By Bethe Almeras, WHS Volunteer and Guest Blogger
When people come into the shelter looking for a cat, they often want a kitten or a cat no older than one year. Now don't get me wrong, I love a kitten as much as the next girl. They are ridiculously cute, make that fantastic "mewwww" noise, and are so tiny and adorable you kind of want to just gobble them up. You're smiling right now just thinking about kittens, aren't you? KIT-TENS!
Sound about right? See, I totally get it.
But I also get something else: mature cats (7 - 10 years) and senior cats (11 years and up) are equally incredible and make loving pets who will warm your lap and steal your heart. I'm just asking adopters to give them a chance, too. And as a volunteer adoptions counselor I do ask people. Often.
There are lots of great reasons to adopt an older cat -- take your pick. One of my favorite lines is, "Senior cats will not climb your curtains, but they will climb onto your lap." There is a level of calm and warmth that comes with an older pet and is so comforting after a long day at work, a grueling exam, or a bad (or even not-so-bad) break-up. Who doesn't need that around?!
And while an older pet is a great choice for anybody, they are particularly good picks for people who work at home and retirees. They don't get into as much trouble or mischief, get under your feet far less, and love to just be near you and keep you company without having to have your direct attention all the time.
But what about play, you ask? Just because a cat is older doesn't mean it won't love to play with you. Sure, it won't be non-stop playing like a kitten, but even older cats love to chase the red dot, bat a ball around, or play with a cat charmer. You just need to find out what type of toy appeals to them. My kitty's favorite? A ball of aluminum foil, which he loves to chase around the condo and adores when I throw it for him. What can I say, Mr. Kitty is a cheap date!
So if you are thinking of adopting a cat, I ask you to consider taking an older kitty home. I promise you won't regret it, and they will appreciate it so much and reward you with love and affection. And hey, the Washington Humane Society always offers two cats for one adoption fee, so why not get a younger cat and a "mentor" (senior cat!)?
No matter what time of year, we always have mature and senior cats in foster care as well as at both adoption centers. Check them out online, then reach out to their foster families or stop by the New York Avenue or Georgia Avenue adoption centers to meet them in person...and fall in love.
Right now, WHS Staff Pick of the Week is playful and cuddly senior kitty, Roberto. You can learn more about him here.
Guest Blogger Bio: Bethe Almeras is an educator and blogger as well as an animal welfare advocate. She is Volunteer Adoptions Counselor at the Washington Humane Society New York Avenue shelter and a total sucker for senior kitties. Bethe is the proud human of the dashing and brilliant WHS alumnus, Mr. Kitty and the soon-to-be former WHS foster Tidbit (Ebony), the silliest, sassiest one-eyed tortie in all the land. You can follow Bethe's critter-friendly feed on Twitter at @Balmeras. And yes, she has totally embraced her crazy cat lady status.