I Want You … to Adopt an Adult Cat

Hi folks, Thomas here with a very important announcement. You may not know this, but June is Adopt-a-Cat Month, a time when shelters and rescues all across the U.S. gear up to get as many cats into forever homes as they can.

Love waits, I watch you go by my cage and wonder what it would be like if I were your cat.

Image by Wayne Morris (who happens to be the founder of Black Cat Appreciation Day, another one of our favorite kitty celebrations), used by permission.

It totally makes sense that Adopt-a-Cat Month is in June because after all, it is the height of kitten season, and shelters and foster homes are bursting at the seams with litters of cute, sweet little babycats looking for their forever home. But I’d like to make a request: Please consider walking past the kittens, who probably won’t have any trouble at all finding families, and visit with the adult cats.

Thomas at the animal shelter, February 2004

This is me when Mama met me back in 2004.

I know it’s hard to resist cute kittens, but this is personal for me.

You see, I found myself at the shelter at the age of three because my papa had to go into a nursing home and couldn’t take me with him. If Mama hadn’t found me, I might have spent the rest of my life there. And if that shelter had been a kill shelter, I might not even have had the chance to meet Mama at all!

I’ve been a part of Mama’s family, and the Paws and Effect Gang, for 10 years now, and I’m so glad she let me adopt her even though I was long past my “cute and fuzzy” stage.

If it hadn’t been for her coming to visit me and giving me something to look forward to, I might not have survived my illness. I was so heartbroken from losing my papa and then being stuck in this cage by myself because I was sick, that I really did want to just Stop Moving.

But Mama gave me a reason to live because she promised that if I wanted to go home with her, I could.

And my life has been amazing ever since! Sinéad and Siouxsie were welcoming to me, even though Siouxsie growled a lot. But then when Dahlia came along, it was like the two of us were just made for each other!

Thomas and Dahlia snuggle together, 2009.

Dahlia was my first ever snuggle-buddy.

Now, of course, we all know what happened with poor Dahlia, and I don’t want to go into that right now. But let’s just say that if you’re afraid of adopting an adult cat because you’re afraid they’ll die soon, there’s no guarantee that a kitten is going to live for a long time, either.

I’ve heard there are people who think adult cats in shelters must be broken or poorly behaved in some way, but nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, a lot of people will tell you that adult cats are mellower than kittens, that we’ve settled into our purr-sonalities, and that we’re so very grateful when we find our forever homes … because often we’ve been at the shelter long enough to really miss a soft bed and a warm lap to call our own.

Thomas and Bella snuggling

Bella is my latest snuggle buddy, and we both have a soft bed and a warm lap to call our own thanks to Mama’s willingness to adopt kitties that have a harder time finding a forever home!

The next time you go to the shelter looking for your next feline friend, please, please, please come and visit the adult kitties, too. An adult, senior or special-needs cat can fill your life with many years of joy and happiness and love.

I’m 13 years old now, and I’m still very healthy (and Mama tells me I’m still the handsomest kitty in the world, too). Well cared-for indoor cats have an average lifespan of 16 or 17 years, and more and more cats are living into their 20s. Siouxsie’s 18, and I bet I’ll get at least that old before I’m ready to Stop Moving for good.

JaneA and Thomas

Mama took this photo a couple of days ago on Hug Your Cat Day. I’m going to be 14 next year, and I’m still a very healthy and handsome kitty. My vet says I’ve got PLENTY more life in me!

If you’ve adopted an adult, senior or special-needs cat, please tell us about him or her in the comments. The more people who share their happy stories of live with cats that were adopted after their kittenhood, the better the chance we have of saving grown-up kitties’ lives.

This post is sponsored by BlogPaws. Mama is being compensated for helping spread the word about Adopt-a-Cat month, but Paws and Effect only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. BlogPaws is not responsible for the content of this article.

  • http://www.sparklecat.com Sparkle

    The only thing broken about most adult shelter cats is their hearts – and that can be healed by adopting them!

