Senior cats are very much like senior humans. They have learned to enjoy the pleasures of life, looking for affection and warmth, regular meals and a comfortable place to live. But senior cats are often ignored when visitors come to shelters to adopt a new family member. So, many animal shelters are now offering incentives for adopting seniors; such as providing free medical care for cats who have chronic, easily managed health issues or disabilities such as blindness.
Senior cats often end up in shelters simply due to their owner’s death, disability, or divorce. But research has shown that senior cats help their owners to feel less isolated. People who own cats die less from heart attacks other diseases of the cardiovascular system. Senior cats are saving senior humans, and the reverse is also true. Senior cats make wonderful additions to families of all ages. Here are twenty reasons why.
1. Senior cats are fully grown.
When you adopt a senior cat, you know exactly what size and color it is. Adopting a kitten, on the other hand, is a gamble, because you don’t know what it will grow up to be. Senior cats have developed their mature coat color, their weight, height and length, and their personalities. Seniors cats will not change into something surprising. A cuddly senior will be just that. A chatty, vocal senior will be just that.
2. Senior cats come with predictable, developed personalities.
When you first meet a senior cat in a rescue or shelter, his personality will generally show in just a few minutes of your first meeting. If a senior cat is frightened and needs a good cuddle, she may curl up on your lap right away, because she is used to being comforted. If a senior cat is cheerful and outgoing, he may march right up to you and wait for a nice ear scratching or a few strokes of his fur. It’s easy to see the different personalities in senior cats. But, kittens are still growing up, and they may go through many phases until they finally settle in to their adult personality. With senior cats, there will be less surprises from the very start.
3. You will know what kind of health problems they have.
There is something comforting in knowing about any medical conditions or behaviors right from the start. When you choose to adopt a senior cat, you know what you are getting. Some cat owners have made it their labor of love to take on senior cats who they know have only a short time to live. They offer love and comfort for a cat that would otherwise have little. These adopters plan to give the cat a good life, and then lovingly provide for a peaceful end when their veterinarian indicates it is time. Adopting a senior cat who is blind, disabled or ill gives the cat a chance to be well-cared for by people who will love him or her. Of course, some senior cats will end up living for many, many more years in a home filled with loving, proper care.
4. Senior cats generally don’t run, climb and leap like kittens.
Senior cats are not likely to slide across your kitchen countertops or fine wood furniture as if they are ice skating, but kittens will. Senior cats do not run between your legs and under your feet where they can trip you, or you can harm them, but kittens do. Senior cats stop leaping onto your draperies, shower curtains, framed artwork and screen doors as soon as they become too heavy to make it easy for them. Kittens, on the other hand, adore clawing their way up and on these items quite regularly, leaving scratches, and claw marks in your best furnishings. Senior cats have learned that being mellow is much more satisfying than being a clown, and they stop their athletic antics just about the time you believe you cannot stand it any longer.
5. Senior cats don’t tend to chew on items as much as kittens.
Because kittens learn about their world by tasting and chewing on everything, they can be holy terrors until they’re done exploring. Their teeth and claws are like little lawn mowers, shredding into everything from furniture to wall paper. Their claws and teeth can anchor into wall coverings, curtains, upholstery and drapes like mountain climbing gear, and they make extensive use of their natural tools. But senior cats have been there and done that. They don’t destroy furniture and household items because they don’t care anymore. Some are well-trained to use scratching posts instead. When their claws are clipped regularly, they don’t tend to do the same kind of damage that kittens can. Some senior cats have also been de-clawed as youngsters, and can’t claw anything even if they’d like to do so.
6. Senior cats groom themselves well.
Senior cats love to groom their fur. They may groom themselves so often they get hair balls, but these are easily avoided with regular brushing or a bit of fur ball gel to eat. They are generally fastidious when it comes to post-litter box clean-up, and they wash their faces regularly after eating and drinking. The way they lick their lips after a satisfying meal is quite endearing. They do much better than younger cats in this regard. Kittens tend to run off from a meal with food sticking to their whiskers and faces, making household messes wherever their dirty faces land.
