If you’re considering adopting a cat, you’re probably wondering what type of cat you should get. Shelter cat, or purebred? Adult cat, kitten, or senior cat? One, two, or more? These are all questions that are best answered by determining what your budget is, what your home situation is like, and what kind of cat would best fit all of that. However, if you’re in a situation where multiple types of cats would be a good fit, adopting senior cats might be the way to go.
Adopting senior cats gives them a much-needed shot at happiness
People tend to prefer kittens over grown cats when they go to shelters and breeders. The biggest reason is a simple one: Kittens are cute, cuddly, and impossibly difficult to resist. This can be a good thing during what’s known as kitten season, because shelters have so many kittens that they need high demand for them.
What of the rest of the cats, though? Kitten season is a double-edged sword. In no-kill shelters, these cats, especially senior cats, tend to languish. In a kill shelter, they get euthanized. Kitten season makes that worse, because there are so many more kittens available for adoption that adopting senior cats out is nearly impossible. Those cats are virtually overlooked when tons of kittens are available.
Some good reasons for adopting senior cats
Why would anybody want to adopt senior cats, though? They might be old enough to have to worry about health problems. They won’t be around nearly as long. These reasons might make adopting senior cats seem pointless, but there are good reasons to do it. One particularly good one, according to Dr. Karen Becker, is that senior pets are well beyond the “search and destroy” phases of their lives. They’ve also probably already learned to live with a family, and their personalities are established, so you know what you’re getting.
You can also search for cats with clean medical histories, or, if you’re interested in adopting a special-needs kitty, you’ll know when you adopt him what his needs are, how to meet them, and possibly, how often you might have to take him to the vet for care. All of this is much more difficult when adopting kittens, versus adopting senior cats.
One thing that Dr. Becker says is that senior pets seem to know that you gave them what may be their last chance for a loving home. This can make it easy to form a close bond with your cat than adopting a kitten would. We don’t really know if this quiet gratitude is actually part of the nature of a senior pet, and they just seem grateful, or if they are, somehow, actually grateful. Regardless, this can possibly be one of the strongest reasons for adopting senior cats instead of kittens.
Basically, while adopting kittens is very tempting, adopting senior cats brings its own perks. There are many, many reasons to adopt a senior cat; we’ve listed just a few of them.