Making a Difference: Why Adopting a Senior Cat Is the Purrfect Choice


Dec. 26 2023, Published 10:47 a.m. ET

Closeup of older tabby cat with white chest and muzzle
Source: iStock

The Gist:

  • Discover the unique benefits of opening your home and heart to a senior cat.

  • It’s important to consider the physical and emotional needs of older cats before adopting one.

  • There are a number of ways to find your perfect fluffy feline companion.

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While playful kittens often steal the spotlight, older adult cats can bring an equally unique and rewarding companionship experience. From grateful affection to endearing character traits, they have so much to offer.

If you're considering expanding your family with a four-legged friend, why not adopt a senior cat? They might be gray around the muzzle, but they still have much lovin' to give.

Miles, the author's older gray tabby lying in the sun, leaning against a wall
Source: Angela Horn
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There are so many reasons for adopting a senior cat.

Senior cats have typically outgrown the boisterous kitten stage, preferring calm affection and snuggle time over long play sessions. They welcome you home with happy purrs and appreciate the quiet presence of their human.

Advantages of opening your home to a mature cat:

Forget frantic playtime and sleepless nights. Senior cats are calmer and require less active engagement. They thrive on sunbathing, gentle petting, and basic care. These are a few of the upsides you can expect.

Trained and experienced: No litter box mishaps or furniture climbing! Cats with a few more years on them are usually housetrained and accustomed to living indoors, making the transition from shelter to forever home smooth and hassle-free.

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Senior woman sitting with an older black long haired cat.
Source: iStock

Unique personalities: Each senior kitty boasts a distinct personality waiting to be discovered. You might find gentle giants, cuddly couch potatoes, or playful purr machines, each with their own quirks and endearing habits.

Giving back to the community: By bringing home an older cat, you free up space in shelters. Even better, you get to offer a loving home to a cat who might otherwise spend their golden years alone.

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Things to keep in mind before you adopt an older cat:

Physical care: Senior cats may have pre-existing conditions requiring regular veterinary visits and possible medication. While this shouldn't deter you, the Cornell Feline Health Center says senior cats do need some extra care.

Emotional baggage: Losing a home or facing neglect could make them cautious and withdrawn. However, PetMD says there are things you can do to heal emotional trauma in cats, such as ensuring they have a safe space to retreat to when they feel overwhelmed.

Less time together: Sadly, you don’t get as many years with an older cat. But this only makes your time together more special. Every shared moment of purrs, cuddles, and quiet joy will be all the more cherished.

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Happy person sitting in a garden swing with an adult ginger cat on their lap.
Source: iStock

How to find senior cats for adoption.

Once you’ve made up your mind, the path to adoption is relatively straightforward. With so many animals needing forever homes, it won’t be long before you’re cuddled up on the couch with your new friend.

Visit your local animal shelter: Discuss your preferences and personal situation with the staff at your local shelter. Most are surprisingly well-attuned to the animals in their care and will easily find the perfect match for you.

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Connect with specialized rescues: Many organizations cater to senior cat welfare and rehoming. Gray Face Rescue is one such facility that makes it easy to adopt an older cat. It's also worth consulting a national adoption database like Petfinder Senior Cats.

Spread the word: Let your friends, family, and broader network know you're interested in opening your home to a senior kitty. Word-of-mouth can be a powerful tool.

Making your home their forever home.

Taking in a gray-muzzled cat is a thoughtful and worthwhile decision. You'll not only provide a loving home for a deserving animal but also gain a loyal companion. As someone who adopted a senior tabby, I can attest to what a rewarding experience it is.

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