Service Kitties

about a month ago, my parents went thru a big change in their lives.  they wound up being permanently relocated to a nursing facility because both their health situations had deteriorated to the point where my family trying to keeping them in their home was not a viable option.  their needs were too great, and in the small town they live in, there was no nursing service that could provide them with the care they needed.

it was a harsh change, that really hit home with me when i went over shortly after their move, to visit them and pick up my mom’s cat Tony, who now lives with me (a post on him later).  being in my parents’ house-that was like a second home to me-and seeing all of their posessions and the little signs of what had been their daily rituals broke my heart.  i knew that this house and what had been their life in it with Tony had come to an end.  the thought that in future months we were going to have to start going thru everything and “downsizing” my parents almost felt disrespectful.  but my father had taken a reverse mortgage out on their home, and once it’s been vacated for 6 months, it reverts back to the bank.  there was nothing we could do to stop that.  (this big change for them still chokes me up).

one of the things that always gave my mom comfort, was her kitty, and of all the things that she would grab first while fleeing a fire, Tony was it.  i knew it broke her heart to have to leave him, and it broke my heart to have to take him, but i was determined not to have her 15 yr old kitty wind up in a rescue of some kind.  it wouldn’t be fair to him, and taking him in seemed the least i could for my mom.

the good news about the facility that they are now in, is that they have two kitties on staff!  🙂  this definitely seems to help my mom’s spirits and keep the lonelyness caused by her kitty missing in her daily routine, at bay.

i got to meet these two service kitties, as I call them, when i visited my parents shortly after their move.  these two kitties are brother and sister.  the thing that got me the most, is their tremendous cuddling and nurturing talents.

my mom had been at the facility about a week, and Stormy had taken up residence in her room for most of his days; sleeping with her on a regular basis-both thru the night and naps too!  my father, who had just arrived and at that time was at the other end of the facility in a seperate room (my parents now have a room together), was sharing his sleeping arrangements, with Stormy’s sister Pickles.    even tho he would deny it, my father is a cat lover and does enjoy their company.

pickles curled up on the foot on my father's bed

upon arriving at the home, we first went to my mom’s room who was napping with Stormy curled up at her feet.  she woke up shortly after our arrival, and introduced us to Stormy.  What a sweet little guy!  the markings on his face were unique and Stormy made it quite clear that he loved cuddling and affection.  he eventually made himself comfortable lying down half on me and half on the blanket bunched at the end of the bed after my mom woke up.  his motor was in full throttle!

Stormy. what a sweet little guy!

eventually my sister and i made our way down to our father’s room, only to find him also resting.  Pickles, who we later found out was Stormy’s sister, greeted us on our way.  my sister and I observed and commented on how Pickles and Stormy’s funny little builds were so similar, and what were the chances of two kitties being so alike and not related?  of course we later found out that they were sister and brother by one of the staff.  the one main difference between Stormy and Pickles (other than their sexes and one was a torbie and the other a ginger patch tabby lol) were Pickles big golden eyes.  unfortunately, at the time i took her picture, she wasn’t willing to accomodate me by opening them so that i could show them to the blogosphere at a later date!  lol

while my mom is no longer able to share her days with Tony, she is able to share them with these two kitties, and it has helped to tremendously dull the ache of her loneliness for him.  for this, i am truly greatful!  when i call, she talks about these kitties, and playing with them.  some of tony’s toys were left behind and taken to the nursing facility for her to play with Stormy and Pickles.  ironically, they respond better to the play activity than Tony ever did.  one more thing I am truly greatful for.

my siblings and i have even discussed requesting that the facility kitties bowls and other such necessities be moved to my parents room, due to the therapeutic benefits these two have with my parents.  i haven’t heard whether that has occurred.  i will have to check with my sisters.

sweet stormy boy! me and my sis thought he should be called sunny tho and not stormy with such an awesome disposition of his!

it never ceases to amaze me how as a race, we continually manage to under appreciate, the magnitude of unconditional love  our fellow creatures give us and the service that they truly provide us in so many ways.  these two kitties keep my mom’s chin up, give her company and entertainment on a daily basis without expecting much in return, and it goes without saying that they provide comfort to my father as well.

and one last thing, there are a number of vets who served our country residing in this nursing facility, and i hear that both Pickles and her brother Stormy make daily rounds to many of these american heros as well as to the other residents!  they also have an innate ability to sense new arrivals, and make extra time for the newbies, greeting them and giving them special attention.

i am so tremendously greatful for all these little kitties do!  bless them!

