So, you’ve decided to welcome a cat into your home and have already decided that a kitten might be a little too much. You are going to adopt an adult cat. Congratulations!
Cats from 3 to 6 years of age are considered in their “prime” and
cats between 7 and 10 are considered “mature”.
WHERE CAN YOU ADOPT AN ADULT CAT
SHELTERS – most people will go to a shelter or rescue to adopt an adult cat. Most cats are not in shelters because of health or behaviour problems … most are there because their owner had a lifestyle change and for whatever reason could no longer look after their pet. Adult cats are often overlooked because people want a playful kitten. Older cats are in more danger of being put down solely because of their age. Shelter cats are always up to date on their vaccinations and are always spayed or neutered and any health concerns are disclosed. No surprises. There is a fee to adopt from shelters commonly ranging from $85 - $200.
VETERINARIANS – some vets have a list of cats needing to be rehomed … ask. These cats are usually vet-checked for a clean bill of health and are spayed and neutered. Fees can vary from free to covering any medical expenses incurred to get the cat ready to be rehomed.
RESCUES – Cat rescues usually have an abundance of adult cats that have been surrendered for various reasons, abandoned or lost. Again, a reputable shelter will always ensure the cat is up to date on shots, spayed or neutered and has a clean bill of health. Often, cats have been fostered out so are used to living in a home environment. Fees vary.
NEWSPAPER ADS AND SITES LIKE KIJIJI – In this case it is often an “as is” adoption. While most people have to regretfully give up their cats for various reasons, some are getting rid of a problem. Make sure you see and interact with the cat and ask for verification about vet visits. Over the years we have adopted cats from newspaper ads and all of the cats were wonderful additions to our family but on one occasion a “fixed” cat turned out to be quite pregnant … so caveat emptor. These cats are often offered free or for a small price. I have been perusing these ads lately and, quite sadly, noticed a trend of many cats between 1 and 2 years being given up with the notation “not fixed”. I can only assume that a male cat has started spraying and/or a female cat has come into heat and these things surprised a possibly inexperienced cat owner as these are easily solved problems. If you adopt a pet privately it is always a good idea to make a vet appointment immediately to have your new cat checked over no matter what the information you were given.
ADVANTAGES OF ADOPTING AN ADULT CAT
There are many advantages to adopting an adult cat. If you have done your research, interacted with the cat and talked to the cat’s caregivers then there are usually few surprises.
You can usually get a good idea about the cat’s personality when you adopt an adult cat.
Older cats are often a better option is you have other animals in your home. You can make sure you adopt a cat that is used to not being “an only child”.
Older cats may be a better option if you have small children who do not have experience with pets. Kittens are often not patient with little hands while an adult cat may be more tolerant of “hugs and kisses” from little ones.
Adult cats can be less destructive in the house … they generally chew less, explore less and are less active than kittens.
Adult cats need less training when it comes to litter boxes and less curious about what they leave behind. They are less likely to play “poo-hockey” … YES, it’s a real thing … they’ll flip a piece of dried poo out of the litter and bat it around until it goes under something like the fridge or the couch.
Adult cats are less likely to have accidents resulting in vet visits. Kittens are fearless and poor judges of “how high” and “how far”. It’s cute, but it can be costly.
Adult cats are better and more conscientious groomers. Kittens are sometimes to busy being kittens to stop and clean themselves while adult cats find grooming a soothing and relaxing past time. They will spend half their waking time making sure every hair is licked clean and in place.
If finances are a consideration then adult cats are more “cost effective” because they are usually spayed or neutered already and up to date on shots and vet visits. While I do not condone declawing, often adult cats have been declawed as well.
Adult cats seem to know that you have chosen them and show gratitude for their new home and affection to their new owners. How and why? No one really knows but studies show that it’s true!
PREPARING YOUR HOME
Whether you already have a cat or this is the first one you are bringing home there are still things you need to prepare first.
Your new cat will need it’s own bed and space to be “alone” so make sure you have a sleeping place prepared and a cat tower. Cats enjoy high spaces where they can feel “alone” and safe, so investing in a cat “condo” is a good idea. It also has the added advantage of usually having a built in scratching post.
Adult cats still need bowls for food and water, at least 2 litter boxes, collars, brushes and clippers for grooming and toys. Make sure you have a vet lined up and consider getting in touch with a pet sitter for vacation times and unexpected situations such as hospitalization, etc.
Bringing home an adult cat still means that you need to do some “cat-proofing” of your home. Consider moving or getting rid of plants (so many common houseplants are poisonous to cats. Make sure cupboard doors close properly and put away easy accessible cleaning products, make-up, sharp objects, etc.
Make sure you have checked with the cat’s previous home and stock up on familiar food and treats. If you want to introduce a different food you still need to start with the familiar and introduce the new type of food slowly.
Some home prep is the same is for a kitten … there are more tips in my previous blog post “Considering Adopting a Kitten”
While there are never any guarantees (even kittens get ill) healthy cats can live into their late teens and even into their early twenties, so adopting an adult cat still offers many years of unconditional love and faithful companionship.
Many adult cats are surrendered or abandoned and find themselves in shelters or in pet ads through no fault of their own. They are not “damaged”. They sit in shelters missing their homes, surrounded by other cats, often confined to a cage for the first time. They’re confused, frightened and can be depressed. They are passed over in favor of kittens. Kittens will always be popular and have no trouble getting adopted. So if you have decided to open your home, and more importantly your heart, to a cat … consider adopting an adult cat … you will definitely be their second chance and may be their last hope for a warm and loving home.
Remember adopting a pet is a fur-ever promise!