    • Thomas T. Bombadil

      Exactly, Sparkle! I know my heart was healed when Mama brought me home! *purrrrr*

  • Maggie B

    Purrscilla is about 14 now. Someone threw her away in a Dumpster, declawed, in August of 2006. (Hiss!!) Thankfully, it was behind a vet’s office, so she was rescued. She was huddled shivering and terrified in a cage when we met her. My Mom didn’t want a long-haired adult cat, but Her Royal Fluffiness needed a home. She went home with Mom to the ALF and has paid us back many times over. She watched over Mom, reminding her to take her meds and when it was bedtime. She would sit in the living room/kitchen of an evening and just watch. The morning after the ALF outlawed pets and Purrscilla came home with me, Mom found a huge RAT on her stove. Mom is no longer with us, but Purrscilla continues to rule our household with a show-white, tufted, iron paw. She hunts her toy mousies and looks after me when I have a migraine. Just a few minutes ago, she was chasing a moth around our bedroom.

    Tippear was a tiny torbie feral/throwaway. A few months before my Mom died, she hopped up into my lap ans I rode my wheelchair to pick up the mail. She made it VERY clear that I had been chosen. She was with us for two and a half years before she became ill. Even sick, lymphoma ravaging her little body, she was loving and affectionate. She’s at the Bridge waiting for me, and I miss her every day.

    Adult cats ROCK. They know how rough life can be and are settled into their purrsonalities. I never had problems with kitty in the trash or being destructive, although Tip was a food hound and anything left unattended found its way into her tiny pink maw. (I have a video of her noshing on waffles.) She always ate like it was her last meal, but I believe that was due to her being homeless. Purrscilla is not a cuddly lap cat (I have reason to think she was abused at some point) but she shows her love in many little ways.

    • Thomas T. Bombadil

      Thank you so much for taking care of Purrscilla and Tippear. The world is a better place for people like you and the way you live your love for cats. Please give the two of them a kiss for me. :-)

  • http://www.taillesscatrescue.com Kitty

    I adopted 2 cats in 2000. At the time the vet estimated Jannette to be 9-13 years old. She lived 12 more years with me. Nubbin was an adult also, we estimate she’ll be about 16 this year. I love adult cats, they are past the climbing the curtains stage!!

    • Thomas T. Bombadil

      Mama sometimes wishes Bella would get past the curtain-climbing stage. She’s 2, so you’d think it would have happened by now. But who cares, she’s so cute you can’t stay mad at her!

  • http://allymae11.blogspot.com/ Allison

    I just recently adopted my 8th baby! Yeah, I guess I am a crazy cat lady. But I saw where my local shelter was full with cats that needed homes or the unthinkable may happen :( I went and ended up getting a cat they said was about 2-3 years old and his name is Link. He is one of the absolute sweetest kitty. I don’t know how he ended up there but if someone gave him up they are not very smart. He is the best cuddler and purrs non stop! He is so loving and just wants to be friends with everyone. At first the other cats weren’t too sure and I figured Link would be scared but the first day he came home he walked right out of that carrier and started trying to make friends right away. I am so blessed I was able to save him. But as I always say those cats are the ones that save me! I don’t have children so I consider every one of my cats (all rescues or adopted) my children. So yeah I proudly wear the label of crazy cat lady :)

    • Thomas T. Bombadil

      Mama says we cats saved her, too, and she says we’re full fledged members of her family as well. I’m really lucky I made such a good decision when I adopted Mama!

  • http://www.random-felines.com Random Felines

    Well said Thomas!!! We so agree and get very excited when adults are adopted!

    • Thomas T. Bombadil

      Mama works at a pet insurance company, and she says when she’s at work and people call her to enroll rescued cats (and dogs), especially adult cats and dogs, she gets so excited and says “thank you for adopting, and thank you especially for adopting an adult cat/dog!”

  • Richard Partridge

    I’ve been sharing my life with cats for 30+ years now. All have been adopted and all, but one, have been adults when welcomed into my heart and home. I am especially fond of cats who are 5 years of age and older and have a special soft spot for senior cats in need of loving homes. All the excellent points made in this article about adopting an adult cat have proven true in my life. Xena, my black & white tuxedo, was five when adopted and is now approaching her 13th birthday, as spry and spunky as ever.

