The benefits of getting a cat in your golden years

For older people who need a boost in life, a cat can provide a combination of friendship, purpose and unconditional love.

For many of us, retirement provides a chance to put up our feet, relax and enjoy the finer things in life. But if you’re looking for a little boost to your health and happiness, you might consider getting a cat.

The support of a new furry friend can improve your wellbeing, provide a sense of companionship and give some much-needed structure to your day. From feeding time to afternoon snuggles on the sofa, there’ll always be something to keep you both busy. You’ll soon find yourself smiling like a Cheshire cat.

Research suggests that having a pet will also increase your focus and sense of purpose in life, giving you a loyal friend who will depend on your love and attention. In return, your cat will always be there for you, providing reassurance and comfort when you need it most.

Retirement is the perfect time to get a cat

Retirement is the perfect time to get a cat. Free from the constraints of a busy working lifestyle, you can give your new feline friend plenty of time and attention. But while age shouldn’t be a barrier to having a pet, it’s important to choose the right breed to suit your way of life.

What you need to consider before getting a cat


Family members or neighbours might be able to help with cat-sitting if you’re going away on holiday or need to pop into hospital. However, if you’re struggling for support from loved ones, animal charities such as The Cinnamon Trust have schemes that will provide expert assistance whenever you need it.



You’ll probably need a bit more energy if you get a kitten, which will require a bit of toilet training and plenty of playtime. An older cat is less likely to bother you with bad habits.



Some landlords and sheltered houses have specific rules about pets, so it’s best to find out what they are before you make any decisions.



An older pet will probably require reduced initial financial costs, as neutering, initial vaccinations and worming should already have been performed. However, you should balance this with the fact that an older pet may have or develop health issues, which will carry an emotional and financial burden.



If you enjoy holidays or trips away from home, consider whether you’ll be able to take your cat with you. As an alternative to pet sitting or a cattery, you could look for pet-friendly holiday accommodation, therefore removing the stress and worry of leaving your pet behind. There are plenty of books and websites that cover these types of holidays.

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