33 thoughts on “Service Kitties

  1. What a beautiful and touching story. I am so happy that your parents have a kitty in their life. I’m eager to read about Tony and how he is doing. Please continue to write. Mary (Fatboy Babushka’s Mommy)

  2. I am sorry for what happened, parents getting older is never a easy thing to accept. I am glad they found friends in those beautiful kitties though 🙂

  3. Thank you for sharing your parents’ story. Hope Tony settles in well. I remember how difficult it was to clear out my parents’ house. Will send good thoughts your way.

    • TY Renee!!! It’s getting easier for him day by day. I hope to eventually integrate him more with the other kitties and out of isolation. Stay tuned for a post on Tony and his progress! =)

  4. I was so touched by your loving story and so grateful to know that your mom and dad are not only together…..they have the love of these two babies. While my heart breaks for all you are having to endure……please know I commend you and your sister for your love and compassion for your parents. They are soooo blessed to have you on their side. God be with you and please……continue to give us updates about your parents. I truly do care and would love to keep them in my prayers. Bless you!

  5. I am so glad that you found a facility with service cats. I have a number cats that I felt would be excellent for just that. One is sitting on my lap right now, Jack my catdog.

    • I feel that one rescue I have in my care would do great as a service kitty as well James, the challenge is finding a faciility progressive enuff where I am that will take her in and let her be a part of the facility!

  6. your story made me cry, but happy tears. So glad that the place where your parents are living recognize the therapeutic value of animals. I hope your parents are happy and doing well in their new home. And, I hope that Tony is happy in his new home…so wonderful of you to take him. Great story.

  7. I am grateful for you…taking Tony is a blessing to Tony and your Mum…Pickles and Stormy for providing love and cuddles for you Mum and Dad…some Angels wear fur and purr 🙂

  8. Lu Anne, what a beautiful post. I’m emotional reading this.
    I cannot imagine how hard it’s been for you seeing your parents in such a different way than you are used to. I’m starting to experience really feeling my parent’s age and it’s both sad and terrifying.
    I’m SOOOOOO HAppy that your parents have Stormy and PIckles. It must make you feel 100 times better. I wish the facility would make an exception and allow Tony. But this is SOOO much better than NO animals.

    • i am very happy for both the kitties and my parents too Tamar! It is really terrifying as our parents become older. What I’m finding is that eventually the roles of parent and child reverse, and we become sort of parents to our own parents. We recently had to break it to my dad that he can’t go home and it was very very hard! Once again, tho, I am so thankful that stormy and pickles are there to soften that blow!

  9. If only more nursing homes would realize the benefits of having “therapy cats” living there, how much greater would the quality of life for their patients be! And how many more cats’ lives could be saved from euthanasia in shelters, merely because they had no homes.

    • i soooooooo agree Lynn1 i think we truly underestimate the value of service animals and really limit their potential and the positive impacts they could have on our lives! if more were take in kitties and give them a purpose like Pickles and Stormy…oh what a much more beautiful world it would be!

  10. This is our first visit to Planet Kitty and my eyes are leaking all over the place. Your story has touched my heart. I have gone through the same things with my own parents who are gone now. And I can feel your parents fear and sadness…and your own anguish. Bless these sweet service kitties. Their love knows no bounds.
    xo Glogirly & Katie

  11. I stumbled in here thank´s to Katie and Glogirly.
    Is such a beutiful post you have made !
    My mom work´s in the elderlycare in Sweden and sometimes I go with her to her work , it´s very much appreciated

  12. Beautiful story. I have just had my last old kitty euthanized and miss her so much. Glad that your Mom and Dad have two beautiful cats to help them through their transition in life. Happy that you are taking care of Tony and giving him lots of love. It’s a hard time for him too!

    • It is a very hard time for Tony!! it’s a HUGE adjustment for the poor guy, but given lots of time and love, he’ll be fine! I am sooooooo glad tho that my parents have the company of Pickles and Stormy tho! it makes my heart smile. ty for your comments!

  13. If my parents eventually need to go to a facility–having a cat (cats) in house is high on my wish list for them. So glad you were able to take their kitty. It is heartbreaking the number of senior pets who end up in kill shelters when parents die or move to facilities & no family members are able to take them….

  14. That really was a touching story. I’m so glad that in the terrible situation of moving your parents to a nursing home, they were lucky enough to go to one with cats! I hope when my time comes (still a while off at 29 lol) I’ll be as lucky as them 🙂
    Give Tony a big hug for me and I hope he settles in quickly (if he hasn’t already)!

    • ty so much sarah! those kitties ribich a huge comfort to both me anda my parents! tony iso adjusting slowly anda has become a lovebug! i hope tony move him out of isolation soon!

  15. Ah!!!! A happy ending to what could have been a disaster!! I hope that when my time time comes, (I’m 68 so it might be sooner rather than later!) I will be lucky enough to have kitty friends wherever I go! Bless you and your sisters. Good luck with the downsizing!!

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