Old cats are not lost causes. They need love and care just like kittens and young adult cats. Senior cats actually need more care than a shelter can provide.
The average lifespan for a pet cat is about 15 years or more, so even at 10 years old, the old cat at your town shelter can still provide you with about five years of love. And, you can provide her with about five years of love.
A cat is considered a senior at seven years old; the basic pros and cons of bringing home a senior cat include some of the following.
- Stable and mature
- No home kitten-proofing
- Easier transition with other cats, dogs and children
- Able to give affection right away
- Show gratefulness at being rescued
- No cute kitten-antics to watch
- May not be playful
- Health issues may be frequent
- Triggers may cause behavior issues
- Unknown history
When looking to adopt a new cat, a senior cat works great if you spend extended periods of time away from home. Senior cats also work well in homes with senior citizens and other older pets.
When looking at an older cat at a shelter, ask an employee or volunteer to help you examine the cat’s teeth, gums, eyes and coat.
Teeth: Healthy, white teeth
Gums: Pink, robust gums (ulcers and/or pale gums could be signs of illness)
Eyes: Clear and focused eyes (discharge could mean there’s a brewing health issue)
Coat: Thick and mat-free (an oily coat could mean there is a health issue)
When housing an old cat, you want to make sure that you consider the care for a senior cat is a little more detailed.
- Incorporate interactive toys, problem solving and exploration to keep the mind active.
- Regularly groom an old cat to ensure that natural oils are stimulated to protect against cuts and scratches.
- Provide a high-quality diet. Senior cats have a delicate digestive system, so make sure that you consult your veterinarian to find the perfect formulated diet for senior cats.
- Ensure that you regularly visit the vet, especially if your cat exhibits odd behaviors.
- Add ramps to higher places, so that you can help stimulate healthy musculature without putting too much pressure on your cat’s joints and paws.