You’re considering adding a feline companion to your home, and like most people, you’re probably thinking of getting a kitten. Once you get to the shelter or adoption center, you might be surprised because the staff is asking whether you might want to adopt an older cat instead!
When it comes to adoption, people don’t really think about adopting older animals because they are so enchanted by the cuteness or allure of younger animals. However, there are significant benefits that you can enjoy when you adopt an older cat.
- Older cats have all necessary health procedures done already
If you are adopting from a shelter, most shelters will have already done all the necessary health procedures on an older animal because it is required by law. An older cat will already have all the required vaccinations, as well as been spayed or neutered. Some places even microchip their animals for free! By adopting an older cat, you won’t have to worry about their health too much because they are already immunized, and you won’t have to worry about accidental breeding as well. Microchipped animals are easier to find, and if your cat decides to wander off, those who find your pet can use the microchip to return the cat to you.
- Older cats are cleaner and more independent
Older cats already groom themselves, so they won’t need any further assistance from you to keep themselves clean unless you are adopting a long-haired breed. They also tend to be more delicate when it comes to eating, unlike kittens who tend to get their food all over the place. Kittens are also more prone to diarrhea, as their gut bacteria have not fully developed yet.
If you’re a busy person or one who enjoys going out frequently, an older cat will adapt to your schedule more easily. Most older cats are content with sleeping or just relaxing in place most of the day, with occasional playtimes and bursts of energy. It will be easier for you to adjust your schedule around caring, feeding, and cleaning after an older cat compared to a kitten.
- Older cats are already litter-trained
Litter-training is one of the messiest and most annoying parts of raising a kitten because they are prone to having accidents outside of the litter box, or just scattering the litter everywhere. Older cats generally already know how to use the litter box, and all you will need to do is get them used to the position of the litter box. They’ll do the rest.
- Older cats are generally calmer and better behaved
For homes with elderly members or younger children, an older cat will take to the atmosphere of the home more easily. They are more tolerant to smaller children who might pull their tall or be a little rough in playing with them, and they make excellent companions for the elderly as they love being petted and just sitting on their laps.
- You know what you’re going to get
The biggest benefit of getting an older cat is that you will be able to gauge the energy level, the attitude, and the overall temperament of the animal. With kittens, it can be a gamble; a quiet and shy kitten can grow up to be a boisterous and rowdy adult, and vice-versa. With an older cat, you will be able to choose what temperament and energy level will fit best with your household.
Cat Care Tips for Older Cats
Caring for older cats tends to be easier compared to caring for kittens. Here are some cat care tips for older cats that you can use if you are adopting an older cat for the first time:
- Ask for their medical history
When adopting the older cat, ask as many questions as possible about the cat’s medical history with the shelter. Ask about any procedures that has been done on the cat, or if they have any special medical needs or conditions that you need to keep in mind.
- Pay attention to their habits closely for the first few days
During the first few days, you need to monitor your cat to know their habits, preferences, and general attitude around your home. You will be able to see where they prefer to sleep, eat, play, and relieve themselves, and adjust your home accordingly.
- Get regular vet checkups
Once you have your cat’s medical history, you should bring your cat to the vet to get them a general health checkup. Most older cats who are housed in shelters are perfectly healthy, and your vet can confirm that for you. You should also take note of the regular schedule so that you can bring your cat to the vet around roughly the same time each year.
- Use age-appropriate toys and food
With older cats, you need to use food and toys that are formulated and designed for their age. Older cats do not need as much protein as kittens, and they might prefer toys that aren’t as noisy as toys designed for kittens.