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6 Reasons to Adopt an Adult or Senior Cat

Yes, kittens are cute, but cats who have passed the fuzz-ball stage often make even better pets.

 |  Jun 18th 2014  |   14 Contributions


June is Adopt-A-Cat Month here in the U.S. There’s a good reason why this special celebration falls at the beginning of the summer: It’s the height of kitten season. Shelters and foster homes are full to overflowing with cute, fuzzy little squeakers looking for their forever home.

But if you look past the blue-eyed wonders in the kitten room and find the older cats awaiting a loving home of their own, you might just find your perfect friend. Here are some of my favorite reasons to adopt an adult cat:

1. You know what you’re getting

When you adopt a kitten, you’re bringing in a cat who is still developing her temperament and personality. In order to properly socialize a kitten, you need to be able to be there to positively reinforce the behavior you want to see. Adult cats are settled into who they are, so you know whether you’re getting a “lap fungus” or an excited adventurer, for example.

2. The most expensive part of your cat’s vet care is already done

Although shelters often take care of spaying and neutering and the first round of vaccinations, there’s still a lot of veterinary care left for you to do. When you adopt a little fluff ball, you’ll need to make sure she gets the rest of her kitten shots, and depending on the shelter, you may have to pay for the spay or neuter.

3. They’re mellower

Kittens are full of energy. They’re always exploring, climbing all over everything, and generally looking for trouble. Adult cats tend to be quieter and calmer, which could make them a much better fit in your home.

4. They have experience with lots of stimuli

Want a cat who won’t freak out at the sound of a crying baby or scratch at a grabby toddler? Want a cat who can deal with a house full of guests? Want a cat who knows about dogs and how to live with them? Consider an adult cat.

5. You’ll still have plenty of happy years together

Some people worry that if they adopt an adult cat, they’ll have to face that cat’s death too soon. Even if you adopt an older adult kitty, our feline friends are living longer than ever. The average lifespan for a well-cared-for indoor cat is approaching 16 years, and I’ve known cats who lived into their 20s. Besides, there’s no guarantee that your kitten is going to have a long life, either.

Danu, an adult cat, found her forever home thanks to the volunteers at HART of Maine, the shelter from which I adopted my baby Belladonna. Photo via HART of Maine's Facebook page

6. They’re so very grateful

Adult cats have usually been at the shelter long enough to really miss a lap and a comfortable bed of their own. Kittens never really get a chance to endure shelter life in the way that adults do, and adult cats know exactly what they’ve been taken away from. It may take them a couple of days to get used to their home, but once they do, they’ll be showing their love and gratitude for the rest of their lives.

Thomas and me on Hug Your Cat Day, June 4, 2014.

I adopted my cat, Thomas, when he was three years old, and I’ve found that every single one of these things is true. How about you? Have you adopted an adult cat? How did it work out for you? Please share your adult kitty adoption stories in the comments.

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About JaneA Kelley: Punk-rock cat mom, science nerd, animal shelter volunteer and all-around geek with a passion for bad puns, intelligent conversation, and role-play adventure games. She gratefully and gracefully accepts her status as chief cat slave for her family of feline bloggers, who have been writing their award-winning cat advice blog, Paws and Effect, since 2003.

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