Outside my kitchen window there's a small plastic tank that collects run off from the roof. I use the rainwater to water the garden and indoor plants.
Betsy loves being up on the roof and she's been going up there for years. It's warm, lying on the corrugated iron, and of course she has a view to die for. It's safe from predators and she is the queen of all she surveys.
Going on 18 years now, her legs ain't what they used to be. She's been finding it hard to make the jump from the lawn to a concrete block, then up onto the water tank, and from there to the roof. It's a leap too far these days. If she gets up there, getting down is hard too.
The other day I was in the kitchen and I heard her howling, the loudest, most heartbreaking cry. At first I thought she'd hurt herself so I looked out the window to see her sitting atop the concrete block, looking up at the roof. The morning was sunny, warm and clear, perfect for some roof-lounging. The leap was beyond her so she cried.
Quick thinking, I went out and set up an old wooden plank from the lawn to the roof. Too steep for her, the plank too wobbly. I lowered it to rest atop the water tank. Betsy observed me carefully, sizing up the entire operation to determine if this would be suitable for her.
After about ten minutes of looking, sniffing, figuring things out, she walked the plank and could make the now shorter jump to the roof.
We all need some help when we get older. I suppose I'll have some kind of ramp thing eventually, so I can wheel my walker up to the door. I only hope I have the presence of mind to ask for my ramp, to let out a heartrending plea for someone to help me rather than try to do it myself and fall over.
It's not always easy for us to ask for help.
Cats don't seem to have the same difficulty.