As a shelter volunteer, I hear many reasons why people don’t want to adopt a senior* cat. Expensive medical bills are a valid concern, as is knowing the pain of loss will come sooner with an older cat, but when someone tells me “kittens are cuter”, I have to disagree. Senior cats have their own special beauty, and when they run and play, it fills the heart with joy.
Tyler has been with me for eight weeks now. If you’ve been following his story on my Facebook page, you know I adopted him June 1st from the Oregon Humane Society. I chose him because he was 18, and I just couldn’t leave an 18-year-old cat in the shelter.
I was concerned about Tyler getting along with Little, my senior female who has ruled the house for nine years. Another objection I hear about adopting a senior cat is that they are stuck in their ways. So when I brought big old Tyler home, I did everything I could to make his introduction peaceful. As it turned out, I needn’t have worried. Tyler respects Little’s space and lets her taunt him mercilessly. They play together and ignore each other the rest of the time. It’s perfect!
Soon after I adopted Tyler came the requisite first vet visit. It’s especially important with a senior to have an ongoing relationship with a vet, and we love ours. Though Tyler is shy of new situations, our doctor made him feel welcome and safe. She did a thyroid test because Tyler gets extremely hyper, racing around more like a kitten than a geriatric old man, but the results were fine. He was otherwise in good health as well. Yay!
I have to wonder how Tyler lived before he came to OHS, what sort of home he had for those eighteen years. OHS received no information as to where he came from, just that he arrived at the shelter sick and with every sort of parasite imaginable. If I were a cat psychic, I could divine what had happened for him to come to such a state. Then again maybe I don’t want to know.
Tyler has made himself at home. He sits with me on the couch, and even jumps up there when I’m walking by as if to say, “I’m waiting…”. He is a basic cat: play, eat, sleep, love, all of which he does with true gusto. He is an absolute joy and I treasure every minute we spend together.
Yes, he will have vet bills and I will need to meet them on a limited budget.
Yes, he will cross the Rainbow Bridge someday, and I will cry and crochet a memorial blanket.
No, he wasn’t set in his ways. Just the opposite- he fits in like he’s been with us forever
No, (in my biased opinion) there isn’t a kitten around who is cuter than my big tabby boy.
Do you have a senior cat, and if so, did you adopt him that way? I love to hear stories about these often forgotten matriarchs and patriarchs of the feline world.
*”Senior” is usually defined as 10 years and above.