Paws and Effect

June is Adopt-A-Cat Month. Would you consider adopting an older cat?

We both remember the day we got to go home. It was the best day of our lives! Even though we cried all the way there, in our hearts we were purring and purring because we knew somebody loved us as much as we loved them.

And even though we were adopted separately, many years apart, we both love each other right to pieces, too.

Close-up of a black cat and a tabby cat snuggled together in a bed.

We love to snuggle! Photo CC-BY-SA JaneA Kelley

We know kitten season is in full swing, and it’s so hard to resist the temptations of those cute little babies with their tiny squeaks and purrs bigger than their bodies. But we have a special Adopt-A-Cat Month request for you: Please visit the adult cats first! You’d be amazed how much love a grown-up or special needs cat can give.

Here are some great reasons to adopt an adult cat:

1. Their personalities are fully formed

You never know quite what you’re going to get when you bring home a kitten. All the environmental enrichment and training in the world may not bring you the lap cat you were yearning for, or the independent spirit that can do well even if you spend long hours away from home.

2. You’ll still have lots of years together

Youth is no guarantee of a long relationship. After two of our sisters died tragically at young ages, we know that. A well cared-for cat can live at least 15 years, so even if you adopt an older adult, you’re still likely to enjoy a long and love-filled life together.

Thomas and Bella in silhouette

Relaxing after a grooming session. Photo CC-BY-SA JaneA Kelley

3. They’re extra grateful

Adult cats usually spend a lot longer at the shelter than kittens do. If the shelter is open-admission, adults, especially older adults, are the first to be put down to make space for “more adoptable” cats. Often, adult cats have had homes and were surrendered to the shelter for reasons ranging from the legitimate (Thomas’s first human had to go to a nursing home) to the absolutely shocking (the cat didn’t match the new furniture — yes, we actually have heard that one before). When an adult kitty finally does find a home, you’ll find that after they settle in, the love and gratitude in their eyes may overwhelm you.

4. Adult cats are calmer

Adult cats aren’t crazy curtain-climbers. They don’t need to be trained not to bite or scratch or use your body as a climbing post.

5. On the other hand, they’re still quite capable of kittenish antics

Even though older cats are more sedate, they can surprise you with their vigor when chasing a toy or running up the kitty condo. Three-year-old Bella isn’t quite as hyper as she used to be, but she still loves to go running through the house playing soccer with her favorite toy.

Thomas sticks his tongue out at Bella

Pthbbbbt! Photo CC-BY-SA JaneA Kelley

Adult cats can be plenty of fun, too. They’re excellent bed warmers on cold nights and wonderful lap snugglers when it’s movie time.

If you’re an older person and you’re concerned that your cat might outlive you, please consider adopting a senior cat. Some shelters have “seniors for seniors” programs, where senior cats are adopted to human senior citizens free of charge or for a drastically reduced adoption fees.

If you’re concerned about your ability to pay for veterinary care, some shelters offer permanent foster programs, in which you provide a loving home for a senior or special needs cat and the shelter pays for all that cat’s medical care, from routine screenings to the cost of treating a chronic illness.

If you can’t adopt, Petfinder has a list of 10 great ways you can support Adopt-A-Cat Month. Check it out and if you can do one or more of these things, please do.

Have you adopted an adult, senior or special-needs cat? Have you participated in a permanent foster or “pawspice” program and helped a cat that way? Please share your adoption story in the comments!

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