Bringing a furry companion into the home can be a great way to provide companionship, reduce stress, and improve overall well-being. This is especially true for older folks who may be facing some loneliness or isolation.
However, choosing the right cat for an elderly parent can be a bit more complicated than simply finding the cutest kitten or the prettiest cat. There are a few key considerations that need to be taken into account to ensure that the cat is a good match for a senior individual’s lifestyle and needs.
In this article, we’ll cover the most important things to consider if your older parents are considering becoming cat owners.
Choosing a Cat for Elderly Parents
Choosing the right cat for your elderly parents can seem daunting, but by keeping these key factors in mind, you can make the process easier and ensure a completely successful adoption.
Consider the Gender
When it comes to choosing a cat for older adults, gender can be an important factor.
Female cats tend to be more independent and less likely to wander than male cats, making them better suited when there are health or mobility constraints.
On the other hand, male cats may have more playfulness and energy which could benefit seniors who need companionship and stimulation.
Ultimately, the decision comes down to personal preference and lifestyle. It may be helpful to spend time with cats of both genders to determine which one best suits your needs and wants.
The cost of adopting a cat can vary from organization to organization, and from state to state as well. It’s important for seniors to consider the cost of an adoption fee when looking into adopting a pet.
Depending on your unique situation, you may be able to get a discounted or waived adoption fee if you meet certain criteria set by your local animal shelter or rescue group.
Adoption fees vary but generally speaking, for cats, they range anywhere from $75.00 to $180.00 which is a one-time fee, of course.
Adopting an Older Cat
While a new kitten or young cats may be cute and irresistible, they require a lot of energy and attention. In other words, they can be a right handful!
My mom can certainly attest to this – she almost had a meltdown with her new furry friend shortly after bringing him home! Thankfully, he eventually settled in (it took 5 years!) and became the most laid back kitty around.
Adopting an adult cat who is in their senior years can have many benefits for both the cat and the elderly person. Senior cats tend to be more relaxed, affectionate, and well-behaved, making them an excellent match for seniors who may not have the energy or time to devote to a high-energy kitten.
I know that they may present with health conditions, but if you have the patience and means to care for them, they can provide plenty of comfort and love.
Older cats can be a fulfilling experience, as these cats often have a harder time finding forever homes.
Here are some rescue groups that you can reach out to if you’re looking for a senior cat:
- Senior Cat Network
- Coastal Pet Rescue
- Young At Heart Senior Pet Adoptions
- Second Hope Circle
- Pet Refuge
- Pet Finder
Also, don’t discount your local shelter if your looking for mature cats.
Adopting an older cat can help provide a loving home to an animal in need, while bringing joy and companionship into your life at the same time! With patience and some extra TLC, you’ll have a special friend who will love you unconditionally and give you many years of joy and comfort.
Ideal Cat Breeds
While any cat can make a great companion, certain breeds are known to be good with elderly individuals. For example, the Persian breed is known for being calm, gentle, and easygoing.
Siamese and Ragdoll cats are also known for their affectionate and relaxed personalities, making them a great choice for seniors, especially the flame point Siamese. Additionally, consider adopting a rescue cat from a shelter, as these cats may need a loving home and are often already well-behaved and socialized.
It makes common sense that the type of cat that would make the best companion for an elderly person will depend on the individual’s lifestyle and preferences. Generally, for senior citizens, cats with more laid-back personalities are a great choice, as they won’t be overly active and require less attention than more energetic breeds.
By keeping these considerations in mind, you can find a cat that is a perfect match for your elderly parents.
Remember to take your time and choose a cat that is both compatible with your loved one’s personality and lifestyle and, most importantly, that will bring them joy and companionship for many years to come.
Health and Mobility Considerations
Of the “hoomans”, NOT the cat!
When adopting a cat for elderly parents, it’s important to keep in mind certain health considerations to ensure that both the cat and the elderly individual can enjoy a happy and healthy life together.
Elderly individuals may have specific health issues to consider when adopting a cat. For example, seniors with allergies or respiratory problems may want to avoid cats that shed a lot or produce a lot of dander.
If your parents have mobility issues, they may also want to consider adopting a cat that does not require a lot of grooming or exercise.
Your senior parents, as any cat owner, may want to consider feeding their cats high-quality, age-appropriate cat food to meet the cat’s specific nutritional needs and to keep the cat in the best of health.
High-quality cat food can be an expensive addition to the weekly grocery bill and they would be well advised to consider cat pet insurance to avoid any shock bills.
In addition to these considerations, it’s important to take steps to ensure that the cat’s living environment is clean and safe. This includes regularly cleaning the litter box, replacing the cat litter, and providing a comfortable and safe space for the cat to rest and play.
By keeping their new cat healthy and safe, you can be confident that your elderly parents are nurturing the long life of their cat but are also making sure that the very limited number of potential health issues that a cat can cause for them is being avoided.
Creating The “Puuurfect” Environment
When bringing a new pet into your home, which for them is a new environment, it is important to remember that you are creating an environment where all family members can feel safe and comfortable.
