Why I'm glad I adopted an adult cat #RememberMeThursday




Adopting an older cat, Ellie Mae, complemented my family and perfectly matched my circumstances when we met.
Remember Me Thursday focuses on remembering orphan pets waiting for a forever home. Older cats, often euthanized first in shelters for space concerns, exemplify what Remember Me Thursday is all about. By adopting Ellie Mae, I prevented her from dying without the love of a forever home. However, bringing her into my home infinitely improved my life too. Ellie Mae continues to provide much love and companionship to me, and she best fit my family at the time.


Disclosure: We received a box of Remember Me Thursday-themed goodies from the Helen Woodward Animal Center (HWAC) in exchange for spreading the word about Remember Me Thursday and pet adoption. Momma Kat and Her Bear Cat only shares information and content relevant and of interest to our readers. HWAC is not responsible for the content of this post.







The unfortunate truth

Who can resist the adorable face of a kitten? These little balls of fur and endless exuberance entertain us and make us say, "AWWW!" But those charming qualities of a kitten come with a hidden darker side: kittens can be demanding, exhausting, and require much human attention, interaction and patience. Even people with experience with kittens can underestimate how much work a kitten necessitates. To ensure kittens are well socialized, experts suggest their people spend a minimum of two hours a day interacting and engaging with these fluffy balls of cuteness [Found Animals: Many benefits of adopting an adult cat].



Because kittens are so adorable, potential adopters overlook older cats at shelters. When the time comes to euthanize cats for space concerns, the older cats tend to be first in line; most kittens will find homes. Cats over ten years of age find themselves ignored and at an even greater risk of being euthanized. Sadly, these senior cats likely end up in shelters for circumstances out of their control [Marin IJ: There are many reasons to consider adopting a senior cat]. Besides the adorable nature of kittens, myths about older cats and perceived less time together drive the disparity between how many kittens and cats are adopted. In truth, cats are living longer than ever before. In adopting an older cat, one must focus on the quality of time together instead of the quantity of time. 
By adopting an older cat, you ensure that the feline won't spend the rest of his life in a shelter and prevent him from being put to sleep for lack of space.



A study by Priceonomics found that 82% of kittens are adopted, but older cats (older than one and a half years old) only have a 60% chance of being adopted. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) reports that 3.2 million cats enter shelters yearly. Unfortunately, 860,000 of those cats are euthanized [ASPCA: Shelter Intake and Surrender]. With the disparity in the adoption rates of kittens and older cats, it's not a stretch to imagine that most cats euthanized for lack of shelter space each year are over the age of one and a half years old. In honor of Remember Me Thursday this year, I share why I decided to adopt an older cat, Ellie Mae, at age six and why adopting an older cat was the right choice for me at the time. Contrasting with that decision, I share the circumstances that led me to make a different choice in adopting Latte at age four months. My situation and what I looked for in each adoption widely varied; picking a cat of the appropriate age was necessary in both cases. Adopting an older cat prevented Ellie from dying in a shelter and offered the best chance for providing her a forever home with my family.




Our story: A tale of two adoptions

After adopting Latte at fourteen weeks old almost two months ago, I remembered just how adorable and exhausting kittens can be! Caring for Latte often feels like caring for a toddler; she's always up to something. At the same time, my experience with Latte reaffirmed that I'd made the right decision in adopting an older cat five years before [Ellie Mae].

When I met Ellie Mae, I shared my life with Bear Cat. After adopting Bear, he turned from a mousey and timid outside cat to an oblivious, careless and obnoxious brother to Kitty. I had no clue when I adopted him that the sweet kitten I cuddled with outdoors could wreak so much havoc. I could handle the shredded couch, the missing pens, electrical cords as toys and his belief that all food in the house was his first. What was hard for me to accept was that he became a bully to Kitty (she was 15). She would do everything she could to get away from him so he'd leave her alone - and he'd keep going at and after her. We were at a breaking point. Nothing worked. If I closed Kitty in a room by herself, Bear would rip up carpet outside the door and howl. He couldn't be distracted. There was just no way to restore peace and calm to our home.


A few months later, Kitty died. Over the next ten years, I staunchly declared that Bear would be an only cat. After the horrible experience with Kitty, I was afraid to try a multi-cat household again. Time did not mellow him much: counters or tables still kept clear, electrical cords taped to the wall, whole sections of the carpet covered in packing tape to prevent more damage and I found myself near tears more often than I care to admit. Bear had a larger-than-life force-of-nature personality. Nothing stopped him. Then I met Ellie Mae.

