Shadow is our most senior kitty at Safe House, earning him the prestigious title of Eldercat. He is twenty years old, and some of you may recall that he came to us this summer when we worked a hoarding case. Shadow was living outside in bushes, as he could no longer jump up onto the nearby porch to get into shelter or eat with other resident cats.
At some point, Shadow had a family who neutered and declawed him. How he ended up in the bushes at a mentally ill person’s home is a mystery. How he survived outside in the bushes for so long, is also a wonder.
Shadow has lots of the problems you might expect for an Eldercat. He is deaf. He is in advanced renal failure. He can see, but not so well. He has a neuropathy that causes him to walk on his forelimbs instead of his paws. And sometimes he can only make it half way to the litter box before he’s just gotta go.
Shadow spends a lot of time napping and is a fan of cushy beds. He is a lover of laps and will start making biscuits as soon as he even suspects he is going to be picked up. He eats with gusto and will holler and holler (not being able to hear himself) to remind you that it’s time for his canned food. His time left on earth is clearly limited, but we think it’s a pretty good life for an Eldercat.
Shadow lives in hospice foster with an extra-special Safe House foster parent who enjoys tough cases. Shadow shares his home with another special needs foster cat, a pug, children to stroke his long black fur, and his foster mom who dotes on him. Shadow will stay in this home for all of his remaining time until the day comes when he leaves this earth, and we’ll ensure he does so with dignity. We hope that day is far, far away.
Caring for special needs animals and those who will remain with us for the rest of their life, like Shadow, is something we do for many Safe House critters. Because this is normal day-to-day business for us, however, we often forget to tell you their stories and focus on the new arrivals or the day’s adoptions. But wonderful, beautiful pets like Shadow the Eldercat are always behind the scenes too.
Caring for these special needs animals isn’t easy emotionally, or even logistically. It takes a very special person to foster a hospice pet, someone to knowingly open their home and heart to an animal they know will die soon. It takes a large financial commitment to tend to their unique medical, nutritional, and comfort needs. But animals like Shadow are why we named our organization Safe House. Because it’s safe whether you are a highly adoptable purebred puppy, or a 20 year old cat in renal failure, like Shadow. Or an 8 year old cat with terminal jaw cancer, like Seymour. Or an emotionally broken, former breeding chihuahua who can’t be potty-trained, like Bambi. We even have a hospice rooster.
We’re able to help these special animals only with your support. We recently set up a pet sponsorship program that allows you to give monthly at varying levels, including a Senior Pet option for animals like Shadow. Please consider sponsoring a pet this holiday season. These small monthly gifts are what allow us to provide care, peace, and dignity to the many special needs animals who are always with us behind the scenes.
Happy Holidays from Shadow the Eldercat, and all of the Safe House critters.