8 Things Cats Teach Us About Aging Gracefully

Next Avenue, an inspirational website for people over 50, has published a heartwarming essay by contributor Christine Schoenwald, a California cat lover whose sassy senior, Yoshi, has taught her some invaluable life lessons! Naturally, these aren’t nuggets of wisdom the cat actually articulated, per se, but rather non-verbal cues Schoenwald has gleaned upon watching her feline, who she adopted as a kitten 17 years ago, gracefully age.

“I know that Yoshi’s time here on earth is limited, but I’m grateful for the things he continues to teach me every day and for the love he shows me,” writes Schoenwald of the countless ways her elderly pet inspires her every day. Read on for 8 life lessons Schoenwald has learned from her very wise senior feline, Yoshi!

8. Be Honest

Playful and spry as they were as kittens, senior cats – just like humans — start to slow down in later years. Suddenly the cat who loved to jump on the furniture might not feel so spry; kittens who loved to play will grow into seniors more interested in snuggles. Likewise, humans should be similarly honest about their limitations. Don’t avoid a challenge, but also keep your physical expectations in check.

7. Prioritize Playtime

Both felines and humans slowdown in old age, but it’s still important to keep the blood flowing. For older cats, this could mean light play, while humans could undertake some low-impact activity like walking or gardening. Yoshi, for one, seems more energetic after playing with younger felines.

6. Don’t Forget About Goals

Getting older doesn’t prevent you from trying something new and, once again, our wise felines’ set a great example. They may be resigned to getting older, but they haven’t given up completely. Have you ever met a senior cat who fails to track birds and butterflies outside the window?

5. Love and Be Loved

We shower our pets with affection because we don’t want to see them to suffer. Similarly, make sure to accept and ask for help when you need it.

4. Be Alert

Unfortunately, older cats have more medical issues than their younger counterparts, so it’s important to be vigilant. If your senior feline is exhibiting any changes in health or behavior, take them to the vet right away.

3. Don’t forget to stretch

Studies show that regular stretching offers significant benefits to seniors, both in terms of improved flexibility and overall body pain. Obviously, this is a lesson cats learned long ago!

2. It’s All About Love

Any cat owner knows that felines can be demanding about love and affection, even if said cuddling always takes place on their terms. Regardless, human could take a page from their playbook by making time to love and be loved in returned.

1. Make Time For Yourself

Cats are always cool, relaxed, and endlessly entertained by simple pleasures. Humans could borrow a page from their playbook. Why pay big bucks for an expensive massage or a spa day when a relaxing walk, nap or beautiful sunset do the same trick? “You don’t have to win a million dollars or go skydiving to enjoy the little things in life, Schoenwald writes. “Sometimes the perfect cup of tea or a gorgeous sky can make your day.”

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J. Swanson is a writer, traveler, and animal-enthusiast based in Seattle, an appropriately pet-crazed city where dog or cat ownership even outweighs the number of kids. When the weather permits, she likes to get outside and explore the rest of the Pacific Northwest, always with a coffee in hand.
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