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Making the decision to adopt a cat is a big deal in and of itself, and opting to bring home a cat who's well past her kitten years is something pretty much any cat lover would applaud.
While rescuing a senior cat can sometimes come with some challenges — after all, there can be age-related health and care concerns to consider as well as potential baggage an adult cat could bring along — there are also plenty of perks to giving an older cat a second chance. Hey, kittens are cute, but there's a lot to love about a cat who's already lived through her crazy youth and may be ready for a nice, calm existence, right?
If you're considering adding a senior cat to your family, there are a few things you should know, like the fact that she could have some mobility issues that require slight modifications (like easy-to-enter litterboxes and ramps), she might require a little extra help or encouragement when it comes to eating, drinking and grooming, and depending on her health and your vet's recommendation, she may need to see the vet at least twice a year. If you're looking for tips on caring for a senior cat, we've got loads!
But we had a feeling our readers would have some advice of their own to share, so we took to Facebook to ask: What's the one piece of advice you'd offer someone bringing home a senior cat? They came through as expected with thoughtful and practical words of wisdom.
Far and away, the most popular answer had to do with showing your senior cat love—and lots of it. "Just love them with all your heart — they will love you right back," said Janice Goss. Jacque Nielsen Barnart agreed, saying, "Be prepared to love them to the end."Merryanne Kagan said, "Love them. They love sunshine and laps and curling up with you." And Glenna DeBrota smartly suggested, "Enjoy every minute you are lucky enough to have this cat."
Along with recommendations to love your senior cat came many comments on the importance of patience. "Give them love. Let them get familiar with their new space. Then more love,"Suzanne Fanningsaid."Be gentle and kind, they may do things you don't understand," saidDiana Bailey. "Patience. Compromise. And unconditional love. Remember they are the ones in a new place, not you," addedMark Thompson. Readers, like Michael Clavelli, also advised that you give your senior cat space. "Give them space. And wherever the cat wants to sleep, that's where the cat sleeps."
Regarding the special care and allowances senior cats can require, readers had some solid tips as well. Kathy Briscoe Edwards said, "Give them lots of love and proper veterinary care." Marsha Schauer suggested, "Feed them high quality cat food designed for seniors," And, if you live in a home with children, "Don't let little kids roughhouse with him," said Sandra Garrett.
Readers also cautioned against assuming your senior cat will just be like a big kitten.Vanessa Hadley said,"Having a senior cat is liketaking care of an old lady or old man. My senior cat has trouble jumping up onto things." And Susan Chappelle offered this kind reminder: "Be gentle with them. They are still the same cat they always were on the inside, but they getaches and painsjust like we do."
It's important that you enjoy the awesome things about bringing a senior cat home, and while every cat is different, generally speaking, older cats tend to have a more established personality and calmer demeanor, so you'll likely have a better idea of what you're bringing home—that can be a real plus! Our readers agree, like NoraCoombs, who said, "[Older cats] know and trust humans and will give you unconditional love for giving them a second chance." Patty Turner agreed: "Oh, the love they'll give! Having a cat in your lap is one of the most peaceful feelings ever. Older cats are calmer and smarter. You'll feel their gratitude!"
When it comes right down to it, though, we had a few commenters offer some very simple action steps. Kathee Kraft Burkhiser and Carla Hunter both said, "Do it!" And Debbie Wesgate took it a step farther, suggesting, "Adopt two."
More on Vetstreet:
Don't Fall for These 4 Senior Pet Myths
How to Keep Your Senior Cat Active and Comfortable
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