adopting an older cat

Adopting an Older Cat: Tips & Advice

Many people are often hesitant to adopt an older adult cat, thinking that a younger kitten will be more playful and energetic. However, adopting an older cat can bring just as much joy and love into your life. In fact, senior cats have many benefits that make them perfect companions for those looking to add a feline friend to their family.

It’s important to remember that “older” does not necessarily mean “less loveable”. Most older cats are simply more mature and have different needs than young cats. With a little bit of patience, care, and understanding, you can provide a happy and comfortable home for a senior feline.

older cat adoption facts

Meaningful Facts Regarding Older Cats

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the average age of cats entering shelters is two years old. However, there are many mature and senior cats end up in rescue shelters as well. These older cats often get overlooked by potential adopters who prefer kittens or younger cats.

Here are some informative facts and numbers regarding older cats in rescue shelters:

  • According to the ASPCA, approximately 3.2 million cats enter animal shelters in the United States each year.
  • Of these 3.2 million cats, about 1.6 million are adopted, but unfortunately, around 670,000 are euthanized.
  • Studies have shown that mature and senior cats tend to have a harder time getting adopted, with some spending months or even years in shelters.
  • According to the Humane Society of the United States, cats over 7 years old make up about 60% of all cats in shelters.
  • The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) considers cats over 7 years old to be senior, but many rescue shelters classify cats over 5 years old as “mature.”

If you are considering adoption, don’t overlook senior pets like cats in rescue shelters. They may not be as young or as cute as a kitten, but they still have plenty of love to give and make wonderful companions. Plus, by adopting an older cat, you are not only saving their life but also opening up space in shelters for other cats in need. Give a mature or senior cat a chance and you won’t regret it.

older cat sleeping

The Benefits of Adopting an Older Cat

  1. More Relaxed and Calm Demeanor – Older cats tend to be more mellow and laid-back compared to a young kitten. They are past their hyperactive stage and are content with lounging around and enjoying your company.
  2. Lower Energy Levels – If you have a busy lifestyle or prefer a more low-key pet, an older cat may be the perfect fit for you. They require less playtime and exercise compared to younger cats.
  3. Already Litter Box Trained – Most mature and senior cats are already litter box trained, meaning you won’t have to go through the hassle of training them yourself.
  4. Less Destructive – Kittens are known for their curious and mischievous nature, which can sometimes result in damaged furniture or household items. Older cats tend to be more well-behaved and less likely to cause damage.
  5. Better for Busy Households – If you have a full house with children or other pets, mature and senior cats may be a better fit. They are typically less demanding and more tolerant of noise and chaos.
  6. Established Personality – With most cats that are older, what you see is what you get. Their personalities are fully formed, so you know exactly the type of cat you are adopting.
  7. Somewhat Healthier – While no animal is immune to health issues, it is generally believed that mature and senior cats are less prone to certain health problems compared to younger cats.
  8. Lower Adoption Fee – Many rescue shelters offer lower adoption fees for older cats, which can be a more affordable option for some adopters.
  9. Great Companions for Senior Citizens – Older cats can make fantastic companions for seniors who may not be able to keep up with the energy and demands of younger kitties.
  10. Making a Difference – By adopting an older cat, pet parents are not only gaining a loving cat but also making a positive impact on animal welfare. You are giving an overlooked and often forgotten new cat a second chance at life, which is truly priceless.
older cat special needs

Understanding the Special Needs of an Older Cat

Just like humans, cats’ bodies and behavior change as they age. It is important to understand the special needs of older cats in order to provide them with the best care possible. Here are some tips for caring for an older cat:

Dietary Needs

Older cats may require a different diet that is tailored for their age and health conditions. Consult with your veterinarian about the best food options for your senior or mature cat.

Providing Comfort

Older cats may require softer beds or heating pads to help with aching joints and overall comfort.

Environmental Adaptations

As cats age, they may develop difficulty jumping or climbing onto high surfaces. Consider providing ramps or steps to help your cat access their favorite spots.

Regular Veterinary Visits

As cats age, it is recommended to increase vet visits from once a year to twice a year. This is to catch any health issues early and ensure your cat is receiving proper care.

senior cat behavior patterns

Typical Behavior Patterns of Senior Cats

As cats age, their behavior may change due to a variety of factors. Here are some common behavioral changes you may notice in your senior cat:

  • Decreased Activity Levels – Unlike kittens, cats entering their senior years tend to become less active and more sedentary.
  • Increased Sleeping Time – Senior cats prefer to spend most of their day sleeping, which is completely normal.
  • Changes in Appetite – Older cats may experience a decrease or increase in appetite due to changes in their sense of smell, taste, and metabolism.
  • Litter Box Issues – Some senior cats may have difficulty using the litter box due to joint pain or other health issues. It’s important to provide easy access and keep the litter box clean for your cat.
  • Vocalization – Senior cats may become more vocal, especially at night. This could be a sign of discomfort or cognitive changes.

It’s important to monitor your senior cat’s behavior and consult with your veterinarian if you notice any sudden or concerning changes. With proper care and attention, older cats can live happy and healthy lives.

