November is National Adopt A Senior Pet Month. It’s a great time to choose a wonderful “mature” pet as your new best friend–and all the must-knows for caring for them are available in my Aging Cat and my Aging Dog books.
Now that both of my “fur-kids” are mature pets, it’s put me in a philosophical mood.
Yes, I can’t believe it—Magical-Dawg is seven! It seems only yesterday that he came into our lives and wagged his way into our hearts (and onto the pillow). Magic weighed only eleven pounds when he arrived at eight weeks. Before long he’d left marks not only on our lives, but also the walls, the baseboard, the windowsills…
Seren-kitty is sixteen. She was a dumped kitten found asleep in an empty flower pot on the back of a friend’s porch. I got the call to help out because my friend had a toddler who WANTED THE KITTY! but Mom was allergic. So it was Amy-to-the-rescue, and I fully intended to advertise for a lost kitten or take to the shelter. Seren had other ideas, and climbed up my pant leg and wrapped her paws around my neck. Not a single piece of paper for my columns, articles, books or blogs has ever escaped Seren’s claws before being sent on to its publishing home. She’s been my office partner and editor ever since.
Seren was nine when Magic arrived, and he already outweighed her. She quickly took control of his schooling and I do believe part of Seren’s youthful c’attitude is directly due to the fun she gets from getting Magic in trouble.
This morning my husband mentioned something that took me aback. “With our next cat, let’s…”
See, we’ve already decided we’ll have a next cat, and a next dog, but not yet. Not now, not while Magic and Seren still rule. But the time will come. I’m a bit superstitious, though, and don’t want to tempt fate by talking about that eventuality.
Meanwhile, our house is the same age as Seren-kitty and in need of some spiffing up. Every time I finish a deadline (during which I’m blind to most of what goes on in the outside world!), I come up for air and am appalled at how I’ve let the yard, the house, my office, “real life” fall into shambles. The past two days I spent shoveling out my office and now I can see the top of my desk again!
In particular, yard work is overdue. And inside, maybe fresh paint, new carpet, spackle away teeth marks, reupholster or refinish some furniture. Or, maybe not.
MAGIC MARKERS & SEREN SPOTS
The base of the glass top table in the living room has teeth marks from our first dog. Oh, how angry we felt when he turned it into his personal chew toy! But now, the sight prompts smiles and happy memories. I wouldn’t be a writer today if it weren’t for his inspiration.
You see, those Magic teeth marks on the windowsill, the here-and-there pulled thread on a Seren clawed chair, a small carpet stain, scrapes on the hard wood floor, for me are no different than the wall marks my parents used to chart their kid’s growth. Those are memories, a tangible reminder of a fleeting furry presence that shares laughs and loves for an all too short span of time.
I don’t have a perfect house. The off-white carpet matches Seren’s fur, but Magic’s drifts of black shedding turn it into a Dalmatian pattern. And furniture and baseboards have their share of puppy teeth or kitten claw marks. And that’s okay, I can live with that. I’d even put up with more claw and teeth marks if Seren and Magic would promise to stay with me for at least another dozen years each. Please.
Meanwhile, maybe I’ll enlist the dog to help dig up defunct rose bushes. I think he’d enjoy that, he’s already a champion at watering the grass (ahem). And Seren-kitty loves to supervise anything that will get the dog (spit!) in trouble.
What about your house? Are there any “pet marks” you treasure? Please share in the comments–don’t let me feel like the only awful housekeeper out there!
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Amy Shojai, CABC is a certified cat & dog behavior consultant, a consultant to the pet industry, and the award-winning author of 35+ pet-centric books and Thrillers with Bite! Oh, and she loves bling!
The chew marks on the stairs, the corner of a wall, and one cabinet from my Lab, Golly. She’s 7 now and the first animal raised by Hub and I. Our other dog, Domino, a Belgian sheepdog at the venerable age of 14, and cats, Magic and Sage (14 and 17) were mine before Hub and I met. The only carpet in our house is in our tv/hang-out room. It is a sort-of indoor/outdoor blend in a truly ugly grey-brown, but it sturdy and easy to clean. Yeah, my house is far from perfect, but I’d rather live in this than some utterly spotless room from a fashion plate. Far more comfortable.
Great post, Amy! So happy to know I am not the only one with a home that has its “well-loved” spots.
Awww…see, you did it right with your carpet choice. Ours shows everything! *s*
What a great blog this week! Oh yes Amy I have 2 recliners that are kittyized with those wonderful claw marks but I consider it their claw prints of love. To me they are wonderful memories. I had considered having them declawed when they were little but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Sometimes I’ll put something on clean and still have to get the sticky roller out to get those few reminders off. I have 2 NASTY NICE relatives that nearly goes ballistic when a pet hair gets on them. I always look forward to seeing them so when they leave they have a momento to take with them.
I’m glad you decided not to get your fur babies declawed. If I had known what exactly declawing is I would never had one of my kitties done. It also changed her from a sweet loving kitten to a distrustful shy cat. I love your take on scratch marks. I will have to remember that for the next batch of cats I get.
Hi Sue, Sorry you and your kitty had such a bad experience with declawing. *sigh* Sometimes the hard lessons we learn (and the pets teach) become extra valuable in the future, especially for all the furry loved ones to come.
LOL Patricia! And the kitties are always so accommodating with sharing their fur. *s*
Oh yes…Tara scratched the doorway to my kitchen and bathroom to heck and gone but I can’t see myself fixing it anytime soon. Any visible reminder of her is such a comfort still.
Beautiful post, Amy.
Thank you Melissa. That scratch-chair in the picture now is held together with ribbons wrapped around and around. No way will I ever “fix” that. *sniff*
If there are any pet marks that I treasure? Absolutely. The wide numerous white lines on my desk, the peeling wallpaper and what’s left of the couch. But most of all… All the white hairs on my clothes 😉
Oh yes, the white hairs everywhere from Seren! And the black ones from Magic. At my house, pet fur is a fashion statement.
No wardrobe is complete without pet fur. My new Rheumatologist commented a few weeks ago that I must have a cat because of all the fur on my “clean” shirt. I laughed and told her there are two and they aren’t even mine. But that doesn’t matter, I have missed having animals in my life.
LOL! And Sue, no matter what color you wear, the pets always manage to deposit contrasting fur on it.