In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a cat was brought to the Animal Rescue League Shelter and Wildlife Center on Thursday after her owner recently passed away. The cat suffered from severe matting; the staff described the years of neglect to the cat’s coat as “dreadlocks.” It took hours for the medical team to shave pounds of fur intertwined over the cat’s body. Imagine how much better she must have felt after having been clipped and bathed? On the Facebook page of the organization, advocates encourage relatives and friends of the elderly to check on them often, but also encourages everyone to check on their pets in order to prevent similar neglect situations such as this cat suffered.
It is worth repeating, however that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention credits pets with helping to decrease blood pressure, keeps seniors from feeling isolated and lonely while helping to increase opportunities to socialize and exercise. The need for companionship can increase with age, and what better audience to listen than a loyal pal – whether it be a dog or a cat?
What must be remembered however is that pet ownership does come at a cost. Pets need regular medical care, food and regular exercise. When an elderly owner finds it difficult to walk their dog or care for their cat, perhaps help from a pet sitter on a regular basis could have beneficial effects. The pet owner, as well as the pet, have someone checking on them to make sure both are doing well. The last thing anyone wants to do is to take away someone’s beloved pet; animals enrich our lives at any age. And if it comes time to remove the pet from the home, what could be more reassuring to an elderly owner incapable of caring for their pet any longer is knowing their beloved companion has been placed in a loving home and will get the best of care and lots of love?
As for this cat, she will be heading to a distant relative of the previous owner and will be given another chance at a healthy and a happy life.
(Photos of cat with dreadlocks courtesy of Animal Rescue League Shelter and Wildlife Center)
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