SENIORS FOR SENIORS
Our newest program is Seniors for Seniors. Older cats make great companions for people of all ages but they are especially great company for older people. Here at Golden Oldies Cat Rescue our mission is to provide new beginnings for older cats.
Local shelters are the primary source of our cats. Whether they are there because they were not doing well, or surrendered by guardians who can no longer care for them, we rescue them and begin the search. We place our cats into temporary foster care until we find them their forever homes.
Younger people adopt some of our cats, while others have found their forever homes with seniors. Because of the benefits of older cats living with older people we are launching a program called Seniors for Seniors. This program focuses on matching older cats with older people.
So whether you live in a home or senior community, apartment or house, an older cat just might be the perfect companion for you. There are many benefits pets provide for older people. These include:
Life can get lonely if you are an older person without family or close friends nearby. It can be especially lonely if you don’t get out and about as much as before.
Seniors can become lonely, or even depressed, when they retire, lose a spouse or their children move away. Studies show that pets help seniors overcome loneliness and depression by providing affection, company, entertainment and a sense of responsibility and purpose.
Even though cats require fairly minimal care, the care they do require provides exercise for older owners. Even seniors who have arthritis or other physical limitations can easily provide the care a cat needs: scooping a litter box; feeding them and giving them fresh water. This provides seniors with a physical routine and important mental stimulation, which can help them live longer and healthier lives.
CATS VS. DOGS
Although dogs can also make great pets for some seniors and provide the same benefits as cat ownership, careful consideration should be given to the care, training and exercise requirements of a dog. It is much more than that of a cat. Many older guardians cannot keep up with a dog’s needs, which include regular – and sometimes extended – walks. There are other benefits to adopting a cat rather than a dog:
- Unlike dogs, cats are happy staying indoors all the time
- Most adult cats require about 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 also 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:
Longevity Before getting any pet, it is important to consider the lifespan of the animal and what will happen in the event that the guardian is no longer able to care for the pet. In many cases, seniors need to move into a living facility that does not allow pets or the pet outlives them. Both dogs and cats can live 15 to 20 years, so it is important that seniors have a younger friend or family member who is willing to take responsibility for the pet if necessary. An older cat is an ideal choice as it is less likely to outlive its guardian.
Exercise demands Older cats are better choices for seniors as they have fewer exercise and training demands than youngsters, making them easier for seniors to keep up with.
Temperament A calm, easygoing lap cat is a better choice for older people. Older cats tend to be far more calm than kittens and young kitties. Many are quite content to sit in a patch of sunshine near a window or snuggle up on the couch and watch TV.