Senior Cats and La Dolce Vita

Ciao Bella! I wish you all a happy hello.

I am Grappa, a 21-year old feline with catitude who was homeless until I was 12 years old. I lived in Italia foraging in barns and garbage to stay alive and feed my many litters of kittens that came along every few months. When my last bambino was about three months old, I was so hungry and oh so tired. I did not think I could go on. Then, I heard a woman speaking words that I did not understand. Although I am not a vocal girl, I tried to talk to her and …. she fed me. Oh glory!!! She fed me twice a day for a week. I started to feel better and to wonder if I could trust the woman with my little gatto. I took a leap and brought him to her …. and…. the Canadese, she adopted us!

“With my little Gatto a month or so after the Canadese adopted us – I was all ears!”

We were no longer hungry. We were warm and dry. I visited a doctor. No more bambinos! At the same time, the doctor removed a pellet from my leg. I still remember the joy of being almost pain free. There is still a pellet in my stomach but it does not hurt. Finally my life was good but, then, my ears started to bleed and would not heal.

“Happy and healthy in Italia – notice ear tip on the left – the beginnings of cancer”

We made another trip to the doctor, who removed part of my ears to stop a cancer from spreading. At the same time, he extracted all but one of my teeth. That was it, enough surgery for me! After one more trip to the doctor for vaccinations, I received a European Community passport and could travel to Canada with the Canadese.

“After my first ear surgery – I do look like a bit of a bowling pin in this photo.”

My little gatto and I moved to Canada when I was 15 years old and we settled into la dolce vita. Today, I am a happy and healthy indoor gatto who lives with kidney disease and laps up every small luxury.

For those of you who love a senior gatto, I thought I would share the small touches that I love and that will help to keep your beloved cat more comfortable.

Warmth! I do love warmth! I will cuddle in bed, love to bask in the sole, and especially love my personal heating pad that is on 24 hours a day. Even on the hottest days, I still like the added warmth that the heating pad provides beneath my fleece blanket. It is so nice to stretch out on that blanket in the sun and warm my old bones!

“I so love being snuggly and warm ….and getting breakfast in bed.”

My taste buds are not as good as they once were and I can be fussy. I like room service and prefer to eat small bits at a time, four times a day, sometimes warmed and with lots of variety. I will eat a little and then rest. At these times, after 10 minutes or so, if my food is stirred, I will eat more. I like to be fed the last bits by hand – that personal attention is just oh so wonderful! And treats! Oh my, how I love treats! I know they are not the best for me, but at my age I am all about quality of life and I am addicted to my piccolo treats. They are divine and help to maintain my weight when I might not otherwise get enough calories every day.

Because I live with kidney disease, I like lots of fresh water. There are bowls of aqua throughout the house; however, this is not enough. About three years ago, we started sub-cutaneous fluids twice a week. At first, I hated it but soon realized that I feel better and stopped complaining. The fluid bag, however, must be warmed (like a baby’s bottle) so that the fluid does not chill me. When I was 19 that terrible cancer returned and I had to have another surgery to remove the rest of my ears. I was high risk because of my age and kidney problems, but the fluids really helped. My ears healed well and I have to say, I like my Bridget Bardot look.

I am an aficionado when it comes to little touches that make my life better: A small set of steps makes it easier to get into bed, just as a little stool helps me to get into my favorite chair. During a Maritime spring on those damp days when Mom might put on a sweater, I love to stretch out beside the fireplace or the radiator. Of course, this is with my heating pad. Gentle chin rubs, warm snuggles, a litter box on every floor, low rise beds and blankets about the house, a Spay Day kick stick stuffed with cat nip to receive my head, Restoralax twice a day …. all make my days extra purrrrfect.

Finally, I love my sleep! I nap after breakfast and then there is reposa after lunch. Soon after supper, there is another nap and, then, it is time for bed. Although I might appear to be in a deep sleep, I love to keep my mom close and to hear her voice whenever she speaks to me. It reminds me that I am safe and loved. La vita è bella!

Grappa belongs to Tuxedo Party member Marie Leloup.

Published by Hugh Chisholm

I'm a retired veterinarian with a passion for outdoor photography. And cats.

11 thoughts on “Senior Cats and La Dolce Vita

  1. Hello beautiful Grappa. You and your boy are very lucky to have such an excellent mama. I know you’ll live the rest of your days in luxury. 💕


  2. She is a precious baby. We all do what we have to to ensure they are loved and receive all the good things they deserve, especially later in life. Nothing is too great for our elder babies.


  3. A beautifully written story. I love the Italian flourishes.
    My previous cat, Feidlim, lived to almost 18 with congestive heart disease all his life. His first vet told me he wouldn’t make it to 2 years old.
    In his last years, he so loved the warmth of sunlight through the window, and all those little treats that made his life worthwhile at that age.
    I hope Grappa makes it to 30!


  4. That was a lovely story of a senior cat with her last kitten finding a new loving home to spend her final years in comfort. Thank you.


  5. Marie I knew bits of Grappa’s story but not to this extent. She and her baby are very lucky to have met you. girl to have met you.

    My ex found an abandoned kitten in Spain. She lived with him there then traveled all the way to NZ (along with all the quarantines etc). Lived there for several years then ended up in the UK where she finally passed away. It isn’t easy to get a cat out of one country into another. I know the hoops you must have jumped through Marie.


  6. What a lovely story of Grappa and her baby, very touching. All 3 of your babies are so lucky that you found them, they are loved very much!


  7. She definitely won the kitty lotto when she met Marie. Such a lovely story of love between a fur baby and her mom.


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