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Adopting a Senior Cat? 10 Important Things You Need to Know!

Deciding to adopt a cat is a huge decision in a person’s life. When going to a local animal shelter or rescue, you’ll find dozens of precious faces staring back at you. What you may be shocked at seeing is the number of senior cats available for adoption that seem to be overlooked.

When most people think of adopting a cat, they instantly think of the cute kitten or the rambunctious youngster cat that will keep the kids or their other pets on their toes. For those who want to open their home and their hearts to older cats, the experience couldn’t be more joyous but there are a few important things to know when adopting a senior cat. Let’s take a look at a few of those below, so you’ll be ready when you bring an older cat into your life.

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The 10 Important Things You Need to Know When Adopting a Senior Cat

1. Older Cats Are More Mellow

In comparison to dogs, cats are lower maintenance. However, when comparing them to kittens or younger cats, senior cats are typically pretty mellow. They aren’t going to be running off youthful energy at all hours of the night. Instead, they like to curl up and enjoy the day just like you. When they are ready to play and want your attention, a senior cat’s emotional security knows how to show you.

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2. Seniors Need Special Accommodations

Older cats are more likely to suffer from arthritis. Painful joints mean they need special accommodations to make life easier for them. Buying your cat a therapeutic bed that is supportive will help alleviate any pain they experience. You’ll also need to ensure litter boxes, toys, beds, food, and water are all easily accessible and don’t require any climbing.

blue tabby maine coon sitting in litter box
Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock
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3. Senior Cats Sleep More

When you adopt a senior cat, expect them to sleep quite a bit. This means you may need more than one bed or an accessible sleeping area. Normally, senior cats can sleep 15 to 18 hours a day. While you may want to spend more time with your cat than they allow, this sleep is good for them.

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4. Seniors Need Their Own Space

A senior cat needs a place where it can get away when needed. This is especially true if you have other pets in the home. Having its own space allows your senior a safe place to hide from younger siblings or situations where they don’t feel comfortable.

cat sleeping in bed
Image Credit: Deyan Georgiev, Shutterstock
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5. Give Your Senior Time to Adjust

Senior cats, like any animal, need time to adjust to their new surroundings. When you bring your new cat home after adoption, have an area in your home prepared for when the cat arrives. Once you arrive, leave your cat on its own for a few hours so it can get used to the home and its surroundings.

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6. Choose the Right Veterinarian

The right veterinarian is important for any pet, but this is especially true for senior animals. Before bringing your senior cat home, you should choose a veterinarian you’re comfortable with. Give them a call, schedule a visit to their clinic, and ask questions about the type of care your cat will receive. Then set up the first visit and be prepared to take your cat to the veterinarian at least twice a year to keep a check on its health and well-being.

cat examined by Vets
Image Credit: Kzenon, Shutterstock
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7. Seniors Need the Right Diet

A cat’s dietary needs change when they reach 7 years of age. They change again at 11 years old. Once you’ve chosen the veterinarian you want for your senior cat, they can discuss what type of diet your cat should be on. If you want your cat to stay happy and healthy you should closely follow your veterinarian’s recommendations.

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8. Seniors Require More Water

Senior cats may have issues with their kidneys as they age. This means they’ll require more water. Considering their age, you will have to try both warm and cold water to see which your cat prefers. They may even prefer flowing water over still water. Keep in mind that you can offer wet food as part of your cat’s diet to provide them with more moisture.

Cat drinking from ceramic bowl
Image Credit: Pattysan, Shutterstock
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9. Introduce New Pets Slowly

The older your cat gets, the more likely you are to bring more pets into the home. Keep in mind your cat’s age, however. They’ll not only need a place to escape the younger pets, but a place they feel safe and can avoid any potential conflicts. When you make introductions, do them slowly so your senior doesn’t become too stressed.

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10. Expect a Lot of Love

Senior cats are more mature and understand how age is affecting them. You’ll find that they will be highly appreciative of the love and kindness you show them. Be prepared to be accepting of this love and affection. You’ll also be overwhelmed by the bond the two of you will form.

cat resting with owner on sofa at home
Image Credit: U__Photo, Shutterstock

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Bringing home a senior cat is one of the kindest things you can do. You’ll quickly find that these cats are quite thankful for your generosity and have a lot of love to give. By knowing other aspects of life with a senior cat, you can prepare your home and life before your new pet arrives. This will make things easier and allow the bonding to begin immediately. Soon the two of you will be best friends.

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Featured Image Credit: evrymmnt, Shutterstock