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How to Prepare when adopting a Senior Cat

Senior cats frequently end up at shelters, and one of the common reasons is their owners may have died and left no one to take care of them. Another reason is that they may be given up for adoption because the owners are looking for a younger pet.

Senior cats make excellent housemates for everyone—empty-nesters, young singles, and of course, senior owners.

If you’re looking to adopt a new pet, consider giving a senior cat their fur-ever home! In this post, we’ll do our best to help you prepare for your senior cat adoption.

Senior Cat Adoption 101

Typically, a cat becomes an adult kitty at seven years old. At this age, they are mature adults. When they reach the ten years mark, they are deemed to be senior cats.

How much does adoption cost?

The cost of adopting a senior cat varies from shelter to shelter. Cats in shelters typically undergo tests or exams for leukemia, rabies, distemper, worms, and fleas or ticks. More often than not, shelters also neuter cats to prevent unnecessary pregnancy.

Expect the cost of cat adoption to be in the range of $25 to $300. The cost would largely depend on the tests done, and if the cat had a previous owner, it is highly likely that your expenses wouldn’t be as high.

Benefits of Senior Cat Adoption

The fact that an older cat is likely already familiar with specific fundamental guidelines for coexisting with other animals and new owners makes them the perfect companion.

Older cats tend to be less aggressive and laid back than their younger kitten counterparts.

Some elderly cats are skilled at catching mice and can quickly dispatch uninvited visitors.

Older cats are also more likely to have undergone spaying and neutering and be accustomed to living inside the house. Here are just some of the benefits of adopting a senior cat:

  • They are most likely already litter-trained.
  • They may already have some basic house manners.
  • They are calmer and are perfect cuddle Fluffy Friends.
  • Older cats reached their emotional maturity and are less needy.
  • You don’t need to monitor older kitties as they won’t be as curious as their younger counterparts.
  • You won’t worry too much about furniture destruction.
  • Senior cats sleep very often.

Related: 10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Getting your First Puppy

Tips for Adopting a Senior Cat

An older cat would often need a couple of days to a few weeks to get used to his new house. He will probably be so happy to be in a genuine home with toys and a bed, especially if you got him from a shelter. If this is the case, warming up may not take him very long.

On the other hand, if he moved in straight from his prior residence, he might not completely get that this is his new home and be perplexed about being re-housed. Your elderly cat may need more time in this setting to adjust and warm up to his surroundings.

Here are the tried and tested tips for preparing for your new companion:

  1. Before bringing your Fluffy Friend home

Shop for general pet supplies first, then check out items specifically for senior pets. Set up a little room with a cozy bed enclosed on three sides, some food and water, a litter box, and some toys.

Make sure that the litter box is nearby.

Senior cats are basically like senior humans: You wouldn’t expect them to travel a long way just to do their business!

  1. Wellness check

Going to the veterinarian before introducing your senior cat to other pets would be best. You can also ask the shelter for the most recent exams or checks your new pet underwent.

Senior cats require at least one annual health examination, but it would be best to have them checked every six months. Your veterinarian will probably recommend a geriatric blood panel.

To ensure he receives a healthy diet for his stage of life, talk about the most recommended nutrition with your vet.

If your pet has joint pain, it would be best to buy an orthopedic pillow to help with pain management.

  1. The first few days

When you get home, leave your cat alone in the area you prepared. Give your new cat time to acclimate to the new surroundings and the unfamiliar and unexpected sounds and smells by leaving him alone for a few hours. Some calming blankets can be a warm and inviting comfort.

The best way to strengthen your bond with your cat is through food. Your senior cat will come to know you as a reliable source of security if you feed him during the first few days. Additionally, you can devise a unique signal to alert him to feeding time, such as calling their name, tapping their feeding plate, or whistling.

