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mowens's avatar

17 year old kitty... drama?

Asked by mowens (8285 points ) January 5th, 2014

I’m 30 years old. I have had my little buddy for 17 years, and he is still kicking, and kicking strongly. I would like to keep him another 17.  His name is Darius. When I had him in to the new vet last time, they were shocked he was 17, and would have guessed he was 7 or so.

That being said, he freaks out if I try to move him anywhere. He goes nuts! When I moved to this apartment, he screamed the whole way over, and when we got here he ran and hid behind the toilet for about 24 hours. I felt so bad for him. 

My work schedule, as of now has me working 3, 15 hour days, and then I am off for 4. My office is about a 30 minute drive from my house.

The stage is now set.

On days I work, I usually drive home after work, clean his litter box, make sure he is fed, and pet him for a while. Then, I drive up to my boyfriend’s house, where I usually go right to bed. I do this, because it is a stone’s throw away from my office. On days I don’t work I spend pretty much the entire day at home.

My boyfriend also loves cats. He has 2. An older female cat named Charlie, and a younger kitten < 1 year old named Bastian.

Darius` brother, Meegz, died about 2 years ago. They were always cuddled up next to each other. Ever since he died, Darius screams, out of what I would think is loneliness. He does this whenever I am not in the bedroom. (His chosen turf) If I am not in the bedroom, he will bellow around the house until he finds me, and then leads me back to the bedroom so I can pet him there. This is the cutest thing in the world… however I feel bad for the guy because I can’t spend my entire life in my bed petting him.
So I was considering taking him up to my boyfriend’s house on nights that I work, so that my boyfriend, Jeremy can take care of them while I am working. Darius will also get to socialize with the other cats.
Here are my problems:
Will the travel stress him out too much? More than being lonely?
The little cat, Bastian, is a hellion. He chases Charlie around all the time… when all she wants is to be left alone, which is what Darius would want. Also, Darius has never seen another cat aside from his brother. Not sure how that would go over. I just want him to have the best life that I can give him.

My schedule is only temporary… should only last 6 more months.

What are your thoughts?

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8 Answers

ibstubro's avatar

I think you’re increasing Darius’ anxiety considerably by sleeping at your boyfriend’s house. Were if me, I’d just sleep at home after I’d fed/cuddled him.

I’d be hesitant to introduce him to a new household, particularly one that has established cats. I’d sooner spend more time and home and try to introduce a new cat to his territory, need be.

wildpotato's avatar

On NPR recently I heard an interview (I think this one) with a cat guy who said that cats do not get along with one another about ⅔ of the time, and the other ⅓ they happen to be compatible. In a “wild” setting they would be able to just leave the group and find another, but this mixing up can’t happen nearly as easily in captivity – so non-compatible cats often end up being forced together, to the detriment of one or both.

Years ago I attempted to get my elderly kitty a new companion after her buddy left us. The new kitten and her just didn’t click – she would sun herself blissfully and he would sneak up and pounce, and she has never forgiven him even after he grew into an easygoing and mature cat who now tries repeatedly to be nice to her.

So my thoughts are, don’t mix them – especially because of his aversion to travel.

VS's avatar

My thought is if you want to introduce Darius to another feline, it should be on HIS turf, not on that of the other feline. Cats and dogs are very territorial and I think his stress level would elevate dramatically if you were to take him to your boyfriend’s house where there are already alpha cats, as it were. Short of staying home to babysit Darius, this might be a first test step to see how stressful being around animal may be for him. Good luck. And did I forget to mention I think you’re very fortunate to still have such a healthy cat at 17!

Smitha's avatar

Cats are territorial predators and changing their territory can be very upsetting to them. Some cats can handle it, but the older ones take it harder and get quite stressed.

glacial's avatar

In my experience, increasing the stress for an aged cat leads to a rapid decline. That being said, we are not always in control of our life circumstances, and you can’t put your life on hold for the rest of Darius’ life. So, make the best choices you can for him, within your available options. If you are keeping your apartment anyway, it’s better if he stays in it, even if he’s alone. Of the options you have, from his point of view I think that:

Best: you spend all your time with him at your apartment
Next best: you leave him at your apartment, and your boyfriend comes to your house.
Next next best: You leave him at your apartment, and spend a lot of time away.
Worst: you move Darius to your boyfriend’s place.

Realize that “getting to socialize with other cats” is not a plus from Darius’s point of view. At his age, it will probably freak him out pretty badly.

augustlan's avatar

It’s very sweet that you want to give your kitty the best possible life. Unfortunately, I don’t think having him travel back and forth between ‘his’ home and your boyfriend’s home is the best choice. Maybe you could just spend two nights at your boyfriend’s, and one more at home with Darius.

Jonesn4burgers's avatar

Animals often know when the end is near. It could be he knows he doesn’t have long, and wants more time with you before he goes.

mowens's avatar

@Jonesn4burgers I would agree with that, if he wasn’t like that since he was a kitten. :) He has always demanded I spend time with him on the bed. I hope he’s not saying that! :(

@augustlan I try to work from home whenever I am allowed, so most weeks I work one day from home, sometimes two. I think it is the best choice too, I just feel bad coming home just a few minutes to pet him. But on the 4 days I am off, he is the most spoiled little kitty on the planet. He just looks so sad when I go off to work, I feel bad!

@VS Thanks! As I said, he’s spoiled… he gets all of the attentions. :)

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