    Life has also taught me that welcoming a senior cat into your life is amazingly rewarding and priceless. Yes, the cat may not be with you as long as a younger cat, but experience has shown that there are no guarantees when adopting a young cat or even a kitten. I adopted Mattie at age 4 and lost her to cancer in 11 months. Diego was adopted at age 8 and we had 6 wonderful years together before kidney failure took him from me. Even Diego’s passing was a bit unusual, as these days many domestic cats are living longer and healthier lives into their later teens and sometime early 20s!

    One point I don’t remember being made in this article is that adult cats have developed personalities, making it much easier to find an excellent match for you and your family.

    So, when thinking about welcoming some feline companionship into your heart and home, do yourself a favor and check out all the wonderful adult cats ready and waiting to fill your life with unconditional love and affection!

    • Thomas T. Bombadil

      I did mention that adult cats have grown into their personalities and you’re a lot more likely to know what you’re getting. Mama says she’s going to adopt adult, senior and special-needs kitties from now on. <3

  • Monica

    I adopted 2 adult cats, siblings, from a woman who was trying to avoid giving them to the shelter. She had developed an extreme allergy to the two of them (as well as several other allergies at the same time) and simply couldn’t keep them – she tried for two years and just got sicker and sicker. I had always wanted cats and had just gotten an apartment I could keep them in. I had never had a cat before and was very happy to find two adult cats (aged 3.5 at the time, aged 7 now) who were looking for a new home – as well as a built-in cat-sitter in their first person. The main reason I wanted adult cats was because, as a first time owned person, I wanted to know ahead of time what I was getting into – were they climbers? Jumpers? Food stealers? In this case, I knew I was getting two slightly shy, chatty lap kitties who would destroy upholstery but not much else. We get along great and they are both sitting with me as I type this. :-)

    • Thomas T. Bombadil

      Purrrrs! And thank you for helping two wonderful cats by giving them a loving home. I’m sure your friend was delighted to know the person who was going to be taking care of her babies, too. <3

  • Arley

    We adopted 14 year old Kaydee last year, and she is such a treat! So much purrsonality! She loves walking on my head while I’m trying to sleep, and she is so vocal when it’s meal time or when she wants to be petted. She’s 15 now, but the vet thinks she has many, many years left (yay!). Yes, kittens are so cute, but adult cats are great too!

    • Thomas T. Bombadil

      Amen, Arley. I myself am 13 years old, and Siouxsie just turned 18, so we can both testify that older kitties have lots of love and happiness left in them to give (and receive).

  • http://averagejane.blogs.com Average Jane

    I am endlessly glad that I adopted my then-8-year-old cat Velvet instead of another kitten. She is now about 14 and is a wonderful part of our household.

    • Thomas T. Bombadil

      Mama’s best friend adopted a cat who was about 7 years old at the time. She’s now 11 or 12, and although she takes medicine for arthritis pain, Abby’s still very spry and she LOOOOVES to hunt thing-on-a-string toys. Purrr!

  • Trinity

    Both my cats were older than 1 year when I adopted them. I will never know their exact age because they were rescued as adults. Melisa and Niebla (that is spanish for Mist), they are the most sweet and caring companions I could wish for.
    Melisa loves to sleep with me all night, purring loudly while lying on my chest. She has been by my side through really tough times, even kissing my face when I was in tears.
    Niebla is a bit shy and easily scared. She spent 1 year in a kennel at a shelter, and before that only Heaven knows what she endured in the streets. Still she is careful and affectionate, and never gets tired of being caressed or petted.
    We’ve been together only a couple of years. As you can see, adult cats can ‘connect’ with you just like any cute little kitty. And they will be extremely grateful for all you provide to them. They know just too well what it is like to have nothing at all.
    Please consider adopting an adult cat. They’re full of love just waiting one chance for showing.
    Thank you, and best wishes from Spain <3

  • Barbara C.

    My Delilah was just over a year when I got her. Still kind of kitten-y but not tiny. I inherited my mom’s cat Oliver when he was 12 and he is a totally different cat with me. So people who say cats are set in their ways and can’t change are wrong. He has become the most loving, funny cat with me. He used to scratch up a storm at my mom’s house but I have a tone of scratching posts, pads, etc. that he mostly uses. But he loves to snuggle and comes and sits with me while I read before bed. He’s now 14 and great health.

