Is your elderly mom or dad feeling lonely or bored?
Do they need a renewed sense of purpose in their life?
Are they largely homebound or even bedridden?
Would they benefit from being more active?
Do they love animals?
If your aging parent meets the criteria above, it may be time for them to consider adopting a cat. When it comes to caring for a cat, seniors can certainly benefit. Cats are the ideal pet for aging adults because, they don’t demand as much as dogs and they love to shower attention and love on their owners. Dogs need owners with a lot of mobility, while cats fit an elderly person’s lifestyle perfectly.
Many elderly adults find their physical abilities diminish with age, leaving them dependent on family caregivers and elderly care providers for help with basic daily tasks. They can be frustrated with their lack of independence as they require assistance for things like bathing, dressing, housekeeping and even driving. Taking responsibility for a cat can provide seniors with a renewed sense of purpose and boost their self-esteem greatly. Even if they still need help from elderly care providers with some aspects of pet care, the aging adults still receive the benefits of having a devoted and loving feline friend.
Here are 3 reasons why seniors should adopt a cat:
1. Increased Activity and Involvement
When physical ailments restrict an elderly person’s mobility, it can be hard for them to get motivated and be active. With a cat, the senior must take care of their food and water needs, engage in active play, and generally interact with their pet. Even small actions can add up to better health, because when elderly adults brush or pet their cat, use a string as a toy, scoop a little box and more, they have an incentive to do so. If there are certain physical aspects of caring for the cat that the aging adult simply cannot do, their family caregiver or elderly care provider will have to step in.
2. Improved Emotional and Mental Health
Everyone knows that owning a cat or dog can boost a person’s mental health and this is especially true for aging adults. When interacting with a cat, studies show that people experience lower blood pressure and reduced stress. Cuddling and petting a cat can trigger hormones in the body that cause good feelings, help reduce pain and reduce the risk of depression and anxiety. Cats also provide unconditional love to their owners, giving affection and companionship when seniors need it most.
3. It’s Good for the Cat
There are thousands of adult cats in shelters waiting to be adopted, so rescuing one to be an elderly person’s companion can actually save a life. Adult cats are a much better fit for seniors than kittens, because they are less destructive, already litter box trained, and have an established personality. Adult cats are also more likely to sit and cuddle with seniors, yet still need active play a few times per day.