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8 Things Your Elderly Pet Can Teach You About Retirement

Category: Family and Retirement

November 13, 2018 — Having an elderly pet can be a challenge; in some ways it is similar to caring for an older family member. But looking on the bright side, there are any number of lessons that Felix or Fido can offer to improve the enjoyment of your retirement. We’ll explore some of these here.

– Stretching is a good thing. Cats, and to some extent dogs too, naturally stop and stretch to get the kinks out – and so should we. Daily stretching is one of the best things you can do to avoid injuries as well as preventing that “old man” look you see from people who can’t sit, stand, or walk without creaking. It really works, so consider going to a class or hiring a trainer to learn how to do it properly.


– Check out what’s going on around you. Dogs seem to make up for their declining sight and hearing by emphasizing their unbelievable sense of smell. They need to check out everything. Cats do the same thing. Old people get lost in their own little worlds, and that robs them with connections to what is going on around them. Stay alert to your environment – people, animals, and sights – and you will stay young!

– Drink lots of water. Pets that become diabetic do it even more, but even healthy ones realize they need plenty of fresh water to keep their systems healthy. You don’t want kidney stones or bladder infections that can come from neglecting regular hydration.

– Give affection and you will get it back. Just like pets, we all thrive on affection and a healthy touch. Show the people around you that you care about them, and chances are you will get rewarded with love and affection back.

Yoda relaxing

– There’s nothing wrong with a timely nap. If you are tired, take a quick nap. We know it works for us, it’s a quick way to get back on track.

– Leave dangerous jobs to someone else. So what if you can’t jump up on the counter anymore. The human counterpart is staying off roofs and ladders, which is a pretty good way to get hurt. Ask someone for help instead of you climbing ladders or lifting heavy boxes.

– Know your limitations. Older pets seem to realize they can’t do the things they used to do. So don’t embark on a vigorous exercise program or a strenuous physical task all gung-ho. Start smart, and don’t try to keep up with someone younger or fitter just because you can’t admit you aren’t in the shape you used to be. Do exercise, but be smart about it.

– Savor the small moments. This might be the most important thing your pet can teach you. The wag of a tail when he sees you, the nudge on the couch that it is time to be petted, the micro-burst of energy to chase a phantom – all of these are priceless moments to be savored. Appreciate them when they come from your pet, and look for them in the world and people around you. Life will be richer, for sure!

Comments? Have you learned something valuable from your aging pet that you can apply to your own life. Please share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

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Posted by Admin on November 12th, 2018


  1. Hope our Members find this article useful. Your Editor and his wife lost their 2 wonderful pets this summer so we are still recovering from that. They certainly gave us some wonderful memories, and thinking about it, valuable lessons as well.

    by Admin — November 14, 2018

  2. We apologize but a systems upgrade to this Blog seems to be blocking people from making Comments – giving you a message you need Javascript enabled. If you would like to comment and it doesnt go through, copy it before you submit and send to Hope to fix this soon.

    by Admin — November 14, 2018

  3. This is great I’m going to take it to my doctor next week I think he will agree with all of it. Stretching feels so good and he keeps telling me how important it is to keep drinking water all day long. Coincidently just the other night the ambulance was at my neighbors who lives alone and she told me she had a house guest visiting who fell during the night, her dog woke her up to tell her, so animals are aware of their surrounding for sure!

    by Darla — November 16, 2018

  4. So sorry about the loss of your pets. I can’t imagine losing two in such a short time span. My oldest dog is 19 and the youngest 11. What a joy they are!

    by Debra — November 17, 2018

  5. So sorry about your loss of your beloved pets. We also lost our magnificent 13 year old Westie this fall, and I’ve never had a better friend (sorry, humans.) She was always up for an adventure, snuggle, or late-night snack, seemed to understand everything expected of her behavior-wise, spent no time on her iPhone, and I never caught her talking behind my back. She taught us to seize the day and love the one you’re with.

    by Daryl — November 17, 2018

  6. Our Westie is 15 years old, going blind and deaf. Have never owned a puppy this long and we cherish every day with her.

    by Futura — November 17, 2018

  7. Just want to chime in for cat lovers. I’ve had a very stressful year with my husband being in ill health. I don’t know if I would have made it without my cat Missy. Her original parents were going to give up the feisty 14 year old to the Humane Society a year and a half ago when moving to a new home that allowed only one pet. They elected to keep their dog and their kitty had to go. I found out the night before they were set to do it and sail Hell no! I’ll take her. She was a handful at first but has turned into the sweetest loving cat ever. Nothing calms me more than having her curl up beside me. Her soothing purr puts me to sleep ever night. She soothes my soul!

    by Laura — November 17, 2018

  8. I too have a cat and he is the last of three that I have adopted at about two to five years of age. Each one was endearing in their own way. They never knocked things off of my furniture, jumped on the counters (must have known I would not like that) and were the best companions I could have had. Aslan, my current cat took the loss of one of my other cats as hard as I did and mourned for nearly one year. He loves to sit on my lap and curls up beside me when I sleep. He is such a dear at nearly 15 years of age. All of my cats have been strictly inside cats, and after ten years of age I do not vaccinate. He is also on a good diet of grain free wet and dry food. I cherish him so much. He is an orange and white medium haired tuxedo cat. I love coming home to find him waiting for me usually near the door or on the bed.

    by Jennifer — November 18, 2018

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