“Since each of us is blessed with only one life, why not share it with a cat?”
Robert Steams. Pittsburgh Press
For the elderly or those with busy lifestyles, the cat provides affection without the
demands of exercise and training required by dog ownership. However, since cats
tend to live long lives it is still necessary to ensure that you will be able to provide the
cat with the comforts and necessities of life for quite a considerable time.
Cats give ‘contact comfort’ which is often missing from the lives of the elderly, lonely
or handicapped but it also something from which young children derive great pleasure.
Quiet moments watching television or reading a book are much more pleasurable
when shared with a cat.
Children often prefer to obtain a kitten as they are captivated by the play behaviour of
kittens, however very young children need parental supervision when handling kittens
to ensure that they do not inadvertently hurt the kitten by cuddling too hard or
For the elderly, an older cat may be a very suitable selection and animal welfare
shelters often have lovely older cats just waiting for someone to love.
For the busy families an older cat may be easier to manage than a young kitten which
will need more frequent meals, training and company than an older cat.
With any older cat it will take a little time for it to become attached to its new home and
owner. Any cat taken into a new situation needs to be confined indoors for a minimum
of two weeks or until it is obvious that the cat is well settled and adjusted and
considers it is ‘at home’. If allowed outside too early the cat may try and return to its
Many people obtain an older cat when it decides to ‘adopt’ them. Some of these cats
may have been traumatised and/or learnt to distrust humans and may take some time
before they allow close contact.
Cats cannot be forced into a relationship or dominated, and unlike dogs, it is difficult to
buy their love. Trying to force your friendship on a cat usually makes it retreat, but by
observing the distance to which the cat will allow you to approach without it retreating
and then not violating this space, regularly placing food and water at this boundary,
speaking quietly to the cat as you move about, it will usually choose to approach you.
Some cats will always retain a facade of independence but once given, their love and
loyalty means you have a lifelong companion.
Article Courtesy of Petcare Information and Advisory Service Australia