Love Cats? Consider Adopting a Senior Feline

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Thinking about adopting a cat or two? Give special consideration to felines who have surpassed their seventh birthdays and beyond. Instead of contending with The Wonder Year of kittenhood — that period of time in which you wonder how to keep your sanity — opt to adopt a senior cat and reap many ageless perks.

That’s the strong recommendation from New York City veterinarian Arnold Plotnick, who operates Manhattan Cat Specialists. He has dedicated his life to improving the health of felines from all life stages, but has a special fondness for senior cats, thanks to one named Ethel.

Years ago, Dr. Plotnick opted to adopt an overlooked 10-year-old cat from a shelter. Ethel lived nearly another decade and served as the official feline greeter at his clinic.

“Eventually, Ethel became blind and deaf, but she always remained a hospital favorite among my staff, our clients and especially me,” say Dr. Plotnick.

Five Pluses of Senior Cats Versus Kittens

In this Vetstreet interview, he rattles off five reasons to adopt a senior cat:

  • They come with predictable personalities. “If you adopt a senior cat who is a sweet cat, you will have a sweet cat when you take her home. The personality has been developed, so there are no surprises. What you see is what you get,” he says.
  • They generally do not deviate in size or appetite. “Whether you adopted an 8-pound or a 16-pound senior cat, you will know exactly how much food and litter you need to buy,” he says.
  • They are champions of power naps. “Kittens have so much energy and can disrupt your sleep at night,” says Dr. Plotnick. “On the other hand, senior cats are far calmer and enjoy sleeping a lot. You stand a better chance of enjoying a full night’s sleep.”
  • They are more mellow than mischievous.Kittens and young cats can be so fearless, so you have to worry more about them ingesting string or other foreign bodies or suffering from a trauma. That’s not the case with senior cats,” he says.
  • You will be saving a life and making way for another to win a home. “When you adopt a senior cat from a shelter, you earn major karma points in my view. You are also making it possible for the shelter to showcase other strays to help them find homes,” he says.

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