The best way to introduce any pet into their new home starts with considering their needs as well as those of your other family members.
A successful transition takes time and patience, and by introducing your pet to the family in a positive way at the beginning, you set everyone up for long-term success.
Creating a safe and comfortable living environment is crucial when adopting a cat for elderly parents. This ensures not only the cat’s well-being but also the safety and comfort of the elderly individual.
Start by introducing the cat to one room at a time, and gradually introduce them to other areas of the house. It’s also important to provide the cat with a safe space, such as a cozy bed like this one or a private room, where they can retreat if they feel overwhelmed.
One important consideration is the placement of the cat’s litter box. The litter box should be easily accessible and easy to clean for both the cat and the elderly individual. It’s best to place the litter box in a quiet and private area, away from the living and sleeping areas of the house.
This ensures that the cat can use the litter box without any disturbance, and the elderly individual can avoid any unpleasant smells or noises.
In addition to the litter box, it’s important to provide plenty of places for the cat to rest and play. This can include cat trees, scratching posts, and comfortable beds. These items not only provide stimulation and entertainment for the cat but also help keep the cat’s nails and teeth healthy.
Additionally, providing a variety of toys and interactive games can help keep the cat mentally and physically active, which is important for its overall well-being.
It’s also important to ensure that the living environment is safe for both the cat and the elderly individual. This includes removing any potential hazards, such as loose wires or toxic plants, and making sure that the cat cannot accidentally escape from the house.
Some common plants that are toxic to cats include:
- Peace Lily
- Devil’s Ivy
- Sago Palm
- Spanish Thyme
- Autumn Crocus
- English Ivy
Overall, when creating an environment for a cat and an elderly individual, it’s important to keep in mind the cat’s needs for privacy, stimulation, and safety.
By providing a comfortable and safe space for the cat to rest and play and keeping the living environment clean and free of hazards, you can ensure a happy and healthy life for both the cat and the elderly individual.
Veterinary Care (And Expenses)
It’s easy to look into a cat’s eyes and fall in love. But besides the expense of food and litter, it’s important to consider those vet bills too. Cats, like any other pet, need regular wellness exams and care from a veterinarian in order to stay healthy.
Regular checkups are key for the early detection of potential health issues. Vaccinations help prevent many diseases, and cats should be tested for Feline is an important factor to consider when adopting a cat.
Certain cat breeds may be prone to specific health issues. For example, Persian cats are known to have respiratory problems, while Siamese cats may be prone to dental issues. By researching the breed before adopting, you can be aware of any potential health issues that your parents’ cat may face and take steps to manage and treat them accordingly.
Just like with any pet, your new cats will require regular check-ups, vaccinations and other treatments throughout their lifetime. This can add up to considerable costs over the years, so it is important that you plan ahead and budget accordingly for veterinary care.
To start with, consider what it will take to get your cat to the vet. I am very lucky, I have a wonderful veterinarian right in my neighborhood. I simply put my cats in a cat stroller and take the 5-minute walk to the vet.
If you’re a senior who does not drive, then look into a mobile veterinary service in your area – hopefully there is one.
Research the costs of vet care in your area. Vet fees can vary depending on the type and level of services offered. Once you have a sense for what you can expect to pay, it’s important to make sure that all necessary vaccinations are up-to-date, as well as any other routine treatments such as flea/tick prevention, deworming, and spaying/neutering.
Also consider whether your cat will need any special treatments or procedures such as dental care. As cats age, they can be more prone to certain health issues, so it’s a good idea to set aside some money for potential illnesses and emergency visits.
Finally, it’s important to always have a pet insurance plan in place, as this can help cover some of the costs associated with medical care for your pet.
Doing your research ahead of time and understanding the veterinary care costs associated with owning a cat will help you make sure that you’re adequately prepared for any unexpected.
Other Things To Consider
In addition to the considerations mentioned earlier, there are a few other factors to keep in mind.
Grooming requirements can vary greatly between different cat breeds, and it’s important to choose a cat with grooming needs that are manageable for the elderly individual.
Cats with long hair may require more frequent brushing, while cats with short hair may need less grooming. As we said before, it’s also important to consider any potential allergies that the elderly individual may have, which long-haired cats might make worse, and to choose a cat with grooming requirements that they can deal with.
Energy levels are another consideration. Some cats are more energetic than others, and it’s important to choose a cat with an energy level that is compatible with the elderly individual’s lifestyle.
A high-energy cat may require more exercise and stimulation, which may not be feasible for an elderly individual.
Do also make sure to provide the cat with familiar items, such as their favorite toys or blankets, which can help ease the transition and make the cat feel at home in this new place.
Is a Cat a Good Idea for Your Elderly Parents?
So, having looked at the pros and cons of bringing a cat into the lives of your elderly parents, is it a good idea overall?
Our advice would be an overwhelming ‘yes’. Just make sure that your parents are well prepared and that you take your time finding a cat that will suit their needs and not tax their time, health, or budget.
As long as you look out for the possible issues covered here then it’ll turn out to have been a great idea that brings joy to them and their new cat!