Seniors for Seniors
Cats make great companions for people of all ages and walks of life. For a busy professional living in a small apartment, a family with children living in the suburbs, or a senior citizen living in a retirement community, a cat can be the ideal pet. Cats are great company for senior citizens for a variety of reasons.
Seniors can become lonely, or even depressed, when they retire or lose their spouse, or when their children move away. Some seniors become depressed simply because they do not get out and about as much anymore. Studies show that pets help seniors overcome loneliness and depression by providing affection, company, entertainment and a sense of responsibility and purpose.
Although cats require fairly minimal care, the care they do require provides much-needed exercise for older owners. Seniors who have arthritis or other physical limitations can easily care for cats. Cats get us up and moving whether we want to or not! Caring for and feeding a cat calls for routines and activities, providing important mental stimulation. This not only benefits senior citizens’ overall health, but can help them live longer and healthier lives.
Cats vs. Dogs
Although dogs can also make great pets and provide the same benefits as cat ownership, careful consideration should be given to the care, training, and exercise requirements of a dog. Unlike dogs, cats are happy and safer staying indoors. Most adult cats require only 20 to 30 minutes of playtime per day, and interactive play does not require the owner to be mobile. A kitty fishing pole or laser toy lets senior cat owners engage their cat in play while sitting in their favorite chair. Cats are very content to spend most of their time sleeping on their owner’s lap or bed.
Choosing a Feline Friend
Here are some things to think about if you’re a senior considering a companion cat, or a friend or family member thinking about assisting a senior in adopting a cat.
Before acquiring any pet, it is important to consider the lifespan of the animal and what will happen in the event that the owner is no longer able to care for the pet. In some cases, seniors move into a living facility that does not allow pets, or the pet outlives them. Dogs and cats can live 15 to 20 years, so it is important that seniors have a friend or family member who can take responsibility for the pet if necessary. Our rescue requires the return of the adopted pets adopted if the adopter can no longer care for them.
Kitten or adult
Many people think that getting a kitten or puppy for a senior will help “keep them young,” when in reality, puppies and kittens often provide seniors with more stress than enjoyment. Choosing to adopt an adult cat or dog is generally a wise choice. Adult animals are more settled, have fewer exercise and training demands (and let you sleep at night!).
Look for a calm affectionate adult cat for a senior. The last thing a senior wants is an antisocial cat!
RU4Me Pet Rescue offers reduced fee adoption for seniors. Please come in to visit us on our adoption weekends, or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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