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WNIJ Perspectives

Perspective: I Have A Thing For The Old Guys

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Franciso Solares-Larrave
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"Jade," one of the older cats at TAILS in DeKalb. She likes ear scratches and enjoys playing with visitors. (Jade was misidentified in an earlier post. We regret the error. Now consider adopting her! )

I won't deny it: I like old guys, the furry, four-legged variety that enjoys lying in a sunny spot, naps for hours, eats well and commandeers their people's beds, heads or laps. Yes, I love older cats.

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See, I volunteer at our animal shelter socializing cats; I play with them, pet them, bribe them with treats and do my best to get them used to being with people.

Kittens get all the attention because they're cute, meow loudly and play a lot. Middle aged animals are very attentive to their surroundings and react to people too. But older guys? They have seen a lot, they may have been surrendered by their owners or found in the street, they're set in their ways… and at the shelter they're dealing with a new reality, sometimes in an enclosure that's about 14 inches each side.

I make a beeline to spend time with them. They're weary, cautious, even disillusioned.

Life has dealt them a rough hand, but they still want to be petted, they can place their head in my hand to tell me they want a scratch. These neglected souls know a lot more than we imagine; they can read people, they can tell who's reliable, who's a sucker for cats. And, of course, they all like treats. Makes me wonder who's socializing who…

I am Francisco Solares-Larrave, and this is my perspective.

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