Adopt a Senior Cat

by Curious Cat People June 12, 2022 6 min read

Adopt a Senior Cat

Adopt a Senior Cat

Many people are quick to adopt kittens, often overlooking older animals in cat shelters. While kittens are cute and full of energy, older cats are calmer and need less supervision. If you are looking to adopt a calm, cuddly lap cat, consider getting an older cat. They cause less mess and are more likely to want to curl up with you on the sofa.

Adopt a Senior Cat

Why adopt an older cat

1. Older cats need less supervision

Kittens are adorable and will melt your heart at first sight, but they can be a handful to manage. These curious, playful, mischievous daredevils need a lot of supervision. They need training, more toys, more distractions, and more playtime.

Older cats are more independent, and they've likely already been trained, which is good for busy owners. They know how to occupy themselves while you're busy at work and they also won't get into "trouble" like kittens typically do.

Take note of the older cat’s body changes as well when buying toys, cat trees, and scratchers. The Zee.Cat Cat Scratcher (Citrus) is a great option for older cats, as it lays flat on the ground. Especially helpful for senior cats who prefer not to, or can’t, stand on their hind legs.  

2. Older cats mean less mess, more snuggles

As part of growing up, kittens learn by engaging with their environment. If not properly supervised, this may lead to destruction in your home – chewed-up items, scratches on your furniture, and sleepless nights due to crazy cat zoomies!

Senior cats are emotionally mature and relaxed. They will still need their exercise and adequate playtime, but they are more mellow. Most senior cats are content to chill out and snuggle on your lap.  

Adopt a Senior Cat

3. Older cats typically have well-developed personalities

With adult cats, their personalities and behavioural quirks are known. Most shelters can provide detailed information on their older cats’ personalities. Many shelters would have a factsheet ready for each adult cat up for adoption. This is sometimes not possible with young kittens as it can be quite the guessing game to know what kind of adult cat the kitten will grow up to be. It also makes it easier for a potential new owner to find a good match. You know what you are getting in terms of personality.

4. Older cats need a forever home too!

Young or old, these abandoned cats are just looking for a safe and loving home. It is common that older animals are often overlooked. Potential adopters prefer younger cats for various reasons – from their cuteness factor to the belief that younger kittens are easier to train. Often, older animals are considered not adoptable and, in some shelters, will be euthanised to make space for more adoptable animals. Adopting an adult cat from a shelter is a fantastic opportunity to give one a loving home. Animal shelters have limited space and resources. When the shelter is full, they can't take in other abandoned animals.  

Adopt a Senior Cat

Ageing cats and common health concerns

Like humans, with increasing age, a cat’s vulnerability to illnesses will increase. Older cats may have reduced ability to smell and taste food, a weaker immune, and digestive system, reduced hearing, and an increased risk of joint issues.

Do not be fooled into thinking that you can avoid these health issues by adopting a younger cat. Kittens will grow old too. All cat parents will have to take note of these health concerns one way or another.

Talk to the shelter for a comprehensive view of kitty’s health. It is important to know what you are getting into and be prepared to commit the necessary time and financial resources to help your new furkid live a better life.

1. Dental health

Neglected teeth and mouths can lead to other health problems. Bad bacteria from the mouth can travel in the bloodstream to infect a cat’s heart, liver, kidneys, and lungs. Look for signs of poor dental health like reddening gums, halitosis (bad breath), drooling, and ‘chattering’ jaw. Constant pawing at the mouth may be a sign of dental disease as well. If you see these signs, please consult with your veterinarian soonest possible.

Practice dental hygiene daily. Older cats who have never had their teeth brushed may not want their mouth touched at all. Try the Tropiclean Fresh Breath - No Brushing Clean Teeth Gel for Cats instead. Squirt the no-brushing teeth gel directly onto kitty’s teeth and gums on both sides of the mouth once a day to keep his teeth and mouth clean.  

Adopt a Senior Cat

2. Joint aches and pain

It is believed that nine out of ten cats will suffer from some form of arthritis or degenerative joint disease. Watch out for these common signs of cat arthritis:

  • Difficulty getting up and down
  • Walking stiffly
  • Lameness in one or more legs
  • Reluctance to jump/climb up or down
  • Stiff, swollen, or sore joints

A visit to the vet is necessary for a proper diagnosis and treatment. Depending on the treatment plan, you may want to include a joint supplement to further reduce joint inflammation and pain. Please discuss with your vet if you would like to add supplements to your cat’s diet.

Here are two of our top-selling supplements for older cats with arthritis.

  1. Labivet Joint & Gut Probiotics Supplements for Cats & Dogs is a special blend of probiotics for joint, bone and digestive health. This unique blend of probiotics helps to reduce joint inflammation and pain.
  2. For more advanced cases of arthritis, a comprehensive formula like this CAHO Agility+ Premium Hip & Joint Supplement for Dogs & Cats may be necessary. This supplement provides all-round protection for joint health, helping with your cats’ long-term mobility and improving their quality of life.  

Adopt a Senior Cat

3. Hairballs

Hairballs are a common problem in older cats as they often have sluggish digestions. Hair ingested during grooming often leads to vomiting or constipation. You may want to feed a special senior cat food diet with hairball control like this Signature7 Weight & Hairball Control Crunchy Delights Cat Treats with Tuna Flavour if your cat struggles with hairballs.

4. Appetite change

As a cat gets older his sense of smell and taste diminishes, and there may be occasions when your cat needs a little encouragement to eat. Try to offer food at room temperature. Gently warm food to just below body temperature before feeding. This helps to increase palatability.

For dry cat food feeder, adding some fresh food, canned food or bone broth to a dry cat food meal is a good way to improve palatability. If your older cat stops eating and refuses all food, please consult your vet. He could be suffering from dental or other health issues that require medical attention.

5. Other signs of poor health

  • Weight – overweight or underweight
    A diet is often necessary if you noticed your older cat getting pudgy or losing muscle mass. Senior cat food is often higher in protein but lower in calories. A higher protein amount is necessary to preserve muscle mass, while the lower-calorie diet will help to prevent unnecessary weight gain, especially if your older cat is less active.
  • Lethargy
    Senior cats do spend more time napping but if your cat seems to have very low energy, stops grooming himself, and loses interest in activities that used to excite him, it’s time to pay the vet a visit.
  • Lumps or bumps anywhere on the body

All cats, young and old, require regular health checks. However, older cats may need to increase their frequency of health checks. Your vet will be able to advise on the frequency of health checks that would best suit your cat, taking into consideration its age and general health.  

    Adopt a Senior Cat

    It is a well-known fact that older cats are less likely to find a new home. They are often considered “not adoptable” and tragically, many older cats live out their remaining lives in shelters or are euthanised to make room for more adoptable cats. Most of these cats have gone through a lot and all they want is a safe, loving home. By adopting that older cat, you have given him the possibility of a stable home after what may have been years of distress.









    Katherine Khoo
    Katherine is a Pet Nutrition Specialist and GDP’s Pet Wellness Advisor. She is committed to helping pet owners make informed dietary and lifestyle choices in nurturing healthy pets. Katherine is also a practicing Nutritional Therapist (human nutrition) and has been helping hundreds of clients to heal naturally with nutrients.

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