June is National Adopt a Cat Month. If you decide to head over to your local shelter to take advantage of this momentous occasion, there are plenty of quirky, cuddly felines to choose from. An often overlooked but great choice is a senior cat, and there are plenty of upsides to bringing one home!
They’re Unapologetically Themselves
While people often opt for a kitten because they’re fun, cute, and you’re more apt to have many years with them, it’s not really clear what their personality will end up being. That’ll take time to develop. With a senior cat, there won’t be future surprises. What you see is what you get, as they’ve had years to develop their unique personalities.
They Don’t Require As Much Training
If you get a very tiny kitten, you may need to teach them the litter box ropes. They’re also not quite up to speed with household manners. They may chew on a lot of stuff out of curiosity, not understand the point of a scratching post yet, prefer to use any and all furniture to sharpen their murder mittens, and they may enjoy perching on the kitchen table or counter while you’re eating or preparing food. Senior cats likely learned these lessons long ago and will typically display refined feline manners.
They Probably Won’t Be Climbing the Curtains
To follow up on the manners point, older cats are less apt to be destructive. Whether it’s clawed up curtains with a teeny tiny cat peering down from the railing, breakable items living up to their names in pieces on the floor, or the remnants of a curious kitten tornado in the most random places, the little ones can be a bit of a headache. Senior cats may push a few things off the counter, as cats always have some opinions on décor, but they’ll keep your “replacing broken items” fund to a minimum.
You Can Be a Little Less Wary of Leaving Them Home Alone
Because of kittens’ propensity for destruction, as well as their curiosity and underdeveloped sense of danger, leaving them home alone can be a dicey proposition. You may find some not-so-pleasant surprises when you open the door. There’s a chance of an accident or possibly a dangerous situation. With older cats mellowing and not being into everything all the time, they’ll probably just be napping when you’re gone… or getting into the treats that you didn’t quite secure.
They’re Up for Snuggles… Lots of Them
While all cats have different personalities, it’s common for them to get a little more cuddly and affectionate as they age. They’ll be up for a snuggle on your lap or your side while you read, study, watch a film, or scroll through all the pictures you’ve taken of them with your phone. Their purrs as they sit near you provide benefits for both of you, too, as purring is one of the reasons cats are good for your health! Due to their personality mellowing, too, senior cats tend to be more tolerant of kids, provided they’re gentle kids who have respect for their feline friends.
They’re a Chill Roomie
Pet ownership can be a high maintenance endeavor. One group that doesn’t require quite as much care and attention is senior cats. If you don’t have a lot of time to play with kittens to expel their energy, or to go on lots of walks with a high-energy dog breed, an older cat may be the pet for you. They’re calm, have lower activity levels, and often settle into a new home without too much fanfare. Just give them a comfy cat bed or two – or a box with blankets in it – and they’ll be pretty happy.
But They Can Still Get a Little Feisty and Zoomie
Though they do lose those energy levels in old age, that doesn’t mean they can’t have their inner kitten pop out here and there. Keep a few toys around, and those bunny kicks will make return appearances. Zoomies are never out of the question, either. They’re inescapable after a litter box trip, aren’t they?
Like the Energizer Bunny, They May Just Keep Going and Going
If you bring home a 12-year-old cat, it’s with the knowledge that you likely won’t have as much time with them as you would a kitten. Just because they’re a senior, though, doesn’t mean you couldn’t still have plenty of time together. It’s not unheard of for cats to reach 20 years of age. It’s certainly common for them to live well into their teens, too. Take heart, they could be your furry shadow for plenty of time to come. Just make sure they get regular vet care to keep on top of any health issues related to their older age.
They Could Have Left A Long-Term Home
When an animal ends up at a shelter, they often have a sad backstory. Senior cats are no different. They could have had devoted humans who passed away, moved into a nursing home or became unable to care for them. Unfortunately, they could have also been dumped by families who didn’t care as much. Used to a home of their own, a shelter can be overwhelming. Giving them a second chance at a loving home will mean a lot to them.
They May Not Have Many Other Options
According to the ASPCA, about 3.2 million cats are brought into U.S. shelters each year, meaning there are many shelter cats in need. Unfortunately, more than half a million of them are put down annually, and this is a fate more common for senior cats because they’re apt to be overlooked in favor of kittens.
The good news is that about 2.1 million shelter cats find their forever homes each year. You could add another one to those numbers by picking a cuddly, lower-energy senior feline who deserves a happy home in her golden years.
I am broadly interested in how human activities influence the ability of wildlife to persist in the modified environments that we create.
Specifically, my research investigates how the configuration and composition of landscapes influence the movement and population dynamics of forest birds. Both natural and human-derived fragmenting of habitat can influence where birds settle, how they access the resources they need to survive and reproduce, and these factors in turn affect population demographics. Most recently, I have been studying the ability of individuals to move through and utilize forested areas which have been modified through timber harvest as they seek out resources for the breeding and postfledging phases. As well I am working in collaboration with Parks Canada scientists to examine in the influence of high density moose populations on forest bird communities in Gros Morne National Park. Many of my projects are conducted in collaboration or consultation with representatives of industry and government agencies, seeking to improve the management and sustainability of natural resource extraction.