8 Reasons to Adopt an Older Cat

  • 01 of 08

    Kitten Season Means Death to Many Older Cats in Shelters

    kitty waiting for her new home
    Adopt me!. DanBrandenburg/E+/Getty Images

    During kitten season, the ongoing cat overpopulation problems become increasingly severe. Hundreds of thousands of kittens end up in shelters, which are already overcrowded. Many of the kittens find homes, at the expense of older cats who have been waiting in vain. However, in "kill shelters," more of these kittens are either euthanized, or older cats are sacrificed to make room for the "more adoptable" kittens.

    Read these reasons to consider adopting an older cat in this illustrated article, and...MORE why you should spay and neuter your cats as early as possible. Please keep in mind while reading these pages that although the pictured cats have all been rescued from the streets and have found happy forever homes, that there are still hundreds and thousands of their counterparts languishing in shelters.

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  • 02 of 08

    An Older Female Cat Comes With Benefits

    Picture of D'Ni, a rescued cat who had given birth
    A Cat Like D'Ni is Perfect for a Retired Couple. © Treesh

    D'Ni had just given birth when first discovered, and was pregnant three months later when finally trapped. Older female cats often make loving companions for homes without small children. They are ideal for retired couples or singles. The bonus is that most of them are already trained to a litter box, have been spayed, and have had all their shots.

    Cons: If you have small children or kittens in the house, a senior cat might not be your best choice.

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  • 03 of 08

    Consider a Young Adult Cat with Smaller Children

    Picture of Fluffy, a rescued young adult cat
    A Young Adult Cat is a Good Match for a Home With Small Children. © Ron

    Fluffy is an example of last year's kittens who often turn into this year's unwanted adult cat languishing in a shelter. In his case, he was lucky because a caring person rescued him (after months of failed attempts), patched him up and gave him a home.

    A young adult cat would be perfect for a home with smaller children, or for a younger working single or couple who need to leave a cat unattended during the day. Let's face it: little kids are often much too rough with kittens, and kittens...MORE become bored and mischievous when left home alone day after day. There's also too much chance of their harming themselves in even the most kitten-safe home.

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  • 04 of 08

    Senior Cats Are the Best Choice for Senior Citizens

    Picture of Miss Snookie, a rescued senior cat
    Wouldn't You Love a Cat Like This?. © Bobbi Fein
    Miss Snookie is about nine years old now and is a sweet lapcat for Bobbi Fein, who rescued her. A male or female cat Snookie's age would be a good choice for an older couple or single who might pre-decease a younger cat. In fact, you'll often find older cats in shelters for exactly that reason; their human companions died, and no relatives or friends wanted to take them in. What a win-win situation it would be for both parties, to adopt a cat like Snookie!
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  • 05 of 08

    NoName Found a Home!

    Picture of foster cat
    NoName, aka Grateful. © Shelley MacAulay

    One of the reasons I alway encourage the adoption of older cats is that they are so grateful. Shelley MacAulay, who fostered NoName, said if she were to give him a name, it would be Grateful; "grateful to be inside, warm and well fed." Although it might sound facetious, older cats really are grateful to find a new home, especially after spending many months or longer, caged in a shelter.

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  • 06 of 08

    An Older Declawed Cat is Doubly Grateful

    © Anil Tambwekar

    Miss Kitty (Pictured here) was an older cat, declawed, and abandoned in a back yard by owners who had lost interest in her, before being rescued by Anil and his partner. She lived many happy years with them before succumbing to cancer. Although Anil rescued Miss Kitty with no regard to the state of her paws, some people for one reason or another want a declawed cat. Cat lovers with those requirements would be well served by looking in a shelter for declawed cats. Although Miss Kitty's...MORE original owner hadn't surrendered her to a shelter, that might very well have been the next step, had Anil and his partner not interceded. You'll see a number of older declawed cats in shelters who will be doubly grateful to be adopted.

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  • 07 of 08

    Middle-Aged Couples Welcome an Adult Cat

    Photo of Middle-Aged Couple With Cat
    Middle-Aged Couple With Cat. Getty Images / PeopleImages

    A young-to-middle-aged couple may welcome adult cats of almost any age. While kittens may be too rambunctious, a young adult cat can fit nicely into their lifestyle. 

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  • 08 of 08

    Consider an Older "Disabled" Cat

    © Sharon Dubois

    Timmi was in sad shape when first rescued, with an infected eye, which had to be removed. Patched up, he was later adopted by his foster mom, and is now a charming cat living in a loving home. While looking for an older cat, consider one that is a special needs cat if you can afford continued veterinary care.

    To recap reasons for adopting an older cat:

    • Older cats are usually litter box trained
    • Adult cats are usually neutered and have had their shots
    • A young adult cat is a good choice for homes...MORE with small children
    • A young adult cat is perfect for a working couple or single
    • A senior cat is an excellent choice for a senior human
    • An older declawed cat will be a good choice for someone who needs a declawed cat for medical reasons
    • An older cat is a natural choice for a senior cat who has lost a companion
    • Older cats are ever-so-grateful for a second chance at a loving home!

    As Sharon Dubois said when talking about rescue and adoption, "In the long run, we humans are the beneficiaries."

    Amen to that!