Senior Cat Owners
There's no doubt that a pet cat can be an important companion for an elderly person. Seniors often live alone, and a cat can offer a great deal of comfort and be an antidote to loneliness. Caring for a cat means that the senior still has a purpose and an activity since cats require grooming, feeding, and playtime, too. But it's important to note that a cat is a responsibility and deserves good care.
A cat's litter box needs to undergo regular cleanings and this may be beyond the limits of the senior owner. In addition, most seniors are living on a fixed income and cats come with a variety of expenses. Cats need cat food and kitty litter. They also need occasional visits to the veterinarian and these visits will increase as the pet (and the senior) age.
A cat's claws need to be clipped, and some long-haired varieties will need regular trims and grooming sessions, too. In some cases, a senior may have to shell out for a cat's medication. If the cat develops a chronic health condition, the medication may become an ongoing expense.
So why choose cats over dogs? Cats tend to be somewhat self-sufficient and don't need to be taken for walks as do dogs. Cats don't eat as much as canines and don't often need professional grooming.
An older cat will be past the rambunctious stage and won't be quite so rough on the furniture. He will already have been neutered and will have developed a predictable and stable personality.
In any event, a senior may realize at some point that he/she can no longer provide adequate care for a cat. At this juncture, there will be some tough choices to make. It's a painful thing to give up a beloved pet. Such a decision is hard on both the senior owner and the cat.
In the best case scenario, a member of the senior's family will take in the cat or arrange a good home for him. If the cat is taken in by a family member, this means that the senior can still have occasional visits with his/her dear friend.
But if such a home cannot be provided, the next step is to call the local SPCA. An older cat is less likely to be adopted, but please don't abandon your pet under any circumstances! The SPCA can likely suggest an appropriate rescue group. Some of these rescue groups are even focused on a particular breed.
If the cat must be given away, it must be acknowledged that the senior will undergo a mourning process for his or her beloved pet.