Wondering whether to get a kitten or an older cat? Discover why adopting a mature moggy might be the best choice for you
If you’re looking to welcome a new feline friend into your life, we recommend considering an older cat. While kittens are undeniably cute, mature moggies are too, and there are lots of benefits to adopting an older cat.
Comedian Jo Brand agrees, saying: "If you’re thinking about owning a cat don’t dismiss the mature moggies, older cats can still bring so much love and fun to a home. My cat Louie lived into his 20s and was still the gorgeous, quirky boy we loved. Plus, they are a lot less fuss than a kitten!"
We usually have lots of older cats in our care, and on 16 June every year we celebrate #MatureMoggiesDay when we share stories of the senior ‘kitizens’ waiting for new homes, encourage others to share the joys of owning mature moggies, and give lots of advice about caring for older cats. Find out more about Mature Moggies Day.
If you need more convincing as to why mature moggies are magnificent, here are some benefits to consider...
1. They have an established personality
When you get a kitten, you don’t quite know what sort of character they’ll grow up to have – they could be a chatty cat, a serial snoozer, an aloof kitty or a lap lover, their personality is likely to change a lot in their first few years of life. When you adopt a mature moggy from Cats Protection, we’ll be able to tell you lots about their personality, either from their previous owner or the time they’ve spent with us in care, so you’ll have a better idea of what to expect from your new feline friend (including where their favourite spot for a fuss is!).
2. They’ll be a calming companion
Kittens have a lot of energy and they can be a lot of work as a result. They can get into all sorts of trouble as they explore your home at top speed (it’s not unusual to discover they’ve scaled the curtains!) and so they need lots of interactive playtime to help tire them out. An older cat is likely to be a lot calmer, and happier to spend more time snoozing and cuddling up with you.
“He is the best cat ever. Charles being perhaps calmer than a kitten suited me well as a first cat. He’s probably fitter and more active than we will be at an equivalent age!” – Tom, who adopted 13-year-old Charles from Cats Protection Mitcham, with his partner Elle.
3. They may be more suited to a busy lifestyle
If you have a kitten, you will need to keep a close eye on them to make sure they don’t get into any mischief, and they’ll probably wants lots of interaction from you throughout the day. If you’re out of the house for long periods of the day, or busy getting things done around the home, an older cat might be a better option as although they’ll still want some attention from time to time, they’re also likely to happily snooze while you get on with your tasks.
4. They can still be fun
Although they don’t have quite as much energy as kittens, older cats will usually still love to have regular short play sessions if you find the toys they like (fishing rod toys are often a favourite!) and they’ll still have lots of fun quirks to bring a smile to your face every day. Find out more about how to play with your cat.
5. They can be great pets for families
If you have children of your own or any young family members who like to visit, they will likely want to play with your cat. Kittens can get quite over-excited during play, sometimes misdirecting their hunting behaviour onto people instead of toys, and picking up bad habits such as playing with fingers and toes. While older cats still like to play, they’re likely to be calmer and less boisterous with younger family members. Find out how to help cats and children get along.
6. You’ll be giving them a second chance
Older cats arrive in our care for a number of reasons, perhaps their previous owner passed away or could no longer care for them, or they were lost and abandoned on the streets as a stray. Whatever the reason, being in our care is no substitute for a loving home, and so by adopting an older cat you’ll be giving them a second chance at happiness in their twilight years.
“I thought Penny was going to be quite quiet and sleep a lot like older cats are meant to do but she is actually extremely playful and puts her two younger brothers to shame. She’s wonderful and I wouldn’t hesitate to adopt an older cat again.” – Becky, owner of 16-year-old Peggy adopted from Cats Protection Warrington.
7. They could still live a long time
Adopting a mature moggy doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t have them for long. Advances in veterinary care and awareness of good cat welfare mean that cats are living longer than they used to. The average life expectancy for a pet cat is around 12-14 years, but some can live well into their late teens and even early 20s. Last year we rehomed the world’s oldest living cat, Flossie, who is 27 years old! Find out how long pet cats live. When the time does come to say goodbye to your beloved cat, we can provide lots of advice and support during this difficult time. Get support for pet-related grief.
8. You’ll be helping us care for more cats
Sadly, older cats in our care often have to wait three times longer to find new homes than their younger counterparts, and we never put a healthy cat to sleep. By adopting a mature moggy, not only will you be gaining a new companion and giving a cat a second chance, you’ll also be freeing up space in our branches and centres so that we can help even more cats who need us.