Cats make a great companion for people of all ages and walks of life. Whether you are living on your own in a small city apartment, a family with children, or an older adult living in a retirement community, a cat can be the ideal pet to keep. Find out why having a cat as a pet in retirement can help support your overall health and well-being.
Senior isolation is a real thing that may lead to detrimental health effects that include depression and anxiety. By keeping a cat, older adults will get to enjoy the company of their pet even when they live on their own. Studies have found that pets can help older adults to overcome loneliness and isolation as they provide them with entertainment, company, and a sense of purpose and responsibility. Older adults with pets walk more, and talk and smile more as compared to when there are no pets around.
Cats require minimal care but they do need some form of activity daily which also helps older adults to stay active. For older adults with arthritis or other conditions that limit their mobility, they can stretch their joints when caring for a cat. Feeding their cat, scooping their litter boxes, and giving them water are all non-tedious activities that get older adults up and moving. The routines and activities associated with caring for a cat can provide important mental stimulation that benefits an older adult’s overall senior health.
Cats VS. Dogs
Dogs make great pets for older adults and they do provide the same benefits as cat ownership. However, careful consideration needs to be done to ensure the care, training, and exercise requirements of a dog can indeed be handled by the older adult. There is a high percentage of older adults who are not able to keep up with the needs of caring for a dog, which makes adopting a cat a much better option.
- Cats are happy to stay inside all the time unlike dogs.
- Most adult cats only need 20 to 30 minutes of playtime every day with interactive play not needing the owner to be mobile. Cats can stay happy with laser toys, kitty fishing pole, and other simple toys.
- Cats feel content spending most of their time cuddling up with their owners.
Choosing a Furry Friend
- Longevity – Consider the lifespan of the animal before adopting any pet. Think of what the arrangement will be in the event the owner is no longer able to continue caring for it.
- Kitten or Adult – Many people think that a kitten or puppy will help keep older adults feeling young. However, kittens or puppies require more activities that some older adults may not be able to cope with especially those with mobility restrictions. In addition, older pets are also less likely to outlive their senior owner which will not pose any problems should the owner have trouble caring for it in the later stage of their life.
- Temperament – Visit the local shelter to view the different animals for adoption. Ask the staff and observe the animals to notice their behavior and temperament. Some may be antisocial and some may require proper care for their medical needs.