4 Tips to Keep Your Senior Pet Healthy

by: Valerie Lee Veltre
Three time National award winning author of Moo Kitty Finds a Home

Since November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month, it’s timely to consider your senior pet’s health needs. Here are some tips to help you do that!

1. Regular Wellness Checks

Make sure your senior pet has regular visits with your veterinarian. Thorough physical exams by your veterinarian may identify potential health issues before they become serious.

2. Know Your Pet & Act on Behavior Changes

Watch your senior pet’s behavior carefully. This is important for all pets but doubly so for senior dogs and cats. Changes in your pet’s behavior may be a symptom of disease.

Look for changes in your pet’s appetite and water consumption, and bathroom habits.

If your sweetheart suddenly turns grumpy and irritable, this could be a sign that she is in pain or experiencing sight or hearing deterioration. Changes such as these in you pet’s routines and behaviors should prompt a trip to your vet for a check up.

3. Choose an Age-Appropriate Diet

Just as with people, dietary requirements change with age. It’s important that you provide your senior pet food that is age appropriate. Some older pets tend to gain weight and may need a diet for less active dogs or cats. Others may have the opposite problem of keeping weight on and may need a diet with a higher calorie content or better palatability. Your veterinarian can help you choose an appropriate diet for your senior pet based on your pet’s individual nutritional requirements.

4. Play!

Even in their older years, pets require exercise and mental stimulation that playtime offers. Buy toys and healthy treats, and offer at least 15 minutes a day of playtime to pet. Play lets your pet interact and bond with you and keeps him young at heart!


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Love is Ageless…

by: Valerie Lee Veltre
Three time National award winning author of Moo Kitty Finds a Home

In most countries, society reveres and cherishes its elders. Here in America, elderly means you are no longer relevant.

Popular culture loves youth and all things shiny and new. Being young, or at least the illusion of youth is associated with being attractive, healthy, fun…somehow superior. Old equals undesirable, weak, broken…even disabled.

As a whole, we are still a throw away society. Your knick-knack lose its luster? Throw it out. There is something better out there—unless, of course, it’s worth a mint on the Antiques Roadshow. You can sell it to buy more stuff. This attitude permeates how we value our environment, our families, and even our pets.

What happens when an elderly animal no longer has a home? More than likely she will end up in a shelter. Why? She might be greying, arthritic, blind or toothless. She might be a little threadbare. She probably needs some TLC. She won’t be as pretty as the kitten two cubbies over.

She’s old, so why would you want her? You should want her because she is old. She has spent her life being the companion of someone who loved her. She gave happiness, comfort, joy and love. She had an important job. She was better at it than a lot of humans. She was loyal and noble and honest. And because of that she is relevant.

The elderly animal has some years left, and still wants that job. She will teach you that with the passing of time, age does indeed come, but so do enrichment and value and usefulness. She deserves that recognition from you. All of our elders do, regardless of how many legs they may have.

Next time you find yourself looking into the eyes of a real live “velveteen rabbit” in need of a home, consider bringing her home with you.



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5 Things to Discuss Before Going to the Shelter

By: Valerie Lee Veltre

So you have decided to adopt an adult cat (or dog)…

That’s wonderful!

If you have children, now is the time for a family meeting. There are several important issues that need to be addressed in regards to your household and family lifestyle that will help your young child(ren) begin to understand some of life’s lessons through the adoption of an adult animal.

Your children’s wants vs. needs.
Most parents have experienced a cherubic little person insisting there’s no problem keeping a pony in the garage. It’s hard to say “no,” but you will have to explain that sometimes you have to make a second, realistic choice, like a cat that can actually live in the house. An adult kitty will be able to sit on a lap and snuggle and follow the family around the house, doing cute cat stuff.

Financial capabilities.
You need to be honest with yourself and your family about what you can afford. You may have to explain that just because Little Sally next door got an $800 special breed kitten or puppy for her birthday, it doesn’t mean you are ready to whip out your checkbook. Paying for a pet is just the beginning. You will be in for the long haul, i.e. early life vet care, food, supplies, yearly preventative vet visits. It is also important to plan for the what if: what if kitty (or fido) have health problems down the line. Sometimes special breeds that have been irresponsibly bred by some breeders (not all breeders!) have lifetime health problems. If you and your kids are set on a specific breed, look into rescue groups for that breed. You will be able to adopt an adult animal that needs a home, foregoing the large price tag, and early start-up vet care.

