Sure, kittens are cute, but senior cats are the perfect pets because they’re fully equipped with priceless pet experience! Here’s why you shouldn’t overlook these shelter gems.
Even though tiny kittens and young cats are adorable and squee-inducing as you walk through your local animal shelter, a senior cat in need of a home will be just as beautiful, loving, and loyal as any young cat will be.
Need some reasons to consider adopting a senior kitty, and saving his life in the process? You’ve come to the right place! Here are just a few of the best reasons why you should add a senior cat to your family.
1. A Fully Developed Personality
Kittens are still growing and developing, not only in body but also in mind, so when you adopt a kitten, you don’t really know what you’re in for. The opposite is true, though, of senior kitties, provided that they aren’t so frightened or stressed in shelters that they hide their true colors.
Senior cats’ personalities are already developed, so you’ll know if you’re adopting an independent kitty who will give you space or a kitty who really wants to snuggle up with you every chance he gets. You’ll also know whether the senior cat will be okay with living in a home with other pets, including other felines.
Related: How To Bond With Your New Senior Cat
2. A Calm Attitude
Kittens and young cats have a lot of energy to expend, which means they often don’t think twice about running around the house (in the middle of the night) and accidentally knocking things over or using their claws where they shouldn’t. Adult cats, on the other hand, don’t need to learn the ropes, so there’s less disciplining and training and more relaxing with your furry friend.
A senior cat will more than likely be completely content just lounging around, eating delicious food, and spending time with you. He may be up for playing for a little while every day, but he won’t have the energy that a younger cat has, so you can take things easy.
3. Good Manners
With kittens that love to explore and are learning every day, you might have your hands full. While they can be loads of fun, they require a lot of your time and attention. And you need to have quite a bit of patience as you work on teaching your feline companion what’s allowed and what isn’t allowed. For example, if you want to establish that certain furniture is off-limits or you need to teach your kitten that it isn’t okay to bite your hands while playing with you, you’ll need to know the best and most positive methods for doing so.
On the other hand, a senior cat will already know how to use the litter box, how to use the scratching post without scratching the furniture, and how to behave around humans. Again, with less training involved, you can instead spend more time simply enjoying your new pet’s company.
This doesn’t mean that you won’t need to train an older cat at all, nor does it mean that you can’t teach your kitty new things. For example, you might be able to teach your senior cat to do tricks with the help of clicker training, or you might show him how much fun it can be to spend time in an outdoor catio. And you might even be able to train your kitty to walk on a leash or head outside in a stroller with you. So, don’t assume that a senior cat won’t have any energy or will be too boring, as it’s likely that you’ll discover the opposite is true.
Related: How Feline Behavior Can Change With Age
4. Easygoing for Busy Pet Parents
Generally, a senior cat might be a better choice than a kitten or young adult if you lead a busy lifestyle. While seniors do require loads of love and attention, just like any other cat of any other age, they might be more confident and comfortable spending time lounging around the house on their own while you are focused on taking care of work, family, and other responsibilities.
Again, with kittens that are high-energy and learning every day, you need to be able to keep an eye on them so they won’t get hurt or ingest something they shouldn’t. So, if you want a more low-key feline companion, an older kitty might be the better way to go. Once he gets used to living in your home and being a part of your family, you can all relax together and enjoy each other’s company.
5. Fewer Initial Medical Procedures
Whenever you adopt kittens, you may need to give them a series of necessary vaccinations, as well as deworming medications, to help ensure they’re healthy. Once old enough, a kitten might need to be spayed/neutered as well.
But when you adopt a senior kitty, spay/neuter surgery might have already been done in the past. And a senior cat might not need deworming medications or the entire set of vaccines that a kitten would need, though your vet may recommend booster shots, if necessary.
Of course, you should have your adopted cat, whether a kitten or a senior, examined by a veterinarian to ensure he is in good health. The vet can guide you when it comes to how to provide enrichment, how to feed your pet the highest quality diet, and more. And if your new senior cat has any health problems, you can get the advice and support you need to help your furry friend feel great.
6. Save a Life and Get Unconditional Love in Return
Seniors are some of the hardest cats to place in homes, so a lot of them end up either in no-kill shelters for extended periods of time or in kill shelters to be euthanized. By adopting a senior kitty, you’ll be saving his life before it’s too late.
Many pet owners who have adopted senior cats can sense that their pets know they were saved. In return, these animals live out the rest of their lives showing their human companions unconditional love and friendship.
Offering a Second Chance to a Senior Cat
When adopting a senior kitty, try to get as much information as possible about his past home(s) and medical history. The rescue may be able to tell you how he ended up in the shelter, and this could clue you in on the life he used to live. For example, was the cat neglected, was he a stray, or did he live with an elderly individual who passed away? No matter what, by adopting a senior cat, you’ll be giving him a second chance to enjoy life again and be comfortable for the rest of his days.
If you’re thinking about bringing a senior cat home, consider how you can set up your space to be welcoming and comfortable. Already have cats? Go with slow introductions to keep them all at ease as best as possible. Provide easy-to-access food and water bowls, litter boxes, scratchers, beds and trees, toys, and more. And, most importantly, show your older kitty that he’s loved and safe by giving him the attention and affection he needs. Before you know it, he’ll be an amazing companion, and you might find yourself wondering why you didn’t adopt a senior cat sooner.