things you do love doing — and figure out how to get to a place where you can do them all the time! If that means you will have to “retire” from a job you do not enjoy, fine, but don’t spend the last decades of your life sitting around! That guarantees you will be old — and dull, too. Find your passion, and follow it.

3. Eat right — and not too much. One of the reasons the three of us are doing well at our ages really boils down to our diet. We eat mainly canned food, and Binga and Boodie exclusively eat a grain-free diet (I am picky, so I get whatever I will eat). When we get treats, my human makes sure they are healthier treats, and nothing too junky. We are also strictly portion controlled so that none of us ever becomes overweight (Binga complains about this, but it is better for her to be slim). We have had few medical problems and no arthritis as of yet.

This is one can that has my paw of approval!

4. Understand that disease and years lived are two different things. A lot of times people think that when things go wrong with their bodies (or their cat’s bodies, for that matter), it has to do with “old age,” when the truth is that it’s a disease or condition that many times isn’t caused by the aging process. Even doctors sometimes pull the age card and it really annoys my human! Disease is caused by something going wrong in the body and often it can be fixed or adjusted and you are not stuck with it just because you are a certain number of years old. A friend of my human’s had to have both hips replaced and he is in his 40s. Meanwhile, her dad walks a few miles a day in his 90s. Sometimes stuff happens, for any number of reasons… and sometimes it doesn’t. If you have a physical problem come up and it is not terminal, take care of it, recover to the best your ability and keep living life, and that goes for all ages.

I'm queen of the world!

5. Be curious! This is the Big Kitty Secret to staying young forever, because as you know, curiosity is one of our most well known traits. Always be willing to explore, to find out something new. Ask questions. Never blindly obey authority (Binga is an expert at this). Yes, you might get in trouble, but you know what? Playing it safe is for oldsters, not for you! Who wants to live a boring, fear-based life? Be adventurous! Have fun. And especially for you humans, be teachable. It keeps your mind flexible.

These five tips have worked for us kitties — and I think they will work for you too!

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Having problems with your human or the other cats in your house? As the internet’s “Dear Abby With Claws,” I have answers to many annoying problems in my two award-winning books! Visit my author’s page on Amazon to buy one or both of my awesome Dear Sparkle books!
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Comments

  1. says

    Kizzie: I agree with you, it is perfectly possible to be old and healthy, and my mum and dad are good examples of this!
    Mum: You cheeky thing, Kizzie

  2. says

    Sparkle you all look fabulous! You’re clever to be picky and get whatever you will eat… treats only diet?! Sounds pawesome! hehe! I also agree on evfurrybody staying curious, life would be boring else wouldn’t it! Have a great day love from your toyboy admirer! Bisous Bailey

  3. says

    Those are excellent tips, Sparkle! What surprises us is that humans want to label us kitties who are 10 or older as seniors. And we know age is just a number…and we’re not seniors at all!

  4. says

    SPARKLE, I’M 11 TOO!!! YOUR 5 POINTS ARE SO CORRECT!! I AM VERY CURIOUS TOO AND LOVE IT WHEN MOM BRINGS HOME SOMETHING FOR MADI ENRICHMENT!!
    HUGS MADI YOUR BFFF

  5. says

    Those are just super tips and we have two somewhat older cats here and hopefully they took notes. They are still curious and don’t eat too much. But thanks for the tips.

  6. says

    Some VERY well-meowed advice that spoke to MomKatt loud & clear! She’s going thru some of these “issues” right now & NOT enjoying it. I keep telling her playing with ME often will keep her young! Isn’t she lucky she has me & us kits?

    BTW you guys look MAHVELOUS!

    Purrz!
    Selina

  7. says

    great kitty tips. our mama is very grateful. she thinks i am (emma) at 5 years old is transitioning into senior cat category, while buster at 3 years old is still a “baby”. go figure.

  8. says

    Those are great tips Sparkle! We’re only 7 but we do most of those already. The foods thing is an issue since one of us is active and one prefers naps it’s difficult but Mommy keeps trying to find something that works.

  9. says

    Well said Sparkle! My Mom says many of your “Five Things” apply to humans too! It’s all about thinking young – it keeps us young!

    Kitty Hugs, Sammy

  10. says

    Sparkle, you are wise beyond your years, and we consider all of you to be in the prime of your lives. At one time most of the kitties in our house were in their upper teens and had slowed down quite a bit. Now Lily Olivia at 14 is the oldest and Calista at one is the youngest. We one-, two- and three-year-olds keep Lily, and Mauricio and Misty May, at nine, on the tips of their paws at all times. No taking to the rocking chair around here. And the humans are in their mid-sixties and ride their tandem bike 36 miles per day as many days per week as the weather will allow, and sometimes that is seven. On top of that, our mom has this progressive neuromuscular disease that she refuses to get her down. Their are no old or senior humans or cats at our house. But thanks for the pep talk Sparkle. Our favorite photo is Binga on top of the kitchen cabinets! Purrs and hugs, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Jo

  11. says

    Those are very good points and we like them :)
    Tillie and Georgia turned 10 this year and Julie is 4.
    The other kitties are older and Tiger is 16.
    To see us playing, you would never know some are older than others ;)
    We think all you kitties look very pretty too ! Age is just a #
    Purrs Tillie and Georgia,
    Treasure,Tiger,JJ and Julie

  12. says

    Staying active and engaged IS the best way to avoid the “senior kittyz” label. I remember when Skeeter and LC were here at the end and THEY never considered “senior kitty” legit.

  13. says

    We so-called Senior kitties here would agree! Even Kona, who is getting pretty frail still enjoys a gentle game of Feather, loves being petted, and screams for treats!

  14. jmuhj says

    Inspired and inspirational advice from YRH! And it goes without saying that “you wear it well” :mrgreen: We range in age from 8 to 19, and that 19 belongs to an incredibly handsome, playful! Mainey man who gets all the girls’ attention, no matter the species :grin: Our servant has always enjoyed having friends of all ages and knows that what you say is so, so true — labelling and categorizing anyone is so limiting, since we are, after all, each individuals! Thank you so much for a wonderful article and we hope everyone reading it takes it to heart. :wink:

  15. says

    All great points. We have two 14 year olds here and, at least for one of them, you can’t tell at all! The other one is ill, but he’s still jumping on counters and creating a fuss, so a good sign. – Crepes.

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