Recently, all of the staff members at No More Homeless Pets in Utah were asked to share their thoughts on adopting senior cats and dogs in honor of Adopt a Senior Pet Month. Since she recently adopted Trina, a senior cat she absolutely loves, Volunteer Coordinator Kristiina decided to write a whole blog post to express her thoughts.
Where do I start? This is going to be a bit of a ramble because I could talk about my love of Trina for days. I really didn't know how good I had it with Trina until I fostered a teenage kitten. Trina is so much easier than a kitten or a young cat. She doesn't claw my furniture at all. The only thing she claws is her scratching pad. She doesn't really care for cat toys so the only treat I need to buy her is catnip. She always uses the litter box. She doesn't have any bad habits like stealing my food or chasing our dog.
She is perfect.
I don't want to make her sound boring just because she is calm. She still has lots of funny quirks. For instance, sometimes she meows but without any sound. You can see her mouth move but nothing happens. It's so cute. She absolutely has to be in the kitchen if anyone walks in there. She'll jump up from whatever she is engaged in and bolt into the kitchen. Then she'll just meow at the cupboard. It's totally bizarre. You can open the cupboard but she doesn't really care. She is also obsessed with her scratching pad. If she thinks you are going near it she runs to it. Because if you are going to pet her, she would really prefer you pet her while she is sitting there. It's like her throne and she feels very special when she sits on it.
But the best part about her has been watching her slowly open up over the last six months. Every week she gets more and more loving and comes out of her shell. After 3 months I thought I pretty much knew her personality, but I still learn something new every day. Last night, I figured out that she likes to get under the covers and she has recently started sleeping curled up around my head instead of next to me.
So far she has not really been a lap cat and prefers to be a next-to-my-lap cat-- but the longer we live together, the trips to my lap have become more frequent and it's really exciting to me to see the progression of trust in our relationship. I think sometimes people are more drawn toward buying a puppy or kitten instead of adopting an adult because they think the bond will be more natural . . . and maybe they are right. But for me, the bond built with an older, more reserved animal has been so much more rewarding. And what it really comes down to is that if you want to bond with an animal, young or old, you just need to spend time with him or her and the bond will form on its own.
Another reason I hear people give for not wanting to adopt a senior animal is that they want more time with the animal before he or she passes. They want to put that sad time off and feel that adopting a younger animal is a way to do that. I can sort of understand this. Losing a companion animal is one of the hardest things one can go through. But in the end, wouldn't you rather have an amazing being in your life for a few years than not at all? And just imagine what a great last few years you can help a senior cat or dog have if you're just willing to open your home to one of the older adoptable animals at a shelter or rescue group.
If people aren't willing to adopt seniors, they're going to end up in limbo at rescue groups or euthanized far before their time in a shelter. Maybe years down the road after she passes I will change my mind and say losing a loved one isn't worth it. But for now I am so happy to have her a part of my family that I'm quite sure I would be kicking myself if I hadn't adopted her.