About Adopting

Paws for Comfort: The Benefits of Adopting a Cat in Your Golden Years

In recent years, cat cafes have become extremely popular amongst retirees. Spending just a few minutes with a cuddly friend while you improve your health, dispel feelings of loneliness, and help you see life’s silver linings.

adopting a cat, how cats improve the lives of seniors

If you’ve enjoyed spending time around cats, you might want to consider adoption for yourself. Adopting a pet can support your mental health and help you rediscover your purpose as a retiree.

Cats and kittens make for wonderful companions, and are relatively low maintenance, too. This is good news if you don’t want to spend your golden years taking your pet for walks, training them to stop barking or socializing with other animals of the same species.

Purpose and Pets

Rediscovering your purpose in retirement is a challenge for a lot of people. You don’t have a 9 to 5 to keep you occupied and probably don’t have kids to raise. This sudden freedom can be jarring if you are alone as well.

Cats can’t replace the joy of human interaction, but they can get you back on the right path. Over time, caring for your cat will give you the confidence to pursue activities, join volunteer groups, or reconnect with family members. These activities can help you find purpose in retirement and improve your quality of life.

If you do have a difficult day, the comfort that your cat provides can help you bounce back. This is helpful if you struggle with anxiety and are easily dissuaded from going outside of your comfort zone. Knowing that you will return home to your cat can give you the extra boost of confidence that you need to try something new.

Mental Health

adopting a cat in your golden years, how cats help mental health

Retirement can strain your mental health and undermine your self-image. You may even unknowingly develop depression in later life and experience symptoms like confusion, muscle weakness, fatigue, and vision problems. Cats can help you heal and see the silver linings that life has to offer.

Cats and kittens are also a wonderful stress relief. Rather than spending your days in early retirement fretting about your savings or worrying about how to spend your day, slow down and spend some time with your feline friend. Research from Washington State University suggests that spending just 10 minutes per day petting an animal can substantially reduce stress.

Having a cat around can help you navigate feelings of loneliness and grief. Knowing that someone else is home with you can make a huge difference to your self-worth and happiness — even if your roommate happens to have four legs.

Exercise

Petting a cat can reduce your stress levels and improve your mood. Playing with your kitten is a great way to work up a sweat and keep your body moving, too. Dashing around the house, getting down on all fours, and playing chase is a great way to engage your body and mind.

However, you should resist the temptation to take your cat on a walk. The RSPCA advises against walking cats on leashes as it causes them undue stress. Cats naturally want to explore their environment, hide in the grass, and run after prey. Limiting their movement can cause accidents, too, as the leash can become caught on themselves or other objects.

If you do want to enjoy the outdoors with your cat, consider building a pen for them to play in. A mesh-covered penned-in area keeps the local wildlife safe, too, as outdoor cats are notorious for killing birds, frogs, and other small creatures. The pen you build doesn’t need to be huge — even a small outdoor area is sure to provide them with plenty of fun and stimulation.

Adopting

If you want to get a cat in your golden years, consider adopting. Thousands of cats are available for adoption today, as many people get rid of their kittens after realizing they don’t have the time, money, or energy to care for them.

Start the adoption process by visiting a reputable shelter near you. This reduces the risk of accidentally supporting an unethical breeder and gives an unwanted cat a new home.

If you do decide to work with a breeder, do your due diligence and look for tell-tale signs of abuse like fleas, a lack of vaccinations, or a dirty living environment. If you do notice that cats are being raised in poor conditions, raise the issue to the RSPCA. This may not be the start to the retired life that you had wished for, but shutting down a bad breeder can be rewarding too.

Once you’ve successfully adopted a cat, get them registered with the local vet and seek professional veterinarian advice on how best to care for them. Some cats need special treatment, while others are happy with a simple regime of feeding, play, and sleep.

Conclusion

Adopting a cat can do wonders for your mental health and wellbeing. If you’re new to retirement, consider adopting a kitten from a nearby shelter. This will give you a clear sense of purpose and can help build your identity after your career has ended. Keep your cat healthy by working closely with a veterinarian and consider building them an outdoor play area so they can burn off some steam.

About the Author: Katie Brenneman

Katie Brenneman is a passionate writer specializing in lifestyle, mental health, and animal-related content. When she isn’t writing, you can find her with her nose buried in a book or snuggling with her cat, Clementine. To connect with Katie, you can follow her on Twitter.

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