Finding a family can be extremely difficult for a cat, as they are far less likely to be adopted compared to their canine counterparts. Adult and senior cats face further difficulty, as potential owners are more often swayed by the adorable eyes of young kittens.
Many charitable and welfare organisations attempt to encourage animal lovers to adopt adult felines with campaigns and promotions. In 2016 PetRescue launched their, ‘Meow's The Time Cat Campaign’ where adoptions of adult cats came with a reduced fee. A RSPCA shelter in South Australia launched a similar campaign in 2018 with lower adoption fees and extended operating hours.
Another method spreading across the websites of such organisations are articles like this one: that promote the positives involved with adopting an adult cat while raising awareness of the resulting tragic consequences when numerous adult cats are left unclaimed.
While there are many reasons as to why cats are left in or find their way to shelters or pounds some of these reasons include maintaining costs, changes in an owner's life, and the mismatching of lifestyles between an owner and their pet.
These particular reasons are unfortunate considering they are often attributed to the positives of adult cat adoption. For example, while a young kitten requires spaying or neutering, immunisations, and other expensive costs an adult cat has already been given most or all of these procedures. Cats that are older have also had the time to learn good habits such as litter box training – more than one kitten owner can tell you the costs and time involved after your beloved kitty decides to “go” on your carpet.
Adult cats have also long developed their personalities and preferences meaning that the cat you meet in a shelter or pound is most likely the demeanour, size, and personality of the cat you take home. This can come as a relief to potential cat adoptees, as they will be likely matched with a pet that suits their lifestyle.
An adult cat's personality also tends to be on the less energetic side. While a young kitten might run around at night, scratch up furniture out of boredom, or exhibit anxiety from being left alone an elder cat is often quite content to relax or amuse itself, or sleep peacefully at its owner’s feet.
Adult cats—due to their maturity, previous families, and past experiences—are also usually familiar with humans, other pets, and children of varying ages. This means that the usual dramatic changes in an owner's life (such as a new baby or new pet) tend to not affect an adult cat in the same potential negative way the same situation would affect a young kitten. The wisdom and patience an adult cat possesses is also a huge benefit to those with young children – an adult cat will not be as easily startled or prone to accidental incidents (scratching for instance) that are characteristic of a playful kitten.
Besides these benefits there is of course one final, crucial point. An adult cat often faces its last chance in a shelter or pound. While the number of cats facing euthanasia has gone down PetRescue estimates that number remains in the 100,000s. Countless studies prove that cats have long memories. The trauma and negative experiences of their past or the walls of a pound do not need to be their final memories. Adult cats are waiting to find love and safety: if only given the chance.