So, you’ve done your research about what kind of pet suits your family most and decided on a cat. Along the way, you’ve informed yourself why you should adopt instead of shop when searching for your furry new friend. You’re ready to come to our shelter in Ballyhaunis, County Mayo, to socialise with the felines and maybe meet your new buddy. But before you do, have you considered why you might choose to adopt an older cat instead of a kitten?
First, let us examine how cats age, and how we measure their age in human terms. One common way to age a feline is this equation: the first two years of a cats life equals 24 years, after that, each cat year equates to around four human years. This means a 3-year-old cat is approximately 28 in human years. A 5-year-old moggy might age around 36, whereas a 10 year old is around 56. This quick calculation might help us better understand a cat and the life stage he is at, especially when making decisions of what is best for him and his future.
Now that you know how to age a cat in human years, you’ll see how kittens grow to be cats remarkably quickly and may appear fully grown after only 2 years. Why choose an older cat to become the newest member of your family? There are many great reasons. Like:
1 Older cats are more settled. They will be neutered, treated for worms and very well looked after by our volunteers during their time in the shelter. Older cats are generally much calmer than kittens. They form strong bonds with their carers and they make great friends. Their personalities are well developed, making it much easier for the shelter to match you with the perfect furrball for your family!
2 Older cats are already trained. Training a kitten to use the litter tray, and dealing with the consequences when they don’t, is one of the hardest parts of pet ownership. Adopt an older cat from our shelter and you will find they are already trained to micturate and defecate in a tray. All these cats want is a nice, clean, secluded place to do their business, undisturbed. No nasty accidents to clean up here! Older cats are capable, independent and most are simply looking for a quiet life, in safety and comfort.
3 Older cats are great listeners. No, really, they are! If you live alone, work from home or experience bouts of isolation, a cat can be the best companion ever. An older cat will know when you need attention and when to stay at arm’s length. Cats can show empathy, loyalty and unconditional love among other emotions recognisable to us humans. Cats can help us keep to routines and provide rewarding company. Not only do they listen extremely well, they also do not judge, which is the best kind of friend to have around!
4 Our shelter is full of older cats. They deserve a second chance at life in a forever home. Kittens are adorable, playful and easily adopted as visitors fall in love with their tiny furry faces but the older a cat gets in our shelter, the less likely his chances of him being adopted are. Cats don’t ‘age out of the system’. Instead, some of them spend their entire lives in shelters like ours. Sadly, we see older cats overlooked all the time in favour of younger kitties.
5 You’re doing him a favour! It is really that simple. If a cat has ended up in a shelter, they may have suffered trauma or had a rocky start in life. We all have pasts that shouldn’t define our futures. Older cats can have quirks and idiosyncrasies and some may even have the scars. Abuse or abandonment may have led them to us. Maybe they had a loving home, until their primary caregiver passed away or moved into a facility. Adopting an older cat is an act of compassionate altruism, agreeing to give the pet the unconditional love and pampering they deserve and the safe, warm place to live out their days in the company of family, in spite of their age. They will reward you in loyalty, physical affection and many years of keeping your lap warm!
To meet the selection of older cats currently in our care, visit the shelter in Ballyhaunis, County Mayo. Check our website for opening hours. Our cats are fully vaccinated, treated for fleas and worms and neutered, cat flap and litter box trained. Your adoption fee of €30 goes toward this and helping other animals in our shelter.
Thank you for caring, we look forward to seeing you soon!
By Elizabeth Bradshaw