Critter Culture
Be Feline-friendly by Adopting a Senior Cat

Be Feline-friendly by Adopting a Senior Cat

Critter Culture Staff



Adopting a senior cat may be right up your alley if you're thinking about inviting a pet into your life. Perhaps this is something you've never considered, but it has many benefits.

Are they difficult to keep? Will a senior fit your lifestyle? How are they different from other cats? Learning the reasons for adoption and how to accommodate them will show you if an older feline is the right choice for you.


Be a hero

Kids picking a cat to adopt from the animal shelter. FatCamera / Getty Images

Yearly, over three million cats wind up in shelters. Many of these are seniors. Older cats typically have suffered some hardships in life. Abandonment, abuse, and an owner's death are common reasons for homelessness.

Because people often hesitate to adopt a pet who doesn't have too many years left, seniors are usually skipped over for youngsters. This makes them prime candidates for euthanization. If you decide upon an older feline, you're saving their life. For a small fee, you'll have an animal that's vetted and ready for a new home. Plus, the money you'll spend goes to the rescue so they can help more animals.


You already know the deal

man petting his cat PeopleImages / Getty Images

There are a lot of variables when it comes to adopting a new animal. How will they fit in? Are they good with children? What's their personality type? Do they have any allergies or other medical conditions? Will they have quirks or odd behaviors? How big will they get?

With senior cats, all of this is already known. You'll be aware of what you're getting into. There aren't going to be many surprises when you adopt. By adopting an older cat, you'll be able to find the ideal feline companion for your specific lifestyle.


Introducing a new senior to your home

cat sitting on cat tower Ztranger / Getty Images

Once you find your perfect buddy, you have to bring them home. Introducing a senior to a new environment isn't as dramatic as bringing in a kitten since older animals have experienced life and know how to handle different situations better.

For cats, it's best to provide them with a secure outlet at all times. Make sure they're aware of a safety zone they can escape to whenever they need some alone time. It'll ease stress and anxiety in the event they need an adjustment period to their surroundings, especially if there are children and other pets.


Low-maintenance and supervision

cat using the litter box borchee / Getty Images

When you have a kitten or youngster, they'll need a lot of monitoring and training. Older cats are comparably docile, having already gone through this period in life. They're more mature emotionally and, therefore, quite independent. You won't have to supervise them since they know how to occupy themselves in a calm and reserved manner.


Grooming needs

man brushing cat with comb deimagine / Getty Images

One area of focus for a senior is grooming. This aspect of care requires a bit more attention when compared to a younger animal. As a feline get older, their fur is increasingly prone to matting. They have thinner skin and more dander. Add the rigors of age and flexibility to this mix, and your cat may not be able to attend to themselves properly. To combat this, you'll need to brush them frequently.

Nails are another source of contention with aging kitties. They grow thicker and more brittle as time goes by. Scratching posts are useful, but they aren't guaranteed to take care of everything. You'll need to trim your cat's nails regularly. If you don't feel comfortable doing so, groomers and vets offer this service.


Visiting the vet

Veterinarian examining cat Phynart Studio / Getty Images

Trips to your veterinarian must be a regular part of your new buddy's life. Senior animals should see a medical professional twice a year for routine checkups. Cats, in particular, have a stoic nature, so they won't always demonstrate visible signs if something's amiss. Plus, illness or physical problems can come on quickly in older pets.


Food and water

cat eating from bowl Irina Nedikova / Getty Images

Seniors still need adequate nutrition, but not at the level a younger animal requires. Your vet can help you determine the proper food for your kitty to keep them healthy and strong. As they age, a pet's nutritional needs evolve to compensate for a less active lifestyle.

Due to natural changes in kidney function, older cats go through more water than their youthful counterparts. Adding canned food to their diet will aid in offsetting their thirst. Using wide, shallow bowls also helps. And ensuring there's always a fresh supply of water is absolutely important.


Cozy accommodations

cat relaxing in bed Svetlana Popova / Getty Images

A senior cat deserves to be spoiled. Treat them like royalty. Give them a new bed or two. Adapt your home to suit their aging needs. Provide steps to your bed. Keep bowls and litter boxes close to the areas they frequent. Do what you can to make their life easier during their golden years.


They require love and snuggles

woman playing with cat Johner Images / Getty Images

Senior felines are laid back and relaxed. They want no parts of a high-energy lifestyle. Instead of bouncing around and sticking their nose where it doesn't belong, an older cat is more mellow. They prefer snuggling and tender moments with their owner over ripping apart furniture or jumping on a shelf. Any time you're relaxing, they're apt to do the same thing alongside you.


Appreciation and sharing a bond

woman bonding with her cat gradyreese / Getty Images

You may not know too much about your cat's previous life, but this doesn't matter. Your new friend has had many experiences and realizes you saved them by giving them a forever home. They'll always be appreciative if you decide to invite them into your world.



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