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Pros and cons of adopting an elderly cat

(24 Posts)
CrimsonSilk Fri 22-Aug-14 21:32:13

We currently have 4 cats - all rescues with ages ranging from 1 to 5. We've agreed that there is a space in the house for one more cat and are considering adpoting an elderly cat. All of our cats had ishoos, but are mostly okay now - timid, not agressive. Our children are older teenagers.

Besides the likelihood that an elderly cat probaby isn't going to live as long as a youngster, and may need some expensive vetinary care sooner rather than later, is there anything we should consider or be aware of when considering adopting an elderly cat?

Fluffycloudland77 Fri 22-Aug-14 22:16:56

I'm really pleased you'd consider an old cat.


You probably won't be out rattling biscuits at 1am because its decided to stay out late hunting.

Pointlessfan Fri 22-Aug-14 22:28:13

We adopted an elderly cat and he's fab!

Pros - already toilet trained, confident with adults, stays in virtually the whole time or just goes in the garden.

Cons - spending money on the vet e.g. he had to have several teeth out, very opinionated and vocal with it - this is funny except in the middle of the night!

QueenStromba Fri 22-Aug-14 23:15:22

Our girl is 16 (allegedly) and we've had her for a year and a half. Health wise she's not a day over 8 though (other than her teeth and the fact that she won't jump up on the kitchen counters even if there is a roast chicken there). We got her from Battersea and she came with a month's free Petplan insurance which meant that we could continue with them for £30 a month for life (otherwise she'd have been too old to insure) covering something like £7K worth of medical treatment a year (although the excess is £80 plus 20% of treatment cost). She is the soppiest cat you could ever meet and still full of life.

cozietoesie Sat 23-Aug-14 08:10:52

I was thinking about your girl the other day, QS, and wondering how she was.

OP, Seniorboy came to live with me at 13/14 and is still going fairly strong at over 19. He has some arthritis for which he's on very effective meds and (unfortunately) has some residual cat flu which his immune system can't cope with for long any more but that's about it. That latter is a personal issue though and not every cat will have it.

He still enjoys his life immensely and is very loving and playful - if a bit more sedate than a youngster. The oldest cat I saw looking for a home recently was a 19 year old Siamese gent who had just lost his owner. (If I recall, he was only on the rescue website for a couple of days before someone snapped up the chance to give him a home for his sunset time.)

Best of luck.

Rollypoly100 Sat 23-Aug-14 08:19:30

Go for it. My rescue cat came to us last December. He's now 14 and a real character. He had a condition called stomatitis which meant he had to have most of his teeth out but the rescue centre paid as it had been bad for some time.

He's such a happy cat, very loving and chatty. Resisting posting another photo of him.

cozietoesie Sat 23-Aug-14 08:21:11

Oh go on - post it!


LadyWithLapdog Sat 23-Aug-14 08:30:12

We are looking after 10 year olds ATM. I'd thought them not jumping on counters was due to previous owners training them. Now I know it's arthritis. The cats are lovely, friendly, affectionate, not desperate for food, still surprisingly playful.

Rollypoly100 Sat 23-Aug-14 08:33:06

I've turned into a right cat bore - here is my lovely boy

cozietoesie Sat 23-Aug-14 08:38:59

What a happy chap.


PeresteckBalveda Sat 23-Aug-14 08:40:15

We've recently lost one of our cats and are now thinking about getting another. I'd love to give a home to an elderly cat but don't know how s/he would in with existing cat. She's 7, and was younger but much bigger than our older cat, so when we got her there were some hierarchy issues between the two of them. Is it a good idea to bring an older cat into a home where there is already a younger cat?

cozietoesie Sat 23-Aug-14 09:08:12

I think that, as ever, it depends on the cats Peresteck. After seeing Seniorboy lording it over (much younger and fitter) The Lodger, I wouldn't put anything past an older cat if they were heavily territorial - although I suppose that you could make a judgement that some older cats might be more inclined to a quiet life. A rescue should have a fairly good idea of their character I would think.

WitchWay Sat 23-Aug-14 12:31:43

I took in an elderly stray who has since lived with my mum for nearly two years, as my own cats made his life miserable.

He's skinny, noisy & demented but purrs a lot & potters around the garden grin

enriquetheringbearinglizard Sat 23-Aug-14 13:08:08

I have taken in an abandoned and elderly cat who's 14+

The con is that even after years he is very wary and not in any way a lap cat, he won't be handled. That's not to say he isn't affectionate in his own way though, he's just very self contained and undemanding until he gets fussy over his food.

The pros are knowing that we changed an unwanted animal's life for the better and that he's sedate and well behaved never wandering or getting on the furniture.

I know that some of the cat rescue centres by me will offer continued veterinary treatment for existing health conditions so they can rehome cats who would otherwise be very difficult to place. Perhaps you could look into that?

