Adoption - The Adult option.

“What greater gift, than the love of a cat?” Charles Dickens, author (Great Expectations)

Over the last 4 years, I have fostered many a kitten and adult cats. It did not take me long to realise that people prefer to choose a kitten for adoption, over a more “mature” cat. From 5 -6 months and older, a cat’s chances of being adopted, drops sharply. Why would that be?

Sure, kittens are cute and cuddly, but so are adult cats. “I want a fluffy kitten.” All cats are fluffy, as are many other things, what is the fascination with fluffiness and kittens? All these questions, and very few answers. In the end, it is a question of choice. Let me help you make the right choice.

Why do adult cats end up in rescue? At this very moment, Capetonians Against Animal Abuse (CAAA), have about 15+ cats above the age of 5 months, in foster care. Reasons vary from abandonment, family circumstances changing and allergies. None of this any fault of the cats. Can you imagine, living happily with a family the one minute, and the next you are abandoned somewhere or dropped at rescue organisation?

I have asked some of our past adopters, who adopted adult cats from us, why they chose an adult? 

Grayson

Grayson

Steve, who adopted Grayson from CAAA, says the following: “Adopting an adult cat wasn't a difficult decision when I saw Grayson I immediately felt a connection to him irrespective of his age. Sure, some time has passed but that's why you cherish every moment with them. For me it's not about the age of the cat, I look at them and see a face, a face that longs for love and will always give their love when you come home.” Steve was afraid that Grayson, who clearly bonded well with foster dad, would not bond with him. In no time, however, it became clear that Grayson met his forever family and Steve was now daddy.

We went to visit a few weeks after the adoption, and Grayson clearly was quite comfortable in his new surroundings. Adult cats adapt just as easily to new surroundings, as kittens. Best part, Steve did not have to worry about vaccinations and medical issues. He knew exactly what to expect.

Raisa (Now called Raisin)

Raisa (Now called Raisin)

Caroline adopted Raisa, now called Raisin from CAAA. Their previous kitty passed on a few years ago. Their human family was complete, and the time was right to choose another feline companion for the family and 2 resident dogs. Caroline knew she wanted a family cat, who was used to dogs and would be comfortable with two busy boys. With Raisin, they immediately knew she would be the right fit. It was love at first sight for Caroline’s family and Raisin.

Raisin - Happily settled in.

Raisin - Happily settled in.

Caroline says the following about adopting an older cat: “For us, the benefit an adult kitty is that we understand her personality, any issues she has, preferences... and she's toilet trained! Same applies to dogs, personality fit is so important in a family. All kittens and puppies are gorgeous, obviously, but when they're a little more mature, you get a better sense of who they are!”

With an adult cat, what you see is what you get. You will never know what sort of cat a kitten will become, once they reach adulthood. Kittens grow up fast. At most, you have a month or two of “bonding”.

Why not choose an adult kitty? As Steve saw, Grayson quickly bonded with him.

Cheetoh - Loving his daddy Alan.

Cheetoh - Loving his daddy Alan.

Cheetoh was adopted by Maggie and her family. They wanted a kitty to heal dad Alan’s heart, after losing his beloved kitty. The family knew Cheetoh came from a very rough life, before being taken into foster care. Cheetoh was extremely neglected, in need of medical care and a lot of TLC. Foster mom worked hard to rebuild Cheetoh’s trust in humans, and the Mouton family completed the circle.

Maggie says that they knew exactly what they got with Cheetoh. They knew that they could continue to work with him, to complete his rehabilitation. They have experience with feral cats. Today, Cheetoh is a happy, well-integrated boy, who indeed loves his daddy very much♥

These adult kitties adapted purrfectly to their new families.

Kittens and adult cats in foster care

In my experience, the adults in foster care, love cuddles just as much as the kittens. They can play just as hard as the kittens. They are however less work and less stress.

You must keep a close eye on kittens, to make sure they do not get sick. Adults are not that delicate.

Kittens play and run through litterboxes, tracking litter, and sometimes other stuff, everywhere. Sometimes they get confused and think the blanket is the litterbox.

Kittens climb curtains and will chew holes in anything they can find. That includes charger cables, sealed bags of cat food and anything else they can sink claws and teeth into.

Cats and kittens can both sleep on your bed. However, an adult is less likely to have a little accident in the bed. (LOL foster mom has first-hand experience of this)

It is not that we do not want you to adopt a kitten, but at least consider an adult, or two, as well.

Do you need some more convincing?

Adult cats may appear to not need as much attention as kittens, yet they also thrive, with lots of attention, and can still develop little quirks of their own, to compliment yours.

They require less supervision, and able to keep themselves content, if you work outside the home. Most adults need not much more than a warm lap, regular food, and love.

Carefully introducing an adult, to an older cat, can be much less stressful, than introducing a kitten. Most rescues are exposed to multiple cat living situations, and well socialised.

An older cat is less likely to catch birds, than a youngster. Or at least less often.

Cats can live happy and healthy lives, with care and attention.  A 5-month-old cat, a 5-year-old cat, or 10-year-old cat, can give you as many years of joy and love.

Settling in

With patience, and care, the introduction of an adult to your household, can be no more difficult, than that of a kitten. Take the time and do it right, reap the benefits for their lifetime.

Prepare a quiet space, in advance. Make sure there is a comfy place to sleep and a suitable litter box. I personally prefer to provide the adult cats with a large litter box the size of a 30L storage box at least, available from your local supermarket. Clean it regularly. No one likes a dirty loo.

Give adequate food and some treats, to help the cat relax and settle in. Do not place food and water dishes close to the litter box. Cats do not like to eat, where they do their ablutions, and it is not hygienic.

Give them time and space to get used to the sounds and smells in your house, and let them meet all members of the household, in their space, in a non- threatening way. Follow their cue, to know when they are ready to explore further.

Provide toys, boxes and scratch posts, to keep them entertained. Make sure you engage with them as well, playing with them with their toys.

Click on this link for more tips on settling in your cat.

Conclusion

“The trouble with a kitten is that eventually, it becomes a cat.” 
Ogden Nash

Why not give an older kitty a chance as well? You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain.

I hope this article was helpful, and you can let us know about your experiences with adult cats.

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