7. Adult cats don’t need much supervision.
Older cats are well capable of taking care of themselves while their owners are gone. As long as they have access to food, water and their litter boxes, they can be left all day long and will be fine. They have their own cat routines, and don’t need to have people watch over them all the time. They truly prefer to be left to their own devices, and may nap all day. It’s common for most adult cats to sleep for many hours each day, so they really don’t need to be entertained much at all.
8. Senior cats don’t mess around with their litter.
Some kittens will spend a long time in the litter box, but they aren’t using it as they should. They are often found rolling around in it, because they are playing with the litter. They can scatter litter for yards around the average litter box, and not think a thing of it. They can treat it like a trip to the beach, building kitten versions of sand castles, and they will throw it as far as their little paws can manage. Some get so excited about their litter that they miss toileting inside the litter box, and use the litter which they have just sent flying to the floor around it. Some fall asleep inside the litter box, too. But senior cats know how to do what they need to do, make things neat and tidy, and then leave the box somewhat intact. Older cats will also spend a long time grooming themselves after a trip to their litter box, but kittens tend to forget and can leave a trail of litter behind them as they head off to pursue trouble in the rest of the house.
9. Senior cats enjoy cuddling.
While it’s in the nature of cats to enjoy snuggling in comfortable places, senior cats do it best. They don’t expect to play frequently, and when they decide to explore the house, they don’t tend to break things or get into trouble. They are at their best when cuddling, because they no longer need to play and be active for extended periods of time. All you need to do is find a comfortable spot on the sofa, in a lounge chair, or bed, and a senior cat will find you. Before you know it, you will have a friend nestled by your feet, on your lap, or next to you. They enjoy company, and a nice human petting their fur or stroking their head is the kind of love they crave.
10. Senior cats appreciate regular meals and a warm spot to sleep.
While kittens and younger cats need to eat frequently, a senior cat will follow a schedule of regular meals. You can feed a senior cat morning and night with some favorite wet food, and leave dry food to snack on throughout the day. They will come and nibble when they choose, and it’s an easy schedule to follow. Nothing pleases a senior cat more than to follow up a tasty meal with a nice nap in a warm place. You can offer a pet bed, but a senior cat will choose a favorite place, and may rarely vary from it. It might be a corner of the sofa, on top of your bed pillow, or inside a clothes hamper.
11. Senior cats are mellow, calm, experienced, and wise.
Senior cats enjoy their time relaxing nearby their owners. Their impulse control is well-developed, which makes them less apt to misbehave. They have lived with humans long enough to know basic household rules. They have the good sense to leave you alone or to be next to you when you need it. Because they are not frantically active as they may have been when kittens, they may spend more time in windows enjoying the view.
12. Many shelters offer senior cats free adoptions.
Shelters are eager to save the lives of their senior cats. Adult cats are the least often adopted of any pet. To make them more enticing choices, many shelters now offer free adoptions for their long-time adult residents. It costs a great deal to support the cats in their care, and each penny which they gather from adoption fees is needed. So, it is a great gift for both the cat and the owner to receive each other for free.
13. Senior cats make great companions for senior citizens.
Pairing two seniors together is often a wonderful way to create a new family. Both cat and human have come to a place in their life when they appreciate each other’s company. For both, the activities of life can move at an equal pace, with each partner in the relationship enjoying a less hectic schedule. Senior cats do extremely well with senior citizens because they receive just the right amount of attention at the right time, and they don’t need the constant entertainment kittens demand. Senior cats make wonderful therapy pets because they enjoy friendly pets and a welcoming lap. Senior citizens benefit from instant friendship, at the pace they prefer.