After falling in love with Ellie Mae, I wanted to adopt her. But my previous experience held me back. And the fact that she was six years old already; that's six years our life together would be short! I knew the kittens available from the rescue weren't right either. I needed to be sure as possible that the cat I adopted would stand up to Bear enough not to be bowled over by him. Ellie Mae's foster mom was confident she would hold her own - and she did! Choosing an older cat with a set personality ensured the arrangement would work. Yes, Bear was still the alpha cat - and not entirely sure of her presence - but I'd chosen the right cat.



In choosing Ellie Mae, she was past the kitten stage. I didn't worry about her being destructive like Bear. And she fulfilled that presumption - only using her claws on scratching posts. Ellie came into my house fully trained and well-mannered, so I could focus on our relationship and not her behavior. And I could relax knowing that she would stand up for herself when it mattered. Choosing Ellie Mae meant that the adoption succeeded, and she found her forever home with me. When Bear died, I was shocked at how much his loss affected her. I assumed there hadn't been any affection or bonding - but she seemed just as upset as I was. She seemed to need a friend.

So when I saw Latte's picture on social media, I thought she might be a good friend for Ellie. I also fell in love with a buff tabby described as having a big personality. My heart soared: another Bear! But then I remembered just how much trouble he caused as a kitten. I wasn't sure I was up to kitten and cat proofing everything in my house again. I didn't have the energy to deal with a kitten who never stopped - my lifestyle had changed and wouldn't easily accommodate another Bear. When I met Latte, she was less boisterous, less in your face and calmer. Because Ellie is so sweet, I knew Latte would be safe. And I knew Latte wouldn't constantly be in Ellie's face. By adopting a kitten, I knew Ellie would have the playmate and friend she'd always wanted. And I knew since my boyfriend and I work from home, training and teaching a kitten would be much easier.


Even so, life with Latte has been a steep learning curve. Even though I've adopted kittens before, her raw energy and curiosity caught me by surprise. She's into everything: the refrigerator, the washer, the dishwasher, the toilet, food, etc. I can't wear pants with a drawstring without her obsession with catching it and dragging it around the house. Not to mention her love of biting toes and butts. I really should've known better as I'd had kittens before. But I also know that I saved all of us a lot of heartache and frustration in adopting her and not the other more rambunctious kitten.

I made each adoption decision by taking into account other cats in my home (their preferences, temperament and ability to get along with others) and knowing what I could handle at that point in my life (in terms of training, misbehavior, rambunctiousness). By doing this, I choose suitable cats in each circumstance. Adopting Ellie Mae and later adopting Latte represent the best decisions I've made. Yes, I wish I had kitten pictures of Ellie. Yes, it would've been nice to watch her as a kitten. However, kitten personalities can change - but older cats likely do not. Even better than meeting Ellie Mae as a kitten, I could rely on her foster mom to tell us how Ellie would react to Bear and ensure the best chance for Ellie Mae's successful adoption and a happy outcome for everyone involved. 





Adopting a kitten vs. adopting an adult cat: What you should consider






What can you do to raise awareness about #RememberMeThursday?







What else can you do to recognize #RememberMeThursday?




Great [older] kitties to adopt for #RememberMeThursday

In honor of Remember Me Thursday, we're sharing several cats available at All Paws Rescue, the rescue (Thank you, foster mom, Linda!) responsible for loving Ellie Mae and Latte until we found them. These kitties are just the kind of kitties Remember Me Thursday aims to remember (I'm sharing them in the spirit of the day - I haven't received any other incentive). If not these kitties, visit any rescue or shelter, and you'll probably find many like them. We must not forget the kitties in shelters waiting for forever homes. To view the profiles on any of these cats, please check out All Paws Rescue, and click on their "adoptable cats" link. 

At first, when I viewed the cats available from APR, I was disappointed older cats weren't available in keeping with the theme of this post. I then realized this was FANTASTIC news! These cats are younger felines - but not kittens:






© 2021 Momma Kat and Her Bear Cat - Published by K. Kern.
All text, pictures, images, and other content are original and copyright by Momma Kat and Her Bear Cat [K. Kern], 2015-2021. No content on Momma Kat and Her Bear Cat may be used without the owner's [K. Kern] written permission. If you see this post posted on a site that isn't Momma Kat and Her Bear Cat, please contact cats@mommakatandherbearcat.com.



Sources

"6 Benefits of Adopting an Older Cat." PetHub, https://www.pethub.com/article/6-benefits-adopting-older-cat-0, Accessed 20 Sept. 2021.

