For most people who are looking to adopt a new cat into their lives, they will tend to go with a kitten outright. If not, an adolescent or young adult cat – around 6 months to 2 years old.
Animal shelters though have a plethora of cats of various ages available – including older and senior ones that should be given a chance to have a loving home. There are actually a number of reasons to adopt a senior cat that you may not initially think of.
Why Get A Senior Cat? Why Not a Kitten?
1. Adoption Costs
If you adopt a senior cat at a lesser price, some people might think that you’ve gotten the worse of the lot. This is not true. The price is not a gauge to know if you got a good one or not.
As senior cats are difficult to get homes, some rescue shelters often give discounted amounts to people who adopt them like an incentive. Shelters would always provide well-detailed information about the senior cats so you know what you’re getting yourself into.
There have been discussions on the need to discount adoption prices for senior cats and it does help for them to get adopted and have a good life while they can.
Although shelter cats are not as expensive as a pet store, there are still adoption processing fees to be considered, as the shelter needs to make some money in order to continue supporting its operations. While kittens can cost up to $100 to $200, senior cats are often free!
This is because senior cats are typically harder to place. Hence, to incentivize potential pet owners to select them, most shelters will offer them at extremely low adoption fees; if not for free.
Additionally, routine medical costs moving forward will be significantly reduced – barring any issues that will eventually arise with the cat’s older age.
Senior cats will have already been spayed or neutered, been given their full regiment of deworming medication, and will have gotten all their required vaccinations. In fact, senior cats only need vaccines once a year, if at all. Kittens, on the other hand, need frequent boosters up to a year old.
2. Keeping Calm and Carrying On
Another benefit to senior kitties is that they are usually able to settle into a home much quicker than a kitten. Senior cats are more experienced with people and maybe have even been in a few homes in the past.
Either way, they know the routine and how things work. Kittens, on the other hand, are still getting their bearings and even young cats may need an adjustment period when you first bring them home.
Kittens and young cats can also be more than a handful. Kittens, in particular, sometimes don’t have the best litter box habits and just having a single energetic kitten around the house may translate to litter box issues like accidents outside the box or litter tracking.
Older cats tend to be a lot better with litter box usage as they’ve already learned it through the years. In other words, you are assured that they would have the disposition and manners that kittens don’t have yet.
They also will tend to self-clean better than kittens. This means that you don’t need to deal with dirty kittens or fur everywhere.
This is especially helpful if you’re just renting an apartment. When you get a senior cat, you know your deposit’s safe and sound.
Kittens also get more GI issues than older cats and dealing with diarrhea or vomit is never fun. This again connects back to medical costs as young cats have weaker immune systems and so, are more susceptible to picking parasites or viruses up from the environment.
3. What You See Is What You Get
Any reputable shelter will likely be able to provide you with the behavior and personality profiles of senior cats as their personalities are fully developed. With kittens, you don’t always know what you’re getting.
Kittens are almost always excited and wild. But once they turn into adolescent and beyond, they will likely change and they’re not always going to turn into a cat with a personality who is a good fit for your home or what you’re looking for.
Senior cats are pretty much not going to change. This is also in terms of health as well, as kittens could develop any number of conditions as they mature. Whereas with a senior kitty, you will likely know what issues are already present, if any.
4. Low Key and Relaxed
We all know how cats love to sleep most of the day; more so when they age. When they were younger, they may have slept half of the day away.
The moment you see cats sleeping most of the day and you don’t see anything wrong with how they move, eat or play, then, they may have reached seniority. It’s naturally hard to get into trouble when you’re snuggling up on a window sill in a sunbeam all day.
Overall, senior cats are low-maintenance animals compared to kittens and young cats. Kittens are known for their boundless energy which can be tiring, especially if you’re someone who works and isn’t able to socialize with them all day.
They can also get into trouble because of their energy. Even young adult cats can cause problems with litter box or scratching.
Related to this is the idea that older cats don’t need as much attention or enrichment. This isn’t to say that senior kitties aren’t affectionate or that they don’t need any stimulation. It’s just, that compared to younger cats, it’s much less.
Senior cats usually aren’t much into toys and they’ll let you know when they want attention. It’s very unlikely for a kitten to want to socialize all the time.
Older cats are happy with just their food, water, and maybe a nice spot on the couch to sleep. They’ll let you know when they want some quality time with their person, but they’re also content to relax by themselves.
5. For Young and Old Alike
It may be something you may not have thought of, but senior cats are a great pet choice for both young children as well as the elderly. Kids can be a little rough, so a mature cat that has been around the block a bit is more likely to tolerate some rough handling.
Kittens can be fragile and young adult cats may scratch or bite. But with older cats, young children can interact with them with little fear of any incidents.
Older cats are also great companions for an elderly person. They are far less destructive and much calmer than kittens or younger cats as stated earlier. They are a good fit for senior citizens who may not have the mobility or energy to play and take care of them.
Senior cats are low key and can almost take care of themselves but are still game to lay on grandpa’s lap for hours.
6. Resident Cat Relations
As the personality and background of senior cats is something that you can understand, it’s easier to identify what they will do will with other resident cats versus a younger kitty. Also, older cats are less likely to be high strung when being introduced to a new cat which will hopefully make the transition easier.
Older cats are more likely to have an easier time integrating into a home with existing animals. Unlike kittens, they are pretty independent and so, won’t be getting in the way of a resident animal’s existing routine which means less likelihood of conflict.
7. Give Love a Chance
The final reason why you should consider a senior kitty is that you’re saving a life. Kittens and young adult cats are the most in-demand from animal shelters and adoption agencies. This means that older cats are often left behind and have to spend the rest of their life in a cage and in some cases, may be euthanized.
Senior kitties can offer the same love and affection as a kitten but are more low-maintenance, simpler to care for, and more flexible with adjusting to a new life and any changes moving forward.