The other really good way of helping is to foster a cat through the Freedom Project to help the pets of victims of domestic abuse.
Here's a link Click here
They say

The cost of cat food, litter and veterinary expenses will be paid for by Cats Protection and all cats will be microchipped, vaccinated and neutered if necessary. We will also provide relevant equipment like litter trays, feeding bowls, bed, scratching post etc. Once a cat has been placed with a fosterer, they will receive ongoing support and regular visits from Cats Protection throughout the foster period

cozietoesie Sat 23-Aug-14 14:24:17

Useful link, enrique, even though the scope of the project is limited at the moment - Greater London and Hertfordshire if I recall? I don't think the OP will be able to use that specific project because of her existing pets but there might be plenty of people reading the thread who could help out in such a manner. Maybe even provide some stimulus to expand the scope of the service?

cozietoesie Sat 23-Aug-14 14:26:41

Oh - and Yes. It's a lovely thought to be able to turn a possibly miserable existence for an old cat into a TLC-filled time, even if only for a few years. smile

Fluffycloudland77 Sat 23-Aug-14 14:32:23

How much trouble would you be in if you tickled that tummy Rolly?.

Rollypoly100 Sat 23-Aug-14 21:19:18

It's easy to fall for this ploy but if I ran my fingers through that soft fur he would attack - he thinks it's a game but he draws blood and when I squeak he won't stop. I've learnt not to tickle his tummy!

WitchWay Sat 23-Aug-14 22:54:45

Absolutely - don't tickle the tummy grin

NormHonal Sat 23-Aug-14 23:03:26

My 15yo has needed quite a lot of dental treatment in recent years and now pretty much wants to sleep and eat (the latter is rationed under vet's orders as she puts on weight too easily). She only goes outside for extended periods when the weather is hot and sunny, so uses her litter tray a lot during winter. She gets cross if meals are late, and we know it!

But...she is still very patient with my two young DCs (yes, really! Lets my preschooler stroke her and purrs) and seems generally happy with her lot in life. She doesn't have the energy to run or jump anymore (no fur on the beds now as she tends to stay downstairs) but holds her own in the garden when the local tomcats come calling.

My grandparents had an "old" cat who was a bag of bones and had thin fur for the last few years of his life, in spite of having a clean bill of health. My old girl still has a lovely thick coat and looks like she has plenty of life in her yet. She's purring beside me now.

enriquetheringbearinglizard Sat 23-Aug-14 23:13:41

even though the scope of the project is limited at the moment - Greater London and Hertfordshire if I recall? I don't think the OP will be able to use that specific project because of her existing pets but there might be plenty of people reading the thread who could help out in such a manner. Maybe even provide some stimulus to expand the scope of the service?

Cozie, Yes. You never know who's reading these threads and what might spark off an idea that someone runs with. Hopefully.
The idea of fostering pets when women need to live in a refuge or pet averse home is a really MN thing to do.
Perhaps it might inspire some people to volunteer this offer via their local WA refuge? LINK

Sorry OP if this is derailing, but it's an idea for helping people and pets who might be in need.

thecatneuterer Sun 24-Aug-14 00:22:49

I have a Freedom Project anecdote and apologies for going off on a tangent. CHAT were asked by the Freedom project to take in three cats and some gerbils from a woman who was planning to leave her abusive husband. I was sent to collect them. She also had a massive dog but the Freedom Project kennel was unable to take it until 24 hours after her planned escape time, so I had to collect that too and look after him for the 24 hours.

He was one of the biggest dogs I've ever seen - a cross between a mastiff and a great dane I think, and the size of a small horse. He also stank to high heaven. I had a questionnaire from the Freedom Project that I had to go through with her and one of the questions was how often she bathed him. The answer was 'never' - which I think I could have guessed.

Anyway I thought 'no problem, I'll keep him in my bathroom for the 24 hours (my bathroom is huge) and take him for a couple of walks'. However the second I tried to shut the door on him he howled and howled. So I ended up having to allow the stinky giant to sleep on the bed with me as it was the only way to shut him up. He spooned me all night shock.

Anyway back to the point of the thread - old cats are the best. I've got/had lots and lots of them (the oldest being 25, but lots in their 20s). They are generally no trouble and very loving.

enriquetheringbearinglizard Tue 26-Aug-14 11:26:55

Good grief thecat that was a mercy mission and then some!

Poledra Tue 26-Aug-14 11:39:07

We took on two 10-yo cats last year, from a family who were emigrating (returning, actually) to Australia. It's been the best thing we could have done. They're both still very fit and active and fitted well into our home, as they'd been brought up with kids roughly the same ages as ours. They are very loving snuggly boys. We've had to get one lot of anti-bs for SleekCat, as he got a cut on his gum that infected (his breath, sheesh!) but that's been all so far <crosses fingers, touches wood>.

I reckon these two could make it to their twenties without trying. And they can still get up onto the worktops and tables, as I found out to my cost - who'da thought cats would like chocolate sponge??

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