A Senior Cat Gets a Chance at Love

Guest Post by Valerie Heimerich

Rita lived with the same owner for her whole life.  Then her owner decided she didn’t want Rita anymore and pulled the rug out from under the senior cat’s world.  The cat’s young owner had grown up alongside Rita; she was only 4 years old when the then-kitten came home.  But the young woman  decided to move in with her boyfriend and his parents, who already had one cat and didn’t want more.  She waited until three days before she was moving out and then contacted a Sacramento, CA cat rescue group.  She said she would be leaving the now 16-year-old cat behind in an empty trailer.
Rita was the equivalent of 80 years old in human terms.  Everyone loves a kitten, but who would want a cat that old?  

The rescue group worked hard and finally located a couple willing to take Rita in.  The couple contacted the original owner, who told them the cat had been to the vet regularly and had no health problems.   As it turned out, Rita was deaf, had partial heart and kidney failure, dermatitis, a severely abscessed tooth, and severe arthritis in her shoulders and hips.
But Rita was a little spitfire who refused to let those problems ruin her life.  Even with very painful arthritis, she liked to trot around, climb on things and play, and had a wonderful purr and loving personality.   After having 6 bad teeth pulled and being put on a twice-daily regime of the kitty version of morphine, Rita now gallops and romps, eats like a horse and completely rules the roost.

Rita is currently 19 years old and going strong.  Her eyesight is fading a bit and it takes her a minute or two to sit down fully, even with her arthritis medication.  But she feels so much better than she probably had in her last years with her previous owner.  Life, for Rita, is sweet.

The other cats in the household, though younger, stronger and much larger, show respect for Rita’s seniority, and she accepts their deference as her due. She has glossy, healthy fur and a real love for life.  Her new humans adore Rita and her nothing-can-stop-me-now attitude.  She has them wrapped around her little dewclaw and can get almost anything she wants from them. She snores like a freight train and it delights them. 
Now that is love.

Valerie Heimerich’s door has a big sign saying “SUCKER!” which is only visible to animals. She is an experienced humane educator and busy animal rescue volunteer. Visit her at sacramentocatrescue.com or by email at hartcats@live.com.  Valerie writes for examiner.com, for a list of her articles, click here.

Photos of Rita by Valerie Heimerich

15 Comments on A Senior Cat Gets a Chance at Love

  1. Ingrid
    December 1, 2010 at 7:53 pm (10 years ago)

    I’m so sorry about your loss, Zhubin. It’s so hard when we loose these wonderful companions.

  2. zhubin
    December 1, 2010 at 7:39 pm (10 years ago)

    my cat died at the age 15 last tuesday, i hope to reunite with her after my own death, WHAT A HEARTLESS owner, i can’t believe it.

  3. Esme
    October 9, 2010 at 11:07 am (11 years ago)

    I am glad that Rita has a happy ending-just like there are Child Abuse Registries-there should be a PAR-people like that do not deserve to be able to have another pet. Shame on her.

  4. Lori Hedgpeth (Psychotic State)
    October 8, 2010 at 12:26 am (11 years ago)

    Rita looks like a lovely girl. I’m so happy she found a loving family that she could adopt.

    Shame on her previous owner. People like that make me so mad. I’m so pleased this story has a happy ending. If only everyone realized what a beautiful gift a devoted pet is.

  5. Ingrid
    October 7, 2010 at 3:58 pm (11 years ago)

    Jay, it’s pretty hard to fathom than anyone could abandon a family member like that.

    Elen, Patches sounds like quite a character. It must have been such a comfort to your mom to know that you’d be taking care of him.

  6. Elen Disbenet
    October 6, 2010 at 9:33 pm (11 years ago)

    I have a cat sort of like Rita but his name is Patches. He is 18 years old, deaf as can be and getting cataracts. He belonged to my mom and dad who have since passed away and I took him in. He had lived with them all by himself for years and was nasty to other cats and humans~but my mom loved him and wanted me to take care of him. He has mellowed a lot since he moved in with my family and 7 other cats. They don’t particularly like him but they tolerate him. He is much nicer now than he ever was because I think he knew in his heart this was his last chance. I have grown to love him and he loves us, too.

  7. Jay
    October 6, 2010 at 9:03 pm (11 years ago)

    Poor Rita.
    How could someone do that to a family member.
    So glad she has a great home now.

  8. Ingrid
    October 6, 2010 at 6:24 pm (11 years ago)

    Tammy, thank goodness for second chances, right?

    Angie, isn’t it a wonderful story?

    Layla, I agree one hundred percent!

  9. Layla Morgan Wilde
    October 6, 2010 at 2:51 pm (11 years ago)

    This made my day. Say YES to senior kitty power! They’re a whole lot wiser than that girl who chose a boyfriend over a life long companion.

  10. Angie, Catladyland/Katt Food
    October 6, 2010 at 2:38 pm (11 years ago)

    Rita is a beautiful girl! I love happy-ending stories about senior cats 🙂

  11. Tammy
    October 6, 2010 at 12:36 pm (11 years ago)

    I’m so glad that Rita has found a new loving home!! It makes me sad that her owner was so willing to just abandon her, but thankfully, there are wonderful, kind people who give kitties a second chance!

  12. Ingrid
    October 6, 2010 at 12:28 pm (11 years ago)

    Rita looks pretty happy, doesn’t she, Max?

    Happy endings are the best, Marg, aren’t they? I think Rita looks pretty pleased with how things have turned out for her.

    Hani, I can’t imagine how this woman could leave a cat who shared most of her life like that, but I’m so happy that Rita’s story had such a great ending.

  13. hani
    October 6, 2010 at 9:04 am (11 years ago)

    oh i cried alot when reading this story….i never did that cats!! never…and im still promise to myself until now…all my cats died in their lovely home ..arounding by our love and tears… until now…our 3rd generation in my family- i mean my nephews- we all cat’s lover…and i believe ..being a cat lover will be on our family generation…until then….

  14. Marg
    October 6, 2010 at 8:19 am (11 years ago)

    That is such a great story. It is always so much fun to hear a happy ending for a cat that been left. Rita, you are quite a cat. Glad you found a great home.

  15. Max the Quilt Cat
    October 6, 2010 at 6:16 am (11 years ago)

    What a great article… it’s so nice to hear that things worked out for Rita… You go girl!!!

    Pawhugs… Max


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