I haven’t always adopted old cats but some years’ ago I decided it was the right thing to do as so many old cats are overlooked in preference to kittens. So my previous three – Heathcliff, Lux and Tibby (who was also stone deaf!) and my current cat Bess (formerly French) – fall into that category.
Of course young animals have their appeal: entertaining, over-excitable, constantly agog at anything that flits into view, chasing anything that moves, just cute basically. For me, however, old cats have an appeal exactly because they have seen it and done it all before , and have a nonchalant approach to life. Having had younger cats in the past meant I always feared for the safety of the birds and mice in my garden. But this problem has largely been solved by taking on the senior citizen of the cat world. The old cat will cast a glance at an unsuspecting blackbird or pigeon that is feeding on the seeds but to coin a phrase what is going through its head is “am I bothered”! It’s just not worth the effort any more. That pleases me no end.
Cats are great creatures of habit but my experience is as they get older their predictability increases and so does the dedication to get in as much sleep as they can! Indoors appeals more than exploring the great outdoors: popping out to do what comes naturally, maybe a quick roll on the concrete in the sun and then back for a long snooze. So when I am out for longer than anticipated I can more or less be certain that curiosity will not kill the old cat: it is unlikely to wander too far, make a dangerous dash across a busy road, get stuck up a tree or water bombed by a neighbour whose garden has more than a passing appeal!
Of course taking on an older cat does mean that I have to make that difficult decision when the health deteriorates to say goodbye sooner and considering a replacement more quickly than if I had adopted a kitten or young cat. But to rehome another elderly cat is the best compliment I can pay to those which have gone before.
My current cat, Bess, who had the “disadvantages” in the adoption stakes of being both old and almost completely black, was a long-stayer at Derby RSPCA. She was estimated to be about 10 years old. My husband and I adopted her 2 years’ ago. She had not been neutered for all those years and a very baggy tummy is a clue to how many kittens she may have produced. But with no disrespect to those I have adopted before, Bess is the loveliest cat we have ever had. Predictable –yes – but very sociable for an old girl: often wanting a shoulder to climb on, her backbone stroked and her favourite routine of a “cuddle” after breakfast before settling down for a long sleep. Occasionally but only briefly she shows signs of her younger self when I encourage her to chase a piece of string but it lasts a mere 5 minutes before her favourite place to sleep beckons. However she is robust and just recently I watched her defiantly standing her ground against an interloper who wandered unsuspectingly into our garden. She triumphed over the young pretender. Fortunately there is life in this old cat yet!
If you are interested in adopting any of our cats, please take a look at our rehoming page.
Here's 12 year old Bess (previously French) doing what she does best - snoozing!