    I recently adopted a what I thought was 13 year old cat but he turned out to be 14 in February. His name was Tiger. He was declawed and living in his mama’s empty house (she had gone to a nursing home). Her son would go and feed him but he wasn’t getting any loving for a year. The house was having construction done and he was very traumatized when I first brought him home. At first he was eating and I finally got him to eat a little. I took him to the vet and had a workup done on him. Xrays, blood work, urine sample and it turned out he had hyperthyroid. But that didn’t explain the not eating. When he was on medication he seemed to be doing well but then he started urinating outside the box. I took him to the vet again and he had lost weight again. He had chronic kidney disease and was fading fast. He died Memorial Day and I was devastated. I was already so attached to him. He learned to trust me and he slept with me. Oliver didn’t really like him but Delilah had a crush on him. With all of that, I would do it again. I love the kittens but I’m always drawn to the older cats when I see adoption events because no one is at their cages and they can be the most loving pets.

  • Julie

    I recently adopted a 4 year old feline leukemia positive kitty who had been at his rescue for 2 years. He is a loving, playful trusting boy! I’ve only had him a month but can’t imagine my home without him. He’s outgoing with visitors and gentle with my dog (who was previously afraid of cats). Love my Munchie to pieces!

  • Jethro Tail, Katie and Bobby’s mom

    I volunteer weekly at my local no-kill cat shelter in one of the adult cat rooms, and while I’m grateful that these guys and gals have a ‘home’ they never have to worry about losing, it breaks my heart that so many of them have been there for years, unconsidered for adoption. I can think of about four or five that I would adopt in a heartbeat if I were not already at “catpacity” (my three are all elderly, but two were rescued as adults from potentially bad situations). I can see such amazing potential in so many of these cats, and have formed a close bond with them, even though I only see them once a week.

    As mentioned in a number of places above, adult cats have many charms and rounded-out personalities, which are sometimes still undefined in kittens. The staff and volunteers at shelters can give you quite a good sense of what you can expect of particular cats, and can point you in the direction of some who might be a great fit for you and your family. Also, please, please don’t overlook those black kitties!!! They’re some of the bestest cats out there, and unfortunately, also some of the longest-term shelter residents. :(

  • Katie

    I adopted 10 year old siblings – Maggie & Tiger. I lost my Maggie this past January to cancer but Tiger will be 14 in October. I like the fact that they weren’t trying to climb my curtains or get on top of my kitchen cabinets. It is the only way to go!

  • Albert Nalven

    Cappy , AKA Cappucino, was found with his tail shaved by the fanbelt of a car in a junkyard.
    Deputy sherrif Helen Mc Cracken freed him and turned him over to the loving hands of the founder of Maranatha Farm. At the time of his rescue he was fur and bones and covered with fleas and flea bite scabs.
    With the help of a fostering volunteer he was nursed back to health.
    He has become the most gentle and affectionate cat, in my experience .
    Cappy had not been neutered nor was he chipped. Amazing, since he is a purebred Siamese.

  • Anita B

    I found my calico Patches in 2002 behind a large house that was used as a care home for mentally challenged individuals. The management had locked the doors on the employees one morning, shipped the tennants to other homes and locked out the “in house” kitty who was very loving and well taken care of. I accidentally found her when looking for one of my cats who disappeared. I would go to the rear of the house three times a day to feed her and give he rlots of love. I got in contact with a previous employee of the home and discovered “Patches” was a spayed ten year old (you could tell she once had had kittens) and that she was a wonderful cat. The person couldn’t believe they left her behind. Three months later she came across the street to live with me. She lived a good long eight years and she became the queen of the house and very much loved. I would never think twice about adopting an older cat. Recently I was cleaning our rescue cats cages at a local petmart and one of the new cats was a 6 year old calico also named Patches. Her personality and much of her body looked exactly like my baby. I discovered she is to be adopted today. So happy for her.

