Many people joke about growing old to become a ‘crazy’ cat person, in which they live alone with a plethora of cats. While this version of a cat person is a little extreme, cats actually do make great companions for our elderly loved ones.
Considering June is National Adopt-a-Cat-Month, we decided it would be a great time to discuss how to find the perfect furry companion, or should we say purry companion, for your elderly loved one.
Cats not only provide lonely seniors a companion, research shows that pets can improve an elderly loved one’s mood and overall health. Studies show that pets can give seniors a sense of responsibility which helps decrease depression and loneliness.
Although dogs make great pets as well, cats are typically the best option for our elderly loved ones since they are perfectly content with staying inside all day. In addition, they also only need 30 minutes of active play each day, which does not require the owner to be mobile.
The following are some things to consider as you look for a cat for your elderly loved one.
Adopt. Don’t Shop.
Each Spring (kitten season), thousands of new kittens join the millions of cats already living in shelters all across the country. While many of these shelters hold on to the cats as long as they can, there comes a point when they need to humanely deal with the surplus. Adopting a kitten could potentially save its life.
Kitten or Adult
Age is one of the most important things to consider when choosing a cat. Many cats have lifespans as long as 15-20 years. If your elderly loved one would like a kitten, ask them to consider who would take care of it if anything happens. In addition to lifespan, many kittens have not been house-trained. This can be a difficult task for an elderly loved one who has limited mobility.
The Cat’s Meow
Finding a cat with a calm and loving temper is critical. Shelter cats can span a large spectrum of temperaments ranging from loving and playful to mean and aggressive. Finding a cat with a personality that compliments its owner will ensure a successful, loving and long relationship.
Many elderly live on a limited budget. Before your elderly loved one commits to a cat, make sure they consider the long and short term budgetary commitments it takes to keep a cat healthy and happy. Consider possible vet bills, cat toys, adoption costs, cat food, cat litter etc.
Cats will find anything and everything you don’t put away. Experts recommend keeping open food off countertops. This will lower the risk of your cat jumping on the counter to grab the food. You will also want to ensure small items and electric cables are picked up.
Once they have chosen their purrfect companion, give them some time alone to get acquainted. Check in periodically to make sure everything is still going great. Finally, make sure your elderly loved one knows you are available if they need help with the cat.
We hope this helps you and your elderly loved one find the perfect purry companion.