Whether you yourself are a senior citizen, aching to adopt a pet, or are just the loved one of a senior whose life you think a pet might improve, read on to find out why cats make excellent pets for the elderly.
1. Cats require less physical exertion.
Even the laziest dog in the world needs to be walked. Cats are far more self-sufficient and though they need exercise, they’re better about giving it to themselves. Playing with a cat can be a stationary activity – wiggling around a laser pointer, for example – while still providing plenty of movement for the animal. Seniors who are willing to put up bookshelves or cat climbing “trees” will find their cats are even happier.
2. Cats take themselves to the bathroom.
Litter boxes are a little unsightly, but they’re far, far easier to deal with than an animal that needs to be constantly let outside. Forget bending over to scoop poop at the dog park; cats do their business in the same place every day so you can change their litter on a predictable schedule (or even have a caretaker do it for you.) Cats are reliable and predictable which are great qualities for seniors.
3. Cats make great companions.
Felines may not walk around with the same sloppy grins that dogs do, but they’re incredibly loyal companions. Some cats like to cuddle, particularly in laps that don’t move all that often. Other cats like to sleep at the foot of the bed. Most cats are simply content with hanging out in (or near) the room you’re in, observing and feeling part of it all. They’re the perfect hands-off companions.
4. Cats are happy indoors.
Unlike dogs, cats are happy living their entire lives indoors as long as they get plenty of playtime. In fact, once a cat is raised as an “indoor cat,” they may actively resist being taken outside at all! Seniors with cats never have to feel guilty about a lack of outdoor stimulation because cats are naturally territorial, getting their kicks from protecting their own palace, not exploring new ones.
5. Cats are low-maintenance.
One of the best things about cats is how incredibly low maintenance they are. They take care of most of their own personal hygiene, and cats never need to be groomed. From a health perspective, cats tend to have fewer issues than dogs, although it depends on the specific animal. For seniors on a budget, being able to schedule just one in-home wellness visit for a cat a year rather than making several trips to the vet’s office for various injuries and illnesses can save a lot of money.
Is a cat right for your home?
Vetted is a huge proponent of pets for seniors. We think cats make excellent companions for the elderly, and many of our clients are senior citizens with pets who can’t – or simply don’t want to! – leave their homes for vet treatment.