Q. At age 87, my mother simply cannot live on her own anymore, and she has agreed that she’d be better off in a housing facility for older people where staff is on hand to look after the residents. But it would be extremely difficult for her to part with her cat, Sissy, whom she has had for 12 years. Are there residences that would allow the cat to move in with her?
Lodi, New Jersey
Dear Ms. Davis,
A. Yes. Increasingly, care facilities for senior citizens are allowing people to room with their cats (or other pets). These include assisted living residences, nursing homes, and skilled nursing facilities (long-term care facilities).
In general, the person has to be able to care for her own pet and have a back-up plan in the event that she is no longer able to. The resident also has to be able to afford food and veterinary care for the cat. And the cat has to be up to date on all of her vaccinations and be regularly dewormed. Additionally, a pet deposit is often required (presumably to clean or replace any furniture or carpeting that the animal damages).
We are absolutely in favor of senior residences allowing beloved pets to remain in their owners’ lives. Old age is frequently a time of loss. Why add one more loss, especially if it can be avoided? It is worth checking around to see which facilities in your area will allow your mother and her cat to continue to live together.