Older cat or kitten?

It’s going to be ‘kitten season’ soon, and you may be thinking about getting a furry little companion to cuddle.

May I suggest you forego the kitten and get an older cat instead?

Kittens are adorable. Kittens are very high energy. Kittens are curious, destructive without knowing what they’re doing and, like a human baby, often will sleep only an hour or two at a time, no matter how exhausted you are.

You can search for a comparison of ‘older cat or kitten’ and find some really good sites that have well-reasoned statements on both sides of the issue. But going to a shelter and choosing an older cat (over six years old) means you’ve just saved a life. Older cats are among the first to be euthanized at most municipal shelters, both from lack of space and the knowledge that yes, most people will still want a kitten.

But older cats are calmer. They’ve learned what’s acceptable behavior and what a litter box is for, as well as knowing not to climb the drapes, leap down on top of the dozing dog or tear up everything on the floor of your closet.

If he or she has come from a long-term home, that cat is going to be very grateful for being rescued from the shelter and given a quiet, comfortable home once more. Many older cats have had to be given up by elderly owners, and, while they grieve for a time over the loss of their human, they welcome gentle petting and attention.

And here’s one heavily biased vote for getting an older cat:

Abishag is purrfectly content on her quilt under my desk, at my feet. I can talk to her and pet her, slip her a treat or two, play with her and one of her toys several times a day. She’s content with getting brushed daily and having music to listen to when I’m out of my office. She doesn’t look for things to chew on. We’re good office companions and best friends too.

Kittens are fun. But an older cat will quietly give you his or her heart, from the very first days.