26-Year-Old Cat is the Perfect Companion for Mom

Robert’s mom met her match in a sassy senior cat named Momma. Now they each have a spirited, loving companion to make the most of their golden years together.

Robert + Momma

Robert’s mom wanted no part of adopting a pet, but at 26 years young, Momma the cat had a compelling case. Now Mom and Momma have formed a bond based in love, a little hissing, and lots of gratitude for their time together.

"Gradually, I watched two senior citizens who started off on the wrong foot together begin to bond."

Another call from my sister… “I’ve found a great one and she’d be perfect for Mom!”

“Alison,” I said, “Stop analyzing pet adoption websites. Mom’s turned down every idea you’ve had for the past twelve years and she’s not going to change. She won’t even feed squirrels anymore so as not to encourage them from visiting! Besides, her memory isn’t what it once was.”

Twelve years ago, we lost our father and in many ways we lost our mother soon thereafter. A lively, colorful house full of pets surrendered to the sounds of TV reruns, emptiness, and depression. Without Dad, new pet adoptions lost their joy. She’d say “When I die, and I feel it coming soon, I don’t want to give my family the burden of any pet I might own.” That’s Mom, always thinking of others.

I grudgingly agreed to Alison’s plan and within a couple of hours we pulled into Mom’s driveway with her new 26-year-old friend, a healthy yet nervously loud white and tabby female cat the adoption center appropriately named Momma. Momma was as thrilled with her new situation as Mom was. 

Mom’s reaction was better than expected. “Take that thing right back. I don’t have the time or energy!”

“But Mom,” I pleaded, “if you don’t take her she might be put down, and we just couldn’t allow a 26-year-old-cat to be put down!” 

With that appeal to her heartstrings, Mom agreed to house the cat for two days.

Once two days passed, I secured another two days, and so on. I used my Mom’s declining memory to my advantage.

Gradually, I watched two senior citizens who started off on the wrong foot together begin to bond, not unlike what I saw between old ladies in the nursing home when my Grandmother was a resident. Both are stubborn and set in their ways. Arguments are not uncommon. Each demands respect from the other. But no matter what happens during the day, every night the two end up on the couch together as they fall off to sleep. 

If Mom rises for a moment to make coffee, Momma orders her back to resume a cuddling session. Mom complies.

Mom excitedly gets up earlier now because she needs to attend to her demanding new friend. I often hear her giving orders to Momma, and Momma hissing right back at her in disagreement. I even receive daily phone calls that begin with You wouldn’t believe what this cat did now!” Good or bad, the passion I hear in Mom’s voice reminds me of a happier time. I wonder how that old cat injected life back into that house!

So how has the oldest cat I’ve ever known brightened my life? Well, she’s given my Mom a reason to make her blood boil again. She’s given my Mom a companion and a reason to feel needed again. She’s given my Mom a desire to look forward instead of backwards. But most importantly, she’s given my Mom back to me.

Each year, Petco Love Stories invites adopters to share how their pets have changed their lives to give the organizations that they’ve adopted from the chance to receive grant awards. This story by Robert won Homeward Bound Pet Adoption Center in Blackwood, New Jersey a 2021 Love Stories award.