  • http://southerntieranimalrescuenetwork.org cindy

    As Feline Director for Southern Tier Animal Rescue Network, I love seeing older cats get adopted. I love my 10 year old Pipers Kitty. She still has plenty of kitten left in her. She is just as playful and loving as a younger cat. I remember a lady who wanted a kitten for her husband. I gently guided her way towards an older cat, because he husband had health issues with mobility problems. I was worried that kittens would get under foot and possibly trip him. She adopted the older cat, and now the cat and her husband are the best of buddies and his health has improved because he has a loving companion that sits on his lap and purrs the day away.

    At my age, kittens require much more energy from me. I’ve always said life is like herding a bunch of kittens. My herding days are over. Kittens will always find homes, but it makes me sad when I see the older ones passed by. My dream is to someday have a black cat and older cat rescue.

  • Pingback: How to Transition Your Cat to a Better Diet #AdoptACatMonth | Keep the Tail Wagging | Raising Dogs Naturally()

  • http://www.adopthelp.com/ Kendra Cyrus

    A nice article Thomas. These dumb and helpless creatures must also be taken care of. Hope during the month many cats are adopted bu people.

  • http://www.keepthetailwagging.com Kimberly Gauthier

    We have 2 senior cats in our home so we won’t be adopting any more cats for a while – we have a great system going – but if down the line we’re ready for a new addition, I will adopt a senior. I promise :)

  • http://google susan

    God bless & thank you for all you do!

  • Sarah

    We have 7 cats currently (just lost our 8th). They are ALL rescues.

    Sccoter (the oldest) is 21!!! He’s a Scottish fold (maybe half; he has the folded ears but has always been much leaner and longer than the typical Fold), and came into our lives literally out of the woods. We have no idea how he got there but he was happy to become a house cat. He’s thin and scruffy and sleeps all day now, but he still loves to cuddle and purr. We know he’s nearing the end of his life, and we are so sad, but it’s starting to look like he may be one of the rare cases that die peacefully at home, as he has no other major conditions. We keep a close eye on him; if he’s suffering we won’t wait.

    Reflex is 14. Her twin sister, CJ, just had to be put down about a month ago because of heart failure; her little body was filling up with fluid. Both girls were born in one of our living room chairs, from a very thin feral mom who literally wandered in off the street. Mom left again months later, but the adoring and extremely attached babies stayed.

    Rudy is 13. He was part of a litter of kittens that someone in the neighborhood was literally going to drown! My aunt rescued them and kept Rudy.

    Mr Mese is age unknown, probably 10-12, and a big boy (a little fat, but mostly just BIG, head and paws and everything). He was a shelter kitty that had been adopted and brought back THREE times! It was so sad to see him in the cage; he barely fit. Never again; he’s with us for the rest of his life. He is half Siamese; he has lilac-point markings and blue eyes and much ‘mese-ishness in personality, but he’s patched half white all over. He moves slowly (bad vision) and can be unexpectedly grouchy and has consistent diarrhea that the vet has been unable to find a solution for, but with love and patience he has become very attached, downright needily affectionate, and much less bitey-and-clawy. We love him enough to let him lay on our feet, step carefully around him, clean up his butt (at least he uses the litter box!), and give him all the attention he so craves. You can tell he REALLY appreciates having a forever home.

    Baby, now 7, ran across our feet, literally, one night when we were out on a walk and followed us all the way home, where she then sat on the porch and cried until we let her in (and took her to the vet with the torn lip we then discovered). At six months old, she was obviously a young house cat who had gotten lost (or dumped but that’s horrible to think about because she was so sweet and trusting!). We tried and failed to find her owners so she became ours. Now she’s pretty much the alpha female of the household.

    Coconut and Ginger are the babies, now 2. They were rescued from a foreclosed house where they had been left outside and were totally at a loss; Coco had also been badly injured by an adult cat. They were only 5 months old, the vet said! That worked in Coco’s favor though; he healed with the speed of the young. They are brothers, very attached to each other, and are also half Siamese. Coco has blue eyes and full ‘mese markings, except he’s creamy-bodied with orange-striped points. Ginger is all orange, even his eyes, but is very ‘mese in his body type and language, and purrsonality. Both are extremely talkative and devoted to their people, even if the older cats in the house think them way too hyper! Mr Mese adores them though,and they him.

    So there’s our special list. Rescue kitties are so special. You know you saved their lives, and they are so loving and grateful.