I pay more attention to the birthdays of my dogs and cats than I do to my own birthdays. Most of the time. Especially when they get up into their senior years.
I don’t have birthday parties for any of them. Not like “people birthday parties.” And, I think that’s okay with them. Birthdays aren’t that important a frame of reference in their lives.
Almost all of my cats live well into their late teens. We are talking 18, 19 and in a few cases, 20 years. At the moment, the senior cat in my house is 14 years old.
In the collective animal pack, things are split evenly between 3 senior animals and 3 youngsters.
The seniors: Jasper, the Great Dane, who will be 9 years old next week, Josephine, my amazing 14 year old whippet, and my still feisty 14 year old cat, Mewsette seem to be pretty ambivalent about this age thing.
Jasper’s slower on walks and he does sleep more during the day. He’s been ours from the very beginning. We have pictures of him with some of his littermates that my husband took when we went down to the breeders to bring him home.
We’ve had Josephine since she was three years old. By the time we got her, the hard stuff had already been done. Somebody else went through her puppyhood. Worked with her at heeling on leash.
Or was she born knowing how to do that?
And, we’ve had Mewsette since some unknown person left her in the back seat of my friend’s car. Really.
Don’t get me started on Stupid People.
Here’s what I know about all of this: every time I start to panic about The Passing of Time in my own life, I pick one of my senior animals to think about. They seem to have stripped the essence of life down to its most basic components.
Have a reliable food source. Get outside to play. Expect treats. And count yourself lucky if you’ve got a good human who loves you.