Is adopting an older cat right for you?

Is Adopting a Senior Cat Right for You?

Now that you have all the information, it’s time to decide if adopting an older cat is the right choice for you. Consider your lifestyle, preferences, and ability to provide for a senior or mature cat before making the important decision. Remember, adopting an older cat not only benefits them but also brings immense joy and fulfillment to your life. Give a senior cat a chance and see how they can bring love and companionship into your home.

So, if you’re ready to open your heart and home to a deserving older kitty, visit your local rescue shelter or contact a reputable adoption agency today! Let’s make a difference in the lives of these often overlooked feline friends. Together, we can give them the loving home they deserve.

researching senior cat shelters

Resources and Researching Local Shelters

If you’re interested in adopting a senior kitty, there are many resources available to help you research and choose the best local shelter. Here are some helpful tips:

  • Research Local Shelters Online – The internet can be a great tool for researching and finding information about many shelters. Make sure to read reviews and check out their website or social media pages.
  • Ask for Recommendations – Reach out to friends, family, or pet owners in your community for recommendations on the best local shelters.
  • Visit Shelters in Person – The best way to get a feel for a shelter is to visit in person. You can interact with the cats and observe how they are cared for by staff and volunteers.
  • Inquire About No-Kill Shelters – As mentioned before, no-kill shelters should be considered above all others. Make sure to ask about their policies and practices.
  • Speak with Staff or Volunteers – Take the time to speak with staff or volunteers at the shelter. They can provide valuable insights into the cats’ personalities and help match you with the perfect older cat for your home.

Remember, adopting mature cats is a big commitment and should not be taken lightly. Take the time to research and choose the best local rescue shelter that aligns with your values and goals. With proper research and consideration, you can find the perfect furry companion to brighten up your life. Below you will find a few resources to help you when considering adoption of older adult cats.

  • Petfinder – This website allows you to search for adoptable cats in your area, including senior and mature cats.
  • The Humane Society – The Humane Society has a database of local shelters and rescues that can help you find the perfect older cat for your home.
  • ASPCA – Similar to the Humane Society, the ASPCA also has a searchable database of local shelters and rescue organizations.
  • Adopt-a-Pet.com – This website allows you to search for adoptable cats in your area and filter by age, including senior cats.
  • Local Animal Shelters and Rescues – Don’t forget to check out your local animal shelters and rescues. They often have older cats available for adoption that may not be listed on larger websites. Search specifically for a No-Kill cat shelter.
finding a senior cat

Finding the Purr-fect Mature Cat

When searching for an older adult cat, it’s important to consider your lifestyle and what you can provide for your new friend. Here are some tips to help you find the right older cat for your home…

Consider Your Living Situation

If you live in a small apartment, an active and energetic senior cat may not be the best fit. Consider a more laid-back and low-maintenance cat instead.

Think About Your Lifestyle

Do you have a busy schedule or travel often? If so, an older cat with medical needs may not be the best choice. Look for a senior cat that can thrive in your lifestyle.

What About Existing Pets?

If you already have pets at home, it’s important to find a senior cat that can get along with them. Consider their personalities and energy levels when making your decision.

Be Realistic About Your Abilities

When adopting an older cat, it’s important to be practical about your capabilities to provide for their needs. If you aren’t able to handle medical or behavioral issues, consider a more independent senior cat.

Trust Your Gut

Ultimately, trust your instincts when choosing the perfect senior cat for you. If you feel a strong connection with a certain cat, it’s likely the right choice.

preparing you home for an older cat

Preparing for Your New Arrival

Once you’ve found your new pet cat, it’s time to prepare for their arrival and make them feel comfortable in their new forever home. Here are 9 tasks to complete before bringing your senior cat home.

  • Secure Your Home – Make sure your home is safe and secure for your senior cat. This may include ensuring all windows have screens and securing any potential escape routes.
  • Stock Up on Supplies – Purchase all necessary supplies, including food, litter, bowls, toys, and possibly even cat trees. It’s best to have these items ready before bringing your senior cat home.
  • Designate a Safe Space – Designate a quiet and safe area in your home for your senior cat to retreat to when feeling overwhelmed or anxious.
  • Prepare a Comfortable Bed – Make sure your senior cat has a comfortable and cozy bed to sleep in. This can help ease any anxiety they may have about their new surroundings.
  • Set Up a Litter Box – Set up the litter box in a quiet area of the house, away from high-traffic areas. Consider purchasing an extra-large litter box to accommodate older cats, who may have difficulty squatting.
  • Keep Your Home Quiet at First – During the first few days after bringing your senior cat home, it’s important to keep your home quiet and calm to help them adjust.
  • Establish a Feeding Routine – Older cats may have specific dietary needs or restrictions, so it’s important to establish a feeding routine that works for them.
  • Provide Plenty of Love and Attention – Older cats may take longer to adjust to their new home, so make sure to provide plenty of love and attention to help them feel comfortable and secure.
  • Be Patient – Remember, adopting an older cat is a big transition for both you and your new furry friend. Be patient with each other and give your senior cat time to acclimate to their new environment.
introducing an older cat

Introducing an Older Adult Cat to Your Home

When bringing your senior cat to their new home, it can often be bit of an adjustment for them. Here is some helpful advice to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Take it Slow

Introduce your senior cat to their new home one room at a time, allowing them to explore and adjust at their own pace.