"6 Reasons Why You Should Adopt an Older Cat." The Spruce Pets, https://www.thesprucepets.com/reasons-to-adopt-an-older-cat-4160026, Accessed 20 Sept. 2021.

"7 reasons why adopting an older cat is a beautiful choice." Comfort Zone, https://www.comfortzone.com/behavior-blog/new-pet/7-reasons-why-adopting-an-older-cat-is-a-beautiful-choice, Accessed 20 Sept. 2021.

"8 Benefits Of Adopting An Older Cat." I Heart Cats, https://iheartcats.com/8-benefits-of-adopting-an-older-cat, Accessed 20 Sept. 2021.

"Benefits of adopting a senior cat." Country Veterinary Clinic, https://www.countryvet.net/blog/benefits-of-adopting-a-senior-cat.html, Accessed 20 Sept. 2021.

"Five reasons to adopt an older cat." Advantage Petcare, https://www.advantagepetcare.com.au/au/new-owners/five-reasons-adopt-older-cat, Accessed 20 Sept. 2021.

"Four Reasons to Give Senior Cats a Lifesaving Chance." ASPCA, https://www.aspca.org/blog/four-reasons-give-senior-cats-lifesaving-chance, Accessed 20 Sept. 2021.

"Kittens Versus Adult Cats: How To Choose Which Is Right For You." Cattime, https://cattime.com/cat-facts/405-kittens-vs-adult-cats-how-to-choose, Accessed 20 Sept. 2021.

"Seven reasons to adopt an adult cat." Cat Adoption Team, https://catadoptionteam.org/news/7-reasons-to-adopt-an-adult-cat, Accessed 20 Sept. 2021.

"Shelter Intake and Surrender." ASPCA, https://www.aspca.org/helping-people-pets/shelter-intake-and-surrender, Accessed 22 Sept. 2021.

"The Many Benefits of Adopting an Adult Cat." Found Animals, https://www.foundanimals.org/many-benefits-adopting-adult-cat, Accessed 20 Sept. 2021.

"There are many reasons to consider adopting a senior cat." Marin Independent Journal, https://www.marinij.com/2020/11/23/there-are-many-reasons-to-consider-adopting-a-senior-cat, Accessed 20 Sept. 2021.

"What Kind of Cat Should I Get?" The Spruce Pets, https://www.thesprucepets.com/what-kind-of-cat-should-you-get-552021, Accessed 20 Sept. 2021.

"What Kinds of Pets Get Adopted?" Priceonomics, https://priceonomics.com/what-kinds-of-pets-get-adopted, Accessed 20 Sept. 2021.

"Why Adopt an Older Cat?" Purina, UK, https://www.purina.co.uk/find-a-pet/articles/getting-a-cat/adoption/why-adopt-an-older-cat, Accessed 20 Sept. 2021.



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37 comments

  1. Kat what a beautiful post full of purrfect words! I don't know if you write for a living BUT you should.. I'm an avid reader. The best books, stories, articles are those that grab your attention in the first few paragraphs.
    Your post always do this for me.
    Hugs Cecilia

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    1. Thank you! This means more to me than you'll ever know. I've really had my confidence in writing destroyed and have considered quitting so many times. I'm glad to know there are people who appreciate my work!

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  2. That's such a nice story about sweet Ellie and yes, older cats do make purrfect additions to the family, they sure deserve it too.

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    1. Yes, they do. And Ellie is the sweetest cat you'll ever meet.

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  3. When we adopted Da Boyz, we were told they were under a year old.
    The vet, a week later, laughed, and said no way, they are more like over 2 years old!
    And they were passed over by a lot of adopters; twin black cats, and not baby kittens.
    Too bad, so sad for those folks, because Manny and CB are the lights in our lives.
    Sweetie wasn't so much an adoption, as the natural process for loving an outside cat to want them to be inside and safe. But she's not a spring chicken, and her old-lady ways are adorable.

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    1. Interestingly enough, I was going to add the black cat aspect to this story as well - but a lot of the current research claims black cats are adopted as much as others (there are just more black cats out there, so it only looks like they aren't being adopted). I didn't think getting into the controversy would help the post - but I might write a standalone post about it.

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  4. Endearing and treasured post ~ beautiful adults cats and kitties ~ Great photos too ! Xo

    Living in the moment,

    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

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  5. You're right that adopting an older cat has its advantages. No crazy kitten stuff to deal with!

