If you make the decision to adopt a cat rather than purchase a kitten straight from a breeder, first of all – congratulations! Not only on your new pet but on your morally responsible and valuable decision to adopt one of millions of cats who desperately need and deserve a loving home. In choosing to adopt an animal, you are doing your part to help with the dramatic overpopulation crisis that is facing animal shelters in the United States.
When you choose to bring a furry friend into your home, you will undoubtedly become very attached. Your new addition will quickly slot into your life and become like another member of the family. However, with so many cats living in shelters across the country, many new owners tend to look for younger felines, aka kittens or cats aged 2 and under, so that they can enjoy as much time as possible together. While this is understandable, senior cats make fantastic pets too. They are also often the first cats to be euthanized when shelters become overcrowded. Therefore, by adopting a senior cat you are not only giving her a chance at a new life, you are potentially saving her life too.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, raising kittens and younger cats can be a lot like looking after children – and seriously hard work. By far the biggest advantage to choosing a mature feline is the fact that she should already be house-trained and understand the behaviors that are expected of her. This may not be the case for all senior cats, but certainly most of them.
Some of the other key advantages to choosing a senior cat include:
Lower energy levels. While this may not work for all families, many people prefer felines who are much calmer and more relaxed, and who are content to chill out and watch the world go by without needing constant entertainment.
Set temperament. When you adopt a kitten, her attitude and temperament have not yet been established and you don’t really know what she will be like as she matures into an adult. However, when you adopt an older feline, you know exactly what you are getting and the current owner, or shelter, will be able to tell you important information such as whether she gets along with other animals and children, and how she copes with things such as being left alone or changes to her environment. This will enable you to tell how well she will fit into your family and routine.
Lower cost. It surprises many owners to learn that it is actually usually significantly cheaper to adopt an adult cat than it is a kitten. This is because most adult cats have already been spayed/neutered and had the necessary vaccinations. Shelters will also often offer adult cats with no adoption fees.
Older and wiser. It may sound corny, but life experience is an important quality in any valuable addition to your home. Older pets tend to understand people and environments better, are more tolerant of young children and other animals and are often independent enough not to need constant interaction.
Unfortunately, yes. A senior cat is an older animal and so may have some health conditions or simply advanced age which may make your time together slightly shorter. However, many owners will agree that knowing that you have saved an older cat from living out the remainder of their days in a shelter outweighs the loss of time with your pet. Instead, focus on spending lots of quality time together and making your life together as wonderful as possible. Contact us and schedule an appointment with our veterinary team.