A gray cat sitting in a woman's lap.
A gray cat sitting in a woman's lap. Photography ©vladans | Thinkstock.

November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month


When it comes to ages of adoptees, the cat world has a sad parallel with the human world: Overwhelmingly, people want babies.

The older orphaned children become in the foster-care system, the harder it becomes to get them adopted into a permanent home. Likewise, in the world of homeless felines, most adopters gravitate toward the bouncy little kittens. The more those kittens grow and the less kittenish they look, the more difficult it will be to get adopted.
Imagine, then, the odds facing senior cats — those age 7 and older, and especially those cats with ages in the double digits. How can these older cats compete with kittens or even younger adults?

An older calico cat relaxing.
An older calico cat, relaxing. Photography by krblokhin/Thinkstock.

Thankfully, November highlights the plight of senior kitties with its designation as Adopt a Senior Pet Month. If you have room in your heart and home, consider giving a home to an older cat, so she can live out her years surrounded by love. People with soft hearts for animals may feel inclined to adopt a senior cat because they know seniors need homes the most; the older they are, the less cats appeal to adopters.

Aside from humane, “felinatarian” motives, however, senior cats offer us many benefits. I have had many cats, and their golden years often gave us the best memories. Older cats are so sweet, affectionate and laid-back. They are happy to lounge on the couch with us while we watch TV. Unlike a rambunctious kitten, seniors tend to stay out of mischief and just like to be mellow. And senior cats, having probably spent most of their lives with us, give us so much loyalty and love and gratitude.

When you adopt a senior cat, and begin a relationship with a new feline in her aging years, the cat will be immensely grateful for the second chance at life and a happy ending. The kitty will make this act of caring so worth it, and you may have many years left with your pet.

Just like we should honor our human senior citizens, we should celebrate our feline senior “kitizens!”

Concerned about how to keep a senior cat healthy? Check out this helpful post from Paws and Effect >>

Tell us: Have you ever adopted an older cat? How are you honoring Adopt a Senior Pet Month?

This piece was originally published in 2017.

Thumbnail: Photography ©vladans | Thinkstock.

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18 thoughts on “November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month”

  1. Pingback: Seniors Gain Big Benefits from Adopting Senior Pets – The Springs at Monarch Landing

  2. I’d like to suggest posting the names of senior cat rescues. And I can personally recommend, many cats to show for it, Frankie’s Felines her in New York City.

  3. I took in a 17 year old Ragdoll from a no-kill shelter who appeared to be at death’s door. With plenty of love and food he packed on the pounds, his hair grew back and he lasted another four years before succumbing to kidney disease. I also took in a 14 year old black smoke tabby whose owners had returned him to the shelter after owning him from the age of seven weeks! Both cats were so loving and appreciative. They died a month apart last year. I have since taken in a 9 year old tuxedo cat as company for my remaining cats aged 9, 11 and 12 years. Senior cats DEFINITELY make the best pets.

    1. Yes they do make great pets. I have two cats ages 14( soon to be 15) and I have a 8yr.old. I’ve had since the were very young and love them dearly. They are great company and I wouldn’t give them up for anything.

  4. A friend called me to tell me about an elderly lady who owner 2 cats but had to find homes for them as she had to got o a nursing home and couldn’t take them with her. She had found a home for the younger one who was about 3, but could not find a home for the Siamese who was 15. I said I would have to ask my husband, who was not a cat lover. My husband and I talked earlier in the evening and he didn’t say yes. Later during our evening walk, some divine spirit must have interceded as every cat i the neighborhood was out and all came over to be petted. My husband said ” You must have been a cat in another life if there is such a thing! You can have the cat. I called the lady and asked her if she still had her 15 years old cat. She told me that the cat was going to be euthanized the next day. I told her I wanted to take her cat and could be there on my lunch break tomorrow if she could wait until then. She started to cry and said “Oh, thank you!”
    I picked up Sybil up just after noon. She was scared of my husband’s voice as Sybil had never lived with a man. After three days, she finally came up from the basement to join us. My husband had one rule. No cat on the bed! But when we traveled in our motor home, Sybil was allowed on the bed. I asked why the double standard and he replied that Sybil didn’t have as much room in the RV that she did in the house. One of her favorite things was to do was to brush her head against my husband’s beard when she sat in his lap. Sybil lived to be 19-1/2 years of age giving us a wonderful, love-filled life. We felt a great loss. Today, both Sybil and my husband are gone. I live in a retirement community that has a NO PET RULE. I spent a lot of my time visiting daughters in another State. My oldest daughter has 2 cats, both rescues. One is 4 years old and the other is 17. For Christmas last year she gave me one of her foster kittens that lives here with Baby Girl (the 17 years old) and CK (aka Camping Kitty). This is “home” for me.

  5. Not only did I adopt a senior pair (brother – sister) but both are also pure black. Today they are my best buddies.

  6. I adopted Chloe when she was around 8. She was abused and thrown out of her home. I started feeding her on my porch when she was digging in my recycle bin looking for food. She also was pregnant. I set up a “cat room” and she had 5 babies. Buffalo Humane helped me out. They had them all to the vet and put them up for adoption on their site. Chloe died last year from lymphoma. I kept her alive as long as I could. She even had surgery but it still spread. I have one of her kittens who is now 7-1/2. Then I found Mandy on my porch. She came to eat but finally stayed and refused to leave so I took her in. She is just so sweet. I’m old too, so I would not want a kitten that would outlive me.

