Adopt a Senior Cat and Change a Life (or Two)

November has been designated as “Adopt a Senior Pet Month;” in today’s blog post we have gathered some good reasons for you to think about when considering adopting a senior cat. 

First, you’ll know what type of cat you are getting. Kittens are still developing personality-wise, so it may be difficult to determine whether they will grow up to be a snuggle-bunny or an aloof lone ranger. With a senior cat, what you see is what you get. It’s important to note that the shelter environment might be stressful, so the cat you are considering may exhibit timidity or fearful behaviors that will diminish once he or she is settled in a peaceful, forever home. 

Fully mature, senior cats are typically mellow fellows. You’ll avoid the rambunctiousness with curious kittens, including the naughty things that can get these mischievous creatures into trouble. However, senior cats do still enjoy playing both with their people and/or their housemates, so definitely plan on many fun moments ahead.

Avoid all of the house training fiascos. Senior cats come pretty well-trained to use the litter box and the scratching post. Be sure the litter box for your senior cat has a shallow front entrance for an easy entrance and exit, and is big enough to make turning around easy. (Read more about your cat’s dream litter box HERE.) 

They make fantastic couch surfers. Senior cats, as professional sleepers, are superb at curling up for a nice, long nap. This means you’ll have a furry companion nearby while you’re reading a book, binge-watching Netflix, or working from home—any activity that goes well with a little purring in the background. 

If you’re hesitating due to concerns about the length of time you would have to enjoy your cat companion, consider this, the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) defines a senior cat as ages 11-14, and geriatric felines as ages 15 and older. It is not uncommon for a healthy cat to live into their late teens/early twenties—so you can enjoy many good years and make many new memories with a senior cat.Adopting a Senior Cat. Tips from Dr. Hazel Carney, feline behavior and veterinary medicine specialist. Dr. Carney shared this picture of Tootsie on his 24th birthday (and you can see how clearly thrilled he is to be celebrating)!

Adopting a senior cat from a shelter most likely means that it has been spayed or neutered, received a full physical exam, and key vaccinations and medications. With a kitten, it becomes your responsibility to complete the entire series of vaccinations, de-worming, veterinary exams, etc. Remember, most veterinarians recommend that your cat undergoes an annual physical exam with your family veterinarian. If additional health concerns arise, he or she may recommend a shorter timeline.

The most important reason to adopt a senior cat? They are often the most difficult pets for shelters and rescues to place in a new home. Think about it—you can save a cat’s life! Your warm and loving home will enable this senior cat to live its golden years in peace and dignity. Plus, you’ll receive companionship, friendship, and appreciation from your new friend in return.

There are many pets awaiting forever homes in the Treasure Valley at area animal rescues and shelters. We have compiled a list of adoption centers HERE. If you have room in your heart and home, perhaps there is a senior animal that could become part of your life this November.

Dr. Hazel Carney, Feline Behavior and Medicine Clinician, has co-authorized veterinary guidelines on cat litter box behavior problems. If your cat is suddenly not using their litter box in favor of your carpet or behind the couch, you may schedule a phone or in-person consult with her. Please call 208.375.1600. Find more information available on our feline medicine page HERE

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