Adopting an older cat – what to expect
April 14, 2023
Thinking about adopting a cat? There are plenty of them in rescue centres around the North London area looking for good homes, and cats are ideal for pet lovers who don’t have the time to devote to the more demanding needs of a dog.
But what do you need to think about when bringing a new addition into your home? Our cat-loving team have put together some top tips below.
Why not share your adoption experiences with our many followers on Facebook?
Things to consider when adopting a cat
A consideration when adopting a cat may be their age. There are many older cats that often get overlooked in rescue centres because they are not kittens or younger cats. This sadly means they are more likely to spend a longer time in rescue centres. Older cats can be just as loving as younger ones and often come with less challenges in terms of toilet training.
If you are considering adopting a cat, there are many centres that have cats available such as the RSPCA and the Cats Protection League, as well as local pet rescue centres in North London.
Just like adopting any animal, it is important to be aware of any potential behavioural or medical issues. In case of dementia, look out for:
- Avoiding social interaction
- Increased meowing
Introducing an older cat into your home
The nursing team at our Whetstone surgery have lots of experience and advice when it comes to caring for older cats. If after reading this advice you have questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
When introducing a senior or geriatric cat into your home it is important to plan ahead, especially if you have another cat in the household. Introduce them slowly by keeping the new cat restricted to one room at first, and gradually allow them more contact with your current cat.
You can swap bedding, so they learn the smell of each other, but monitor them closely for any signs of stress such as restlessness, or changes in toileting or eating.
Contact our Whetstone team for more advice on how to introduce a new cat into your home.
When introducing a geriatric cat, you want to ensure the environment suits their needs. You can do this by having soft, low sided beds in areas they can easily access without climbing or jumping. Make sure there are plenty of food/water bowls around, and litter trays with low sides.
Top tip from The Vet Whetstone’s Head Nurse: You should have a litter tray and food/water bowls per cat and on each level of your home to avoid fighting and to aid mobility.
Older cats are less likely to use scratching posts to express their emotions and mark their scent, but horizontal scratching surfaces are likely to do the job just as well!
With older cats it is important to have regular check-ups to ensure they are healthy. Older cats can suffer with kidney disease and arthritis so monitoring for signs of these is important.
They may also require regular grooming and nail trims, as older cats tend stop grooming themselves regularly and often struggle to shed their nails – these can get long and may grow into pads if not trimmed.
Remember to also keep on top of parasite control!
It’s wise to bring your new cat in for a senior health check – give us a call on 020 8368 9798.
All that said, the majority of ‘senior cat issues’ can be easily treated and managed, so it’s still worthwhile considering giving an older cat a loving home. Older cats can be incredibly affectionate and rewarding to adopt and can be a lot of fun too!
Have you opened your home to an older cat? Why not share your experiences on our Facebook page and let other people know how rewarding it can be?
If you’d like further advice on adopting a cat, please don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll be happy to chat.