  7. I adopted a rescue Siamese 10 yr abused female. She had a sign on her cage “un-adoptable do not touch” to be distroyed. Short story, we took her home. I promised her she would never be hurt, hit or tormented again. It took 3 months for her “Peri” to trust us. She has become so loving, and a therapy cat. She is now 15, talks to us and has become a lap cat. I did not want a cat that would out live me. I am now 80 and have leukemia. My husband and I love her … she still has moments of imprint behavior. You can not show the palm of you hand as she will become fearful, she will rub the back of your hand. There are several events that scare her. The shelter was very open about her abuse and it made it easier for us to care for her. I love her so much and believe she was to belong to us.

  8. Of the 13 cats my husband and I have had over the years (we have 7 right now), only a few have been kittens when we got them. Kittens are harder in various ways because they take a great deal of training and specific attention.

    Our most recent adoptees are a one-eyed boy, Frodo, with some brain challenges (from a herpes virus), adopted a year ago at est. age 10. He’s not a lap cat but he’s so clearly happy to BE happy for likely the only time in his difficult life. And we have a wonderful “old lady” — Lucy, our amazing Grand Dame — who is diabetic [we test her daily/inject her ourselves], and who we were given by the shelter, as no one else wanted her 6-1/2 years ago when they said she was 10. We’d never do without either of them. Our youngest cat of the other five is currently 7. One is 15 and has pancreatitis and hyperthryoidism but he just keeps happily chugging along also. We dearly love them all; each has his or her wonderful/interesting/amusing (and occasionally exasperating!) quirks. One, Eustace, was fear-aggressive when we adopted him (he had been misteated) but as he has aged he has mellowed, becoming trusting (of us and the other cats), which has been great to see.

    Do it! if you can.

  9. My senior kitty was 4 when he got to the shelter and stayed there for the last 6 years. He was stand-offish and bit so was not put forward by the volunteers. I was looking for an older cat and visited him several times. He now loves lap time on his own terms and rarely bites.

  10. We adopted a 7 year old tabby only 3 weeks ago. She is quickly becoming adjusted to her new home and has begun to sleep with us. She is still a little skiddish when we move suddenly but we hope that goes away soon.

  11. I completely agree with adopting senior kitties. I have adopted several over the last 15+ years. They are wonderful companions, and seem appreciative of the love and care they receive. Pushkin is approx. 12-13 yrs old; I adopted her when she was about 8 yr old. She had been returned to the shelter, at least, 1-2 times that I know about. There have been difficult times, but I would not change her, or the road we have traveled together. She is a good friend, and likes to watch TV on my bed. I do not know her whole story, but as long as she lives, she will have a loving home with people who care about her. In the end, that is all that really matters.

  12. We adopted a senior cat from a shelter in March. She is around 9 yrs old & her history said she’s been in & out of shelters. She was timid & very vocal (like she was yelling) the first month. She is still vocal but it’s like she’s conversing with us. She greets everyone when they walk in the door, loves to cuddle & lays next to someone if they’re sick. The first month or so was an adjustment, mostly for her, but we’ve all settled in well. She’s a real sweetheart & her demeanor is that she seems grateful to have a home. I will definitely adopt senior cats again.

  13. I used the think adopting kittens was the way to go, but have been won over by senior cats since finding and rescuing a senior stray. She is so mellow, agreeable and affectionate, and we are more than happy to spoil her for however long she has left. Our vet thinks she may be as old as 12, but she is still playful and full of purrs.

  14. I will ONLY adopt the seniors! So much heart and soul and so much love to share. My latest was 18 when I brought her home; who throws away an 18 year old cat? She is wonderful, gets along with the others and us loving and playful. Give the seniors a chance. You won’t be sorry ????????❤️

  15. I inherited 2 senior cats when my aunt died several years ago. We had always referred to them as ghost cats, we knew my aunt had them but they were never seen by anyone other than her and certainly not petted by anyone else. I fed them at her house every day for 6 months before one of them would let me pet her. Now, 3 years later, she is the first of any of my cats to purr and she does it as soon as I start talking to her. Both of my seniors are about 16, they are in good health, with good appetites and they have accepted me as their person. I adore them both, they are funny and quirky and Sophie, even though she’s the smallest of all my cats, doesn’t hesitate to put any of the younger ones in their place if she thinks they need it.

  16. We adopted a senior cat in February. She belonged to the father of a friend and when he died she needed a new home. She has been timid her whole life, hiding in out of the way spots every chance she got. In the eight months she has been with us it has been interesting and rewarding to watch her come out of her shell. She will now lie in the middle of the living room floor as we watch TV and will jump on the bed shortly before bedtime to secure her place to sleep. She will come close for rubs and tickles but still very rarely actually sit on a human lap. Early days yet! She’s estimated to be between 8 and 11 years old so we have a lot of years left.

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