14. Senior cats do well in with children.
Many parents think that it’s a good idea to adopt kittens as playmates for their young children. The hope is that the kittens and children will grow up together. But, kittens are more fragile than they seem. Yes, they are adorable, but their energy levels are so high that they can get themselves in trouble with children. What often happens, is that children tend to be rough with kittens, expecting them to be able to take what they dish out. But, kittens can be hurt by mistake when playtime gets rough. This is where senior cats shine. They are often more patient than kittens. They can take more rough play and survive because they are bigger and their bodies are well-formed. Senior cats know how to use a warning paw as defense, and they are smart enough to simply walk away. Senior cats also will curl up next to a child who isn’t feeling well to keep him company, and that’s often just the medicine a child with a cold or flu needs.
15. Senior cats are grateful when you adopt them, and show their love for you.
Most shelter employees notice that senior cats display gratitude for the person who adopted them. Their eyes will brighten and their expressions will become more alert. They will purr affectionately or snuggle ever closer to the person holding them. They know they are being rescued, and will continue to show great affection to their new owner once they arrive at their new home. Though they may live shorter lives than younger cats, and may have medical needs which increase over time, they have much love to share with the right owner. There are also some programs which exist that will cover medical costs for the cat’s lifetime, to help seniors foster their adopted cat.
16.Senior cats have better manners than kittens.
Senior cats stop going where they shouldn’t after a while. They’ve already investigated the spots that interest them, and they eventually get the idea that you don’t want them in certain places. They also will not visit or sit with people who don’t like cats. Most have an uncanny awareness of which people like cats and will welcome them. The rest, they tend to avoid. They eat their food more neatly, and drink their water without splattering it everywhere except the bowl. They’ve learned long ago that food and water are not toys.
17. Senior cats have easier playtimes.
Senior cats can amuse themselves. They don’t need as much constant playtime as kittens do. They do enjoy playing, but they don’t spend as long playing as they did when they were younger. When they decide to play, they can make toys and games for themselves. They don’t need to have your coordinate toys for them, because they know what they like and how to find it. They will gravitate toward favorite toys and games, which makes them more predictable. They also need exercise, but they don’t exercise vigorously or as often as younger cats. This makes them great for fitting into your routine. They can adjust to your schedule because they need less or your attention. They also spend more time napping, relaxing and cuddling with their owners.
18. Most senior cats come vaccinated, spayed and neutered.
Senior cats often are sent to shelters for adoption because their owners are also seniors and cannot care for them anymore. Because they have lived their entire lives in a home, with owners who loved and cared for them, they have been regularly seen by a veterinarian, their vaccinations are up to date, and they were either spayed or neutered long ago. Though some shelters do take care of these routine needs for kittens, some do not. That means that adopting a kitten will require extra time and expense for medical care. Senior cats can come home and work on developing a friendship right away, and you have one less trip to take to your local animal clinic.
19. Senior cats have longer attention spans and are easier to train.
Senior cats have a sense of calm which kittens do not. Senior cats have better developed attention spans, which allows them to take in new training. Though they may have been used to other rules where they previously lived, just giving them a bit of time to become accustomed to their new surroundings brings plenty of benefits. They can be trained to fit into a new schedule and abide by new rules. The old idea that they are too set in their ways is inaccurate. They are usually better equipped to learn what is okay and what is not in their new home. With lots of love, good food, and a welcoming place to live, with some loving and gentle guidance, senior cats can readily adjust to your household rules.
20. Senior cats are the last to be adopted, and need you to rescue them.
Senior cats are often the ones who never find a forever home. Those who live in no-kill shelters will spend the rest of their lives living in cages. Those who are taken to shelters where euthanizing is common, are usually euthanized before kittens and younger cats. They often are the quiet ones, sitting at the back of their cages because they have given up. They were used to attention and love at one time, but may have lived for years without the home they once had. Their quietness often keeps them from being the first chosen when people are looking to adopt a cat. But giving that reclusive cat a chance to get out of that cage can show how absolutely cuddly that cat can be. Senior cats are just looking for someone to love them, and you might be the perfect one to do that.