Give Them Space

Allow your senior cat to have their own designated space in the house, away from other pets, where they can retreat to if needed.

Use Positive Reinforcement

Reward both your new senior cat and existing pets with treats and praise when they interact calmly and positively with each other.

Supervise Interactions

When introducing your senior cat to other pets, make sure to keep a close eye on all interactions and separate them if necessary.

Provide Separate Resources

Make sure to have separate food bowls, water bowls, litter boxes, and toys for each pet in the household to avoid any potential conflicts.

Be Consistent with Training

If you have existing pets, they may need some training when it comes to interacting with your new senior cat. Make sure to be persistent but patient with their learning process.

Give It Time

Introducing a senior cat to other pets may take time, so be patient and understanding during the adjustment period. In most cases, with slow and proper introductions, older cats can get along well with other pets in the household.

daily routines and bonding with an older cat

Daily Routines and Bonding Time

When it comes to caring for an elderly cat, establishing regular routines and bonding is crucial for their well-being. Here are a few things to consider when taking care of your kitty.

  • Feeding Schedule – As mentioned before, older adult cats may have specific dietary needs or restrictions, so it’s important to establish a regular feeding schedule that works for them.
  • Litter Box Cleaning – Older adult cats may have difficulty using the litter box due to arthritis or other medical conditions, so it’s important to keep their litter box clean and easily accessible.
  • Grooming Time – Older cats may need more help with grooming due to decreased mobility or arthritis. Make sure to set aside time each day to groom your senior cat, whether it’s brushing their fur or helping them clean hard-to-reach spots.
  • Playtime and Exercise – While older cats may not be as energetic as younger cats, it’s still important to provide them with daily exercise and playtime. This can be in the form of interactive toys or gentle play sessions.
  • Cuddling and Bonding – Spending quality time cuddling and bonding with your senior cat is crucial for their emotional well-being. Whether it’s snuggling on the couch or talking to them while they lounge nearby, make sure to show them love and affection every day.
senior cat veterinary care

Initial and Ongoing Veterinary Care

As with any pet, it’s important to prioritize their health and well-being by scheduling your first veterinary visit and continuing with regular check-ups. This is especially crucial for older cats as they may have underlying medical conditions that require monitoring or treatment.

When you take your senior cat to the veterinarian for the first time, he or she will receive a thorough physical examination, including blood work and other diagnostic tests if necessary. This will help establish a baseline for your senior cat’s health and any potential issues that may need to be addressed.

Once completed, it’s important to continue with regular check-ups at least once a year or more frequently if recommended by your veterinarian. These check-ups can help catch any potential health problems early on and ensure your senior cat is receiving the proper care they need.

In addition to regular check-ups, it’s important to monitor your senior cat’s behavior and physical appearance at home. Any changes in eating habits, litter box use, or mobility should be brought up with your veterinarian as they may indicate underlying medical issues that need to be addressed.

older cat crossing rainbow bridge

When Your Sweet Kitty Crosses the Rainbow Bridge

As much as we wish our beloved pets could be with us forever, unfortunately, the time will come when we have to say goodbye. Losing a pet can be an incredibly difficult and emotionally taxing experience, and it’s important to allow yourself time to grieve.

Here are some ways to help you cope with the loss of your senior cat:

Reach Out for Support

Don’t be afraid to lean on family and friends for emotional support during this difficult time.

Memorialize Your Pet

Create a special memorial or tribute for your senior cat, whether it’s through photos, artwork, or a memory book.

Consider Volunteering or Donating

Honoring your pet’s memory by volunteering at an animal shelter or donating to a pet organization can be a meaningful way to cope with your loss.

Take Care of Yourself

In the midst of grieving, it’s important to take care of yourself physically and emotionally. Make sure to eat well, get enough rest, and seek professional help if needed.

Final Thoughts

Adopting an older kitty can bring so much joy and love into your life. While there may be some challenges along the way, the bond you’ll form with them is truly special. With proper care, patience, and understanding, you can provide a loving home for your mature feline companion.

Remember to cherish every moment with your senior cat and give them the love and care they deserve. So, don’t hesitate to adopt an older cat and give them a second chance at a happy and fulfilling life! A senior cat may be older in age, but they still have plenty of love to give. Adopting one can not only bring joy into your home, but it can also make a positive impact on their life.

So, if you’re considering cat adoption, don’t overlook the older ones, they may just be the perfect addition to your family. Give them a chance and open your heart to a mature feline friend today!

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Hello and welcome! I’m a genuine cat lover and devoted parent of two adorable kitties. As you can see, cat adoption is meaningful for me. I believe it’s a humane and loving option. I have a great deal of respect and admiration for the people who operate rescue shelters. To show my gratitude for their selfless dedication, I’ve designed this website to help enlighten potential feline owners and raise awareness for cat adoption. Please join me and other cat lovers in our efforts to ensure every kitty has a happy, healthy life!

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