This morning I’ve decided to do a little write-up on how (and why) to adopt an older kitty. Sometimes older cats are overlooked for kittens and younger ones. There is perception that older kitties are somehow used up, will require special needs, or are somehow damaged goods in some way. I am hoping to dispel this myth. Of course there are some older cats that are special needs but these needs are often quite easily attended to with a little bit of learning and care. Caturday marks a good day to learn about the benefits of adopting the seniors.
Unlike kittens, older kitties often require less work and simply just want warm, loving homes with treats and small toys for the occasional want to play. Kittens can be extremely playful and often at all hours of the day. Sometimes when you’re trying to sleep because you need your 40 winks for work the next day, your kitten is super active. Cats are creatures of instinct and the nocturnal instinct is strong in kittenhood. The older kitty is happily adapted to your sleep schedule and will gladly find a corner of your bed at your bed time. I’ve even had my older kitty remind me of bed time by meowing and pacing near the bedroom door at that time.
There is a super big secret to adopting an older kitty and it’s very simple: Don’t make the mistake of choosing the cat. You (and most likely the cat) will not be happy. Just us human beings are choosy with regards to our circle of friends, so are our felines. I always advise first time cat owners that it is not a master-subordinate relationship. Your cat will see you as its peer and that is part of the joy of cat ownership. So by letting the cat choose you, the two of you will be much happier. This secret served me very well when volunteering at a cat adoption center. I never once had a cat returned that I adopted out. Happy cats make for happy humans.
Also do not be afraid of cats that have special needs. With a small amount of training (for you), caring for the cat is easy. I once had to care for a diabetic kitty. At first glance that might seem something terrifyingly difficult but it need not be. Giving insulin to a cat is easy as they adapt quickly and know when it is time. I always administered insulin by the thick part of the neck. It’s just a simple injection that is painless for the cat. My little buddy even put herself in “loaf” mode, tucking her paws underneath her belly when it was time.
There is another thing to be mindful of when you first bring home an older kitty. They’re likely going to need some time and space to become comfortable with your house. Be patient and kind because each cat’s adaptability is different. If you followed my advice and let the cat choose you, then it is likely going to adapt to its new surroundings faster. Leave plenty of things around with your scent on them, like towels. Also, if you live in a larger house, maybe keep two litterboxes: one in a regular location and one strategically placed. As cats are fastidious creatures, a major source of stress for a cat can be an inability to locate their litterbox. Your new feline friend will thank you.
So please adopt the senior kitties. Give them a wonderful life in their twilight years. It is so much better than them living in a shelter. Both you and your kitty will benefit.