The benefits of adopting old cats vs. kittens
By Reva Nelson
A long time ago, when my son was small and at that age where getting a first pet is top of mind all the time, I went to the Humane Society with my 5 year old, planning to get a kitten. We went together with a friend and his daughter for support. “What about this one?” she asked. Her choice was an old (he looked old, but was really only 5 – like my son), skinny, runny-nosed gray and white cat. He looked absolutely pitiful. I’m sure he was on death row.
“Ya, mom,” I heard next. “I think we should get this guy.” The volunteer brought him out of his cage. He curled up in my son’s arms and began to purr.
“Oh no,” said the Humane Society employee, “this cat doesn’t like children,” she claimed. “Well, it looks as if he does.” I said.
We adopted him and two days later he became terribly ill. We took him back and they checked him out and gave him his medications—no charge. After that he was sick one more time, worse than before and close to dying. Again they fixed him up and after a long winter of lying by the heating vent and looking like he might leave us at any minute, his health came back with the spring season and he lived for 14 more years.
I’ve had many cats in my lifetime. That one was so special, so appreciative, so loving, and so connected to our little family. Everyone loved him. SO, with November being Adopt a Senior Pet Month, and with me being a senior now myself, I’ve just have to stick up for old cats.
Firstly, the problems with kittens:
1. Kittens are FULL of energy
Kittens will race all around the house, chasing their own tail. This can be amusing at first, but their favorite time to do it is the middle of the night to wake you from slumber.
2. Kittens can be annoying
They chew everything, including wires that you need for that lamp or that charger, or that phone cord if you still have a landline (I do).
3. Kittens need attention
They’re needy, noisy, and irksome. Even though they are beyond cute, that constant attention-seeking mew can quickly turn from cute to obnoxious.
4. If it tears, it’s theirs
I I once had a cat that would run across the dining room table, and from there would leap onto the lace curtains of the front room and hang there. Repeatedly. The lace curtains were shredded. As were my shoelaces, my nylons… the list goes on.
5. Kittens can be more expensive
Kittens need their needles and they need to get fixed, which costs money.
Now for the joys of senior cats
1. Old cats are sleepy
They’re so very sleepy. They don’t come to you; you have to go to go them, pick them up, and put them on your lap. But once you do they will stay there, purr, and make you feel warm and snuggly along with them.
2. Old cats are grateful
An old cat has lived a life and knows how valuable a safe and comfortable home is. Because of this, they’re happy, calm, and grateful. Especially if you rescued him or helped out by taking over his care from someone who could no longer manage.
3. Less in and outs
An old cat doesn’t want to go in and out and in and out and in and out and in and out and in and out. It mostly wants to stay in where it’s warm.
4. They’re less expensive
Aside from the benefit of already having their shots, an old tomcat doesn’t need to get into scraps with the young male down the street. Its fighting days are over so there’s no need to worry about them coming home with scrapes and scratches that require a trip to the vet.
5. They connect to you
In his last year my old cat would curl up on my lap, crawl toward my head, snuggle in by my shoulder, put his paw on my head and lick my face. Just saying thank you. It was the loveliest thing ever. After he passed away, I felt him doing that for the entire next month. Call me crazy, but that’s what a connection with a pet can do.
Reva Nelson is a guest columnist for Get Leashed during Adopt a Senior Pet Month