At 9 years old Winifred was considered to be old in adopting terms, she's now been living with me for 24 months. It was always my intent to adopt an older cat, I feel sorry for them, they're the hardest to find homes for, but I think the most deserving. She'd been in the RSPCA for 3 months and only one lady had shown any interest in adopting her, but luckily for me she decided against it; Winifred has a bizarre habit of dribbling when she's content, and the lady pulled out of the adoption for this reason alone!! Older cats often end up in rescue centres through no fault of their own, the owner dying, people losing interest in them, moving away and not wanting to take the cat; in Winifred's case she'd been taken from a hoarder.
During those three months that Winifred was looking for a new home, I was away sailing and it was always my intent when I got back to get straight into the adoption of a new cat. I love ginger and that's what I wanted. I'd found one at another centre, she was 13 years old and it turned out that she had conditions that she wasn't going to recover from and it was decided by the centre that it would be fairer to put her to sleep. Still wanting a ginger cat, I went to another RSPCA centre (Stappley Grange, Nantwich) and started looking around. I talked to the staff, who were absolutely brilliant. One said what about this one. (called at the time Coco) I hadn't considered a black and white cat, they've never really appealed to me, but I looked at her and I looked at some others; I spent time with them and went away.
Why were we meant for each other? Well to answer that question, I went back a few times and each time that I sat on the floor, I tapped my lap, she came over, got on and settled down, I knew then that she was the one, she felt safe in my company. None of the other cats I'd looked at, had shown any particular interest in me; so I went back a few more times just to make sure, but she was absolutely perfect and always showing enthusiasiasm when I went up to her pen; she'd would come over to me straight away, and was attentive. So I decided to adopt her. A couple of weeks later, I brought her home.
Bringing any new animal into your home is going to have it's issues, and it wasn't any different for Winifred; she been uprooted again from the security of her pen and put into a house where there's a lot of space, with different smells noises etc to get use to, but she did extremely well. The biggest hurdle was me getting a full nights sleep, this didn't happen much for a few months because she kept checking in with me, needing that extra little bit of security during the night when she's most active.
Winifred is an intelligent cat, we'd formed an instant bond and I knew that she trusted me. I'd had her a couple of days and It was towards the end of August; breaking all the suggested rules, I decided that I trusted her enough to come outside with me; I knew that she'd be cautious and I also knew that she wouldn't go too far from me; so we started little visits into the garden. We did have one occasion when she went off, I panicked, and searched the neighbourhood, the park, asked people if they'd seen a black and white cat, of which there are loads around here, but she came home happy and proud of her little adventure and we've not looked back since.
I'm so glad that lady decided against adopting Winifred because I absolutely love her and I can't imagine not having her in the house, even though she does dribble over me, wakes me in the night to pet her. So think about Winifred's story and consider my 5 reasons why you should adopt an older cat.
#1 Every cat deserves to have a home and particularly older cats because younger families want a kitten. Winifred has been and continues to be the most beautiful, comedic, loving cat.
#2 With a kitten you're going to have toys every where, including in their litter tray. An older cat is just going to do their business and leave, if they even use a litter tray!!
#3 Older cats are going to be less bother. Having a kitten is great, but they're like having babies in the house, they need a massive amount of attention and you'll have that smelly litter tray in the kitchen a lot longer than if you adopted an older cat. You're also going to have the issue of the kitten chewing everything in sight. An older cat already has their adult teeth, so they're not going to be bothered with chewing your shoes. An older cat just wants somewhere to snuggle down.
#4 Older cats have developed their characters, so you know exactly what you're getting when you're going around the adoption centres. With a kitten, their personalities are still to develop, so you're not quite sure what you're going to get.
#5 Kittens are cute, but fragile little things, which means if you have children, there's a good chance that they're going to be too enthusiastic with their cuddles, pulling them, dropping them and standing on them. An older cats are more robust and can look after themselves.