Still going strong

By Jennifer Hayes

Getting old is for the dogs so says Jasmine, who happens to be a cat.

At 20, Jasmine is now the oldest feline at Best Friends. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, that’s roughly 98 in human years!

Now someone just needs to tell her to start acting her age.

She’s got moxie

She loves to be petted, but not with the kind of dainty pats generally reserved for the frail. This gal likes you to put some muscle behind it. Rachel Cartee, one of Jasmine’s caregivers, has been doing it for the past seven years.

Rachel says, "When I started working here, she used to do a cute trick where you would pet her and ruffle her up really good and then stop petting her, and she would get on her hind legs and beg for you to pet her, like she was a dog or squirrel."

While Jasmine’s no longer getting up on her tippy toes, Rachel says she still really likes to be riled up, noting, "It gets her blood pumping and gets her talking."

And Jasmine realizes that age has its privileges. She’s taken a page out of Morris’ book and has decided to become finicky when it comes to mealtimes. No problem, Rachel is up to any challenge Jasmine offers. She says, "You just have to keep trying foods until you find out what she’s in the mood for that day."

Downside to aging

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Jasmine at 20 years young

Regardless of her youthful spirit and excellent care, the years do take a toll. Jasmine has been in renal failure for two years, is on medication to help control high blood pressure, and can no longer see.

On top of all that, she recently had some issues with her mouth and needed surgery. Anesthesia under any circumstances can be risky, but Jasmine’s age and kidney issues needed to be considered. It was decided that a dental was in her best interest, and she came through with flying colors. She’s even starting to gain some weight, almost unheard of for a cat with her medical history.

Rachel says, "She’s almost a miracle cat."

In fact, the gal’s still got some serious spunk. A short time ago, she became a bit exasperated with all the paparazzi, given her "oldest cat" fame. A few photos are one thing, but when staff tried to videotape her getting her nails done, all bets were off. Normally as patient and sweet as the day is long, that one "indignity" elicited a growl.

Hey, even nice girls need to set boundaries. Otherwise, who knows, the AARP might just set their sights on her as their new cover girl. After all, Jasmine’s not planning on retiring any time soon.

Golden years

Remember, mature cats make fabulous companions. Check out some of Best Friends’ senior Adorable Adoptables.

Photos by Molly Wald