Regularly provide ample amounts of water. Your senior cat's need for water will rise as kidney function begins to decline with age. Offering canned food, various bowl sizes, flowing as opposed to still water, and cold as opposed to warm water can encourage your elder kitty to drink more water.

  1. Introducing your new pet to children or other pets

Don't introduce your new elder Fluffy Friend to your other pets or kids right away.

Nobody should be rushing to introduce your kitty to other family members because your new pet needs to get used to his new surroundings first.

An older cat could be more resistant to change because of his established habits.

If you’re introducing your older cat to a dog, it’s a good idea to confine either the dog or the cat during the initial meeting.

This way, your new pet won't feel threatened by the dog, who might act overly eager to meet the newcomer.

You can subtly introduce your new cat to other family members by letting him smell their belongings.

  1. Do regular litter cleaning

Make sure your cat is aware of the location of their litter box and that it is spacious enough and filled with litter for them to use comfortably. Remove clumps frequently throughout the day, and see whether they prefer a particular brand of litter.

  1. Grooming

Cats' coats lose density with age, becoming less shiny, more prone to matting, and producing more dander. Their skin ages more delicately and grows thinner.

They might not be able to groom themselves properly because they are in pain from arthritis. Create a bonding activity that your cat enjoys, like brushing.

Having a lint brush on hand to remove all the excess hair after your grooming sessions is always a good idea!

Age causes a cat's nails to thicken and become more brittle. While providing scratching posts is vital, you shouldn't expect that their nails will take care of themselves. Establish a routine; you can do the nail cutting at home or go to the groomer.

  1. Pet Camera

You can observe your pet while you're away and communicate with it using a pet camera. It will let you watch your cat's adaptation to the new surroundings. You can also use the two-way audio system to communicate with them.

  1. Be observant

Senior cats, like people, frequently experience hearing loss and vision problems. If they are asleep and you enter the room unexpectedly, you don't want them to get startled. You can lessen your pet's distress if you don't move furnishings, especially if you think the kitty has vision issues.

Additionally, adjust your behavior when you approach if your cat has hearing difficulties. Turn on a lamp or walk more firmly so your feline feels the vibrations as you come.

  1. Give your Fluffy Friend attention

Your responsibility will be to continue playing and petting older cats as they yearn for your attention and affection. If you have a more hectic lifestyle, you can be sure that they’ll be waiting for you.

Cats will want to be warmer around the house as they age, so you may need to accommodate their needs. Additionally, they could require assistance going to their preferred eating, sleeping, or bathroom locations. In the final years of their lives, give them as much attention and love as possible.

  1. Be patient

The adjustment time will be easier for you and your elder feline if you have a little love and patience.

Related: How to Introduce Cats to Dogs

Final thoughts on Adopting a Senior Cat

Older cats are more responsible than younger kitties, have a great deal of love to give, and normally get along well with both people and other animals. Adopting an elderly cat will improve your life since you'll have the companionship of a loyal animal that won't ever forget your generosity. We can’t really think of other reasons not to adopt a senior cat.

Related: How to Prepare for a new Family Member


While adopting a new pet is exciting, people should also consider senior cat adoptions. Not only are you giving senior cats the love they deserve, but you’re also giving them a chance to be taken good care of during their old age. What do you think? Let us know down below!


  • I have had many cats throughout my life tho most have been indoor-outdoor cats. I know have what I believed to be my last cat and he is 13 years old and was an excellent hunter. But after disappearing for 19 days last year we looked everywhere and he finally came in half starving with the tip of his tail missing. He stays pretty close to home now. But is still out doors most days. Until your article I had never thought about getting another cat because I am 85, but I might consider it if I should loose my cat. It would depend on if I could re home it if something happened to me 🥹♥️

    Jusnita Loomis
  • I have only had 1 cat in my 70 yrs. I had her for 19 years. I miss her dearly. Would have never thought to adopt a senior kitty until I read your article. With a lot of love they can live an awfully long happy life. Thank you for sharing.


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