Fostering Older Animals

March 6, 2018
Fostering Older Cats
Brady, an 8 year-old Ragdoll, came to live with us in September of 2017. Six months earlier his elderly guardians both passed, and their adult children abandoned Brady in the house after clearing it of its possessions. Luckily a neighbor saw Brady locked in the home and took measures to rescue him. Because Brady is a very powerful cat, he eventually managed to land in our home, some 280 miles to the West.
He arrived very obese and arthritic. His rescuer knew nothing of cat nutrition and let him free feed on dry Beneful cat food (bad!). So my first task was to help him regain his health. I took him to the vet and put him on a diet. He hated everything good-like our homemade crock-pot diet-but settled on eating the best grain free, organic, made from pasture raised protein sources kibble.
Brady’s vet also gave him a series of chiropractic adjustments to free up his very stiff joints. He also prescribed a joint supplements, which we call Brady’s “cookies”. The effort has paid off. Five months after his arrival, Brady has lost 3 pounds and his agility has returned.
When he first arrived he was depressed and withdrawn and bad tempered. When I tried to groom him, he whacked me hard with his arm. So I backed off when he said “no”. Eventually I established communication with him and talked with him about his losses and his sense of abandonment. I also had my friend and fellow communicator Barbara Rawson talk with him. She said he was a wizard! All of us in the family began to see Brady slowly emerge as a personality. He started to play with the two younger cats, Maisie and Major Tom (My daughter’s cats). He enjoys play-fighting with Major Tom in a style my daughter calls Kat Kung Fu. Eventually he moved from hanging out in other rooms to hanging out near us. He now follows us everywhere and is eager for attention and love. When I work in my office, Brady stays close by, loving the work I do as a communicator. He hasn’t learned to interact with my animal clients yet (Buster my Maine Coon loved to do that) but he’s definitely interested in what’s going on with my calls.
When you foster an older animal, they often arrive with issues of abandonment, grief, depression and fear. Their lives have been upended. It’s important to support their grieving process. Give them support, comfort, and the time they need to heal. I find that changes begin to show up after about three months.
Brady is now, after more than 5 months, settled into a routine and happy. He purrs, gives cat kisses, poses (he’s gorgeous) and generally accepts his specialness. We never miss a chance to give him attention and love and we are all enjoying the fruits of our efforts.


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