Thursday, September 3, 2009

Geriatric Cats

The title of this post comes from an article I was reading at on exactly that, geriatric cats, or older cats. I'm not sure what I would define as a geriatric cat, but my guess is over 6 years old. As I was going through this article called Reasons to Adopt an Older Cat, filled with these great adoption stories but also very sad backgrounds I did begin to get teary eyed, just because I cannot stand a sad animal story.

Coming from Costa Rica I've always found it impressive how the US kept it's cities and towns free from stray animals. I always thought wow these people really know how to take care of their pets. They know that they must spay and neuter them, therefore eliminating the stray animal factor. How wrong I was! While you may not see stray dogs and cats roaming the streets and garbage cans as you do here in CR, this does not mean that people are as educated and as sensitive to these animals as I thought. Unfortunately the so called shelters available, (we have them here also don't start) tend to "euthanize" (and I use this word in captions because I feel this is totally the wrong word, kill shelters as the article says is more appropriate) the older animals when they start getting young ones. So, geriatric cats who may have been loved for years but suddenly their owner dies  for example now get "euthanized" (there's the quotes again) because it's kitten season as they called it and people only like to adopt cute baby kittens. Excuse me while I go puke. I'm sorry I'm making this post stronger than what I had intended. (And all cats are cute by the way, not just the kittens...)

Anyways, here are some pictures of older cats that have been adopted by loving families. Their stories while being happy do make me very sad due to the circumstances in which these pets found themselves, so if you're like me and can't read them cause you'll start bawling your eyes out, then just take a look at the pictures, they're adorable.

Also, they do have some pointers for people looking to adopt older cats, so think about it, older cats are just as fun as kittens.

An Older Female Cat Comes With Benefits

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.

Consider a Young Adult Cat with Smaller Children

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 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.

Senior Cats Are the Best Choice for Senior Citizens

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!

NoName Found a Home!

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.

An Older Declawed Cat is Doubly Grateful

 © Anil Tambwekar
Miss Kitty 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 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.

An Older Cat Needs an Older Companion

Gemini & Osiris: Two Rescued Older Cats
© HostKel

If you have an older cat who is lonely because of the loss of a feline companion, another older cat would make a perfect adoption choices. Kittens are almost always too stressful for older cats to tolerate, and with careful introduction, you will create a happy new lease on life for both of your senior citizen cats. Pictured are Gemini and Osiris, who were rescued separately, but found comfort together.

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 "disabled," 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 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!







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