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  6. AMARULA: We older cats have panache that youngsters don't
    AMARULA"s MOM: So true what you say about kittens-Frodo's energy and curiosity also caught me by surprise. He was also into everything (and still is!)

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    1. Panache? Is that what they call it these days?!? ~Ellie Mae
      Don't mind her ... she's just jealous she's not a tortie like us! ~Latte

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  7. Adopting all cats is so important. As is adopting all humans no matter how OLD they may be. Who looks after us when they are gone? Thankfully I have a plan which involves keeping Mrs H pickled in brine so I can collect her pension and live long and prosper.
    Incidentally, how is your pension. . . asking for a friend :)
    Purrs
    ERin

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    1. Hahaha. We know our humans need us far more than we need them [or their pensions]. ~Ellie Mae

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  8. I completely agree about adopting older cats whenever possible, they are some of the sweetest cats ever! This is a great guide to thoughtful adoption, taking into account the other pets in the home and the circumstances of the humans living there. Cheers and meows and all good wishes from the kitties and me!

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    1. Thank you! Since I just went through the whole thing myself, it was fresh in my mind.

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  9. Bless you for really thinking about the impact of both adoptions on the whole household. You made great decisions in both cases. 😻

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    1. Thank you. I learned my lesson from the first time when I tried to assimilate Bear into our household. I can't imagine NOT keeping him - especially after everything we went through together. But I was going to do my darnest to ensure I wasn't in that situation again!

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  10. Fabulous post! Before Truffles and Mudpie, who were each 2 when I adopted them, my previous cats were always 7 plus! I've actually never even had a kitten...although I sure would love to have seen a Baby Mudpie! Swoon...as adorable as she is now, can you see her as a kitten?!?!?!

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    1. I know! Ellie would've been the cutest kitten - same with Mudpie!

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  11. Adopting Cats, Dogs, etc... is highly rewarding and lots of work. I've adopted Senior Cats, Kittens, Dogs and even adopted a Chameleon when I was in Elementary Education.
    Fantastic Post.

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    1. What makes me sad are the people who adopt and aren't willing to do the work!

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  12. Excellent post, Momma Kat. We love how and why you adopted Ellie. We have always adopted older cats, and we've never ever regretted it. Ava, who we adopted at age 2, was the youngest kitty we've ever adopted. All of the others have been 7 or older. What you said about the quality of the time together is so true.

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    1. Yes! And how adopting Ellie as an older cat meant I could focus on our relationship and not her behavior. Kittens are cute and adorable ... this is true - but they are also more work!

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  13. This is a beautiful post and held my attention right through it. That is no mean feat as since the TIAs my attention span is sadly lacking! You made exactly the right decisions for yourself and for Ellie Mae and Latte.
    I really wanted to adopt an older cat when Eric died, about 12-15 years old. Flynn was so very territorial though. He only had to see a cat in the distance in his fields and he would run it off screaming at it. I don't think he would ever have accepted another cat and I didn't want to cause him more stress.

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    1. Wow. Thank you! I understand about choosing not to adopt because of Flynn's territorial nature. I guess Bear was territorial - but different. When visitors came by here, he'd run inside - and not confront. But he couldn't stand SHARING. Bear was a true enigma in so many ways - like two completely different cats!

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  14. Beautiful post! Well done for adopting an older kitty and for spreading the word.

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  15. I know I can't --unless circumstances forced the issue, adopt another cat while I have Katie. She is territorial to an extreme. You'd never know it though as she is so(another extreme coming up) loving to every human who comes to the house. She is especially drawn to men. No surprise I guess as she has three brothers. If I could adopt I would grab the cat next door and make her mine by catnapping.

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    1. Hahaha! Bear was super loving to me - but not so kind to his sisfur!

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  16. Our strays all found us when they were kittens, but our two foster fails were adults (Harley a senior!). If I adopted from a shelter again, I'd definitely adopt an adult or a senior.

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    1. I can't imagine Harley would be amused with kittens! Though Sophie would love it.

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  17. What a lovely post! All cats deserve a purrfect furever home, whatever age they are.

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  18. We say "Paws Up" for adopting older felines! The Human's heart is finally healing from the loss of Angel Tucker and Angel Jasmine and is now looking for the purrfect adult kitty to add to our Tribe. We asked her how she'll know which feline is the right one and she just smiles and says, "Oh, I'll know, and it will be the right kitty for all of us!"
    Purrs & Head Bonks,
    Alberto

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  19. What an uplifting post. All cats deserve a loving home - no matter what age they are.

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