Celebrating Maxine and other senior pets
November is National Senior Pet Month, promoted by the ASPCA as a way to encourage the adoption of pets of a senior age.
Sure, we all know that puppies and kittens are almost too cute to resist, and that always makes them much easier to place in an adoption at a shelter. The adorability of puppies and kittens helps them to win over potential owners when they come in to a shelter size up the animals that are available. And, just like it is with people adoptions, the older pets are so easy to overlook even though they are just as loving and loyal as the little guys.
I have to support such a senior pet adoption program because I have had such a positive experience with it. It’s been almost five years now since my kids convinced me that I needed an indoor pet. It took me several months to finally see their logic, but eventually my son and I were off to an animal shelter that featured a Senior Cats for Senior Citizen program.
Although it didn’t really please me to be declared a senior citizen, I liked the benefits that offered at the shelter: the adoption fee was halved, the cat was micro-chipped, vaccinated, and neutered. Such a deal!
So my son and I set about finding the perfect senior cat there at the shelter, strolling in front of the cages with the shelter’s senior cats. For some reason, all of them were black, and none seemed to have that spark we hoped to find.
Until we located a pretty gray-and-white cat in a cage way in a back corner all by herself. The sign on the front of her cage told us her name was Kitty and that she had come in as a stray. Since her former owners didn’t come to the shelter to give her up for adoption, that’s why she didn’t have a real name or more information about her–like her age, which was estimated to be 10 years. A bonus for me was that Kitty was already all-four declawed, which made it especially sad that she had come in as a stray with no way to defend herself.
So we adopted her and took her home. Within a few days, I renamed her Maxine, and she’s been a calm, quiet fixture in my home ever since. Most of the time, now that she’s probably fifteen years old, Maxine definitely acts like a very senior citizen. She spend most of her time sleeping and sitting in the sunny front window or keeping watch over the driveway from another window sill. Often she meets me at the door when I come in.
Perhaps Maxine’s best trait, though, is being a champion lap cat. And that suits me just fine.