This article is contributed by guest writer, Emily Parker (author of Catological)
Ten Reasons Senior Cats Rule
Have you had an older cat returned to you through PawBoost? If so, congratulations! As the owner of two precious felines, I’m thrilled for you! By reading this post, I believe you’ll cherish your kitty even more.
Or, perhaps you’ve arrived at this article intending to get a friend for your found cat. If so, are you weighing whether to get an adult cat or kitten? In that case, I hope this post will influence your decision, in favor of adopting a senior cat.
Frequently, older cats are overlooked at animal shelters, leaving them homeless for eons. Even more heartbreaking, some senior cats never get adopted. Many people regard such kitties like old cars, with little mileage left.
What a misconception! Even during the golden years, cats are still inquisitive, affectionate, and delightful to be around.
So, when do cats become seniors? Generally, vets consider age 10 to be the start of seniority. Still, a spayed or neutered indoor cat with a healthy weight can live to 20 years and beyond. Here are 10 reasons why older cats are the quintessential pet.
1. Senior cats are fully developed.
After getting a kitten, you may be surprised a year later, when its true nature emerges. Until then, a cat’s demeanor and size are still evolving. In large cat breeds, such as the Maine Coon, physical characteristics can take four years to fully manifest.
So, with young felines, there’s no way to predict their future traits.
However, senior cats have mature bodies and established personalities. At well-run animal shelters, staff members who fully engage with the cats can brief you on their endearing qualities.
2. Caring for an older cat is easy.
Conversely, kittens tend to be messy. Keen curiosity drives them to investigate their surroundings, often with sloppy consequences.
Anything dangling can be viewed as a toy, such as drapery tassels, toilet paper, and household decorations.
While nosing intriguing things on tables and shelves, kittens knock them down. In the process of exploring, they leave you to clean up whatever they might drag, pull, spill, topple, chew, or tear.
Ah, but mature felines are laid-back. Keeping them happy is a cinch, especially those from shelters.
Just give your adopted cat the essentials — a cozy bed, scratching post, clean litter box, regular meals, a few toys, and gentle petting.
Also, play with them for brief periods, aiming for a total of 20 minutes daily. Then, to stay abreast of medical needs, schedule vet exams every six months.
3. Mature cats are levelheaded.
Kittens often get themselves in a pickle. Being impulsive, they lack the foresight of older cats.
Consequently, kittens are more prone to accidents and injuries, such as ingesting toxic chemicals, falling from heights, and chewing electric cables. To prevent such disasters, you must kitten-proof your house and constantly supervise feline activity.
While kittens are adorable, their exuberance can fray your nerves, with their spurts of scampering, chasing, pouncing, and batting things around. In short, kittens are daredevils, giving no thought to the consequences of their actions.
However, older cats are more calculating and cautious, having survived the hazards of kitten-hood.
4. Like fine wine, cats get better with age.
Felines who were feisty in their youth turn mellow as they mature. Over time, a once shy feline gains confidence, becoming friendlier. A previously aloof cat now seeks companionship.
Plus, senior cats have good manners. Whereas a kitten won’t hesitate to claw your furniture, an older cat knows better, using the designated scratching post for self-pedicures.
Since older cats are low-key and gentle, they love to cuddle and nap. That’s not to say they don’t like to play. Interactive toys are favorites!
5. Senior cats are adaptable.
Kittens require ongoing socialization, which is fine if someone’s always around. However, when left alone, baby cats don’t fare well.
Frequently, kittens channel their anxiety and insecurity by marring furnishings. Then, when folks return, they get clingy, sticking to them like glue.
However, mature felines can manage your absence and varying household activity. After your adopted cat settles in with you, they’ll quickly adjust to your lifestyle.
For example, although felines are nocturnal, senior cats subdue their night owl tendencies, turning in when you do. Kittens, however, stay wide awake, tackling your toes through the bed covers and keeping you up, too.
6. Training is a breeze.
Generally, senior cats are polite and respectful, schooled in household etiquette and rules. Still, if any behaviors need changing, just use positive reinforcement, such as encouragement, treats, petting, and praise.
