Cats Protection is holding a ‘Mature Moggies Week’ from 13-17 November, to coincide with a new survey that reveals common misunderstandings potential owners have surrounding cats and age.
Figures from the charity, which show that older cats can take over twice as long to find a home as their younger counterparts, prompted the survey to understand why many ‘senior kitizens’ are being overlooked in favour of fresher-faced felines.
“Interestingly, there appears to be a misconception about what constitutes an ‘older’ cat, with 23% of respondents saying they would consider any cat aged over five years as ‘older’,” said Mark Beazley, Cats Protection’s Director of Operations.
“Actually a five-year-old cat is only 36 in human years and a cat generally isn’t classed as a senior until it reaches 11 years of age.”
Some other key findings from the survey included:
Character and medical history were the most important considerations for people when choosing a new cat (with 87% and 83% classing them as important respectively), followed by age (68%).
Just 24% of respondents said they would be likely to consider an older cat, compared to 68% of respondents who would be likely to consider getting a kitten.
Less than 4% of people knew that the equivalent human age for a one-year-old cat is 15 years old. The majority (69%) thought that it was five years old.
Only 16% of people knew that the equivalent human age for a five-year-old cat is 36 years old. The most popular answer (38%) was 25 years old.
The top reasons given for not considering an older cat were that it might not live long (72%), it would more likely to get ill (56%) and if it is unwell it will cost money (40%).
Almost a fifth (19 %) of people who were unlikely to consider an older cat said that one of the reasons was that older cats are not very playful.
Owners of older cats cited the top three: they are calmer (58%), they don’t want to leave the house as much (54%) and it feels like they are more of a family member (52%).
Cats Protection says improvements in cat care have greatly raised the life expectancy and quality of life for household moggies, with many now living into their late teens and early 20s in remarkably good health.
However, figures from the charity’s centres show that cats aged 11 and over spend an average of 33 days waiting to be adopted – twice as long as the overall average time of 15 days and over four times longer than kittens, who wait an average of just eight days.
“It’s a shame that older cats stay with us longer as they have a lot to offer,” added Mark. “They tend to stay closer to home, so they are less likely to be involved in road traffic accidents and more likely to enjoy curling up on a warm lap, making them great companions.
“Their characters are fully formed so you know what sort of cat you’re getting and they’re less likely to scale the curtains or knock your ornaments off the shelf! That said, older cats can often still be quite playful when they choose to be and many enjoy a few short games each day.
“Life in a pen is no substitute for a permanent home so we would urge people to consider adopting an older cat.
“All cats adopted from Cats Protection have been fully health-checked and come with a full medical history and four weeks’ free pet insurance which will cover any new conditions that arise after adoption.”
During Mature Moggies Week, Cats Protection will be asking people to share stories about their own cats as well as providing educational messages and advice to those who either own or are thinking about adopting an older cat.
To get involved visit Cats Protection’s social media channels from 13-17 November at www.facebook.com/catsprotection or www.twitter.com/catsprotection
For more information about mature moggies visit: www.cats.org.uk/maturemoggies