While dogs might be known as “man’s best friend,” they might need to move their paws over when it comes to the perfect furry companion for seniors. Cats are moving in.
While cats tend to get stereotyped as being independent troublemakers who like to knock things off of shelves, that’s really nothing more than bad press. Like dogs, cats need to be somewhat trained and know their boundaries. However, when it comes to day-to-day responsibilities, they’re much easier to care for than a canine companion. For seniors, that can be a huge plus.
As a bonus, cats are often extremely affectionate. Studies have shown that cats help with mental health issues like stress, anxiety, and depression, and they offer companionship that can combat loneliness — something many seniors struggle with.
If you’re looking for a pet but you can’t keep up with the physical stimulation needs of a dog, a feline friend could be the perfect answer. Let’s take a closer look at why owning a cat is perfect for seniors and what you can do to prepare your home for your new best friend.
The Benefits of Owning a Cat
In general, pets are beneficial to older adults. Simply being around them can help with stress and reduce feelings of isolation. Additional benefits include:
- Better heart health;
- Lower blood pressure;
- Reduced stress;
- More comfort;
- A sense of purpose;
- Improved self-esteem.
While a dog might keep you more physically active, you might not be able to go on a walk every day or head to the park every afternoon. Whether you deal with mobility issues, don’t have reliable transportation, or simply don’t like to leave the house much, a cat can provide all of these physical and mental health benefits without requiring much in return. Something as simple as petting your feline friend and hearing them purr can reduce stress, heal muscles and bones, and reduce your risk of a heart attack. That’s one powerful purr.
Preparing Yourself and Your Home
Maybe you’ve already decided to bring a cat into your life. If so, get ready for a lifelong friend. However, it’s essential you make sure you’re completely ready for your new companion. Some of the easiest ways to prepare your home for a cat include:
- Removing traps or anything that might have chemicals from the floor;
- Checking if any of your houseplants are toxic to cats;
- Sealing vents, crawlspaces, or any other holes;
- Locking away all chemicals and cleaning supplies;
- Putting away breakables until your cat is well-trained.
It’s also essential to have the right supplies on hand, including food and water dishes, toys, and a litter box. You can go so far as to create a separate room for your cat where they can go to play with their things, climb on a cat tower, or scratch at appropriate items instead of your furniture or carpet.
It’s also important to make sure your cat stays at a comfortable temperature. While your cat probably isn’t going outdoors as a dog would, it can still get cold very easily. It’s also not impossible for cats to overheat in a warm place in the summer, so look into ways to keep your new pet cool. Keep the temperature in your home controlled and comfortable throughout the seasons so you don’t have to worry about the well-being of your kitty, even if you’re not home for a few hours at a time.
As you can see, there are countless benefits to bringing a cat into your life. Even better, the perks listed here are just the tip of the iceberg. Every cat has its own personality, and you’ll love discovering more about your feline friend from the moment you bring them home. Owning a cat is perfect for seniors of all abilities, so don’t hesitate to adopt the purring pal you deserve.
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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