Published by: Ingrid King. Last Updated on: May 2, 2023 by Crystal Uys
Written 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 [email protected]. Valerie writes for examiner.com, for a list of her articles, click here.
Photo Credit: Rita by Valerie Heimerich
About the author
Ingrid King is an award-winning author, former veterinary hospital manager, and veterinary journalist who is passionate about cats.