Pets can be wonderful companions for all types of people. Dogs and cats alike are bringing joy and a sense of purpose to human beings of all ages. Senior citizens are among the top groups benefiting from our furry friends. This post explores the the things to consider when adopting a pet for senior citizens.
What age is considered senior citizen?
Legally, peoples age 60 and over are considered senior citizens. Most consider a senior citizen someone who is retired and on a pension. For tax purposes, anyone from age 60 to 80 is considered senior and 80+ is something called a super-senior citizen. For purposes of this blog post we will assume anyone over the age of 60 to be a senior citizen.
What are the top considerations for a senior citizen adopting a cat?
For an older adult to consider adopting a pet, there are different factors at play that should be taken into consideration. We have put a list together of our top picks and why they are important for aging adults and the pets they will be adopting. Giving some forethought to this list should put you in a better position when adopting your feline. Having the most information in advance will give you peace of mind and a confidence about bringing your cat to her new home. This will help the transition process and reduce stressors for both you and your pet.
A new kitten is definitely a tempting adoption choice, however thinking a kitten will help keep a person young could backfire and end up being more work than anticipated. I can say firsthand, kittens can be a lot more maintenance than an adult cat. When I adopted Finnegan, he wanted to play non-stop. Being a curious kitten, he was always getting into drawers, playing with cords and jumping on windowsills and shelves; knocking everything down on his way up. He frequently climbed my curtains and his little claws needed trimmed weekly. I had a lot of fun with him but he was almost too much energy for me (and I was not a senior citizen). There are many more training and playing demands from a kitten, so adopting an adult cat can be a smarter choice. An adult cat is also less likely to out live their owner. An indoor cat can live as long as 25 years of age with 12-15 being the average.
Everything you need to know about adopting a senior cat can be found in our article The Ultimate Guide To Adopting An Older Cat including the benefits.
Giving some thought to the amount of playtime a cat requires can be very beneficial to the transition process. A kitten will require several hours a day of playtime (and constant attention) whereas a cat will need at least 20 minutes a day. Depending where the cat has been living prior to coming to your home, you might be able to find out how playful the cat has been. It is ideal if the cat has been in a foster home so you can get a bit of commentary from the cat’s foster. If you are getting the cat from a re-homing situation, you should also be able to find out how much energy the cat has and if he likes to play. Picking up a few toys in advance based on his play interest will make him feel especially welcome!
CAT OR CATS
Sometimes adopting two cats instead of one can be a better choice especially if the cats are already bonded. Having a sibling or friend can take some of the pressure off you to always pay attention to your furry friend. Not to mention, if you go out of town for several days or more in a row, your cats will miss you but not nearly as much if one was alone. If you get a kitten or even a youngish cat, I would most certainly suggest considering two!
Finding out what a cat’s temperament before adopting her is not always possible, but if you can do this, be sure to! You might find out a cat’s personality is just too purrfect to pass up and you won’t want to risk losing her to someone else. On the flip side, you might discover that a particular kitty would not be compatible with your household and knowing this upfront can save you heartache and disappointment in the future. Questions you might ask to uncover her personality are:
Does this cat like to be held?
Is she affectionate?
Does she like children?
What are her favorite toys?
How much does she sleep?
Does she meow? purr?
What has triggered her to hiss?
I adopted Madison and Abigail knowing they were both FIV positive. I have no regrets and am so glad I was able to have them both as companions! That being said, each of them did have allergies and asthma, plus their immune system was not as strong as would have been if they were not FIV. I was at the vet 10x more than I have needed to take Finnegan who is not FIV. I did not mind at all and had the resources to get them both to there appointments. Remember, getting a cat into his carrier prior to the vet visit can be an adventure all in itself. If you are in a situation you are not able to get to the vet easily, you might consider a cat who is seemingly healthy. Perfect health might be impossible when adopting an older cat, but going into the new relationship with an understanding of any health conditions should be top of your list. Knowing the cat’s health can help you in your decision making process. If you decide to adopt the kitty, preparing for his arrival might include getting certain foods, medications and grooming supplies. Preparing as best as possible can go a long way!
Putting together a budget with food, litter, toys and any caretaking your cat will need (if you travel) can help you decide the type of cat you want to get and how many. Budgeting ahead of time can also eliminate any surprises (like having an emergency fund for your cat or getting health insurance). Once you know how many cats (one or two), your cat’s health, and any other considerations your cat will have you can put together a budget spreadsheet on Excel. This will give you a template to update when needed.
If you travel or know of certain times you will be away from home for extended times, it might be good to think about a kitty cat sitter. I have had quite a bit of GOOD LUCK with Rover which is a pet sitting app. I like it because you can read reviews of customers about each sitter.
Find the perfect pet sitter or walker on Rover! Sign up with my link and get $20 off your first booking https://www.rover.com/ambas-refer-a-friend/N6YWWDxA
Being prepared and going into your new adoption will make the transition much easier. Your relationship with your new companion will start on a strong foundation and have the chance to flourish naturally since you put some thought and preparation into everything. Enjoy your new furry friend(s)!