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Five reasons to adopt an older cat

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Discover why adopting an older or senior cat can be a rewarding experience for both of you.
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An older cat sleeping on its owner's lap

Every year, thousands of cats are abandoned to rescue centres and shelters across the country. Regardless of their age, these cats need a warm, safe and loving home.

That need is greater for senior cats. Older cats tend to be overlooked at shelters – after all, it’s hard to resist the cuteness of a kitten – and can sometimes linger at rescue centres for months or years without being adopted.

If you’re thinking about welcoming a cat into your home, consider adopting a senior cat. Rescuing an older cat could be the right option for you and your family because:

  1. They tend to have mellower temperaments than kittens.
  2. Their personalities are already set, so you know what you’re getting.
  3. They can get along better with cats already in your home.
  4. They are usually better with kids.
  5. They are often less expensive to adopt.

1. Older cats tend to have mellower temperaments

Senior cats naturally have less energy than kittens or younger cats – and that may be just what you’re looking for in a feline companion. While kittens can be more demanding of your time and attention – waking you up in the middle of the night to play or eat, or generally finding trouble or making mischief – an older cat will be content to nap, cuddle and roam your home independently.

2. Their personalities are already set 

The rescue centre will be able to tell you whether a senior cat is shy or outgoing, laid-back or more energetic, vocal or quiet. Their observations tend to be accurate. When you adopt an older cat, you can be confident that what you see at the rescue centre is what you’ll get once you arrive home, because senior cats’ personalities are already established.

The rescue centre will also be able to tell you about known medical issues and health details, especially if the cat has been at their rescue centre for a while.

3. Older cats get along better with cats already in your home 

In addition to being more mellow, older cats are wiser and have more experience. That means they’re less likely to upset or annoy cats you already own. Kittens, with their higher energy levels and tendency to play with anything – and any creature – they come in contact with, can sometimes aggravate other pets in the household, causing stress and upsetting the balance of order and routine in your home. Senior cats are usually well socialised around other cats and can more easily settle into a house that already has a cat or two.

4. They are better with kids 

With their fragile bones and small stature, kittens can easily be injured if a child squeezes them too tightly, accidentally steps on them or drops them. Kittens are also teething, meaning that they’re more likely to nip small hands. Older cats better tolerate petting, are less likely to nip or scratch, and are larger – and therefore hardier and sturdier – than kittens.

5. Older cats are often less expensive to adopt

Since senior cats can go unadopted for extended lengths of time, shelters and rescue centres sometimes reduce the adoption fees of older cats – and sometimes even allow you to adopt them for free – to encourage adoption and free up the centre for the next cat in need.

More than all these reasons, rescue cats simply need someone to adopt and love them – just like any other cat. If you take a chance on them and welcome them into your home, they’ll respond with warmth, love and plenty of purrs.

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