By MARY ANN REUTER (and Kaila)
Did you hug any senior cats on June 4, officially designated as Hug Your Cat Day?
What? You don’t have a cat? That may be because one has not chosen you yet. Cats can be selective about the person they decide to go home with, after all. Especially older cats.
June is also Adopt a Cat Month, and shelters across Idaho and Montana are gearing up for a variety of festive feline holidays, such as World Catnip Day on June 15 and Wake Up Your Human Day on June 24. You can even Take Your Cat to Work Day on June 25.
But only if you have one.
Much has been written about the healing power of pets for older people. Sharing a home with a cat or dog can lower blood pressure, reduce stress, and lessen loneliness and depression. Pets benefit too, especially when mature people adopt mature pets.
Senior kitties are often overlooked at adoption centers and may find themselves housed in shelters for months at a time. Simply Cats in Meridian, Idaho, even waived adoption fees for older residents during the month of April to make room for more senior “kittizens.”
Unfortunately for those sophisticated elder cats, searching for the last lap to warm by June 16 (you guessed it, there is another cat holiday called Lap Day), they are up against what cat rescue groups call “kitten season.”
Yes, adorable and cuddly kittens. Each spring, thousands of kittens will join the millions of cats already in shelters across the county. What’s an older, mellow cat to do?
“After all, I have manners. I’m less destructive than those energetic youngsters. As a feline of a certain age, I know how to relax. And no one warms a lap better than me.”
So says Kaila, a mature Siamese mix adopted from a local shelter a dozen years ago by the author. Yes, she was a kitten then. But she is equally adorable today and has this to say to her fellow felines about the benefits of adopting an older human.
“Senior citizens are great company for senior pets. The calm presence of an older person is very comforting to us aging kitties. Mature people are predictable and don’t require a lot of training, but you can still teach them new tricks if you’re patient.”
Best of all, the senior person you select will likely be a “purrfect” match if you have chosen carefully. Mature pet people will quickly form a close bond with an older, wiser kitty that offers laser-focused attention and devotion.
Many animal shelters have year-round, senior-for-seniors adoption programs too, with special pricing to adopt a fully vetted cat or dog that is 7 years or older. At Simply Cats, for example, the fee is only $25 and includes a small litter box, scoop, and cat litter to start you off on the right paw.
What are you waiting for? Adopt a senior cat today, so you can celebrate World Cat Day together on August 8 and National Take Your Cat to the Vet Day on August 22. MSN
Mary Ann Reuter is a Boise-based health and lifestyle writer whose interests include active aging, rural health and the human-animal bond. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.