These days it seems like families are scheduled up to their eyeballs with activities. It’s go-go-go from sun up to sun down. If your life is like this, you will need to talk to your children about the advantages of adopting an adult cat. The family as a whole will have little or no time to devote to a kitten. Babies need a lot of attention, and it is wrong and entirely unacceptable to adopt a kitten and then rush off to soccer practice. Of course, an adult animal will need to be cared for as well, and not ignored, but it will not need as much attention for training as a kitten will surely need. You must stress that any pet you adopt, requires love, care, and attention and is not an object like a video game.

Loving thy elders.
In our society, youth is valued over age. Our media is saturated with images and rhetoric about how young, pretty, and new is better. You can make choices for your child(ren) about what media he is exposed to, but you will have a harder time managing that in his day to day life away from you. What you can do is impress upon him the value of an adult animal, and how this parallels the value of our elders, and how they enrich our lives. Adopting an adult kitten is rewarding to the animal and the child.

Doing good for others.
Sure that super cute kitten on the shelter website is adorable. But what about the cat that is listed as a long time resident still looking for a home? She sure would like a home and a family to love. Teach your child(ren) that he can begin a lifetime of helping others by a simple act of kindness to someone or something in need. Bringing home an adult cat that has ended up in a shelter due to no fault of her own will give your child and entire family a sense of purpose and satisfaction.

Remember, you are responsible for instilling good morals and a sense of responsibility in your child(ren). You may wonder why a pet may have anything to do with this, but adding a pet to your family is a very important and serious step. A pet teaches children how to care for another being, and how to love unconditionally. Adopting an adult cat further teaches that all age groups have value, and deserve a loving home.

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10 Benefits of Adopting Adult Cats!

Original post – May 30, 2012 by Valerie Lee Veltre

Ahhh, the month of June. School’s out, the pool is open, and the barbeque is cookin’. Will Smith’s Summertime is on the radio and the kids are chasing lightning bugs. There’s Flag Day, Father’s Day and the Summer Solstice to celebrate, not to mention many more that most people don’t even know about.

How ‘bout Banana Split Day or Corn on the cob Day? Wash those down with Iced Tea Day. There’s Barefoot day, or if you prefer, Flip-flop day. Either or will work for World Sauntering day. My personal favorite is Leave Work Early Day.

If you are in the mood for a month long observance, you can opt for Perennial Gardening Month, National Smile Month or World Naked Bike Ride Month. (Oh My!) June is also Adopt a Shelter Cat Month.

Which frankly, makes more sense than National Accordion Awareness Month. Do you know that in late spring and early summer, shelters are bombarded with cats and kittens. Especially kittens. Last I checked there’s not a population explosion of accordions in the spring. Probably not ever. Adopt a Shelter Cat Month raises awareness of the struggle to accommodate and provide for the homeless. I believe it is a very important and valuable message. If you have room in your house and heart, you can make space for the incoming and continual wave of whiskers. Many shelters run specials: reduced adoption fee, BOGO’s, even often wave all fees. When you go to your local shelter, before you inspect the kittens, visit the grown-up kittens. They need homes too, and are often a better choice for many households. There’s many reasons why, and here’s ten for starters.

  1. Won’t be as time consuming as a kitten. (Babies are a lot of work!)
  2. Will already be socialized and mannered. He will know salad fork tines versus dinner fork tines.
  3. Have already gone through his “growing pains” i.e. no longer shredding curtains and knocking Grandma’s urn off of the mantle.
  4. Will be litter trained. He won’t mistake the oriental for the restroom.
  5. Be sedate. Most likely rather sleep than attack your feet at 3am.
  6. An adult cat will have already been fixed (no hormonal teenage angst).
  7. Be vaccinated. (you can buy an Accordion with the money you save).
  8. You won’t feel as guilty leaving him alone…especially if you get a BOGO.
  9. Fully formed personality. I am what I am. No need for a personality test.

10.  He’ll be grateful. “You like me! You really like me!”

No kitty, we really love you!

So please take time out from celebrating International Clothesline Week and Watermelon Seed Spitting Week and saunter on down to your local shelter. Find a new friend to spend June with, not to mention all the other months for many, many Strawberry moons.

Valerie Lee Veltre
Author of Moo Kitty Finds a Home


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