When you're thinking about getting a new pet...

gibby2015November 1, 2010

do you ever think about how old you're going to be by the time that pet reaches the end of it's expected life? Or even that the pet might out live you? I never had that thought until now - it's probably been 10 years since the last new cat came into our household. Now I'm thinking if I get a new one year old cat I could be really old by the time that cat dies. I've noticed a few shelter cats end up there when their owners go to nursing homes and such. I would hate to be in that situation. I've had so many old cats with major health problems lately that I was thinking it would be nice to get a youngish adult cat so I would hopefully have years of good health but now I'm having second thoughts about getting a cat that's too young. I'm probably over thinking this situation.

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I think about that sometimes. If my husband is still alive, he will probably nix getting another cat when our present two die, but if I should be left alone, it would be hard to resist getting another one. Life just seems more delightful with a cat in it.

However, being in my early 70's, yes, I do think about whether or not I could be there for that cat for the whole of its life. While I would hate for any cat of mine to be left in a shelter, the cat would still be better off than if it had been euthanized because no one (i.e., me) adopted it to begin with. At least it would have lived and enjoyed its life as long as I could be around to see to it.
Am I really just rationalizing so as to do what I want? Is this selfish of me? Maybe.

Still, we also have to take into consideration the fact that no one knows his/her own future or how long life will be, and that goes for our pets, too.

Getting a cat that is already a few years old--that might be a good compromise.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2010 at 1:54AM
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I understand your hesitation but I agree - don't let that stop you from adopting. My recommendation would be to arrange for someone who will take your pet should you pass away. For example, my mother will never willingly be without a dog (preferably two) but she knows that if she and my father pass away, the dogs will have a home with me.

Also, none of us know our future. Anything could happen. For that reason, my husband and I specify in our wills what will happen to our dogs (they go to trusted friends).

I think that regardless of one's age, a pet owner should give thought to what will happen to the pet in the event of owner's death.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2010 at 10:06AM
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My mother was in her late seventies when she adopted her last dog. It was a very young bishon mix, just coming out of puppy-hood. The shelter folks tried to coerce her into getting a very senior, toothless chihuahua. LOL. That's the last thing she needed in her senior years, coping with an ancient, disabled dog who was set in her ways. Fine if she wanted to, but expensive and troublesome if she didn't. I signed to take the dog if anything happened to my recently widowed Mama.

It was a match made in heaven and I thank the Lord every day she had such a perfect pet for companionship in her last years. BTW, my Mama lived until her early nineties, and by that time the little dog was quite old herself and only survived my mother by a few months, even with the best of care and there were several people who wanted it. It was my mother's ears when she went deaf and her constant lap buddy.

OTOH.........my SIL's brother got a puppy when he was about 25 and died at the age of 27 in a plane wreck. So, nothing is guaranteed.

I am in my early sixties, and of course I think about things like what if I don't live long enough to .......(fill in blanks). Everyone who is a pet-owner should have plans for the disposition of any animals in their care, regardless of their age and they should make no presumptions that the people whom they think will watch their pets really want them. I have seen several dogs be turned over to dog pounds or euthanised from that kind of thinking.

Elderly people make wonderful pet owners, because they have the time to invest in a pet's care. Like any pet owner however, they need to be careful to select breeds they can handle, and know they have the funds to care for their charges. But it is a win/win situation if done properly.

No, Biwako, I don't think you are rationalising. My own dear vet essentially said the same thing when I took in a feral cat who ended up having a serious health problem. He just said think of this animal's alternative if you hadn't given it a home. (btw she ended up living nine more years)

    Bookmark   November 2, 2010 at 11:56AM
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spedigrees z4VT

At 60 years of age, with two old dogs, an old pony, and an old cat, this issue looms large on my mind. It will definitely affect the animals that we will adopt to replace our current collection. We've decided that our life expectancies can accommodate one more puppy (a cavalier King Charles spaniel) and also perhaps a middle aged or senior sheltie mix (who would not be replaced when he/she is gone.) Another pony is out of the question, and another cat is iffy but if we do decide to adopt another kitty we will look for a senior cat at least 10 and preferably 15 years so that it will not be as long-term a commitment.

This downsizing will eventually leave us with only a single small spaniel in our mid to late seventies. When this dog leaves us we might adopt a senior doggie from a rescue with a good track record of taking in their former adoptees and rehoming them, should we become incapacitated.

Anyways that's my plan. The prospect of downsizing is depressing, but necessary. The cost of veterinary care has skyrocketted in recent years, and we're not getting any richer.. or any younger.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2010 at 3:24PM
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Well, those are all good perspectives I will keep in mind. I usually get adult cats that are at least a few years old but since I can't find the perfect adult siamese cat I've been thinking about a younger one - less than a year old. I really do like the older guys though.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2010 at 6:25PM
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Have you looked at SiameseRescue.com? They are in multiple locations across the US and have lots of teenage cats who need homes. Flexible on your location and transport could be worked out.

Kitties live into their 20s, so I knew when I adopted my last cat (3 yo) in 2000 that I would not be adopting again for the very reasons you mention.

Here is a link that might be useful: Siamese Rescue

    Bookmark   November 3, 2010 at 6:43PM
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Have you tried posting on the purebred cat rescue message board? Craigslist in MN has some but most are mixes or a different color than you were looking for.

Here is a link that might be useful: Purebred cat rescue

    Bookmark   November 3, 2010 at 7:21PM
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I've read about places/organizations set up specifically to care for pets when an owner passes. Don't remember what they were called but it was the type of thing where you essentially pay for their care by leaving the organization $ in your will. I'm going to have to google it and see if I can find that article.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2010 at 9:17PM
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