When you are raising a child, your hope is that he or she will grow up to be a healthy, independent adult who can make it on his/her own. But when you are caring for beloved animals, you hope that you will be able to care for them as long as they live, and make their aging years as comfortable and pleasant as possible. I strive to make my apartment "senior cat accessible", putting chairs and tables and chests at levels that Thelma can reach and climb on. Louise is still very agile but Thelma is large and can no longer jump as high as she used to.
And I am touched by the small changes in behavior. Both like to be near the heat registers now that it's cold, neither ventures as far into other rooms as they do in warm and hot weather. They make me happy and content and needed. As I too am aging and less and less able and agile, we are a good little family, I think.