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Feline Maturity: Adopting an Older Cat

Updated on August 28, 2014

Kittens are difficult to resist, with their huge eyes and penchant for falling all over themselves. It takes a lot of work, though, to train kittens not to develop bad habits such as sharpening their claws on your cashmere scarf.

Shelters often have difficulty finding homes for older cats, but adopting a mature cat has hidden benefits. Choose the right adult or even senior feline for you, and she's likely to return the favor with years of sedate but heart-felt affection.

This senior cat remembers when this old computer was brand spanking new.
This senior cat remembers when this old computer was brand spanking new. | Source

10 Reasons to Adopt a Mature Cat

  1. Older cats tend to be less destructive. As veterinarian Karen Becker puts it, mature felines are "well past the search-and-destroy phase."
  2. Older cats have established personalities. Once you're past the initial get-to-know-you phase, you know what you're in for.
  3. Adult cats have been trained. Not only do they use the litter box, but they're more likely to get the concept of "approval and reward."
  4. Adult cats can tolerate rougher treatment than kittens. If you have small children at home, an older cat is less likely to accidentally scratch or bite – she knows enough to make herself scarce if necessary.
  5. You're less likely to be in for unpleasant surprises with mature cats. You already know how big she'll get, what type of fur she'll have and what her temperament will be like.
  6. You're more likely to bond quickly with a mature cat. They somehow sense you've given them a second chance, and they react with gratefulness.
  7. Mature cats are more relaxing as companions, especially for senior citizens. They don't have excess energy and require less maintenance than a kitten.
  8. Mature cats are less needy. They're independent, likely to while away the hours in a cozy spot while you're away at work.
  9. An older cat makes a better patient. When you need to take her to the cat clinic for a booster shot or teeth cleaning, she already knows the drill.
  10. An adult cat is ready-to-go. She's more likely to have been spayed or neutered and fully vaccinated.

Older cats don't fall in with kitten hijinks.
Older cats don't fall in with kitten hijinks. | Source

Adopting a Mature Feline

What do you think about adopting a senior cat?

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How to Choose a Mature Cat

If you're adopting an adult cat from a shelter or cat clinic, she's been checked out and is certified to be healthy. However, you may be thinking of answering an ad in the newspaper or heeding a colleague's plea to adopt a cat headed for the shelter. Look for the following signs to ensure the cat is healthy:

  • Weight: The cat should have a discernible waist. You should be able to feel her ribs, but they shouldn't be protruding.
  • Fur: Her coat should be glossy and tangle-free. The skin underneath needs to be clean and unbroken.
  • Mouth: Her gums should be pink with no red or white spots. Though older cats naturally lose teeth, ensure she has enough to eat easily.
  • Face: Her eyes and nose should be clear and free of discharge. Her ears need to be clean and white.

Spend a little time with an older cat, and you'll get a sense for how she'll fit into your life. Once you've decided to welcome a mature feline into your home, keep her healthy with regular visits to the cat clinic. You'll both be grateful for the low-maintenance companionship.

Lindemann snoozing on his window perch.
Lindemann snoozing on his window perch. | Source

Lindemann

Lindemann was by no means a senior cat when I adopted him. At seven years old, he still isn't. However, he was already three when I rescued him from the Boulder Valley Humane Society.

When I was younger, I always opted for kittens. However, with my last two cats, I specifically chose adult cats. It's not so much I didn't want the hassle of a kitten. It's that I felt I was doing a good deed in adopting an adult cat. Kittens always get adopted. Sometimes adult cats don't. Senior cats rarely do.

I wonder sometimes about Lindemann's former family. He was neutered as a kitten. He is not only house trained, he's a love bug -- he genuinely loves his people. He's a terrible hunter. Yet the Humane Society picked him up on the streets, and no one came looking for him in two months' time. I wonder how they could let him go.

Well, ultimately, their loss was my gain. Kittens are great. But I enjoy the fulfillment that comes from having adopted an adult cat.

Shameless Funny Cat Video -- Sleepers

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    • juderes profile image

      judalyn eres 2 years ago from cebu city, philippines

      Great hub! Our adopted cat is missing..just last week=(. And I had to be patient at first, he doesn't want to be cuddled.

    • Lynn Savitsky profile image

      Lynn Savitzky 2 years ago from New Jersey

      These are all great reasons. I think the general consensus is that older cats and their defined personalities are easier for people.

    • Ann1Az2 profile image

      Ann1Az2 2 years ago from Orange, Texas

      I love your cat! Great reasons to adopt an adult cat. I have 4. Two were sort of rescued from a neighbor as kittens. The other two adopted me as kittens when someone dumped them and they wandered up under my house, Since I'm 60 years old, they will probably be the last of a long line of cats that I've had over the years - I've had dogs, too, but I'm a cat lover at heart.

      I think it's important for people to realize, too, that their own age should be figured into the equation. Adopting an animal when you're elderly can be a tremendous responsibility as well as a good companion. Arrangements should be made for the animal in the event it loses its owner before it lives it's life out.

    • nArchuleta profile image
      Author

      Nadia Archuleta 2 years ago from Denver, Colorado

      I'm so glad to hear it. If Lindemann ever needs a companion, I may go senior cat. Thanks for stopping by!

    • gryphin423 profile image

      gryphin423 2 years ago from Florida

      Good hub, I've adopted 2 senior cats myself. Don't regret it one bit.

    • nArchuleta profile image
      Author

      Nadia Archuleta 2 years ago from Denver, Colorado

      DealForaLiving, a cat just chilling out is, indeed, a joy to see. Thanks for stopping by!

    • nArchuleta profile image
      Author

      Nadia Archuleta 2 years ago from Denver, Colorado

      FlourishAnyway, that's awesome you used to foster cats. I know I would get too attached and become the crazy lady with 30 cats. Thanks!

    • DealForALiving profile image

      Sam Deal 2 years ago from Earth

      There's nothing quite like visiting a friend and meeting the mature cat sitting in the corner, just chilling, without a care in the world.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      I love that you advocate for older cats. I used to do cat fostering and adoptions, and adults over 5 especially are so hard to place. It's a shame, too, given their average lifespan. Add to that the difficulty in placing a cat with a disability, even a cosmetic or a minor disability. Voted up +++ and sharing, pinning. Lineman is one gorgeous cat!

    • nArchuleta profile image
      Author

      Nadia Archuleta 2 years ago from Denver, Colorado

      Oh, I'm always in the cat's corner. (Though I love dogs, too.) Cats are easy -- even when they're whiny like my Lindemann! Thanks for stopping by!

    • Karen Ray profile image

      Karen Ray 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      I don't see a lot about adopting cats from shelters - it is usually dogs. I've always found cats to be easy keepers. I appreciate someone being in the cat's corner. Good hub.