There’s nothing like a pet for seniors who spend much of their time alone. Cats are ideal pets for seniors who simply want companionship. They are perfect pets for seniors who have mobility issues and would find it difficult to care for a dog.
Most dogs need to be walked and exercised on pretty much a daily basis. Cats, on the other hand, are often very happy to stay in the confines of a home. So what are the best cats for seniors who want a pet to pamper?
First off, there is an important myth to get out of the way.
Many people have the idea that cats are low maintenance because you don’t have to exercise them by walking them every day. Plus you don’t have to take cats outside to do their business. You simply get a kitty litter box and that’s all there is to it. At first blush, it appears that cats are indeed low maintenance compared to dogs.
Not so fast! There are several things to consider when trying to figure out the answer to the question “is a cat or a dog is the best pet for seniors?”
CATS CAN ACTUALLY BE HIGH MAINTENANCE
There’s a lot that goes into caring for a cat, and they are most certainly not low maintenance. That’s not to say they are not excellent pets for seniors. It’s just that they have a lot of needs.
For instance, that kitty litter box should be cleaned several times a day. If not, it can cause a cat stress for no reason. It can also be a perfect place to spread disease. Last but not least, it makes your home smell bad.
If you are new to cat ownership there are many websites who can help you out as far as learning how to care for a cat. WebMD has an excellent article on Cat Grooming.
Cats want your company. They want to be around you. Almost all cats thrive on affection, but often it’s on their own terms. Maybe they will curl up on a blanket, pillow, or piece of clothing that smells like you. On the other hand, there are cats who will spend tons of time sitting in your lap purring as you pet it.
Although cats often sleep 12 to 16 hours a day, they need to be kept active and entertained when they are awake. They want to play and explore in the twilight hours of dawn and dusk when they are most often awake. Cat toys are great, but it’s also important for cat owners to interact with them. It’s not enough to just give them some toys and then leave them to their own devices.
Cats don’t really like to be alone for extended periods. There are actually cat owners who put out food and water for their cat and then leave for a weekend or on vacation. It’s times like that when cats can get ill from the stress they get from being alone for days.
It’s important to have someone check on them, feed them, and play with them on a daily basis if cat owners plan on being away for an extended period.
Then, of course, there is grooming. Cats need to be brushed on a regular basis. Their teeth should also be cleaned quite often.
These are all things a senior can do. Half the fun of seniors having a cat for a pet is that a cat will give them a sense of purpose. Caring for the cat and playing with the cat can be welcome distractions. It will also solidify the bond that develops between pets and their owners.
Here are some cats that might be a great choice for seniors.
THE BRITISH SHORTHAIR CAT
The British Short Hair cat is extremely affectionate. It’s also very loyal and an excellent companion for a single senior. Both males and females weigh in at about 12 pounds on average when fully grown.
Their furry coat has a short length and is quite straight and comes in a wide range of colors. White, Black, Cream, Red, Brown, Silver, and Smoke are the most common. Shedding tendency is considered moderate.
Daily brushing is important, especially when their coat is thickening during seasonal changes. The coat becomes much thicker in the winter and is quite hard. It’s meant to protect the cat.
Strength is one of the main features of the British Shorthair. It has a broad chest and muscular neck and very strong jaws. It’s believed this breed of cat was a breed meant to keep rodents out of the home or barn.
The eyes of a Shorthair can be Blue, Copper, or Gold and the life expectancy ranges from 7 to 12 years.
What makes this cat ideal for seniors is that it can play well on its own, and doesn’t require constant attention. This makes it an ideal choice for a single senior.
THE SIAMESE CAT
Pretty much everyone is familiar with the distinctive-looking Siamese cat. They have a very distinctive coat that features dark points on a light background
This cat was once the royal cat of Siam, hence the name Siamese. It comes in many different colors. It’s not unusual to find Siamese with striking points of lilac, chocolate, or blue.
They are classified as either show or traditional. The show Siamese has a tubular body type and long legs. They have a wedge-shaped head, triangular ear, and a long tail.
The traditional Siamese is sometimes called the apple-headed Siamese. It has a chunky body and a round head. They both have the striking blue eyes they are famous for. Either classification of Siamese is blessed with the same amazing personality.
They are a very smart cat. They will wander around turning on faucets and even opening cupboard doors when their owner is not around. They will always be looking for new places to hide.
The Siamese is great company for seniors because they will talk to you all day long. They will give you their opinion on what you’re feeding them, or how much or little attention you’re giving them. They also require a minimum of grooming because of their short coat. Usually once a week with a steel comb will do the trick.
They often have problems with their teeth, and it pays to brush their teeth at home with a vet-approved toothbrush. It could help prevent an expensive trip to the vet.
You can also teach Siamese tricks. They have been known to fetch a ball and can be trained to walk on a leash. This will work well for seniors who enjoy going for a walk and don’t want to have to struggle with a dog who might be harder to control.
Best of all, they are great for people of all ages. That includes children, it loves it when they spend the time to play with it and talk to it.
THE PERSIAN CAT
The Persian has a long coat that requires a daily groom to comb out loose hair. Their teeth should also be cleaned on a regular basis.
This cat breed is generally very gentle, affectionate and tends to bond well with humans. The Persian cat doesn’t mind other pets or children but does their best to avoid loud, aggressive kids.
They are quite an exquisite breed with their snub noses, long hair, and chubby cheeks. They purr a lot and enjoy being held, but will also do fine on their own.
Their laid back attitude and passive behavior make them a very easy pet to take off, and that’s ideal for seniors.
The Persians have been around for a long time and can be traced back to the 1600s. Nobody is entirely sure, but it’s believed the originated in Mesopotamia which was later called Persia. Hence the name Persian. Persia is now called Iran.
This cat would also make an excellent pet for a senior. They like attention, but don’t demand it constantly.
CHOOSING THE CAT THAT FITS THE OWNER
Every senior has different levels of fitness and mobility. It’s best to pick a cat that matches your personality and ability to take care of it.
All three of the cat breeds I mentioned have different traits, but at the same time, love people and are relatively easy to look after.
Not only that, they are all sensational looking cats in their own right. A cat can be a great companion at home or to travel with. All you need is a Cat Carrier and you are good to go.
Your cat might also appreciate his own cat bed as well. They would probably love to have their very own Cat Cave Bed.
If a cat isn’t your first choice and a dog is more to your liking, check out some popular dogs for seniors.
If you would like to share your thoughts on this topic feel free to make a comment at the bottom of this page.