Thinking about adopting an older cat?
Deciding to adopt an older cat is a big step. Even though your prospective new family member may be older, it still is a lifetime commitment. All family members must be on board with this decision.
Adopting an older cat should never be done spur of the moment or taken lightly. You want this to be a mutually satisfying relationship and a lifetime of love for BOTH of you.
There are many things to consider when thinking about adding an older cat to your home.
Older cats tend to prefer quiet environments, so busy households with rambunctious children generally are not a good fit. These cats generally are content with a place to relax so they can enjoy their Golden Years … although some can be quite playful when the mood strikes!
Some older cats may already have health issues. If you are concerned about this, it’s a good idea to review existing vet records if they are available. That being said, in the scheme of things you are SAVING money by adopting an older cat because all kittens will eventually be older. So, by adopting an older cat you have saved years and years of “kitten expenses.”
So now you’ve thought about it and decided to adopt an older cat. Great!
Now it’s time to prepare by getting all the essentials needed for cat ownership.
Make sure you have food and water bowls, a litter box and litter, a scratching post and soft beds; beds a cat can curl up or hide in are a great way to ease the transition for a new cat who may be afraid at first.
Also make sure to have some toys, such as catnip mice or wand toys. Just because a cat is older does not mean he/she doesn’t have a playful side. Some older cats can be quite playful and play sessions are a way to bond and a key to happiness.
Make sure to purchase a high quality food. Wet food is preferred because of the moisture content. Cats are not natural-born water drinkers and having adequate water intake helps with kidney function. Water fountains also are a great way to encourage your new feline friend to drink.
You will also need a crate to transport your cat to vet appointments.
Having a veterinarian lined up and taking your new cat to visit him/her after they have adjusted to your home also is important. Your veterinarian can talk to you about what medical screenings should be done.
If your new cat is not microchipped it’s important to do this and register the microchip. If your cat gets lost and ends up at a shelter, this ensures the best chance to re-unite the two of you.
Introducing the cat to your home
Once your new cat is home, it’s important to begin a slow introduction to the new environment. When you first bring your cat home, it’s best to keep him/her in a smaller space so your kitty feels less overwhelmed. A spare bedroom is a perfect place. Make sure all essentials (litter box, food and water bowls etc.) are in the room.
Spend time with your new kitty so you can begin to get acquainted. You can simply sit in the room and read a book while letting your new friend check you out. Never force your new cat to interact with you. Let them set the pace. If they want to hide under the bed, let them. Some older cats take months to adjust to a new home.
If you have other animals, slow introductions need to be made but ONLY after your new kitty seems comfortable in its room. You should ask your veterinarian or research how to introduce animals to each other. And if you have other animals, don’t forget to give them plenty of love and attention when you bring a new cat into the home, so they do not feel neglected.
Caring for your new cat
Keep your cat’s litter box clean. Once or twice a day scooping of the litter is essential. If your new cat has long hair, introducing them to brushing is also essential. Getting them used to having their nails trimmed and teeth brushed also is a good idea. There are plenty of articles you can read on these topics – or ask your veterinarian to show you how.Make sure to provide your cat with daily exercise. This is important for weight control and mental stimulation. Without mental stimulation – remember, cat’s a born hunters – your new cat may become frustrated and depressed. Laser toys, puzzle toys, wand toys and catnip toys are great ways to keep your kitty entertained and stimulated.
If you notice anything unusual – such as drooling, excessive grooming, inappropriate elimination, aggressiveness, yowling etc. – be sure to have your cat evaluated by a veterinarian.
So now that you have some of the basics of adopting and caring for an older cat, remember to ENJOY and lavish your new friend with love. You are providing an older cat with a Second Chance For A New Beginning and what better gift than that?