Are Cats Therapeutic for Seniors?
There are many things that are comforting about cats, which is why they offer so many therapeutic benefits for seniors.
Anyone who shares their home with a cat – or any pet, for that matter – knows just how much animals can be therapeutic on a daily basis. They can bring you joy, laughter, and comfort, and they keep you company when no one else is around. And let’s not forget all of that unconditional love that they gladly shower upon you.
But elderly individuals, in particular, can really benefit from having a cat. Here are a few reasons why cats are therapeutic for seniors.
Cats Give Seniors Something to Care For
Elderly people can benefit from having someone to care for, and a cat could be the perfect solution. After their kids have grown and established families of their own, seniors are often left living alone, but a companion animal could provide them with a positive daily responsibility that keeps them alert and active.
In other words, a cat (or cats) can provide an elderly individual or an elderly couple with a sense of purpose. And because so many seniors live alone, pets can provide them with the company that they need so they are less likely to become bored, depressed, or lonely.
The Health Benefits of Having a Cat
Studies have proven that pets, including cats, can provide a host of health benefits. For example, they can help lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol, relieve stress, and improve mental health.
Even a cat’s purr can be healing to the human body, and simply petting a feline can help bring about a sense of calm, reducing feelings of anxiety, depression, and loneliness. Overall, living with a cat can help a senior feel mentally, emotionally, and physically better.
Cats Are Easy to Care For
Because cats are generally low maintenance pets, they are a great option for any senior who wants to have a furry companion to call their own. Indoor-only cats can be a constant source of affection, as well as entertaining when they play with their toys. And lap cats are more than content simply being near their owners, purring and being petted.
Choosing the Right Cat for a Senior
Adopting an older feline could be the perfect solution if you want to help a senior in your life find the ideal companion. Visit your local shelter, as adult cats are always looking for homes. These animals are calmer and just as sweet and loving as kittens, but they have already been trained and they already have established personalities.
A kitten, on the other hand, may be too rambunctious and may require too much training for a senior to handle. Plus, adopting adult and senior kitties could save their lives before they are euthanized.
Considering Veterinary Care and the Future
Some seniors are concerned about the possibility that they may someday be unable to care for their pet, leaving their cat behind, and this could prevent them from adopting a kitty of their own. It is always a good idea to have a plan for pet cats, such as having a family member or friend adopt them, in the event that they need to be rehomed.
In terms of veterinary care, there are mobile services that can provide much-needed exams and treatments to kitties who are owned by seniors who don’t drive or who would have trouble transporting their cats.
Overall, kitties are wonderful companions to people of all ages, and they can be great pets for the elderly. Cats can help improve a senior’s quality of life, and they can bring endless amounts of happiness and love into any home.
Lisa Selvaggio is a writer who has volunteered in animal rescue, caring for cats of all ages and learning their many quirks. She is certified in clinical pet nutrition, and enjoys helping pet parents give their fur babies the best care possible. Read more of her work online at LSA Writing Services.