Kittens are adorable. They are teensy, tiny balls of fluff. They are full of energy and love, curiosity and playfulness. Why wouldn't you want to adopt one? The thing is, a senior cat is every bit as lovable as its young counterpart, but also comes with a whole slew of other fantastic attributes. Seeing as how November is "Adopt a Senior Cat Month,” we've put together this article, explaining some of they key reasons why you would be glad you went ahead and gave that mature kitten a loving home.
What Exactly is a Senior Cat
Before we begin extolling the many joys of adopting a senior cat, let's stop for a moment and discuss what “senior” actually means in the feline world. Cats are generally considered “fully grown” some time in the 12 to 18 month range, but are classified as “adult” around the age of one. Although, technically speaking, a cat is an adult by 12 months, they are not considered “senior” until they are around 7 years old – though, many vets put that label into a range from 7-10 years old.
When it comes to our furry companions, many people mistakenly associate “senior” with “slow” or “sick.” The truth is that this is simply one of many epithets used to help owners and veterinarians know what sort of care will be needed for each unique cat – after all, a kitten's needs will be very different from an adult's. That said, it's important to remember that each kitty is an individual. While some of our more mature friends will slow down or develop physical ailments with age, others will remain as spry and hearty as their tiny peers.
Senior Cats Can Get Along With Just About Anyone
Although they may remain pretty sprightly well into an advanced age, senior cats are typically more mild mannered than younger kitties, and as such, tend to be more tolerant. That being the case, an older feline works well in just about any household: they may be more patient with – or, at least, able to calmly walk away from – a rambunctious little one, or accept the company of other household critters. Furthermore, they make for marvelous companions for older human beings.
Of course, there are always exceptions, and some mature cats may turn out to be more irritable than others. By and large, though, feline elders make for excellent company in most households.
Your Mature Kitty's Personality is Already Developed
Kittens are teensy little balls of fur-coated clay. They are can be molded into just about anything. However, while environment and training can have a big impact on how a kitten develops, it's important to note that – like humans – every feline is unique. There are certainly things you can train, but there is no guarantee that your little kitty will turn into the ideal cat for you and your living situation. Furthermore, young adult cats will have all of the kittenish enthusiasm, but will have already developed patterns that may be hard to break.
A senior cat, on the other hand, has already moved out of the crazy kitten stage, on through the “young adult” period, and is now a fully-formed individual. Because those milestones have already been reached and surpassed, the cat you meet in the shelter will likely be almost the exact cat that you bring home. Of course, there may be some small variations – what with shelters and a change-of-house both being relatively stressful situations – but all you need to do is speak with a representative of the shelter. They can tell you what your future mature kitty is like, and feel fairly confident that once the dust settles, you'll wind up with the marvelous cat that they described.
Senior Felines Won't Wreck Up the Place
All right, so this isn't always true... after all, kitties will be kitties, no matter what their age. But in the same vain as them fitting in with other family members, a senior cat is more likely to fit into just about any home. Why? Well, for starters, these wise critters have most likely already encountered some things – rules about what is and is not appropriate to play with, for example. They will likely have pre-established habits, like using the litter box and sharpening their claws on a scratching post. Finally, they will probably be a little less unruly than little cats, which means a couple of things: 1. They won't feel as compelled to terrorize you... your other pets... and, for the sake of this argument, the corners of the couch, and 2. They won't rip up the carpeting in your apartment or gnaw on your brand-spanking-new throw pillows.
Mature Cats Just Want Love
Depending on your school of thought, a senior cat may truly grasp that you have provided him with a safe, comfortable home, and thus, be more inclined to show his appreciation with plenty of affection. Furthermore, though they may be relatively stout, they will still require plenty of special attention. Because of that, they will be more likely to come and cuddle up with you – not just for warmth, but as a way to bond and feel close. Finally, because your sweet little old-guy cat has already worked through all of the kitten-style of crazy, he'll be less likely to go into that whole random “attack-mode,” meaning that your snuggle sessions will last a whole lot longer!
One Small Caveat
We've touched on this a bit already, but it bears repeating. Every cat is truly an individual, and as such, although the above reasons for adopting a senior cat may apply, they may also... well... not. Be sure to speak with the people you're adopting from – they will know what your mature kitty is really like, be able to tell you all of his quirks and habits, and help you decide whether or not he will be a good fit for you.
Whether you're thinking of adopting for the first time, or you just want to add a lovely new friend to your existing gang, you truly ought to take a moment and consider adopting a senior cat. Not only will you bring home a fabulous new companion, you will also help to save a couple of extra lives in the process – and how great is that!
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