There are many reasons why adopting a cat is a great way to become a pet-parent. But most people are more enthused about taking home a cuddly kitten than they are an older cat who might have hidden health issues or difficult behavioral tendencies to address. However, health concerns might arise at any age, whether the kitten is young and susceptible to diseases, or whether he is old and has an arthritis.
Another misconception about senior cats is that they will not live long. However, just because the cat is older does not mean he will not be a wonderful companion for a long while. Some senior cats adopted between ages 8-12 can be a devoted pet for another 6-10 years! Hopefully the considerations below will help inform your decision to invest in a senior feline as you decide what kind of cat is best suited for you.
Reasons to Adopt a Senior Cat
They are easygoing and mellow. One of the benefits of being older is that the cat will be less inclined toward catastrophe, getting into scrapes, or finding themselves stuck in small places. Older cats are more likely to snooze and stroll, than they are to race around and leap up onto the book shelf after the goldfish.
They have set personalities. Usually you can tell upon meeting a cat whether or not he is engaging and warm or if he is aloof, snappy or disinterested. That way, when you bring them home there should be no surprises. Furthermore, because they are older, the personality of the cat is already established because they have gone through all the major growth spurts and life changes. A docile kitty might turn into a wily troublemaker, but your senior cat will generally stay as steady as he comes.
Older cats usually require less training. They understand the purpose of a litter box, and (unless they suffer from urinary incontinence) you will be less likely to have pee-pee puddles left on your carpet. Senior cats tend to be more independent, knowing how to entertain themselves, and are less attention-needing then younger pets.
Your life will not be disrupted. Some people enjoy the inconveniences of having a young pet tagging along their heels, and swiped at every dangling tassel in the home. But most of us want to fall asleep at night knowing that we won’t wake up to the kitten prancing on our legs or batting at our heads. Young cats also can be more vocal, whining and meowing at night when they are lonely or afraid. A senior cat is much more inclined to sleep straight through the night than an energetic adolescent kitty.
Adopting a senior cat benefits society. By taking an older cat home, you are opening up space for another stray to find respite in an animal shelter. You are offering comfort and love to a cat who may have had a difficult life, and wants nothing more than peace and a safe home in his older years.