I have a 15-year-old cat who’s getting pretty creaky in her old age, and while I’ve been making accommodations so she can enjoy her favorite spots, I’ve got nothing on this London couple.
When 11-year-old Tom developed arthritis, his caretakers, Adrienne Ellery and Gareth Brown, noticed that the ginger tabby was unable to make his usual jaunts around the neighborhood because he could no longer scale their 8-foot garden fence.
Ellery and Brown were concerned about how Tom’s physical limitations would affect his emotional health, but they also worried that he wouldn’t get enough exercise if he couldn’t make his daily rounds.
Brown said, “I was watching Tom and it was sad to see him struggle with the fence. Some days he could do it, but when he came back down he would land with such a thud that I knew it wasn’t good for his joints.”
The couple had some wood left over from a fence they had recently built, and Brown decided to build his feline friend an easy way to climb to the top. He didn’t have a lot of room to work with, so the only solution was a spiral staircase.
Ellery trained Tom to use it by putting some food on each step. Soon the cat was running up and down his new stairway and enjoying the chance to hang out with his other feline friends.
Some of you will probably be upset about the fact that Brown and Ellery let their cat outside, particularly since he has arthritis. However, it’s commonplace in the U.K. for cat owners to let their feline friends — even the old ones — outdoors for a daily “explore.”
I’ve been to England a couple of times and from what I’ve seen, cities and suburbs seem quite cat-safe: often, neighborhoods are built as blocks of row houses with no separation between the buildings. Each home has a backyard, and each yard is fenced in, so even when cats do wander, they rarely find themselves in the streets or in areas where they could become prey to wild animals. I’ve looked at some images of Fulham, where Brown and Ellery live, and that seems to be the case there, too.
But whatever your feelings about the indoor/outdoor debate, the point of this story is that this young couple has gone the extra mile to accommodate their cat — and I think that’s pretty awesome.