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OTHER ITA SITES:
9 Reasons For Adopting A Senior Cat – And 6 Reasons For Not Adopting A Kitten
He leaped out of the cage and grabbed me around the shoulders. My shock quickly turned into amazement. He hadn't sunk his claws into me! My thought was, "This cat definitely knows good manners. Somebody has worked with him." I looked at the ticket on the cage door. It read, "Morgan, male, age 14."
Age 14? I hesitated. That was pretty old. I put him back in the cage and walked around the shelter, looking the other cats over. There were many nice ones, as well as a few kittens.
But my mind kept going back to Morgan, and I realized that, in fact, I had bonded with him. Fourteen years notwithstanding, we had become buddies.
THE PLIGHT OF THE SENIOR CAT
One of the saddest things you'll see in Animal Shelters is the number of older cats waiting for adoption. By and large, people are looking for kittens.
The older cats languish, many from happy homes where they were loved and cared for, but brought into the shelter for some reason known only to the owner and the cat.
Many people, who don't like older cats, like kittens. Kittens are cute, cuddly, and funny. They make pleasing pets – but lose their "playfulness" when they grow up, and with it the "love" of their owners.
Somebody said that the mark of a true cat lover is to desire to have grown cats over kittens.
A KITTEN ISN'T ALWAYS WHERE IT'S AT
Many people don't think through the consequences of adopting a kitten, or of taking one or two kittens from the litter a friend is trying to get rid of, or bringing into your home one left on your doorstep.
Here are a few questions you should ask yourself before you adopt a kitten:
1. Taking care of themselves. Kittens are pretty marginal in being able to take care of themselves, especially when it comes to using a litter box. Do you have time to house train your kitten?
2. Young children. Do you have young children in the house? A child of 2 or 3 may inadvertently kill a kitten. Older children need to be taught how to play with them and need to be closely supervised.
3. Other pets. Are you bringing a kitten home to a household with other, older pets? Make certain you have the time to spend introducing and acclimating your pets to the kitten (and vice versa)
4. House dangers. Is there anything dangerous in your house that could harm a kitten? If you are not home during the day, have you made sure your kitten is safe while unsupervised?
5. Adoptions other than from an animal shelter. .If you are adopting a kitten from a friend, or taking one from a mother cat's litter, are you prepared to neuter or spay the kitten and give her the vaccinations she needs?
6. Vaccinations. A kitten receives all of her vaccinations over a period of time. You should make sure you have the time and interest to get her the full regimen.
ADOPTING THE SENIOR CAT
Somebody said cats are like shoes: one size doesn't fit all. Still there are some arguably general reasons for adopting a mature cat over a kitten:
1. An older cat is easier to take care of. In fact, to a great extent, an older cat pretty much can take care of itself. Great for the working person who can't be home during the day.
2. Older cats are generally calmer than younger ones, and adapt more easily to a new environment.
3. Older cats usually come with their vaccinations and spaying or neutering. A kitten, even adopted from a shelter will need a series of vaccinations.
4. Older cats are better with small children than a kitten is. Better to get an older animal that can defend itself.
5. Older cats are usually housebroken. You'll have to train a kitten.
6. Older cats can feed and take care of themselves whereas a kitten may need your help – not good for a busy working person.
7. An older cat can "hold its own" against the other family pets (like the dog) better than a kitten can. Unless you're there to defend it, certain life situations aren't good for a new kitten.
8. Older cats can better handle a move if you relocate your household. The only thing you have to make sure of is that your cat recognizes your new location as "its den" and doesn't try to return to your old place.
9. And finally – older cats catch mice. In these days of smarter mice that avoid all known mousetraps, a mature cat can be invaluable.
THE JOY OF OWNING A SENIOR CAT
Well, his name was "Morgan", but I renamed him "Tab" because he had the typical marks of a Tabby. Tab and I eventually learned to respect each other, and he – although a tough old alley cat – eventually enjoyed sitting in my lap having his battered ears stroked.
He lived five more years, and died at the ripe age of 19. During that time he was my companion during two years of unemployment, providing plenty of understanding, comfort, and love.
One day he definitely "earned his keep". I found a dead rat in the living room, its neck bitten almost in half. The rat was almost as big as Tab was, but he'd wrestled it down and killed it.
So much for adopting kittens. I'd rather take a tough old alley cat any day of the week.
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