Two years ago, when my then fiancé and I were walking through our local big-box pet store, we came across a wall of kennels housing several cats that were up for adoption. Though we were not looking to adopt—we were already were living with two kitties—we decided to pay those forlorn cats a visit.
Much to our surprise, we found ourselves smitten by a fluffy, unassuming, gray and white kitty. At nearly 12 years old, she was markedly less active than the other cats—not pawing at and rubbing against the kennel doors, or meowing incessantly trying to vie for our attention. Instead, she was simply curled up on a padded platform. As we approached her cell, she languorously raised her head and stared at us with eyes half-open. There was something enthralling about her apathy.
We left the store without her that day.
Over the course of eight months, I would routinely go back to that pet store, and she would still be there, usually in the company of different cats every time. She became a constant in my life. Each week, I would visit her in much the same way someone would visit an incarcerated loved one. And each subsequent time, she would come closer to the bars to greet me—her arthritic forelimbs wobbling as she propped herself up to regale me with her endearingly tragic, drawn out, gravelly mews that sounded as though she had been smoking cigarettes for years.
It was really sad that no one would give her a chance.
Though, admittedly, it’s completely understandable why people tend to shy away from adopting an older animal. Let’s be honest: Who really wants to open up their homes and hearts to a cat that potentially might not last the week?
However, older cats have a lot to offer. For example, they are generally relaxed—content to hang out by your side rather than bouncing off the walls. Unlike kittens and adolescents that need to grow into themselves, senior cats have already developed into who they are. They are less likely to get into mischief like scratching furniture or tearing drapes.
Older cats can also give you more years of love than you might have imagined. Currently, the oldest living cat is an orange tortoiseshell named Tiffany Two. She was born in San Diego on March 13, 1988, which makes her 27 years old (or about 125 in human years).
The oldest cat on record was a black-and-white kitty named Creme Puff. She died in 2005 at the ripe-old age of 38 (or about 168 in human years).
By the way, my husband and I ended up adopting miss wobbly-legs. A cat’s golden years should be golden, and we couldn’t bear to let her spend her latter years trapped in a metal box being gawked at by people in a pet store. Her name is Tika, and she is one of the sweetest and most loving cats I have ever known—and surprisingly spry. I am truly blessed to have her in my life.
Would you consider adopting a senior cat? Have you done so already? Let us know in the comments below.