Since mature cats are attentive, they learn your wishes quickly. Plus, with peace being paramount to adopted cats, they’re motivated to please.
However, kittens are challenging to train, having short attention spans. To teach desired behaviors, you must invest considerable time, energy, and patience.
7. Mature cats are great for kids.
If you have young children, kitten-inflicted casualties can result, with rough treatment prompting biting and scratching.
Even if you demonstrate proper cat-handling to tykes, they don’t have the fine motor skills to comply. At the same time, kittens are delicate, readily hurt by zealous hugging and play.
Senior cats, with their easygoing natures, tend to be more tolerant of kids. They’re also sturdier than kittens.
By adopting a mature cat, your kids benefit tremendously! Through contributing to its care, even in small ways, children’s cognitive abilities are strengthened, such as memory, planning, organization, and concentration. When kids know you’re counting on them to help, they develop responsibility.
Here are additional ways children profit from having a cat.
8. Senior cats pair well with other felines.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, if you have a cat for whom you’d like a pal, consider an older feline. If your resident cat is an adult, a lively kitten may be seen as a pest. However, your cat will likely bond with a senior feline, provided you introduce them slowly.
When visiting an animal shelter, explain to the staff why you wish to adopt. Be sure to describe your cat’s personality and energy level. Providing this information boosts the prospect of finding an ideal match.
Typically, rescue organizations have communal rooms, housing cats who get along well. So, a multi-cat room is a good place to start a shelter tour. If you’re drawn to a particular kitty, ask for its personal history. If the cat doesn’t sound compatible with yours, the staff can guide you to other possibilities.
Upon bringing your new cat home, introduce it to your other one cautiously, by degrees. To foster a smooth transition, follow these steps by PetMD.
9. Mature cats are best for senior citizens.
Since older felines are small and easy-care, they’re well-suited to the elderly. Unless a person is frail, they can likely manage the tasks of cat feeding, grooming, cleaning a litter box, and daily playtime. For a person with reduced mobility, pole toys are perfect, enabling interactive play from a chair.
Mature felines make wonderful lap cats for senior adults! For those living alone or with little social contact, feline affection wards off loneliness and depression. The responsibility of cat care creates pleasant routines and meaningful activity. It also eases arthritis by improving joint flexibility and muscle tone.
Meanwhile, the stress-melting effects of cat ownership lower blood pressure and heart rate. Likewise relaxing is gazing at a snoozing cat. Some feline poses are hilarious, giving daily doses of smiles and laughter, the best medicine!
Here are more reasons why mature cats are optimal for senior citizens.
10. Older cats show gratitude for being adopted.
Just imagine the trauma of cats who land in shelters! Many felines lose their owners to moving, new babies, divorce, or death.
Sometimes owners reluctantly give up their cats after pay cuts or job loss, having less money for pet care. Frequently, irresponsible people abandon their cats to the streets, where they barely survive until saved by rescue organizations.
Now, picture the response of a shelter cat when you adopt them.
“Wow, you want me? Oh, I’m so relieved and happy to have a home again. I can’t thank you enough. I’ll love you always!”
And so, you start a new life together, equally thankful for the special bond you share.
Many shelters promote senior cat placements by waiving their adoption fees. Typically, the cats are already spayed or neutered, vet-examined, treated for worms and fleas, and microchipped, at no cost to adopters.
If a senior cat wins your heart and the shelter covers all adoption costs, consider making a donation. Aside from money, you can offer pet toys, bedding, food, cat litter, or other pet supplies. For more heartwarming ways to help your shelter read our When We Dare to Care article.
Let’s envision what you gain by adopting a senior feline.
You acquire a loving and loyal companion, fully mature, with a known personality. Your adult cat is well-mannered, readily adapting to your lifestyle. Any new behaviors you want to instill are easily achievable.
Caring for your pet is simple and fun. Unlike with a kitten, your household possessions stay intact.
If you’re a senior citizen, through pet care, you see improvements in your physical, emotional, and mental well-being. If you have children or another cat, they adore the wonderful newcomer to the family.
Above all, you have the lasting joy of saving a homeless cat, with so much love to give.