The idea of adopting a senior cat might fill some folks with a few reservations. After all, you probably don’t want to set yourself up to fall in love with a sweet feline, only to say goodbye. Fortunately, according to the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, cats are living longer than ever these days! Dr. Richard Goldstein, professor and veterinarian from the college, claims his oldest feline patient lived a healthy 22 years. Heck, one cat named Rubble has even reached his 30th birthday — making him approximately 137 in “human years,” according to a report from People.
Most cats are considered “senior” by the time they reach 12, so that means you will have plenty of time to enjoy with your own fuzzy friend. Clearly, today’s cats are stretching out those nine lives as long as possible thanks to regular visits to the vet and advancements in pet medicine. That said, their endurance isn’t the only reason you should consider bringing a senior cat into your home. Take a look below for more perks of adding an older feline to your family!
1. Senior cats make amazing nap buddies.
No one knows the benefit of a good snoozefest quite like older felines. Sleeping up to 20 hours a day is totally normal for senior cats, according to PetMD. Admit it, you’d sleep that much if you could, too. Since we humans have other responsibilities, we can at least enjoy the soothing purrs of senior cats as they sleep on our laps.
One thing to keep an eye out for, however, is whether your adopted fur ball show signs of lethargy that seems to be due to painful movement or arthritis. If he or she starts acting strange, you should take the cutie to the vet ASAP.
2. Senior cats have fewer surprises.
Raising a kitten can be rewarding, but the young ones can also be pretty unpredictable. On the other hand, senior cats are pretty much set in their ways, meaning they're content to follow a regular daily routine. Also, they can adapt easily to yours.
Obviously, there will be a waiting period while your cat could be more reserved and getting used to a new life in your home. Just remember that like all felines, senior cats might hide a bit at first, but your furry friends will come around soon enough.
3. Older felines are calmer, but still playful.
Just because older cats are more set in their ways and sleep longer than younger cats doesn’t mean they aren’t up for playing a game or two. Of course, you’ll need to keep any medical issues in mind and keep to your particular animal's level as gently as possible.
Healthy senior cats, though, will enjoy playing with feather wands and laser pointers just like any other kitty. You will probably also find them rummaging around in any cardboard boxes you leave lying around.
4. Cats who are older are already litter trained.
Unlike kittens, older cats have learned the ropes when it comes to using litter boxes. You can usually expect senior felines to transition to that aspect of their new environment pretty much immediately, but you still might have an adjustment period — especially if you attempt to radically change the system he or she has been used to at the shelter or previous home.
Your cat might also develop a health issue that causes them to go outside of the box, in which case a check-up from their a vet is definitely a good idea.
5. Mature cats deserve a loving home, too.
Whatever caused a senior cat to end up in a shelter, on the streets, or in need of a new home doesn’t mean the cuties are any less worthy of the same level of protection and care as any other cat. In fact, some folks will even tell you that this makes elderly cats deserve a good home even more — including if he or she has special needs that require the patience and love of a particularly caring human.
After all, you wouldn't want someone saying you were suddenly less valuable to the world just because the candles on your birthday cake started adding up.
6. Older felines come with so much love.
Because senior cats are going through this type of transition later in life, they’re all the more thankful to their new owners. Sure, there might be a trial period where they take time to get to know you slowly before they get comfortable in their new surroundings — but once they do, you’ll have a best friend who loves you more than you could have ever imagined.
Like any other cat, that affection might come in the form of endless snuggles, or having you close by if they like to keep their distance. Each feline is different when it comes to how they show their love, depending on trauma from the past or other personality quirks.
Another reason to add a senior cat to your family? If you decide to pick up your fluffy friend from the ASPCA, they waive their adoption fee for most cats over the age of three! Now there's officially no excuse for not sharing your heart with a precious older feline.