Making every moment count for a cat in hospice care

Selfie of Elton the orange tabby cat and Aubrey Tsosie
Aubrey Tsosie gave Elton the time of his life, and he changed hers in the process.
By Best Friends staff

Aubrey Tsosie was perusing Instagram one day when she landed on a post about a senior cat named Elton at Best Friends in Salt Lake City. Aubrey had been thinking about adopting an older cat, and as soon as she saw him she thought maybe he was the one. Then, she found out he had an untreatable form of cancer and was sure he was the one.

According to veterinarians, Elton had about a year to live. So Aubrey decided to spend as much time as she could with the orange tabby, helping him experience as many things as possible that would bring him joy. Every day, they’d experience a new adventure together.

[Loving a special cat in hospice leads to adopting another]

It didn’t take Elton long to relax and let his guard down in his new home. Aubrey wanted him to know what it was like to be part of a big, loving family. And soon after settling in, he could often be found sitting next to Aubrey’s father, keeping him company while he worked.

Elton’s health started to take a turn a little more than a year after being adopted. And although Aubrey worried that she wouldn’t know when it was the right time to say goodbye, she felt peace on Elton’s last day. Elton greeted everyone that morning like he always did: with love.

Ask Aubrey whether she’d adopt another cat in hospice care, and she’ll tell you “Yes” without missing a beat. She’ll also tell you that helping Elton live his best life, for however long he had, changed her life, too.

[Teenager adopts a cat who has just months to live]

After Aubrey adopted Elton, she got his paw print tattooed on her arm, along with lyrics: “How wonderful life is, while you’re in the world.”

Now, the lyrics from “Your Song” by Elton John serve as a reminder of how Elton the orange tabby helped Aubrey see the world through new eyes. “Sometimes life is short, and when you find a moment to experience, you’ve got to take it,” says Aubrey. “Those memories stay with you forever.”

Our goal at Best Friends is to support all animal shelters in the U.S. in reaching no-kill by 2025. No-kill means saving every dog and cat in a shelter who can be saved, accounting for community safety and good quality of life for pets. Shelter staff can’t do it alone. Saving animals in shelters is everyone’s responsibility, and it takes support and participation from the community. No-kill is possible when we work together thoughtfully, honestly, and collaboratively.

Orange tabby cat lying in a kennel on a blanket
Photo by Sarah Ause Kichas

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