This post was originally written for TEARS Animal Rescue. If you reside in the Western Cape, South Africa, visit their cattery to meet the felines who are all patiently waiting for you to give them a new chance at life.
So, you decided to expand your family by getting a cat. Cats are fantastic animals and pets to have. Who doesn’t love the touch of their soft fur, their curious nature, striking characteristics, and their adorable purrs when they curl up on one’s lap?
When most people think about getting a cat, they imagine tiny kittens running around. Who can blame them? These furballs are the cutest things ever. Animal shelters have their fair share of seasonal kitten intakes. Fortunately, most of them find good homes. The bad news is that older furbabies are left at the catteries, overlooked and forgotten, just because they don’t have the appeal of a kitten.
As much as we would love to find a decent home for every single animal (old and young), there are plenty of reasons why one should at least consider an older feline companion. Here are the top ten reasons to adopt an adult cat.
1. What You See is What You Get
It’s not just about the size and colour of the cat, but also their temperament that’s important. Kittens may behave one way while young but show different characteristics once they are older. A grownup cat’s personality is consistent. They already know who they are, their preferences, and what food they don’t eat, so there will be fewer surprises. The shelter staff will be able to tell you more about an adult cat’s quirks and interaction with humans and other animals, which means that you’re more likely to find a good fit for your family and lifestyle.
If you’re still not sure, spend some time with the cats at a cattery. A shelter can be stressful and frightening for some cats, especially when other cats don’t play nice with them. So, it may take them a few minutes (or a few visits) to come out of their shell and show their real personality.
2. No Housetraining Needed
Most adult cats don’t need training when you bring them home. Sure, they may walk around and climb on almost everything at first as they try to get to know their new living space, but they know everything else. Here’s where they eat, and over there is the litter box where they do their business. Cool. You might have to teach them the difference between your couch and their scratch post, but with enough cat toys, they won’t treat all your furniture and curtains like a kitten playground.
Kittens are curious, mischievous and are more likely to chew on anything while teething. They’re basically like feline toddlers that touch and knock things over while exploring. They will swim in their water bowls and play in the litter box like it’s a sandpit. Older cats are more skilled than kittens. They know just what to do to get humans to behave the way they want.
3. Low Maintenance
Adult cats are calmer and need less attention than kittens, which makes them the ideal pets for a low maintenance lifestyle. Kitty doesn’t judge when you’re exhausted after a long day of work. Kitty doesn’t mind when you just want to binge series on Netflix. Kitty understands. They will greet you at the door and most likely sleep at the same time you do. Good luck trying that with a kitten. They have more energy and therefore need more stimulation and playtime, no matter the time of day or night. In short, older cats are just easier to live with.
4. Adaptable Independent Loners
Whether you live in a house or a flat, alone or with others, work at the office or from home, adult cats will adapt to any circumstance. They enjoy their own company, are capable of entertaining themselves and require little supervision. Unlike kittens that are active throughout the day, cats tend to sleep around 15 hours a day, so they don’t mind being left alone while you’re out, or chilling next to you on the couch on movie night.
5. Easy to Clean
Older cats do not typically need help with grooming and cleaning unless they have long hair. Because kittens are energetic and play with almost everything, they may pick up more filth and debris in their fur. Since they don’t lick themselves as often as their adult counterparts, you’ll have to clean your four-legged baby with a fine-toothed comb or baby wipes. With adult cats bathing themselves, they’re saving you from having to add another chore to your to-do list. Besides, I don’t recommend you try to wash them in the bathtub.
6. Childproof Furballs
Kittens are small, fragile, and still learning to think on their feet. They can fall when they’re dropped, be stepped on accidentally, or be squeezed too tightly in a hug. Kittens don’t know how to sit still when children want to pet and stroke them. They also play too rough with their sharp claws and teeth. Adult cats, on the other hand, always land on their feet. They know how to get out of the way, avoid tricky situations and escape toddler hugs flexibly. With age comes patience, especially around children. Ask the shelter staff whether you can meet their child-friendly cats.
7. Flexible Around Other Pets
If you have dogs at home or are looking for a friend for your feline family member, another adult cat may be the best option. Kittens are energetic and playful, which could leave your resident cat more annoyed than amused, especially if they’re on the older side. Your safest bet is to look for a cat that has lived with animals before. However, just because some cats struggle to get along with other cats in the cattery, it doesn’t mean that they can’t live with other animals in a stress-free environment.
8. Lots of Life and Love
They may not have the cuteness of kittens anymore, but adult cats still have plenty of energy and lots of love to give. They still make strong bonds with new families. Some shelter cats are barely out of kittenhood themselves; they are just more mature. Moreover, since cats often live to almost 20 years, a 7-year-old kitty still has many good years left.
9. They’re Just Misunderstood
Most families gravitate towards kittens for their cuteness, but also because they believe there’s something wrong with the adult cats. Contrary to popular belief, many of these cats end up at catteries due to circumstances outside of their control. One of the most common reasons for cats finding their way to animal shelters is usually by being abandoned by their owners or rescued by shelter staff. Their owners may have moved, gone through lifestyle changes that didn’t include them in the plan, or are unable to afford to keep them. Most of the time, these souls were just unlucky.
Feeling devastated by their misfortune, scared and confused, it’s no wonder that some of the cats are misunderstood creatures. We don’t always know what they’ve been through. What we do know is that every single cat in the shelter is capable of providing the unconditional companionship you crave. And they deserve a second chance.
10. You’ll Be Saving Three Lives
By adopting an adult cat or two, you are single-handedly saving a life. That is a pretty big deal, considering many adult cats have a long length of stay in a shelter. By giving them a chance, you’re telling them, “I believe in you, and you are going to be okay”.
The second life you’re saving by adopting an adult cat is the feline that takes its place in the shelter. Instead of fending for itself on the streets, you’re giving the new resident a chance to get medical help and a chance to be adopted to a loving home.
Why a third life? Research has shown that having a pet lowers your blood pressure and the risk of heart disease. Plus, stroking a cat releases the feel-good endorphins in the brain. So, in turn, your new family member is saving your life too!