With the power of social media at our fingertips we are seeing a plethora of senior cats in shelters. Most people think they are there because of behavioral or health issues, though that is rarely the case. More often than not, it’s due to familial upheaval and sadly, simple abandonment.
The American Association of Feline Practitioners categorizes seniors as being 11-14 years old. With veterinary medical knowledge and practices being what they are today many cats can live to be 18-20 years old. Thyroid imbalances, kidney issues, and some kitty cancers are now easily treatable. Cat owners have also become more savvy in the care of their furry family members. Specialized dietary needs, controlled environments, and safety precautions are now the norm instead of the exception.
So why would you adopt a senior kitty instead a kitten?
When you adopt a senior kitty you know what you’re getting. Their personalities are already developed. With a kitten you really don’t know if it will grow into a lap cat, or a more independently spirited feline. Their size and the type of coat they have will not change. And typically they have already been spayed or neutered, and will not require the complete set of vaccinations and dewormings that a kitten needs.
Now I can hear you saying, “But kittens are so very cute and can be a lot of fun,” and I will not disagree with you.
But they are also a lot to handle in the first months of their life. When you adopt a kitten you have to realize how much time and work will go into getting that precious little ball of fluff to adulthood with your home and your sanity intact. Look around your home, go ahead, I’ll wait. The nice set of drapes you paid so much for are kitten magnets. That new chair that took you so long to find, picture a rambunctious kitten hanging off the side. And your favorite leather couch? Well, let’s not go there. Until they are trained they may prefer your furniture to the fancy new scratching post you purchased.
Training – therein lies one key element, and a strong point for adopting a senior kitty.
Senior cats come pre-trained. They already know what a litterbox is for and have no trouble using it. They’ve almost always been introduced to a scratching post, and those drapes? Well, climbing everything they come across is a thing long in their past.
The activity level in your home will be something else to keep in mind when adopting your new feline friend.
Senior kitties do very well in homes where the humans work (or play) outside the home for long periods of time. They also do well in homes with human seniors. They are more laid back, and napping can be a household activity.
Senior kitties are also great with babies and toddlers. They can be very soothing to a cranky baby and are more likely to endure the occasional ear bending or a tug on the tail from your three year old.
Do you already have a kitten running amok in your home? Are you thinking another kitten for it to play with would be a good idea? Consider instead adopting a senior cat.
They can be a steady and calming influence to your kitten.
They are great trainers! They can show your kitten how to use the litter box, how to take advantage of the scratching post, and will take a firm stand on the kitten’s biting and clawing. They can teach your kitten what is and what is not acceptable.
The best reason to adopt a senior cat is the fact that they are much more difficult for shelters to adopt out.
So many senior kitties will live out their remaining years in a cage, in a no kill facility. And a cage is no place for a cat to spend the last years of it’s life. When senior cats are adopted, they seem to understand that they’ve been rescued, and are all the more thankful for it.